Well, here we are a few months on and not a lot has really changed – at least as far as cycling is concerned. How are other Wheelers ‘surviving’? I am still doing as many rides a week as possible: keeping local which means around 25 miles a day along now-familiar lanes and still avoiding too many main roads. The odd quick dash along ‘suicide alley’ – only to get me to different routes a little quicker.
I often do a roughly ‘figure- of-eight’ route calling at Stithians, Penhalvean, Four Lanes, Carharrack, Chacewater, Twelveheads, Bissoe, Carnon Downs, Point, Devoran and Mylor Bridge – with variations on the way round.

At times the traffic is very light and riding is a pleasant experience. Sadly, as before the idiots sometimes appear on the scene – many with apparently little experience of how to drive considerately or safely on would-be quiet and narrow lanes. I have encountered many horse-riders who need to be treated with respect! Always approach slowly, especially from behind and give them a gentle verbal warning. It is a good idea to stop and ask whether it is OK to pass. I recall a nearly disastrous experience when riding with Truro CC many years ago: a couple of riders overtook fast and spooked the horse, which nearly unseated the rider. Amazingly she was not thrown and showed remarkable horsemanship. I am familiar with this kind of situation as I used to ride horses myself. When approaching walkers from behind a polite call is a good idea – usually appreciated, although I have been occasionally ‘challenged for not having a bell. I find that a bell can ‘wind up’ dogs!

I like to think that my fitness is still improving, as getting up most hills is much easier. I must take the Raleigh and have a crack at Chapel Hill with the higher gears – the lowest being 41-28 so worth a try? Other than climbing hills (or at least trying to!) there is always the occasional chance of a ‘whizzo’ downhill. The lane leading from Buller Downs (off the Redruth-Four Lanes road) down to Penhalvean is one with sweeping bends and one intermediate short uphill to give some ,welly’ to: that’s fun!

Most of the time I have found the winter weather to be reasonable for the time of year, although now having two usually filthy bikes is sadly commonplace! Getting soaked is one of those things – not just the rain but being splashed through puddles and by passing cars. A word of warning about potholes – many of which are now submerged under often muddy puddles; so watch out for these as some of them are more akin to quarries! There now seems to be more than ever. Where you may ask – just about anywhere!

I have not encountered many Wheelers during my rides; in fact I have not seen many cyclists at all – are they all keeping to themselves in the Covid era? I am still avoiding joining any ride groups: not wishing to be antisocial but just avoiding breaking the social distancing rules. I have not ridden into either Falmouth or Truro, again avoiding any unnecessary contact. I have been into Penryn Surgery though for my first vaccine – the Oxford/Astrazeneca one – with no ill effects. Am I the first Wheeler to cycle in to get the jab?

As I said before 2020 actually turned out to be a much better cycling year for me than expected. I am now looking forward to a better 2021 in the hope that all of our Wheelers’ activities can return: thinking of pub rides and café calls. I have passed so many of these which are sadly closed just now. I do have the occasional chat with Gary at the Stag Hunt, as I am sure Usha and he would like to see the regular calls from Wheelers from time to time when they re-open. One particular café that I liked and hope to call in again: that is Bon Appetit at Twelveheads – certainly worth a call when we can, and they have an excellent cake selection! Very much a cyclists’ café and very welcoming. Other reasons to look forward to 2021: The Tour de Yorkshire – will it happen? The Giro from the 8th to 30th May. Le Tour from the 26th June to the 18th July, and the Vuelta from the 14th August to the 5th September. Of course there is the Tour of Britain coming to Falmouth – let us hope so! I would have liked another crack at the Ride London 100, but I understand that it will not happen this year. I can but hope for 2022?

Technology did not let me down again and I did not manage to pick up any foreign bodies from the road as earlier last year. Maintenance has really just been a case of removing frequent excessive muck from the bikes! As before it is so nice to be out in the countryside to take in the views around me and to observe nature – such a rewarding experience on a bike! See you all in 2021 I hope – all the best and

Footnote:- What is turning out to my unlucky stretch of road has come back to haunt me. On Friday 29th January I was riding between Point and Devoran when I was attacked by a dog – a German Shepherd. I had stopped to let a vehicle pass when the dog suddenly leapt at me and bit my right arm causing severe injury. I had to get medical treatment at Penryn Surgery plus the appropriate injections, and have to return for more treatment in due course. I would only say to all Wheelers – be on the lookout on that road as the dog is local to that area. The Police are involved and I must assume that the dog will be suitably dealt with? R

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