Week 7 day 45 – Thursday 7th May

  • 20 minutes + 5 mins cool down level 15 (bike 1)
  • Incline bench and abs
  • Max heart rate = 164 bpm
  • Calories = 268 (total so far 15357)
  • Distance covered = 7.87 miles
  • Wednesday evening ‘real’ bike ride = 6.80 miles
  • Total distance so far = 542.16

I gained some extra miles this week as yesterday David reverted to his youth (!) and got us training twice in a day. As we dressed the part in our cycling shorts and helmets, I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a leisurely Sunday afternoon bike ride. Quite the opposite – the mileage was calculated and a goal time set and we were off. In theory I would lead the way and David would try to keep up – but as you might guess that didn’t happen! However, it did add 6.8 miles – every little helps.

Today, sticking to the new plan, I kept the level at 15 and achieved over 85rpm all the way (gold star from David). As a result, I beat Tuesday’s mileage and logged another PB – always a plus.

And who wouldn’t pedal faster with Uptown Funk blasting out from Mark Ronson, Uptown Special?

Well they do say ‘never judge a book by its cover’ and we have to confess to being guilty of that where our next destination is concerned – Preston.  Not the most inspiring name (wasn’t it the robotic dog on Wallace and Gromit – A Close Shave?!) Overshadowed by the other, more famous north western cities such as Liverpool and Blackpool, you could be forgiven for dismissing it as just another northern town with a university.

However, Preston appears to be full of delights. Hard to imagine now, but it was once Europe’s largest dock. There is still a dock there, but now it’s more of a marina and has been developed very stylishly.

The name Preston is derived from Priests’ Town, suggesting early settlement of religious origin dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. By the 1086 Domesday survey, Preston had become an important market town and administrative centre. Its Market Place still occupies the same location some 1,000 years later.

There seems to be no shortage of parkland within or near to the city – Cuerden Valley Park, Avenham and Miller Park, Winckley Square Gardens, and the Preston Guild Wheel, a 21 mile circular tour of the outskirts of the city for running, walking or cycling are just a few.

In addition to the parks, there’s plenty of great culture available from exhibitions to street theatre and live music, workshops and poetry nights – something for everyone. 

It also has the advantage of being close to the much sort after Ribble Valley, recognised nationally as one of the best places to live in the UK. Even the Queen told her biographer that she and Prince Philip yearn to retire to the area one day! It is an ANOB, has plenty of outdoor activities on offer and is home to several Michelin starred restaurants.

I expect if you were to say you were going to Preston for a long weekend, a few eyebrows might be raised – but who knew?! Definitely worth a visit.

With the extra mileage gained on our Wednesday evening ride, I easily reach Much Hoole. What’s in a name? Hoole derives from the Old English hulu, a shed or hovel. In 1204 it was recorded as Hull and it’s also been known as Hole, Hoole, Magna Hole and Much Hole. By 1551 it was Grett Wholle before arriving at its present form sometime over the last 500 years.

And what’s in a phrase? Before March this year, I doubt any of us had used the phrase ‘social distancing’ – or at least not in the form we have come to know it. Now, it’s all we hear and we understand its meaning during lockdown. However, it occurs to me that physical distancing might be a better expression as we have actually witnessed an upsurge in social connection! There’s only so long you can binge on boxsets, while away the hours with online games, clear out cupboards, work out with Joe Wicks, or whatever your distraction of choice. Instead families and friends are zooming and facetiming, competing in ‘pub’ quizzes or creating virtual cocktail hour with friends and neighbours and even planning street – or ‘end of your drive’ – parties to celebrate VE Day.

With long commutes or in some cases, work, no longer draining our energy and time available and with no ‘water cooler’ chats, or visits to coffee shops to satisfy our need for connection, we have seized the advantages of modern technology and are communicating on an unprecedented level. We have time to watch out for and help the elderly and ‘at risk’ neighbours. After all our usual fast paced living, dashing here and there and trying to squeeze 25 hours out of 24, this is indeed the time to be slow. 

“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”

John O’Donohue