The Ride

Penzance to London. Not on a bike.

Today I am sat on a train. It feels weirdly normal. I am dressed in normal, non cycling clothes (almost miss them) and I am no different to anyone else on the train. Its weird.

So the last couple of days have been some of the most amazing I’ve ever had. Riding from St Austell to Penzance was one of the legs I feared (for the legs) but actually….. One of the easiest and best rides.  I guess by the time you’ve done 400 odd miles, your legs are ready for whatever comes.

I think Dawlish to St Austell was the most challenging for hills. Some 3,500ft of ups and downs. The equivalent of riding up and down mount Snowdon whilst traversing 45 miles horizontally.

I spent most of the first night in Penzance in the Turks head.

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The Turks here seem very keen on planning Christmas…..all good in my opinion.

The food was a bit of a mix. It was a perfectly cooked piece of monk fish, unfortunately spoiled by some reheated rubbery mussels on the side.

So the following morning, after another Full(ish) English breakfast (minus the beans) I set off to cover the remaining 11 miles to Land’s End.

Very few hills on this bit, a slight climb of a few hundred feet coming out of Penzance gave way to a glorious downhill into Land’s End. Rolling down that hill with the Land’s End visitor centre in looming ahead was an amazing feeling. Hat off, hands off the handlebars, enjoying the breeze as I coasted through the toll booth lanes into the car park and crossed the “Finish” line. 

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What an amazing feeling. I find it hard to write about the feeling of accomplishment I experienced.

When I decided to do this it felt like an impossibility, a pipe dream if you will. Something I knew, but relearned on the way is that impossibilities will remain impossible until you set you mind to them and put your heart/soul/guts/balls (whatever you feel is the essence of your being) into making them into possibilities.

So I cycled around the site at Land’s End, cruising around, hanging off the side of my bike, revelling in the feeling. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Stopping for a coffee and a chat with a fellow cyclist, I was humbled by his story. 8 weeks ago, he’d set off from Norwich, heading north, touring the entire coast of our island. He had 800 odd miles left in front of him and was keen to get home.  My little adventure paled in comparison and any over inflated ego boost was instantly checked. Still, I’d done it. I’d done what I set out to do. A total of 483 miles by my route.

In the process I think I’d proved to myself that I can do things. Sounds silly, but I think I need to prove this to myself on a more regular basis.

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Once I’d had my fill of the overly, but necessarily, commercially exploited site at Land’s End, I headed back to Penzance for the night and the following morning’s train on which I now sit. A long journey home, but I feel refreshed and ready for anything. Now to start planning the next adventure.

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One thought on “Penzance to London. Not on a bike.

  1. stevo

    The pub might be called the Turks Head because I recall reading that back in the 16th/17th century Muslim corsairs would raid the British and Irish coasts and take prisoners back to the Med, mainly to Morocco and Algeria. However many of the corsairs were actually Christians wanted back home for crimes who had turned to piracy. A corsair ship raided a coastal village in Ireland but were scared off by the sight of Redcoats coming over the hill (in reality they were just local fisherman’s wives dressed in red).

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