Thursday, 27 May 2010

Day 5 Sat 8th May Shrewsbury to Preston 86 miles

We set off from our 2 hotels in 2 groups in cool showery weather. Mike and I cycled with 'The Three Degrees' at the start and had fun singing and joking. Ed had ordered a new waterproof from the cycle shop in Shreswbury so was at the back. Jim - the guy from Hull tended to set off early and travel at a steady pace, consulted his directions and often made it through the towns quicker than others who took the wrong route. At the first coffee stop Mike decided to travel on with a faster group whilst I stayed with what became 'The Four Tops'! I decided that I might as well stick with this group and enjoy the scenery and laughs.
We met a guy (pictured left) who was running LEJOG with support from his wife in a camper van. Just after that disaster struck. we were enjoying the scenery of Cheshire when there was a big pothole over the brow of a hill. I was leading and avoided it shouting 'pothole' so that Ellen could avoid it, which she did. Unfortunately Siobhan who was right behind her went right in it and came off her bike. Steve was taking up the rear as usual and he crashed into Siobhan ending up in a heap in the road. Fortunately the car behind managed to stop in time and neither Siobhan or Steve were hurt - just shocked and briused in Siobhan's case. However her bike's handlebars were twisted and the bike unrideable (See pic). I rang our leader's mobile and one of the vans came and swapped her bike for the spare hybrid bike they had.
Looking back we may have been cycling a bit close together and looking at the scenery rather than the road, although we certainly weren't 'slipstreaming' like some do (Nigel and co for example). I personally like to keep a good distance between bikes and whilst I do warn the cyclist behind of potholes I don't see that it should be my responsibility to warn someone right on my tail of every little bump in the road.
We travelled through the towns and urban sprawl of Wigan and Warrington, with some rough areas and quite nice housing with neatly tended gardens and cherry trees in blossom, probably owned by rich retired Lancashire folk. I went on ahead of the 3 degrees for a bit after the crash, but then met up with them for the final leg to Preston where my parents (aged 85 and 86) were waiting, Dad with his video camera. They immediately went into parent mode and said something like 'Here's your key, you go up to room 101 and have a bath then meet us in the bar at 7pm' ...'Yes Mum'. So now I was getting orders from two higher authorities, the parent's trumping DA! Two of Mike's wife Jan's cousins were there also, and we had a good meal and enjoyed the briefing aftewards and jokes. I had a couple of drinks and felt pretty good. Mum had bought me on request some decent lycra long cycling trousers to replace my jogging bottoms which weren't up to the job. I also gained a new watch to replace my broken one and a red cycling jersey to match Mike's - Team Bradbury. Mum got some dirty washing in return! Thanks Mum - the Bradbury support team in action.

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