>Where the Streets Have No Name

>Day 5

A day that promised lots of company – well my parents and my father as a riding companion and my mother as support driver, as I rode from Whitchurch north through the Liverpool/ Manchester conurbation. It was appropriate that the route was to be via Wigan– more on that later.

We left Whitchurch before 0830 and as we headed out of town we passed a MacDonald’s hotel. (No, not run by Ronald). Jo will know what I mean- especially after our efforts to find good accommodation the night before.

A brisk ride up the A49 brought us to the first drink stop at Tarporley. A cuppa and a scone and plotting the next meeting point. My mother was driving along and meeting us regularly for drinks and snacks. (A real labour of love for a mother who has no interest in cycling- thanks mum.)

The next meeting point was to @ Wilderspool in Warrington. It would be an easy place to find as there is a big rugby stadium there, home of Warrington Wolves. A text from my mother was received saying that she could not find the rugby ground, but had found a Morrison’s supermarket for my dad (he loves their cafe). Upon leaving this stop, I realised why my mother could not find the rugby ground – it had been demolished some years ago and a new ground built elsewhere. I think the supermarket was on the site of the old ground.

Next stop was to be Standish. This was to be a 20 mile ride to lunch break. This was where the fun started.

THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER
Standish is a couple of miles north of Wigan, so we would ride through Wigan and the famous Pier. When we got north of Warrington, there is a big roundabout where the motorway, the A49 and the A580 all come together. We needed to head up the A49, so I took that route, my mother went on the motorway and my dad went another way (or so he says!) I should mention that my dad doesn’t like riding in the rain, and the rain was falling heavily now.

I tried to ring/ text both of them, but couldn’t make contact, so headed up towards Wigan and Standish. I arrived in Wigan alone and stopped at the Pier and took the obligatory photo. I appeared to be the only one of the three who knew the road to Wigan Pier.

KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING
I road on from Wigan heading to Standish, but my GPS took me away from Standish to Chorley and the A6 road. I blame it on their being no street names at the roundabout near Standish. I then got texts from my mother to say my dad had eventually found Standish and was travelling by car with her having bailed out of riding. I do wonder where he bailed out at – Warrington or Standish?

I still had 30 miles to ride in a gale and pouring rain. I had not yet had any lunch. It took me until north of Preston to eventually meet my parents. I had by then done 60+ miles. The old man couldn’t be persuaded to return to riding the last 18 or so miles to Lancaster. So it was left to me to keep the aspidistra flying!

(19) 84?
I rode the last 18 miles to Lancaster at a cracking pace. Arriving at my cousin’s home only an hour after setting off from Broughton – some 18miles away. I was pleased with being able to ride that fast despite having done so many miles today. The total distance today should have been 84 miles, but sadly I ended up doing an extra little bit.

ANIMAL FARM?
Who mentioned my family?

Today’s Data
85.9 miles ridden
6 hours – time taken
Average speed 14.3 mph

4469 feet ascended

Only 3 sleeps now till Jo joins me and my parent’s depart. I can’t wait for that. [Editor’s comment – wait for what?]

>Strange Town

>Day 4
Waking up in the beautiful town of Monmouth was a reminder of the beauty of this United Kingdom. surely it was an omen of a great day ahead.

Think again Peter.

After last night’s gentle last ten miles from Tintern to Monmouth, I expected more of the same today. How wrong I was. The road to Hereford was not only very lumpy, but was accompanied by a strong headwind. Indeed, in the first hour I had done little more than nine miles. I had a 100 mile day ahead of me. I despaired of being able to complete the same. I was hoping to head to Whitchurch in Shropshire and meet my parents there. I texted them to suggest that Shrewsbury would be a better meeting place some 20 miles less distance.

I eventually reached Hereford and found myself outside the local football ground. Being a Newcastle fan, blessed with that always say die attitude, I had to take a picture of the ground. As I took the picture, a man approached me and said, “You wouldn’t believe that lot once beat Newcastle!” AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dont Have Nightmares

How did he know I was a Toon fan or is this the only thing that people in Hereford have to speak about. happy to be leaving Hereford, I continued up the main A49 towards Shrewsbury fighting the North Easterly wind as I headed in a generally North/ North East direction. However, I was feeling good and strong and was eating up the miles. Lunch in Craven Arms (not, its a place not a pub) was followed by a good ride up to Shrewsbury where after a total of 76 miles

I met my parents in a service station. I was able to give my bags to my mother who was driving a support car. My father and I then rode briskly into the headwind towards Whitchurch after having arranged to meet my mother at a Little Chef my father knew. However he appeared to have a bit of insomnia and was unable to find the same. So we rode into the centre of Whitchurch and rang my mother to meet us at Tesco’s in the town centre.

Whilst waiting for my mother to arrive, I had a ride round the town to try to find a B&B. the town centre did not have any apparent B&Bs, nor did it have anything more modern than about 1975. I don’t want to say it was a dump, but…..I asked a male in Tesco’s car park if he could recommend anywhere to stay for the night. He asked me where I had ridden from and when told Lands End he suggested I should head back there as Whitchurch was a dump.

Eventually we did find a decent hotel run by a former time-trialler cyclist. The hotel regularly gets LEJoGers or JoGLErs staying over.

A strange town indeed So to sum up today, another 100 miler day through glorious English/ Welsh rolling countryside. At times this morning as I progressed in the rural areas I was reminded of the Famous 5.

I did resist the temptation to have lashings of ginger beer for lunch.

Today’s Data
100 miles ridden (over 350 in total)
Riding time 7hrs 32mins
Av speed 13.3mph
6243 feet climbed (& this was supposed to be a flat day!)