Road Ride – Long Causeway, Cliviger, Sourhall, Mankinholes

I decided to do a shortish road ride this afternoon. It had been quite a nice day, but by the time I got out it had clouded over and a cool wind had picked up. Never mind, it was good to get away from the computer.

I wanted to go somewhere a bit different so I planned a hilly little circuit which I hadn’t done for a while – Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall Road, Lee Wood, Slack, Colden, Jack Bridge, Blackshaw Head, The Long Causeway, Walk Mill, Cliviger, Portsmouth, Carr Road, Sourhall, Bacup Road, Walsden, Lumbutts, Mankinholes and then back to Hebden Bridge along the A646.

I rode through the town centre to the turning circle on the Todmorden side of town, and used that to head back towards the traffic lights, where I headed left up the Heptonstall Road.

In my recent Spring Into The Dales report, I wrote:

Take that as a reminder to check your bike regularly, and never, ever ignore funny noises, vibrations, or wobbles.

Well… it seems that I jinxed myself! No sooner had I started to climb than there was an alarming clunky click! from the bottom bracket area of my Basso which resonated through the bike frame. I jumped off to investigate but couldn’t see anything wrong. What I did notice, however, was that the bottom bracket seemed to have developed quite a lot of play since I last checked it a couple of weeks ago. Damn! I didn’t want to abandon my ride, so I carried on. The noise kept happening every few minutes. It was very annoying, and precisely the kind of thing which shouldn’t be ignored, so of course – I ignored it!

I climbed up the steep road out of Jack Bridge and stopped at the top to take some pictures back over Jack Bridge towards Colden village.

Jack Bridge and Colden

I quickly passed through Blackshaw Head and climbed up to the Air Traffic control dish at the top of the long drag out of the village. That thing is just off the road on the hillside to the right and looks like a flying saucer from a distance.

I was keeping an eye on my GPS altitude reading as I climbed because I wanted to check it against the map when I got back. The altitude at the summit was shown as 427 metres. My Ordnance Survey map shows it as 429 metres – hey, not bad! Some people say that GPS altitude readings are not very accurate, but mine seem to be pretty reliable as long as I have a good lock on 4 satellites.

It was windy up there. The wind turbines at the Coal Clough Windfarm were working hard. I stopped again to take a picture of part of the windfarm and The Long Causeway towards Burnley.

Coal Clough Windfarm and The Long Causeway

A quick descent of the Causeway took me to Mereclough where I turned left and then right for Walk Mill.

I turned left onto the A646 and tackled the drag up through Cliviger, looking forward to bombing down Cliviger Gorge. That never really happened because of the headwind, so I almost freewheeled down to Portsmouth where I dismounted again to take a picture of the rather nasty-looking climb of Carr Road as it snaked up the hillside to the right above the A646.

Carr Road climb out of Portsmouth

My Basso has lower gears than my old bikes used to have. That climb used to kill my legs in years gone by, but I was fairly comfortable using my secret weapon of 30-tooth ring and 28-tooth sprocket.

There are some good views from Lower Moor, but I didn’t linger because it wasn’t that warm up there in the wind.

A quick descent took me to the hamlet of Sourhall, then it was a right down to Bacup Road. Left there, and another quick descent to the A6033. I didn’t fancy spending any more time on the the busy A-roads than I had to, so I took a right, then turned left at Walsden and Climbed up through Lumbutts village until I got to the next village – Mankinholes. It’s usually an exciting descent back down to the A646, but the road surface was broken up and there were roadworks narrowing the road so it wasn’t safe to descend at full speed. Oh well…

The evening traffic had picked up by the time I turned right onto the A646 for Hebden Bridge. Nothing for it but to fly back down the valley as fast as I could.

The bottom bracket seems to be holding up, but that noise is annoying. I don’t have the time or the money to fix it before a big ride that I’m doing on Sunday – The Brian Robinson Challenge. Hopefully it won’t pack up altogether because I could end up stuck 30 miles from my friend’s car back at event HQ! I’ll write a report of that ride in due course.

A nice little ride today. I’ll just download the tracklog from my GPS to get the stats… Okay: 41 km, 1000m of hills (25.5 miles, 3,300 ft).

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