Captain McKee and the wannabees ride again

On a warm and sunny Sunday morn, seven Chris Froome and two Vicky Pendleton wannabees gathered in the picturesque setting of the Crook of Lune, Lancaster. These intrepid cyclists are all members of the burgeoning South Fylde Group Cycling Club. This club if for Masons and their family and friends to enjoy a friendly and social bike ride in the country.

Pictured from left to right, are: Tom Cutler, Dave Sumner’s partner Laura, Dave Sumner, Dave McKee, Kevin Byrne, Tom Ashcroft, Dave Barr and his wife Helen.

Pictured from left to right, are: Tom Cutler, Dave Sumner’s partner Laura, Dave Sumner, Dave McKee, Kevin Byrne, Tom Ashcroft, Dave Barr and his wife Helen.

Following the previous successful bike ride in June, Dave McKee had again put together a ride of some 25 miles. This time the outward journey started from the Crook of Lune and followed the Lancaster Canal path to the southern side of Lancaster, cutting through the University to Galgate and then onto the halfway mark at Glasson Dock. The inward journey encompassed the cycle path to the Millennium Bridge, through Lancaster and back to the Crook of Lune.

Before the grand depart, captain McKee, as is usual, checked everyone’s bicycles. As in previous bike rides, Ian Ward’s tyres were almost flat, prompting Dave to comment: “Did you try to blow these up with your mouth?” Cycles came in different guises from the carbon fibre road racing models to the hybrids, with Tom Ashcroft riding a very neat fold up machine. At 10:15 am, with all cycles checked and roadworthy, the riders set off through the picturesque rural setting of the River Lune. This soon gave way to the more urban landscape of Lancaster. Leaving the banks of the river they joined the canal path at the Lancaster aqueduct. Although not an experienced cyclist, Helen Barr soon got into her stride, so to speak and with Tom Cutler led the way. She was followed by her husband Dave Barr.

The canal path took them through the heart of Lancaster to the southern side of the city where a pit stop was in order; particularly as Dave Sumner was having saddle problems! Spanner in hand, the problem was soon rectified and off they went. Crossing the A6, they passed through winding country lanes which led to, and through, that great seat of learning, Lancaster University.

Event reporter Ian Ward gets in with a selfie beside the Lancaster Canal.

Event reporter Ian Ward gets in with a selfie beside the Lancaster Canal.

They proceeded onward to Galgate where they again crossed the A6, this time from east to west. Before reaching the halfway mark at Glasson, Dave McKee and Tom Cutler, two experienced cyclists, warned the group that they would negotiate a ‘steepish’ hill. To many, this may be just a hill. To this intrepid group it was their own stage 20, our own L’Alpe d’Huez. The two experts, Dave McKee and Tom Cutler, seemed to glide to the summit. One by one, the others made their way to the top, with Dave and Tom giving every encouragement. Nine began the ascent; nine finished it, prompting Dave Sumner to quip: “Do I get the yellow jersey?” “Well, yes,” replied Kevin Byrne, “but it might have ‘I love Glasson’ emblazoned across the front!”

The beauty of an ascent is the knowledge that the descent is not too far away. After a few minutes rest at the top, off they rode freewheeling back to sea level, keeping a watchful eye for oncoming traffic. On arriving at Glasson Dock they stopped at the ‘Café de Lune’, a very popular watering hole with cyclists, for a well-earned refuelling stop; that is coffee and cakes all round!

Another canal-side stop.

Another canal-side stop.

After half an hour, fuel tanks replenished, they set off back to the Crook of Lune, following the coastal cycle track. Midway, Ian Ward decided a right turn was in order, prompting Dave McKee to yell: “Is it something we said?” “Must be the heat of the mid-day sun” replied Ian. They all wondered if he had passed his driving test first time!

Arriving at Lancaster’s Millennium Bridge, they stopped for a breather. They commented on the number of cyclists, individuals, groups and families, enjoying the day’s wonderful sunny weather. A cycle friendly city? Definitely! They then progressed through Lancaster by following the course of the River Lune. The urban landscape of Victorian mills, town houses and factory outlets soon gave way to a beautiful rural landscape of trees and green fields. Arriving back at the Crook of Lune, they savoured one last cup of coffee, summarised the events of the day, said their farewells and made their way home.

Pictured left: Tom Ashcroft seems to have the ‘yellow jersey’ at this point. Pictured middle: Dave Barr is almost at the summit, giving it everything he has! Pictured right: At the Millennium Bridge, waiting for the others to catch up.

Pictured left: Tom Ashcroft seems to have the ‘yellow jersey’ at this point. Pictured middle: Dave Barr is almost at the summit, giving it everything he has! Pictured right: At the Millennium Bridge, waiting for the others to catch up.

Enjoying good company and good weather were deemed by all as a good way to spend a Sunday. The next ride is in the pipeline! Details will appear on the South Fylde Group website.

www.southfylde.westlancsfreemasons.org.uk