"} Get a life, Get active! By Fit Lesley: The Guild Wheel

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Guild Wheel

Today is Good Friday and it has been unusually sunny for a bank holiday!

My husband decided he wanted to go out on his bike, but as he's not a confident rider we decided to do The Guild Wheel as this is mainly on off-road tracks and paths and we have never done it before!

The Guild Wheel is a cycle track that circles Preston in Lancashire. The 21 mile route takes in Preston docks – the largest 19th Century dock in Europe, the Lancaster Canal, country lanes in Woodplumpton, Brockholes Nature Reserve, the River Ribble and the beautiful Fishwick Bottoms.

As my husband is a bit of a couch potato he struggles to keep up with me on a bike so he insisted that I went on my heavy mountain bike with thick tyres rather than my lightweight road bike with slick tyres!  He has a hybrid bike so had an advantage over me!

After loading the bikes into the car we set off from our home in Kendal at around 11am for the 40 mile journey to where we planned to start the ride. We got parked easily and were soon ready to go and the sun was still shining!  

We didn’t know the best or easiest direction to take, so we set off anti-clockwise from Broughton.  

Most of the route was on good tracks and trails but was very busy with other cyclists and walkers.  I suppose being a sunny Good Friday everyone else had the same idea to get out and enjoy the sun! 

The route was well signed for most of the way but there was one point at around our 4 mile mark where we did go slightly wrong but about half a mile further on we realised and turned back and got on the right track again!

At one point I was shaken up when we came across several teenagers speeding through the trails on motorbikes.  They didn't appear to have any control and none of them wore helmets! Luckily I was able to get out of their way, but with it being so busy it was an accident waiting to happen!

At about 9 miles we came to Preston Docks.  We had timed it very badly as the road bridge was just on its way up to allow boats to go through.  I thought this would be a fairly swift operation but I was wrong!  

There seemed to be a backlog of boats waiting and they didn't seem in any hurry to put their foot down to get through!  Once all the boats were passed it seemed to take an age for them to bring the bridge down again and for us to get the green light to go ahead! 

Once through this there was then quite a lot of busy roads to navigate.  

There was a cycle crossing at each set of traffic lights but this section was very stop/start and was my least favourite! 

Not long afterwards I was delighted to see a Ribble Steam Railway train puffing its way towards me as I cycled, with its passengers waving as they passed!

At around 11 miles we came through Aveham Park and decided it would make an ideal picnic spot for lunch!  It was very difficult to get back on the bikes after sunbathing and relaxing for a little too long!

The route then follows the general direction of the Ribble Way and is often by the river to reach the A59 Brockholes Brow.  Passing under the A59 road bridge the path then continues to the Brockholes Nature Reserve and onto red Scar woods where there is a very steep climb! This sign was at the top which just goes to show we went round in the wrong direction! If we had gone clockwise I could have whizzed down it instead of huffing up it!

The only part of the route that I found difficult! 

After feeling exhausted after battling with this climb we coincidentally came across Preston Crematorium  I'm not sure I felt very respectful cycling through the Crematorium but that's the way the route went!

We were soon back to the car after an enjoyable ride, although I don't think I would cycle it again!  We added an extra mile to the route with getting lost.

Once back home it was time to relax in the garden with a cider! 

You can view our route here!

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