It's rare you get such a perfect day in Lancashire, normally it's too cold, or too windy, or it's chucking down rain drops the size of mice; today was perfect!
I donned my usual regalia; a tatty pair of baggy shorts, which discreetly hide a pair of lycra padded shorts; got to protect those man bits! First time riding without I couldn't pee for a week! I'm a bit of a bandana freak, I love them! I have quite a few now, mostly gathered from various places around the UK but some also given to me by friends and family. On goes the bright red bandana, the one you don't enter gangland areas in due to fear of being shot... I also throw on my Scott cycle jersey with an Altura windproof top, because on the tops it gets a little nippy!
I set off and start off in a low gear to get my legs warmed up; along Chorley New Road and into the small town of Horwich. Just a few moments into the ride and a driver of a small car decides it's an awesome idea to pull out and block the road so he can get out; I wouldn't mind but he brings a massive train of traffic to a halt and I have to slam my anchors on. We exchange glances, mine being more of a scowl and his being a 'don't care' look About half way along Chorley New you encounter what I call the Round-a-bout of death, it's horrific so I now find myself avoiding it and heading left past Bolton Wanderers' ground. The old Aerospace building is now demolished, making way for yet more rabbit hutch style housing to help our ever growing populace - shame really, they employed a lot of people in this town.
Up a short hill, which until recently used to hurt me, I enter the countryside, at least for a short while. The road is covered with potholes, and it's narrow, with just enough room for 2 cars side by side, so if you're a cyclist you're holding cars up! The best way to deal with it is to actually check around corners and if it's clear you can wave the cars behind through, I tend to just pull in and let them pass. I reach the top easily and make a right turn intent on heading into Blackrod. I catch up with another cyclist who looks like he's on his way home from work, we swap pleasantaries and I head off.
The road from Horwich into Blackrod is pretty bad, there's more potholes than there are plotholes in a Hollyoaks' episode, thankfully you can turn off and head up a slow gradiant into Blackrod itself which is quite the pleasant little town. Once at the top I remembered there's quite a swift downhill but oddly there's never anyone behind me when I start the descent. You have to be somewhat wary of the bottom as it swings out back onto Bolton Road which takes you into Adlington. Traffic is hard to see coming due to having to bend your head in quite the odd fashion to have a look. If you can hit it at full tilt it's awesome but it's rare due to traffic.
Adlington's quite a nice little town but they also seem to have been infected by white spots which the councils claim are round-a-bouts. I believe they're traffic calming measures but seem to be more of a bump for teenage drivers to jump over. Heading past two pointless 'round-a-bouts' I start the climb up a short hill and across a junction. There's a brief climb until you reach a lovely winding road which eventually gives you the option to turn towards Anglezarke Reservior and towards the Upper and Lower Barns. It was packed today, so many cars parked on the narrow roads it was quite difficult to get any speed up.
Swinging past the barns I did contemplate doing the run along Belmont Road but that is one hell of a climb, and someone as new as me would probably keel over and die! Instead I head back into Horwich and back along Chorley New Road. The roads were exceptionally busy, and being as nice as it was that was totally understandable.
I wasn't far from home so I started to put a little more effort into my hill climbs, getting home a lot quicker than I normally do and not actually completely shagged like normal.
I think I'm getting better at this cycling lark!