OGIL ride Wednesday 23rd September, 2020

Dean’s bid for Ruan Highlanes as a destination met with general approval from the Team Union Corner, despite the necessity of having a pound for the King Harry Ferry (the feel of loose change weighing down the pockets is now but a distant memory). A trip to the Roseland is but a rare event in the life of the average OGIL.  But the Met Office had other ideas, and the forecast rapidly deteriorated as the appointed hour approached. When we met at the non-existent telephone box, the skies were leaden and the roads saturated, and after a quick conflab we revised the destination to our wet weather cafe of choice, Miss Molly’s. It also transpired that the Other Place group was reduced to a measly two as a result of the fine weather riders crying off because of the conditions. As Sylvia had also given her excuses, leaving only four in the TUC, we decided to merge the groups to form a COVID-friendly six. Luckily, this meant that we could easily comply with OGIL rule number two, which is that any Wheelers group must contain at least one Phil. Not only did we have Phil1 to lead us, but we also had Phil3 together with Amanda, Dean, Jan and yours truly. So it was that we proceeded up to Halvasso, and then on to Troon and Pool.

As the ride progressed, the weather gradually improved to the extent that there was the odd glimmer of sunshine and the roads began to dry out. Miss Molly’s suddenly lost its attraction, and we resolved to carry on to Portreath instead. Despite Phil(1) occasionally getting carried away and doing an Ian impression by riding off the front on the hills, a group of six is much easier to herd than larger groups, and nobody got lost or were left to their own devices at crucial junctions. We turned to Coombe and the ever popular ascent of Mount Whistle Road and miraculously arrived as an intact group at Portreath at exactly 11am, thus satisfying OGIL rule number one. Whether this was by accident or by cunning design by Phil(1) remains a mystery.

Dean making the ascent of Mount Whistle Road look easy (is that a smile or a grimace?), despite a gammy knee self-inflicted by running 20 miles the day before

We ensconced ourselves in the Hub, where the food and coffee is excellent and not unreasonably priced. We found a table by the stream sheltered from the wind, and settled in to consume our refreshment in the sunshine. Whilst most of us settled for a filled roll (or even our own packed lunch), Jan was presented with a huge box of salad filled with all sorts of goodies. She explained that this was to enable her to truthfully claim that she had already eaten when faced with being fed by her mother, whom she was visiting after the ride.  This left us to wonder what kind of food her mother served up.

As we basked in the sun, we speculated that those that had bailed because of the early morning weather (or those of little faith, as Dean put it) would be regretting their decision. This was confirmed when Dean posted in the OGIL WhatsApp group that it was lovely and sunny in Portreath, and Sylvia replied with “Dam (sic) it ! Knew I shouldn’t have chosen a swim instead . Grrrrr”. Still, she did get to do a nice run in the pouring rain later in the afternoon.

We were also entertained by Amanda’s new(ish) bar-cam, and we were shown alarming footage of close passes and a lorry pulling out in the path of Phil(3) who somehow managed to brake in time to avoid a collision. Dean also informed us that the entire Government active travel grant had been spent in Falmouth paying for the traffic marshals enforcing the road closures in the centre of town. It seems ironic that across the country cities and towns have been creating temporary (possibly to become permanent) bike lanes, whilst in Falmouth this money is spent on measures that actually ban bikes from the centre of town!

Anyway, it was soon time to start the return ride, and we went into auto-pilot mode as we rode out to Bridge and down the old Portreath Road to Redruth and then the top of Lanner Hill. The usual route brought us to Penhalvean, where Phil(1) suggested that if we took the route past Stithians water sport centre we would have the benefit of a tail wind. After some umming and ahhing we went along with the suggestion, but it became clear that the wind may have been on someone’s tail, but not necessarily ours. So it was that we were seduced into violating OGIL rule number three, which is not to retrace our route at any point until we get to Crane Garage or its nearest equivalent. However, we were in a forgiving mood, and didn’t let this infraction spoil our enjoyment of the descent through Halvasso – that was taken care of by the motor traffic. Is it just me, or is this bit of road becoming more popular as a rat run?

Two turned right at the Argal crossroads, and the remaining four carried on to Union Corner and the usual emotional farewells.

A far better than expected ride; 68 km for me.

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