Day 34 – Blocks, Rocks and school of hard knocks…

Today was perhaps the most picturesque day to date…

The best day so far, maybe

It started with a wash. A car wash. For my bike of course. The mixture of mud, oil and lack of attention meant the old girl was not looking or functioning so well… the chain wasn’t even sitting flush under no pressure so a quick jet hose was imperative.

Clean…ish

The sun was out and so were my legs…The hilltop climb towards Abbotsbury was long but every time I looked right Chesil beach was getting closer. Not a bad view to have really. From the top of the cliffs it’s rather spectator isn’t it?

Could be middle of the summer
Chesil beach

I passed St Catherine’s abbey sitting proudly, and dare I say a little dauntingly, like something out of Wuthering Heights on the last mound, before riding into the clearly Dorset…thatched village of Abbotsbury.

St Catherine’s abbey
Dorset
“Err.. excuse me you guys can’t all be in the same bubble… “ what do you mean there’s more of you too…

Cycling towards Weymouth all I could see were the abandoned cruise ships parked in the bay. Surreal. A bit like seeing the oil rig on land in Middlesbrough or the Chinese tourists in the Lake District….

No Parking

Weymouth is big for triathlons and as a sat on the beach having some lunch I saw quite a few steel faced… triathletes powering around doing their blocks, like they owned the roads. I’ve done triathlons, and as you know I do a bit of cycling sometimes too, if I can be bothered….I was a little embarrassed to be a cyclist around Weymouth today as these guys weaved and rocketed past tourists and elderly people. Maybe the locals are used to it? Maybe they are not normally like this? Maybe…In fact definitely I shouldn’t worry about it. It can make us mad can’t it? No need. Not my problem and certainly not within my control.

Lunch with a view

A shorter ride for me today, about 35 miles but the climax to it was the man of war and Lulworth coves…

Man of war cove

These amazing sea arches are made from the sea clattering through the hard limestone and slowly eroding the softer rocks behind to create the arches

Durdle Door

Geologists, school trips and…Chinese tourists love it here and you can see why.

School Geography trip
Rocks
Lulworth cove
Lagoon like

Great to see an old friend from school, 30 years ago too and who’s not changed at all. It funny. In fact it’s great how those old relationships aren’t affected by the everyday churn or stresses of life. Still pure and…real.

One thing this trip has taught me is that although relationships need to be worked at as life abs we change, good, strong friendships don’t…. We can overthink and over complicate so much can’t we?

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get on my bike tomorrow and go for a bike ride…

Over and out

Day 33, Devon done…Bring on the white cliffs of Dover…I’m ready

More fog today and as the ferry to exmouth is closed this time of year I can’t deny…I got a lift. Thanks to Jean-luc for the gin and his dad for the idle banter last night.

What… Timmy fell down a well?

The road to sidmouth was nice but not a lot to see. It’s funny what consumers a lone cyclists mind. Today it was sounds…

Different plants, trees, I guess just nature things… make very different noises that I notice so clearly during the long voids between places. Waves and trees are similar. Powerful swirls of deep noise. Bracken is the opposite, like the light flickers of…like maracas in a bongo bar.

Grass shimmers and sways smoothly whereas hedges are more sharp. Am I loosing it? Am I loosing you?

Observe the rules please sir

Where am I? Sidmouth. Sidmouth was disappointing and had a bloody great hill to get back out of it. I’m sure it’s lovely really but I rode on towards Lyme Regis. Happily though…

Err should you be here…
Check out old entrance stone…he shouldn’t be here….

Until my shoe broke.

What.

Yes I have cleats that peg me into to the pedal and both screws came off one shoe. Lost. Gorilla tape. Gorilla tape fixes a lot it was essential, as was a bike shop and there at ‘the filling station’, colyford I was saved.

Christmas pudding flapjack

Free cleats, a free chain as mine is sagging slightly and the best flapjack I have had so far. Christmas pudding flapjack. It Bowles me over how generous people can be. Thanks Ben and his team.

Lyme Regis is nice. Those red cliff faces were daunting with the fog above but the sun behind. I’m pretty strong on climbs these days so although a killer hill, no problem today.

Good to look back… come a long way
Best shop in Lyme Regis with lovely staff
The new reinforced cliffs at Lyme Regis
No caption required

Welcome to Dorset… thank you. I’ve loved Cornwall and Devon but I haven’t loved the undulating hills.

Where the heck am I going….

Todays hills

I arrived in the dark near bridport and have struggled to stay awake tonight. Roll on tomorrow and Lulworth cove

Day 32 – We’ll meet again…

So it was a little bit of a foggy start to my day after last nights hospitality from Henry the 5 year old bomb maker and Lucy you pop the 3 year old pant flashing steamroller…. Thanks guys. Great to catch up with mum and dad too.

A bit foggy in Portsmouth/my head but no need for a long face eh

Actually it really was foggy…but my route today was fairly easy, once I found my way out of Plymouth. It’s a shame I didn’t have time to explore the naval collage / naval history but I’ll be back.

Oh could do with a Chinese

Of course today was Sunday. Remembrance Sunday. There were lots of cyclists out which was nice.

What’s this?

Chinese take-away of course

20ish miles took me to Knightsbridge. I mean Kingsbridge.

No Harrods here but nice spot for lunch

From there southern road would take me to Salcombe or the north towards Dartmouth. Salcombe was too far and I’d forgotten my surf board so I headed towards Dartmouth. The route still felt Cornish – up and down but not so steep.

A typical Cornish church. I passed many identical bell towers
I was told there is no charge for idiots…

I said not so steep. Then I hit Torcross and Start Bay.

Start bay was a bit disappointing to be honest. I was looking around thinking there must be some history around this spit but nothing more than a 4 gunned frigate called Friendship that patrolled there in the 1750’s…. The fish and chip shop looked nice but i didn’t go in. God the time… the days are getting so short now for cycling. Really 3pm is stop time.

The route out of Start Bay was a killer. I then looked right and….

wow….

Start bay
Ahh the open sea
Bit of an arty one…

Rob Carter Travelling Stills comes to mind

As I headed north to Totnes the roads no doubt flattened out a little more and I was able to get more miles in. 50 today. In all a great day full of everything;

Fog, Sun, Drizzle, 30 degree plus hills, 30mph downhills, nice motorists, one nasty motorcyclist. There were:

Hills, horizons, hurting legs and humour and laughter

Ships, Soreen, Steak, Sambuca and finally sleep… perfect

Anyway sorry a little light tonight but it’s Sunday. Remember we’ll meet again but until that time…

NEVER forget

Over and Out

Hello… who’s this some old Millfield rugby legend that gave me a bed tonight…

Day 31 – 3 ferries, a load of unpronounceable place names, and my last Cornish pasty

My last day in Cornwall was lovely. Well the weather anyway. The hills were as relentless as ever. I’ve read up on my ride about others who have done similar journeys and little Devon and Cornwall are the hardest but maybe the most beautiful when we get the opportunity to look up.

My first ferry was Fowey (£1)

One for you’re old man Henry…

Fowey is the classic Cornish tourist village. Small winding streets full of bakery’s and the odd Cornish fudge shop. There’s Joules clothing and plenty of ice cream and fish and chip shops. Game of cones… brilliant

Fowey is steeped in history…

Sorry I’m being lazy…Fowey history.
Fowey – pronounced Foy

My next ferry was looe (£2.50….) again a typical Cornish village with port and fishing boats and day tourers. I imagine in the summer Looe is bursting with tourists.

Wealth has definitely played its role here. For good and probably for some (locals) bad. There were some lovely houses perched on and in the Cliff tops. As I’ve said there places are lovely when you are in them but they are buggers to get out of on a bike. I had to push a couple of times.

Looe (pronounced Loo)

Up to no mans land, though St. Germans and past George Lane….😉 my youngest sons name….

“Hello mate, do you know where I can get a bacon sandwich?”
St Germans (pronounced st. Germans)
Maybe an old St.Germans estate? Elizabeth???

Anyway sorry today’s / yesterday’s is a bit short. More later as I head to Exeter

Over and Out

Remember we are allowed out during lockdown… if you can get out there are lots of places we can walk…..

When the fog lifts it’s easier to see more clearly….

I always find at night my thoughts can be foggy! After a good nights sleep and the start of a new day things are always clearer…. yesterday is past, it’s gone. Today has lots of opportunities so no need for the long face 🐴

PS yesterday’s and today’s blog might end up being combined tonight

Blackbeard and the sea spared me…

Ive been so humbled by the humility around these last few days…only to this morning a dog-walker at 6.30am offered me a shower at her house…

Being humble means we have a realistic view of ourselves and where we fit in the world today. We not dictating, belligerently….just as we are not just following, like lost sheep.

We are just being our true selves. When we are like this one he humility shines through…

I hope you have a great day.

Sun’s due out, so hope you get out

Day 30 – Millie, Tim and…the beech in November

Today is for Millie

I know I’m no pop star or superstar but these days mean a lot to me and Millie, you’ll stay with me all day.

I knew after the wonderful decent into Falmouth last night that I’d have to get back out of the bay. When we are in the gym or even just leaving our homes for any exercise we stretch a bit don’t we? Even if it’s just that old sea saw motion with ze legs…

The weight of my bike, lack of stretching and an immediate 2mile 15 percent’er is a bit dull. Anyway positive thoughts as I’m heading to st blazey area today before Plymouth tomorrow and then Exeter.

Im proper wild camping tonight. In the sand dunes near Par. So pretty close to st blazey. It’s 7pm and pitch black and all I can hear are the waves of the sea no more than 50m away. Don’t panic high tide is 8pm. Although a little parky is so peaceful and after shovelling down my 1/2 litre of rice and salmon I can’t wait to get into my sleeping bag.

Par beech

So come on – Perranarworthal… someone tell me why?

Yumm
What’s the point……

I headed on to Caron Dows and decided that although nice to visit Truro we were in lockdown and the chance of finding a Cornish flapjack or rocky road were slim. Instead I headed into the green on the map. That’s often dangerous. It means hills.

I weaved down to Trelissick to Prince Harry’s Ferry. Might have been King Harry’s but anyway. Not that impressive for a royal ferry but for a pound I was across the water and into more green.

King Harry’s Ferry

The green was up and down, up and down and up and down and I was too scared to head further into the bays around st. Mawes or Gerrans fearing I’d never get out .

“Hello mate, who did that wall it’s amazing“, “Helloo….”. “Come on no need for the long face”…boom boom

I headed north to Tregony where I lost all energy and motivation. Then Tim came speed marching past. His cunning disguise to a civvy failed. He was waking faster than I’d ridden most of the day and had a fully packed backpack. No, not a day sack that we wear to the gym of out on a local walk. Tim was ready for month away.

Tregony
There are plenty of trees about guys

I have been a little upset with a couple of calls/messages over the last few days. They can fester can’t they? Although we put them to one side, forget them they don’t really go do they until we deal with them. I had tried to do that to no avail.

Anyway the army train them well. We know that don’t we? 5 minutes later Tim was back. No rucksack but instead two small flasks. “Coffee or Tea”….

Just a sec. just going to check the tide as it’s 8pm and high tide.

80 paces….That’s fine. God these mcVities Gold Bars are good. 3 down, 4 left. I’m also having a coffee out of my new landsend coffee cup

Gold Bars and quick brew before bed

Right where am I. Ahh yes…Tim’s selfless thought, sugary coffee and conversation picked me right up. Honestly I was like Greg LeMonde all the way to St. Austell and onto the beech in Par.

Tomorrow Plymouth for me. What about you? What are you going? Even though we’re in lockdown there are still things we can do…go on….

Over and out

The Ghost of COVID….

An amazing little poem that was shared with me yesterday….I’m sure this doesn’t apply to anyone we know …

‘Twas the night before Lockdown, and all through the land
The people were doing what was soon to be banned;
The parties were raging, the liquor was flowing,
And the virus was spreading without the folk knowing;
The children who should have been snug in their beds;
Were hugging and touching, compounding the spread.
And mamma was dancing and kissing her friends,
Thinking not once of where this might end.
When everyone finally went home to bed,
The germs had their own party, full steam ahead.
Each person who’d not thought to socially distance
Was unwittingly giving COVID their assistance.
As lockdown commenced and the people stayed home
They hoped that the virus would be overcome.
The 4 weeks of loneliness, boredom and pain
Would be worth it come Christmas when they’d meet again.
But all of that mixing they had to squeeze in
For that one last night before Lockdown set in
Would come back to haunt them, as many fell ill,
And the 4 week firebreak couldn’t fulfil
The longed-for reduction in newly infected.
The Lockdown would last much longer than expected.
So please, if you’re hoping for a cheery December
Then do stay at home ALL the month of November
And when I say all, I’m including tonight…
“Happy Lockdown to all, and to all a good night!”

Oh…what’s the point?

To some it’s an unpronounceable village name but to others it’s home… where I am going with this?

We’re all different, and the littlest things can have polar opposite meanings and effects to others…

Today I’ll be conscious that MY way is not THE way and try to remember that with everything I do, think or say.

Day 29 – When you get to the end, turn round and head back… keep going….

So after my rather odd song rehash last night I thought I’d better return to my normal jovial, semi-educational, animal orientated blog style thing…

I went back to lands end to see the sun come up. It is so beautiful. Raw though. The familiar little lighthouse beeping away 24/7 365. It really was a beautiful morning.

Good Morning from the end of the world… but it’s not really the end of the world is it….
The last photo here pre-lockdown. The signpost is now gone for a month.
The first / last Inn in England
St sennens church at lands end dates to 520ad

Cornwalls bays are no doubt beautiful but they are down at sea level whereas the the land isn’t. Choices, choices – do I go down the steep roads (and obviously up the other side to explore or not. I whizzed past Penzance but had to dip down to Marzion or st.Michael’s Mount. The tide was out and although I didn’t go over it was lovely having a wander on the beech. Not a bad place to be locked down I though. Mind you I haven’t come across one seaside bay around England I wouldn’t spend a month at.

Mont st. Michel
or
st Michael’s mount?
Hello….
This is a sand scuffler…
Yes it’s at. Michael’s mount
Little sand message

The road to Helston and Falmouth – my final destination was made up of long ups amid downs. 3mph-30mph. I didn’t stop too much but it hopefully the pictures show you what you missed.

Cornwall

Half way up one hill I was approached my a large man with an arctic army jacket and matching beret… He looked frustrated but not angrily…

“Do you know where the bus stop is” he asked. “Sorry, no I’m not from around her” I replied.

“No, no one seems to know, it’s so annoying”, I felt sorry for him as we were in the middle of nowhere.

I enquired if he was visiting the area? “Shall I look on my phone for you” I offered?

“No, I only live there” and at that he walked off…..Cornwall eh….

The freewheel down to Falmouth was a joy.

The cars behind didn’t seem to mind me airing myself in the middle of the road which was nice. Thank you cars. There are definitely no cares in the world when we’re cycling downhill.

Falmouth Bay

Falmouth I knew a little about through an old friend who used to sail on classic yachts. It’s the UK surgery for these beautiful boats.

Pendenis shipyard.
Hospital to the super yacht.

Check out the size of those rigs

How can something so large still be so sleek and graceful moored up in the middle of the bay.

Poor photo but what a beautiful yacht
Falmouth harbour

There were plenty of giant metal tubs and normal peoples boats too…

Normal people boats…
Metal tub, large

I was lucky to be spoiled again by Simon and Emma – great old friends, who booked me onto Gyllyngvase House in Falmouth. Ellie and Andrew have been prefect hosts and thought of everything during these tough times. Andrew, I think is coming on a ride with me tomorrow….aren’t you Andrew…

There are so many good people out there. We forget when we are in the zone to look left and right don’t we…

These are just some of the people over the last 3 days, i want to thank.

It’s amazing the humility and kindness of people. Thank you in particular to:

-Merry, the young English graduate

-Bonnie ‘no dress’😬

-Josh the bike surgeon

-Mark the clipper skipper

-The Nepalese carer and his young friend who I had a photo with. The joy and exuberance of this young man despite difficulties brought me to tears after they left.

-lou at the lands end hostel and her son @landsendcoffee for the most amazing coffee and tin coffee cup… watch out for this brand you coffee lovers

-Iona – no job too big or difficult

-Ellis at flightscapes for his drone video of me at lands end. Absolutely amazing Ellis.

-The lands end sign guard who took the last pre-lockdown photo of me with his sign. Now locked up for a month. No, not me the signpost.

-Rick ‘the kipper’ Stein for his tasty though slightly overpriced fish and chips

-Simon D the hotelier and James H the failed hotelier…😬

-my friends, particularly HPW and loyal blog followers

These are just the people that have featured prominently in my life over the last 3 days…

There are many others I have met and spoken to in passing. Honest and open people are amazing

Oy…what you doing here?
Last nights filming for Sunday.

Remembering those that fell to keep the UK the UK… why are we still trying to destroy it….

Thanks for following, and following the lockdown rules around being with others. No one is exempt or let’s face it we’ll loose Christmas…

Love you all

Over and Out

Day 28… It can always be just a perfect day

Sing along to the magical melody of lou Reed

Not a perfect day

Drinking champagne, at the end of the end the road

And then later

When it gets dark, I sleep out

But it was a perfect day

Saying to hi to animals in the fields

Then later

Hot hake and chips, and some mushy peas….

Oh, it’s such a perfect day

I’m so glad i met you today

Oh, such a perfect day

You just keep me hanging on

You just keep me cycling on…

Just a perfect day

All our problems all left alone

Bike riders on our own

It’s such fun….

Just a perfect day

We all need to forget ourselves

I thought I was

We thought we were, someone else

Oh, it’s such a perfect day

I’m glad I met all of you

Oh, such a perfect day

You just keep me going on

We keep on moving on….

Stay well. Be well and don’t ever regret something that you change

Come on…Get your legs out this lockdown….

5.58am on the seafront I met Graham. I’m always awake around 6am these days and raring to get going. Graham is 78 and was out for a walk too. He doesn’t walk so well, but hasn’t lost his character

He’s on his own these days too but was pretty chippa this morning as he was off to see his brother in Chepstow later

Graham told me as I was looking at the sea. Weston-Super-Mare has the largest ride around here behind the Wirral. I was ‘straight back at him’ with the fact that Jersey boasts the largest spring tide in the world behind Canada. It was nice to meet Graham.

Jersey tides – huge
I can see you….

….don’t ask about the tree

So after yesterday’s bike injuries, this morning was spent sat in Costa Coffee gnawing my nails and then pacing up and down in carpet land whilst the old steed went under the knife. I hope she pulls through but the doctors are worried about her age. Maybe better to trade in?

My surgeons

She made it through though and she’s running beautifully. Thanks to Josh at The Bicycle Chain, Weston-Super-Mare. The old girl has had a bit of tightening up and there’s no reason things can’t run like they used to…

I saw the news this morning. God it’s depressing isn’t it? But does this lockdown really need to be so negative?

What can we do? Can we look at the positives? Can It’s only a month. Many of us have experienced worse. Wars and air raid shelters, family illnesses, bad holidays and trying to avoid the people you have gone with or….chemistry exams. God I hated chemistry, apart from fiddling with the gas taps. I liked that.

I remember during last lockdown I did 1 ride. 1 ride in 3 months, forget for a minute all the other things did or didn’t do. I can say I’ve been there. I can also say that I’ve just done a month on my own (as of tomorrow) cycling every day. What I am trying to say is it’s possible to do it, whatever ‘it’ may be for you…. Remember, for me I, just wake up every morning and go for a bike ride….

Today the sun was out. Hurray

Legs out for lockdown

‘Get your legs out this Lockdown’ – Boris you can have that strap line from me….

Ok It was flat as well today. 30 miles today ended north of Bridgwater in Somerset but aiming for 3 biggies to get me to lands end by weekend.

Bridge water
I love rainbows
The Somerset plains

I’m feeling pretty good today and might even celebrate tomorrow on my bike when the results come in… I am prepared.

My cousin lives in Washington and he assures me Mickey Mouse is a safe code and ahead in the poles. Fingers crossed the large eared mouse gets in. God bless America and from here in the UK it’s over and out.