Let yourself go
Going with the flow leads to unplanned adventures
On a drizzly Sunday in July day my wife and two boys fancied a pyjama day — lovely. So with PJs on and film on the telly the day began… but I was restless.
The Itch to do something was overwhelming, so the scratch would be a quick cycle. With my family snuggled up, yes there was blankets on the sofa, Helmet on, mountain bike out of the shed, a quick ride round the village began.
To the edge and back
A ride round the village only takes minutes, but it’s enough… or so I thought. With heart rate up, enjoying the drizzle the edge of the village was reached too soon.
A this point it seem to soon to head home, why not continue to the next town Newton Abbot? No reason why not…so off I peddled. This was more like it, the miles past by and the country side was stunning, wet, but stunning. Before long I entered Newton Abbot.
It then struck me that work was only a short sprint up the road and I could pop in and say hi to the guys doing so work on the servers. Only that would not be possible as my swipe pass and other belongings were still at home. So what next?
Onward part 2
Turning back didn’t fit, the option of a climb up to the next town Ogwell was much more appealing. At the top of the hill I stopped for a rest at the cemetry, found my Nans grave, said hello.
Onward part 3
At this point I realised this was a much longer ride than a quick ride round the village. With no mobile to let my family know where i’d gone. I should head back. So why not complete a circular route :) Abbotskerswell next via a long single lane hill with hedges either side.
At the top of the hill I stopped at a five bar gate entrance to a field, I was properly out of puff and need to get my breath back. While hanging over the bike I noticed a sign propped up by the gate. SDORC ???? Racing event…. Suddenly BEEEEP! a car was right behind my back wheel. “Are you opening the gate” the chap in the car shouted “Is it on”. Confused I replied “What?”.
South Devon off road club
The chap, pointing to the sign, went on… “Is the race on? they’re supposed to be racing here today”. With no sign of a race track I was more confused, but the chap explained there would be 4x4 dirt track racing about a mile down the field in the woods if I followed him down I’d see. Ignoring stranger danger, at 38 that’s allowed isn’t it?, I followed down on my bike.
Wow! 4x4s and dirt tracks
In the woods the track was set out using poles and flags making it resemble a skiing slalom but with more mud and less snow. Taking to the course were drivers from the age of 16 to 80. steep banks, deep mud, this was something i’d never experience before and It was great. http://www.southdevonoffroadclub.co.uk/ after 30 minutes I remembered home!. So 1 mile back up the track to the gate I was back on the downhill… into Abbotskerswell.
Entering the centre of Abbotskerswell, there was a man stood in the centre of the road wearing a hi-vis jacket. I stopped “Whats up?” I said. Pointing he replied “Charity abseil down that church, wanna do it?”. Without thinking the word “yes” came out of my mouth.
“It’s free if you’ve sponsorship or £20 to have a go”… I had nothing with me, no phone, no wallet… but tucked in my pocket was some cash…just short…£18!
“Tell you what” said the guy in hi-vis, “Here’s £2 i’ll sponsor you that to make £20”… and as quickly as he’d given to me he took it back???? “No” he said, “Here’s £5 you can have a cup of tea after!”, a broad smile across his face.
So I cycled to the church
Absent without leave
Now at this point I’d been gone a while and was most definitely absent without leave. But I met a woman called Claire who let me borrow her phone to call home. So I called my wife Emily and let her know I was about to jump off a church, Emily took it very well.
Talking with Claire I explained this was unplanned and she said her husband Rob would be taking pics and could get some of me and would email them — FAB! (Robs pic is at the start of this story)
I abseiled the church twice :)
Next home, quick wave and thumbs up to Hi-Viz (his name turned out to be Jeff), then it was more country lanes to home. At the top of my road is my local pub, it seemed only appropriate to have a quick pint (on tab)… then home.
Unusual, unplanned, lovely day.
There’s a world out there worth finding!