Road Ride – Oakworth, Scar Top

It was nice and sunny this afternoon so I went out on the Basso again to make the most of it. We might not be getting too many more days like this before autumn really starts to set in.

I had lots to do today so I couldn't do a long ride. I decided in the end to head out Haworth way and do a little loop through Oakworth and along the north side of the Worth valley to Scar top, then back through Stanbury and Oxenhope and back over Cock Hill again.

Details of route: Hebden Bridge, Keighley Road (A6033) to Cock Hill, Oxenhope, Haworth, Oakworth, Scar Top, Stanbury, Haworth, Oxenhope, back up A6033 to Cock Hill, Hebden Bridge.

It was fairly breezy as I progressed up the climb to Cock Hill. I was doing a loop so some of the time it would be helping me, and some of the time it would be against me. Fair enough.

I'm not fit/light enough yet to have a go at doing a good time on that climb so I just treated it as a nice slow warm-up, spinning away in a low gear and enjoying the scenery..

It wasn't long before I noticed an irritating clicking noise seemingly coming from the transmission in time with each pedal stroke. It is often very hard to track down that kind of noise. I think that it is coming from the bottom bracket which is annoying given that it is pretty new and was replaced because the old one had started clicking! I don't think that anything is loose; my friend Bill reassembled the bike a while back and he certainly put some effort into doing up the bottom bracket cups. Maybe they are actually over-tight? I have a century ride to do at the weekend so I hope the noise doesn't get worse since it would drive me mad.

There are some new ‘rumble strips' on the descent into Haworth. They are obviously intended to encourage motorists to obey the speed limit but it didn't seem to be having much effect on their driving – cars were still whizzing past me at a fair old speed. What we have now is noisy speeding! I made a point of aiming my bike at the gap between the strips and the side of the road. Narrow road bike tyres hitting rumble strips at 40 mph are not much fun…

I took my now preferred route over Penistone Hill, stopping to take a picture of a curious Highland cow which was watching me cycle towards it…

Highland cow, Oxenhope
Highland cow, Oxenhope

… and a view of the village, looking down from the hill.

Oxenhope
Oxenhope

I rode round the northern fringes of Haworth before dropping steeply down into the Worth Valley and then climbing steeply back out again to the village of Oakworth.

From Oakworth, I meandered along the road to Scar Top, enjoying the views and the sunshine.

Ponden Reservoir
Ponden Reservoir

I turned left back down the hill at Scar Top and headed back through Stanbury. My route from there used to be via the steep climb of Penistone Hill up from Lower Laithe Reservoir but I find that a bit tough and now prefer to continue towards Haworth and tackle Penistone Hill the ‘easy way'.

There is a very fast descent into a dip from Stanbury and I completely overcooked my approach to the tight RH bend halfway down. I wasn't paying enough attention to the road (too many scenic distractions) and when I looked ahead of me again I realised that I was bearing down on a dry stone wall at well over 30 mph! 😯 I'm not normally one for fast cornering but I didn't have time to brake so I laid the bike right down, with a sick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. I was convinced that I would either hit the wall or drop the bike and suffer some major road rash. As it happened, I managed to corner like a pro! I've seen Bill do that before and always wondered how he got the bike so low without losing control. It's amazing how much grip there is on a smooth dry road when you are fortunate enough not to encounter grit, oil or dust! Still – I don't intend to make a habit of this…! Hey, hey, HEY – let's be careful out there!

Soon I was back in Oxenhope and began a 20 minute slog back up to Cock Hill. I did my trick of watching my GPS altitude reading and counting the climb down 5 metres at a time. It rises about 200m in 3 km, an average gradient of 6.7% which is long enough and hard enough to trouble me in my current condition. It used to be a really comfortable climb for me when I was slimmer and fitter. 🙁

I enjoyed the first half of the descent back to Hebden Bridge but I caught up with a lot of rush hour traffic in the woods below Pecket Well and was forced to brake all the way down into town.

A nice sunny 25 mile ride (41.2 km), with some tough hills thrown in and a close-encounter-of-the-dry-stone-kind to keep me on my toes!

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4 Responses to “Road Ride – Oakworth, Scar Top”

  1. Glad to see you’re back out clocking the miles up again. Rather hilly miles too!

  2. It’s just so much easier to get out when the weather is nice!

    I’m off down to the midlands for a few days soon (as in – get off t’Internet and go and catch the train Colin!). I’ll be riding from Coventry to Towcester on Saturday (about 40 miles). My sister will be dropping me off in Stratford-upon-Avon first thing Sunday morning for the Shakespeare 100 cyclosportive. That means that I should be getting at least 150 miles in over the next 4 days, and maybe another couple of short rides if I can squeeze them in between family visits.

  3. Lovely pics again btw!

  4. I still haven’t read the camera manual properly so I struggle to get the exposures right. The camera isn’t too bad when the sun is shining but the pictures always seem to end up extra-gloomy when it’s cloudy. I must learn about shutter speeds and aperture settings and how I can take control of them because the camera software seems to be guessing!

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