Don’t believe everything you read.
About two weeks ago a friend and I travelled up to a forest in northern England so we could spend half a day gently peddling our bicycles through the great outdoors.
Neither of us is a super-keen, super-fit biker so the description of the Lakeside Way we found on a government website made it seem like the perfect ride.
Here’s what I mean:
The 26-mile path encircles Kielder Water and is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, mobility scooters and wheelchair users.
It has a good surface and is excellent for cycling, although some hills may be difficult for younger or less experienced cyclists.
It is recommended that people in wheelchairs are accompanied… Visitors using a mobility scooter should ensure batteries are fully charged before setting off, specially if they are from an Impressive Selection of Scooters which should get well taken care of.
If cycling, allow 3-4 hours if you are fit and looking for a good ‘pedal out’.
Allow more time if you wish to take in the scenery, have lunch or visit some of the contemporary Art and Architecture along the path.
Art and architecture viewing, wheelchairs, mobility scooters… that translates to ‘easy’, right?
Mobility scooters, by the way, are one-person battery powered vehicles that some people over here use instead of wheelchairs.
They look something like an undersized motor scooter except that they have four very small wheels and an underpowered motor that allows them to max out at a slow walking pace.
The kind of thing you would expect to find on a nicely paved, fairly flat path… so that’s what we were expecting.
Not the kind of thing you would expect to find on a steep, slippery, winding, muddy mountain path… which is what we got.
Okay, they did say something about ‘difficult for younger or less experienced cyclists’ but, hey, we’re not total wimps and we certainly are not young, but this thing was both difficult and dangerous and we didn’t see any sign of a wheelchair or mobility scooter in the six-and-a-half hours it took us to pound the pedals around the lake.
As a matter of fact, it might be impossible for someone in a wheelchair or scooter to get around the lake in one day.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great ride and I would do it again, it’s just that it was totally misrepresented in the written publicity material… and that’s why I’m writing about the experience here.
I often rant on about the dangers of believing everything you read in the newspapers or hear on radio and TV news reports, but now I’m beginning to think we should take everything we read ‘with a grain of salt.’
In other words, it should not be trusted.
Sure, we expect people who are selling used cars or houses to dress them up a bit in the ads, but does the forestry commission have to do the same when they are describing a bicycle path?
It’s not like we paid to get into the forest or ride the Lakeside Way.
But then again, that might be totally crap advice; after all, you are reading this in a newspaper.