Month: June 2016

JoGLE Day 13 – Unlucky for some

I should probably start by saying Day 12 had been a tough one. It had rained all day, I’d got covered in mud and had some navigational issues.

Day 13 – 40 miles of flat, mostly cycle path riding from Wigan to Macclesfield. A short, quick one after yesterday’s late finish. I caught the train from Macclesfield in the morning, joined by 2 other cyclists. I say cyclists, they were people with bikes, dressed like they were going into town but told me they were going cycling in the peak district for the day. I looked out and saw the torrential rain and was pleased to realise that I’m not the only person with a bike who has slightly over ambitious ideas.

Having negotiated a train-change in Manchester Piccadilly and multiple flights of stairs, I arrived in Wigan just before 1200. I found my way onto the tow path which was the start of my ride and it was a decent surface – an improvement on yesterday. After a while the signs ran out so I got my phone out to double check where I was. The wrong canal. There’s the Leeds and Liverpool canal and the Leeds and Liverpool canal (Leigh branch). The signs had neglected to tell me this. A bit of google maps re-planning and I was back on my way until I reached another mudbath. I was only 8 miles in – soaked through and covered in mud again, I got off and walked. Signposts were hit and miss, but I made it to Manchester – almost half way. Then the trail went cold again, I told myself that after 30miles I’d be in Stockport and I could bail out early and get the train down to Macclesfield to come back up the next day. Consoled with that thought, and after a visit to a Manchester kebab house for lunch (I’m not even going to try to justify that, you’ll just have to trust me that it was entirely necessary) I set off for Stockport.

I finally picked up the right road, it was still torrential rain but the end was in sight. Unlike the pothole under a stream of water running down the road. BANG. I thought I’d damaged my bike so I changed gear to check and it seemed ok, then I realised I had a puncture. I got off the road and set to changing the tube. I was filthy which didn’t help matters but I was secretly a little bit impressed with myself that I’d managed to change it so easily. Took the pump off the valve to finish off and the top of the valve broke off.

Game over. I had a serious hole in one tube and no valve on my spare tube so I googled where the nearest train station was. Then a man walked past so I asked him whether there was a station or a bike shop nearby – he told me there was a bike shop a 10 minute walk away. It was 1656, I decided to be optimistic that they didn’t close at 1700 and started walking. Then he ran after me and told me there was a Decathlon (big sports shop) 10 minutes in the other direction which would be open late.

I sorted my bike out in Decathlon and decided not to bail out at Stockport station – I wasn’t in the mood to be beaten now. All I had to do was look out for a turning off the main road and then it would be one straight cycle path back to Macclesfield.

I found the path and it was wet, unsurprising given the rain so I carried on.  I carried on for about 2 miles until there was no more path and it had turned into a river. I waded through it, shin deep to the next bridge to be able to escape the path up to the closest road. It gets to a point when you’re so wet that walking through a river doesn’t even register. Another check of google maps and I could still make it back to Macclesfield avoiding the main A road. I rode down a road into a village which was under water, people building blockades by their houses in an attempt to stop them from flooding. The next road was closed and the police told me the only way back was on the A road. It was only 2 miles and as it was gone 1900 it was very quiet and I was slightly beyond caring. I arrived back in Macclesfield at 1930, where even the station parking machine was against me as it swallowed my ticket without raising the barrier.

Day 14. Rest Day.