England cycle trip 2023 (5)

I traveled to Northumberland (in the north of England, almost on the Scottish border) for an event at the end of March. The week after the event I took leave to explore a little more of England. This is the fourth day of the bicycle tour.

This time the accommodation didn’t include breakfast, but that was fine with me. I had breakfast out of my backpack and was looking forward to a café for the second breakfast. The tour started along the beach promenade, against the wind.

End of Blackpool seafront and start of the dunes on a grey March day
End of Blackpool seafront and start of the dunes on a grey March day

When I finally turned west, the wind became a little more bearable. Bike path led me along small streets until just before Preston, where I lost it in a construction site and added a slight detour to my cycle. Big cities are always a bit more difficult to navigate, there are just too many intersections. Preston itself ende surprisingly: downtown – park – old railway line, all within 3 minutes. Since I got hungry, I was a bit annoyed that I gave one breakfast option earlier a pass. But luckily I found a spot at the end of the old railway line and enjoyed another vegetarian full English breakfast.

After that it was mainly through towns and slightly uphill until I finally turned onto the southern edge of the South Pennines and Cycle Route 91. Suddenly the villages became rare and small, but roads went more uphill and downhill. I crossed various creeks that all ended up leading to Manchester and each creek was in a valley. But the landscape was worth the somewhat more strenuous cycling.

View of Manchester from Stones Bank Road. The weather was grey and the clouds hung low. Nevertheless, the view was surprisingly good. At the end of March, spring had not yet arrived at 250 meters above sea level.
View of Manchester from Stones Bank Road. The weather was grey and the clouds hung low. Nevertheless, the view was surprisingly good. At the end of March, spring had not yet arrived at 250 meters above sea level.
View of Manchester from Stones Bank Road with lots of digital zoom.
View of Manchester from Stones Bank Road with lots of digital zoom.

Towards the end of the bike tour, also because I still had time, I left off the planned route again and rode to Ramsbottom before turning south-east again. This added another hill, there was already significantly more traffic here. In retrospect, I saw that cycle path 92 might have been a nicer alternative. The last bit to Oldham was along main roads, but traffic-wise it wasn’t too bad. This was the only accommodation I booked prior to my trip.

Wind Turbines in the South Pennines, north of Manchester.
Wind Turbines in the South Pennines, north of Manchester.

I had already arrived at 5 p.m. This time after the shower I got back on my bike to meet friends in Prestwich. The 15 km there, without luggage, was very relaxed, even though the bike felt surprisingly wobbly. The way back was wet, it was pouring heavily. As soon as you can no longer get wet and it is sufficiently warm, rain can also be fun. After a good meal and a pleasant evening, together with little traffic on the roads, I was very relaxed.

Elevation profile of the cycle tour from Blackpool to Manchester.
SRTM relief map with GPS data

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