Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Manchester to Blackpool night ride

60 miles overnight on a very wet september night.

Found a drive thru subway in salford where I grabbed my tea on my way to trafford centre - the guy there said his Dad had done the daytime ride & found it hard work. Then my cousin James came along to keep me company til the ride started & he said he thought it'd take me ages on my bike - he did the daytime version the other month . So when I set off I was worried that I wouldnt be able to make it, especially as I'd only done a hand full of hours on the exbike.

Was surprised at how fast places came up, before I knew it I was at Freckleton and I knew that that place is in the general Blackpool vicinity so pushed on. Didn't stop at any of the feed station / rest stops. A group of about 20 of us missed a turn and ended up going through Preston by mistake (up a big hill there too), but a car came to lead us back to the main route. Prob put some extra miles on there.  Really enjoyed the road up Blackrod - there were no street lights tho, so I couldnt see how much of a hill it was, but I fairly powered up it.
To say its generally down to sea level - it felt like most of the route was a gradual uphill with some sharp uphills, only one good bit of down. I was surprised at that.

Lots of nice comments on the bike. Lots of people seemed to know it was a 60s one. Everyone was really friendly - even the speedy pros.
I reckon I finished in the top fifth of people. I ended up with my own pace, riding on my own for about the last 20miles- rather than groups that seemed to form that I'd ridden with earlier- I couldnt see people ahead (or only just ahead) and nobody behind - so I wasnt sure how well I was doing, but when I got to the finish there were about a hundred people there (out of about a thousand riders!) & I'd seen some coming back. Because I was on my own, it felt very nice having everyone cheering me at the finish line, and I had to suck it up not to cry (I had a little blub under the first illumination). I got a medal and good job too - as I got to St Anne's I just thought 'ooh I hope I get a medal'.
There were quite afew people along the route cheering us on - standing outside pubs and waving - non seemed that drunk either. I know they'd been talking about it on the radio, so guess they must have known about it. That was ace.

Enjoyed the illuminations and was so glad of them - think that last two miles would have felt harder had I not had them to look at. They meant I couldnt see the tower either, which was good as it prob would have seemed like it wasnt getting any closer had I fixed my eyes on it. The tower's not covered in lights this year - just afew at the top. Or maybe they didnt turn it on for us. The illuminations along the side werent on. Riding the last two miles under lights that I think had been switched on at that time just for us (I'm pretty sure they usually turn them off overnight) was quite emotional somehow.

Friday, 5 August 2011

One Bike, One Owner for 70+years
Fantastic article about one of the first Evans bikes and it's life. This is putting my in just the right mood for tomorrow's Vintage Bicycle Picnic so I'm glad I stumbled on it.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Scotland Cycling Holiday Day 2

Another unusually sunny and hot summer's day, I got the train to Lochgelly then from memory of looking at the map the night before, I set off in the general direction to get to the lowland's biggest loch, Loch Leven.
I rode up to the little town of Scotlandwell which in the bright day had a distinct American feel to it - the long straight road leading through fields to the little township underneath the hill, then through Portmoak Moss wood to join the loch Levan heritage trail.

The loch has a small castle on an island in it that imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots for two years before her escape.

Loch Leven from above Cleish

After lunching by the lochside I climbed up following the NCN1- where every cyclist other than me was whizzing down the hill. I kept pushing, trying to look like it was a breeze and stopping to 'admire the view' when really I was having a quick breather.

I came off the road onto some fire track at the top of Blairadam forest and spent a leisurely time exploring some of the off road trails through the trees. The forest isnt purpose built for mountain biking and there are no off track signposted routes so it was rather hit & miss with the terrain and I had to stop & start quite alot. I was very grateful for some shade though.

Blairadam Forest
I followed some A & B roads back over the forth bridge to get to a pub I'd seen in south Queensferry the day before for some tea and a much appreciated cold pint and got in a little explore of the quint fishing village before heading back to the b&b.
S Queensferry

The route

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Scotland Cycling Holiday Day 1

Edinburgh and South Fife. Five days of glorious sunshine peddling & walking about in new territory.
I chose North Queensferry for my break, simply because it reminds me of my favourite place, San Francisco. It has a bay, it has bridges, it has hills and woodlands in the area and the gorgeous city of Edinburgh nearby.

view of the Forth Bridges

On my first day, I took it easy after the long drive up north. Twenty miles of gentle riding around the lovely bed and breakfast where I was staying, to get my bearings and to loosen up for the longer rides to follow. And of course to ride over the bridge first of all!

I pottered round the beautiful Forth Bridges down to Port Edgar marina. I love marinas - the sound of the sail masts clinging in the breeze is such  a delightful sound. 

Port Edgar

Back over the bridge and over Ferryhills down to Dalgety Bay to ride back along part of the Fife Coastal Path, through Inverkeithing and a little nature reserve. The path is great for riding on - some paved sections some dirt track (apart from one or two short flights of steps), it's sign posted well and the views are stunning.

Dalgety Bay

Looking towards Edinburgh & the Pentland Hills beyond

On my return to the b&b, I sat on the deck with a salad & glass of wine listening to the lull of the water and the occasional clatter of trains going over the bridge behind me.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

GirlBikeLove guest post
The fab girlbikelove has featured an article I did for them.

Been a busy week here, but all paid off - I have a fantastic promotion at work that I'm very excited about which starts in september so I can really enjoy my summer break now. Lots of riding!!
Back out on la velo tomorrow after missing a week's worth of beautiful evenings to prepare for the interview. Alas I did miss a gorgeous ride to go to the interview - would have been a good un Garstang ride

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Treacle Mines

Sabden & the Nick O Pendle
I'd been really looking forward to free wheeling & zooming down here. As I peddled up through the woods, it started raining & by the time I got to the top of the hill, it was hail stoning. Instead of a lovely whizz down whooping away as I usually do, I was shouting 'ow, ow, ow' with my eyes half closed as the stinging ice pellets got me. Obviously by the time I was ready to peddle back up the hill, the rains had stopped.
Sabden used to be famed for its treacle mines, sadly they're now closed, but I did visit when I was little.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Friday Commute Home

A stunning Friday, the sun beaming down, itching to get out of work I decided to ride home the long way :-) a perfect start to my weekend & powering up the hills is an ideal way to get shut of the working week too.
Up, up, up and onto the tops.

DSC00079 by missgeorgieo
Towards Haslingden Halo
DSC00085 by missgeorgieo
a very bumpy ride!