It rumbles just beneath the surface every time we meet, the subject is the chosen route for next years “Doing It For Chris” Old Gits Cycle Ride and I try to avoid the topic for it won’t be too long into the conversation before Steve mentions this route again, the newest Sustrans route, a new Coast to Coast crossing, but with added pain.
He first raised the subject when we were sat in the van driving to the starting point of this years epic journey, we hadn’t even started this years 130 mile trip before he was planning next years and when we heard him describe the route we all cried “Nay, nay, and thrice nay” in time honoured Frankie Howerd tradition for this one is 169 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington, have a look at a map of England and you’ll quickly realise that the original C2C route from Workington to Sunderland is at the narrowest point of the country, now compare with the new “”Way of the Roses” C2C route, its not exactly the slimmest route they could have taken is it ?
It doesn’t start very well either, but then again neither did the original C2C route, its difficult to pick between Workington and Morecambe as to which is the worst place to visit, I think I’ll plump for Workington actually if only for the fact that the C2C route starts at the town’s lighthouse and no-one in the town knows that they have a lighthouse, we asked nearly everyone in the town where the lighthouse was and none of them could tell us, none of them even gave us the most obvious of clues that it might possibly be on the coastline, we eventually found it by accident – a coastal town full of people who don’t know what a lighthouse looks like – Working ton has to take the prize for being the dumbest town in the UK.
So while its not so dumb as Workington that is still not giving Morecambe much kudos.
I have some experience of Morecambe and generally speaking they haven’t been impressive ones, the last time I was there was for business reasons and the overall impression was that the whole town had been designated as Gods Waiting Room before the final departure from this mortal coil and that I had no place being there, if you are not staggering around the streets attached to a zimmer frame looking for all the world as if you have already passed over, then you must be one of the younger candidates who stagger around, gaunt and rat-faced from years of alcohol and any other substance abuse using lamp posts as their zimmer and one step into the road or the next over-indulgence away from sitting on a cloud playing a harp.
In short, Morecambe was probably chosen as the starting point for the latest C2C route because once you arrive there any last doubts you had about making the journey will be replaced with, “Give me the route map quick, how the hell do we get out of here”.
The route climbs up into the Pennines within a very short time of leaving the start, and therein lies the general drift of the whole three or four days its going to take you to complete, if you don’t like cycling uphill then I suggest that you steer well clear of this route, and after three days of uphill cycling through the Yorkshire Dales and just when you think the hills are all behind you and the Vale of York seems to be a very pleasant place to be, then you’ll find the Yorkshire Wolds waiting for you, not the worlds highest mountains for sure, but among the worlds most annoying rolling hills – think of corrugated cardboard and you have some idea of the landscape that makes up the Wolds, absolute torture after so many miles and you were thinking it was all over – believe me, I’ve made the same mistake several times on our Great Yorkshire Bike Ride events, Ned will never again persuade me that that particular annual June venture will be a good laugh.
And yet I receive monthly emails from the Big Daft Lad in Lincoln that we need a route with more hills next year, living in Lincoln as he does he sees hills as curiosity’s and can’t get enough of them, and Steve of course is just plain stubborn, you won’t ever persuade him to get off his bike and walk, not while there is still a breath left in his body and sometimes its his last one as he reaches the peaks.
Its on the agenda for next year but by god I hope my much easier route wins the vote instead.