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But guess we’ll cry come First of May.
May 2, 2016, 10:56 am

It wasn’t tears I was wiping from my eyes, but good old Cornish mizzle, a timely reminder that another Bank Holiday was imminent. May Day means many things to many people; whether it is Padstow’s Obby Oss, May Pole dancing, dashing into the sea at St Andrew’s stark naked, or even International Worker’s day, but this year, in Falmouth, it was the day chosen for the annual “huff and puff”; a celebration of the joys of running and cycling.

Arriving at HQ just before 9 I thought there would be almost a full turn out, discounting those that had left earlier on the Tour de Ireland. But this was misleading as a goodly number, all but five of us, set off for St Ives. Simon, Steve, Liz, Ben, Ian and myself decided on a short warm up before dropping down to the Pitch & Putt, the start of this year’s event. Fortunately, there were also a goodly number of Wheelers already there with more arriving by the minute and by 10am there were 13 cyclists, almost a match for the 14 Road Runners. For those of you who have not come across this event, officially known as the “Pedal and Puff”, the idea is that a cyclist is matched with a runner of, notionally, inverse calibre, and set off in opposite directions, eventually meeting somewhere along the route; at which point, after exchanging brief pleasantries, each turns round and returns to the start.

By the use of an elaborate system involving two packs of playing cards we were matched, runner with cyclist; the fastest runner being paired with our “ace” cyclist, Denise, and so forth. Simon was responsible for allocating the Wheelers handicaps, for some reason deciding that I would be faster than both Richard 73 and Kath, pairing me with Sharon Broughton; a young and fit looking runner. I can use this expression as I am of an age where it meant she was likely to be able to go all the way without stopping. Jo Pryce was batting for the other side, so was paired with Richard 73, Keith Marshall with Liz and Terry with Ben Rule.

Setting off at roughly 15 second intervals, beginning with Ian, the Wheelers headed for Swanpool, then up and over to Gilly, round Castle Drive, Melvill Road, Western Terrace, Tregenver Road, and Trescobeas Road. The runners headed up the hill to Bicklandwater Road and down Trescobeas Road. It was a much shorter course than last year with no reason for Simon to take a short cut.

So, I was sitting at the traffic lights by Falmouth School when Sharon appeared. Fortunately she recognised me as she had taken off her bright, easily recognisable, yellow top during her run. We exchanged playing cards and turned back. The interesting thing about the event is that you have no idea how you are doing until you overtake someone, or they overtake you. Fred, and a couple of others, overtook me before I got to the Roslyn.

The slow service at the Gilly café seems to seep out into the ether, affecting all who approach. Cars slow to a halt as they draw near, straddling the centre of the road, unable to decide just what to do next. “Shall I go  .. right,  … or left? No I’ll open the passenger door !” “It’s ok I needed to stop suddenly. Might catch someone up, otherwise”. I could see Denise’s pink jacket disappearing round the bend on the first part of Swanpool Hill. “I can do it”.

Steve Lawrence had counted us all out and counted us all back in again and whilst “competitors” enjoyed a hot beverage and, for some, bacon baps, he worked out the results. There were prizes.

Steve, and Roy Newton, were the thirteenth fastest pair; the fastest being our “Ace rider”, Denise with, was it Richard or Robin, and second, Ian with David Carrard. But we were all winners really and far better than yet another ride down to St Ives in the rain. Thanks to Simon and all of the Falmouth Road runners for an excellent morning. I bet you wish you had turned up now. Other Wheelers taking part were Clare, paired with Jules Wood and Phil Conroy, with Emily Trewin. Admiral was a no show.

Don’t blame me, Simon asked me to write this rubbish.


The tragedy that is Swan Lake
Apr 27, 2016, 9:06 pm

There were eight of us today, so with Bernie insisting on safe cycling, we were able to go in two twos, and another two twos.

I didn’t think I was late but Admiral, Nigel and Bernie had set off from Union Corner, although Ian and Raymondo, fresh from the Spanish hills, waited for me. Kath had obviously found someone else to moan to. We had caught the others up by the other place but numbers were still low, just Fred and Phil Conroy waiting. The low turn out didn’t make the decision making any easier though. Bernie wanted to go to Porthtowan, Nigel wanted to go to Lilly the Pinks, Ian suggested Hells Mouth; so Helston Boating lake was the obvious choice. Having duly texted TD we were off; fairly normal route, for OGIL, of out to Releath, but instead of turning towards Prospidnick we carried on to Nancegollan and Godolphin Cross, not turning left until Boscrege, where Raymondo was forced to take a rest, on a conveniently placed park bench. This led us to the Helston-Penzance Road, across, and down past Rinsey Head, I thought we were going to the boating lake, and into Porthleven. Nigel, in consideration of the roundness of his wheels, and a desire to keep them that way, decided against the drop down to the harbour and up to the Penrose estate, and I said I would keep him company. The fact that the main road was the shorter route had nothing to do with it, but we were at Coronation Park first and I had fed the swans and ducks and ordered breakfast before the others arrived. It was another no show from TD. He must be running low on excuses by now.

The conversation mainly centred on the intended trip to France, and who would be sharing with whom. Admiral, who has been a little touchy since he found out that Bernie was taking Nigel to France, rather than him, managed to keep himself together but on the way home, up through the town and out to muddy lanes etc, he did appear to be a bit flirty, and after Bernie had gone off on his own past Wendron Cricket ground, he literally threw himself at Ian when we caught Bernie up at Crane Garage. He made some poor excuse about his foot slipping out of the pedal but, I kid you not, it was quite embarrassing really, to see him rolling about at Ian’s feet. Fortunately Nigel, and Raymondo had turned off earlier and were spared the spectacle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Admiral gave the next couple of rides a miss.

So, after that it was back through Halvasso, a goodbye to Fred, and home. Just 40 miles for me and an uneventful ride. Oh, I forgot to mention the hail shower as we came along the Helston Road to Edgcumbe.


Dusty Bin has his Day Wednesday 20th April 2016 OGIL ride.
Apr 22, 2016, 7:39 pm

The usual suspects were at Union Corner, and having to be held back for 30 seconds, until 8.50, just to see if anyone else was going to arrive, Bernie and Admiral were first out of the blocks.  Dean, Nigel and myself followed in their wake.  Waiting at Halvasso for us was Fred, Brian, Simon and his brother in law Rupert who had joined us for the day from France and with 3 minutes to spare M & M rolled up.  Simon suggested Poldhu which was welcomed like an old comfy Sweater and off we set on a route that we are all familiar with.  I had looked at the forecast and it said it was going to be windy later on in the day so guessed that it would just be getting up by the time we arrived home.  The wind had other ideas though as we were caught out a number of times with its strength.  The real casualty was Fred who as we gently cycled through St Martin in Meneage was attacked by an empty Wheelie bin which Jumped out from behind a wall and took him out.  Fred landed in the gateway of the cottage with the bin was innocently blocking the road.  Its lid had become detached, luckily Freds hadn't, and was hurled (problem too strong a word) into the offending bins driveway.  The bin followed.  As we cycled off checking that Fred hadn't broken anything although his new jacket had a hole in it the Bin was slowly making its way out of the drive again ready to pounce on another unsuspecting passer by.
No little old lady on the way to Trelowarren, maybe she had heard how strong the wind was going to be and had stayed at home.  A nice ride to Poldhu followed and with the cafe full of people not wanting to sit outside because it was cool and windy we all sat outside.  My coffee nearly blew out of the cup as I went to sit down and we had to ask for more hot milk to heat it up.  I was accused of moaning the whole time by Admiral which I think I might have done though we did see a delightful Springer Spaniel Puppy (couldn't moan about that) . I'm not sure what the conversation was about on the other table as I was too busy moaning on ours but I suppose we should have all been discussing the European situation having a person from France with us.
The ride back as I had been told was a headwind all the way.  This made the hill out of Poldhu pretty hard but its soon over and I don't know who was suffering most with the wind, Us or the Golfers at Mullion Golf Club.  Normal way back to Helston, Dusty lane or Hidden Lane, Polkerris and home via Halvasso.  We all took our seperate routes home with just Admiral, Dean and myself returning to Falmouth.
Good to go out even though it was a little blustery with around 43 miles or so.

Power, Passion but no Blues except sky and sea - Long ride 17 April 2016
Apr 19, 2016, 9:14 am

Lands End said the calendar, interesting said I on Sunday morning, busy making last-minute saddle adjustments on Crosby the Cannondale RT2, to avoid sitting on Margaret’s hands. 08:55 at HQ and all was buzzing with the usual chat and crossing waves of destination negotiation. Perranuthnoe was a firm option, Lands End wasn’t really but Fred was offering to take us somewhere Far West. Bernie left solo, soon followed by the substantial Perranuthnoe group so we were down to what might be known as The Long Ride. Thirteen riders on twelve bikes heading west set off to Union Corner and on towards the Halvasso turn with Dean who, it turns out, was heading east. After Herniss we went right at the top of Carnkie hill, passed west of Carnmenellis to work along the spine to Black Rock. Now on a generally downwards path the pace picked up past the Clowance wall and north to Connor Downs, then taking the Treeve Lane diversion we crossed the A30 on a bridge rather than tangle with the fast traffic at Loggans Moor.

At Lelant we paused and Robin proposed to take a faster group ahead to order coffee at the Gurnard’s Head. Matt, Dene, Ben, Adrian, Chris and Phil 4 (yet to see their half-time oranges in the game of life?) left with Robin and Ian (still going strongly in the second half) while Margaret and I were happy to trot gently along the touch line with Fred, Amanda and Phil hoping the ball wouldn’t come our way too often. A further division saw the tandem crew stop to enliven some grass with extra N but we arrived at The Gurnard’s Head as the other three riders went inside. Two good cups of cafétière coffee and half a flapjack (thanks Robin) and we were off, splitting again on the next leg to Mousehole with Chris transferring to the easier pace group this time. The fasts were aiming to do St Just and St Buryan while we did Lanyon Quoit, Madron, Tremethick Cross, Newlyn to Mousehole. At Pam’s Pantry the Lady in Charge was concerned that we should not spread bikes beyond her patch into the craft shop’s yard but the craft Lady made an exception for the tandem and was happy to discuss mortality and passion with me once Margaret had gone into the Pantry, well, speculate about prospects for the revival of her Passiflora. Adrian had opted to go straight home but we still filled most of the tables as we compared Garmins, talked of this and that and more importantly, ate.

We all left together and along the Penzance sea front local Audax enthusiast Kevin pulled alongside. We compared notes on how things had gone after we last saw each other the previous weekend, somewhere just into Shropshire near the end of the spectacular and at times very cold 30th Yr Ellenydd Audax. Kevin left us to turn under the bypass flyover then we stopped at the Tesco fuel station to buy Mars bars with news that Ben had taken a tumble in the town. Soon after Goldsithney he was back amongst us with just some cuts on one hand. The usual climb after Millpool didn’t seem bad and we all regrouped at the mown grass triangle with handy seat. Chris demonstrated grass track skills of the horizontal kind while Robin showed us how it should be done. We progressed through Godolphin Cross to Porkellis where all but two refreshed outside in the sun and generally exchanged congratulations on a harmonious and enjoyable outing. The tandem threw a chain-off at the small end of the cassette near Herniss but Chris produced a tyre lever and the chain went back on easily enough. We took the main road to Treluswell Cross and the lanes to Flushing. No Lands End this time but that will keep for another day. 77.4 enjoyable miles for us. Martyn

BESPOKED - the hand-made bicycle show in Bristol
Apr 18, 2016, 5:52 pm

I have just visited BESPOKED - the hand-made bicycle show in Bristol. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop! There were many examples of the framebuilders' art from Britain, Italy, the USA and Australia among others - beautifully made framesets with magnificent paintwork and exquisite lugwork. I was particularly impressed with the offerings from Holdsworth; and so pleased to see that they have brought frame-building back to the UK. I am very tempted with their limited number of frames to be available in Reynolds 753. Others were offering frames in Reynolds 953 stainless - highly polished examples looked absolutely stunning. Condor have also recreated the Paris Galibier - an example from the 1940s of a novel approach to the short wheelbase frame.  Yes, there were a few examples of carbon fibre frames; but the main emphasis was on the more traditional 'steel' with tubing from Reynolds, Columbus and others.  What was encouraging was the availability of custom-made frames - beautifully made that were so reasonable and representing such good value; when compared with the often high price of off-the-peg offerings!  Pictures in the gallery.


Two Men went to Mow or Far from the Madding Crowd - Sunday 17th April
Apr 18, 2016, 10:23 am

Wow, what a difference a sunny day makes, there were hordes of Wheelers gathered at HQ, lots of rides of all different lengths and speeds. As usual I wanted to be home at lunch time and had already decided that Perranuthnoe was not for me as I had decided on Loe beach as the coffee stop. Several others were told and intended to join me, however at 3 minutes past the allotted hour Fred was still trying to herd the masses into some kind of order. At that time I made my escape, stopping at Budock church for the others to catch up only to realise that none were coming!

Onward to No Mans Land and out to the Argal crossroads, left to Treverva and on to Halvasso at which point I caught up with Dean who had missed out Budock and No Mans land for the direct way of Union corner. Apparently the others had gone the Commercial road route! Onward to the Greek church and the secret lanes with sunshine and dry roads but only the two of us. Soon at Barncoose, Gwennap and along the Bissoe valley, then the climb along Helston Water up to Playing Place and on to the café. Sat in the sunshine, put the world to rights enjoying the hot beverages while Dean demolished a fine looking egg on toast. No others turn up so a return up the steep lane and on back to Point, Deveron, along Suicide Alley, Hangmans Hill, Penryn,  Dracaena cross roads then up to Union Corner were Dean peeled of left for home and I headed back to Stithians. A very pleasant 44 miles in glorious sunshine with plenty talked about sadly just the two of us.


An OGIL dozen
Apr 18, 2016, 9:58 am

I was determined not to be late this morning, so was patiently waiting at Union Corner when Bernie arrived. By the appointed time there were already 9 wheelers assembled, and with murmurings of “too many, we’ll have to split into 2 groups”, we set off towards Halvasso, where Fred, Bryan and Phil3 were waiting. Having sent the customary text to TD, “Perranporth” Chris and I were just about to set off in pursuit of the rest when the M&Ms turned up, spot on timing. I did say “Perranporth” that was not a mistake; well, at least texting “Perranporth” was not the mistake, going there on a Wednesday morning may have been. Now, you would think that the logical route would be the old favourite, in reverse, but Fred thought otherwise, leading, or rather directing, us out to Greek Church, Burncoose, Twelveheads, Chacewater, and then across to Goonhavern via dangerous crossing, Truro airport and Shortlane’s end. It was hilly, and there was never any danger of us being in one group. At the 23 mile stage, the usual point at which we find ourselves at a convenient café, there was none. Not that I moaned, much, just offered a few sensible suggestions; like we were very near the water garden café. Fred had his deaf ears on and so we continued on to Perranporth and the Stepping Stones. Our host was as welcoming as ever, though a little surprised that it was a Wednesday,”had we started out on Sunday”, but we very near filled the café.

Mystic Meg had forecast a thunder storm at 12 noon, but just a little rain arrived, as we left, first to see if the sea was still there and then up the Coombe, homewards. The sea was still there but most of the Ponsmere Hotel wasn’t, finally being demolished to make way for affordable housing, if you are not one of Sir Alan Duncan MP’s low achievers, that is.

I think Ian was the first to turn off, around Chiverton, which set a trend, Fred, Bernie and Phil 3 going on to Scorrier whilst the rest turned down to Blackwater, where we lost Bryan, and on to Bissoe. I am not sure what happened to Chris but our number dwindled as we neared Falmouth and spread out even more as we tackled Hangman’s Hill. Just Admiral, Kath and Mike were with me at Ponsanooth. A tad over 50 mile for me and if you were wondering about TD; it seems he went to Stonehenge instead and missed a good OGIL ride. I don’t know what all the moaning was about. Dean

Wheelers ride 10/04/2016
Apr 10, 2016, 7:15 pm

I woke to the wind crashing against the window but there was no heavy rain as forecasted, so I started to look for my cycle wear. Liz showed me the forecast on her phone which was a bit like the “La Vegas” front of a slot machine a neat little row of black clouds with each having three rain drops and wind speed in the high forties. “You’re not going out are you?” she asked “You must be mad” Well it’s not raining and the forecast is always worse than it actually is! So I went for the bike.

The roads were quite quiet, the wind was not too bad and the rain had still not appeared.  On arrival at HQ there were three others gathered; Ben, Phil 3 and Adrian who joined us for last weeks Audax and thought he would try his luck with 9 o clockers! Lastly Nigel arrive and by then it was 9 o’clock. No others turned up; none of the “super” ride gang were anywhere to be seen. Surely this spell of weather had not put them off?

Ben and Adrian looked disappointed that they were not going on a 60 miler toward St Agnes, so decided to come with the only ride of the day and join us, instead of heading to Portreath. It was not a difficult choice.

Down to Gweek via No-mans Land, across to Wendron, Porthkellis, White Alice hill and Stithians Boating Lake for a warm up and coffee. The café stop was warm and  the promised rain had arrived, it came at just the right time, but nothing like the forecast, and the wind was not a problem.

 The service was swift and cheery, but then we were the only customers. After 45 minutes and much discussion about dry clothing, and how both Ben and Adrian longed for a longer ride and with the rain still falling we left the warm.

Keeping to the lanes, the most exciting bit was when a huge tractor towing an equally large trailer decided he was not going to stop for a few sodden cyclists and who are we to argue! We continued, back to Stithians then across to Crane garage where Nigel left us for Penryn. We then headed to Halvasso and back towards Argal Crossroads where Phil 3 headed towards Mawnan and I went left back towards Mabe and home. We left Ben and Adrian to head back to HQ where we trust they arrived with out any issues. A very pleasant 35 miles on a day you would normally think twice about going out in (wouldn’t you Fred) but as we always say “You never regret going”


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