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Christie Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride, 13th September 2020

With £1,155 of sponsorship (£950 through Just Giving and the rest cash and cheques) I had no choice but ride the virtual Christie Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride, no matter what the weather. Fortunately, the 13th September dawned bright and sunny, if a little cold and with a strong north-westerly wind.

So, Brian and I headed off to Blackpool from our home in Eccles accompanied by Tom Russell. We certainly didn’t choose the easiest route, via Rivington, but the scenery was worth it and the roads were fairly traffic free. Brian had told Tom that there was only one hill. Yes, there was one 17% climb, but there were many other lesser hills as well. After 20 miles we were at the top of the 17% climb above Anglezarke Reservoir. Stopping for breath and to admire the view we could just about see Blackpool Tower in the distance.

After an early start and a strenuous ride, we started looking for an early lunch stop. At Treales, 38 miles, we found a closed pub with outside tables. Finding a sheltered one in the sun we had a well-earned lunch break. Just a pity not to be able to buy a drink. Now with almost two-thirds of the ‘official’ ride to go we resumed our ride into the wind. For much of the remaining ride into Blackpool we followed the route we had used on previous Manchester to Blackpool rides.

Mile 53 saw us approaching the glittering ball in Blackpool. Gone were the cheering crowds, the welcome bottle of water and Soreen bar and there was no certificate thrust into our hands as we wheel our bikes under the finishing arch. There was one other couple doing the virtual ride. Time for a photo call. With another 7 miles to go to the end of the virtual ride (had to do at least 60 miles) we turned our bikes round and headed for home keeping a look out for a café stop. Warmed up with a hot drink we continued our normal ride home from Blackpool.

Pulling into our drive with 100.8 miles on my cycle computer I saw Brian heading up the lane, twice, much to the amusement of our neighbours. Somehow, I had ridden almost a mile more than Brian and he didn’t want to stop until 100 miles registered on his computer. Our computers are nearly always within a small fraction of each other. It must have been the photo call.

A few days later a certificate and medal arrived in the post.

My thanks go out to all the amazingly generous ski club members. Brian, Tom and I enjoyed the ride and we all helped the Christie with their fundraising.

Janet Winstanley

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