August 11 – Friday

Finally – a beautiful blue-sky morning, although when I left for my ride just after 11 the whole sky was overcast again. I rode north to the Worcester-Birmingham canal, then northeast along it towards Droitwich. Right before the Droitwich canal joins the W-B at Hanbury there’s a large number of canal-boats at long-term moorage – there’s a boat-gas station, a store, a bar/restaurant and everything.
Turned left along the Droitwich canal and arrived at the town after about a mile. Left the canal briefly to ride thru the town – what seemed to be the main street was closed to cars as they were doing maintenance work on it. It seemed like a lovely town – not too big, but having all the amenities.
Joined the canal again at the other end of town and followed the signs for the cycle path, but it ended up leaving the canal and being on the side of a busy road, so veered right and found the canal again. Crossed over to the north side and rode west – the path runs along the north side at times and the south at others, so crossed bridges more than once.
Partway along when there was a crossing over to the north side again I could only see stairs down to the path on the other side. There was a fellow with a camera on the bridge right near the stairs so I asked if there was a path down or should I heft the bike down the stairs. He said there was a path behind the bushes at the bottom of the bridge, then told me he was taking photos for a local tourist board and asked it he could go down the path a bit and take my photo as I rode towards him with a big smile. I happily agreed, and told him it was too bad I didn’t have my Canadian flag with me so he could show everyone how far away folks come from to enjoy the beauty of the canals. I forgot to get any info from him so will have to try looking up local tourist boards and see if my picture gets put on their site.
I left the canal right where it joins the River Severn as I didn’t want to go all the way down into the city. Had to stop at a flower-seller on the highway to determine exactly where I was on the map, and get headed in the right direction to get home – I was just northwest of Worcester, and needed to get to the very northeast of the city. Passed thru the village of Claines – a gentleman that was walking told me I was going in the right direction – followed some cycling signs part of the way, but the path was going into the city so I had to consult the map again for a different one.

Took a turn down a dead-end road – no bike path at the end so pulled out the map once again. A guy in the nearest house came out and asked if I was lost – I said ‘only a bit’ as I knew where I was and that there was a path very nearby. We chatted for a couple of minutes – he asked where I was from so I said Vancouver like I usually do as most people over here have never heard of Kelowna. He said really – I’m from Saltspring Island! He had a bit of an accent as he’s been living in England for some time now with his wife so I didn’t recognize right away that he wasn’t British. We talked a bit more about the fires in BC, then he walked with me to show me where the path started – I had turned off about 10 feet too soon.

Managed to find my way on cycling/foot paths winding thru Perdiswell park/golf course and onto the Worcester-Birmingham canal again, which I already knew. Getting home after that was easy although I was getting tired and was very hungry. I had brought some food with me, and even had considered stopping for lunch in Droitwich but didn’t want to take the time. The sky was still very gray and I didn’t want to get soaked in a shower because I’d stopped to eat. A few raindrops did fall from time to time along the ride, but it never really got going.

I’d ridden for almost four hours – maybe the mileage wasn’t that far, but it was a long ride for me. Lynn from next door came over to make sure I knew about the festival on Sunday – she’s won first place at the craft show for the last 3 years but hasn’t entered this year. She also showed me a couple more interesting places on the map that she thought I might want to see.

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