Though the weather in this part of Cornwall is mostly great and we’re surrounded by fantastic countryside, when it comes to city cycling, Truro’s cobbled high street and drainage gullies are akin to Paris-Roubaix’s toughest parts.
There is very little protection for cyclists on main roads in central Truro; negotiating the main roundabouts is scary, and there is no provision whatsoever for cyclists at road junctions and traffic lights. Cyclists are expected to dismount at underpasses and the behaviour of motorists can leave a lot to be desired.
Some attempts have been made to accommodate cyclists on the roads up to Truro College, and the new cycle path at Coosebean is very good. But, after that, cyclists have to share footpaths with pedestrians. I ride slowly and carefully on these and ring my bell to warn them I’m approaching.
There are no real signs of an urban cycling culture here. Local authority provision for cyclists in major European (and some UK) cities puts us to shame. On the positive side, Truro is a beautiful and historic city, with some excellent trails and fairly safe roads nearby.
“Around here, a mile can feel like two”
Heading east from Land’s End, the Cornish Way splits at Truro. The coastal option, NCN 3, heads to St Austell and the Eden Project, and NCN 32 goes north to Newquay and Padstow; both routes converge again at the fantastic (and hugely popular) Camel Trail at Bodmin.
South of Truro, the Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast route runs 11 miles from the old mining harbour of Portreath on the Atlantic coast to Devoran on the south coast, past some of the best-conserved historic mine buildings in the world, spectacular scenery, and ancient woodland. There’s a cycle cafe at Bissoe for cake and a break.
The route is an insight into Cornwall’s mining heritage, and one of the country’s shortest coast-to-coast routes.
In the Cornish hills, a mile can feel like two (a Cornish mile), but it’s a really great place to ride, with lots of cake and places to stay and a fantastic community of cyclists to boot.
Dave Brennan Cycling Campaigner and Pedal on Parliament Organiser
CW speaks with Vincent Walsh of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign about a £20m Cycling City Ambition Grant