Two time Brake the Cycler Jenna Willcox reflex on her Dartmoor Dream on one of the hottest weekend of the summer.
I’d persuaded my sister Anna to come Dartmoor Dreaming, a yoga and cycling weekend, with me after I’d had such an awesome time on Brake the Cycle's Amsterdam to Berlin trip in 2017. She’s more of a commuter cyclist, so was a bit nervous about going on a cycling weekend. I reassured her that there would be a relaxed vibe, a minimum amount of lycra, and some super lovely people to get to know. And of course, I was right! Highlights of the weekend included yoga, wild swimming, walks on the moor, fires, wine, interesting chats and delicious food…oh, and quite a bit of cycling.
It was in the middle of the summer heatwave. But we decided to ride from Exeter train station to the weekend’s venue, nonchalantly expecting that we’d be there in plenty of time for dinner. ‘It’s only 19 miles!’ I kept saying. ‘We were doing 90 a day in Germany!’ It turns out that cycling up and down the hills of Dartmoor is somewhat different to cycling across the flat cornfields of Germany. The afternoon sun gave us some beautiful views across the Devon countryside, but the heat, and the 1,289 feet climb, meant that our ride took us quite a bit longer than anticipated. When we arrived, sweaty and knackered, we were greeted by a table full of friendly faces munching the remains of their dinner. Our food was waiting for us and we were given a glass of wine. Everyone told us they were impressed that we’d cycled up. We felt better. After some more wine, cake, and getting to know our new cycling buddies, we went to bed.
On Saturday, we had a choice of a short or longer ride. Anna took the short one and I took the longer, although we ended up cutting it a bit short – those Dartmoor hills are quite challenging, especially when there’s ice cream to be eaten and wild swimming to be done! Our group took a diversion to visit a swimming spot where we soothed our tired and slightly sun burnt bodies in the water. We wound our way back along the narrow lanes across the moor, up and down some more hills, and ate our dinner on the terrace overlooking rolling hills and forest. That evening someone made a fire and we gathered around it to look at the stars, which were glorious, so far away from the city.
On Sunday, we started the day with a wonderful yoga session which helped to stretch out our achy arms and legs. The weather took a turn for the worse, but this didn’t keep us from our last outdoor adventures. Half of the group went wild swimming, and the other half walked up onto the moor to see some prehistoric ruins. Coming back, cups of tea warmed us up after our wet and windy excursions, and we said our goodbyes before we went our separate ways. The weekend went past really fast, but Brake the Cycle attracts such brilliant people that it felt like we’d known each other much longer, and had fitted loads into a short weekend. Anna’s definitely a convert to the Brake the Cycle way of cycling. Later that summer, we cycled the Lon Las Cymru South, making sure we balanced covering the miles with swimming, cake and wine!
Brake the Cycle runs a number of Yoga & Cycling retreats in both Dartmoor and Norfolk. Check out the Mini Adventures to find the next one...