Spring Bunny

When defined solely in terms of riding, despite being limited to the narrow confines of the far west, the past year has been an unexpectedly rich one; I explored new trails, discovered stories I might otherwise never have known, and stitched together routes that likewise may never have happened.

It’s just a couple of weeks shy of a year since the first of the “lockdown riding diaries” flavour of post. It’s easy to think of it as a lost year in terms of friends & family not seen, journeys not made, and adventures that didn’t happen; it would likely be more so had I not had a bicycle. In a year in which I ventured no further east than Mevagissey and instead was limited to squeezing as much as possible out of the narrow confines of the far west, at the weekend I had cause to reflect on it as having been a surprisingly rich and rewarding year when considered solely in local cycling terms. I explored new trails, discovered stories I might otherwise never have known, and stitched together routes that likewise may never have happened otherwise. As a result I have some new favourite rides locally thanks to the events of the past 12 months.

instead of getting to grips with the grown-up stuff like DIY and rescuing the backyard, the whole weekend was spent bouncing around the trails like the proverbial spring bunny on speed

Much of the exploring that happened was based on turning down a trail on a whim without really caring whether or not it might be a dead end, or what time I ‘ought’ to be back , but I also made use of handy local resources such as the council’s interactive rights of way map. The UI is poor but I find it handier than dragging out my OS maps. The west seems to be blessed with a number of islands of bridlepath marooned in a sea of footpaths which does make it harder to join the dots without a cheeky stretch of footpath from time to time…. I tend only to do that on quiet stretches or early in the day; with a cheery smile and some courtesy shown however the locals I do happen to meet are invariably friendly and chatty, which I enjoy very much. I found that doesn’t hold so true in the busy summer months when the trails are more heavily frequented with visitors who feel that bicycles have their place and it isn’t on the trails.. or, as often happens, on the road either.

The weekend brought clear skies and chilly sunshine. While in the shadows the puddles were frozen, after such a winter and feeling drunk on the tonic of bright sunlight, instead of getting to grips with the grown-up stuff like DIY and rescuing the backyard, the whole weekend was spent bouncing around the trails like the proverbial spring bunny on speed. I did take my camera as I’ve found the snapshots of these rides a nice way to reflect on the good bits of the last 12 months.

Whle the wind was cold, it definitely felt like spring. Winter isn’t letting go just yet however, with heavy rain and gale force winds arriving in the next couple of days.
This ride is one of those ‘new favourites’ that I might not have otherwise broken out of a riding routine to stitch together. It’s probably not hard to figure why it’s a favourite.
As a trail ride it is ‘bookended’ by 10 miles of road at each end; it’s a fair price to pay I think. As a tool for roaming far and wide from the front door with a minimal environmental footprint, a bicycle has no equals. I say minimal rather than zero as methane is a greenhouse gas, and I can be quite farty of an evening after a day of shovelling carbs and dried fruit into my gullet.
I filled my bag with a fat flask of tea and slabs of cake, fuel for what turned into almost all the hours of daylight.
Some lovely woodland trails too, with a soundtrack of spring birdsong.
Out here on the Lizard the rocks jut through the flat scrubland like the broken teeth of some Pleistocene megafauna that might be found poking up from the Siberian permafrost.
A day earlier…. “risk”…?
…and “reward”. I’ve landed here numerous times in my sea kayak but never approached from the landward side, something I’d been meaning to do in a long time. I’ve seen many posts from those who like to leverage the sickly myth of the sugar-coated Cornish lifestyle around this cove as being the quintessential “secret spot” at which to enjoy a picnic of sourdough, olives, and prosecco. The reality however is that in summer it’s more a spot for those territorial types who don’t mind an eyeful of, or the sharing in, the dangly and saggy bits of others… In the depths of winter when the mud is extra slick, the path is a tricky carry with a bike so really my window of opportunity is limited.
It’s still tricky in early spring but Ok with care… and “hiking capable” riding shoes.
A spot of early morning solitude, to go with the daily solitude – it’s different in such spots however.
Just a gratuitous Nitto Bullhorn handlebar shot for those that care about such things (like me). They’re heavy and old fashioned but super stiff; I love them. Looks aside the stiffness lends a super-positive feel to the handling.
Remarkably that’s two weekends of sunshine on the trot. I hadn’t made my way out to Gwennap Head since before Christmas, so I did enjoy my tootle down west despite knowing I’d pay the price in the form of a long ride home again into the teeth of a rapidly freshening, and bitingly cold, easterly. The headland in the background is Lands End, and the white splodge on top is the ghastly shit-show of tourist tackiness that would be better off being razed from the earth; as a monument to man’s innate ability to turn a place of natural splendour into a giant, steaming (that of pasties being kept warm) turd, there are few finer.
The inland one of the two daymarks for the Runnel Stone shipping hazard.
Farm gate shopping trip. Thanks to the Dummy I haven’t had the need to drive a car yet this year.


12 thoughts on “Spring Bunny

  • Mike, I am sure that I told you about all the OS maps being on Bing maps. I use a combination of that and ridewithgps to plan and navigate and a now old Garmin 810 which has never let me down. I will happily pass hours on the bing OS doing virtual rides. Great photos as ever – you are a star Mike.

    • hey, yes you did… and being a dummy I completely forgot. I’m writing myself a sticky for my desk as a reminder!
      Cheers for the nice words too! can’t wait to head to Galloway and ride some proper dirt.

  • Great pictures and narrative Mike. Glad to see you are doing well and investing your time resourcefully during lockdown. All the best, Andy

    • hey Andy, hehe, cheers. It’s probably as well the rain and gales have returned, I can get some work done…. ;-) I hope you’re keeping well?!

  • Super pictures and inspiration, thanks Mike. Out of curiosity where was the “risk” pic taken (approximately)?

  • We have marooned bridleways down our way too, and lots of dead-ends. It’s very frustrating. Quite a lot of access has been lost completely over the years, even for people walking. So I’m watching The Ramblers’ campaign to restore lost paths (Don’t Lose Your Way) with interest.

    • hey Matt, it does seem as if access is continuously being eroded. a number of landowners around here used the pandemic as an excuse to close off rights of way (footpaths and bridlepaths). A friend of mine, a keen walker rather than cyclist, and recently retired, has spent much of the last 12 months finding ‘lost paths’ and highlighting where access has been illegally shut off. It’s important.

  • Great photos, as usual. Some of those farm houses and barns look like the ones in the tv series All Creatures Great and Small. They must be really, really old.

    Delayed in reading this newsy write-up – over here some of us have been glued to the Harry and Meghan news. Sorry about that!

    Thanks to a few people in England for sending photos of daffodils in bloom. We are weeks away from seeing any over here in Cobourg.
    Looking forward to looking at your next batch of photos, Mike.

    • hey, thanks, and yes plenty of places around here 2,3,4 centuries old.
      The daffodils have been out for a few weekj down here. The gorse is out now and I think the first bluebells and then the sea pinks might not be too far behind…

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