Cycling fever pitch is rising this weekend with Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.

To ease my left big toe pain I ended up doing a few short cycling trips  whilst in France last week.  After my last forays on my old road bike in the local hills I decided I needed lower gearing, so whilst I was away I had the front rings replaced to improve matters. The last couple of days I’ve been out on my bike again in Lancs. Many of the roads nearby are ‘classified’ as quiet country lanes – not that that makes much difference to the boy racers or the posh 4×4 brigade.

There has been an effort in the last few weeks to resurface some of the worst potholed sections which I have to be grateful for. Enjoyed a pleasant, short, circular ride today out to Bashall Eaves and back via Chipping in rather dull weather but it never rained. The hamlet of Walker Fold passes by in a flash, even at my speed.  The bridge over the River Hodder is the lowest point on the ride and today the river is running low. Uphill to Bashall Barn, a popular cafe developed in the need for farm diversification. The hamlet of Bashall Eaves is only a few scattered properties. The pub is sadly only open now at weekends, rural pubs are having a hard time round here. Called The Red Pump it has a history of a mysterious, unsolved murder in 1934.

Once past Browsholme Hall with its Tithe Barn [another cafe!] and the small hamlet called Cow Ark I was onto an old stretch of Roman Road, Watling Street linking Chaster to Carlisle. It can be traced over Longridge Fell visible down Chipping Vale.

Passed an old cheese press near a dairy. Chipping Vale produces a lot of Lancashire cheeses to this day.Quicker progress was made down the lanes into Chipping with its narrow streets. I resisted the café as I was home in 15 mins with no sprint finish.

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