Woke up late today so I didn't get out till 10am. The bike club was doing a car assisted run from Garstang and as I don't have a car, I can't go. A bike club that requires the use of a car...the irony.
It looked like it was going to be a warm day so shorts and long sleeve jersey were worn again.
I'd printed out a series of maps using Bike Route Toaster ( http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Default.aspx ) last night with a planned route that included a cycle path from Heywood to Smithy Bridge, around Hollingworth Lake, along the Pennine Bridleway back to the lake, up to Bacup and home again. Certain events transpired to cause a change of plan on the second half of the ride.
I followed the route across the tops through Ainsworth and through Bury town center. I turned off Bury & Rochdale Old Road to pass Queens Park and took the canal cycleway just off Edinburgh Way. I followed that to Smithy Bridge. The cycle path wasn't pretty to say the least. There was rubbish everywhere and even on the banks of the canal too. It was horrible. Plenty of geese and ducks though. The path itself was ok. Fairly smooth, but some parts going under bridges were narrow, cobbled at times and a few went around sharp bends. Not wanting a bath, I got off and walked.
About halfway along the trail, I decided it was warm enough for short sleeves so thats wha happened. A Tesco strawberry flavoured cereal bar was munched too. There were quite a few walkers about and one elderly lady said to her husband that I should have a bell. I said excuse me to warn them I was coming up behind them. Maybe I'll refit the bell tomorrow. Clearly some people prefer to be scared shitless from some eejit ringing his bell as loud a s possible on a quiet lane. Oh well.
Hollingworth Lake was busy as hell and trying to cycle past people who couldn't make up their mind as too which way they were walking required lots of patience. The crunch came at the pavilion cafe on the south side of the lake. I locked up the bike and went inside to order a coffee. There was only one lady there with her son and her dad. Not content with changing her mind several times over what drinks to get and helped by her son, she went on to order full meals for all 3 of them. I'd already been stood waiting 5 minutes by this time and lost my patience. I walked out, unlocked the bike and set off again in the hope that I'd find another coffee stop somewhere. I didn't succeed.
I got onto the PennineBridleway and to be honest, I began to wonder where the hell I was. The maps I had lacked detail and that left me guessing which way and when to turn left or right. The long sleeved jersey was put back on and another Tesco chew bar was scoffed. After a longish and gruelling sharp climb, I stopped at the top to ask a mountain biker for help on the location problem. He was almost as clueless as me thanks to the maps crudeness. He did assure me though that as long as I stayed on the trail, it would lead me to what I hoped was the road I was looking for. I set off and took the ride pretty damn carefully...it was a mountain bike trail and much more bumpy than I had anticipated.
|Mountain Biking on a Touring Bike!|
A little past where I turned off for Queenspark, I decided to park up on the footpath and put my tights and windproof on. I was freezing and my backside needed the additional padding that the tights provided. I had already decided to skip the scenic route into and home from Bacup and chose the easier ride that brought me here a couple times before.
Going through Bolton, I overtook another dude on a mountain bike and was promptly honked at by a car behind. As she passed, I waved. Then another car passed and the passenger shouted "Get back in line nobhead!". He got the finger response. Bradford Street is plenty wide enough for a bike and car to share it without being cramped. The wind had also gained in strength as usual and was now pissing me off as I struggled to do 10mph on the flats. I got home around 3.30pm.
4.28 hours to cover 42.50 miles averaging 9.5mph and hitting 29.1mph.