Road Ride – What a Difference a Day Makes!

We had almost biblical-scale rain and flooding here yesterday, but today – back to lovely sunny conditions!

I had loads of things to do on the computer but I couldn't waste the whole day indoors so, late in the afternoon I got on my bike and took my camera on a little tour of the local hills to stretch my legs and see what damage the heavy rain had done.

I didn't have a lot of time, so I decided to limit myself to less than 20 miles. I chose a figure-of-8 route taking in a few hilltop villages: Up the Keighley Road to Pecket Well, right to Old Town and Chiserley. On along Height Road to Midgley, down the steep descent to Mytholmroyd, then up Scout Road and along to Sowerby village, up to the crossroads on Steep Lane, then left to climb up past the Turkey Lodge, and then descend through Cragg Vale back to Mytholmroyd. Finally, along the Calder Valley cycleway to Hebden Bridge.

I felt pretty good riding up to Pecket Well in that sunshine. What a contrast to yesterday's washed-out ride!

Pecket Well War Memorial
Pecket Well War Memorial

As expected, there were clear signs that something unusual had happened. Here's a picture taken on the normally clear road between Old Town and Chiserley…

Gravel-strewn road
Gravel-strewn road

It always amazes me when that happens. It's not as if you can see great piles of gravel further up the hill just waiting to be washed down onto the road so where does it come from? Another thing – flash-flooding seems to happens every couple of years, so this must have happened thousands of times in the past. You'd think that all of that gravel would be down in the valley where Hebden Bridge is by now!

I rode round to the old Mount Skip Inn which is now a B&B. There are stunning views from up there, especially at sunset, so that's great for the visitors who stay there. The thing is, it used to be a lovely pub to visit on a summer evening. You could sit outside and watch the sun go down in the distance beyond Stoodley Pike and later on, have a merry stroll down the hill back into Hebden Bridge.

It's a pity that so many country pubs are closing down now, but it seems inevitable. Drink-driving laws make getting to and from those pubs a problem. The indoor smoking ban puts off the smokers, and cheap alcohol in shops versus expensive alcohol in pubs doesn't help either.

There was a diversion sign pointing down Wadsworth Lane but naturally I ignored it! It is nearly always possible to get through on a bike. Besides, I was curious to see if there was flood-damage further down the road. Then a “Road Closed” sign. I ignored that too.

As I came out of the trees towards Midgley, I saw that the road was indeed closed to motor vehicles. There was a huge mechanical digger taking up 80% of the 2 lanes. A large stretch of retaining wall was being rebuilt.

As expected though, a small gap had been left open for pedestrians – and cyclists! No need to turn back…

A quick descent to Mytholmroyd was followed by a much slower ascent of Scout Road. It certainly was a fine day. Photo-opportunity!

Calder Valley in the sunshine
Calder Valley in the sunshine

I continued to climb, at times steeply, until the road flattened out towards the Turkey Lodge, then shot down the hill back to Mytholmroyd and along the valley to home.

It had been an uplifting little ride, a vital antidote to the misery of yesterday's aborted cycle event. I did just enough to start teasing some fitness back into my old legs. A few miles, some easy climbs but also some short steep shockers to help boost my leg strength.

Ride stats: 17.6 miles (28 km), 2,100 ft of climbing (650 m).

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2 Responses to “Road Ride – What a Difference a Day Makes!”

  1. Lovely, ball bearing (small stones) covered descents.

  2. That picture was taken on a fairly flat stretch of road, but on the SoM audax on Sunday there were some seriously dodgy descents. The one to Rough Lee almost caught me out on previous years and apparently it was much worse this year. It is very steep, rutted, gravel-strewn and has a tight bend at the top. I overshot that bend once and had to escape straight on up a farm track over a cattle grid!

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