ROUTE RECCE & MORE INFO ON THE ROUTES…..
The Bike Shed team hit the road and rode ‘The Smuggler’ routes, checking a few of the tasty climbs out, and snap a few piccies to show off what’s in store for you guys on the day of the event.
North Devon was looking it’s very best, we don’t really have to sell how breathtaking the roads are on this ride – the pictures do that far better than our waffling words can.
The 40, 50 & 80 mile routes leave Barnstaple on the old road through Swimbridge, out past Filleigh, turning left by the cricket ground and climbing up to Exmoor via the Brayford climb. Turning left at the Poltimore Arms you eventually drop down to Simonsbath via the exhilarating snaking descent past the Cairn and into the village – where you’ll be glad to know a well armed feed station will await to give the body and well earn boost!
At Simonsbath the 40, 50 & 80 mile routes will split, the 40 mile route heads back towards Barnstaple via some great roads, the 50 goes over Exmoor dropping down towards Lynton before joining the 80 for Lee Bay Toll, and the 80 mile heading to Exford and Dunkery before tackling the iconic Porlock Toll – a truly alpine style climb, with beautifully smooth tarmac and sweeping hairpins. This climb is far friendlier than the main road, with nowhere near the brutal steepness and a fraction of the traffic. It’s a climb where keen riders can really open up the throttle, pushing themselves through the sweeping hairpins, or equally riders can sit back into a smooth rhythm and soak up the incredible views. It really is a magical piece of road.
From Porlock the 80 mile route heads over the top onto Countisbury towards Lynton via Watersmeet and a punchy climb through Barbrook. Once in Lynton the route takes you through ‘The Valley of the Rocks’ and onto the Lee Abbey Toll road – again a truly incredible piece of road, teetering and snaking on the edge of the cliffs. How they built this road in the first place is a mystery in itself! The next feed station is in a beautiful setting just above Lee Bay, a real smugglers look out point where barrels of booze were dragged up the beach. No booze here, but plenty of food to refuel the legs! Once you’ve nailed this climb it’s mostly downhill back to the finish line Barnstaple – we promise!
Some extra surprises….
As we did last year there will be a few extra ‘Booty Climbs’ thrown into the mix, rewarding any riders up for challenge with free drinks for their effort – and Smugglers banging those cow bells to drag your bikes up the tarmac.
We are so grateful of your support as are our partners FORCE Cancer Charity and North Devon Hospice. Any money you raise makes a real difference to these charities and the local people of North Devon.
See you on the road. Chapeau. Ooooarrrr!
The Bike Shed Team.