Monday, 23 July 2012

Riding in Memory of my Dad

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of my Dad's death. His ashes were scattered at Widdop Reservoir - a place he used to cycle to to go climbing up the rocks when he was younger and a place where he used to drag me to over the moors, by foot in all weathers when I was growing up.
In memory of him S & I planned our weekend cycling adventure. I knew it would be a toughy.
Old packhorse trails and bridleways over the exposed moorland for the first half of the route. Thigh muscles pushing up over rocky ground, the wind helping push us up. Finally after 7 gruelling miles, a fast, amazing downhill to the reservoir.

Looking back down the track already ridden. Still a long way ahead


Fun downhill!!! S zooming off, fearless


The next bridleway took us up the other side of the valley skirting the top of my favourite National Trust area, Hardcaslte Craggs. Another lovely downhill took us to a beer stop and the pub in the woods, The Blue Pig. I've walked past here loads in the last few years & never seen it open, so was happily surprised to get a drink there. I'd heard that the welcome could be something akin to League of Gentlemen... not far off. But it was a bargain and we got to sup our drinks in the beautiful sunshine.


note to self, Hawaiian shirt is not flattering

Straight down an almost verticle hill into lovely Hebden Bridge. We had a quick nosey in the town in some shops in the centre and a curious building on the canal where bicycles get recycled, you can buy jewellery made from old coins or buy a handmade besum.

The 4 miles along the Rochdale Canal were thankfully passable. This area has suffered badly from floods over the last month and there was still evidence to be seen. Stretches of the canal bank were still cordoned off where the waters had destabilised the edges, some places were lined with sandbags and the cobbled overflow on the tow path were like cycling through little rivers.

We parked the bikes up in Todmorden and got tea at Hanuman Thai. Bargain food. The cocktail menu looked amazing, but I reisited - we were only 2/3rds into the ride and I didn't fancy being sozzled riding on the main road.  However, I did have a really good beer called 400 pound monkey with my food. Will be looking out for that one in the shops :-)

Then The Killer Hill. I hadnt quite expected it to be as killer as it was. 690feet of ascent in a little under 2 miles from the very bottom of the valley to the top. Calderdale Hills are probably the hardest hills in the world!

looking straight across the valley

up up up...  Stoodley Pike in the background

up up up... When you think the worst it over...

this has to be the last hill right?  (this bit was considerably easier than the first part)

me trying to make light of the hill.  I was somewhat afraid S was about to dump me there and then for dragging him up here.

What a view and where the road drops off... you can imagine how good the descent was!!

After this a mere 6.5 miles of a steady incline back to base.

29 miles door to door,  2225feet of ascent and the same amount of descent.
Here's the route starting and finishing at Todmorden Train station (but it's a loop so any start points good - Towneley Park or Hebden Bridge) for those of you fancying a challenge!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cycling Convergence

Three routes, one lunch stop. That was the plan last saturday.
Our cycle club's family-friendly saturday riders were doing their ten miler along the reservoir, Ian's A-team riders were coming about 25 miles on the road from West Lancs and we decided to do the super good fun off road downhill to meet both groups.
The torrential rains had loosened the stones on our path, so we didn't zoom quite as much as usual just to be on the safe side. But it was still hugely great fun.  Alas when bouncing along my cyclometer bounced off my bike never to be seen again...

Since last riding along The Goit, some work has been done to improve the surface - where it used to be like cycling through inches of treacle, now there were very few muddy patches, even after all the rain we've had. A track that once worked my thighs more than any other bit of flat, now had me sailing along putting in little effort.

no more mud - look at the lovely surface
a lone duck

Anglezarke Reservoir from Healey Nab

There was a bit of a delay getting to the lunch point when one of the paths ended up being closed for maintenance, but we heaved the bikes over the wall and into a field (that some other cyclists doing the same ensured us was also a right of way...).  I did have my trusty OS map in my bag so could have changed course, but it was already 12o'clock.
We made it to the lunch stop in time to meet the short ride riders and piled down pie chips and peas at Rivington Hall. And then waited. And a little more waiting. Just as we were about to set off back, Ian's group rounded the corner. They'd been delayed by multiple punctures.  Well now I'd have a bit longer to digest my mound of food at least.

We joined the A-team riders for the next few miles - some of us broke off to take a steep off road route, the others carried on road. Lovely views at the top and Blackpool Tower could be seen on the skyline.
Ken makes every hill look easy

Yes that is a balloon on the bike!

Some lovely swooping hills before a tea break at a rather undulating cricket club at White Coppice. We rode another few miles with the group before making our way back home on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.
A lovely days riding with great company is one of my favourite things to do at the weekend.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Change Your Life. Ride A Bike!: The Corn In Our Side

Change Your Life. Ride A Bike!: The Corn In Our Side: The bicycle is an amazing thing.  It is, at its essence, one of the most simple machines possible, and like most simple machines, provides b...

This is important - the future of the world is at stake. We in the western world have to think about how we live our daily lives. We usually choose the easy option. Time is short, so we pick the practical solutions 99% of the time. At what cost.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sunshine, honestly!

Lovely easy saturday ride with my cycle group in some sunshine today :-)
Thankfully none of the paths we peddled on have washed away in the crazy rain we've been having. And I stayed mud free - that's rare for me!!

Anyone around Lancs / W Yorks that fancies an easy going couple of hours riding on a saturday with a cafe stop or two RSF family friendly rides

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Pennine walking

Worked some different legs muscles at the weekend and had a walk round lovely Tockholes. Beautiful colours against that dark brooding rain filled summer sky.

My cycling group (Rough Stuff Fellowship) will be having a ride round this area on Sun 29th July, 24 miles 90% off road. Details here if anyone fancies coming along Tockholes Ride

Laughing, smiling sheep

grey skies as usual for July

Monday, 2 July 2012

Puddle Peddling

Pennine Rain! You cannot escape it. It has been yet another torrentially wet summer here.  This has meant I've not cycle commuted to my new office as much as I'd have liked- the shower still hasnt been plumbed in and we've been there a month now. I've only made the commute three times so far by bike, but the extra 3 miles of solid uphill isnt quite as traumatic as I'd anticipated, Phew!!

But living here and loving a bike, you have to don your waterproof coat and expect some damp feet of evenings and weekends.
Made it out for lunch with some friends, happily missing the huge downpours both cycling out & cycling back.  We watched some cracking thunderstorms from our lunch stop that overlooked the canal ( The Boat Yard Inn ) and I watched the rain pelt my trusty Raleigh Steed.  My sponge-like saddle was a tad damp on the return leg, but freewheeling through the puddles all the way home gave me the biggest smile! Dont you love puddle peddling :-)

There were bigger, deeper puddles than this further on!! Leeds Liverpool Canal in JUNE