A Bicycle Made for Two

During my lejog I noticed a flier for Lands End Cycle Hire and made a mental note to hire a bike on my hols. Kate decided she wanted to come with me but was pretty daunted by the hills of Cornwall, which are hard enough for regular cyclists, let alone occasional ones. So when I checked out the site I saw they did a tandem. Problem solved!

We picked up the tandem at Trewellard and after a quick spin round the car park to get used to it set off up the B3306 towards St Ives. This took us past Geevor Tin Mine, through Morvah and Porthmeor and up to Zennor. The road varies between narrow for 2 vehicles and single track, and apart from tractors is relatively quiet. Also, not a pothole in sight.

Not that it would matter with the big tyres on the Raleigh tandem. A big heavy beast yet surprisingly manoeuvrable, it had a triple on the front (well, middle) and a 7-speed cassette at the back which actually meant getting up the hills was easier than I thought. Helpfully, Raleigh had inscribed “pilot” on the crossbar at the front seat, and “co-pilot” at the back seat; presumably to avoid arguments. Riding tandem is all about communication and it’s easy to forget that if you stop pedalling, then start again, the person at the back has no idea what you are doing unless you tell them!

There is a long and steepish hill between Zennor and St Ives and near the top, when I was panting and blowing hard, I realised Kate was chattering away quite normally. At which point I realised she wasn’t pedalling very much! As soon as she started it was like a mini-turbo kicked in! Still, suppose it was good training.

We turned onto the B3311 before St Ives through Halsetown and down towards Penzance. The headwind we’d had now became a welcome tailwind. We soon found and stopped at a beautiful little tea shop/artist gallery run by a French lady, where we both had well-earned cream teas.

We followed the road down until the A30 and then turned towards Madron. This involved a 2-3 mile climb which was hard work, but we got a nice downhill back to Morvah in return. A few more miles of rolling countryside saw us back at the hire shop. I forgot my Forerunner so don’t know how far we went – between 20 and 25 miles maybe. Good effort from Kate and very enjoyable. The Tandem was great fun and much easier than I imagine, and Peter from the cycle hire company was extremely helpful – great service. I think we may be back next week for another go!

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