Road Ride – CycleChat ‘Winter Warmer’

Fellow CycleChat forum member Calum sent me a PM a few days ago which nudged me into emerging from my winter slump and organising another ride. There must have been a lot of people feeling the same way as Calum and me because there was probably the best response ever.

I had proposed that we do the same route that I did with Ben back on December 11th – details here. In the end we decided to extend the ride somewhat. The eventual route was Hebden Bridge, Oxenhope, Scar Top, Oakworth, Slippery Ford, Sutton Moor, Lane Ends, Cowling Hill, Black Lane Ends, Laneshaw Bridge, Trawden, Coldwell Activity Centre, Haggate, Worsthorne, Mereclough, Holme Chapel, Todmorden, and back to Hebden Bridge. There were a few individual variations, but details on that later.

We met up in Market Place car park at 09:45. The turnout was me, colly, Calum, bokonon, Svendo, bromptonfb, longers and a new face – zacklaws.

Longers had ridden his fixed-wheel bike over from Oldham and had only intended to come up the first climb with us but in the end he came along for pretty much the whole ride.

I felt unfit after my long lay-off and suffered up the first climb from a cold start. In fact I wasn't able to keep up with the others on any of the climbs.

The feared icy roads had not materialised except perhaps for a small patch on the tight left hand bend coming off the fast descent from Oxenhope Moor. Shaun (bromptonfb) overtook me on the descent and I saw him go dangerously wide round the bend – he went right across the road. Fortunately there wasn't anything coming the other way. He said that his back wheel had started to slide out from under him. Yikes!

A succession of steepish little hills came and went and a pattern developed of Shaun and I dropping back with the others going on ahead and waiting for us further up the road. Eventually Shaun developed backache so a compromise was called for. When we got down to Lane Ends, Shaun and Mark (longers) decided to head straight up the A6068 to Laneshaw Bridge and then on to the cafe stop at Coldwell. The rest of us headed up the climb of Cowling Hill and over to Black Lane Ends. When I did that climb with Ben in December, I'd ‘bonked' halfway up so I approached it with caution this time. I made sure that I drank enough and I paced myself better i.e. I let the others ride away from me and climbed at a very slow pace! 😉

The lads were waiting for me at Black Lane Ends so we regrouped there and plunged down to Laneshaw Bridge.

I did my usual grovelling on the steepish hills round to Coldwell, where we rejoined Shaun and Mark. We had a good stop there and once again I decided to have both soup and a sandwich!

Cyclists at Coldwell Activity Centre
L-R: Calum, colly, bokonon, bromptonfb, Svendo, zacklaws, ColinJ, longers

After a long stop we decided not to do the original route back via the tough climb at Thursden. I quite fancied a burn-up down the A646 to Todmorden after all of the climbing that we'd done, so we headed off that way. It would bump our mileage up a bit.

Shaun was going off to visit a mate so we said goodbye to him at the crossroads at Haggate.

When we got down to the A646 I realised I was getting tired but it turned out not to be just from the hills and the distance. On the false flat through Holme Chapel, the others just rode away from me without even trying. It's only about a 2.5% gradient so I shouldn't have been dropped as easily as that. By the time I got to the start of the descent towards Todmorden my legs were shot. Despite my large size I could only get to about 20 mph down Cliviger Gorge and through Portsmouth and Cornholme. The others were waiting for me in Todmorden.

I had been getting increasingly annoyed with rubbing sounds from my Crud Roadracer guards. I really like this product but you do have to adjust the Cruds carefully or they rub. It turned out that my rear guard was jam-packed with thick mud. I lifted my rear wheel off the ground and stomped on a pedal and guess what? Yes, my wheel stopped dead! It did less than 1/4 turn before the friction stopped it. I'd pedalled who knows how many miles with the equivalent of my back brake being stuck on – no wonder I was knackered! Calum helped me scrape the gunk out.

Svendo and longers were heading back towards Rochdale so we split from them and headed back towards Hebden Bridge. My unclogged Basso felt like a new bike – it was now easier riding it on the flat than it had been riding it downhill to Todmorden! It's amazing how much difference a bit of mud can make!

We'd been really lucky with the weather. It had been dry, not too cold and we'd even had some sunshine. In fact, my face is red from the amount of UV I was exposed to. When we got back to Hebden Bridge, all the roads were wet but we never saw the rain.

Calum headed off to the station while zacklaws entertained us with a ‘clipless pedal' moment. Fortunately he wasn't hurt in his fall.

It was a really nice day out on the bike in good company***. It has made me more realistic about next week's mini-North-West Passage though. I think 75 miles will be quite enough for me at my current level of fitness! (Today's ride was 46 miles with about 5,500 ft of climbing or 74 km with 1,680 m of climbs)

[*** Though I realised later that I'd spent half the day by myself, lagging behind on the climbs and then chasing to catch up! :wink:]

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6 Responses to “Road Ride – CycleChat ‘Winter Warmer’”

  1. Sounds like a great ride!

  2. Nice people, nice countryside and even nice weather (for this time of year) – what’s not to like? Well, okay – suffering climbing hills is not really something to like but I need to do the suffering now in order to not suffer in the future so even that is okay!

  3. Sounds like a great ride.

    Too far for me to ride out to though.

  4. Certainly at this time of year, yes!

    Congratulations on passing your motorcycle test.

    Hey, what you need is a motorcycle bike rack!

  5. I’m way ahead of you. I’d Googled to see if anyone in the UK made them! (They don’t as far as I can see)

    Probably less than ideal on a little 125cc anyway.

    I was planning on a ‘Airnimal’ type bike and rucksack.

  6. Yeah, I did wonder about the stability question on lighter motorbikes.

    I saw a rider on an Airnimal on the Red Rose Ride last year (a ‘200’). I was pretty impressed with it and I think that I’d get one if I travelled a lot.

    I think it was an Airnimal Performance Sport.

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