Sunday, 8 June 2008

Day 6 Newcastle Under Lyme to Southport - 63 miles - The boys are back in town!

Today we arrived back in our home town of Southport. The brothers had made up and morale was high. Ali still had a very sore left knee (See swelling in picture) but he maintained his morale throughout. Once again bike was happy with her boys and apart from the odd chain derailing she was a happy girl. We arrived into Southport at 1615hrs to a fabulous reception gathering of Jonathan’s family and Marky Pickup with a tray of beers. Top lad. Delighted to be home but sobering to think that we aren’t even half way yet!

We are getting used to waking up in an Army bar. The alarm went at 0630 hrs – team up and out by 0715 hrs. This was the most impressive display of non-faffing about we had all seen. It even looked professional. Ali was very concerned about his knee to the point he stood in a waste bin of cold water, anything tot get the swelling down. We got verification from the Military Guard Service and then set off. Goodbye Newcastle, Southport here we come. We had got no further than 300m before Alistair’s knee forced us to stop. He was in incredible pain with it – it’s the ‘jack wagon for you Al’

The team pressed on. We could smell home around the corner and momentum was high. We have realised that the early start is the only way to get the rest of the trip done. Sandbach was our intended destination for breakfast. The morning was gorgeous, bright, warm but just a little overcast – ideal conditions for this. The terrain was ideal for the bike, the low Cheshire Plains and open wide A roads allowed us to gain some speed. At 0920 hrs (Odometre reading = 364) we pulled into Sandbach town, what a beautiful market town and made for Sally’s Café. Jonathan caused some amusement by asking at an ice cream parlour ‘Do you serve breakfast?’ ‘Yes if you like ice cream on toast!’ Sally’s Café was fantastic, lovely Helen (or was that Elen?) served us the largest breakfasts you have ever seen. Incidentally, Sally was a huge brut of a chap who owned the place and very kindly gave us a discount for charity and allowed us to eat as much tea and toast we wanted. Outside Sally’s we met George Dillan, a local chap who photographed his lad sitting on the bike. He then said he had a Brazilian football top that we could auction. What a top fella, but he went further and decided to go an fetch some coffee machines we could have for the Ball raffle. George is one of those people who make this trip very special, there was nothing this chap wouldn’t do for us. We left Sandbach at 1120 hrs.

Heads down, ‘dig in’ fellas! We needed to get some serious miles now under the tyres. There is no easy way of doing this apart from head down and switch off. Covering large distance on a bike is a pure mental challenge. One must think in bite sized chunks and keep chomping until there is nothing left. We cycled non stop for nearly 3 hours (even without a sore bum stop). ‘Chomp chomp’ Tony is a fantastic driver, his ability to maintain our momentum is something special. He soon became known as ‘Light Master’ There was no traffic light, roundabout or road works that stopped the bike from continually moving forward – this was fabulous for the bike and our progress. ‘Chomp – Chomp’ Southport edged closer and closer.

Middlewich – Northwich – Warrington – St Helens (yes it was urbansville) loads of traffic and yet we stormed it. By 1450 hrs we were south of Ormskirk and ready for the epic push into Southport. We phoned Dune FM but were unable to get through. 1600 hrs we picked Ali up at the Kew roundabout and then pushed along Scarasbrick New Road and Eastbank Street. As we turned the corner there were Jonathan family, Joanne, Kitty, Bertie and Edward waving. Marky Pickup was holding 5 cold beers for us! Top fella. Photographs taken and then we unpacked the bike and vehicle. We had made it to Southport – the difficulty would now be pushing on, on Tuesday morning.

Incidentally what a miserable lot Southport people are. We have travelled up half the country and in every town we have had horns honked at us (nice peeps i must add), people cheering us, windows rolled down at traffic lights and money handed over. Yet we come into our own home town, whose radio station has been advertising the event and not a single pip on a horn or even a round of a applause from anyone. Shame on you Southport, you were quite a disappointment!

Another good day – total mileage 414…


melly said...

Alright boys was great to see you all on saturday, yes i agree shabby show of support from southport and dune fm!

lovin the tash's by the way gents, mark u do look like you should be in the village people with yours and tony - well theres always the joke shop if you cant grow one!!!

keep on truckin......

mark & mel

melly said...

sorry ive signed it with the wrong account!!