My bike has lain in the back of my estate car since early June when the day after a ride in Morecambe Covid eventually caught up with me, but that’s another story. Today was my first ride since then. I was pleased with my progress to Glasson Dock along the Lancaster Cycleway on the old railway track. A cheese and onion slice at the wonderful village shop went down a treat. Forget the touristy snack bar on the marina. I watched the children ( and their Dads) catching crabs from the dockside. All I had to do was cycle back the 10 miles to Halton.
The only excitement along the way was a lady cyclist who came past me remarkably quickly. Of course, she was on an electric bike and disappeared into the distance. That set me thinking.
- Would it be worth buying one, how long does the battery last, how heavy are they? For me, one would only be useful for that extra push up the hills that I find increasingly difficult.
- How legal are they on cycleways shared by pedestrians? One would not be allowed a motorcycle on a cycle/pedestrian route. Apparently in cities they are becoming the transport of choice for muggers snatching valuables – silent assassins.
I pedalled sedately along into Lancaster. How many times have I been past the Maritime Museum and never visited it? I was in no rush so decided there and then to rectify that omission. They kindly allowed me to take my bike inside as I didn’t have a lock. £2 admission fee seemed very reasonable, if I had carried my Art Fund Card with me, it would have been cheaper.
One and a half hours later I emerged from the museum well satisfied. It is based in the original Lancaster Docks C18th Custom House and an enjoining warehouse overlooking the Lune on St. George’s Quay. (header photo)
Before Lancaster Port and Glasson Dock were established Sunderland Point was the main port on the Lune.
There were extensive and informative displays on the history of the port of Lancaster, focused on the transatlantic trade which made the city prosperous. This obviously involved the slave trade picking up Africans cheaply and transporting them inhumanly to the West Indies for profit and then the goods that then came back to Britain – sugar, rum, cotton, timber, tobacco. Ship building became a significant industry in the area and a furniture making firm Gillow’s established itself in the C18th. Felt hats were manufactured in Lancaster which I didn’t know. All these facets of life in Lancaster were thoroughly explained with a great selection of artefacts and photographs.
There was detailed information on the history of the local fishing industries. Salmon from the Lune, Shrimps, cockles and mussels from Morecambe Bay.
The perilous sands of Morecambe Bay were explored with mentions of the ancient crossing routes, still possible today with a local guide. The many deaths though were highlighted.
Morecambe had its own history from a minor fishing port, to a passenger port for the Isle of Man and Ireland, a bustling early and mid C20th holiday resort (Bradford by the Sea) and the development of the port of Heysham not forgetting its nuclear power stations. All presented with excellent interpretation and original artefacts.
The coming of the canals and the railways was well documented. Included were the original plans for an Aqueduct over the Ribble at Preston to connect to the Leeds Liverpool Canal, this never was materialised, and instead the tram bridge was constructed. The latter is currently closed due to safety issues and one wonders whether there is the will or the finance to repair this historic structure. I was impressed with the ‘express’ passenger canal barge preserved in an upper room, these, with regularly changed horses, reduced the time of travel on the Lancaster Canal when coach travel on rutted roads was slow and uncomfortable.
A lot of the exhibits were to attract children with interactive features, but this didn’t distract from the amount of serious, learned and well presented history throughout.
In a room in the warehouse section I watched a video detailing the history of Lancaster since Roman times. Well worth the time. By then the café had closed, and they were ready to throw me out at 4pm closing time. Highly recommended, and you need a couple of hours in there to appreciate all the exhibits.
I was the last car at the Halton Station.
Looks like a decent museum that, BC. Well worth a visit. Did you see that programme on BBC1 the other day about Sunderland Point – very interesting. There was a lot more that I didn’t know about it even after reading up on Wikipedia after I walked through. Here’s the link to it on iPlayer…
As for electric bikes, I’d recommend one. Far more sedate, and allows you to do a walk without getting knackered cycling first! I guess you’re a much fitter cyclist than me though! The Fiido D2S seemed best when I was looking, but at the time they wouldn’t ship to UK because of Brexit, not sure if they do now. It’s 20kg. Anyway, here’s a link to it:
I have an Ancheer City Bike for my walks which is 25kg. Realistically they’ll last 6 to 8 miles without pedalling at all (which is what I generally do), more if you assist it of course.
I’m pretty sure you can ride them on paths, as they are classed as a pedal bike, not a motorbike. That’s because they’re speed limited to 15mph and power-limited to 250W. Above that it becomes a motorbike legally.
It’s always nice to see pictures from places I’ve walked through 🙂
Thanks for all that Paul.
Yes the TV programme on Sunderland Point was excellent, lots of secrets. I’m growing to like this piece of coast around Morecambe Bay., especially with my cycling exploits.
Having time to spare is a great advantage and my visit to the Maritime Museum far exceeded my expectations.
Buying an electric bike could involve me in some research and a fair amount of cash.
Lots of electric bikes around my parts. They have different modes that use different amounts of power, but generally on a mild assist you can get between 65 and 80 miles and on the highest assist about 35-40miles. I recommend looking at bikes with Bosch systems. When I worked in a bike shop they were the gold standard for reliability and best design. Theres a calculator on line that is helpful.
Thanks for your comment and advice. The Bosch website was useful with links to makes using their battery. I’ll have to give some serious time to sort out what would be best for me.
Looks like you have some great trails over there.
Thanks once again.
I’ve passed by that museum several times over the years but it has always been closed. That is a fascinating collection of wide ranging photos. I had a brief spell with an electric bike but my reasons for parting with it were more to do with my lack
of confidence and subdued enjoyment with cycling in general. One reservation for me would be be the difficulty of heaving it over a gate or stile if one wanted to go off-road.
The bike’s weight is my main concern, for the reason you mention and also for pedalling if the battery fails. Not sure about lifting it in and out of the car either.
You could take Katie to the Maritime Museum if she has not already been. Informative for adults and looks fun for children. I scored on both.
This museum looks really interesting and one I think I would enjoy so thanks for sharing. I’ll wait until all the little brats are back at school though before I think about going there 🙂
It sounds like a very interesting museum and one I think I would enjoy so thanks for sharing. I’ll wait until all the little brats are back at school though before I think about going there 🙂
This sounds like a very interesting museum and one I think I would enjoy. I’ll wait until all the little brats are back at school though before I think about going there 🙂 And if you get this comment more than once it’s because WP isn’t playing ball just now 🙁
You would indeed enjoy the museum, in triplicate,
🙂 🙂 You weren’t supposed to publish all three comments 🙂 🙂
It just happens that way. I couldn’t even get into my own site for a few hours, computer glitch.
Have been to the Maritime Museum a few times, and always enjoyed it. Still haven’t got around to cycling the section of the cycle path down to Glasson Dock (although I have run it and walked it, many years ago).
I find the Lancaster cycle routes ideal for flat, traffic free cycling. Caton, Glasson, Morecambe.
Parking at Halton station just off the motorway is perfect.