It was cheering to see that the beginning of Autumn hadn’t dimmed the enthusiasm of club members for a ride on a day which promised to be windy and there were ten or more ready to set off at the start on the Millenium Bridge. Avoiding the possibly muddy or puddly conditions due to overnight rain and high tides on the Lune estuary they took a route through Lancaster and Aldcliffe village to emerge on Ashton Road towards Conder Green and on to Cockerham. Keeping to the main road across the Moss the previously helpful wind became much less helpful and slowed progress in reaching Stakepool where the slower ride leader caught up with the stronger group who had outpaced him by a few minutes. Easier conditions allowed better speed through Scronkey and Moss Edge so it was only late morning by the time they crossed the toll bridge at Cartford. Having taken the risk of not phoning the cafe beforehand it was no complete surprise to find that it was closed in Gt Eccleston so the decision was taken to continue to the village of Elswick where thankfully they were able to refresh on scones, flapjacks and teacakes, washed down with hot drinks.
Some riders departed at this point to get back home while the rest carried on in brighter conditions. The flatness of the Fylde meant that there were no hills to negotiate and the GPS altimeter rarely reached 50 feet as they went through the oddly named Wharles and Treales.
Happily turning east the wind behind them meant even more speed could be gained and turning before Lower Bartle and back across the M55 motorway they were soon parking their bikes outside the cafe in Catforth. The cafe provided the usual speedy service and massively thick slabs of bread to support eggs, beans and other cooked foods with enough calorific value for the return leg.
Leaving Catforth there was a convoluted series of winding roads negotiated through the picturesque area around Cuddy Hill with the backdrop of the Bowland Fells in view. The ever busy A6 was crossed at Bilsborrow and quieter roads towards Garstang and over Barnacre where showers briefly halted progress while waterproofs were put on. They avoided the worst of the heavy rain evidenced by wet roads and carried on to Scorton where the few who hadn’t departed the ride on route would have stopped for a tea break but were thwarted by the already crowded cafe there so continued to Lancaster via the University.
The day had been better than the forecast suggested but strong headwinds at the finish made the going tough, but there was sunshine at the finish of the 56 mile route.