MTB Ride – London Road, Colden Clough

My pal Carrie came over today for a tour of the local bridleways on our MTBs. We hadn’t seen each other for about six months so we had a lot of catching up to do.

We set off along the canal towpath towards Todmorden and at Callis Bridge we turned on to the Mary Towneley loop and headed up through Callis Wood. As we came clear of the wood, it was obvious just how much rain had fallen recently. The bridleway was resurfaced a while back and is normally pretty dry but today it was very muddy. I wouldn’t have been able to ride it if I hadn’t put big new knobbly tyres on the MTB. They are great in mud but they drag horribly on the road – I keep thinking that I have punctured, there is that much rolling resistance.

We got up to Kilnshaw Lane and I decided to take us down the London Road bridleway to Mankinholes. What I hadn’t noticed was that Carrie had a new semi-slick tyre on her front wheel. That’s great for her daily commute on the road, but not the best choice for today’s conditions. In fact…

Semi-slick MTB tyre
Semi-slick MTB tyre

Plus mud, wet grass and slippery rocks equals

Bashed elbow
Bashed elbow

Oops, and ouch! One second Carrie was descending in front of me, the next, her front wheel just slid out from underneath her and she went down hard on her left side. It’s a good job that she had a helmet on because she clouted a big rock with what would have been the side of her head. The helmet took the force of the impact; funnily enough, it was completely unmarked, but I’m pretty sure that her bare head wouldn’t have been! Her elbow wasn’t quite so lucky. It took a nasty blow but fortunately the damage wasn’t too bad. Painful, but not a show-stopper. Carrie said she was okay to continue, but I decided to limit the amount of off-road after that and shorten the ride.

I quickly took a few pictures, then we got back on the bikes and set off again.

Autumn trees from London Road bridleway
Autumn trees from London Road bridleway

We descended more slowly to the end of the bridleway, followed the road round to Lumbutts, down to the A646 and then headed to the fringes of Todmorden. I had unfinished business with Cross Stone Road – I was supposed to climb it with Alun and Will on last week’s ‘Beat the Clocks’ ride but fatigue and bad weather persuaded us to skip it. As soon as we turned up it today, I knew that we’d made the right decision last week! It is a tough little climb, even with MTB gears.

The road levels off towards the golf course. It is possible to continue climbing, but we followed the road round by the derelict church, dropping down into a dip before beginning another steep climb. I stopped to take a picture of Carrie riding on ahead of me – Go, Carrie, Go!

Steep climb of Crossley New Road
Steep climb of Crossley New Road

Towards the top of the climb we encountered a lad with an unrideable MTB. Okay, I admit it – despite my statements that I never see young people out on the hills, here was one and he needed our help. It turned out that the low-gear endstop on his rear derailleur was very badly adjusted and he’d shifted his chain into the gap between his big sprocket and the spokes. It was jammed solid. While I was fiddling with the bike, Carrie lent the boy her phone so that he could ring his mum and tell her what was going on. Fortunately, I managed to get the chain out without breaking anything. I adjusted the endstop to stop the problem happening again and sent him on his way. He said that he’d get his dad to check his bike when he got home. I told him to make sure his dad had a good look at the chain and spokes because they might well have been damaged. He was a polite little lad – lots of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

We continued up to Great Rock, then round to Blackshaw Head. After riding down to Jack Bridge, we decided to return to Hebden Bridge via the Colden Clough bridleway. It was a tricky descent because there were so many fallen leaves that we couldn’t really see the ruts and rocks beneath but fortunately there were no more falls today.

When we got back into town, we headed round to Cafe Belview for coffee and snacks. The cafe is situated in the new buildings opposite Market Place car park. You can take your bikes down the riverside walk at the back of the buildings and sit at the tables out there, keeping an eye on the bikes while enjoying views of the river.

It wasn’t a long ride but it was nice to see Carrie again and catch up with each others’ news. Only downer for the day (apart from the damaged elbow of course) was to discover that the reason for the local cats no longer crapping all over my back yard is that they have started using the front of my house instead!!! I don’t normally use my front door so I didn’t know that this was happening. It must have been going on for some time because there were about 20 piles of the foul stuff – aaaaaaaargh! I cleared it up and sprayed bleach everywhere, hoping that the smell will put them off.

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One Response to “MTB Ride – London Road, Colden Clough”

  1. I’ve still got unfinished business with those roads /tracks too. I will be back!

    I did the last horrendously muddy Merida on semi-slick tyres. I did somehow manage to stay upright all day; but then again I was nearly the last one back!

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