Shortest ride, Bodmin Moor


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So eleven experienced nutters and one novice (lured by the prospect of fun in the sun - some people will believe anything!) set off from Ness Point (///forks.voted.cross) at sunrise, 0802z, heading for Land's End (///bossy.veered.mermaids) some 430 miles away (not even a proper ride as many pointed out) aiming to arrive at or before sunset, 1622z, on Sunday 22nd December, the winter solstice. The weather forecast offered some rain (we are in England after all) but no actual "weather" and the temperature was a balmy 10-12c.
Eight hours of fabulous winter riding on a variety of roads, pretty much devoid of traffic apart from the odd uni student in a car full of junk and those making their annual pilgrimage to see Granny at a nice safe 40mph regardless of the actual speed limit or sight lines, from motorways to twisty single-track, the occasional rain shower but nothing to bother us rufty-tufty Iron Butters, except on Bodmin Moor.

In any group I'm always going to be the slowest (not inefficient as some discovered when finding themselves behind me leaving Lowestoft) because I'm old and fragile so I was confident of being the back-marker as I flew down the A30 in Cornwall (everybody flies down that stretch of the A30, the road builders accidentally added a '1' in front of the designed speed limit) happy to be last but still wanting to catch the sunset and comfortably on target according to my satnav's ETA. I was thinking what a genius I'd been to call such a ride.

The rain started gently enough but then rapidly increased to proper rain and then some. Next came the wind and decreasing visibility. I decided I'd like to be quite a bit slower but, at the exact moment I had that thought, all the car, van and lorry drivers had the same thought and the road ahead became a sea of red and I had to slow my heartrate (at my age you have to be careful with the old blood pressure) as well as my speed.

I thought about the fact that my riding jacket came with a really nice detachable storm collar; why hadn't I reattached it for this ride? or even packed my wonderful, impervious to absolutely anything, boil-in-the-bag suit. I was also thinking about what kind of half-wit would call such a stupid ride as this! Never mind, just press on and arrive safely, even if slightly damp.

And then, as quickly as it had started, the wind dropped off, the rain disappeared and the sun came out to dazzle me again. I sailed through the last pretence at civilisation, Penzance, and practised advanced steering, crap avoidance and view optimisation for the last ten miles.

Land's End was cold (I kept my gloves on even after getting off the bike and before the sun had set), windy and definitely wintry but without the sense of imminent threat posed on the moor. I mentioned the conditions at Bodmin and discovered that I was not alone. We'll all remember Bodmin Moor.

One hardy soul set off for home in Wales while the rest of us returned to the Premier Inn at Hayle (I think we'd all recommend that hotel) to conduct performance reviews over mixed grills, sticky toffee puddings and one or possibly two beverages.

So for me that was a 960 mile weekend, with great company and splendid (apart from Bodmin Moor) conditions; I'm already planning for winter solstice 2020


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And on one holiday in the area found the beast of Bodmin.
An old black farm cat on a country lane who's attitude was what the f__k are you doing down this Lane