Road Ride – Cragg Vale, Hubberton Green

It was a bit windy this afternoon, but it wasn’t raining and there were even a few sunny spells so I got the Basso out to get a few miles in.

I’m travelling down to the midlands later in the week to visit my family and I’ll be taking my Basso with me for the Shakespeare 100 charity sportive on Sunday, from Stratford-upon-Avon. I called in at Hebden Bridge station on my ride to buy my tickets. Let me have another of my little rants here… 😡

Since the fragmentation of the rail system in the UK, it is no longer a simple case of buying a ticket between ‘A’ and ‘B’ (single or return). There are savings to be made for travelling off-peak and/or for booking well in advance. Fair enough – I can see some sense in that.

What doesn’t make sense to me is that it is often cheaper to break a journey up into multiple segments and pay for separate tickets for them. If I’m sitting in the same seat for the same journey – how can it make sense for 2 or 3 tickets to be cheaper than one? I’ve discovered from experience that it is cheaper to travel from Hebden Bridge to the midlands via Manchester rather than via Leeds. This is a nuisance because it involves changing stations in Manchester rather than platforms in Leeds. I prefer the East Coast line.

Nominally, it is about £51 return from HB to Coventry via Manchester but I know that I can do the same journey for £42 if I break the journey up and pay for separate tickets to and from Littleborough. I don’t have to move from my seat of course, I just have to buy two sets of tickets and show tickets to the conductor/guard (whatever they are called these days) twice. Huh?

Doing the equivalent trip via Leeds is nearly £61 even though it is about the same distance. I discovered last night that I can save £16 by buying two return tickets – one from HB to Derby and one from Derby to Coventry. Now it would ‘only’ cost £45. It’s £3 more than going via Manchester but it’s a nicer route and less hassle so I settled for that.

Of course, none of this is ever mentioned on the National Rail website or at your local rail ticket office. If you don’t know about this trick, you wouldn’t think of asking for separate tickets. It took me 15 minutes to persuade the man at the station that this was the cheapest way for me to make the journey by train. There is no system to automatically calculate the cheapest combination of tickets. You have to sit down with a calculator and check all the possibilities by hand – aaargh!

Back to the ride…

There was the usual cross headwind when I got up onto the open roads above Cragg Vale. I just went up at a steady pace until a rider from Manchester Wheelers overtook me. He didn’t get away from me quite as quickly as I expected so I decided to set off in pursuit of him. I didn’t manage to catch him, but I kept the gap at about 50 metres for a couple of kms before relaxing and letting him go.

As usual, I turned left at Blackstone Edge and headed down towards Ripponden, then a left turn onto the quiet lanes around Hubberton Green. I’d decided to meander around some of the loops I did on a recent ride round there, making an effort on the climbs and recovering on the flatter sections and downhills.

I took a few pictures and then headed home.

Coal Gate Road
Coal Gate Road

This wind turbine has been generating power for a few years now. At one time it was the only one on those hills, but I must have seen about 4 or 5 today (apart from the big wind farms in the distance). Government subsidies for ‘green’ power are probably behind the proliferation of them. I know that some people say that wind power can’t be relied on, but to be honest it is pretty rare for those blades not to be whizzing round when I ride past.

Wind power
Wind power

My ride was only about 35 km (22 miles) in total, but I’d worked hard on some of the hills and my legs certainly felt it this evening.

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