Well, perhaps the church pew has gone from outside the pub, but that is about all. Lovely hereabouts. Close to a lot of industry but you wouldn’t know, it cannot be seen from outside the village. And the Bridgewater Canal adds its own charm.
An interesting start for today, we are told that Charlie’s friend Tom Idle is restarting his riding career, except that we didn’t yet know that he’d stopped ! I think it may have been a case of winter lay-off, rather than a complete stop.
However, they hadn’t gone all that far before they get lost in the lanes, to the extent that Charlie bemoans the fact that this happens every time they go out. I cannot imagine why he is complaining, they go out looking for tracks to zoom down and thereby get lost, so what is the problem ? I note the original run took place at the beginning of February, 1924, and as they covered 76 miles that day, on old boneshakers, they should be accorded due recognition, how many cyclists go out for 76 miles in early February these days ?
2pm, and now our friends face the homeward trek. Only 100 miles lads! Now the snow again, properly this time. Conversation stalled at first, then it became a waste of energy to even think about speaking, and so the day deteriorated. This was a much bigger test than the morning.
Then they were joined by a slow puncture – perfect. At Corwen they saw the possibility of an alternative form of transport, except there were none to be had. Disaster was now looming large… Read on.
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To see original travels see below …..
Now we learn how our indomitable pair descend a steep bendy hill without touching the brakes and having lost the pedals – no toeclips for them, they were men, after all. Jack the stoker, unsighted, could only manage a ‘Gosh’ which suggests fright was not in his makeup, or he really couldn’t see what was going on. Mind you, it was only just dawn, so not to worry about oncoming traffic and other incidentals. At a brew stop beyond St Asaph they planned the rest of the day.
The euphoria they now exuded knew no bounds, on and on they must go, stopping at waterfalls en route and generally enjoying the day. Then the first hint of trouble – the snow began to fall. By now our aspiring hard men were keen to take their lunch, and a sort of celebratory air overtook the meal. But wait! Are we still over a hundred miles from home? And does not pride always precede a fall …
These tales of Charlie and Jack keep cropping up because Charlie quite liked riding tandem, and Jack, the owner of said tandem seemed to quite like Charlie being at the front – I’ll never fathom out why!
After a particularly slow December clubrun, too slow to keep warm, Charlie persuaded Jack to give his tandem an airing the following week, and they would just show everyone what they could achieve. So it was the following week, Sunday, 11 December 1927, that they set forth at the unbelievable time – in winter – of 4.30am. The going was good, the wind in their favour, records could tumble today, so our heroes stepped up to the plate and gave it all they could. The frightening aspects were yet to come.