I departed from Hoylake Station with an hour of sun light left and headed straight to the beach. I was travelling North into a strong headwind and rolled onto the secluded beach. It was that strange time between school runs and office closing hours, so the I had the beach to myself except for one workman pulling down an old concrete fence. We nodded in mutual respect, him for working in the horizontal rain and me, for going for a cycle ride in this weather. I guess that’s the point of training though, you can’t pick and choose when to go out and lets face it, a Finnish winter Arctic race is not going to be a ride in the park.
I carried on along the beach and turned South at the Wirral’s most northerly point and tried my best to keep the bike upright. Succeeding in this battle, I plodded along the shore and rode along the small dunes to West Kirby. A dog owner stopped and let me ride past and her dog went crazy when he saw my 4 inch tyres! We had a polite chat about the weather and we set off in our separate ways.
I avoided the next beach section after the Marina, mainly due to my tyres sinking straight into the mixture of mud and snow. My 4 inch tyres could not cope with this and I had no desire to push through it. I took a road option, quicker, cleaner and with the fading light, much safer than sinking into the marshy sand. The following beach option was more pebbles and stones than sand, and my bike rolled through with a little skill and slow pedalling to pick my lines. A few photographs later and a quick snack to keep my energy level up, I set off past the old tin shed to the boat yard.
My lights were now on as the sun had set and I was making good time along the last bit of sandy beach. It was a shame the ride along the coast was coming to an end but I still had another 10 miles to do before I was home along a Sustrans route. I passed though the boat yard, listening to the boats creaking and groaning in the wind, then came to a stop. For the final section along the Sustrans route, I would need to pump up my tyres by quite a bit for a quicker ride home.