Sunday, 5 June 2011

Southport Belles, what a lovely bunch of Ladies!

One of my aims as CTC North West Councillor is to cycle with as many CTC ladies as possible. I like having my 'ear to the ground' so to speak as you get to know people better cycling along a good bike path instead of at a (boring) meeting. I made an appointment with Juliet, their leader, to meet up on the last weekend in April but last change of plans meant we needed to reschedule, so 28 May was the the best day.

I asked one of my cycling buddies Jo, to join us and together we hopped onto Merseyrail and made the train journey from Chester to Southport. I reserved my ticket online and was amazed at the good value. £6.20 was a good price to pay for a return train ticket! Jo had to change stations and as hers was unmanned, so I offered to get her a ticket at Chester station. I couldn't believe it when her return was priced as £4.50! It turns out that hers was an off peak day saver and mine was an anytime day return. Both incredible value for money.

We had to change at Moorfields in Liverpool. It was a bit of an issue to carry our bikes up the escalator (and down when we did the return journey) as the lift was so small, I don't think you would be able to fit a bike in properly., definitely NOT two bikes.So with the connection made (the trains runs every so often), we were on our last leg to Southport.

 The bikes snugly alongside each other in the dedicated bike space on Merseyrail.
Merseyrail is probably one of the best cycle-friendly train providers in the country. Two dedicated cycle storage spaces on each train and each station has secure cycle parking facilities for commuters.

Soon our journey was over and we went looking for the Dunes Splash Centre.

After a short bike ride towards to beach we found Juliet and her group waiting for us.

The ride set off with the wind behind us, along the seafront on a lovely bike path. Soon we were weaving our way through more of Southport and reached the countryside. The weather was ok-ish. There was no rain but a strong wind so Juliet tried to keep the distance short and manageable. Her stronger ladies group has already set out and we were cycling with the starter group.
It was good to chat to the ladies on our way to the cafe and learn more about how the Belles cycle in Southport.

We got to the cafe and got some good Barms! Some of us went a bit further and ordered cooked breakfast for lunch!! A nice chat followed, learning more about each other.

From the cafe a few of us decided to venture further out to increase the mileage and another group headed back to Southport.

I wasn't sure where we were heading to but increasingly the road seemed to be familiar and I soon realised that I'm on the same route what I did with the Fylde Belles! We headed for the same cafe with the fantastic cakes and meringues.
I had to use very strong will power to say no to these cakes!!
The cafe makes the loveliest meringues, HUGE ones with cream and berries (see photo).

Well, all good things must come to an end and we left the cafe heading back for Southport where Jo and I caught the train back to Chester.
It was a great day out and we've got plans to link up with the Southport Belles again. I think Jo wants to go up and ride with their faster group.

We might even be able to get more ladies from Chester to meet up with Southport and also invite the Fylde girls down. It's all happening! Here are the details to our ride.

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