|Regrouping after Silsden|
Day 1 (gpx file) was a lovely road ride onto the moors above Silsden to take us to Ilkley for lunch before returning via Bolton Abbey & Embsay steam railway. Lots of lovely hills to enjoy and stunning views.
|Old LMS tourism adverts|
|All kinds of bikes do Rough Stuff riding|
Day 2 (gpx file) took us to Airton via some brilliant off road tracks skirting Flasby Fell through Cragg Wood and lots of swooping up & down N Yorkshire roads through pretty Bell Busk, Gargave, Broughton & Carleton in Craven by a very churned up disused railway. Seeing the little lambs with plastic ponchos on to stave off the cold weather was by far the highlight.
|Bridleways are my ideal riding terrain|
On Wednesday I did my first ever Audax - a total of 70 miles from Marple across Cheshire round the dairy farms beyond Tatton.
I'd planned on swapping the tyres on my hybrid for skinnies, but the night before saw one or two technical mishaps and I ended up taking my 60s tenspeed. I had thought 15kmph was a generous lower speed limit... until half way through.
A slow lunch, paired with a steel steed with unfavourable gearing meant I ended up spending much of the time riding solo and that really hit my time. I spent some of the ride keeping up with one or two packs of road clubs, but I couldnt keep up with them comfortably. When riding solo, navigating really slowed me down; stopping at every junction to double check my route and keeping eyes open for the controls.
At 50 miles I was sure I wouldnt make the time limit, I was totally disheartened, alone and wondering just why I was doing this. By 60 miles and the last stretch being the off-road option, I was beaming away, flying along the lovely Middlewood Way, listening to the birds and giving it all I had, not for the time limit, but for the elation of flying along.
The last hill was hard, but the last checkpoint, the pub was at the top, which spurred me on. I made it with a minute to spare!!!
A kind gentleman offered me a drink and we spent the next hour chatting about audax rides and routes - he started last year and it was useful listening to his stories and enthusiasm. I didnt catch his name, but do hope he can make some rides out with RSF soon as he sounded keen.
I've put some more rides in my calendar - ones with slightly more generous lower speeds (just to be on the safe side). Still undecided if I should swap the hybrid tyres and go on that.
Yesterday S & I got the tandem out to have some easy fun with the RSF Family group. Young Theo is now showing some good progress on his new bike and our youngest member was busy sleeping away on the back of his mum's bike despite it being off road!
Today I headed for the Calderdale Hills with 15 other RSF riders from the Yorks & N Peak S Pennine groups. Calderdale borders on those two areas as well as Lancs. The area overshadowed by Britain's highest motorway, the M62. It was lovely to be led around an area I'm not very familiar with.
It was also nice that there was no biting NE wind that has been the bane of many rides for what has felt like months.
|The impressive dam at Baitings Reservoir|
|Typical northern moorland views|
Thanks to all those who have organised the rides I've tagged along to this week & the good company along the way. It's been brilliant.