Monday, 17 April 2017

Easter Bimbles.

Aaargggghhhh... flaming blurry photo uploads... Some of these shots look pants!

A (very) Good Friday.

A couple of months back I embarked on an ill fated pootle round a big loop taking in Merther Church, Ruan Lanihorne and Tregony, among other highlights. But about half way round I ricked my back a proper beauty when righting the bike after getting its chain back on. The rest of the ride then was done very slowly indeed, and was a pain racked affair. But I still put it down as a good ride, as up until that point, I had been really enjoying it, and from what I saw through squinting, grimacing eyes, the rest of it looked good too. Unfinished business there then, and so as Good Friday approached I had it in mind to do the loop again, but this time in the opposite, clockwise direction.

Once again the Met Office had got it spot on and come the day itself, it was dull and grey out, but with no wind to speak of. I'd got the Jamis ready the night before, so it was just a matter of punting it out of the kitchen door and into the quiet of the bank holiday morning. Within minutes of setting off, I just knew the day was going to be a good one. I'd actually managed to convince myself to have a bank holiday myself - try and give my head a rest, try not to worry about stuff out of my control and try and relax and immerse myself in what I enjoy most, pottering about on the bike and taking photos. 

What a great day it turned out to be too. The area I was riding around is a little off the beaten track, and is pretty quiet anyway, but on Friday there really was nobody about. Time and time again I found myself reveling in the tranquil calm, with only the local birds making any noise, along with the hum of the bike cruising slowly along. It doesn't get much better than that.

It's a picturesque route too, with the Rivers Fal and Ruan featuring prominently, plus plenty of woodland to ride through, in a landscape that at times reminded me more of the Scottish Highlands than Cornwall.

All in all, an utterly superb ride, and for the first time in months, I felt thoroughly invigorated, stimulated and elated, and that's a lot of 'teds! Anti depressant tablets just don't give results like that - recreational drugs might I suppose, but the tablets don't even come close, and a bike ride has to be better than doing drugs. It's cheaper for a start...

Anyway, enough blather, here's a ton of photos to look at instead.

 The old barn beside the rail bridge at Truck Fork, Probus.

Probus at half past eight on Good Friday morning was still a busy place. A few folk were enjoying fried breakfasts too judging by the mouth watering smells I sniffed in the air riding through the village.

Heading out of Probus I heard a 'splabberslapsplabber', like someone emptying a sack of flip flops onto wet concrete, and suddenly the road in front of me was splattered in huge white dollops of bird poo as some unseen bird, or birds (probably Gulls judging by the size of poo bombs), carpet bombed me. Thankfully their aim was a little off and bike and I escaped unsullied. 
Then a little further on, I found this freshly carked Pheasant (above). These really are dim witted birds it has to be said, and riding around the lanes they are a constant chaotic presence, but it's still sad to see one cop it like this. Like so many birds we just take for granted, when you actually really look at them, you realise just how striking and beautiful their colours and markings can be.

Cornelly Church - named after St Cornelius, is a parish church with no similarly named village, although it is about a mile from Tregony. The church was built in the 13th century  and is an odd looking concoction. The main body, or the Nave, is a very elegant double barreled affair, but the tower looks completely out of proportion, and at a wonky angle too. A very odd looking church I reckon.

 The yellow theme in the countryside continues. The Daffodils might be gone (although white Daffs can still be seen growing commercially in the fields) but Rapeseed now dominates the view in places, and the exposure meter of the camera as well.

 Informative erm... information board at Ruan Lanihorne. I had a good mooch around the pond, and did see a couple of Sparrows, and an empty Quavers packet. I checked back on the board, but the Quavers packet wasn't listed there, maybe I'll send the Parish Council a photo so they can add it.

The pond at Ruan Lanihorne.

 Just out of Ruan Lanihorne, beside the Ruan River, and a great spot to pause for a brew up on the stove.

 Latte Caramel, tasty! 
Flasks are ok I suppose, as are cafes, but boiling up a kettle on a camping stove is so much more satisfying. The smell of meths (I use a Mini Trangia stove) reminds me of the Mamod traction engine I had as a child, and also past camping trips around Europe done by motorcycle, with a full size Trangia.

Latte supped, I loaded up the bike, swung my leg over, set off and promptly stopped again about ten yards up the road to grab this shot of the blossom. My rides are usually like this, full of stops to look for, and take, photos, so progress can be very slow at times, but who cares when you're the only one on the ride?

 Sett Bridge over the River Fal near where the Ruan River joins. The noise of the water here was superb, but I must come back when we've had a wet winter, it must be quite something when it's really flowing through here.

The view from Sett Bridge looking towards Lamorran Wood.

The sky kept looking like it might dispense a shower or two at times, but I really couldn't have cared if it had, in fact I was sort of hoping it would, as the pitter patter of light rain through these woods must sound magical.

These lanes were so quiet it was like I had the world to myself at times, the only reminder of civilisation being the occasional distant sound of an airliner flying over.

Tucked away beside the River Fal is Lamorran Church. Built in the mid 13th century, the church has never been enlarged, the only work done since being the odd major restoration and general maintenance.
More blurred uploads. Right click and open in a new tab sees them appear properly.

Photos above are all where the road closely follows the River Fal. 

While taking the above shot through the fence, a car did appear and the driver stopped to ask if I was photographing the Kingfishers in the adjacent river. I had to admit I wasn't, and was actually photographing the bike (always an embarrassing admission that). But according to the chap, not only were Kingfishers resident here, but also Otters, although being able to see the latter in daylight would be highly unlikely.

Talking of Otters, here's a bonus little print out and keep ditty:

She was only the Miller's daughter,
She lived beside the Mill.
The water was full of Otters,
But she was 'otter still.

Oh ok, back to the photos...

 This part of Cornwall, like my bathroom mirror of a morning, is an AONB, or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it shows, even on a dullish day such as Friday.

The Jamis behaved itself this time, so we're all friends again. It took a bit of fiddling but I finally got the stem/bar combo sorted and the bike is now comfortable for me. Adding a rack and panniers just tempts me into piling on even more weight to lug up hills, but hey ho. For a cheap (£300) bike, it's not bad really, at least for my modest needs anyway, and I really must ride it more often.

The sun did make a few brief appearances, meanwhile the ominous at times sky failed to drop any moisture.

 Heading towards Tresillian from the St Michael Penkevil area is one long down hill, and most enjoyable it is too.

 Flipping fuzzy photos... Anyway, it's not often these signs are relevant to me and my cycling, but on this occasion, in full on hurtle mode, I finally had a sign that I needed to obey.

And this is why that sign is there, a nice corner to go honking round - great fun!

The last photo from my Good Friday ride, but one that sums up just how much I was enjoying things. So invigorated was I, and so enjoying hooning down the long hill to Tresillian, that I even took my hat off and hung it on the bar ends to feel the wind rushing through my hair over my number two buzzcut. For the first time in a long time, it just felt great being alive.

A superbly uplifting ride on Friday then, although also quite a knackering one, some of the hills encountered are ugly affairs to  put it mildly, and my legs were aching somewhat the following day.

Crappy map of the ride, and for some reason the lane I took down into Tregony isn't shown, so it's not 100% accurate either. 
Fuller details can be found here 

I was still feeling a bit weary come Easter Sunday, otherwise I'd have headed back to the area via different lanes to get another nature fix, also it would've taken the Jamis over the 1,000 mile mark. But instead I took the Voodoo round my regular loop just to keep the legs turning and the calories burning. It was a beautiful day too, so I was glad I made the effort to get out, brief though the ride was.

Germander Speedwell in Tregassow Lane. 

 And looking the other way, a Bluebell.

I got home to find the air thick with the pleasant aroma of GT 85, as my neighbour Craig was cleaning the Specialized Tri-Cross belonging to a lady friend of his. This is a bike I admire muchly, a very practical looking machine and could be, or a bike of a similar ilk, a good addition to my riding stable. But I'm not sure how I'd get on with the narrow and low drop bars, and also the skinnier tyres. I think the bars and maybe harsher ride would give my back too much grief, which is a shame to put it mildly. Gravel/Adventure bikes offer fat tyres and wider drop bars, so further investigation might be in order if I ever decide to add another bike.

Right, that's that for my Easter Bimbles, time for some Hot Cross Buns...