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Coast to Coast cycle route planning

The alternatives for transport

What we've described below is what we went through when trying to organise the movement of bikes, people and luggage. Hopefully it may help a few people; some of it is a bit obvious, other areas might just catch you out if you hadn't really considered them before.

Although we rejected various ideas, it has been solved in the end, but some readers might find our earlier 'solutions' will actually work best for them.

Ride structure:
This makes a big difference to your organisation ! We are doing the Devon Coast to Coast in 3 days with 2 stopovers. That means including luggage in the arrangements.

Cars, cars and more cars

One clumsy option was to take an excess of cars equipped with roofracks, so that half the cars could take us to the start, while leaving the other half at the finish. Then, use the finish cars to transport us all back to the start to pick up the start cars.

Madness - yes and a waste of fuel.
So that one was dismissed, particularly as we will be travelling a long way to Devon and nobody fancies driving backwards and forwards that much.

The entertaining illusion of railways

Now, as it happens I'm a great fan of railways, particularly steam ones. So when we discovered earlier this year that you could get a train from Plymouth to Barnstaple, it sounded promising. A scenic railway journey and then a relatively quick cycle into Ilfracombe and off we would go.

A few worries were voiced about the risks of finding out a train had been cancelled, which would put our plans right off course, but then we thought we could just go earlier just in case.

Then when we looked recently it turned out that the trains actually go from Plymouth to Exeter, where you change and then on to Barnstaple.

Mmmm, rather a lot of room for error there and its a 2 hour journey.

Van rental

This one sounded promising. Find a depot in Plymouth that also had one in Ilfracombe (or Barnstaple), hire it one way, drop it off and off we would go on the ride.

Unfortunately, vans are only 3 seaters; even the long wheelbase ones.

There was a 5 seater 4x4 pickup Warrior Monster No Fear type thing available, but oddly enough the pickup bit in the back would'nt get 5 bikes plus kit in. Plus driving one of those vehicles that I really hate could have been pretty intolerable.


Hire both a van and a car one way. Put the bikes and 3 people in the van and the rest in the car.

That one would actually work, but all a bit fiddly with the bookings.

Use a bicycle transport hire business

We didn't think of this until recently and its pretty obvious really. Did a search for 'bicycle transport' and lo and behold up came a cycle hire business in Devon that regularly transports walkers, cyclists, luggage and bikes around, often in one direction for dropping off at the start of something.

Cost is going to be about £40 each and we'll be dropping off luggage at our overnight stops on the way from Plymouth to Ilfracombe. There's also the advantage that we actually get to the start in one go and not via Barnstaple.

As it happens there are not that many cycle businesses around that do this sort of thing, so if you're in another part of the country, try starting with the cycle hire shops. Some of the larger ones regularly have to drop off bikes somewhere and even if they don't normally take cyclists, you never know, they might welcome the chance to make some extra money !

Finally, the transport we've arranged is with, who also regularly move walkers around the South West.