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Body discovered at popular mountain biking spot but mystery surrounds final movements and bike is missing

Police in Cornwall have appealed for help in ascertaining the last movements of a keen cyclist found dead at a popular mountain biking venue – but while he was dressed in riding kid, his bike has not been found.

The body of David Alderson, aged 72, was discovered at Wheal Maid near Carharrack at around 9am on the morning of Saturday 18 January, reports the Western Morning News.

The retired driving instructor, who lived in Falmouth, was a keen cyclist and is said to have suffered a head injury consistent with a fall from a bike.

The 72-year-old was an enthusiastic cyclist. He had suffered a head injury consistent with a fall, although it is not known whether that caused his death, and his bike has still not been found.

Police say it may have looked as though it was abandoned and it is possible someone may have taken it for safekeeping.

Detective Constable Julian Lewis of Devon & Cornwall Police said: “Mr Alderson’s neighbours said he cycled daily.”

“However none of them saw him set off on Saturday morning.

“He was found in cycling clothes and the presumption is that he went up there on his bike.

“However, we do need to find that bike. It’s possible someone found it and couldn’t see the owner so took it home.

“We would like anyone who has found that bike to get in touch. It is the last piece of the jigsaw.”

Police deployed a helicopter to search for the bike to no avail, and one theory is that the location where Mr Alderson’s body was found is not the same as the one where whatever mishap befell him occurred.

DC Lewis explained: “Perhaps he cycled up there and had an accident but was able to walk off from where that accident took place, then perhaps somebody came along and took the bike away.”

Initially, police also appealed for help in finding Mr Alderson's Ford Fiesta car, which was subsequently found in a street close to his home.

His son, Christopher Alderson, said his father, originally from Yorkshire, had moved to Cornwall some 30 years ago and the pair had not seen each other for eight years.

He told the newspaper: “It’s quite emotional, a bit of a shock.

“A bit sad to know that, even though we didn’t see each other that much, he won’t be there to talk to anymore.”

Devon & Cornwall Police can be contacted via the non-emergency number, 101.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.