Kirkham Rotary coast to coast ride 2016
Over three days ten intrepid explorers set out on a journey that would test friendships and forge a bond unbreakable amongst men. Or put it another way it was the annual Coast to Coast bike ride.
Prologue Wednesay 18th May 2016.
So it was on a mild Wednesday morning "the team" assembled at Raymond Greens house for what would be the 19th annual coast to coast bike ride. Over the years, every conceivable route has been ridden and explored. Every possible weather front has been experienced and endured and for the last 19 years this years forthcoming President Raymond Green has told the same old jokes which has become an endurance event in its own right for his fellow team mates.
The team consisting of Raymond Green, Dave Clarke, Phil Alcock, Chris Hines, David Thow, Dave Thomas, Jim Crewson and most welcome guest Andy Grice who incidently we were to discover was the ringer in the group! Completing the team and without whose help it would not have been possible was Nick Reid-Craft and Roger Kendrick who acted as mechanics, team doctors and masseurs. Well actually no but there help and assistance over the next three days was neccessary and crucial to the success of the ride. With two support vehicles and a trailer for the bikes we set off up north for our overnight stop at The Manor Court Hotel near Bridlington which incidentally was to be our starting point the next morning. The rooms at the hotel were generous in size and as the team retired to bed after a cracking italian supper so was the snoring.
Day 1 Thursday 19th May 2016
After a wholesome breakfast consisting of a full english, porridge and anything else that was eadible on the table including the plastic flowers the team set off for Brindlington. They were met by beautiful spring sunshine, the sun still sitting low on the horizon signalling its intention to blaze a trail for the team for the rest of the day. The team has since commented that the route that day was probably the best they have ever ridden. Following the National Cycle route over mainly flat terrain, the route wound its way through numerous picture post card villages with very little traffic to contend with. Lunch was taken at The Wold Inn at Huggate and after refuelling the team continued onwards to York arriving just before Tea.
The nights billet was at the YHA at York. Despite trepidations from certain team members after last years experience there doubts were soon dispelled as the accomodation was excellent with super hot showers. After a freshen up the team made into town and enjoyed yet another excellent Italian supper at Mamma Mia's. A quick night cap and it was off to bed in readiness for day 2, a day we were quietly dreading. The only mishap that evening was Dave Clark who unfortunately tripped and fell. Thankfully the fall was broken by his face and he suffered no long lasting injuries. Some of his team mates were not so fortunate however and suffered short term cramp and muscle strain as they fell about laughing!
Day 2 Friday 20th May 2016
After another full breakfast the team set off. Weather watching had been the new unoffical past time of the team but we had been lucky so far with all the expected rain falling overnight between legs. Todays terrain was to prove very different fron the previous day. Lots of climbing and difficult terrain made for a very hard day. Half way through Andy Grice had a mechanical where his rear hub shattered. Thankfully he was going up hill at the time and not down. At the same time Dave Clarke suffered a puncture. In a testiment to good planning and team work the support vehicles were soon on the scene and Andy took a spare wheel and Dave repaired his puncture.
The afternoon was scheduled for some cruel hills and it didnt disappoint. It was here that Andy Grice proved his metal and we all realised that we were riding with Bradley Wiggins. To Andys credit and character he helped several riders over the tops, riding back down the hills to push the boilers up them. We are eternally grateful to you Andy but if you decide to join us next year then knock a mile off mate!
Finally we reached the village of Grassington in the North Yorks National Park. Andy, Phil and Chris decided to ride the extra 7 miles to Kettlewell our stop over point.
The Racecourse Hotel at Kettlewell was an excellent pub which served traditional food and had a royal flush of Timothy Taylor brews on tap. Dave Thomas collected a list from everyone so the chef could prepare in advance. The meals duly arrived at our table but wait the order was wrong. Nicks meal had not arrived but took a dish of lamb that apparently had not been ordered but arrived at the table. Half way through the meal Roger Kendrick with amazing clarity sudddenly remembered that he had ordered the lamb and was indeed eating Nicks dish that he had originally ordered. The team will be presenting Roger with several old telephone book in the near future to aid his memorising skills.... that is if he can remember to read them or indeed if he has remembered that we have given them to him in the first place!
Sadly Raymond Green didnt feel all to good overnight and decided to call it day. Raymond is one of the few on the team that has ridden every ride for the last 19 years. He will be back next year for the 20th Anniversary together with his bloody jokes!
Day 3 Saturday 21st May 2016
If day 2 was hard then day 3 proved to be harder. The highest elevation on the ride and the most altitude climbed. The ride started with undulating terrain and a threatening sky on our backs. The legs of Dave Thomas had written a postcard to themselves and sent itself back home so he took the first two hours out in one of the support vehicles. He rejoined the group at the top of the climb before the desent into Settle. Now this was a test of moral fibre for Dave because five minutes before he got out of the vehicle the heavens opened and unleashed a flood that would not have been out of place in the book of Exodus. Resolutely though he got out into the pouring rain and waited for the team to pass. The team applauded as he joined onto the back. Dave wished he had stayed in the van!
The desent into Settle was technical but the team made it down in one piece before making the final push back into Lancashire. The terrain was rolling with a few sharp hills but nothing to suppasse the terrain we had left behind. An excursion through Caton, Warton and onto Arnside saw the ride come to an end. And as if to celebrate yet another milestone, the sun peeked from behind a cloud and smiled long enough for us to get some end of ride photographs.
Feeling a sence of achievement we all then transferred to Bowness in Windermere where we enjoyed our traditional end of ride curry before some well deserved drinks.
Events like this cannot happen without the help and support of certain individuals.
David Thow for planning the route out in great deal...as always. Andy Grice for providing his support and friendship in what was his first ride with us old buggers. Phil Alcock for once again researching and arranging great overnight stops and Dave Clark for allowing us to stay in The Stags Head Hotel. Finally Nick and Roger who once again have provided that safety net and back up which is vital to the ride.
Finally, the biggest thank you must go to those who have supported us and contributed to the charity Prostate Cancer and in whose name we ride this year on behalf of the Rotary club of Kirkham and Rural Fylde.