OGILs get the wind up

OGIL ride report 18th May 2022

There were six of us assembled at Union Corner, including BA Steve testing out his leg as part of his rehabilitation following his nasty calf muscle tear. Bearing in mind that he is aiming to complete the Dartmoor Classic in just over a month’s time, all agreed that it would be best to take things easy today (to the relief of several of us). On the way up to TOP we were caught by John, who passed us whilst we paused by the West Country Foods turn to allow the traffic to overtake, which more or less negated our efforts to calm the following traffic. When we got to TOP we were a little surprised to see only Phil3 waiting, but then several regulars were abroad or injured and had tendered their apologies on WhatsApp. Discussion about a possible destination was somewhat stifled by a vigorous debate between Ian and Dean about whether we should have pulled over a second time on Hillhead Road to allow traffic to pass. I don’t know whether agreement was reached on this matter, as I along with everyone else stopped listening and initiated our own destination discussion a bit further down the road. There was a pretty brisk southerly blowing, so heading north was out of the question. Porthleven was the obvious choice, and we did not hesitate to make it. There was, however, some loose talk of going via Gweek for a change, but the force of small C conservatism prevailed and we headed out on the usual route.

When we got to Porkellis, Dean left us as he was giving support to his cancer support group. But all was not as it seemed – the Pied Piper of Penryn led us to turn left at the Star Inn and down to Trenear where we took another left towards Helston, turning off to the right to Coverack Bridges and Trannack. From there it was straight on to Prospidnick and then up to Nancegollan. Aha, we thought to ourselves, back on the usual route. But no, off we went up the Drym Road, and after what seemed like interminable gritty and muddy lanes with the odd steep incline to negotiate we re-emerged on, yes, the usual route just before Godolphin Cross. At this point I think Ian took pity on poor old Steve and his gammy leg and declared that we should turn left at the cross roads and head straight down to Breage, rather than continuing up to Balwest and Ashton. This we did, going straight across the Helston-Marazion road to join onto Beacon Road for the normally exhilarating ride down into Porthleven. The wind made this slightly less exhilarating that usual, but good fun none the less.

On arriving at the Harbour View Cafe, we split into two camps – the hardy, sun-loving group occupied a picnic bench by the sea wall, whilst the comfort-loving wimps opted to take a table inside. Our photo today shows my colleagues enjoying the weather outside. (I was invited to take a photograph of the inside table, but my assertion that my camera did not take good pictures in low light was mis-heard and I was accused of calling the occupants low lifes. No picture was taken.) You may wonder why everyone was wearing jackets in the sun – the answer is that the wind was whipping in from the sea at a rate estimated by sailor Phil3 at 25 knots: a little more than was forecast. This meant that much of the time we were occupied with chasing after wind-blown napkins, wrappers and (nearly) a ketchup bottle. It made a change to protect one’s food from the wind rather than from gulls for a change.  At one point the wind caught the front wheel of my bike, leaning innocently against a wall. It pirouetted, and managed to achieve an unmanned track stand, much to my relief. Paul was not so lucky as his bike crashed to the ground, scattering his helmet and various bits across the quay. Despite him claiming not to recognise the light that was obviously previously attached to his helmet, there appeared to be no serious damage.

OGILs hang on to their toast in a sunny near-gale

As we prepared to leave, a few of us rode up to the head of the harbour to try and get some shelter from the wind. Here we espied a curious group of around twelve elderly people on identical Kalkhoff electric bikes, each equipped with a bright yellow Ortlieb pannier. It seemed to be some kind of organised tour – Germans, perhaps?  I doubt whether they were regular cyclists as they simply peered at us in incomprehension (we returned the favour) rather than waving and exchanging pleasantries as we real bikers do.  We continued on our way across the cobbles and up the hill, our way impeded by vehicles and walkers. Through Penrose and up through Helston we rode. At the roundabout at the top Ian favoured the main road up to Wendron, but was overruled by the majority which preferred a more relaxed ride up Muddy Lane. And it was relaxed, as we had the wind on our backs for a change.

From there we had an uneventful ride back to our respective homes along the usual route(s).

An interesting ride with some less frequently travelled lanes as well as the old familiars. Around 70 km for me.

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