Posted by: audaxing | September 10, 2012

Blackdown and Levels 300km

Last ride of the season to get the full set for a South West Super Randonneur series

I left the house just after 6am into a dark world of fog.

The start point for the perm was about 5 miles from my house, so in theory time to warm up. Or get damp from fog moisture…

After only about 10km there was an ascent to Hembury Fort and the fog was clearing on the higher ground. Even at this early stage of the ride, getting out of the fog and into the early morning sun was a real lift!

View from the A373 near Hembury Fort

View from the A373 near Hembury Fort

The route then went through Honiton and Colyton and down to the seaside at Lyme Regis. The weather was super. What would shortly be a busy seaside town was still waking up.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

View up the bay in Lyme Regis

View up the bay in Lyme Regis

I’m glad I stopped here for a coffee and a brief rest even though I wasn’t doing great against the time limit. The next bit of the ride proved to be tough. There were lots of climbs followed by nervous descents down narrow, gravelly lanes with poor visibility.

Eventually though the route broke out onto the Somerset levels. The next bit was fast and easy. I made it more difficult on myself by forgetting to get a proof of passage in Wedmore and having to go back 10km

Eventually the road went up again to cross some hills to get down to the coast. On the A38 in Churchill there was a 40mph sign on the descent which I took as a suggested speed 🙂

Cleavedon and the roads near Bristol were grim and busy with weekend traffic. The route got onto quieter roads. It took me onto a lane I didn’t know of before which proved to be a very effective short cut to Bridgwater. On the A39 near Bridgwater just to add to the fun I got a draft from a tractor, doing a few miles at 30mph on the flat.

Early dinner at Bridgwater then across the levels again towards South Molton

Near Langport

Near Langport

Eventually the sun started to set

The sun sets

The sun sets

I got to South Molton and started the final leg of the ride at 9pm. I didn’t use the suggested route, which was laney and parallel to the A361. I used a B-road I’m more familar with.

I was back home again, with 337km on the clock, at 10 minutes past midnight

If you’d like to do the Blackdown and Levels 300km perm, the details for it and other South West permanent rides are here


  1. Nice write-up and lovely pics too, Do you just use a camera-phone, or carry a separate camera? Curious as I often look back on rides wishing I’d taken more pics but my phone never seems to be handy or accessible.

    • Rob,

      I carried a separate camera for this. I have a cheap Pentax compact camera which does much better photos than my phone camera. I have a bar bag and the camera is stashed in there. It only takes a moment to get it out and turn it on, even when I’m rolling. This wasn’t quick enough to get a wildlife action shot of a Crane on the levels, it had flown off before I could shoot!

      In the past I’ve used a handlebar mount for the camera:
      This is great, the camera is right there on the bars all the time. All you have to do is turn it on. It doesn’t work with a bar bag fitted however. The bag gets in the line of sight of the camera.

      • Ah cool, good tips thanks.

        My old Ricoh compact just died on me and have been debating whether to get a “rugged” compact to keep in bar bag or just use phone. I think I may go rugged option tho, since it’ll go in jersey pocket on short rides and can live in my g/f handbag when she needs a point and shoot too.

      • Yeah mine is a “rugged” one, water proof and shock proof. Only trouble is that most of the time my teenage daughter hijacks it to take closeups of “textures”, the cat, her friends etc etc 🙂

      • Haha – nice!

  2. Just discovered your blog. I’m going to my first Audax Australia ride on 20 October. Just a 50km taster to see whether I like the style. I think I will so have already decided on a calendar of local Audax rides for next year. I like the idea of non-competitive long distance cycling purely for the joy of being outdoors. I’m really excited abut my first 200km BP ride on 11 November (I have ridden 100-200km in my ultra running training sessions so know I can make the distance but can’t wait to do it for pure pleasure, rather than training (if that makes sense).

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your cycling exploits.

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