My job takes me far and wide and when I have to stay over somewhere, I like to take my bike with me. Nothing better than having a ride in the evening and then following up with another ride before breakfast!

This time it was Exeter. There was of course the option of Haldon Forest or indeed Dartmoor relatively nearby but on this occasion I decided to pack my urban wheelset and ride a few minor roads. I was staying in the Countess Wear Premier Inn which is south side of the city quite close to the M5 and with the help of Bing maps and it’s OS map option I had printed out some A4 maps of the local area.

Fortunately I managed to pick a dry night for my first ride but unfortunately I had also managed to pick a very cold night. Ah well, wrapped up in my Sub Sports compression base layers and my Karrimor long sleeve top and Transition Softshell I was toasty and warm, all apart from my fingers and toes. I have now learnt that my new Shimano M088 SPD shoes really don’t provide any warmth for winter riding, even with two pairs of socks!

My Exeter Ride on Endomondo
My Exeter Ride on Endomondo

So I headed out with my light on full and managed a good route of around 20 km in just over an hour; taking in some decent sized hills along the way. My route took me up and over a big hill into Exminster and then out towards Kennford before going over the A38 by bridge and on to Clapham. From Clapham, I headed up another decent hill and through Shillingford St George, Shillingford Abbot and back into Exeter. Finishing off with a flat run alongside the Exeter Canal and back to the hotel, all of it avoiding any significant traffic by staying on cycleways and minor country roads.

It's a bit dark!
It’s a bit dark!

It’s a good loop and certainly ideal as a quick ‘city limits’ ride and I decided to ride the same route the following morning before breakfast. Again with cold fingers and toes as the temperature was below freezing and the frost on the roads very apparent. But this time I was able to see as the sun started to rise as I set out. There are lots of nice quiet lanes around this area and a fair few decent challenging hills too. If I’d had more time then I’d have loved to have explored more of them! I certainly won’t mind if I have to visit Exeter for work again in the future!