OGIL ride 11th August 2021
An even later report than usual, due to circumstances such as non-cycling commitments, the need for extensive editing and proof-reading, and the absence of my libel lawyer on holiday.
After last week’s possibly record turnout, we were distinctly down on numbers. The WhatsApp group was abuzz with creative excuses for absence – appointment with eyeologoist (that’s not a real word), being tied down(!), seeing grandsons, delayed departure of eldest son, bike bust and rib bust to name but a few. This meant that we numbered a paltry seven – Kath had set out but turned back due to gearing problems (I originally thought it was hearing problems, but I obviously mis-heard).
The destination was decided as the Wheal Coates tea room by St Agnes Beacon. As usual we left TOP in dribs and drabs depending on who had an important conversation to complete before leaving. Stopping to re-group at the weighbridge above Halvasso, I was surprised to see that Sarah had mysteriously joined us, bringing our number up to a more respectable eight. However, nobody would own up to leading – a fatal mistake as this gave Ian an opportunity to zoom off and the rest of us had no option but to follow him. On reaching the A394, we were shocked to see that the plan was to turn right rather than head for Crane Garage. Just as we started to speculate that a better idea would have been to take the right fork to Longdowns, then turn left onto the main road and then take a right, thus avoiding having to make a hazardous right turn onto this notoriously busy stretch of road, it dawned on us there seemed to be a momentary complete absence of traffic in either direction. We immediately ceased speculation and made the turn in concert and safety.
We followed the normal route past the Greek church, but when we got to the junction with Tubbon Hill just outside Stithians, instead of turning left past Burley Aquatics we carried straight on past the vaccination centre (nobody needed to stop), across the main road past Perrenwell Station and so on to Bissoe, heading towards Twelveheads. We gratefully settled down to cruising along known roads towards our destination. However, our hearts sank when Ian turned left up the hill towards United Downs – we had all been down this hill in the past and had a pretty good idea what going up it would be like. But fortunately after a short distance Ian turned left into what looked like a drive. We were all not a little perplexed by this behaviour, and milled around wondering what was going on. Eventually we discovered that this was Ian’s new place of work. In the same way that CEO’s flit from one FTSE-100 company to another, so Ian had transferred his allegiance from one furniture reclaim outfit to another. But Hidden Help is more than just a furniture reclaim organisation. This is how they describe their vision:
Hidden Help’s vision is really very simple. We believe that everything a person needs already exists within their communities; we just have to find it and redistribute it. By collecting donations of serviceable household goods we are able to repair, up-cycle and then redistribute them to those that are in urgent need. Our community is wide ranging, from single parent families leaving the various shelters and hostels in the local area, to the elderly, vulnerable, long term sick, asylum seekers etc. We simply facilitate the wider community meeting a need where it arises through partnering with the various local agencies who are best placed to identify the places we need to reach.
We had a look around, eyeing up some of the items for future reference, took some photos, said hello and then went on our way, returning down the hill to turn left for Twelveheads. Well done Ian for helping out such a worthy cause and for not taking us up to United Downs. Visit the Hidden Help website by clicking here for more information.
There were no more surprises in store and we followed the well-trodden route to St Agnes Beacon and the Wheal Coates tea room, which was surprisingly un-busy. This may have had something to do with the cold wind and the drizzle. I had the slightly unnerving experience of my coffee being delivered to my table before I had even got back from placing my order – the teenage girls manning (sorry, I can’t think of another word for it) the tea room were friendly and efficient, and the food good.
The weather began to improve and we left to carry on round the foot of the Beacon to St Agnes. This is when things started to get a bit confused. As per usual we headed down Water Lane, only to encounter a tipper lorry blocking the road. Those of us at the front managed to squeeze through, but apparently those following on slightly later had to turn back and take the main road. Meanwhile, Sarah had put a message on WhatsApp to say that she was meeting a friend and for us to carry on without her. As not everyone saw this, and we were now in several small groups, some waited for her and there was a bit of a hiatus until we managed to get the message to everyone . We eventually regrouped at the top of Water Lane and we were off again on the tried and tested route down to Scorrier, round the Redruth by-pass and on to Penhalvean. At the turn for Stithians there was a road closed sign, but of course we simply ignored it and carried on. We should have learnt from our earlier experience, as when we got to Goonlaze the road was totally blocked by drainage trucks. After a brief flirtation with the idea of going through the adjacent field to skirt the obstruction, we all decided to retrace our steps. Unfortunately, Paul and I were left behind exploring the possibilities, so we made our way solo. I lost Paul at Penhalvean as he decided to turn right, but eventually I caught up with the others on the narrow stretch of road going up towards Crane Garage. All was not well – apparently an oncoming car had caused a sudden braking which had resulted in Ian making a close inspection of the rear wheel in front of him, followed by an even closer inspection of the tarmac. Despite evidence that there had been some spillage of the red liquid (not blue – so the rumours are untrue), the damage was not too severe and we carried on.
As has now become commonplace, we were hampered on the Halvasso descent by numerous motor vehicles, but we all got home safely.
Other than the road blockages and the weather, a good ride. 83 km for me.
Those without valid excuses: Fred Ian Jan Dean the Younger Paul Sarah Simon Me