Saturday, 17 November 2012

November - keeping riding into winter

It's getting darker, tho not necessarily much colder. Riding this week has actually been warmer than the rides on the Rough Stuff camping weekend back in June!!! And this week has been a great week for rides.

I'd been largely off the bike in the first week of November - the first weekend we drove all the way down south to collect our third hand tandem. We'd planned on trying the bike there, but after some consideration of unfamiliar roads, unfamiliar bike & adverse weather, we decided to play it safe and save the test ride for familiar territory.

Lacey Green Windmill
Typically the day we were driving home was beautiful & I know we will be back to The Chilterns for a proper explore soon.  We stayed in a lovely garden annexe flat that we hope to visit again soon. Perfect place for a couple to base themselves at in that part of the country.

guard dogs in Oxford

apt seasonal decorations in Oxford

The tandem test ride round the park was a success, so we decided to do a proper first ride out to Brockholes. On separate bikes it usually takes about an hour; we shaved over 15 mins of this without breaking a sweat.
Kids looked befuddled by the tandem. Not one of them knew what it was called though! A sign of the times? We had a picnic at Brockholes nature reserve, I think that's probably my first winter picnic ever in my life.
We tried a new route home and fast discovered that our tandem isnt good for hilly muddy off roading! Shame that OS maps dont show if a bridleway / farm track is paved or not. But we did at least find a great fun route to Preston for our rough stuff bikes!

I booked a day off work in the week to join up with the troupe from the cycle club staying at Mankinholes Youth Hostel.
Calderdale has steep hills, so I was expecting it to be a very tough day, however John had a bad leg after a cycling / dog incident so we took a more sedate route than was originally described. It was brilliant. All the steep hills were ones we descended and I discovered there is a road to Mankinholes that isnt vertical!

puddle peddling

Heptonstall in the distance

Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge

above Todmorden

Stoodley Pike

A couple of cycle commutes to finish off the week. I'd hoped to get to over 100 miles this week, but circumstances meant I only did 83. But I enjoyed every single one of those miles, even the busy commute home in the dark and especially the few hundred feet of dark muddy single track foot path connecting the housing estates where I cant see what my wheels are riding over ;-)

Accrington in the morning mistiness.
NCN6 Woodnook Greenway


  1. Great seeing your images Georgie....
    The shot of Stoodley Pike reminds me of the last time I backpacked along the Pennine Way.
    We camped for two nights at a small site below the pike waiting for a friend to catch up (he started after us)
    We saw him walk along the skyline and past the pike but we couldn't contact him because his phone was off...We did eventually manage to meet up though....
    The last image you've posted here is a real cracker...I love it!


    1. I've done woefully little of the Pennine Way. One of those things I meant to do when I worked term-time, but it never happened. One day :-) Tho I have plenty of bike tours I fancy doing to fill my time up.
      And thanks - that last picture is part of my work commute on the days I pick the less roady route. We moved offices in May and subsequently I bought the next OS map over from where I live. I've now planned a really great route for my cycle club round here for April.
      If you're ever in the area, do check out The Rough Stuff Fellowship and feel free to join us for a ride.

  2. Your Blog's a good read and I second the above comments re the photos!
    I'd managed to accumulate a good layer of crud on the bike in anticipation of doing the RSF's Southport ride on Thursday (so the bike would pass Inspection!) but didn't make it. It's now clean, so back to square one.
    Wife and self also have a tandem - that's currently cleaner than it's been in years so no off-roading on that for a while.
    Maybe I've got the wrong idea here ....... spending too much time on the road. Oh dear.
    Keep on blogging!
    Arthur F

    1. Arthur, you're spot on. My RSF bike's always caked in mud - I make our ride leader proud!!
      We got our tandem two weeks ago - it was sparking, it's now caked after two rides. Being on the back on the towpath going under those bridges is terrifyingly good fun!! Tho it's more of an on roading tandem.

      Hope to be at sunday's ride from Leyland later this week so maybe see you there!

  3. Nice photos again Georgie the South Lakes Group was out in the Lakes on Sunday we make it as far Brockholes National Parks Centre before heading back to Staveley for brew at Wilf's Cafe.

    1. How far was that??
      Our sunday ride was another one getting used to the tandem. Also now it's getting colder and since I suffer with White Finger (and toe), I'm less keen to commit to a whole day in the saddle incase I get an attack. Roll on spring time and longer days.

      Are you going to the Coniston rides in April? I'm hoping to book the time off work for the trip. Looks lovely up there.

    2. The ride was around 20 miles long, the ride photos are at this link

      The South Lakes Group day rides do get around the Coniston area quite often and we did bit of Crake Valley a few weeks on the group's ride to Cartmel, there plenty of photos of the area on South Lakes Group website with route ideals and ideals for cafe stops.

      Torver is nice centre for riding around area, you should have good few days up there, if the South Lakes Group any weekends away it will in the northern or western lakes. I think there plans a foot for weekend at Dufton Youth Hostel in the Eden Valley in June which will firm up at the South Lakes Group next Runs Meeting in January where we plan March, April and May rides.

    3. I think Brian is planning the routes for the Coniston area trip,so I'll leave it in his capable hands unless he asks for a day off leading the troupe.

      I love the Western Lakes - last time I was there I went for a ride and didn't spot another soul until after lunch time. I had the whole area to myself for four glorious hours. Parked the bike at Boot railway station and went for a walk to my favourite waterfall.

      Will keep my eyes open for your trip. It's a bit of a trek from here for day rides, but making it into a trip for afew days would be lovely.

      Oh and I thought you'd ridden to Lancs Brockholes, but looking at your pics, it's somewhere different. I was thinking that your ride must have been miles ;-)