Road Ride – Blackstone Edge, Long Causeway

Bill had called round for a mug of tea but the sun was shining and we decided it would be better to get out on the bikes for a while, rather than just lazing about chatting so he went off to get his bike and I got mine ready for the ride.

I was concerned about the poor braking on my previous ride a couple of days ago so I took a rag to the rims of my new wheels, and wiped off a lot of the oily muck which now covered them.

I was worried that Bill would be irritated by my slow speed on the bicycle but he said that he just wanted an easy ‘recovery' ride so he wasn't bothered about that.

We chose a route with a bit of everything – long steady climbs and descents, some flatter, faster roads and a couple of short, steep climbs. Some busy valley roads, some scenic and quieter high-level roads. Briefly, it was: Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, the long climb up through Cragg Vale to Blackstone Edge, a fast descent to Littleborough, a fairly quick drag up to Summit, followed by a quick blast down through Walsden to Todmorden. From Todmorden, we headed towards Burnley on the A646, climbing up through Cornholme and Portsmouth to Cliviger Gorge, eventually turning right up to Over Town, then right again up a steep little lane which took us to the Burnley end of the Long Causeway. We turned right up that and did the undulating climb up to Coal Clough windfarm, and eventually over to Blackshaw Head. A quick plunge to Jack Bridge was followed by a climb back up to Colden where major roadworks are under way (they are laying a gas main to the village and this work could take a couple of months so be prepared for delays up there until the work has been completed). As usual, we enjoyed the quick descent down through Lee Wood and Heptonstall Road. The traffic lights didn't trigger for us so we dismounted and walked our bikes round and headed back into the town centre.

I felt better than expected, given how little cycling I've done this year so far, and especially in the past month or so. My iffy right leg is bearing up but I think these shortish rides are the way to go until my fitness returns to normal levels and I've started to get my weight down again.

My front brake had started working reasonably well on the ride so I think the problems with that had been due to the oily water thrown up on the previous ride. The rear brake still wasn't great, though it was better then before. I reckon the problem was partly greasy rims, but partly due to my new rear blocks not having ‘bedded in'. They are a different make to the front blocks, and are made from a harder rubber. I reckon it will take a couple of rides to get them biting properly. I'll do a few long descents with the back brake dragging to try and accelerate the process.

It was a nice little ride in the sunshine and I felt great afterwards!

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