Way of the Roses 2017 Day 0 – Preston to Lancaster

Finally I have finished my Open University course, and as a reward we have embarked on another cycle tours, what I am calling my ‘OU Freedom Tour’.

Our Way of the Roses 2017 Day 0 began with fine warm and muggy weather while Sarah and I caught the train to Preston, and then an hour later met up with Andy and Andy.

It was lunchtime so we found a Wetherspoons in Preston and ‘fuelled up’.

Soon we were making our way out of Preston following NCN Route 62.

Via some steps we joined the Lancaster Canal.

Unfortunately,  the weather had changed for the worse. Quite a few times we would find ourselves cycling through some showers.

We followed the Guild Wheel local route for awhile.

And then picked up NCN Route 90.

Passing through the interesting looking Guy’s Thatch House.

We picked up the Lancaster Canal again.

At one point there was a short sharp downfall of rain forcing us to shelter under a canal bridge.

Coming off the canal we followed NCN Route 6 which traced the M6 motorway.

Arriving in Scorton we decided to have a cafe stop and enjoy some tea and cake.

Not long after setting off from Scorton following the cafe stop the rain started again. And this time it seemed to set in for the remainder of the afternoon.

Soon we reached Galgate.

We cycled through Lancaster University campus.

Eventually, we arrived at Lancaster Travelodge where we were staying for the night. We had stayed here once before when on the End-to-End (LEJOG).

We had cycled 29 miles on our Way of the Roses Day 0 journey to Lancaster.

Today was also Andy Shaw’s birthday. So in the evening we went for a meal at the Meeting House to celebrate.

This was a really enjoyable evening, and all-in-all this had been a fine start on our Way of the Roses 2017 tour. Tomorrow, the tour for real starts when we cycle to Austwick.

SCCC Southport Ride

Sunday was the SCCC Southport Ride. We met in Mona Street car park in Wigan. There were 8 of us in total. Numbers were quite limited as a lot of people were away doing other things. Andy was the ride leader and I was the back leader however it turned out that we were the only ride leaders out!

We headed out of Wigan and made our way to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

As we cycled past the lock, a boat went into it.

Having followed the canal, passing under the M6 motorway, at Appley Bridge we came off the canal.

We then joined the road, going through Holland Lees and on towards Roby Mill.

It was quite a climb up Roby Mill but that was the worst climb of the day! Some of the views we saw later as we dropped down were great though and made the hard work worthwhile.

We passed through Town Green and Aughton.

St Michael, Aughton

From here the land was quite open as we made our way between the fields until we picked up the TPT (Trans Pennine Trail), which Andy and I had cycled back in 2015..

Pheasants in the field

Having picked up the TPT, we followed it down to Ainsdale and then along the coastal road into Southport.

The start of the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT)

Having reached the start point of the TPT, we continued along the coast for a short while towards Southport Municipal golf course and cycled back into Southport the other side of Marine Lake.

After passing under the bridge we turned into town and went to the Waterfront for lunch. After lunch we continued along Marine Lake and the headed out of town.

We followed National Cycle Network route 562 which avoided the busy roads.

We cycled along the edge of the local hospital.

We then skirted the Southport Meols Cop retail park

Once out of town, we again followed some quiet country roads.

Eventually, we got back onto the canal for a while.

At Burscough Bridge we came back off the canal.

Having cycled through Newburgh, and on towards Parbold, we then headed back to the canal.

Once back on the canal, we followed it back to Appleby Bridge.

At Appley Bridge, we continued along the roads. At Shevington we crossed back over the M6.

We then followed a track, which took us to Crooke.

At Crooke, we then got back on the roads and made our way back into Wigan and on to Mona Street card park where we had started.

Arriving back at the car park

We had cycled 52.5 miles across some lovely and varied scenery, using a variety of canal paths, tracks and roads. You can see our route below:

SCCC Portland Basin Ride

Following the cycling club AGM it was the SCCC Portland Basin ride on Saturday. We set off from Stockport Sports Village in Woodley, where the AGM had been held.

We went through Haughton Dale basically following the Rive Tame.

We crossed over the River Tame, using the bridge at the bottom of Gibraltar Lane and made our way to the Peak Forrest Canal.

We followed the Peak Forest Canal for a while. At one point we had to cross over the canal.

We then continued along the Peak Forest canal all the way up to the Portland Basin.

As we reached the Portland Basin, we had to cross over the Peak Forest canal.

We then had to cross over the Ashton Canal to make our way to the Bridge View Cafe in the Portland Basin Museum, where we stopped for a break.

After our break, we again crossed the Ashton canal and made our way along it.

At Audenshaw we came off the Ashton canal, cycling past Fairfield.

We got onto the Manchester Cycleway, also known as the Fallowfield Loop.

We left the cycleway at Reddish and headed through North Reddish Park.

North Reddish Park

From there we headed to Reddish Vale Country Park.

Reddish Vale Country Park

We passed the Lapwing Centre and then crossed the M60, using a foot bridge of course!

Having crossed the motorway, we wiggled our way back towards our starting point.

Four of us took a wrong turn near the end and had to retrace our way, by going through Mill Lane Recreation Ground and then on to Stockport Sports Village where we started out.

It was an enjoyable ride and the weather was kind to us. We certainly enjoyed our trip out. We had cycled 14 miles. Our route can be seen below:

SCCC Eaton Ride 2017

The SCCC Eaton Ride 2017 was on Sunday. We met in the lay-by outside The Deanwater Hotel.

Neil, the ride leader for the day

We set off along Lees Lane and made our way towards Prestbury.

We cycled through Prestbury village.

Leaving Prestbury, we headed towards Broken Cross.

Heading towards Gawsworth.

We then turned into Marton Lane and made our way through Marton and Newsbank whilst making our way to Eaton.

We were following NCN Route 55.

We stopped at the Waggon and Horses pub for lunch. There was plenty of choice on the menu. They had reserved a table for us but as the weather was so nice, we opted to sit outside.

After lunch, we headed towards Eaton Village and then on towards Rodeheath.

We headed towards Gawsworth again, briefly cycling along a section of road we had used on the way out, passing Gawsworth Methodist Church for a second time.

Next we cycled through Henbury.

Up Wilmslow Old Road.

Having passed Hare Hill, we turned toward Mottram St Andrews.

Making our way back towards Wilmslow.

We then made our way back to The Deanwater Hotel. The route had been nearly 32 miles. It was a great ride and had been a really good day out.

The route can be seen below:

A Little Ride to Southport

Saturday 30th April was the day that we took a little ride to Southport. We primarily went to recce a ride which Andy is leading for Stockport Community Cycling Club to Southport in a few weeks time. This was to be a new ride,  so we needed to check that the route was suitable. There was a small group of us that met at Mona Street car park in Wigan.

We made our way out of Wigan and picked up the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

At Appley Bridge we came off the canal and headed up hill towards Roby Mill.

There were some great views at the top, followed by a long downhill!

Having finished descending, the ride into Southport was fairly flat. It was also quite open and exposed. The was quite a strong wind, which at this point was mainly behind up and we found ourselves doing about 16 mph at times, without having to peddle!! It was great but we knew that the way back would be rather different, unless the wind changed direction!

As we neared the coast, we picked up NCN 62 – The Trans Pennine Trail. Andy and I have ridden this (in the opposite direction) before – you can see our route here.

As we reached Ainsdale, we turned right and followed the sand dunes into Southport.

As we reached Southport, we stopped briefly at the start/end point of the TPT.

Start/end of the Trans Pennine Trail

We then cycled along the coast for a while until we had passed Marine Lake.

Having passed Marine Lake, we then turned in land and worked our way around the lake and back onto Southport to the start of Southport Pier.

We stopped for lunch at The Waterfront. The service was so fast that we were very pleasantly surprised!

We left Southport and headed out towards Scarisbrick using NCN paths.

Some of the roads that we used, although quiet from a traffic viewpoint, we really hard going as we were cycling into a strong headwind.

We rejoined the canal, passing through Burscough Bridge.

We came off the canal and cycled along a fairly main road (the A5209) for a short while. Around Parbold, we made our way back onto the canal.

At Appley Bridge, we came back off the canal and followed the roads to Shevington. We then followed a track to Crooke.

The remainder of the journey  was on roads. Eventually joining up with the road that we had set out on.

The ride (of about 52 miles) had been great, a real mixture of different terrain. The sun had been out, although the strong winds made it feel cooler than it was. I had found the second part of the really hard going, so much so that Andy had been surprised! However when we came to take my bike out of the car the next day, it had a puncture. As this was being fixed, it was also found that my back wheel was really badly buckled, which resulted in a new back wheel! I suspect that this might have contributed to how hard I had found it.

Now my bike is all repaired, I am looking forward to repeating it in a few weeks time. Hopefully it will be much easier now that the bike is fixed! You can view our route below: