Over 20 keen cyclists met at Seaton Tourist Information Centre for the first Axe Valley Pedallers ride of 2104, writes Rob Watson.

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The weather was relatively mild and the floods had receded enough to allow the group to follow the route of the Stopline Way along Cownhayne Lane, passing through Boshill Cross and Colyford.

After pausing to regroup at the bridge over the rivers Coly and Umborne, both in full flow, it was time to leave the flat valley roads and make the serious heart pounding climb up Colyton Hill.

Electric bikes are welcome on Axe Valley Pedallers rides and even the club chairman has one. The advantage is particularly apparent on long hills!

So it was that even the strongest AVP riders had difficulty keeping in contact with the chairman as she cruised serenely to the top of Colyton hill, arriving hardly out of breath!

It took some time, after such a climb, for the whole group to come back together before setting off in the direction of Beer, but the views over the Axe estuary are spectacular at this point and no one was impatient to get going.

The final stage of the journey took the riders across the A3052 at Stafford Cross, past the pig farms and Bovey House to the top of the hill above Branscombe, then turning east for a fast descent into Beer, passing Beer Quarry Caves and keeping a wary eye out for potholes.

The ride terminated at the club secretary’s house in Beer Road, where mulled wine and baked potatoes were on offer as a reward for completing the first ride of the year.

Details of future Sunday rides at Axevalleypedallers.org.uk, or find us on Facebook.

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