Have you got that the right way up?

Posted by on 29, Jun 2021 in 2021 - Lands End to Ipswich, Tilly the Tandem, UK

Have you got that the right way up?

I spend a lot of time planning our routes and we alway try to stay off the bigger roads, avoid the hills (obviously) and stick to the quiet back lanes.

Generally (though I say it myself) I’m pretty good at it now and it pays off in the form of lovely quiet days cycling.

Cornwall has been quite a challenge though and you’re often stuck sticking to the main marked cycle routes due to a combination of lack of suitable roads and hills.

Our cycle out of Bude to Okehampton was our longest cycle with the highest climbing of just under 1000m and I’d poured over routes to try to reduce this and eventually found a quiet route that kept us around 800m of climbs and shaved 10km off the overall route too! Result!

So, job done we set off and set the navigator up, pootled along feeling all smug with ourselves until I realised her highness the navigator had gone awfully quiet and manually checked her to find I’d put her on mute and we were heading in the wrong direction….up hill.

Oooooo I wasn’t a happy bunny. But on the bright side we were near a town that had a coffee shop so regrouped over a flat white and flapjack.

Mute off and navigator remapped we set off again and were happily cycling along enjoying the sun and countryside when I thought this doesn’t feel right, we’re heading North. (It’s a guy thing ladies) so again consulted fanny Adams.

Lo and behold I’d managed to plot us on to a route that did a huge loop and ended back at the coffee shop town.

I shot the happy bunny and had another look at the map. We had a choice. Turn round and head back up that enormous hill we’d just happily rolled down or get ourselves on to the main A road adjacent to us and head south back toward our proper route.

Throwing caution (and the bunny’s body) to the wind we pelted down the A3090 and actually managed to top out at 48kph downhill. It was actually really nice to be able to go downhill without both brakes on hoping some DPD driver isn’t going to whiz round the bend and plow into you cos he’s going too fast on a single lane country road.

The road going our way was deserted too, so we stopped off for lunch on a bench before getting back on our original route.

Earlier in the week we’d left Newquay on a day scheduled for torrential rain that Linda had been worrying about all week. I normally ignore the weather forecasts details and just watch the weather fronts. Anything 3 days ahead in the UK could have all gone by the time it’s scheduled or be delayed by Brexit or something…

Anyway, it was murky with a bit of smer about but fine for cycling and we headed to Bodmin via Padstow. It seems everyone had the same idea as Padstow was heaving with everyone avoiding the beach as the day was cold and dull. But I managed to collar a bench right on the harbour front whilst Linda tracked down a couple of award winning Cornish Pasties (Vegetarian of course) To be fair that’s not hard hear as almost every shop that sells a pasty has an Award Winning sign outside. But they were warm, tasty and very welcome on our bench!

The ride into Bodmin is on the Camel Trail and we were both somewhat disappointed to find out it was named after the river and not the animal, but it was incredibly flat and a great ride that ended at Bodmin Jail.

No, I hadn’t been causing trouble again so we didn’t get a complementary tour.

Our hotel had a Thai restaurant which we ate in that night and we’ve never seen so many vegetarian choices on a menu. The poor waitress asked us 3 times if we were ready to order yet and we had to explain that we usually have 3 choices and giving us 25 meant we had started to panic and couldn’t cope so had she got a paper bag we could blow into to stop hyperventilating please…

Fabulous food – almost everything was Vegan and Faux meat, but we loved it. I had the Faux spicy chicken!

From Bodmin we had our hardest days cycling, probably ever. It started off well courtesy of more Camel Trail for 13km then went straight up the side of everest before throwing in K2 for good measure. It was so hard, and of course into a very strong head wind too, which never helps. Both our fitness watches often have the cheek to tell us to get up and move in the evening when we stop as they think we’re being lazy. At least my watch on this occasion had some sympathy and kept quiet probably becuase it also said I was 96% fatigued.

We’ve never been that exhausted but did find enough energy to plonk our sleeves down on a bench in the harbour and have a local ice cream, which was fabulous.


  1. Chapeau on Everest and K2 all in one go …. sorry push!

  2. With loaded panniers I can only manage gradients of 10-15% for short distances and have to push the bike up steeper gradients. Over recent years I discovered a route planner that has helped to match the gradient of routes to my abilities. Check it out, it may help: http://www.cycle.travel

    • OK thanks for the link, will have a look. Locus maps shows gradients with colour coding which helps, but we’re a bit stuffed when all the hills are steep!
      We now always push over 10% unless it’s very short, we’ve found it’s more effort to cycle than push on anything above 10%. Our speedo has a gradient field on it which helps.

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