I throw the bike in the back of the car, wondering when I last rode it, and drive down to Red Scar. There is some parking just off the route of The Guild Wheel, that 21mile circuit of Preston. I’ve written about it many times but have not ridden it this year. This is what I had to say in March 2014…
In 1179, King Henry II granted Preston the right to have a Guild and awarded the town its first royal charter. The Guild was an organisation of traders, craftsmen and merchants, who had a monopoly of trade in the town. Gatherings for renewing membership were infrequent, but from 1542 Preston Guild took place every 20 years. In 1790 there was freedom of trade in the town, which abolished the need for a Guild. But people continued to celebrate the Guild, as its festivities had developed into prestigious social occasions, which continues to this day.
The Guild Wheel cycle route has been created as a lasting legacy of the 2012 Preston Guild. The 21-mile route makes the most of the different landscapes that surround the city, creating a rich and varied environment for people to enjoy on foot and cycle.
After I had the greasy chain back on its awkward sprockets I choose to go around anticlockwise though there are a couple of steep hills whichever way you go. The sun is low and I’m often in the shade making it cold on my hands. Also, the staccato sunlight through gaps in the trees and hedges is disturbing to my vision and brain. New housing developments start before I have gone very far and continue along most of the Northern stretch. Where there were building sites last year suburban living has moved in. Greenfields are disappearing at an alarming rate and I don’t know how some narrow roads will cope with the increased traffic. We will look back with regret at the speed of development and minimal sensible planning just to get those few thousand more houses.
Last week I discovered the pinfold in Great Eccleston and today I stop to take photos of the one on the old A6 in Broughton which people drove past without realising it was there. So much more peaceful now with the bypass, there are some advantages to new road schemes.
My usual café in the University playing fields is closed today, query due to Covid-19 restrictions. Further on past the Ribble Link canal a new road is being constructed coming off the M55 into north-west Preston. It looks to be a major engineering scheme not due for completion until 2024, watch this space.
The tide is out as I pass through the dockland area with lots of mud showing in the Ribble. On the edge of the docks are the Sea Cadets wooden cabins which originated as the WW2 prisoner of war camp on Moor Park, which I mentioned the other day. It becomes busier with pedestrians as I come into Miller and Avenham parks. Time for a sit down and snack on the promenade near the starting/finishing mileage post. Then it’s alongside the river to the Motorway before entering Brockholes Nature Reserve. People are wandering about with binoculars and massive lenses but I see very little.
The last pull up that steep hill in the woods, pushing the bike, and I’m through the crematorium and back at the car. Definitely feeling stiff from the unaccustomed cycling exercise.