None of the brisk riders could make Thursday, but the two Johns W and M readily agreed to accept Ivan’s offering of a Tuesday ride with the novelty of taking a train to Southport and riding home.
Having left Chester not long after 8 a.m., we were soon transported by Mersey Rail to our seaside departure point. However, we were already in need of sustenance so Ivan treated John and I to a full English at the conveniently situated Wetherspoons. Appetites satisfied we were soon cruising along the promenade stopping to admire the starting point of the Trans Pennine Trail (photo).
After initially heading north with views of the Morecambe Bay and the distant Blackpool Tower we soon turned inland, passing through the distinctive, rural flatlands of Hesketh Bank, Tarleton, Bretherton and eventually reached Moss Side. Turning south along the B5250 and near Eccleston came upon a most unfortunate cyclist who we managed to rescue. (photo).
Good deed done, we motored on for a a few more miles before arriving at our planned lunch destination in Up Holland which is not as attractive as its name may suggest! Having gone to a lot of trouble to secure our bikes, we entered the pub only to find lunch was not being served and there weren’t any alternatives close by. So we continued on our way and having got some advice from a passing cyclist were soon entering the Colliers Arms in King’s Moss. It was fairly busy which was a good sign and we enjoyed substantial steak baguettes and decent beer.
We were soon back in the saddle pressing on south, bisecting Grange Park Golf Club via a trail. Reaching Rainhill, Ivan reminded us of its historic links with the railway. It was the site for the 1829 Rainhill Trials of locomotives to decide a suitable design for use on the new Liverpool Manchester Railway. The winner, of course, was the Rocket, designed by George Stephenson.
Soon we approaching the industrial and suburban sprawl of Widnes and Ivan guided us unerringly to the approach road to the old bridge to Runcorn which we all assumed would be open to us, even though currently closed to cars. However, the road was blocked and guarded by a worker who resolutely insisted we would not be able to pass until 4:30, an hour or so away. Ivan and John began planning a most unwelcome diversion via Warrington while I tried to coax a bit of cooperation from the guard who eventually went off to phone his boss. Before his return, I spotted a queue of local people up the road and enquired how the pedestrians and cyclists of Widnes and Runcorn crossed the Mersey while the old bridge was undergoing refurbishment only to be told that they were waiting for the shuttle bus that would transport us and our bikes over the new Mersey Gateway Bridge. Minutes later we boarded said bus and were whisked free of charge across the river to be deposited bang back on route on the other side!
Ivan had no problem navigating through Runcorn and we were soon passing Sutton Weaver and on to Frodsham were we stopped for cake and coffee before completing the ride back to Chester. An enjoyable day out by train, bus and bike! The bike bit was 64 miles
Photos JM and JW