Coast to Coast in Aid of Prostrate Cancer Charity
Howard, Alex, Chris, Duncan and Tracey
In February 2010 I (Howard) was diagnosed with stage 4 Prostate Cancer. After getting over the initial shock, I decided that keeping fit, and as healthy as possible was the way forward. Cycling was mentioned as a good form of low impact exercise. So I started to use my Mountain bike to maintain a level of fitness. As I became more competent on my bike I started to venture a little further, this was when I came across the Trans Pennine Trail. Soon I was planning rides further afield and encouraged friends to join me.
In March we decided it would be a good idea to take up the challenge and cycle the Trans Pennine Trail over 4 days, starting at Southport on Tuesday 13th July and completed it Friday 16th July at Hornsea at 5:30pm: 234 miles ridden (allowing for a few route changes)! Here’s a summary of our trip:
Day 1: We met up on Southport seafront at 9:30am after getting our first stamp from tourist information. Chris and I located the start the night before, so we could get off to a good start. Making good progress we had our first break in Knotty Ash for coffee. Chris got the first puncture after 20 miles. Our target stop for the day was Sale, where we had booked our accommodation at the Lennox Lea B&B. The day was going very well (apart from the constant headwind), until I decided to put on the power to climb a bank just outside Latchford nr Warrington and snapped my chain (ouch) Google maps soon located a cycle shop 1.5 miles from where we were. An hour later we are back on the trail and heading for Sale. The rain had set in by now, and we were starting to get tired and wet. The day passed without further incident. It was getting on for 7:00pm when we finally got to our B&B. Sue (My wife) John (Tracey’s Hubby), Jack (Father In law) plus Jasper & Wednesday (The Dogs) were there to meet us with praise and smiles. 58 miles covered. A Great Day though.
Day 2: We left Sale at 9:40am a little later than planned our target today is Penistone. Having covered just over a mile we have our first puncture of the day (Tracey). Puncture sorted out we set off for Hadfield where we planned to have our break. The trail takes us through Stockport and down to Broadbottom. At Charlesworth, we have another puncture (Tracey) (not her day today) we still have to do 25 hilly miles across the Pennines. I am fast running short of energy, but encouragement from the team spur me on! We are riding into a NE energy-sapping wind. The going is very tough. At Torside Reservoir, we get another puncture (Duncan), it gives us a welcome break and time to check our progress. We are averaging around 7mph into the wind, even though we’re going as fast as we can. We manage to get over the hill to a glorious view of the Pennines. Woodhead flies by and we all enjoy the fast downhill into Dunford Bridge. Our Target is in sight, we all enjoy the fast track towards Penistone. Sue has managed to arrange a cottage for the night (how does she do it). The farmer even picks us up from Bullhouse Bridge. Tired and dirty we settle down to Tea/Coffee and biscuits. A couple of pints later and we are ready for bed. It’s on to Selby tomorrow. 49 miles covered
Day 3: We set off from Penistone at 9am heading for Selby, and planning to stay at a B&B/Pub in Hirst Courtney. Today is cold and threatening rain but it’s good to know that most of the hills are behind us. Through Oxspring and onto Silkstone and negotiate the fastest part of the trail, bombing towards Barnsley at up to 20mph! We stop off at Wigfield Farm (Wosborough) checking my bike I find that skewer on my front wheel has worked loose (that could have been nasty!!). We cycle on through RSPB Old Moor; Duncan has a scrape with a fellow rider just outside Sprotborough. We fish the chap out of the bull rushes and patch him up (no one hurt). Lunch is at Nellie’s Cafe in Doncaster. We push on through Owston Woods. Braithwaite is lovely alongside the canal. We break for a drink at The Old George Inn (Sykehouse) Duncan is thirsty, it’s the final push on to Hirst Courtney, the weather is good, the wind has dropped, time to get our heads down and push on. We arrive at 6:00 a good days riding under our belt. This is our last overnight stop. Sue has a much welcome bath waiting for me to rest those muscles. Tomorrow we have 70 miles to cover to the finish line. The bikes are checked over, an early start tomorrow 8:00. Fish & Chips, a few beers and off to bed. 62 miles covered
Day 4: Last Day and an early start 8:00 am. We are riding straight into an easterly wind – great! It feels like we are riding uphill constantly. Our first target stop for the day is Howden, which we reach by 10:30 making good time considering the wind. Food is the only thing on our minds as the wind is draining our energy. Still managing just over 10 mph though, our target speed for the day. A delicious sandwich and a drink, and we are on our way. The wind finally dies down around Blacktoft; this helps us pick up the pace a little. We break again as we get to the water’s edge at North Ferriby. 38 miles done The Humber Bridge is now so close, we can feel the finish. We negotiate a quick, but concise route through Hull. Leaving Hull, we are onto an old railway track heading for Hornsea, but into the wind again. Our legs are burning now with the effort and although the path is quick, the lack of features makes these miles hard to keep going. We manage an average 10 to 12mph on this path. We have a quick break at Ellerby, and then push on to the finish. Finally, we arrive in Hornsea at 5:27pm. 71 miles for the day, and a total mileage of 234. It was fantastic see Sue, John, Jack and Jasper waiting for us at the seafront. With massive cheers balloons and Champagne. Hugs and Smiles. Was it worth it – you bet!!
I could not have done it without the support of my co riders Alex, Chris, Duncan and Tracey. And of course our support crew Sue, John and Jack. How Sue and jack found that cottage in Penistone we will never know. Thank You all again
Thanks for all the trail markings and I can confidently say that we all enjoyed the TPT very much. We have all been raising money for the Prostate Cancer Charity and feel that they deserve a mention too.
Thanks again, Howard Bennett-Clews
Pat and Bryan’s story has helped our Partners right across the Trans Pennine Trail network to see how changes can make the route more accessible. Take a look at what they've helped to accomplish.