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Nigel Koenen's Coast 2 Coast Bike Ride For St Ann's Hospice Charity Sunday 19 June To Friday 24 June

By Nigel Koenen and Janet Winstanley

Day 1 - Cheadle Hulme to Lancaster - distance 76 miles

Loaded up with 2 large rear panniers I left Cheadle Hulme to rendezvous in Eccles with my two riding companions, Janet and Brian Winstanley. We started heading north on the A6 to Preston, into a drizzly headwind. I felt daunted by the prospect of the challenge I had taken on—the Way of the Roses coast to coast route, followed by part of the Trans Pennine Trail. We quickly got into our stride. Through Preston on bike tracks and quiet roads, we made our way through Elswick to reach Glasson dock for a well deserved cup of tea. Following a cycleway through Lancaster and onto the promenade at Morecambe we located the Way of the Roses signpost. After a photo call and a cycle on the pier we returned to Lancaster to continue besides the river Lune to our B&B stop for the night.

Day 2 - Lancaster—Fellside (Pateley Bridge) - 64 miles (with a lot of hills)

Although not a big distance day, it was very tough climbing over the Pennines. The panniers were really slowing me down, but at least we had a westerly wind! Again on quiet roads, we followed the red and white roses signs. After lunch in Settle we then started a horrendous climb over Kikby Moor to Airton and onto Grassington. A bloke mending a wall said 'you won't ride up that mate, no-one does', but we made it—just! Crossing the river Wharfe we had a long, steep, but gradual climb over Hebden Moor on the B6265 and a high-speed descent into Pateley Bridge (thought my brakes were on fire!) for a well deserved ice-cream. Three miles later we arrived at our B&B—a working farm at Fellside with lovely views. The owner even drove us two miles to the local pub for the evening meal.

Day 3 - Fellside to Millington (Pocklington) - distance 67 miles

The day began with driving rain and wind. This fortunately soon stopped. It was still hilly. We passed through the grounds of Fountains Abbey (mentioned in Doomsday Book). We bought lunch in Ripon in the main square where there is an obelisk and a plaque to commemorate the slaughter of a gathering to reinstate the Catholic religion in 1569. Beyond Ripon the hills flattened out as we cycled into the valley of the river Ouse and lunch. Following a cycleway in pouring rain, we continued through the walls of York. The overloaded bike was a handful in these slippery streets! Then eastwards on to Fenglas and arriving at the Millington B&B after the final hill of the day.

Day 4 - Millington to Hessle (Hull) via Bridlington the finish of the Way of the Roses - distance 89 miles

This was a big day, but fairly flat. We arrived in Bridlington, for a photograph and a late lunch overlooking the harbour. What a relief that the first part of the journey was over! We carried on down the coast road, through Skipsea to Hornsea to pick up the Trans- Pennine Trail. This trail uses tracks, minor roads, old railway lines and bits of inter-connecting links, including an airfield. Passing through the outskirts of Hull and with a few unplanned detours due to missing or poor TPT signs, we finally arrived at the B&B at 8 p.m. after 9.5 hours of riding!

Day 5 - Hessle to Elsecar (South Yorkshire) - distance 86 miles

Probably the worst day of the journey due to the weather and getting lost / back tracking to stay with the TPT. The day started by cycling over the Humber Bridge and back on a special bridge path (fantastic experience). We then wasted a lot of time around Ferriby, trying to find the TPT towards Howden and the west. It was slow going cycling into a head wind and squalls of rain. Each of us took turns to lead , but in spite of this we only reached Asselby by 1:30 p.m. This made a very long afternoon ride, only arriving in Elsecar (south Barnsley) at 8:30 p.m. Elsecar is an old mining village that has seen better times.

Day 6 - Elsecar to home - distance 45 miles

This should have been easy, but it took us two hours to cover five miles due to again poor signage and the condition of TPT path. Finally the track improved to a good disused railway line. Lunch was bought in Pennistone and eaten later near wild orchids besides the trail. We finally joined the Longendale trail near Woodhead at approx 3:00 p.m. Nearing Hadfield and Broadbottom the track got its revenge and we lost it yet again in Reddish and I arrived home in pouring rain at 8:30 p.m. back in Cheadle Hulme. Actual distance 50 miles.

Summing up - a great experience. The Way of the Roses, Morecambe to Bridlington, far excelled the Trans- Pennine Trial. The trail is in parts only really passable on a mountain bike, whereas the Way of the Roses is a well signposted route well suited to a loaded touring bike.

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