A throng of cyclists met at Millenium Bridge for a ride celebrating the 70th birthdays of Neil and Ken. With a less than optimistic weather forecast, the numbers were bolstered by the promise of coffee and cakes provided by the aforementioned septuagenarian ride leaders, with a little help from the stars of Heron Cafe In Arnside, Sheila, Julie and Helen.
We set off not knowing whether it was going to be ‘fun in the sun’ or ‘pain in the rain’, but it promised well in the broken cloud and light, but cold, wind. No rain, so far! We took the road towards Halton, turning up Kellet Lane to Nether Kellet, where Brian was waiting to join the ride. Over Kellet, Capernwray, Borwick and Priest Hutton were quickly passed with Mike leading the second group, and all riders maintaining a good pace in anticipation of a good fare awaiting us in Arnside. We took the turn towards the ‘mucky farm track’ towards Cinderbarrow with the assurance that it wouldn’t be as described, however, the promise turned out to be false, but we bravely rode through it! We crossed the A road, onto Yealand’s Redmayne and Storrs, then took the climb up past Thrang End Farm. We enjoyed the descent, taking care at the sharp left hand bend at the bottom. Then, onto Arnside where a good number of friends were awaiting our arrival at the Heron. Coffee and cakes were served and a super birthday cake was paraded through the cafe. Julie and Helen served us with their usual happy, cheerful efficiency and thanks to them and Sheila for their excellent hospitality.
With the threat of less than appropriate weather and other prior commitments, the number of riders reduced somewhat for the onward journey to Staveley and the cast changed slightly. We rode through Sandside towards Milnthorpe and took the left turn to cross the mosses. Heversham, Levens, Brigsteer were admired as we ‘hurtled’ through, then we undulated considerably through Underbarrow and Crook before descending into Staveley where, once again, Wilf’s Cafe awaited. Surprisingly, we found no queues at the counter and food was quickly ordered and delivered even more quickly. Continuing with the quickly theme the food was consumed so an early departure could be made in anticipation of the forecast rain arriving during the return journey.
Ken took over the leading duties from Neil and set a good pace as we went through Bowston , Burneside and into Kendal. The usual volume of traffic was encountered through Kendal, but we rode carefully and left Kendal on the Natland road. Sedgwick, Hincaster and Ackenthwaite were ‘gobbled up’ at strong weather beating pace, although the ‘odd’ drop of rain was felt. We rode through Holme and this time avoided the ‘mucky farm track’ as we arrived in Burton in Kendal. We rode along the A road as far as Tewitfield where we took the Over Kellet turn. As we passed Clearwater cafe the afternoon tea stop was offered and our party was reduced by two as Mike and Jim took the option. How appropriate their decision turned out to be, as the clouds thickened overhead. As we approached Over Kellet ‘ it arrived’, however we just happened to be passing a handy bus shelter, so the question was posed ‘ how many doddery old cyclists can you fit inside a bus shelter in Over Kellet’? The answer was 6 and that was all of us, so we were saved!
It was only a short shower, although heavy, we were able to continue pretty quickly. By the time we reached Nether Kellet the party split as people headed for home.
A super, celebratory day with April typical weather, 4000 ft of ascent, 62 miles covered at a good pace. Cycling at 70, as good as ever!
Neil & Ken