A Chilly Little Road Ride

There was a perfect blue sky today so I made the effort to get out on my road bike this afternoon. Nothing particularly special, just my Cragg Vale, Blue Ball Road loop.

It is a pleasant 19-20 mile bike ride to Mytholmroyd, up through Cragg Vale to Blackstone Edge, then a left turn, a rapid descent towards Ripponden, but turning left halfway down onto Blue Ball Road for quiet lanes back to Mytholmroyd.

The usual south-westerly wind was blowing as I got up onto the open moorland above Cragg Vale. It wasn’t strong enough to make forward progress difficult, but it was surprisingly cold. It was a sunny day and the wind is not normally cold coming from that direction, but we’ve had a couple of cold days and nights and I suppose it takes time for the air to warm back up again. I had a gilet on and arm and leg warmers plus a long-sleeved base layer beneath my cycling jersey and I still felt cold. My fingers really felt it. If we get many more of these cold days, I’ll be getting my winter cycling apparel out a month earlier than usual this year!

Blue Ball Road, near Ripponden
Blue Ball Road, near Ripponden

I saw two women out on horseback in the lanes, and an elderly couple in a horse and trap. I did the right thing – quietly hailed them from a distance, slowed down, and passed on the far side of the road once the riders indicated it was safe to do so.

I ‘spooked’ a horse once even though I was riding carefully. It’s a dangerous thing, a frightened horse so I treat them with a great deal of respect. I’ve seen car drivers, and yes, cyclists too, passing horses at stupid speeds and setting them off. A fully grown horse can weigh half a ton and can do an awful lot of damage to its rider, and anyone else who gets in its way. Take care with horses, folks!

Bare trees, blue sky
Bare trees, blue sky

It’s definite – my regular power-walking up the hill to Heptonstall is making my legs stronger! There are a few short, steep slopes on the lanes from Blue Ball Road back round to Mytholmroyd and when I’m really out of shape, I have to resort to my lowest gears to feel comfortable going up them. I climbed them today on the middle ring and my 4th sprocket which is a 55-60% higher gear. That strength sure isn’t coming from cycling because I haven’t been doing enough of it!

I was toying with the idea of riding flat out back from Mytholmroyd to Hebden Bridge on the main road, but I timed it wrong and caught the start of the rush hour so I turned down Caldene Avenue and came back on the Calder Valley Cycleway instead.

My spirits were really lifted by the ride in the sunshine – let’s have more of that please, mister weatherman!

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2 Responses to “A Chilly Little Road Ride”

  1. I seem to have blinked and missed the leaves turning and falling this year. One week the leaves were all green, the next moment they’ve all fallen off.

  2. It does seem awfully sudden doesn’t it!

    There are still a lot of leaves on many of the trees round here and they are turning some fantastic colours. I must get out with my camera and take some more pictures before the leaves have all gone.

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