It Was The Night Before We Departed For Paris…

First of all, we are still going to Paris, despite the events of Friday night, as you will have read from the announcement from Climate Vision. And apologies to those of you who might have tuned into Radio Cornwall expecting to hear Luci and me being interviewed by Donna Birrell – again, the events in Paris overtook us all.

On the eve of our departure, my bags are packed, and I am listening to the wind and rain blowing around outside. Hopefully, it will blow through tonight and our departure will not be too wind-blasted! Anyway, I am looking forward to getting under way and to meeting our various well-wishers as we head for Plymouth. I think the Cornish leg of the journey will be the more challenging with all those hills; from St Malo to Paris is less hilly but further, but we have factored in enough time to allow for possible delays.

Just had an email from Helena from Truro who is in India at the moment and she tells me that the children at the school she is at are all switched onto the Climate Change situation. Good to be able to share with them in this pilgrimage of hope!

Next update – once we are on the journey!

Day 1-Truro to Wadebridge

The train from Liskeard was 10 mins late, but I got to the church on time:-)

Excellent crowd in the cathedral, Birt Biscoe and Julian Germain spoke well, Luci introduced Euan & I and we said a few words. Canon Linda blessed our bikes and the Archbishop Benson children sang for us. Chef Sanjay produced supermarket waste soup, which was delicious and helped power us on our way – cycling down the aisle of Cathedral – how cool is that? Continue reading Day 1-Truro to Wadebridge

Wadebridge to Liskeard

After a full breakfast at the Molesworth Arms, your intrepid cyclists headed out of Wadebridge along the Camel Trail to Bodmin. There were patches of blue in the sky and birds sang as we followed the old Southern Railway trackbed alongside the River Camel, thinking that this part of the journey would have been even easier if the trains still ran! Arriving in Bodmin with time to spare before our next engagement we had a cup of tea at the aptly-named Folly Cafe. Continue reading Wadebridge to Liskeard

New cycle infrastructure between Liskeard and Looe

so day three dawns nice and mizzly as Cornish November days should. Waste a lot of time uploading pics which takes ages so just time to bung them all in a gallery on here before time to leave for Looe.

Its a lovely ride down the Looe valley – in summertime – but not all downhill by any means.

The lane between St.Keyne and Sandplace is proof of Cornwall Council’s stated policy (at a recent planning forum) of “managed decline” of the road network. Rutted, pohtholed,muddy, leaf litter,twigs and small branches strewn over the surface.

However the council have introduced a splendid new bit of cycle infrastructure – the built-in bike wash! A photo will follow, but basically it consists of a 2 foot deep lake the whole width of the lane at the top of the worst bit so that your wheels, chain, chainset,gears and feet get a thorough wash.


Lovely wet feet

One in Four

There will eventually be a photo to illustrate this but on the lane between Tideford and Lantallack there is a genuine 1 in 4 steep hill road sign. None of your 25% namby pamby rubbish. Four step forward, on step up. Euan and I tested it and can vouch for the fact that it is certainly not rideable – especially with Euan’s “man gears” (52-42 front and 12-24 rear with an extra 32tooth granny ring – I haven’t had gears like that since I was well the other side of 40), but my 28 front 34 rear lowest gear wouldn’t hack it. Still we had a nice chat with Laurence Reed on Radio Cornwall at the top.

SEA Comes Up Trumps

What a wonderful reception in Saltash.

Saltash Environmental Action (SEA) had assembled at the Maurice Huggins Rest Room at the top of town. A mass of people with cakey tea and good wishes for our trip. Euan and I got there a few minutes early and right on cue Ricky and Ewan struggle up Fore St., not so easy when heavily laden.

Les Quatres Cyclistes de I ‘Apocalypse sont complet.

Much chat and fond hellos to old friends and then darkness having fallen it is time for the off. Over a dozen bikes for the ride over the bridge – a splendid sight turning in the saddle to see them in line astern.

The children turned back at the other side and the rest continued into Plymouth.

Lunch at Looe

A lovely reception from Looe Town Council with the Mayor and Councillors, including Edwina Hannaford Cornwall Councillor and also one Luci’s Ambassadors, proffering steaming mugs of tea and good pasties. A tricolour on the wall outside provides a natural photo shoot.

The mizzle stops as well so after a good wide ranging chat its time to move on for what is known to be a lumpy ride to Saltash.

Many thanks to Looe, we’re sure you’ll take on board the report and the pledge s

The first lump of course is getting out of the Looe valley – no way are we riding up themain road so it’s straight up Shutta. Roger gets about 200m before it defeats him. Half way up there’s a sign saying only handcarts, perambulators, invalids carriages and bicycles pushed by hand allowed beyond this point. The idea of doing anything other than hand pushing a bike up there is beyond belief. Invalid Carriages???!

How to dry your clothes when cycling on France

1.Ask random passers by where the laundrette is. It doesn’t matter what language you ask in – so long as you look very wet and slightly filthy and wild eyed they will know what you need.

2.Follow the directions as given asking again whenever unclear.

3.When you find the laverie check there is a bar next-door, preferably empty.

4.Enter and place all wet clothes and shoes in drier. Shut door and insert one Euro

5.Hop into bar watching where you put your bare feet (in case of broken glass – only poor areas have laveries and the streets aren’t swept as often). Order foul Mexican themed lager beer.

6. Drink beer by which time 9 minutes have passed and the dryer has stopped.

Return to laverie and repeat steps 4 to 6 until clothes dry or you don’t care any more.

Je ne regrette rien ……….

Possibly three of the most painful days cycling of my life. Les quatre cyclistes d’apocalypse we might well be but I have encountered les trois elements d’apocalypse at the same time, three days in a row – lashing rain, 1:3 inclines (with my bike laden with several kitchen sinks) and hurricane winds in my fizzog (I exaggerate ‘just slightly’ to gain the sympathy vote). It has been torture – but like torture (so I am told) the pain goes away when it stops – and I’m just off to sleepies now – perchance to wake up in time for the next leg. It has been/is being ‘interesting’. Character building?

Rain, Hail, Freezing headwinds…and Sunshine

Well if yesterday was my second worst ever days cycling (Jane will remember the worst) then today started out by making a bid for the top spot. No rain when we awoke, but whilst packing up it started with a hailburst followed by persistent cold rain. However after a nasty ride out of town it cleared and we set off down a lane alongside a small river valley in sunshine. Continue reading Rain, Hail, Freezing headwinds…and Sunshine