Waddington Road Ride With New Chaps

A bunch of us did a ride to Waddington a month ago and we decided to do a repeat of the 57-miler today. It's a relatively easy route by our hilly northern standards, so it is a nice ride to do at this time of year to help build fitness, and get us out when the weather might not be perfect.

We had quite a good turn-out today, including 3 new faces from the CycleChat forum – ‘Big' Steve (Steve H), Steve (Skudupnorth) and Mike (SlowerThanASluggishSloth). Apart from them, and me, the roll call was Kevin (tubbycyclist), Dave (potsy), Shaun (bromptonfb), Dan (dan_bo) and Will (Bokonon).

Steve and Dan were riding in from Greater Manchester and were going to wait for us in Todmorden. Shaun was chasing this month's century ride and had intended to come to ride to Hebden Bridge over the tops, but it had been a frosty night so he thought better of it. Instead he met the other two in Todmorden.

Dave told us that it had been raining heavily over Manchester when he set off, but over here we just missed it. The worst weather we had on the way out was a light drizzle.

We had a bit of a headwind after we picked up the 3 riders in Tod and headed up the A646 towards Burnley. Nothing too gruelling though.

It was an easy pace allowing us to chat away as we rode along. Where roads were wide enough to do it safely, we rode 2 abreast but yet again that incensed some motorists. They just don't like it, even though we only did it where they had plenty of overtaking room. It really makes me wonder what kind of lives they have, that something so trivial can trigger such vile abuse from drivers and their passengers at 11 o/c on A Sunday morning. They are sad – sad people, with sad lives.

We took our scenic back road from Padiham to Whalley again, calling in at Spring Wood picnic centre for a short break. I took a picture of my companions there …

(L-R: Shaun, Mike, Will, Dave, Big Steve, Dan, Steve, Kevin)

As usual, Dan headed back from Spring Wood. He gets about 70 miles in so he has a good ride, but he manages to get home at a reasonable time and watch some sport on the TV. I believe they call it Soccerball, or something like that! 😉

The sun came out! It started to feel quite spring-like and by the time we got to the Country Kitchen cafe in Waddington, it was warm enough to sit at the tables outside. It's been a long time since we could do that. We enjoyed our food and drink sitting out there in the sunshine, talking about the forum, and our cycling plans for later in the year.

All good things come to an end, however, and this was no exception. A big cloud came overhead and the temperature plummeted. The air temperature was still quite chilly so without the sun warming us, we soon started to feel distinctly cold. It was time to saddle up and head for home …

We had a nice ride back up to Spring Wood and then Shaun, Will and Steve blasted off ahead of us as we headed towards the Old Roman Road to Read. It's an easily-missed junction and sure enough – they missed it! They were too far ahead of us to hear our shouts and they didn't respond immediately to my phone call. I knew they'd end up in Sabden and be faced with a steep climb which was far harder than the one facing us, so we stayed put. Eventually Shaun answered his phone. They decided to do the Sabden climb and we went back the way we'd come out earlier and waited for them further down the road.

Reunited on the quiet lane from Read
Reunited on the quiet lane from Read

The sun was still shining from time to time, but clouds were building up and we had a few spells of drizzle and light rain as we climbed away from Padiham and headed back on the A646.

Eventually we got to the new traffic lights at the top of Cliviger Gorge where the A646 forms an S-bend over the railway bridge. Strictly speaking, those lights shouldn't be necessary but for years drivers have been driving too fast and hitting the sides of the bridge. When I used to work in Burnley, 2 careless speeding colleagues did it within 1 week!

It's a quick 4 mile run down into Todmorden from that railway bridge and for the first time all day, Will's legs started to protest. He was riding his fixed-wheel bike today and had coped fine with everything so far, but spinning like a mad thing was finally starting to get to him. We waited by the roundabout in Tod.

When I took a good look at Will's bike, I saw that he had semi-knobbly tyres on and his chain was all rusted up after leaving the bike outdoors all winter. 57 miles on that, including a climb well over 15% – no problem!

Will's rusty fixie!
Will's rusty fixie!

I had expected Steve and Shaun to leave us at Todmorden but they were men on a mission, intending to get well over 100 miles in. They accompanied us back to Hebden Bridge.

So … another fun day out with riders from the CycleChat forum. Female riders are few and far between, but that still relatively common in cycling. It's a shame, but there you go.

It was nice to meet some of The Usual Suspects again, and to meet the 3 new riders.

Mike failed to live up to (down to?) his forum name SlowerThanASluggishSloth. He'd been chirpy all day, his first forum ride of any description.

Big Steve showed that his regular cycling since joining CycleChat just under a year ago is paying off. For a really big man, he looked very comfortable on his bike and looked quite capable of doing another 20 miles if he'd needed to.

Steve (‘skud') is clearly pretty fit, He ended up having done 116 miles by the time he got home.

Shaun did 118 miles which I think is his personal best.

The next Waddington ride will take place on Sun, 20th March and we intend to go out on the scenic Widdop road on that occasion.

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