Mindful of the proclamation made by our illustrious leader (aka the chairperson) about the conduct of riders in relation to the club’s activities during the Covid-19 crisis, some of us began squirming on our bench seats in Jenn’s Diner. We had realised that we were sporting club jerseys, thus possibly bringing the club into disrepute by riding in an identifiable group, often less than two metres apart. Those of us not in club colours smugly got on with our various refreshments and tutted. It was suggested that we could ride in All for One jerseys instead, but surprisingly only a few seemed to have one, so we had to pretend that we were just a random bunch of people of a certain age (sorry Amanda!) who happened to be riding in close proximity.
We certainly needed refreshing, having just broken all records for the distance ridden to get to Redruth – we had nearly ridden all the way to Portreath before turning off at the last moment. As usual, this was thanks to the navigation being entrusted to Ian (aka the human A to Z of Cornwall). He managed to find lanes nobody knew of, evoking cries of ‘oh, I see where we are now’ when arriving at junctions. Just as well Kath was absent, as her confusion quotient would have gone into overload.
Apart from Ian’s magical mystery tour, the ride was further enlivened by Jan’s sudden decision to inspect the road at alarmingly close quarters. Slowing to an unrealistic pace that couldn’t possibly maintain balance, she started calling out ‘falling over’ (a call normally heard in Camborne on Saturday night), presumably to warn other riders who were proceeding at a marginally greater speed behind her up this steep incline that came out of nowhere (that’s the danger of riding unfamiliar roads). Her prediction came true as she toppled over gracefully. Thankfully, both bike and rider were apparently unscathed, although liberal consumption of Marmite was required at Jenn’s Diner. I’m not sure whether it was a Di2 malfunction or rider error, but we’ve all been there, feet trapped in our pedals and nowhere to go. We later had the benefit of the huge swooping descent from United Downs to the Twelveheads road – a good test for one’s aero tuck, nerve and brakes.
We spread ourselves over three tables in the sparsely populated Jenn’s Diner as a nod to social distancing. Needless to say, the corona virus thing was the main topic of conversation, revolving mainly around whether we could or should continue riding as a group. To relieve the sense of gloom, though, at least on our table we talked about music (inspired by Jerry and the Pacemakers being played in an American diner – did they ever make it big in America?). It turns out that certain of our number listen to Spotify playlists of 60s and 70s music, and we reminisced about Radio Caroline and Luxembourg, and lamented the recent passing of Genesis P-Orridge.
The ride home was by the usual route through Redruth, where Ian couldn’t resist chasing a fourteen year old in full racing kit, who dared to ride past us, up the hill. Judging by his face later on, he managed to set the youngster straight despite the huge difference in age (we won’t guess how much).
The remarkable thing about today’s ride was that, apart from a little drizzle at the very beginning, it was completed entirely in the dry (and quite warm as well). Come to think of it, though, that’s not so surprising as Ian had actually deigned to join us. Good fun, about 68 km for me.
Dramatis personae : Amanda, Dean the Elder, Ian, Jan, Keith, Me, Paul, PhilC, PhilS