Rides bikes, paddles sea kayaks, takes pictures. Life on the road & my home in Cornwall.
Although geographically constrained by the ocean, the far west of Cornwall has a great deal of "wiggle room" - opportunities to use a bicycle as a means to strengthen my connection to my home, with the added drama of winter weather.
The far west of Cornwall is something of a geographically constrained area; bounded by the ocean on all sides but one Penwith is only about 14km/9 miles wide at its widest point, and yet over the past few months I found myself consistently heading west when on two wheels despite the apparently limited scope for roaming. When the weather is stormy and wet I find it a more interesting place to ride than the greater breadth of possible rides to the northeast, with the sense of wildness providing a much-needed balm to the angst of 2020. While many of the trails across the Penwith moors are so deep in slop as to be unrideable at present, there are fewer visitors at the coast, thus opening up some winter alternatives that during the summer months I find are best avoided.
back in March I had considered the months to come as representing a golden opportunity to do lots of jobs on the house, expand my professional skills, and so on. In the end however, as a means to stave off a slide backwards into depression, I just went riding.
Probably being somewhat introverted and used to time alone has made the last few months easier I suspect. It wouldn’t be reasonable to describe the past 12 months as anything other than messed up, however from a purely local cycling point of view it has been far more rewarding than I expected; of course I’m lucky to be where I am, but the absence of options, and desire, to travel farther afield, not to mention an increased imperative to find solace in the places close to home seems to have further strengthened my connection to this place, and fundamentally changed many of my habits around riding a bike here (many of which were shaped during a time when racing and training were drivers in my domestic cycling life). Despite the geographical constraints, west Cornwall has a terrific amount of “wiggle room”; whereas once many rides might have looked like reasonably rational loops and figure-eights on the map, these days I tend to scribble wildly all over that same map – exploring dead ends, joining scraps of trail with a hike and a carry, taking time out to connect with places on a deeper level. Very much a silver lining to what has, in general, been a somewhat topsy-turvy time. Without my bicycle I do not know how I would have coped; certainly my social interaction has withered to such a level that without a bike I suspect I would be classed as something of a hermit. Hopefully next year will bring some fresh opportunities to relearn some social skills. It also occurred to me that back in March I had considered the months to come as representing a golden opportunity to do lots of jobs on the house, expand my professional skills, and so on. In the end however, as a means to stave off a slide backwards into depression, I just went riding.
This is certainly the last entry for this year, so I’ll use it to wish you a peaceful Christmas, and, emphatically, better times in the new year. Hopefully the challenges of 2020 have not left you too battered and bruised. It’s been a real help through the year to have somewhere to share stuff, and the small interaction with you, the readers, has been most welcome. Engagement seems to be dropping however, understandably as this covid situation drags on, so I wonder whether I should take a little pause from these pages too, until there is something genuinely new, or the start of a new journey or something, instead of just more of the same.