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11 November, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Leighton Moss-Lancaster

As A. has a (very) shiny new bike, we went for a ride today.  For some reason, the tenuous excuse of my birthday was used to justify inviting several other people (not that justification is required), though it's nearer to next weekend than this one, really, and I still plan to do something then.

The weather wasn't great: dry but dull and very windy, with showers forecast, so I wasn't exactly surprised that only A. & I went ahead with the ride – if it hadn't been arranged beforehand, I'm not sure I'd have chosen to go outdoors either; if we'd planned a longer or different route, I'd have been tempted to cancel.

Ordinarily, a quick blast up the A6 to Carnforth and Warton would merely be the necessary preamble to a longer ride. Today that was virtually our destination: we only went on a further ~2 miles to Leighton Moss near Silverdale, visited the RSPB reserve then returned to Lancaster, following the canal from Carnforth to Skerton.
However, that's ignoring the effect of the wind, which made the whole trip rather more challenging than normal. By definition, the canal towpath must be level, but into a headwind it certainly felt like a constant climb, and tensed against gusts of cross wind, my lower back and shoulder began to hurt as badly as after a 40-mile ride.

My camera is unsuited to wildlife photography and the light was poor, but I took a few photos in the bird reserve. Now I've confirmed that admission is free to those arriving by bike or public transport, I'll have to visit again. It seems strange that though Leighton Moss is ~40 minutes from my current home and I've frequently cycled past the reserve, both my previous visits were at least twenty years ago, when I lived over a hundred miles away.

Today's ride covered 35.85 km (22.28 miles) in 1.41 hours, at an average of only 21 km/h (13.2 mph), but that included diversions to the hospice and Halfords; the trip itself was a little quicker.

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