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YHA Day One: Land's End to YHA Golant
    12/06/2013 08:45

Day One: Land's End to YHA Golant

We all met on the train and rocked up in Penzance late afternoon, a short cycle later and we were in the grand surroundings of the Grade II listed YHA Penzance - first documented in 1170 and burnt down during the Spanish Armada. After a wholesome dinner, we went for a wander down into tow. With the offer of 'Cornish Knockers' on tap we were inexplicably drawn into the oldest pub in Penzance, the Turk's Head. 

Day One Route: Land's End to Golant YHA via Truro, St. Austell 
Mileage: 73 miles (10 miles of which were travel Penzance - Land's End) 
Song of the Day: I'm on Fire - Kasabian 
Phrase of the Day: 'Hills, hills, hills, hills, hills, hills...'

After a great night's sleep and a monumentally hearty breakfast, we set off for the 10 mile cycle from Penzance to Land's End. Things got off to a slightly unfortunate start when, on arrival at Land's End, Tommy swiftly proceeded to fall over, whilst stationary, still attached to his bike into a mangled heap. This has resulted in a sprained, possibly mildly broken left wrist. However, it takes more than this to get in the way of #ABikingGoodRide.

So, off to the infamous Land's End - John O'Groats signpost and a fantastically enthusiastic photo was the result.

The whole place was a slightly bizarre, deserted theme park... however, there was a great air of anticipation and camaraderie as various groups of LEJOG'ers and JOGLE'rs began and ended their respective trans-Great Britain adventures. We struck up conversation with a chap called Greg from California - just beginning his LEJOG. Twenty years ago he spent two years traveling the world by bike, the very same bike he was riding today.

We bid our farewell, honked Tommy's old-school-hooter-horn as a goodbye to the End of the Land, and headed off back in the direction of Penzance. This was it, the beginning of 1,150 miles of cycling adventure - three mates, three bikes and a whole big lump of Great Britain!

To B or to A? The A-road or B-road question cropped up on a busy bend 10 miles into the ride. A-roads: wide, dirty, fast, gradual undulation, 70 mph overtaking cars, shorter, quicker. B-roads: small, single track, windy, wildly undulating, slower, further.

As a group we couldn't actually decide, so we left it up to chance - the coin toss. With the resulting fabulous face of Queen Elizabeth II staring up at the three of us, B-roads it was! A great bit of chance, they were fun to ride, serenely secluded, stunning... however, they were by no means easy, if there was a pictorial definition of 'massive hills' in the Oxford English Dictionary, there would be a photo of the hills en route today.

As 6pm passed, we were close to our final destination of the day - YHA Golant The sun burst through the smattering of clouds. The views all around us from the final few roads were of patchwork fields, a multitude of farmyard animals so varied that you could cobble together an impressively lengthy rendition of Old McDonald Had A Farm based purely on what we saw - everything from alpacas to dead rats.

It was about this time that Tom's front brake pad decided to make a run for it. If you happen to live in the local area, and happen to find a lonely brake pad lying on the road, do get in touch because a full array of brakes really is rather useful on these Cornish roads.

Day One of #ABikingGoodRide ended with a scenic 1200m cycle up the driveway to the YHA Golant, a delightful dinner in the 'River View' dining room and a delectable pint of 'Ginger Tosser' from the bar.

By Harry Hosteller

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