25.07.2011 - 28.07.2011
After rounding the Wirral I had to cross the Mersey, so I caught a ferry, and yes they do play the song. I could hardly keep a straight face. On the Liverpool side there is much evidence of declining industries, much of the quayside has derelict wasteland or warehouses, quite depressing. Riding through Southport I could not believe the size of the houses, huge mansions everywhere. The beach here was strange, I couldn't see the sea and the beach seemed to have grass growing on it in some places. I stopped and asked for directions from some other cyclists who were from Bolton Hot Wheels. A group of people ranging fron 8 to 80 with the older riders aiming to get young people into cycling. One girl had only started to cycle that year and was going to do the coast to coast. The oldest cyclist said if he was half his age he would of come along with me.
By the time I got to Lythan St Anne's there was a head wind that was blowing sand into my face, I was not enjoying that. I saw a sign for a private school that said "If you aim for the moon and miss, at least you will be amongst the stars." What are they teaching those kids and what dumb ass parent would send their child to a school that says that.
I then cycled through Blackpool, I could tell you what I thought of that, but I'd better not. Maybe it was the headwind that coloured my opinion. I did take the photo you see below and tweet that I must have taken a wrong turn and ended up in Paris by mistake. My next tweet said "Silly me Paris doesn't stink of chips, this must be Blackpool."
I camped near the river Wyre that night and was over taken the following morning by Pete and Mick. They were two retired friends from Blackpool that were happy for me to slipstream them. This was the first cyclists I had ridden with since the first day with Paddy. These guys were fit, they were planning to do a hundred miles that day. It was great to have help with the navigation and a bit of company, we even ate lunch at Siverdale before they headed back. I hope I am that fit when I get to their age.
I carried on solo following the coast next to Morecambe Bay, what a lovely place it is. I had to ride along the A590 for a short while and I was not impressed by the room given to cyclists by some of the drivers, it was not even a narrow road. I took the road towards Barrow in Furness and Met up with a young triathalete called Pete Denness, he even slowed down from his training ride to chat. On finding out what I was doing and seeing how I was struggling up some of the hills he invited me to his place for some food, "Don't worry my Mum will cook for you, you can even stay in the front room." True to his word the Denness family were very accommodating. Thank you for your trust and generosity.
I left Roose (near Barrow) and soon my front pannier rack broke. I went to every cycle shop in Barrow and not one had racks for sale, but one shop sent me to a Gilmour fabrications that was run by a cyclist called Mark. They welded the aluminium rack and did not even charge me. Thank you Barrow, really showed the wonderful side of the human spirit.
I carried on up the coast to Mawbray, this totalled 91 miles for the day and I had a massive delay getting the pannier rack fixed. On waking the following morning it was raining heavily, so I decided to rest, read and eat in my tent. Eventually I broke camp and rode the 5 miles to Silloth and stopped at a cafe to eat some more. I met up with another cyclist called Tony in the cafe and the weather had cleared up, we rode along together and swapped stories. Tony was 68 years old and was riding the route of Hadrian's Wall, 168 miles and he was planing to do it in four days. It was nice going at Tony's pace and we managed 35 miles together, we stopped for a cup of tea and even had food together in Carlise before going our own ways. The amazing thing about Tony was that he had a stroke two years previously. I told him about my fathers stroke and how it was a motivating factor for me doing this ride. I was even raising money for the stroke association. Talking to Tony about his stoke and recovery gave me optimism over my fathers condition and I can now see the progress moving quite fast. Tony's medical staff told him that for up to four years there can be improvements.
After leaving Tony in Carlise I did over 30 miles in two hours, this taught me about pacing myself. When I had ridden with Pete and Mick I went fast early in the day, come the evening I had little energy left. When I rode with Tony I went slow in the morning and afternoon then could go very fast in the evening. This distance took me across the border into Scotland. I rode through Annan and had to do a double take at a shop that was carrying my name, I thought I needed my eyes testing at first.