The Tour de MERLIN?
As anyone who has tried it will tell you, you can't work on your thesis all the time. This weekend's bit of procrastination involved a trip out on the bike, something I haven't done much recently. Since moving closer to Jodrell I haven't had as much excercise as I'm used to so yesterday was a lot of fun. The plan was to head from Jodrell up to Knutsford, down to Northwich (via Pickmere lake and the Tabley telescope), on to Middlewich, Winsford, then down to the Darnhall antenna, through Church Minshull, round the back lanes back to Middlewich, then through Byley and back to Jodrell. Yes, very geeky, I know.
The day was very sunny and quite warm, so I put on some suncream and set off, with a water bottle, the pump and an OS map of Manchester and North Wales (covering most of Cheshire) dating from 1946, by late morning.
There turned out to be two flaws in my plan. The first was that it's ten years since I last visited Tabley and I couldn't remember which farm track lead to the antenna! I picked the wrong one and, after cycling through a huge puddle and down a very rough track, I ended up with a good view of the telescope over a field, but didn't actually get to it. I did go and visit Pickmere lake though, which I'd not done before.
Left: The view over Pickmere. Right: The Tabley (also known as Pickmere) antenna. CREDIT: Megan
The offending item in the rear tyre - a shard of glass which sliced through the tyre and inner tube CREDIT: Megan
Bungee jumping in Middlewich (in case you didn't believe me) CREDIT: Megan
At this point I was starting to feel a little sunburnt so I decided to head back to Jodrell. As I went over the M6 I looked down at the traffic jam and thought, "I'm so glad I'm not down there".
I got back safely, just a bit later than planned, having cycled 55 km (if you believe Google maps) or 65 km (if you believe my cycle computer). I did do a couple of little detours along the way, so it's probably somewhere in the middle.
The annoying thing was that by that evening the tyre was flat again. This morning I dismantled the rear wheel properly and fixed a second puncture where a thorn had gone through the tyre. Luckily, that was a much slower leak than the first one, otherwise I'd have been sat on a narrow country lane somewhere trying to fix it again before I'd got home yesterday!