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Day 2 – Norman

One of my cycle batteries did not charge overnight so it had about one and a half hours charge in the morning, when we made a proper connection, and showed about two thirds full.  So I started with the full battery.  We started from Truro to do 58 miles to Launceston on the Devon borders.   Through Truro and up a steep hill which my Freego Hawk took well, and I was overtaking cyclists in our party, doing about 12 mph.  Rain was forecast for about 4.pm so we were anxious to get near our destination.  We were aiming for St Columb Major about 17 miles away.  The ride went well with magnificent views and several descents and climbs; one was particularly steep and I stopped on the hill and found it too steep to start again.  I had to push my bike uphill (only about 20 yards) to where the hill eased off and I could get going again.  The several climbs were quite a drain on the battery, and when I reached St Columb Major for elevenses I had to consider what to do about the battery.  In the end,  I decided to exchange batteries for the next part of the ride, for 21 miles to St. Tudy

St. Columb Major is a small country town, built on  hill, and we stopped at a car park at the top, and the church is at the bottom of the hill at the end of a vicious one way street system.  Tom  and I set off to St Tudy, up a long hill on a main road and then we turned off and went over high moorland and down to Wadebridge at the South end of the Camel estuary.  A long rapid descent,  Wadebridge is full of holiday makers, and we were glad to escape, cycling up a main road along the Camel valley, until we turned off to go up a long hill, towards St. Tudy.  The village was called after a 6th century French saint who travelled as a missionary, and presumably encouraged the natives to stay firm in their faith, because Cornwall remained Christian after the Romans left.  The church is fourteenth century has granite pillars in the nave and a lot of slate monuments of the 16th and 17th century.

We got there in time for lunch at about 1.30 and it was just beginning to rain  By the time we left it was raining heavily and so we put on our rain gear: anoraks, overtrousers and puttees, changed the batteries for the half empty one and set  out.  Down to a valley over a bridge with a fast running stream and then up a very long hill which became very steep and the battery indicated said that the battery had no power left in it.  When we got to the top we cycled across a flat open moor, part of which had been an aerodrome, and the battery recovered.  It would have been beautiful but for the rain.  On and on for 20 miles down and up, and the battery held out with a tiny quantity of electricity in it when we arrived at our destination a few miles short of Launceston, at a golf club hotel.

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Day 1 – Norman


I caught the train to Penzance yesterday and was met at the station and driven to Cape Cornwall golf Club, where the group would spend the night.  I went down on my bike to Cape Cornwall and then walked over the brow of the hill to see the bay with tiny Atlantic rollers coming in from the North West.

A casual remark by our leader that I should carry the charger made me look for it.  I found too my horror that I had left it at home.  Andrew found a courier who brought it down to Truro where we spent the next night.  At 9.00 am we assembled for a briefing and set off for Lands End at about 9.20 for a 7 mile ride.  It started off brilliantly sunny but soon clouded over and became chilly enough to put on an anorak for the rest of the day.  At Lands End we took photographs of the group, of the family and looked around.

We set off on our main ride at 10.40, with a climb towards Protocone, and on towards Penzance.  The speed was moderate and I could keep up most of the time, with difficulty on the flat, because my motor cuts out at 15 mph, but I had the advantage on hills where my electric bike pulled ahead of struggling bikers.  There were a couple of very steep hills where I had to get off and pull my bike uphill, or rather, because the bike has a “throttle” which gives full power, but with a speed limit of 6 mph, the bike pulled me up in 10 yard dashes, after each of which I had to recover my breath.  It got me up in the end.

We cycled down an extremely steep hill in Sheffield (yes) and across a main road into Newlyn and then on to Penzance.  We avoided the traffic by cycling along the harbour, and a path on the sea side of the railway track and on to Marazion where we stopped for an elevenses at 12.20 pm.  On, up a very long hill out of Marazion to Leedstown and down and up several hills 8 miles to Praze-an-Beeble (What does that name mean?) where we stopped for lunch. A magnificent spread which we enjoyed.  On again (this time not as an escorted group but as individuals) to the outskirts of Redruth and through quiet roads with very little traffic, but what came meant we had to take great care. Sam and I cycled on criss-crossing the railway line to Falmouth until we came to our final hill which ended at the Truro bypass.  Fortunately this had a path which we could ride along until we came to our hotel.  There was another couple there already and we parked our bikes and enjoyed tea and cakes.

During the ride I occasionally felt very stiff, but I felt completely relaxed and untired when I had sat down.  Tomorrow more Cornwall up and down, but rain is threatened.


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Norman Practice ride – 15-16 July

After a 25 mile bike ride on Saturday from home to Potters Bar, I decided to follow with a long ride on Sunday, taking a second batter (very heavy).

I caught thee 9:50 train to Hemel Hempsted and left the station at 10.35am.  Up 2 or 3 sharpish hills in Hemel I went via Redbourn and Harpenden (along a disused railway).  After Harpenden there were only 2 more hills and then I enjoyed the open rolling Essex countryside.

From Harpenden to Kimpton, and Welwyn.  Round the outside of Welwyn Garden City fast bypass and a lot of traffic.  I took the wrong road to Hertford and found myself on the Trunk A414.  Horrid.    I got a puncture on this road.  A screw had gone into the tyre and out again.  However, I had only one puncture patch and no pump, so I gave up and ate lunch at 2.30 pm.  I tried to hitch, and then a white van came and gave me and the bike a lift to Halfords in Hertford, where the inner tube was replaced.  The whole episode cost me 2 hours.  On again, along the canal to Ware and Stanford Abbots, Roydon, and into Essex, Harwell outskirts.  Bike paths everywhere and into darkest Essex. At 50 miles I stopped for a snack and changed batteries.  The old one was not empty, but the full battery had a lot more zip.

On for another 17 miles to Chelmsford, arriving at about 7.30 pm where I took a train home, surprisingly not worn out.

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Getting ready

I started training in April doing some 30 miles rides with some 1:4 climbs. On 28 April, I called on Freego, in Southampton who agreed or sponsor me as I will be riding a Freego Wren , to collect a spare battery to use in the second half of longer days. 

On Monday 1 May, I set out on my first 50 mile bike ride, from Romsey to Guildford along the old railway track to Stockbridge. I wobbled and came off. I cut my hands and knees, but cycled on to Whitchurch where I found a pub, cleaned myself up and had lunch. I cycled on to the next town, Overton, and took a train back to London and went home, having done only about 30 miles only. Next morning, I went to A&E for an X-ray and was told I had broken my scaphoid bone in my wrist, and was forbidden to ride for a month. 

June 1, I started training again with some 30-mile bike rides.
On 24 June I went to Orkney for 10 days. On our third day Tom and I went on a 17 mile evening bike ride. The next day we went on a 38 mile bike ride across Mainland with a strong Easterly headwind. As soon as we turned South the wind veered. We climbed about 350 metres on gentle. Next day we went 17 miles in a headwind, and two days later cycled round the island of Rousay.