Only Charlie’s second clubrun of the year, but when you have a new bike, you want others to enjoy it too. This was a Saturday afternoon run to Woodplumpton on the edge of the Fylde district near Preston, and the old church there became a mine of information. Regrettably the club run couldn’t produce another witch to bury to test out the theory explained below, but it certainly gave them food for thought. This last of the Lancashire Witches, Meg Sheldon, certainly became of interest in death, as in life, and no doubt occupied their thoughts for the rest of the day.
Day two of the new bike. 104 miles to go, today. And that saddle !! But he revels in the first true day of Spring, everything in the countryside is coming to life and Charlie cannot get enough of it. He puts the new bike to the test and does what I would have done under the same circumstances – pedals to his most favourite place in the whole world – Beeston Castle – to immerse himself in past memories and enjoy the day and the good weather. Apart from the saddle complications, I suppose you could say that it was a marriage made in heaven !
Another early start in the Chadwick house, this time because Ma and Pa were taking a railway excursion to Fleetwood complete with picnic – simple pleasures in those days. The coming day was to provide plenty of rain but Charlie highlights the nuggets of the days ride so that we can enjoy it too. They finish the day sharing a room in Meriden with a certain ‘Tom Hughes’, a veteran cyclist from Wigan.
Ruthin was the target for their lunch, after all that mountaineering, specifically Mrs Parkinson’s in Clwyd Street, where, as Charlie puts it ‘The old gent’ recalled how Charlie and friends had taken this exact same route 12 months earlier, and the ‘gent’ actually remembered that it was Charlie’s birthday on that occasion, 20 July 1924 !
All this on the back of a day that started with a 3am breakfast by candlelight
Moel Famau lies close to the North Wales coast and rises almost 2000 ft, a clear landmark for miles. As such it is a very obvious target for hikers and cyclists alike, when weather permits. Which it often doesn’t !
But the descent was a lot more terrifying than the ascent. Charlie himself states that it is not descent for the nervous person. A path just two feet in width, boulderstrewn and sloping to the right along the very edge of a 150 ft drop. Charlie says “The grass was slippery, the gradient easy but the heart thumps” as they bounced down the mountain.
Having reluctantly ridden an old boneshaker from the beginning of his cycling years (due to financial insolvency) a cracked frame finally brought him to his cycling knees. After an enforced period off the road – awaiting funds we must speculate – he is able to order a brand new F H Grubb, no doubt from the bank of Mum and Dad. You can imagine his excitement, 21 years old and his first new bike. He cannot wait to get astride and get going.
The narrow lightweight tyres travelling over Lancashire ‘setts’ (cobbles) made his Brooks saddle uncomfortable to use and in fact it took several changes of saddle, borrowing his friends saddles and suchlike, before he found the answer. It is heartwarming to read at the end of his first day out (of 58 miles) that “And the new bike does run easier”.