Let's cycle to Limbrick
Windless, cloudless, it's almost a perfect morning. Just 3.5 degrees. The sky is hazy blue but towards the east the light is gold. Limbrick is a tiny village about half way between our house and where Bradley Wiggins lives. In all the years I've been cycling I have never (knowingly) seen Sir Bradley although Jason Kenny OBE has been spotted a few times on the high road from Rivington to Belmont. Along that road are still piles of filthy snow up to ten feet high where it was ploughed to the side three weeks ago. I was there yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. We are getting back in the groove after a winter in which I gashed my gear-shift thumb on a can of Carnation Milk then it rained all through November and December, then froze, then snowed, then blew, then came the coldest March since records began.
Sandra has not touched her bike since Dorset last October but today, cycling to Limbrick is her idea. I was there yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that but I say: "Good idea." We get her Scott Sportster 10 Solution out of the garage and I pump up the tyres. But the rear disc is jammed so we bring her tourer out of the house and pump up the tyres. All is well. "I might come back," says Sandra. "You'll be fine," I reply.
There's a pub in Limbrick called the Black Horse. I read somewhere once that this is the oldest licensed premises in England. This seems doubtful. Sometimes when I cycle past the pub has shut down, other times it is under new management and is open again. I never go in to 'Olde English Traditional Country Pubs' with 'Home Cooked Traditional English Pub Dishes and Open Fires' so I don't mind if it stays open or not. When he was a young man my grandfather played cricket at Limbrick and when he was very old my father sometimes took him to see the pitch from a wheelchair. This old pitch is apparently used nowadays by Chorley St James' CC. There's also an ancient cricket pitch on the green at the small nearby village of White Coppice. I was there on my bike a few days ago.
All that is by the way. This morning there is no need for Sandra to 'come back'. She easily makes it up the short sharp shock where the lane comes up out of Limbrick from beneath the M61 motorway. We stop for the usual drink a bit further along but we have brought no drinks. We come to The Street, a track that passes across a reservoir dam. The dam was under repair for most of 2012 but the track is now open again with a new tarmac surface. We notice how the Hawthorn hedgerows show no signs of green but they are beautifully clipped. At various times of year the clippings (thorns) are left on the road so bicyles have to be carried. Back through Rivington village I'm still in front but I see from the shadow on the road that she is right behind. Sandra dislikes cycling in front and I have never understood why, being naturally inclined to take the 'protective' position at the back and a foot or so further out.
Back home, the temperature is now about ten degrees and the next job is to fix the disc on the Scott Sportster 10 Solution. We're up and running for 2013.