2014 saw me cycling more miles in any year since I learnt to ride a bike in 1955. Now that was a bike; a dark green secondhand Hercules Jeep with one speed and rod-brakes. My present bikes are a slight improvement; a Felt QX90 with only 30 gears and a Dawes Karakum with 29. Both are set up to ease my decrepitude. I use butterfly bars carefully positioned so my neck doesn’t scream and no bike-fit could sort that! To those who are road bike or mountain bike they are awful bikes, but they suit me fine and that is all that matters. However I did overtake a pair of road cyclists (pre-Mamils) whose combined age was less than mine 🙂
This year I rode 5527 miles in total, 3262 on the Felt , 2251 on the Dawes and 14 on my brother’s bike. My average recorded speed was about 11mph and on a ride rarely averaged 10 mph, unless it was a short ride of under 30 miles. My longest ride was 94 miles from York to Garstang in connection with the diocesan festival. It took me 9 hours and 40 minutes. I topped 70 a couple of times and often did over 50.
Almost all my cycling was from home, except for the ride from York and one round Lake Coniston. This ancient geological map of Lancashire shows the extent of my riding as it has been almost exclusively in Lancashire. And mostly north of the river Ribble. However I do regret not cycling in the Yorkshire Dales but did spend 6 days hill-walking there.
I always take my tiny waterproof camera with me and thus include a section of photos, which I have selected to show what the area is like. I have not photo-shopped them so as to give a right feel. At times the countryside is grey and sombre and photos should reflect that. I puke at photos in which colours are enhanced beyond all reality. I prefer God’s understatement in the beauty of his Creation.
I cannot say why I cycle, except I do not do it to get fit!! I prefer to explore and base my routes on Ordnance Survey maps and look for whatever is there; scenery, geology, flowers, birds, animals, churches , buildings. I look for new roads and see what’s there.
You never know whom you will meet!
Cycling the Fylde
To non-Lancastrians the Fylde is the flat orange bit in the middle left of the map. The highest point is 45m so it is flat. On the coast is Blackpool but the area inland is mostly farming with a plethora of minor lanes and ideal lazy cycling country. My routes there vary from 20 to 50 miles and as I cycle all year I get the varying seasons and weather. I once had to cycle 20 miles home in pouring rain. Thus, when I took the photo of the rainbow near Nateby, it was a wet late January afternoon. It was grey but lighten up by a rainbow. My feet were probably wet and the bike caked with mud.
Coast at Lytham Field by levee of River Wyre
Nr Weeton, Blackpool Tower in distance Elswick Church (often take services there)
Wharles village and entrance to fracking site
snowdoprs on f’path near Scronky Lytham Windmill (anti-fracking protest behind w’mill!
River Wyre at Stannah (nr mouth) Rainbow in January near Nateby
Salter Fell Road
There is a fantastic unmade-up road/track going between Wray and Slaidburn, which gives 10 miles of “tarmac-free” riding. I did it for the third time in June, giving me a 60 mile ride, with a lot of climbing as I had three major climbs. Needless to say my speed dropped to 9 mph but it was a great ride across wild moorland.
Looking towards salter Fell, after tow big climbs I had to drop steeply down to the stream, through a gate (second photo), up a 1in5 or 25% hill , down and and then another 270 metres of climbing to the top of Salter Fell.
On top of salter Fell
Cycling round Coniston Lake
Brantwood, home of Ruskin Coniston Old Man, a great lakes mountain
Small pier on Lake Coniston
My longest ride was from York see https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/carrying-the-archbishop-from-york-to-Lytham/
The Forest of Bowland
This lies to the east of the Fylde and goes up to 1700 ft . The tops are rough walking and unsuitable for bikes – of any sort as mountain bikes cause damage To get a flavour of it read https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/loss-and-gain-peat-in-the-forest-of-bowland/
I find the roads fantastic for scenery which is always changing. some hills are steep but always rewarding. I reckon the round (40 miles) from Garstang , through the Trough of Bowalnd, Whitewell, Chipping and back to Garstang one of the best rides in Britain and do it several times a year.
Favourite tree near Garstang By Sykes Farm in Trough. Limestone outcrop with 300 yr mine workings
Summit of trough of Bowland at 950ft and then descent to Sykes
Close to the source of the Wyre at Marshaw
And LASTL, three photos taken on my Christmas Day ride
Cockerham and snow covered Ward Stone (571m) behind
Trubines near Nateby
And finally two sunset shots just above Garstang , five miles from home
And so it points to 2015