A great day cycling the 63 mile Manchester to Blackpool ride, despite the 06.30 hrs start.
Two of my five colleagues didn't turn up on time and so started later. I set of with three + one guy we all know who is a roadie. He planned to "take it easy" as he was cycling there and back so he left us behind very quickly (he did the 126 mile trip in just over 6 hrs!). We four soon found our own paces and split up, meeting at regular intervals along the way. We lost one but knew he was meeting his brother on the ride so felt we could push on.
The two I completed the trip with had never done more than 10 miles before and both were on less than ideal bikes. We got into the pattern I would go ahead for 8-10 miles and then wait for them to catch up 45 mins or so later. They tended to be within a few minutes of each other as they would meet on any incline where they would get off and push. They both kept apologising for holding me up but it was my suggestion we do the ride, so stopping for them and offering some words of encouragement was the least I could do. Anyway, I was having a great time watching the thousands of people of all sorts on abilities go past and when I cycled ahead had a brilliant time overtaking some guys on nice racing bikes and holding my own with several others. I could hear the exclamations and exertion to catch up as I went past on my pannier laden tourer!
We got heavily rained on once which was not too bad except for the fact some motorists were trying to muscle into the throng of cyclists and heavy rain + lots of cyclists + impatient motorists = a dangerous mix. Luckily no accidents from this I was aware of but I did see two roadies come off on the wet and heard of a cyclist whose back pack strap dangled into the rear wheel causing her to come off badly losing skin almost down to the bone - ouch! The rest of the weather was very pleasant, mainly overcast with a slight breeze.
The guy we lost early on finished OK, the two who started late crossed the line around 18.00 hrs after 10 or so hrs in the saddle and the two I finished with are very sore but happy. We finished around 16.00 hrs making it a 9.5 hrs ride at an total average speed of 6.6 mph. I knew my average moving speed was around 14 mph so I could have done it in under 5 hrs but that was not the point of the ride. I now have several colleagues who are bicycle riders and some more who want to do the next ride and that is a great result. And me? Well I feel fine and am wondering about getting a nice racing bike for next year!