This is a short report of my first bikethon.
As part of my training for (next year’s) Manchester to Blackpool ride I decided to ride the Chester Bikethon to experience riding in a large flock of cyclists. I also cunningly persuaded hubby (Jim) and my son (Sam aged 8) to come too.
The distance wasn’t going to be too taxing - at 15 miles it is a distance that I regularly ride. And I didn’t feel that there were going to be many hills etc. But I was a bit worried about two thousand bikes down a little cycle track and possibly having to dismount to avoid them. I was also a bit worried about actually starting as I am rubbish at freemounting and need a lot of space.
We nearly didn’t go. It was absolutely pouring with rain before we set off. But the digital barometer was forecasting sun so we thought we’d give it a go.
We lined up with a load of bikes. Groups of about ten bikes were let onto the cycle path every five minutes and we were in the third or fourth batch. Luckily there was a fence on which I hoisted myself up at the back of the batch and set off. The ‘cheer leaders’ who were cheering us off let out a special cheer just for me. (This really impressed Sam. We heard him telling one of his friends about it later.) I was just relieved to have stated without anything untoward happening.
It was raining when we set off but I soon had to take off my mac due to getting just as wet when wearing it because it was quiet warm. The sun came out quite soon though and I was mostly dry throughout the ride.
Comments from passers by were generally encouraging. I think the most frequent comment was “You’re brave”. I agreed. But not for the reasons they thought. Riding myself was easy. Sam, when he got tired and started complaining was going to be a completely different matter.
I had never ridden that cycle path before and the scenery was absolutely fantastic. Through the countryside there. Quick stop for hot dogs (or jaffa cakes for us) and then back along the canal/river. Beautiful. And flat (just how I like it).
The couple of times I was forced to stop to go through a gate thingy there was somewhere to hoist myself up on. And the only place there was no cunningly placed fence or post, I actually managed to freemount successfully on the third try. I was very pleased with myself, especially since that was close to the finish when my legs were getting a bit tired.
All in all we had a great day. It took us 2 hours (which was an average of about 8 miles an hour) which I thought was very good for Sam’s first distance ride on his bike. And as an added treat there was a circus workshop going on at the finish, where none other than our own MrBoogieJuice was on juggling duty. What a nice surprise and a lovely ending to a lovely ride.
Here are a couple of photos.