Land's End to John O'Groats Cycletouring Trip Part 1

Day 2 - Hayle to St. Just

After eventually setting off from Hayle, I followed the Sustrans National Cycle Network (NCN) route into Camborne. Here there was another stamping point at Aldridge Cycles somewhere in the town. All I had to do was find it. This was also quite handy as my front headset already needed tightening.

I stopped at the end of a back lane trying to locate where I was on my map, and as if by magic a very friendly Pakistani man came to my 'rescue'. He actually came from his furniture shop on the corner but he had a good presence. He was a lovely man, but the conversation was about 90 percent one way (from him). I could have stayed there all day, he talked about so many things including Satish Kumar's peace walk in the 60s, and he talked about the involvement from Tony Benn. This was quite interesting as I had a copy of 'No Destination' by this man with me in my luggage. I was reading this in the evenings as I travelled. He also talked about a local man called Trevithick who invented a steam railway. I wonder, Was this the steam pipe train I remember from the TV program 'Local Heros'? Apparently Trevithick parked it outside a pub for a short while one day and while it was unattended, it blew up taking the pub with it. This chap said to remember three things; He thought that 1) Trevithick was 6'1" tall. 2) There was a very close margin between being a genius or a madman. 3) There was a cultural tendency to name an individual relative to his characteristic, so he was suggesting that perhaps Trevithick was actually called Trevor and was thick! This man gave me directions to Aldridge cycles, and once there I bought a drinking bottle and had the headset tightened up. There was no charge for this - good old Aldrige cycles. Very few people had called in for a stamp this year, perhaps less than 6.

In the town, the UK Independence party was campaigning in Camborne as I made my way through. The general election was tomorrow. At the public toilets, the attendant very kindly looked after my bike while I went in the loo. Cycling on, I passed through Redruth and then the scenery became much more impressive with old mining buildings dominating the landscape. I took several photos and stopped at Bissoe cycle hire for the next stamp after some off road track where I got slightly lost.

On towards Truro, and following the Sustrans route along a path towards the King Harry Ferry, just after Porth Kea, the route included a completely ridiculously steep footpath. I struggled to push the bike up, taking many stops on the way. At the top I started to cycle and then slowed for 3 pedestrians coming the other way. I noticed a disturbance coming from my rear wheel so I got off and removed a small dead branch that was entangled there. The pedestrians were extremely shocked to see me, one explained that he was fully aware that it was a designated cycle route because of the signing, and must have been so for some time, but despite walking along the route many times, he had never ever seen a cyclist use it. I said that I was okay, following a question as to the state of the bike. But it became quite obvious that something was wrong as I tried to cycle on. The chain kept slipping on the rear sprockets.

I pushed the bike to the main road to follow down to the King Harry Ferry, and had a closer look. Not yet very familiar with bike mechanics, I could though see that something was wrong but I didn't know what. I tried to cycle on after some meddling but the rear wheel seized and I came to a skidding halt. The rear derailleur had become wrapped right round up in the spokes and vertically bent right round back on itself. and into the wheel. I unwrapped things and had to push / freewheel down and on to the ferry, then pushing up the hill to Trethem Mill campsite. I eventually got there at 6:30pm. I think I pushed / freewheeled for about 4 miles.

I set myself up at the campsite and looked closer at the bike. I decided to take it into Truro tomorrow to get it looked at by a bike shop. £4.50 per night to camp here, and a lovely site it is too. Lots of wildlife around. My cycle computer malfunctioned so by sustrans route map distance travelled = 25 miles. Bought more food supplies at the camp shop and a can of cider to commiserate myself + refreshing powerful shower.

Photograph of old tin mining buildings
Old Tin Mining Buildings

Photogrpah of old tin mining buildings
Old Tin Mining Buildings

Photograph of old tin mining buildings
Old Tin Mining Buildings

Image of a stamp from Bissoe Tramways Cycle Hire

Photograph of cars queueing for the King Harry Ferry
Queuing for the King Harry ferry

Image of a Trethem Mill Campsite business card

© Copyright  Piers Pettman - This page last updated 08 July 2006
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