komoot singletrack classic ride cornwall issue 128

Classic Ride 129 – Cornish Classic

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Barney journeys back to his Cornish roots to bring you this West Country classic ride.

Words & Photography Barney Marsh

Long has my family boasted of ties to Cornwall, despite our predominantly Northern roots. My mother and grandmother were born there. My aunt lives there. My mother, sister and niece are named after villages there. We regularly used to holiday in the deepest, most inaccessible parts of the county. My childhood memories of Cornwall, then, are of massively steep hills, dropping down to dark, shadowy coves. Of pebbled beaches surrounded by massive, imposing rocky edifices. Of scraping bare feet on barnacles. Of watery ‘cola’, toweringly high hedges, and an almost visceral sense of claustrophobia. No wide open places here, no expansive views. I never remember feeling more inside a place, almost under it, as I did in Cornwall.

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Barney Marsh takes the word ‘career’ literally, veering wildly across the road of his life, as thoroughly in control as a goldfish on the dashboard of a motorhome. He’s been, with varying degrees of success, a scientist, teacher, shop assistant, binman and, for one memorable day, a hospital laundry worker. These days, he’s a dad, husband, guitarist, and writer, also with varying degrees of success. He sometimes takes photographs. Some of them are acceptable. Occasionally he rides bikes to cast the rest of his life into sharp relief. Or just to ride through puddles. Sometimes he writes about them. Bikes, not puddles. He is a writer of rongs, a stealer of souls and a polisher of turds. He isn’t nearly as clever or as funny as he thinks he is.

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