Thursday, 3 September 2015

Easing back into work

I'll be back at work full swing in a couple of weeks. Up til then I'm using some 'keep in touch' days to get back into the routine. I managed to arrange childcare to enjoy my trusty off road commute recently. It's probably a year since I was last up on that moor & it felt so good to be riding it again... and hoping that fracking doesn't come here & ruin the place forever.

I've heard some off road cyclists comment that they think its better than all those pesky windfarms... since the wells require underground infrastructure, wells moving from place to place, trucks coming & going dozens per day & hazardous waste water containment areas, I certainly think those pesky windfarms are preferable.

I've also enjoyed some fun cycling too. Some club members were riding the Leeds Liverpool in its entirety. I joined them for a short section of it; Greenberfield to Gargrave. After leaving the towpath I took the hilly route home via Broughton, Elslack & eventually found a section of the Pennine Bridleway to Wycoller that I'd not done before- lovely, but far too many gates to stop for... in some cases, they were completely unnecessary. I always forget what a long pull up it is from Gargrave to the tops and even though Wycoller is less than 45mins riding time to home, I had to stop to get some food- I was feeling it!

And I've also ridden Darwen's Winter Hill down to Brindle & a loop round the Fylde before the annual illuminations cycle in the last week... alas I left my camera at my cousin's in Somerset, so don't have any pictures to share.
But Mick did take some shots...

And September is another month full of cycling as its the South Pennine Walk & Ride festival, so I have another 8ish rides to lead this month plus maybe attending some others that club members are putting on. The prospect of mum duty, being back in work & cycling so much in September is a little intimidating & I think I've probably planned to stretch myself too far.

So perhaps I'll save my journey into hammock camping for another time...

Monday, 17 August 2015

Family Picnic Riding

Enjoying the last bits of maternity leave before I'm back in the office.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Miles & smiles

It's proved very easy to get used the trailer over the last few weeks. I'm faster at getting everything we need together & getting out of the door. And with timing when Frank looks sleepy so I can set off before he starts getting upset and he is rocked to sleep in no time.

I've had a couple of rides out with the club on our family friendly routes and continued to use the bike for transport, although lugging up hills is a whole new world of riding- I did 15 miles with 1550ft of climbing the other day & my body knew about it the next day.

And I have had a free-pass from my husband to lead rides for the club for the last two sundays as well. Which is important for me - I find if I stay in and don't ride, I feel a bit too wary to want to ride (I really could easily turn into a hermit if I wasn't careful). When I get out & ride, I feel more confident again and just want to get on with it, getting out all the time.

The Martholme Viaduct had its first public opening in fifteen years (when it closed because of foot & mouth). Volunteers have started clearing the trackbed in the middle to make it accessible. It's hoped that one day this stretch between Altham and Great Harwood will be a traffic free route along the disused railway that will connect to the Padiham Greenway. There's just one land owner along the route who has put a spanner in the works of this for a number of years. There's a great deal of interest in this being a route once again that would create a safe traffic free route linking the towns of Burnley, Padiham, Hapton, Simonstone, Great Harwood, Accrington & Blackburn (as it joins the canal at Gt Harwood).  It also passes close to a number of business parks and schools which would create a massive benefit to a great number of people. This bottom section has some beautiful views over the River Calder and towards the surrounding hills. Walkers have wanted this route opened up for a long time now.

I selfishly want it open as it would mean I could get to work 98% off road. Which is no mean feat when my commute is 15 miles each way. Ok this would be slightly further, but it would also eliminate some hills.

Yesterday's ride was around the Wirral Peninsular on the circular trail and Route 56. It chucked it down most of the day, but it was still very enjoyable. I'd never been to that bit of the NW before, so I enjoyed being surprised at how lovely large sections of the area are. I'll be back, in better weather.
It also meant that in three days I'd clocked up 75 miles (half with Frank in tow). Which is great when I'm missing my fresh-air commutes. Although not long now til I'm back at work.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Summer weekend

This weekend flew by. Only about 14 bike miles in all - so not enough to really get a feel for the new (old) Kona and all were with the trailer attached so it was slow going all the way. Frank's weekend was busy & he loved it. Smiling at everyone & flirting with the lady at the garden centre too!

We didnt make the Tweed ride in Mcr as tooth number 2 was about to pop and it was possible that we could have had a very upset baby. Turned out he was fine, but it could have easily been a weekend of screams & tears.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Exploring Bolton

Last weekend's family ride took in the Bolton Bury converted railway (not converted all the way alas so there was some fun negotiating the trailer before Elton Reservoir), the Bolton Bury canal & various farm tracks. An easy ride but uber slow - the trailer is great except for cobbles & hefty stones and there were stretches of both where I got off to push.
I don't get over to Bolton very often, but everytime I do, I always find great places to explore.
Moses Gate Country Park was lovely, although very busy in the sunshine.

The Sunday was a 30 mile club ride over Weets & round bits of the upper Ribble  Valley. It was a cracker, alas I didn't take the camera.  We ran out of time to do all the tracks I'd planned, but that means I have an easy route for another time in the bag.

And a new (old / second/third hand) steed has joined the stable. The Raleigh is no more & after some thought about a replacement do-it-all velo, I decided not to get a hybrid.  I now have an early 90s Kona with slighly slicker tyres & upright, swept back bars. Hopefully this will be the ticket when Frank's ready for the Yepp mini. And it fills that hole I had for a classy looking retro mtb.
Sadly it didnt come with the Brooks- I need to get a suitable replacement as the charge spoon looks out of place.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Adventures with Frank

Over the last week I've been venturing out on the bike with Frank in his Cougar Chariot trailer. We got it second hand off ebay, it was a well used beast, but still with plenty of life left in it for us.  It took little time to set up after it arrived dismantled through the post and it's been fantastic for its use so far.

A couple of trips to the swimming baths, a club ride (family friendly section) along the canal & a picnic to the park all were spot on. Frank was just over 14 weeks old on his first venture and fell asleep quickly.

Since then he's both slept well and been interested in the world passing by whilst in his trailer. Our rides have been between 5 & 17 miles in total with stops on the longer rides.

The trailer is very light weight, although where we live is considerably hilly and on the ups it's certainly slower, although on flatter terrain you don't know you're hauling anything behind you. Storage space is spot on for baby gear, d-locks & picnics.
We love it!!!

But I have invested in a Yepp mini front seat for when Frank can sit up on his own to enjoy narrower paths.  I'm looking forward to longer adventures with skinnier tyres and more varied terrain, which may be beneficial for commutes and dropping Frank off at the childminders (depending on how the work restructure goes - I may or may not have a job to go back to, but trying not to let that thought spoil my time off with Frank).

I think the cargo bike project might be off for now and we'll see how the trailer & seat go for now.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Weets sunset ride

I've been meaning to ride up Weets for sunset for well over a year. Well last night I finally got round to it. Although the logistics of Stephen's work meetings and Deborah's shopping delivery meant we were a little later at the summit than I'd hoped for and we also cycled a bit faster than I'd have liked- so no nice golden photos for the ride out.

It's a nice 15 mile round trip. Perfect distance for an evening loop. And there are a number of route options to enjoy. We plumped for the smoothest off-road for speed. Back streets, a converted railway track, paved Route 68 through Alkincotes Park then lanes to the foot of the tarmac track to the summit.
If we'd had more time we could have gone for more lumpy off road all the way.


Sadly the pub was closed by the time we descended.  But we enjoyed some ambient light to watch all the bats zipping over the reservoir.

Probably my favourite aspect of evening riding is cycling alongside bats.  It's often the best view you can get of them; they're still quicker than you, but you get a good few extra seconds to admire them flapping along.