Cornwall Coast to Coast

I have been riding since my last blog. Mostly up and down the Camel Trail, having had a couple of near misses in the car and on foot, on the local country roads and the climb out of town. On foot, I was able to dive into a bush and in the car, able to stand my ground for a sec and then reverse half a mile to a passing space as Mr White Van Man was not about to reverse 10m into the passing space that he had just passed. I suspect that had I been on my bike and not in a car, he’d have just kept going. He only stopped when I tooted my horn in the first place. Not paying attention there.

No exciting rides and yesterday (16/6/16) was my first ride in a week. We decided to go on the Mineral Trail, down in Portreath and to ride across to Devoran. We found parking very quickly, it being out of season still, or at least lowish season. Got the bikes back together – we have a Micra and 2 bikes in the back necessitate taking wheels off to get them there.

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Nice view of the starting point. It was a pleasant day, overcast with sunny spells according to the BBC, although we did suspect that it may rain at some point. As it turned out, it didn’t actually rain but I think that I felt a few spots, now and again over the 4 hours we were away from the car.

We rode down to the loo block = yellow building on the far right. I came out of the ladies and found no bike, either of them, or Kenn for that matter. He had dashed into the disabled loo and taken the bikes with him. I was starting to panic, as I’m very fond of Eric the CX bike and thought that Kenn had pedalled off and left him to be stolen. Once Kenn had called through the door that he was in the loo, I asked a cyclist on the opposite side of the road if they knew where the trail started. He did, so I could relay this learned information to Kenn when he emerged with the bikes.

We rode off down to the Quay area, where there is a left hand turning and a little tiny sign saying Mineral Tramway Trail, or words to that effect. You start off riding on a road, past some houses and then take a track. The tracks and turnings all have a Cornish Tin Mine Logo on them, with arrows on, so nice and easy to follow until the mid point where it gets vague for a couple of hundred yards, but I’m ahead of myself, as per.

The first bit of the track had a very interesting surface, very undulating indeed. Eric felt like he had clown wheels on. You know the ones they have in the circus with the offset hubs. Very strange indeed. The track surface was beginning to make me feel slightly nauseus so I was very glad when that bit of the trail ended.

We rode through wooded bits, not unlike the Camel Trail to Bodmin, and after about 4 miles, came out onto a funny crossroads on a main road – duel use foot & cyclepath though, so nice and safe – and saw a sign for Wheal Pevoor, taking us off the trail. We have lived in Cornwall for over 3 months and haven’t seen a tin mine since moving here, so thought we’d take a bit of a detour, it was only a mile or so anyway and we thought it would be nice. Uphill, but nice. Started off on a narrow trail and came out on to a road which was a slight uphill which kept on going. Just like Norfolk 🙂 At the top there was a gate with Wheal Peevor written on, so we went visiting. No link to give you, it’s obviously not one that is online as yet.

It was nice to wander around, nobody else there at all. Eric enjoyed a rest too.
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As you can see, he has his knobblies back on. He did have summer tyres, Vittoria Pave tyres with a nice green stripe, but they didn’t roll as well as I’d hoped. Interestingly, my XKings roll a lot better. I’ve got a 33 on the front and a 35 on the back. Lovely and secure feeling on some of the terrain we’ve been riding on on this trail.

We then retraced our wheel tracks back to the original trail. The mile of downhill, nary turning a pedal, was rather lovely. Not a steep downhill, just a gentle trend down in the afternoon warmth. Gorgeous, and what cycling is all about for me. Back at the junction, we got back on the Mineral Tramtrack trail and kept following the signposts, over the A30 bridge and then the signs vanish. Here, we saw another couple of cyclists so asked them but they were lost and said something about following the signs and going through a pub carpark. They said that they’d looked in the pub carpark – the pub opposite – but there was no trail or anything there, so they were heading back to Portreath. We thought that we’d look a bit more. We too looked in the pub carpark and as we rode back we saw a triangular road sign warning drivers of cyclists, so thought that we might be on the right track, just past this was a block of granite with the tin mine symbol on it. We’d not have seen it had we not been looking for it. The little arrow pointed us on so we rode on the cyclepath until we saw the Fox & Hounds pub, rode through their car park and on to a bit more trail going downhill on a track alongside the road.

At the end of this track was a busy road. If you are riding on this trail, take care crossing here as it’s not very wide and the trucks just hurtle past at a bit of a lick. You can only see a short way in each direction too. Crossing the road brought us to Unity Woods, very pretty and there is a different way through, for the way back (that we didn’t take this time) that takes you up past more tin mines and great views.

A lovely downhill through there, which meant a nice climb back up on the way back with legs that are a little more tired than they were on the way there. Beautiful woods to ride through with a good track. Not too muddy today, after all the rain we’ve had.

We then rode through a reserve sort of place and noticed the metal cage mesh caps on the mine shafts. They are not solid caps as Pipestrelle Bats live down there, so they have the meshed caps to allow them to get in to their homes. Nice. Completely different terrain to what came before on this route. Still good riding under the wheels, with great views. We came across another building, which was an Arsenic Works up until WW2 and stopped for a few mins for a water and mint imperial break and to take some pics in the area. The stream bed was orangey brown from the minerals in the earth. With clear water with a blue tinge, it looked amazing and much nicer that the pics that I took.

 

After that, we came across a viaduct that looks to have been rebuilt on the footings of an older one.

Then onwards again, past the bike hire and cafe place to Devoran for more pictures before turning around at the 14.5 mile (ish) point. It’s only 11 and a bit miles C2C, but we went off to that tin mine for a look. We decided, today, not to carry on to the point. We’ll do that next time. We just took a picture of Eric looking resplendent agains the water at the inlet. No cycling across this bit, if you are going to ride here, you have to get off and push for the final 50 meters.
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There were fish in the shallows. Not viewable by photo. You could see all the ripples and the occasional splosh and a bit of tail. We watched the fish for a while, some were pretty big. I’m not very up on fish, so couldn’t tell you what they were. The only fish I know about either come in a can or a cardboard box with ‘Fishfingers’ written on the outside. For someone who lives on an Island and is 5 miles from the sea, my fish knowledge is shocking. I know what a Stickleback looks like though, and they weren’t those.

Remember me saying that I got directions for the start of the trail from another cyclist? We saw them again. They’d had to fix an innertube en-route so were well behind us. We met them about a mile or so along after we turned for home. They told us about the alternative route through Unity Woods and that the cafe is a good place to stop as it doesn’t have ‘tourist prices’.

Riding back is now Uphill – all the way to the confusing junction near the A30 actually before it starts to drop again. Still, not proper hills very often and the proper hills are dang short, 50m or so, totally doable. We went to the cafe & bike hire place near Bissoe and had a coffee between us and a brownie each. Kenn had been saying that he really needed something to eat and advised about the cafe not charging extortionate rates for coffee & cake, we thought we’d try it. Impressed indeed. Change from a fiver too, very very good value. I did take a pic but not quickly enough. That brownie was fabulous and only £1.50 for it. I assume Kenn’s brownie was awesome too. Going by the ‘nom nom nom’ sounds coming from his end of the table, it was.

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You can’t miss the place anyway. It’s very orange. Lots of bike parking, clean loos and a good sized indoor cafe space as well as outdoors. Friendly staff and the hire bikes look great. They are all Treks, so great quality bikes. They look much nicer than the usual hire bikes that I see around home, then again, this terrain is a bit rougher and there is much more opportunity for hooning about on some hills etc.

Short, sharp climb straight after the cafe stop and then a hard left. I am a bit omni-directional and don’t like hard lefts, as I always seem to catch my toe on my front wheel. I never do it on a hard right as I can back pedal to avoid doing it and don’t seem to be able to do that in the other direction. The joys of having a short framed CX bike I guess.

Back the way we came, climbing a bit more slowly than we would on a road, the surface is looser and lots of rocks in the trail that I was trying to avoid. The Foxglove has taken over from the Primrose as the flower of the ride here. Until very recently, there were Primroses everywhere you looked but on this ride it was all Foxgloves, every where. In every hedge, verge, peeking over walls and through gaps in walls. A sea of purple, with bees busily buzzing.

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No bee here, sorry about that.

The climb up through Unity Woods was not as horrible as I’d feared, nor was the climb up to the busy road, nor the climb up to the Fox & Hounds. It was quite easy so I’ve not lost as much fitness as I’d thought. I waited at the top of each climb for Kenn. His bike is geared differently to mine, he has a regular compact on, my compact is more compact and those few less teeth on the cog make all the diffence. Once past the Fox & Hounds, it’s downhill all the way back (mostly) to Portreath. I was thrilled skinny that I’d not had to get off my bike and push and just while I was thinking that, we missed a turning so had to go back and push our bikes as uphill U-turning was not going to be possible on that bit of trail. We’d have been fine if we’d have noticed to bear right up the thin bit instead of carrying on along the fat bit. Heigh ho. That’ll learn me, as we say in Norfolk.

Through the only gate on the trail with a fastener was the one we nearly missed. All the rest are self closing swing gates, there are quite a lot, that you can nudge with your wheel and then nip through and they will close by themselves. I really liked them. We then carried on down to Portreath Quay, along the Clown Wheel Surface Track again, and took another pic of the water and the bikes.

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No idea what Kenn is up to; crying, sneezing, just rubbing his face, hiding, counting to 100 so I can hide… it could be anything. I didn’t notice until I uploaded the pics. I did ask but he couldn’t remember. From there it was a quick ride up the hill back to the car. We stopped at 26.92 miles. Had I known, I might have carried on for another 400′ or so, but it was up and I was tired. Great ride though. We took the wheels off the bike and put them in the car and then walked down the hill to the beach for a look at the surfers. Should have taken a proper camera with us. I will next time, for beach pics. Only so much you can do with a phone. The black dots in the sea are surfers.

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We followed a surfer up to the car, all soggy in his wetsuit and carrying flippers and a board. I didn’t know that they surfed in flippers, in fact I am sure that they don’t. Anyway, he was a bit ahead and we followed the wet footprints up, very ScoobyDoo. We will definitely be back to ride this again, we’ll go up to the Point at Devoran and miss out Wheal Peevor, maybe even ride up the back road at Unity Wood as well. Looking forward to that. Next week maybe, if we can get some good weather and a day off from hospital visits.

https://www.strava.com/activities/611310344

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About RosieRosie

RosieRosie is a woman of a 'certain age' - whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, known. I feel about 26. I have no idea what I look like as some older woman keeps getting in the way when I look in the mirror. Separated from husband but dating a nice chap at the moment. I have a proper wanderlust and have finally moved - using the housing exchange system from - where I started in Inverness, down to Cornwall and back up to the Flatlands and Big Sky Country. It's taken since September 2011, when I left Inverness until May 2017 to get to somewhere that I really like. That's not too shoddy with a swap here and a swap there, saving up again for each move. Not ruling out going home to Norfolk if necessary. Time will tell. For now my mates are just a 90 minute or so, drive down the road. I love my bikes, I love my dog and I love guitars. They all keep my busy.
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