What a relief to find Sir Hugh at home, I needed a cup of tea and a sit down. I had just struggled to finish a 25mile bike ride. As I left Morecambe along the old railway line I seemed to be tiring fast despite having eaten well. Cyclists seemed to flash past me, I made the excuse they must have electric assistance. I had just travelled through what I consider a dodgy section of the cycleway. A haunt of drug addicts and other undesirables. One had just tried to punch me as I passed, try ducking and slipping on a bike. He just missed, probably because he was drunk.
After a few more hundred yards I was coming to a standstill. Only then did I look at my back wheel – the tyre appeared awfully flat. I suspect I had ridden over some glass in that dodgy area. Five miles back to my car at Halton, should I just battle on. I did have a spare inner tube on me, but it would take quite a while to fix in these cold conditions, so I peddled on becoming slower and slower. At a bench entering the city I stopped – A. for a rest and B. to try and pump up the tyre. The former helped, but the latter lasted about 50 yards before I was reduced to a crawl again. Only three miles to go, so I got off and walked for long stretches The afternoon’s rain was coming in fast, so I remounted and pedalled as best I could to reach the car just as the down pour started. I was knackered and hence the need for a visit to Sir Hugh. I can sort out the puncture tomorrow at my leisure, why is it always the back wheel with all its complicated derailleur gears?
The day had started far more optimistically, cold but dry as I pedalled up onto the Lancaster Canal Aqueduct over the Lune. We have had some topsy-turvy weather this week. But now all was peace and quiet, even the dog walkers stopped and held their precious pouches until I had passed. Good progress was made along the towpath, here in reasonable repair – in contrast to that leaving Lancaster to the south, which can be a nightmare on a bike. My plan was to extend my usual route by cycling onwards to Carnforth. I love this elevated stretch above Hest Bank and Bolton-le-Sands with views down to the coast. Carnforth was busy with a market in progress. My route took me past the infamous station, the last time I visited it for a ‘brief encounter’ in June ’22 I ended up with Covid. I hesitated before repeating the process but the thought of coffee and cake was too much. I had awoken this morning to find I had no bread or little else to concoct a sandwich. All was cheery and friendly in the 1940s café – a good latte with a slice of iced flapjack did the trick.
Refreshed I continued alongside the River Keer, under the threatening Main Quarry on Warton Fell. Deceptive bends and plastic icebergs re-emerge into my conscience, it was always a frightening place to climb. Onwards without destroying the peace.
Soon I was back on the canal, reversing my morning’s route. If only I had just ridden back along it to Lancaster. Bur no, I could not resist turning off at Hest Bank to cruise down to the promenade and follow the Bay into Morecambe. It’s becoming a habit. The tide was out and one could hardly make out the sea. It’s different every time I come along here, that’s the charm of Morecambe’s seafront. I sat on a bench looking out across the bay.
Then all my troubles started.
As a footnote I have to thank Sir Hugh for his hospitality at short notice. A few of you I know follow his blog and will be aware of is modelling skills. Well here is the professor in his modelling den.