October…

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IMG_4806I’ve just spent the last month (more or less) riding bikes along the coastal roads of North West England. There’s a number of reasons for doing this, the main one being that this is an area that I’ve come to love over the last twenty five years of staying here ( in fact it seriously rivals Anglesey in my affections now).

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The second reason was that I wanted to continue with my self imposed monthly mileage increase, a stupid idea that I could continue to increase my monthly total month on month till the end of the year, for what end I really don’t know but I am prone to setting myself ridiculous meaningless targets.

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The third reason was that I wanted to concentrate on my health, since getting ill in New Zealand in 2017 I’ve not really recovered the little fitness I had prior to then, I was of course told that it would take time, but still….

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The fourth reason is connected to the third, a month without alcohol, easier said than done but taking myself away from most social occasions was important for me to enable this, I wasn’t completely isolated of course (my wife was around in between numerous appointments for ageing parents, and I’ve had a couple of visits from Paul).

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Anyway, how did it go ?

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Well, we are now wondering about moving out to this area now, its an hours drive from Manchester which is an important consideration, so its fair to say that I do enjoy these roads and trails enormously, for sure the coast itself isn’t anywhere near as pretty as Anglesey but there’s a certain charm about the place that gets under your skin.

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Reasons three and four have been good, I’m feeling better generally, lungs appear to be working better, no wheezing uphill anymore, doing the longest ride for two years of eighty miles, plus the 31 days of abstinence has gone by quite easily, I’m going to take a wild guess and say these two things might be connected ?…. who knew….

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The second reason, increasing my monthly mileage was a failure , I missed the first week due to a severe case of man flu (or a cold as my wife would say) it wasn’t that bad but I really didn’t want it to get on my chest so I stayed indoors as long as was humanly possible. The rest of October saw seventeen rides totalling bang on six hundred miles, forty miles short of Septembers total, but at last for my own sanity the spell was broken, now I can just get out and ride again without thinking about numbers, in fact I’m going to drop the Garmin (suggestion from Paul) and get on with just riding.

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I finished the month today with a glorious ride, a very cold start saw me heading out to the cafe for breakfast, this has become a bit of a ritual for when I’m riding here, either alone or with friends, and something I look forward to, its a good reason to get up early and get into the back lanes before the traffic starts. If I time it right I’m knocking on the cafe door at opening time having already got twenty miles in.

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After a second coffee I headed along the trail from Glasson Dock towards Lancaster, I’ve no idea why but today the trail was alive with bird life, perhaps a final gathering of food before a harsh winter ? I couldn’t believe it but today I saw over twenty species of birds…

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Whooper Swans
Curlews
Little Egrets
Great Egrets
Barn Owl (out hunting in daylight ?)
Goldfinches
Green finches
Wheatear
Lapwing
Grey Heron
Pink footed Geese
Greylag Geese
Kingfisher
Starlings (murmuring)
Little Grebe
Dipper
Redshanks
Greenshanks
Knot
Cormorants
Sparrow Hawk
Merlin
Buzzard
Peregrine Falcon

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Up past the Crook-o-Lune and I’m 99% certain that I saw an otter in the river, didn’t have any binoculars with me so can’t say for sure but given the fact that I spent an afternoon at Leighton Moss just last week watching two otters playing along the reed beds there I think that’s what it was.

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Since the clocks have gone back at the weekend I’m also enjoying riding in the dark and finished today’s ride with fish and chips from Knott End, then pedalling back to the caravan and avoiding the trick or treaters in the dark along the coastal path.

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So, a good October for me, here’s looking to more fun rides before yet another year ticks over.

Words and pictures – Steve Makin

7 thoughts on “October…

  1. Andrew Swindells

    Nice write up and review of the month. A lovely day to be out on the bike.
    BTW I think Barn Owls hunt at twilight? I’ve seen a few early mornings when I used to travel through the white peak to work.

    Like

    1. Steve

      indeed they do generally hunt at twilight, hence my surprise at seeing it in daylight, it was a good day to be out riding despite the cold 🙂

      Like

  2. Iain Hackett

    Another great piece Steve. Lovely area, parents lived in Overton for a while.
    Nice idea dropping the “computer”, surely it’s about the quality time spent churning the pedals and taking in what’s around you.
    Will be back at it soon….well after another 10 weeks or so of enforced rest.
    Keep up the good work (all of ya) inspirational.
    U have given up the Marlboro, but not the Noahs mill.

    Liked by 1 person

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