Well crikey. What a fantastic day.
57 miles or so: a mix of city and coast, of sunshine and showers, of main roads and cycle paths.
We started a bit late, not leaving our campsite until 11ish.
(Our standard morning campsite ritual is: wake up, go and shower (balance on one foot to put your pants back on while standing on a wet floor), have a coffee (Alistair) and a tea (Dafydd), cook and eat porridge (pre-prepared brilliantly by Daf), discuss the day’s route, amend it according to various whims and necessities, wash up, pack everything up, load the bikes, depart. It generally takes about two and a half hours.)
We headed up to Preston, and on from there on fairly main A roads, but which had cycle lanes, so were okay. Then we bounced from one side of the M6 to the other as we meandered along National Cycle Route 6 heading towards Lancaster. There were some fine pylons along the way:
It was about this time the first heavy shower hit, but it didn’t last too long.
At Conder Green Route 6 became a ‘traffic free route’ – which means no cars. Brilliant. Dedicated cycle routes are the best.
We fetched up in Lancaster around mid-afternoon, just as the rain began again in earnest. At which point my gear cable decided it had had enough, and wrestled itself free from my gear shifters. I sheltered under a bridge to fiddle (pointlessly) with the cable, and turned round to find a good friend from London standing there, in Lancaster for the weekend visiting a friend. Life’s odd like that sometimes.
Thankfully (especially given how remote some of our wanderings have been), we were only a few yards from a great bike shop, Edge Cycleworks, and they fixed my ride up on the spot. How good is that. The rain had even tailed off by the time they were done.
We continued along more bike path, Route 69, to Morecambe. It’s a bit of a departure from the standard end-to-end route, but I wanted to check out the Flock of Words – a typographic artwork created by Gordon Young, Russ Coleman and the design group Why Not Associates.
The piece is a 300m long path inlaid with poems, sayings, jokes and phrases all about birds. It’s beautifully designed, a really joyous piece of public art.
But, while that was great, it was far outdone by Morecambe itself. While we were there the rain clouds vanished, and this stunning part of the Lancashire coastline positively glistened in the late afternoon sun.
I found myself riding along the seafront with a huge grin on my face, staring out across Morecambe bay, revelling in Mother Nature doing her thing so very, very well; and simply feeling glad to be alive.
From there it was a beautiful ride along the coast to the wonderful Gibraltar Farm campsite, which we pulled into just as the sun began to set.