Since I got back into cycling in 2008 I've been happy to cycle on my tod; the commute to work, utility cycling and touring trips forming the bulk of my miles covered. When I did the Blackpool charity cycle ride earlier this year, I really enjoyed mixing it with other cyclists and wondered what it would be like to join a local cycling club. I needed two things for this - a road bike and some free time on a Sunday. Well I have the new bike and today I had a free morning, so I met up with the Bury branch of the Cyclists Touring Club for their 'B' ride.
Their website suggested it would be a route of about 50 miles and I reckoned we would be back in Bury early PM after a 09:30 hrs start. When the 'leader' turned up I found out, as the weather was looking good and this could be the last chance for a long ride this year, they were going to do a 80 mile route and would not be back until about 17:00 hrs. I elected to go with them and peel off and return alone at a suitable point as I had family things to do later in the day. As the ride started we were joined by another rider, John, with whom I'd initially made contact. He was going to head back early and so I decided to cycle with him when this happened.
I was a little apprehensive before the ride as I wondered what kind of pace was going to be set and if I'd be able to keep up. Well I needn't have worried. I'm not interested in joining an out and out race club and this is definitely a touring club. The pace was an average 12 mph and I had more trouble keeping my speed down. I must admit, on the descent along Haslingden Road going towards Blackburn I did tuck in and hold off the brakes. I was soon a quarter mile ahead and had to slow down as my turn for home was coming. I do love a fast descent! The others carried on north and I returned via the West Pennine Moors with John.
I've not cycled on the northern section of this route before and the roads and views were great. I will definitely be trying to get some more rides in with them when I can. Hopefully, next time I can have a pass from the OH for an all day excursion and so can make the cafe stop and have a chat, a pot of tea and some cake!