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Cyclefest 2004 (CfX)


The glorious sunshine of Manchester (huh?) lasted until I slid down from the back of the West Pennine Moors (waaaaahhhhooooooo! ahem.)towards Preston. Grey, grey, grey was the remainder of the journey. Traffic was no problem: Heavy but no more than the usual quota of loons, and the most interesting encounter was a young lady and her horse, which went from skittish and twitchy to being quite happy about the trike when I slowed and stopped to talk to them. Why don't horses like recumbents?

My Cake Stop on the way there was the Craft Centre and Cafe at Galgrave. Yes, I know that's only five miles from my destination, but I like it, so there. Purveyors of much-needed snacky cakes and coffee, and also the showcase for the work of a local woodturner, hence the ulterior motive. Two Bromptons, and two Riese and Muller Birdies were already parked up. I recommend the wholemeal fruit loaf with a little butter; a good substitute for malt loaf, at a pinch. :)

Arrival at the college was heralded by Thor and his hammer, doing his thang in spectacular stylee as I twiddled my way up the drive. 50 miles of riding and the steepest part of the journey is the last 300 yards, and it rains on me just as I get there. What kind of evilminded person organised that? Still, the rain cooled me down, and I was soon ensconced in my little room, with Speedy snuggled down at the base of the stairwell.

Chilli and rice in the bar for tea, and a catch-up session with my mate Graham ('Yeah, I ride a recumbent, but I'm not really into bikes...' OK Graham, whatever you say), who also arrived on Thursday. And so to bed.

Friday dawned bright and clear, and after a jolly breakfast the 'plan' was to join the 35 mile organised ride and pootle up to Arnside and Silverdale. Alas, a cockup with Graham's quill stem meant we were running somewhat late, and for various reasons when I reached the start point, there they were, gone - including Graham. :(
A word with Pat (O Mighty Organiser) procured the loan of a LandRanger map upon which she kindly highlighted the major points of the route. With the fateful words "If you leg it up the A6 to Hest Bank you should intercept them..." ringing in my ears, I launched Speedy down the drive and into town.

Fade down...

Fade up...

Caption: Some time later

Cut to: redshift and her faithful steed paused by the side of the road for what she now decides will be the third and last time, waiting to see if there's any sign of the bunch.

We definitely weren't going to meet up now, so I did the rest of the ride solo too. What a great little run round the countryside. Some nice hills, both the up and the down kind ;), quiet country lanes and B-roads, and then back to Lancaster. I never did see a sign of the rest of the ride, but it didn't really matter. Becky arrived from Edinburgh during the afternoon, so we met up and had a chat over dinner. The evening talk was by Bob Tennant of MicWic, makers of the Delta back-to-back recumbent tandem (amongst other things). If you ever see one of those you'll remember it!

Saturday meant the arrival of the rest of the family, complete with my big bro' and his 'instant' recumbent which he put together in the weeks preceding CycleFest. We wandered down to the craft centre for a light lunch and then went on towards Glasson Dock. We wanted to get back to the College for the hillclimb races, which were basically 'how fast can you sprint up the drive?' These were eventually won by Howard (who'd been in the BHPC races at Preston all afternoon!) on his Trice, so I have two questions.
1) Who says recumbents don't do hills? and
2) Just how big does a chainring need to be, Howard?

Sunday was the mass parade down to the Promenade at Morecambe, followed by sailing Speedy along the Prom. The weather forecast had warned of rain and gales, and we definitely got a small dose of the latter. The Jolly Roger on Speedy was quickly pressed into service as a sail, and gave noticeable results even though it's only 18"x12"! I must organise a proper test with a bigger sail some day...

After refreshments at the cafe on the Stone Jetty, the afternoon was taken up with the BHPC races and CycleFest 'fun' races at Salt Ayre, followed by cream teas back at base. The bad weather held off until the early evening and some of us got sunburned. :o

The return was a bit of a grind, due to the grim amounts of rain and spray on the road, but otherwise wasn't a problem.

Big thanks to: John and Pat for organising it. Becky and Graham for keeping me company. John J ('Wobbly John'), the WobbleBike and the SpinCycle for making me laugh very hard indeed. Seamus for trying to pull down the Millennium Bridge in Lancaster. Mike Burrows for, well, being Mike Burrows :).

Another CycleFest gone, and probably the last one too. What am I going to do for fun now? :(