Manchester to Blackpool Sponsored Bike Ride 2019

May 26, 2019


Sitting in the living room (you call this living?!) watching the rain running down the front windows, and suffering from acute depression due to the car boot being cancelled due to bad weather (what's the matter with these people-have they no macs?!), I  thought I would cheer myself up by penning this slightly overdue missive about my annual foray into the world of liniment, punctures and groin strains which is the Manchester to Blackpool Bike ride. It is on Sunday the 7th of July this year, and covers the usual distance of sixty miles or so, staring from The Piazza, Media City and finishing on the seafront at Blackpool. If the word Piazza conjures up sunshine, cafes, sparkling wine and attractive people sitting and admiring one another, think again, after all this is Salford!

      I suppose the gathered throng of expectant riders admire one another's bikes occasionally and might do a bit of calf muscle scrutiny to see whether or not theirs matches up (I don't do this anymore, the disappointment is too much at my advanced age!), but that's about it. For those new to the story, this will be my 30th attempt on the summit, so to speak, and I'm keeping the fingers crossed for a decent day and no mechanical or physical breakdowns, although one more cancelled car boot sale could tip me over the edge!

        On a slightly more serious note, it's quite sobering how quickly the time goes and it seems to get worse each year. Before I know where I am it will be my 35th birthday next year (alright you can all stop laughing, it's not that funny!) and Christmas will have come and gone. This is a special ride for me in many respects, and since the vast majority of the times I've done it have been in aid of Three Owls, it made me reflect on all that has happened over the past few years.

         We all know that Three Owls should still have been operational now as a wild bird hospital and rehabilitation facility, and those of us directly involved will never forget the pain and frustration of those dark days. The work continues and has of course taken a different course with the opening and running of the reserves in various locations, something which would have given Mrs. Watkinson so much joy and satisfaction. In a world where there seems to be no peace and where everything has to justify its existence in monetary terms, I think we stand for something sane and good, and you are all very much part of that. Without your sponsorship, my efforts in July would be nothing more than a good day out with a few bruises and back ache to show for it, but together we can make it actually mean something in terms of the legacy we all leave behind for the natural world, which in the end is all that matters. The Earth can do without us quite happily but we cannot do without the Earth, and hopefully before it's too late, more people will realise this.

            I hope to do the event justice both personally and from Three Owls point of view, and any help you can give will allow us to carry on the work started over fifty years ago by one woman and a small bird. To quote that wonderful song from the stage show 'Warhorse'. We are "Only remembered for what we have done" Let's be remembered for something positive in the face of indifference and destruction. Thank you all in advance and I will write again after the event, assuming I'm still in a fit state of course! My ride number is 4690.

John Thorpe


Wild Bird Advice and information

Many people would help birds more, if they knew simple easy ways in which they could help wild birds, without going to too-much extra trouble. Often there are ways to help – that don’t actually ‘cost’ anything at all, but can make a huge difference to making birds welcome and safe in the environment around us.

One of the main causes of bird injuries (especially young birds in the summer months), is being attacked by both pet and feral cats. A simple way to combat thi

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