The Langdale Owners' Club

The Cost of a Bike Ride

It’s early on a bright Saturday morning, The Old Man, away to the right, has been to the back of his wardrobe and is wearing his autumnal cloak; the bracken is golden brown, the Larch needles reflect the dying golden sun of summer and the rusting Oaks are adorned with crumbling leaves.  The view is one I have seen a hundred times before and yet it remains unique, the view of an ever changing landscape.  I drag my bike out of the car, strap my helmet to my head and plough off up the rough stone track in front of me.

I try to ride most weekends, through the summer it might be after work and into the evening.  If I’m lucky I’ll have this world to myself but usually I’ll pass a dog walker, a rambler, the odd family biking or occasionally a horse rider, perhaps a four by four, maybe even a Segway Safari and every so often someone on the zip wire screeches overhead.  Today as I head toward Parkamoor a dishevelled Buzzard sits sulkily watching from a perch in an old dead tree up on the ridge. 

My ride costs me nothing and to a great extent it is simply how I spend my weekend mornings. It’s also where each week I lose myself for 2 or 3 hours and where all that matters is not falling off.  My riding and this landscape provide an oasis in an otherwise hectic world, a place where I can hang on to my sanity.

However, 12 months ago as the rains fell and water levels rose the area was inundated. When the water receded, this amazing landscape bore scars of nature’s fury, bridges washed away, footpaths scoured from the hillsides, bridleways washed into rivers.  The Lake District National Park estimate the damage will cost £8 million pounds to repair.  The pledged funding from central government is ‘only’ £2 million pounds.  You may be outraged at such a shortfall and the easy option is to suggest government should fund the gap, after all it is a mere £6 million.  My view is somewhat different, I believe that there are probably more deserving places for my taxes to be spent, the NHS, care for the elderly, mental health services, child services the list is almost endless.  Therefore, I’ve tried to put a little back for my weekly bike ride.  Each month I pay into Nurture Lakeland (Our Man at The Top), £2 a ride.  It isn’t a huge amount and the reality is that my £2 per ride is probably the best value for money experience I could possibly buy.  You can call it guilt money if you like but I know that whilst this landscape looks after me I am also trying to look after it.  It’s a shame that more of the 17 million visitors who love the Lake District don’t see the need to pay just a little towards its upkeep.

It’s a wonderful achievement that Langdale Owners have raised over £250,000 for Our Man at The Top, which helps Fix the Fells and the passion that Owners have for the Lake District will ensure the donations continue.  The need for these donations has never been greater, so if you don’t already, why not consider making a contribution via your next management fee?

Nick Lancaster

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