It was with great interest that I read Vinnie`s “On and off two wheels” and Keith’s footnote of his cycle ride to Southport with Sanch, the latter evoking fond memories of my own epic adventure.

As usual we were the Limeside three, Dave Griffiths, Les Thomas and myself, I can’t remember if we were joined by Roger Yearn, perhaps Roger has a better memory?  The types of bikes the others were riding eludes me but I remember mine quite vividly, it was a Raleigh “Blue Streak”, although why Blue streak, when it was silver I will never know. It was complete with 10 gears, comprising a “double clanger” at the front and five gears on the back wheel, it had drop handlebars, centre pull brakes, white wall tyres, would you believe?, a water bottle, the pedals where fitted with “toe clips” so that you could pull up with one foot whilst pushing down with the other, unlike Keith’s it was fitted with a pump as standard, although no puncture outfit as I remember, it was very swish in those days. One day whilst “mucking about” on our bikes someone suggested having a ride to Southport, much the same as Sanch the furthest any of us had ridden was on our paper rounds but that didn’t deter us and we rose to the challenge.

Les and I lived on First Avenue, Limeside, facing Limeside Park which was bordered by First Avenue, Ninth Avenue and Oak Road so this was our training route, we decided, that to cycle to Southport we had to practice long distance cycling, so it was during the long summer holidays we would cycle around and around and around the park for lap after lap, not much of a training session these days but we thought it was ok.

The day of reckoning came and all three of us, loaded with sandwiches, and an odd “copper “ or two in change, and all three having a “mind what you are doing” and “be careful” from our parents we set of on our epic journey, it seems strange these days that mobile phones are taken for granted but in those days they didn’t exist, none of our parents had a land line, the only person I knew who had a land line was the local newsagent and did we know his number ?, of course we didn’t.

We took much the same route as Keith and Sanch finding our way to the East Lancs. and its wonderful cycle paths, heading generally west and waiting for the Ormskirk signpost. Similarly as with Keith and Sanch, it took a long time coming and before we reached the turn off we also had stopped and ate half our sandwiches. In those days there was very little traffic to worry about; the East Lancs was a pleasure to ride along.

A last -Ormskirk, never had we been more pleased to see that sign and started to up the pace until we saw the sign “Welcome to Southport “ where we then slowed down again knowing that we had not too far to go when we saw the sign “ To the Beach” .
YES!! we had made it and duly rode our bikes onto the beach and “parked” them standing up by jamming the wheels into the soft sand.

The day up to this point had been without incident until Les decided to do a victory handstand on the sand during which all his money fell from his pockets and disappeared into the sand. The sand was very soft and the money just disappeared from view. We all frantically started to turn over the loose sand in an effort to find Les`s money but search as we did we only found a small amount of it, it’s amazing how quickly it disappeared.

We had planned to spend  the afternoon on the funfair, hardly a pleasure beach at Southport, and then buy some chips before setting off home but Les`s loss of money meant we had to have a rethink, we pooled all our money and managed a couple of rides on the funfair and still managed a bag of chips each.

Eventually we had to head for home leaving Southport via the Ormskirk signs and retracing our journey the same way we had come. Our journey home was very uneventful, unlike Keith and Sanch, reaching home in the early evening about 7 30pm. When we left Southport we couldn’t stop chattering on about the day but as we progressed tiredness set in and the last few miles were done in relative quiet.

The next few days we all suffered from saddle soreness but all agreed it had been a great adventure.

In my previous piece “Things I Remember"…… you may remember that we were going to the Isle of Wight and had two specialist record shops to visit trying to find a final Shadow album to complete my collection - well we struck lucky and found the remaining album.
I now have a complete collection of 76 Shadow albums, even the Cliff collection was added to with another 2 albums, however that search still continues, only another 5 to go.