Just what is it with Charlie and Boats ? He half frightened himself to death today to the extent that he seemingly made off on returning the boat without paying his dues.
So he is obviously not planning to return to hire another – well not from that boatyard anyway. He goes on to explore the Dane Valley, an area I have never visited and it sounds lovely.
Since joining the CTC at the beginning of this current year (1923) Charlie has been very keen on joining in with the other members and is constantly referring to the numbers present on runs etc. What he seems quite unable to do is ride sedately (or otherwise) with the bunch, he has to be at the front, no doubt flaunting his fitness. That never used to happen on the club runs I attended, surely ? Well, perhaps on occasion, we were all as guilty as Charlie, come to think of it !
More scrambling to get his bike ready for his Saturday afternoon run. Even in my youth to have to work on Saturday mornings was normal, so I can sympathise with his predicament. There is a gap in his cycling log of two weeks which perhaps indicates financial difficulties associated with his foot going through his rear wheel returning from Wales.
No need to elaborate here ! The route taken was the Rivington to Belmont road, which is quite a climb to well over 1000 ft, and I can confirm it does get more than its fair share of snow in our winter months. Except that being ambushed in the end prevented them from achieving their objective, obliging them to return to the Crown Hotel.
I should say that we have no evidence that the riders ever imbibed at these local hotels, but the Crown, like the Beehive two miles further along Chorley New Road, had large forecourts so the massing of cyclists outside was never going to be a problem.
The Guild, an event only held every 20 years, is a marvellous celebration of Preston trade and commerce in what was once a thriving seaport on the estuary of the River Ribble. The Port of Preston has long gone, the victim of silting sand.
The Guild was founded in 1179 from a charter granted by Henry II and was held regularly until 1542, when it was determined that once every 20 years would be sufficient. The only Guild to be ever missed was in the war years of 1942 when it was postponed by 10 years to 1952 at which time I was excited to attend as a schoolboy.
Written records remain for the past 26 Guilds, covering a span of 530 years.
Now we have an inkling of why Charlie has to ride hell for leather everywhere – a fireside to sit around in winter, in the days before central heating, was worth the effort was it not ? There is no mention of heating in the piano room though, singing alone must have provided their inner warmth.
Yes, our hero gets himself well into mechanical problems today, as well as being exceptionally lucky not to be badly hurt, but dwells upon it little. Losing four spokes out of your now badly buckled rear wheel is obviously nothing to worry about !
This ride today is perhaps where they had intended to ride yesterday until they met a puncture victim. The engineering works Charlie speaks of, and is much impressed by, are all part of the Liverpool Corporation water works built in Victorian times to collect water from the surrounding hills for piping to Liverpool. The lakes Charlie refers to are actually reservoirs. They form quite a large complex of five reservoirs and the area is a very popular place for cyclists and walkers to get off-road and away from traffic. Hint, hint !
Before too long today they are back in a boat in the Menai Straits and nearly came unstuck this time due to the extremely strong tidal flow through the Straits between Wales and Anglesey. Charlie is very impressed by the views of Snowdonia and thrilled to bits that they are staying the night and not riding home.
Also on this day he teasingly describes Snowdon as Y Wyddfa and further describes Llanberis as the Welsh Zermatt.
This was a winter evening run whose route was determined in the end by an ad hoc committee of sorts. Twice. But coming across an unfortunate lone cyclist with a puncture – nothing to do with the run, you understand – they finished up where they started at the Crown Hotel in Horwich and getting thoroughly drenched for their pains.