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Thursday the 20th of July

And I would roll 500 (point 7) miles . . .

Following a chat with our hosts at the Station House we decided on a small route alteration taking us away from the main roads. We set off in the rain, it was still hot but now it was wet too. We started well, going downhill or on level ground for most of the first few miles. After a ride through some pretty countryside in which the weather dried up and the sun came out, it seemed like no time at all and we had passed through Wigglesorth, then Clitheroe and we were in Blackburn.

I have only been to Blackburn once before, and then only to Ewood Park for a match with the Mighty Blues. So this is the first time I had really seen the town. The thing that struck me most is how impatient the motorists are there. I feel glad we got out of Blackburn alive. And The Beatles were wrong about the holes, I'm sure that there were more.

You know the guys by know? At 500 miles.

Blackburn marked the start of perhaps the most urban and busy roads we had on this trip. I resorted to using my instructor tabard which gave the impression I was instructing my team mates and hey presto, motorists seemed a little more patient and gave us a bit more room. Talk about sneaky >;o)

The other obligitory picture at 500 miles.

We lunched at a pub once we passed Bolton.

We refuel and plod on. It started to get a little more rural though the roads were still busy. On one island I confused one poor motorist (I was in the wrong lane) so I apologised and set off in front of him. Half way around the island I was held by a set of lights and a motorcyclist joined me at the front of the queue. I told him that I could take him if I pedaled fast and he agreed as he reckoned his bike had passed it's prime. I nearly had him too but he got me on the corner. At this point the motorist I'd chatted with also over took me while shaking a fist out of his window and screaming that he knew he'd take me in the end. Had I known we were racing I'd have pedaled harder. It was nice to enjoy a friendly exchange with fellow road users rather than the hostility that us cyclists get for having the nerve to be on the road.

Sadly, from a shared road point of view, things took a turn for the worse. As we cycled down the busy road we approached a corner obscured by trees and bushes. We were on a narrow lane with a solid white line so as the corner got near I moved into the primary riding position to discourage the following traffic from overtaking. The car behind revved his engine in disgust, just as a truck appeared from around the corner flying towards us. Had I give him the room to get past us he'd be dead now. We got around the corner and I moved to the left to let the traffic past. As he got along side us the impatient drivers window wound down and I expected a "Phew, lucky there huh?" kind of comment. What I got was abuse. I couldn't help laughing at him. Idiot. Looking back, I wish I'd let him hurry to his death now.

We arrived at Cuddington and dropped into the White Barn for a well earned pint. From here we went back to Knutsford to the most local digs we could find, the Travelodge on the M6! Needless to say, we got a lift in the van.

A pint tastes all the better after cycling a few miles

Through my Sister-in-law we were offered an invitation to play 10 pin bowling at Lakeside Leisure in Crewe. So no early night tonight. We got a meal and headed for the bowling alley. We were given 2 games of bowlng and a couple of round of beers! Cheers guys! At first, Dad didn't fancy going. He wanted an early night because we had to be up early to "Get Cracking". A beer and a laugh later he had changed his mind and we had to prize the bowling shoes off his feet.

Oh, and a note of some importance, I am bowling king. I won. They are but gnats to be bowled down by my nimble, bowling ball skill. I fart in their general direction, their mothers are hamsters and their fathers smelled of elderberries. Or something like that (That's it. I promise there will be no more Python quotes).

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