Sunday, November 18, 2007


Today was meant to be my first attempt to do a more adventurous journey on my bike, and spread my wings a bit in an attempt to prove that when I'm using public transport I'm not reliant on someone picking me up at the other end.

I've been going over to Blackpool on the train quite a bit, but have usually ended up getting a lift to and from the station or the hospital. Actually, it is easily walkable to either my sister's or my grandparents' house from St Annes station, but we then tend to go to the hospital too. On Sundays there don't seem to be trains on the St Annes line, so instead I decided to be more adventurous. I would cycle to Leeds station, put the bike and myself on the train, go to Blackpool and cycle from there to the hospital for afternoon visiting, before heading back. I'd get a bit of exercise, opportunity to read the paper on the train, and I could be smuggly green.

First flaw in the plan, the weather forecast wasn't looking great. But I've exercised outside enough over the past few years to be able to repeat the mantra to myself "the weather isn't the problem, it's unsuitable kit". And if there's one thing I have lots of, particularly after my buying spree in America, it's exercise kit. So I layered up, put some dry clothes in my bag if necessary, and headed out.

I got to the station at 9am, soaked and a bit chilly but in plenty of time to get a ticket and some coffee before the 9.35 departure. I checked the boards. What 9.35 departure? Ah, slight problem. There's the 9.35 to Hebden Bridge, but that's quite a long way from Blackpool, or it was last time I checked my map. I checked at the ticket office. No trains. A bus from Hebden Bridge to Blackpool. And last time I checked, although bikes are free and not a huge problem on trains, they don't go down well on rail replacement buses.

So I could leave my bike in Leeds, struggle over the pennines on train, bus, train, and then beg for a lift from Blackpool station to the hospital, or I could turn round and cycle 5 miles back home, getting even colder and wetter than I already was. With the hectic schedule I'd had recently, part of the attraction of the route I'd wanted to take was that it was a direct train, where I could just sit, read the paper, and chill. I wouldn't have that option if I had to change to and from the bus, so I made a quick call to my mum, turned round and cycled home.

At least I tried, I suppose, but I should have known better than to trust a train timetable.


Blogger K said...

I think your title summed it up very well!

At one point, a few months ago, I was contemplating a job where I'd have to cycle to the station, get a train and then cycle the rest of the way EVERY DAY. I didn't get that job... but it would have been a bad idea anyway.

I salute you for trying, anyway.

2:17 PM  

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