Cycling the Camel Trail

Sign painted on a fence that says Bodmin with a steam train next to it.

When we bought M’s bike and FollowMe tandem, we were hopeful that we would be able to go on some family bike rides (as well as cycle commuting to nursery/school). It seemed fortuitous that the person we bought the bike and tandem from had taken his children to ride the Camel Trail.

Although I’d never ridden the Camel Trail before, I’d heard that it’s a good route for beginners as it’s relatively wide and flat, with smooth paths. It also had the advantage of being near to where my aunt lives. Another bonus is that it’s possible to hire bikes, so we knew my mum would be able to join us.

My mum has a bike, but it’s not very comfortable for her to ride and she is keen to try an e-bike, so we thought this would be an ideal opportunity. Hire bikes are in huge demand on the Camel Trail this summer, so we had to book over a week in advance. This turned out to be fortuitous, as the second week of our holiday had much better weather.

Wadebridge to Padstow

We drove up to Wadebridge, ready to start at 9:15am. My mum went to the bike hire place whilst we parked our car. I popped into Lidl to buy some chewy bars. M came with me and managed to persuade me to buy some cinnamon swirls.

The first part of the ride was very easy. The path was wide flat tarmac. It was clear that there were a lot of novice cyclists around as they were weaving all over the path. Maybe M will be one of them next year. There were also several people who were cycling with their dogs on long leads. It was really hard to pass them with bikes coming towards us.

The views from the cycle path were lovely. We could see the river Camel for the most part. We stopped at a bench in Padstow, where M persuaded us it was time to eat half a cinnamon swirl each. She also told me that her hands hurt and that she needed my cycling mitts, so I gave them to her.

Small boats in the River Camel.

Back to Wadebridge

When we got back to Wadebridge, it was late morning. M said she was hungry, so we stopped at Behind the Bike Sheds for some food.

M smiling. She is wearing a cycling helmet and a pair of mitts that are too large.

Mum and M had bacon rolls. They were enormous, but M managed to eat all of hers. Stu had a bike shed hotdog and I had grilled smoked halloumi with roasted garlic aioli, pepperonata, gem lettuce, avocado and cress. It was absolutely delicious.

M standing by a crazy bike with two extra wheels attached at the front and the back. The extra wheels don't touch the ground.
M posing with the bike sculpture outside Behind the Bike Sheds.

Wadebridge to Bodmin

After lunch, we decided to head east to Bodmin. This part of the trail was quite different from the western half. It was much shadier. Much of the path is alongside the Bodmin Wenford railway. M liked looking out for the stations. There is also a popular cafe, the Camel Trail Tea Garden, which is near Boscarne Junction. Although the trail had been quite quiet, there were hundreds of bikes outside it.

Once we got to Bodmin, we stopped for some drinks. Stu had a look at my bike, which seemed to have a slow puncture.

4 bikes against a swing frame with no swings. Stuart is fixing a flat tyre.

I had a look at the information signs and took M to the small playground that was there.

A sign giving information about cycle trails and other tourist attractions around Bodmin.

M was particularly taken by the Bodmin sign with a steam train on it. In the photo she is pretending to be a train!

A sign painted on a fence that says 'Welcome to Historic Bodmin' with a picture of a steam train. M is standing by the fence doing a gesture to indicate a train.

Back to Wadebridge

The ride back to Wadebridge was all downhill. It was lovely and warm. M stopped pedalling for the last couple of miles as she said her little legs were very tired. Considering that she had pedalled for 22 miles by that point, I think she’d done really well.

We stopped again at Behind the Bike Sheds for drinks and ice cream for M.

A cup of coffee with a picture of a bike on it. There is a homemade amaretti biscotti balanced on the lid.

Would I ride the Camel Trail again?

This was a really lovely day out. The Camel Trail is a beautiful smooth route with only gentle inclines. I think if I were to do the route again, I would perhaps go into Padstow to explore. I would also be tempted to try some of the other cafes out. Relatives live just a couple of miles from the Camel Trail Tea Garden, so I think we would be likely to cycle from their house to the trail, so we would be able to stop for lunch in Padstow before pedalling back.

This route is much easier than the Coast to Coast trail. Hopefully, next summer, M will be steering and braking more confidently, so she’ll be able to ride solo (without the FollowMe tandem).

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