“So I don’t think that I like grease and sparks quite as much as I like knitting and baking” Kate said as she handed over a box containing the various pieces of her vintage ladies shopper bike. She’d found the dilapidated Hercules Balmoral online and proceeded to disassemble and strip the entire bike with the intention of refurbishing it, but now it looked like the task of reassembly was going to fall to me. I took the opportunity to break down and rebuild my own bike, which had been my Dad’s mountain bike that he used to ride alongside me when I was a child, and come the start of the summer we had two good-as-new bicycles. Her bike looked classic in black with a brown Brookes saddle and a wicker basket; mine looked like Frankenbike in green and black, with various boxes bolted on and a rack to hold my surfboard hanging off one side.
Kate and I used to live an hour's drive apart, she on the south coast of Cornwall and me about 45 miles away on the north coast. It seemed like a nice idea for our first roll out last summer to be an overnight bicycle camping trip leaving from my home and travelling to hers, pedalling the coast roads and the cycle trails and stopping off at beaches along the way. We’d upcycled our bicycles and we upcycled an awful lot of steep hills as we wound our way down the Cornish coast. What follows is a photographic journal of our trip, shot entirely on 35mm film by Kate and myself:
We should've caught the ferry at high tide.
Long hills and lots of luggage.
Coasting downhill to the beach.
The Upcycling chalkboard.
Kate checking out the distance to our campsite, just the other side of that far headland.
Cyclo-shortcuts to avoid the holiday traffic.
Washing the road off with a quick sunset bellyboard session.
We stopped at backroad farm-stalls to buy fruit and lunch provisions.
Two and a half foot at eight seconds with a light nor-westerly wind. I probably needn't have bothered hauling my surfboard along with me if I'm honest.
A polite reminder to myself for all of the "up" bits.
Can you overflow a bike?
It turns out that Kate's house sits at quite some elevation.
The Last Lane.
The Finish Line.
A big thanks to the team at Babes&Bikes in Wadebridge for sorting out our gears and brakes (and giving my probably quite questionable workmanship the necessary once-over) before we set off on our journey, and to various colleagues of ours for the help and advice that they gave whilst ridiculing how heavy I'd made my bike.