This day is a new one for Charlie – they visit the seaside and of course see the boating lake – you cannot avoid it in Southport – but don’t hire a boat, wonders never cease ! Reading about the charabanc accident you just wonder how long and in what form assistance could be rendered by the authorities ?
Yet another day starts by Charlie arriving late at the meeting place. Then he completes his embarrassment by bumping into the leader of today’s CTC run whilst attempting to avoid being spotted going in a different direction. They had planned today’s run to traverse the Trough of Bowland, but trouble with one of their freewheel sprockets set them back by a lot of time. Finally they were attacked by the desire to do very little indeed, which on occasion summarises teenagers!
There is one thing that is constant with Charlie – his sense of humour. It would take a lot of practice to make such a mess of taking a train to the suburbs of Manchester. I don’t know whether to believe it or not, for it certainly reads well. And as Tom Idle appears on the scene, that must have been pre-arranged !
A bit of name dropping today, some of Charlie’s party engaged the well known cycling author ‘Wayfarer’ in conversation, and two of them actually took snapshots of him ! Little did Charlie know that 34 years later he would be very involved in organising the erection of a memorial stone in memory of ‘Wayfarers’ celebrated story called ‘Over the Top’. This story is set in the Berwyn mountains in North Wales on a rough crossing called the Nant Rhyd Wilym, and was Wayfarers favourite mountain pass. You can read more about Wayfarer elsewhere on this website.
A 10pm start and a supper in a café at 1am. That makes for a good start to an all-night ride and the hours that followed are full of interest, even to us reading about it 92 years later. They were bound for Meriden, and as you will find out in subsequent years, it was always a bit of a bash to put it mildly.
Meriden of course has always been held to be the exact centre of England, in that it is the furthest you can get from the sea in any direction. It is worth reminding you that this year of 1923 was Charlie’s first year of cycling club membership, the CTC, so all of these long rides were a new experience for him, and he certainly entered into the spirit of things.
The focus of attention today must have been how wet can you get in a rowing boat ? Very, by the sound of it. Charlie certainly loves his rowing boats with a passion, although this time there is no mention of being fined for overstaying on the lake. But boisterous they certainly must have been that day !
This ride of Charlie’s and his 36 friends wasn’t quite what I recall of ‘Standard Rides’, in that my recollections are that ‘café time’ was to be included in the eight hours allowed, rather than being added to it. But with their inferior equipment and no toeclips, we must not be too judgemental. Perhaps our website readers would like to comment !
A solo ride tonight, Charlie makes the best of it under the strains imposed by the climate, a raging wind and a low temperature. He also worries about tomorrow’s ‘Standard Ride’, a 100 in 8 hours, his very first ride against the clock he has ever attempted. For me, there is one unusual aspect I have never come across before, it didn’t start until 3pm.
Crewing a yacht is hardly in keeping with enthusiasm for cycling, but that is where events led them today. They criss-crossed the area until they were almost dizzy. They also accomplished 105 miles, described by Charlie as a ‘Potterers’ run.