Life, Running, Travel

Sunny Southport and Other Sundries

I have just stuck a load of autumn/winter clothes into the attic. I swap my clothes around every six months or so, in order to make a bit of space in my small wardrobe and to make the ‘in season’ clothes feel new and fresh because I haven’t seen them for ages. It works for me as I hate buying clothes but I can’t be as spartan as someone like the great singer/artist Patti Smith, who travels with just a small rucksack with a couple of spare t-shirts and underwear. She fills the rucksack up with useful things like her camera and books. For me that would be a dream way of living, because apart from the occasional ‘occasion’, a wedding for example, where I may want to look a little dressed up, I have quite a utilitarian attitude to clothes.

I did do a mini-Patti when I went on the Shrewsbury trip by rinsing out my t-shirt in the Premier Inn bathroom sink and putting it on again the next morning. It’s an interesting thing really, when you’re carrying your immediate life in cycle panniers, to work out what you actually need.

Today on our little day ride to sunny Southport with the PROBs gang I was chatting to Ruth along the way. She’s explored around fifty countries with her bike and she includes a tent in her pannier so that she always has a shelter if she goes far off the beaten track. I absolutely love that – I’d be too scared to be like that but I love people who are. Interestingly she told me that ninety percent of the solo travellers she’s met along the way are women. That the men mostly travel in pairs or groups. I have to say I enjoy being part of this group for the rides that I manage to make. They’re a lovely bunch of people, all older than me, some by a couple of decades, and yes, I’m usually drifting back at the rear, and peddling like mad to stay in touch with them but they (usually) wait for me to catch up.

I was hoping that I’d find this ride easier as I’d built up some big miles recently. And it was, for the most part – at least up to the fish and chips at Southport – because it was gorgeously flat. The gradient on my Strava looks like it’s flatlined, apart from the odd tiny blip, so a whole different experience to the Welsh hills. Plus the sun was out, tempered with a light breeze along the coast, and Andrew, our ride leader had picked a lovely route that included beach views, quiet lanes and a small dip into the woods of a nature reserve. We also went through Formby golf course on a designated path that required cyclists to dismount. I’m not quite sure why. Surely they’d want us out of their way as soon as possible, but I think golfers are a law unto themselves.

After lunch though, I think the extra barm cake (bread roll) I ordered with lashings of butter to make a chip buttie might have slowed me down. Or the rest of them speeded up? Either way, I was huffing and puffing through lanes passing farm fields as far as the eye could see. Luckily though, it was a short fifteen mile ride to Town Green station from where most of us picked up the train back into town, and it was still (mainly) flat.

It may have been that my legs were a little tired because I’d done the Wirral multi-terrain race on Tuesday night. That involved actually running on the beach instead of riding alongside it, which is fun but hard work. Then there was a steep hill up and a steep hill down through the woods. So, yes, my legs may well have been a little fatigued but it was a great race. Around 160 people with a wide range of abilities and ages all having a go. Most of them were in local running clubs but some weren’t, and it’s not a requirement. If you’re not in a running club I’d always recommend tapping into the events that the clubs put on locally because they’ll be cheaper, they’ll be friendly and generally more interesting runs than the big road races out there. I’d also recommend joining a club but I know that does seem a bit daunting at first.

So with tired but happy legs I’ll sign off to enjoy this great weather some more. I think I’ll be cracking open the barbecue tomorrow, for its first outing of the year.

2 thoughts on “Sunny Southport and Other Sundries”

  1. You are on a very impressive exercise roll – congratulations. My wife also has summer and winter wardrobes. I have just the one and simply wear an extra item in winter.

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