I gave up riding seriously before i moved here, came here in um.. 98 ish.. rode between 1986 and 1994.. i had the idiotic cornish roads to contend with, even worse.. not overly serious, half a dozen TT's and a few 50k turn up and pay races...
Exeter isnt too bad now, the main route in the city is a bit hectic, but once you get outside, most of the cars are pretty bike savvy.. we are gradually getting more and more stretches of cycle route now (the council down here are pretty amazing actually as far as work goes) and weve got a pretty good stretch of about 20k of cycle paths up and down the river, but we should pretty soon have a full cycle route running from 10 miles east of exeter, to plymouth 50 miles away. Full of recreational cyclists of course, and old farts like me trundling down the river with the wife on cheap mountain bikes, (put it this way, in the last week on the river weve probably passed a thousand cyclists, ive seen ONE other rider with SPD's, seen a few roadies clipped, but you do have to dodge wayward 3 year olds with stabilisers a fair amount)
but actually exeter city and devon county councils are pretty good.. maps here take a look> http://www.devon.gov.uk/cycling
they seem to have a plan on making it the place in the uk to cycle reasonably safely.. and two stages of the ToB this year, tour series racing, they are working pretty hard with organisers... Im seeing more and more road cyclists on the roads down here...
up till this year id not really been out on a bike in ten years, the peugot frame is deteriorating in the shed, so picked up a couple of very cheap £100 dawdle bikes for me and the wife (whilst longingly wishing i could justify spending £500 on a decent one), and now doing a bit of recreational wandering.. She did her first 30k+ ride on sunday, so we are getting there.. Cant tell you how good it feels to be back on one though, even if it is just cycling along the river at 20k admiring the view..
another ten years, perhaps
i will stop smoking, find meself a new bike, (was going to rebuild the old peugot, but have you tried finding parts for a 1986 frame
) and i will test my metal against the seniors..
I do miss it, the bizarre days when you are so off your head with adrenilin and exhaustion, you start mumbling to yourself, the driving up silly hills promising yourself at every next lamppost you are going to stop, and never stopping, i even miss the rain sometimes..