Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesCornwall In Winter 2017

Why Oh Why Oh Why?

By Ren Withnell

"I'm going to Cornwall."
"What, it's January, why are you going there at this time of year?"

That sums up most of my conversations last month. Here, let me explain my foolhardy idea, because I'm sick of explaining it so I can just refer people to this website. 

This time of year sucks. I'm not really a fan of Christmas but when Christmas is over the whole world seems to go into hibernation. No one's going out, no one's riding motorcycles and the weather is either cold, wet or cold and wet. It's boring it's dark it's just miserable.

I think I suffer a little "SAD", seasonal affective disorder. I consider myself lucky in that it's not terrible, I don't get into the gnawing dark depression that some folks do. I merely find my mood is subdued and my motivation lacking. I notice it most at the start of spring oddly enough, it's as though I wake up and realise I've not been at my best. That's why I'm trying to go on a little adventure, to push myself and to achieve something, anything other than trudging through another winter.

Why Cornwall? Curiosity, that's why. I've been a few times in summer and enjoyed body-boarding on the sun-kissed beaches, ice creams in the beach bars, walks along the craggy coastlines and exploring delightful fishing villages. It is a beautiful area but not without its problems. The beauty and sun attracts visitors much like myself in vast numbers which leads to crowds and gridlock which can take the shine of things.

Sharon on her body board in the sun on Perranporth beachSharon enjoyed the summer sun in Cornwall and even caught the body board bug.

I have this notion that the whole peninsula is all but deserted in the winter. I see empty beaches bereft of both sunshine and joie de vivre, closed cafes, shuttered surf shacks, lonesome coves and sand dunes spreading across once full car parks. However. Regular readers will know my imagination and reality seldom are the same. I am trying to keep a more open mind and to take Cornwall as it comes. There is only one way to find out and that's to go and see for myself.

Sharon asks me an interesting question - "Are you looking forward to it, are you excited?" Nope. What is there to be excited about? 340 miles of motorway and dual carriageway? Empty campsites with no-one to talk to? Cold? Wind? Rain? The risk of snow and ice? Whatever I learn I am sure there will be no bikini clad girls beckoning me into the warm sea. There'll be no warm and pleasant days out on the bikes with friends. All I can look forward to is hardship of some order with the odd chance of an occasional moment of interest or curiosity.

So why go, why put myself through this? A good friend who we'll meet later, once told me "when I die and my life flashes before my eyes, I don't want to be bored."

Why Oh Why Oh Why? Ren explains why he thinks it's a good idea to travel to a UK holiday destination in winter. Kind of like asking a madman why he's mad really.
Eating The Elephant It's the first two days of Ren's brief jolly to Cornwall in January. Motorways, could anything interesting possibly happen?
My Guided Tour The winter sun is out in Cornwall and Ren gets a brief yet perfect guided tour of one area. What more could he ask for?
Familiar Faces, Familiar Places It's the fourth day of the Cornwall expedition. After hypothermia comes sunshine and the chance to catch up with an old friend.
Devonian Delights It's another cold cold morning as Ren starts the journey back home. He's expecting a rather dull ride today but there's a few surprises in the countryside.
Meeting Ian Before Ren returns home to end his Cornish expedition he meets a certain Mr Ian Soady.
What Did I Learn? After returning home from his Cornish adventure Ren is asking himself what he has leared and was it all worth the effort?

Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
little "SAD", seasonal affective disorder.

More like "mad"

I'm thinking of going to work on my bike this week as the traffic is hell. And here I am thinking I'm the mad one.
22/01/2017 20:37:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Don't tell me you've wimped out and used the car Pocketpete?! What with you being all waterproof and warm too.
23/01/2017 00:05:28 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Yes had man flu. So took the car for a week to keep warm. Back on the bike this week. My body and hands are toasty on the bike. My feet are encased in my wonderful daytona boots. But face and neck suffering.

Bikes filthy covered in mud and crap will I ever be able to get it shiny again. The joys of biking.

I'm going to pay Sharon to clean it in the spring. And get you to change the oil and fix anything that's gone wrong. I will provide the bacon.
23/01/2017 22:04:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
So you will PAY Sharon to wash ya bike but I get a bacon butty? I think I got the best deal.

I just hope you lubricate the chain every day. Either that or get Bob to fit a Scottoiler for you.
24/01/2017 07:21:35 UTC

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