Training in numbers:
And 0* beer.
I arrived at the Olympic Park early on a Sunday morning in August and realised there was no going back. All of that effort led up to this day.
It was by far the most difficult, physical thing I’ve ever done in my life to date:
Thank you for your support. Together, we’ve raised £633.51 for the Albert Kennedy Trust – helping end LGBT youth homelessness!
Well, we made it to Liverpool!
We set off from Chorlton about 11 am and arrived in Liverpool shortly before 6 pm – that’s around seven hours with four of those in the saddle.
The weather was fine – overcast but dry so no direct sunshine, though the constant light breeze did begin to take its toll by the end of it. The route was also predominantly flat, apart from a couple of short climbs in Liverpool proper. Along the way, we followed the route of NCN 62, aka the Trans Pennine Trail though avoided the mucky bit through Trafford and used the Bridgewater Canal as a smoother alternative. After that, we joined the disused railway to Lymm, crossed the Manchester Ship Canal at Latchford Locks and lunched in Stockton Heath. After a shandy, we continued on recently resurfaced (!) canal towpaths past Fiddlers Ferry Power Station to Runcorn before hitting a bigger road to drop in at Liverpool Airport for a snack break.
The last 10 or so miles took their toll, with the constant oncoming breeze even though it was mostly on the route of the disused Liverpool Loop line. Turning off at Gateacre, we hit a couple of short unexpected hills. After 40 miles, they were not particularly welcome but eventually the bizarre structure of the Liverpool Catholic Cathedral was in sight.
A quick snap and it was to the Liverpool Philharmonic Dining Rooms for a few more pints and a well-earned meal before the train back. I took a few photos along the way and I’ll post them once I’ve got a bit more time and I’m not looking forward to falling asleep! For now, enjoy the route:
Coffee and cycling go hand-in-hand. In our opinion, you can’t beat a cup of joe in the morning for that kick you need before getting on your bike to ride to work or to play. And the north is home to some of the finest independent coffee shops in the UK, many of which are cycle-friendly.
And through chatting with our friends and fellow bike-lovers North Tea Power on Twitter, we’ve found out about an event happening this weekend that combines these two things. It’s the Northern Coffee Tour 2011 and it’s happening this Saturday 17 September, taking in four coffee shops across three cities on two wheels in one day.
Setting off at an eye-wateringly early 8 am from Leeds’s Laynes Espresso, caffeinated riders will pedal across the Pennines to Manchester where they’ll stop first at North Tea Power in the Northern Quarter before continuing to Coffee Fix in Gatley. Travelling (probably) along the ship canal and aside the Mersey, the final caffeine injection will be at Liverpool’s Bold Street Coffee.
The 140 kilometre (86 mile) epic ride is organised by the Bold Street Bicycle Club (Facebook) and open to all. Laynes are also laying on eggs on toast for those starting from Leeds and no doubt the other participating coffee shops will welcome riders in their own unique way.
Unfortunately, we’re not around this weekend as we’re decamping to Salford for BarCamp MediaCityUK. However, there are around 30 people confirmed on the Facebook event, so it should be a good run.
Get involved and sign-up for the whole ride, or turn up for one of the intermediate legs by checking out the route map. And if you can’t get along, you can follow all the action on Twitter by searching for #northerncoffeetour.
There’s always some cycling action going on in Manchester. Here’s a couple of upcoming organised rides that might be of interest:
First up, the Chorlton Wanderers are keeping up their year-round schedule with a 45 mile circular ride from Chorlton to Peover Heath on 11 September. The route is mostly flat and on road, but there will be “short stretches of tracks and canal banks” and will include the customary stop for lunch at the Dog Inn.
I rode with the Wanderers for the first time last month and found them to be a hugely friendly bunch with experienced ride organisers that took care to look after all riders, including me when I had an incident with a wasp! Drop them a line via their website to let them know you’re coming along and to be added to their mailing list.
Also, I Bike MCR are now running regular monthly road rides and their second ride is coming up on 25 September. As yet, the destination is unannounced but keep an eye on their website and their Facebook event for more details.
I Bike MCR are “a grassroots cycling community in Manchester” and, amongst other things, they co-ordinate Critical Mass, the monthly Friday evening cycle ride through the centre of Manchester. More about this months Critical Mass in another post…
These are just a couple of the rides coming up. Are you running any rides or have you heard of stuff coming up that we should feature? Get in touch and drop a comment below.