The Trail: Classic September

Having just come off one of the busiest seasons ever for the Hire Shop I took advantage of improving weather for an early morning ride. Contradiction in terms in effect as first light is not until 6.00 and sun up was 6.45 so quite late by my standards.

What a Classic September morning, dry, crisp and sounds and smells that only this time of the year brings. We are also beginning to get a change in colour of trees and vegetation which just adds to the general ambience, how typical that with the children heading back to school the weather should improve so dramatically: 26 degrees forecast for this week.

It is quite understandable that we are still busy in the Hire Shop, riding the Camel Trail is both very comfortable and an absolute delight at this time of the year so I hope you can join us.

Safe Cycling,


Visit the Bridge Bike Hire webcam, which looks down the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow:


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Vancouver to Seattle .. and back to the Camel Trail

A lot has happened over the last month or so what with cycling from Vancouver to Seattle for the Conquer Cancer charity – we personally raised over £ 4.5 k so proud of that, huge thanks to all donators. I will not bore you with too many details but what should have been a very pleasant experience travelling through Washington with the Redwoods and spectacular countryside turned out to be a real challenge in absolutely atrocious weather. Conquer Cancer logoThe course would have been a challenge for many of the riders who are recovering cancer patients (two-and-a-half thousand riders raised $9.5 million) but for many that weather was just too much and they had to be picked up.

My ride partner and fellow Vancouver Gastown Team member, Lana Allen, made it to the finish – it certainly will be an experience that I will not forget in a hurry.

And so back to my beloved Camel Trail I cut a path through a welcoming party of baby rabbits and just meandered down a very dry Trail to Padstow as the sun came up – seems like a very long time since I meandered anywhere just recently.

Padstow Harbourside was a buzz of activity as the tide flooded in with many of the numerous visiting boats preparing to set sail.

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There is a rumour that we are to expect temperatures of 31 degrees plus by the end of the week, bring it on I say but in the meantime I have returned to an extremely busy hire shop ( most of the Private Schools have broken up ) so can I appeal to customers to book well ahead to avoid disappointment. It always bothers me when customers travel long distances and assume (as in off-season) we will have bikes available, like I try and politely say we do have 400 plus bikes for a reason.

Mmm.. aromas of the Bakery wafting round.

Mmm.. aromas of the Bakery wafting round.

Having just finished my flask of coffee and witnessing the smell and aromas of the Chough Bakery and the anticipation of a breakfast at Bens Crib Box I have to say it is very good to be back, “For this is my Eden and I’m not alone,  for this is my Cornwall and this is my home”.  (Harry Glasson’s words)

Safe Cycling,


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Training for the BC Conquer Cancer ride in Canada

Conquer Cancer logoI think if I had realised that training for a sponsored ride, even one with as high a profile as the BC Conquer Cancer ride in Canada, could have been quite as much fun I would have done it long since.

Although I had registered in October 2013 bike riding through the winter months particularly January and February was very much indoors in a Gym namely One 2 One with sessions of Spinning. It was not until March I actually got on a bike and even then on the advice of my Hire Shop Manager, Mat Poley, who had experience of preparing for road races, I restricted the mileage to about 20 miles most days. So it was not until the Easter Sunday late in April that I made the decision to embark on longer rides.

Nigel's local training ride of around 20kms.

Nigel’s local training ride of around 20kms.

Fortunately I am an early riser and will very often be on the move at the first sign of light. The theory was that on my first ride I would venture along very quiet narrow lanes to St Breock, go across Rosenannon Downs – Retallick – Winnards Perch – Padstow and then back to base.

Imagine my surprise when confronted by endless cars streaming down from St Breock. On entering Rosenannon, to lots of car activity by the Chapel, I recognised one of my customers who welcomed me as “a lonely traveller” and when offering me tea and biscuits proceeded to explain that the Church had a Dawn Easter Sunday service which was very well attended.  So much for a quiet safe ride.

This appeared to set the trend for my training program. I adopted a regime of taking my bike with me no matter where or when so trips to Yorkshire saw me bike a small section of the forthcoming Tour de France route. A visit to a relative in Llandovery let me cycle part of the fabulous Brecon Beacons,  also parts Dartmoor, Hampshire, Wiltshire, West Bucks and of course Bodmin Moor all followed.

The biking has not been without incidents, I have been chased by a Herd of Bullocks, had my first flying lesson when bailing out of bad circumstances and dropping down a pot hole and going clean over the handle bars (quite proud of the landing really).  I have nearly come to grief again when a convoy of trucks greeted me with their air horns (that will teach me to suggest the ‘toot when I’m training’ in a letter to one of the papers) and of course getting lost on Bodmin Moor I shall never quite live down. I am sorry but I am going to bore you with the details of this.

In the early days of proper training I decided to get my wife Berni to drop me up at Bude and I would cycle back. Decided on reaching Marhamchurch that I would ignore route 32 National Network of Cycleways in favour of following a GPS app downloaded that morning on my phone. An hour or so later I am somewhere near Launceston when I should have been close to Halworthy/Crowdey Lake. Unwisely I decided to phone my bike hire shop, speak to my Manager and see if he with the aid of a map could pinpoint my location. The conversation went something like this, “Mat, you are never to repeat what I am about to tell you,  I am lost on Bodmin Moor”, and what did he immediately do? He turns round to my wife and says, “Nige is lost on Bodmin Moor”.

That is all my Lady needs to make my life hell and of course now I have half of b—— Wadebridge directing me to paper shops etc etc – Nigel not happy.

Al "Chico" Jago.

Al “Chico” Jago.

I have to say the kindness, the good wishes the generosity of everyone has taken me aback. The notes that accompany some of the Sponsorship money have been moving to say the least and Chico if you are looking down on this you know for sure you still have a presence. This ride is for you.

Your fishing Buddy, Nige.

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The Trail: good growing weather

It’s a frantic time here trying to fit everything in with Twickenham , the Royal Cornwall Show, packing ready to go for Tuesday’s departure and the big bike ride (Vancouver to Seattle), but lets see if we can give you a feel of the Trail dressed in its finest at this time of the year.

I am being a little lazy at the moment as day break comes in at about 4am but I languish till 5. Not just a Dawn Chorus greeted me this morning but a cacophony of noise as Show Traffic crossed the Bypass bridge above me and this was run a very close second by a group of Canadian Geese hooting away.

So a good wake up call, this is a delightful time on the Camel Trail which really is dressed in its finery. The sights, sounds and smells alert the most stubborn of senses and really are second to none. The added bonus of a perfect Padstow bathed in early morning sunshine is incentive enough for me. All I have got to do now is persuade the Chough Bakery to open early so that I can sample what are probably the best Eccles Cakes in the World to go with my Harbourside coffee of course.

I am always in awe of the way the trail quietens down after Bank Holidays, it is as if a tap has been turned off, so if you like this spectacular Trail to yourself this is the time to do it.

Looks like we have a mixed bunch of weather – sunshine and showers – for the next few days, good growing weather as you can see by the Trail now having pinch points, so please take care especially with little ones. I don’t want to witness any bangs and crashes.

So safe cycling.


Visit the Bridge Bike Hire webcam, which looks down the Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow:

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Preparing for the Canadian BC Conquer Cancer Bike Ride

If you are wondering why our regular reports on the Camel Trail have been irregular of late .. well, Nigel has been preparing for the mighty bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle to raise funds to fight cancer. Here is Nigel’s report from his latest ride around Cornwall to ‘get fit’.

From Wadebridge to St Ives, and return

Wadebridge to St Ives - Google map.

Wadebridge to St Ives – Google map.

Great ride down – set off in atrocious conditions – by the time I had got to the end of Polmorla Road (in Wadebridge) I had water overflowing my shoes and with the thought of 40 – 50 miles to go – not good.  The rain was literally bouncing off the road.

My idea was to make Threemilestone by 8.00am and beat that Truro traffic, got that well wrong. So pleased my bike looked like a Christmas tree with all the flashing lights, not a good experience but toughed it out and got to Hayle by 10.00am. Decided too wet and cold to add extra mileage but our room booked at the Sloop Inn on the quay at St Ives was not ready until 1.00pm so headed to the Café at Porthgwidden. Youngsters in there could not have been nicer, I was dripping wet and filthy with road grime – not good.

It was not until I tried to pick up a knife and fork and could not grip to tear open a sugar sachet that I realised what a state I was in. The Cafe staff were just lovely – drying out my money on the coffee machine and letting me languish and warm up, with my wife Berni heading down from Bridge with dry clothes etc.

The Sloop Inn was equally welcoming – secured bike in the cellar then retired to the best room in St Ives complete with lovely hot bath.

Next day much better weather so I could stretch out mileage, Penzance, St Michaels Mount, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Ladock, Fraddon and home. Felt real good and recovered quickly. All those every day short runs really paying off.

So now I know I can do the Vancouver to Seattle ride.

Conquer Cancer logoChecked and transferred loads of small donations generously made by sponsors and our team is now in the top 100 sponsors ( 72 ) with 5,720 Dollars. Our many thanks to supporters .. and if you want to donate (and haven’t as yet) just visit the official website:  Conquer Cancer. Click on the ‘Donate’ button, enter my name ‘Nigel Wiggett’, then you have two options: 1. My Gastown Team, or 2. Me, Nigel Wiggett. I shall be paying all my own travel and accommodation expenses so every penny donated will go to Conquer Cancer.

Itinerary now:

Bank Holiday, Royal Cornwall Show – fly out to Vancouver 11th June – ride 14/15th – so looking forward to this.

Good luck Nigel .. keep us up to date on your adventures, please.

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Upstream: Wadebridge to Wenford

Well by way of a dramatic change I am writing this in warm sunshine and with a forecast promising more of the same over the weekend and into next week I think everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.

 Encouraged by this warmth I set out to do the upstream section. There was soon evidence of the high tides and recent rainfall with the marshlands along Egloshayle well flooded. Lots of wading birds, Shell ducks and the likes scooting around to the sounds of birdsong on the shoreline, Spring in the air? It’s been a long time coming.

Egloshayle marshes in full flood.

Egloshayle marshes in full flood.

 As I worked my way up the Trail, the surface was sticky where not sealed but not too hard on the legs. There has been lots of cutting back in the Marshes alongside the Trail leading up to Polbrock Bridge and the surface up to Nanstallon is much improved. Mike of Camel Trail Tea gardens was full on with preparation to open later this month and is very proud of his new covered in area.

Cutting back on the way to Polbrock.

Cutting back on the way to Polbrock.

 Onwards and upwards past the Borough Arms  Ramp – which looks like it needs some work – there was then much evidence of the recent high winds with a legacy of debris from a fallen tree cut back and lying across the old platform. As I cycled through Dunmere Woods, the river could be heard at a distance tumbling over the falls, they can be clearly seen from the Trail at this time of the year which is a bonus.

 That fallen tree at Dunmere was just an indication of what was to come with at least 10 trees victims of the storms littering the sides of the Trail all the way up to Wenford. I have to say a spell of dry weather will be more than welcome at the top end of the Trail with the surface in places not just sticky but very muddy. The incentive to carry on up to Wenford is of course the newly opened Snails Pace Cafe complete with refreshments and Carrot Cake to die for and of course once fed and watered the trip back down to Bodmin and then Wadebridge was a breeze.


 This trip is about 20 miles in total and a grand day out riverside with scenery totally different from downstream which of course makes the Camel Trail all the more special.

 Safe cycling,


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The Camel Trail: dry and clear .. for a moment

Having decided that if I waited for a decent weather forecast it could be an even longer time before I filed a report. Much to my surprise it was dry and clear to the degree that even at 6am there was a hint of Dawn. I did have company as I loaded my bike when a Dawn Chorus well-led by an enthusiastic Blackbird struck up which all made for a very pleasant ride down to Padstow.

 I think the recent run of Storms has played havoc with the regular early morning crew with just one pair of dog walkers on the Trail. Given all the rain the sealed surface and recent ditching has done its job so let us hope the weather improves and I will be shortly writing about Primroses ( just starting to show ) and baby Rabbits which never cease to amuse me.

 It was daylight by the time I settled into my Harbourside shelter and with my first coffee of the day in my hand I sat and watched the sun come up over Padstow.


 Predictably it was breakfast at Ben’s then a gentle ride back up to Wadebridge just stopping off to photograph Gorse bushes in full flower and the remnants of a tree that had totally blocked the Trail last week.

 Just as an aside I managed a trip up to the top of the Trail to check out the progress of the new cafe up at Wenford. Pleased to say that Nick and Linzi are opening up this weekend – I have to say it is amazing what can be done with a 40′ Container. They have done a superb job and rumour has it that there is free tea and cakes to launch their new enterprise this Saturday 1st March, so please go along.

 In the meantime with sunshine and showers forecast for this week I hope you can join us for Spring on the Camel Trail.

 Safe Cycling.


Visit the webcam at Bridge Bike Hire looking down the Camel Trail towards Padstow from Wadebridge.

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