I took part in the Manchester to Blackpool charity ride yesterday. There were a few guys from work doing it too, but we all had different start times (mine was the latest one at 9am). After the ride through town to the start at Old Trafford, I set off in a massive (and chaotic) group of cyclists though Trafford Park towards Eccles. Dozens of broken bikes littered the pavement in the first couple of miles, no doubt due to many of the bikes being dragged out of the shed/garage/compost heap that morning. I spotted a young lad in Horwich CC colours fly past in the middle of the road so I decided to follow him at probably 3 times the speed of everyone else.
I’m surprised that this ride is still allowed to take place. Thousands of cyclists take to the busy roads, causing huge congestion and no doubt a great deal of animosity as large groups ride 5 or 6 abreast in 12 mph rolling roadblocks whilst faster riders overtake the cars who are caught up in the chaos.
I was one of the people risking my ass by overtaking traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, just so that I could make reasonable progress to the next gap before hitting the back of the next massive group. And so it went on. I was still swapping turns on the front with the guy from Horwich – sometimes another couple of riders would join us then eventually drop off the back. Things calmed down for a few minutes after riding past the accident scene – what looked like 2 cyclists and a car had collided; by the time I went past there were paramedics, police, the lot. The guy lying on the road looked poorly.
I went past Budge and Sally eventually then went past Tim with only a couple of miles to go, crossing the finish line in 3.28 after 63 miles of shaking my head incredulously at various near-misses and displays of craziness that wouldn’t be out of place on the streets of Delhi. Not a bad time considering the congestion though.
The plan was to then say hello to Deb and the kids, get something to eat then ride home. But the weather was nice, we were all in Blackpool, the bike was safely stashed in the boot of the car so I thought ‘sod that’ and we had some fun in the Pleasure Beach, arcades and prom instead.