Day 5 – Shrewsbury to Ecclestone (Leyland)

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Derek: Today was due to be a long ride, but also quite a flat one. Both turned-out to be true. 

Until now though, I had been hoping for a flat ride. Today, we got one, and I found out the down-side. On flats, you have to pedal. Non-Stop. All the time. Relentlessly. It’s actually more tiring than riding over bumps.

The ride itself though was fairly good and we made good speed, arriving at the O2 call centre in Preston Brook shortly after noon. This was a good opportunity to have some lunch (a jacket potato with chicken curry AND a sausage roll).

On leaving the building we bumped into our CEO who was there to do a presentation. He popped over to have a chat with us, and then promptly brought a film crew with him to interview and film us – who knows which Hollywood screen we’ll be seen on next.

The afternoon was a fairly brisk 30 mile route through Wigan and up towards Leyland. This didn’t seem to take too long, and we even managed to arrive before the support vehicle (ok, they were having a flat tired repaired in Preston, but still…). The B&B is a lovely new converted barn – all very posh and modern. Now, off to the pub to find a beer to sample and review…

Mike: First thing this morning my knee was killing me, so much so that I was sweating.  Once out of Shrewsbury, it settled down a bit.  Derek noticed that I take my feet out of the pedals “heel out” whereas he does “heel in”. I changed to that and it does seem to make a difference, although I guess tomorrow morning will tell.

The miles rolled on, flat and fairly dull.  When you travel on a straight road at 13 to 15 mph the view doesn’t change much.

Preston Brook was a welcome sight!  After a decent lunch of jacket potato with beans and cheese plus some red beans and rice on the side (which drew some strange looks from the cashier), we prepared to go and met with Matthew Key which was a pleasure and an inspiration.

The first section of the afternoon was through Runcorn and Warrington, which I am sure are very nice towns, but on a bike there is too much traffic, too many roundabouts and traffic lights.  Once clear of that we made better progress.

Yesterday’s falling off incident was still in the back of my mind when we reached a set of traffic lights.  I got my right foot out and was putting it on the floor when for some reason I started slipping left and ended up in a heap on the pavement – partially trapped under the bike. (oh dear!)

The good thing with the towns is that the miles pass by as we are concentrating so much on navigation and not being hit by traffic. 

I am turning into a grumpy old man (ok, too late), I was getting frustrated by all the nice cycle lanes in these towns which had cars parked in them.  Added to this, we were coming down a hill with a uphill the other side, at the bottom there was a car waiting the turn right (which was fine, loads of room on the left), when the two cars behind swerved left to undertake and then realised they couldn’t get passed but in the process stopped us from getting the momentum advantage (I did call them a rude name, to myself!)

We carried on and stopped briefly at the “welcome to Lancashire sign” then found the accommodation which is possibly the best yet.  I have been told to stop now as I am all that is between us and the bar.

Beer of the day: White Witch – really quite a nice beer. Mike describes this as light and fragrant. It’s colour also seems to resemble something that you may do in the bathroom first thing in the morning.

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