March 26, 2012 GMT
The Beasts And Ghosts Of Bodmin Moor

Three were riding Honda C90s.
And these three, just four weeks later, arrived on their C90s at Bansang Hospital in The Gambia. (Yesterday as I write this).
After an epic ride from London, across the Sahara and halfway down West Africa.
You can read about it here.
And donate here to the project if you wish.
And read Belle's Blog here.

Now back to Bodmin Moor, and the beasts and ghosts.

A few weeks ago, a few Krazy Bikers assembled in Minions, Cornwall, for a HorizonsUnlimited mini-meeting, and an exploration of the county's finest Green Lanes.
Organised by Rossi, who provided his garden for camping and his lounge for rest and recovery. It was a fantastic weeked of Mud and Mayhem. All thanks to Rossi and Mrs Rossi.

Most of us arrived on trail/overland bikes. But Belle, Gordon and Nadine arrived on Honda C90s, as a trial run before their departure a few days later for The Gambia. They were taking part in this year's 'Scooters in the Sahara' charity run, to deliver simple automatic motorbikes to Gambian health workers.
All details on the blogs above.

Belle, Gordon and Nadine opted out of Saturday's 60-mile ride around the muddy tracks of Bodmin, preferring instead a ride around the coastal towns, mainly on tarmac but testing their tyres on a bit of mud as well. They needed, after all, to preserve their bikes for the trans-Sahara marathon ahead.

So some photos of the ride:
For some (me) it was hellish difficult. For some of the youngsters, it looked dead easy.
Particularly when I was temporarily held up by a rider in front (Mez, I think) who had stalled his engine on a narrow lane that comprised solely of two 10-inch-deep ruts in the mud. I was grateful for the little breather as I watched Mez prod his kick-start a couple of times (no electric start on his bike). But he, and I, quickly realised that the rut was so deep and narrow that his foot just couldn't push the kick-start down anywhere near enough to have any effect. At that instant I thought to myself, "Ahh, bliss.... this could be quite a long rest!"

But no. With the idea of pulling his wheels out of the ruts he got straight off his bike. Which itself was some feat as this tiny narrow lane was squeezed between two 6-foot high vertical mud embankments.
Well, as I was the rider behind I was obliged to get off and help extract his bike. Even if it didn't look possible. Whereupon I made a worrying discovery - I didn't have sufficient energy left to get off my bike in this mess of deep ruts and vertical mud walls.
I had almost reached the situation where the only way to get off my bike was to fall off. And as the mud was pretty wet and soft - well that was OK I suppose.
Anyway, it wasn't needed. Mez dragged his bike up and out of the rut as though it were made of paper, forced it sideways across the lane so the kickstart was high enough to be used, and somehow kicked it enough to restart his engine. Thereupon he spun his rear wheel half a turn, just sufficient to slip it back in line with the front, and nipped off into the distance.
So much for my long rest....

So (at last) some photos of the ride.

One of a few wayside rest-stops.

One of a few river crossings. This one at Lerryn.

Only one lunchstop, with real Cornish Pasties. At The Ship Inn.

The Beast of Bodmin Moor (aka McCrankpin) takes the plunge in another river crossing.

As rare as the Loch Ness Monster: The Ghost of Bodmin Moor. (Rossi, rumour has it)

McCrankpin eyes up the long stretch of rough ground to the next green, and asks his caddy for a No. 1 iron.

Another muddy rest-stop.

A corner on The Abandoned Hill.

There were, if I remember right, two local riders with us, plus Rossi. The conversation at a rest break went something like:

Rossi: What to you think of XXX Hill, should we try it?
1st Local Rider: It's a bit steep and it'll be muddy. We could just go and have a look.
2nd Local Rider: We should at least have a look, you never know....

So off we went to the unknown hill at an unknown location. (Unknown to us visitors that is).
After a while, on a moderate lane, I rounded a bend to find a rocky hill ahead. So I slowed right down to let the rider in front get well away. The usual technique when you don't know what to expect - he might stop very suddenly.....
I got going up the hill and found I was doing "OK" but a sharp right corner appeared. What was round it - who knows?
Well, the hill continued, but it was OK and I was managing a respectable speed. Then the corner in the photo appeared. (We were going the opposite way to the riders in the photo).
It was sharp left. Very sharp. What was round it - who knows?
Well, feeling pretty confident I 'attacked' it, so to speak, just to hear someone shouting something at me as I steered left.
Then immediately I could see what lay beyond - a vertical wall of mud and rocks with at least two bikes halfway up it, stationary and being manoeuvred into mud-and-rock-laden U-turns.
And I could see, straightaway, that if I went an inch further up this wall, there'd be no way at all that I'd be able to complete those sorts of U-turns.
So I stopped. The rider who had shouted at me came over. "I don't think anyone's going to get up there. If I were you I'd turn round right here, there's enough room!"
So I did and hopped of the bike to take this photo of the riders in front returning after their successful U-turns.
But at least we did go and "have a look."

Shortly after our return to Minions, the three C90s arrive after their trip around the coastal towns.

(L to R: Nadine, Belle, Gordon)
Now, they are handing those same bikes over to the staff at Bansang Hospital, The Gambia.

HU Cornwall campsite, sunny Saturday afternoon.

Everyone survived and made it to the other event of the day, evening in The Cheesewring pub.

(Photos 1 to 6 by Steve. The last two by Jack, Steve's son)

Posted by Ken Thomas at March 26, 2012 08:42 PM GMT

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