We set off with a car boot full of bananas and an assurance that the bridge over the canal would be passable by bike despite the road being closed to traffic. In fairness, the road sign informed us of the same thing. But this is what we were confronted with:
We were soon on our way again, heading off along picturesque country lanes with a few kamikaze motorists.
Looking forward to our next county, Cheshire, farmer’s daughter Liz impressed us with her regional cattle knowledge.
Liz: ‘I think Cheshire cows are special.’
Jackie: ‘I don’t think I’ve heard of Cheshire cows.’
Liz: ‘Oh, I don’t mean cows. Cats!’
Here’s the proof we made it to Cheshire:
‘You’re slow’ he shouted after him!
At 15.5 miles I cautiously expressed my delight at our progress. It led to chamois cream chat, with Chris admitting he’s just about to make a start on his second tub. He claims the tub has been open for a while but we aren’t so sure. It would certainly explain the squelch every time he sits down!
After nearly being taken out by a car at a big roundabout we were actually pleased to get to a gravel canal path. The fact the surface was ok came as no surprise to Liz because it was light in colour. Apparently it’s this that is the significant factor for cycling comfort rather than the size of the stones.
We were due to meet support driver two, Jane, at a pub in Nantwich for lunch. We arrived in our usual spectacular fashion, cycling straight to the back of the pub where a lorry was making a delivery. After doing a full 360 degree tour of the lorry we finally made our way to the front.
It was only 12 miles to our afternoon stop. The route included a toll bridge, charging a whole 12p for cars.
The final 22 miles, up past Manchester and through Bolton town centre at rush hour was memorable. We carried our bikes down and then up a flight of steps for no good reason to join up with a cycle path. And there was a less than scenic canal path, which did, at least have a lighthouse:
We also managed a selfie on the A57:
Liz said I wasn’t allowed to say anything negative about Manchester because she’s had a lot of fun there. I’ve come to the conclusion we must have very different ideas on what constitutes fun. Cycling through built up areas in busy traffic doesn’t do it for me.
We have been looking out for signs welcoming us to counties and major towns/cities. We didn’t find a sign but here’s Liz doing her Bolton bin impression: