Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
Hitting the eject button with a two-day micro-adventure close to home in the far west of Cornwall. Linking together a bunch of muddy tracks and trails with a night on the cliffs made for a perfect journey of (re)discovery.
Self-employed life, working from home, during a pandemic is proving challenging from time to time. With daily interactions reduced to nothing more than an endless series of wants and demands from clients, bereft of meaningful conversation, I noticed recently that my ability to cope, and respond patiently, with the noise of emails, phone calls, and messages at all hours and days of the week was eroding rapidly. On Wednesday morning it became glaringly apparent that the time to hit the eject button and bail out for a few days had arrived. Hastily I threw sleeping bag and cake, and a few other essentials such as coffee and whisky, at my bike and pedalled away west, without a particular plan other than to follow my nose, for what turned out to be a much needed, low-key micro-adventure. Never more than 35km from home as the crow flies, but linking together 130km of muddy trails, tracks and byways through places that I know so well, and yet that delivered a wonderful journey of (re)discovery.
Without phone, internet, urgency, or particular plans I was able to find some of that sense of freedom and absence of preoccupation that goes with a longer journey by bike, particularly in empty places. There are still very many tourists, and cars on the road, in Cornwall, however sticking mostly to tracks and trails sidestepped all of that, and as I headed farther west I picked up some trails I’d not used before and enjoyed the surprise, after 3 hours of fiddling my way through the inland ‘back-country’, of popping out on a road near a signpost saying “Penzance 5 miles”. I’d lost all sense of my location. Quite special.
Given the multiple challenges, environmental, societal, and health-related that are faced by modern society, having a bicycle occasionally feels like having a superpower.
Seeing people trying to manoeuvre huge 4x4s through the narrow lanes and tight bends approaching Porthgwarra gave cause to reflect on just what it is to ride a bicycle, especially in the context of finding an escape from my front door . To be able to travel anywhere, free from the burdens, financial and stress, that go with a dependence on two-tons of fossil-fuel burning metal felt like a remarkable thing, even after all these years. Given the multiple pressures and challenges – environmental, societal, and health-related, faced by modern society, having a bicycle occasionally feels like having a superpower.
Anyway, enough of that, lest I be accused of being a “typical example of the sneering cycling class” again (it happened, amusingly); I can tell the rest of the story with pictures. The west of Cornwall is a special place, but it is not unique in offering opportunities for such a micro-adventure close to home. Cycling friends and acquaintances all over the world, regardless of whether they’re in cities or not, always inspire with the special places and adventures they find within a days ride of home. Life is short and I think it’s important to try and find ways to just park all the other stuff and force yourself out the door from time to time.