With the forecast promising a dry day and David having promised us a flat ride, Geoff and I pumped up our tyres and oiled our chains on our hybrid bikes with some enthusiasm – this was a great opportunity to work off some of that festive fayre without too much effort. Slightly disappointed to find that Liskeard’s definition of “cloud” seemed more closely to resemble heavy rain as we mucked out the horses and scraped yet more mud from the fronts of the stables, we nevertheless changed into our cycle leggings and set off hopefully for Bodmin Steam Railway Station.
What a charming place! Sheds full of steam engines – some in better repair than others; proper cardboard tickets on sale; timetables reminding us there was once a railway station at Doublebois; and of course twinkling Christmas lights adding to the magic.
Although Roger, Megan T and Ann B, would join us on route, eight of us managed to find the start – and undertake any essential pre-ride cycle maintenance, e.g. popping a bit of air in the tyres (thank you to Mike for the loan of your Lezyne pump!).
It was great to have Rosemary, Paul, Jack and Chris with us – and sad that Megan E and Nigel were not able after all to be with us – we wish you well again, Megan.
Down the hill and onto the part of the Camel Trail which was originally, I understand the railway from Wadebridge via Boscarne Junction through to Wenfordbridge (mostly china clay traffic before it closed in 1983?). At The Borough Arms PH we paused to collect Megan T (Roger would also join the route here) and a little further along, we met up with Ann B who had cycled from Padstow. While the River Camel was very full, there was no flooding on our pathway and now, finally, the weather looked more like the forecast and we were able to abandon some of the rainwear.
Before we knew it, we were in Wadebridge, too soon in reality for a coffee stop (shows how unused we are to cycling on the flat). On we went towards Padstow and the beautiful sands of the Camel Estuary. You had to stop to admire the view – the sands busy with herons, lapwing and curlew.
The Padstow we normally know is too busy to allow bicycles past the cycle park at the end of the trail, so it was a real treat to be able to cycle into the centre of the town and to park at the harbour railings while a group of turnstones pecked at invisible bits around our feet.
By this time we were all thinking in terms of hot chocolate and pasties and one of the empty water front cafes, which seemed pleased to welcome a “rent a crowd”, cheerfully obliged. The ride back, without Ann B who rejoined her mother, was comfortable and filled with Cornwall’s amazing views.
So, with 22 miles under our belt, David steered us through Bodmin town past the historic Bodmin Jail and along a different route back to the station. A break was now a welcome thought for all of us – and some of our guests were beginning to think in terms of Radox baths to ease any aches and pains in their nether regions. Having said our farewells, Rosemary, Paul, Geoff and I sneaked into the station to watch the busy little shunting engine (apparently one of the engines which works as an auto-train!) and to enjoy a cup of tea and free mince pie! A great day out – thank you to everyone who made it so enjoyable.