The North Devon coast is a simply stunning place which offers a myriad of opportunities for exploration. Whether rambling across the cliffs or kayaking around the coast, the views will give you a new appreciation for this teeny tiny island we live on.
We've been asked before how best to get around on bicycle and so, with the aim of being as helpful as possible, this blog post was born. We didn't know the full answer so spent a while researching before committing our findings to digital ink. Read on, reader...
Do you really want to do this?
Make no mistake. Woolacombe has big hills. They're hard to climb and scary to descend so if you're more of an armchair rider you might want to reconsider the idea of cycling. Alternatively think about driving to places before mounting the saddle. Now you've been suitable warned, let's look for a bike.
Bringing your own bike versus hiring locally
Even if you have your own favourite bike, you might want to consider hiring locally. It's great for the local economy and a little better for the environment. There are potential benefits in your wallet too. The aerodynamic profile of a car with two bicycles on the roof is not that different to, well, something highly unaerodynamic. Like a brick speeding through water. You'll typically lose about 10-20% of your fuel economy. Let's say you're travelling form Birmingham to Woolacombe:
- That's 190 miles each way, or 380 miles in total.
- Imagine you normally average 45 mpg from your car. This means you'll use 8.4 gallons of fuel for the round trip.
- Losing 20% (9mpg) will take you down to 36 mpg. This means you'll use 10.6 gallons of fuel for the same trip.
- Assuming that petrol costs £1.33 per litre, the extra 2.2 gallons, or 10 litres, will cost you £13.30.
- It's worse if you drive a diesel because the price difference climbs nearer to £14.
The figure of £13 to £14 might not sound bad but it jumps if you don't own a bike rack. And who wants one side of their favourite bike covered in dead flies anyway?
If you do decide to rent, there are a couple of places serving the local area. We've not tried either place ourselves so you'll need to make up your own mind when it comes to choosing.
- Bike Trail in Braunton is en route to Kittiwake One if you're coming from anywhere populated.
- Tarka Bikes in Barnstaple, by the railway station, is conveniently located for the Tarka Trail if you're more of a causal rider than a Tour De France 'nut'.
You have a bike. Where now?
The Sustrans website is a great resource for cyclists all over the country. They have options in and around North Devon such as the 31 mile Tarka Trail or the more challenging 100+ mile Coast to Coast route. If you fancy something a little more relaxed, and a little different, then check out the excellent offerings from Treasure Trails such as the Tarka Spy Trail.
Most importantly wear a helmet, watch out for potholes, and enjoy the ride wherever you choose to go!