Monday, 26 September 2016

Life & Cycles

Having a toddler isn't conducive to blogging or freedom on the tops so much. I have had some wonderful cycling moments in the last few months, but they're fewer & further between, and the monthly club ride I lead is pretty much it in terms of adventure. My commute is down from 30 miles per day to just 6 and yes my cycling fitness has deteriorated but not to the point where I can't enjoy full days out on the hills.

Last week I had my bike burgled from home, but happily the wonderful network of cyclists I know worked their magic and I had a replacement ready for the club ride.
My weekend consisted of a test ride home then a full day out yesterday - a rare 50 mile weekend - much of which on Pennine bridleways.

Blustery autumn
Whips everything 'round.
A grin ear to ear

My playground moorland

Racing from downpours
Rainbow to rainbow

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Escapes of a small wheeled bicycle

Yes I'm still cycling, although no 30 mile daily commute anymore, which is significantly impacting my cycling fitness levels, but upping the general enjoyment when I'm out & about.
Mum duty is taking up much time and thus I've not really had opportunity to blog about rides etc recently, or even about parental cycling experiences.

I have recently splurged and this little delight is just that, delightful to ride and not what I was expecting. Other than off-road club rides & rides with the baby on board, this has been exclusively used for commuting and leisure rides of late. It is a sheer joy. Even the hills are ok with the large chainwheels - there's less wheel to get rolling so climbing is a different experience. I've done a longish day out too which was again, good fun. People often say small wheeled bikes are ok for round town, but I think I'd happily tour on this.

Where else have I been recently, well mostly adventures close to home:

And with the interesting weather we've been having this spring, it's certainly kept me on my toes... and given me chilblains from getting caught out from rapid weather changes!

It's not all been just pedalling either, I've donned the backpack and done some stomping to discover new local views I dont usually see from my wheeled exploits.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Beautiful Buttermere

Back in October we enjoyed a brief family cycling trip at Buttermere. It only ended up being one day of riding on account of the weather, but it was a lovely ride indeed. Being out of season, the sole road that snakes through the valley was quiet. We left the hostel and headed towards Honister Pass with a marvelous tailwid. Before the head of the valley, we veered off the road to enjoy our first spot of bridleway riding around Buttermere itself. 

Although the road had been quiet, there were plenty of walkers but that was no problem. Lots of jokes about whether we were going to cycle up over Scarth Gap.... not today!

We were round the lake in no time, but it was an ideal time to stop for some food, warmth & to give Frank some time off the bike. The early lunch stop coincided with a bit of rain so it was ideal.

After lunch the next section was on road heading west. The road was lovely with beautiful views, mostly gentle hills and very little traffic.

We flew past Crummockwater and at the junction took the south turn towards Loweswater. A few more undulations and one or two sharp inclines (harder with a baby on the front making you lean back so as not to bash your chin), but still completely rideable. Here we were on part of the original C2C route which really made me want to see more of that long distance route another time.
At the far end of Loweswater was a lovely bridleway that skirted the woods and again had stunning views. This was much quieter than the path around Buttermere, although even shorter.

 We had a pint & crisp stop at the popular Kirkstile Inn. Frank had a bottle & crawl about before our return journey.

Just over the River Cocker, we took the second bridleway to the right which took us through a lovely wood and cut out a massive corner on the road. It was a fair climb at the start & with pine needles on the floor and no nobbly tyres, I pushed for a few yards. After this it was rideable again all the way back to the road and our return to the hostel.
The loop had been around 18 miles and was brilliant. Without a little one in tow, you could easily blast round this in half a day, but it was nice taking our time and enjoying leisurely stops too.
If I hadn't had a baby on the bike, I'd have added an extra off road loop on around Mosser which would have added a fair bit of climbing.  I'll be back to do that. 
A gpx of the whole route I'd like to do can be foud here - it's easy to see how to cut the loop out when you view it on the map. 

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.