Sunderland to Parkhead Station, Saturday, April 6

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
A few of us are riding from Sunderland to Parkhead in County Durham along the C2C track.

The ride is an out and back round trip of about 70 miles.

In the unlikely event we arrive at Parkhead in good time and are feeling keen, we might nip down to Stanhope - an extra mile or two involving the stiff road climb of Crawleyside on the return leg.

Apart from Crawleyside, there are no hills worthy of the name.

The ride is a steady railway gradient pull for most of the way out, a usually wind assisted descent on the way back.

The C2C path is a mixture of cinder, hardpack, and asphalt - suitable for any bike.

The ride is 95% or more off-road, so suitable for even the most traffic phobic cyclist.

Leaving at about 9am, we ought to make Parkhead for 1pm.

Possible short stop on the way out at Annfield Plain at about 15 miles.

There's a small Tesco beside the path, handy for comestibles and for the toilet.

Lunch at Parkhead Station, which is one of the main stops on the C2C route so they are used to serving cyclists.

Stanhope loop or not, our journey home will be much quicker due to it being mostly downhill and often with a tail wind.

Leaving Parkhead by about 2pm ought to see us back in Sunderland by 5pm.

We do have a few miles to cover, so I would like to start at 9am or soon after.

Start point will be the car park of the Comfort Inn (formerly Premier Inn) on Timber Beach Road, Sunderland.

There's a grill and a gym on the same site, and parking is unrestricted.

The entrance is on the north side of the Wear next to Sunderland's new bridge, which we will be taking on the way out.

The hotel, Liberty Brown bar, and DW Fitness are marked on the Google maps link.

Participants so far are me, possibly my mate Paul, @EasyPeez, @Julia9054, and her partner @Almartino.

Queries, expressions of interest, etc, please post on the thread.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place...b4f6e431df8e7088!8m2!3d54.918353!4d-1.4279122
 

colly

Re member eR
Location
Leeds
Right up my street.

Assuming nothing crops up l will roll up.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Right up my street.

Assuming nothing crops up l will roll up.
Welcome aboard.

Several of those who rode with you on @ColinJ's ride on Saturday have ridden with those on this ride, so we have cycling chums in common even if you've not met any of us before.
 

colly

Re member eR
Location
Leeds
Just a heads up.

Since last weekend I have been 'off-it'. Nothing I can specifically point to but I know I've not been right. Even after a recent flat forum ride a week ago Saturday I knew something was up. It was 42 miles for me and the last 6 or 7 miles I felt like I had ridden 142 miles. Not been on the bike since.
I'll get out tomorrow if I can find some time and if I feel OK I will come along. :smile:

On the other hand if I still feel like shoot I'll give it a miss on Saturday. :sad:
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Just a heads up.

Since last weekend I have been 'off-it'. Nothing I can specifically point to but I know I've not been right. Even after a recent flat forum ride a week ago Saturday I knew something was up. It was 42 miles for me and the last 6 or 7 miles I felt like I had ridden 142 miles. Not been on the bike since.
I'll get out tomorrow if I can find some time and if I feel OK I will come along. :smile:

On the other hand if I still feel like shoot I'll give it a miss on Saturday. :sad:
Thanks for letting us know.

The ride is very much first half loaded in terms of effort.

If you can get to Parkhead - about 35 miles - the return is a breeze because it's mostly down hill.

The first 10 miles back on the Waskerley Way is described by Sustrans as one of the most exhilarating stretches on their network (thanks to @EasyPeez for spotting the quote).

Hope you can make it.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I've not been to Parkhead for a few months so I called in yesterday by way of a fact finding mission for Saturday.

It was a bit of a winter wonderland up there, two or three inches of slushy snow.

i reckon that will have thawed by the time we arrive.

Just as well, because the snow covering yesterday would have made the track hard to follow - veering off piste is to be avoided.

The roads are clear, so worse way we will do the last mile on asphalt.

As usual, it was a couple of degrees colder up there than at sea level, so it's worth wearing something a bit warmer than you think you will want.

The cafe is still ticking over, although the couple who run it are looking to retire, and I was the first customer yesterday at about 2pm.

Last food orders are about 3pm, close at 4pm, but we ought to arrive in plenty of time.

Cash is preferred, not least because the card machine runs off a mobile signal which is a bit iffy, depending on the weather.

Speaking of which, the forecast for Saturday is dry and mild with a breeze from the north east.

That's close to ideal because it will help us on the outbound part of the ride which is mostly up hill.
 
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colly

Re member eR
Location
Leeds
I'm sorry @Pale Rider. I haven't even been out on my bike yet let alone seeing if I'll be ok for Saturday. So I will have to back out of this one. Still off it tbh but gradually getting back to usual. Test results from docs so far show sfa wrong.

So I'm sure you will have a great ride and I hope the weather is kind. :okay:
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I'm sorry @Pale Rider. I haven't even been out on my bike yet let alone seeing if I'll be ok for Saturday. So I will have to back out of this one. Still off it tbh but gradually getting back to usual. Test results from docs so far show sfa wrong.

So I'm sure you will have a great ride and I hope the weather is kind. :okay:
No worries, it would have been good to see you but the ride goes ahead anyway so you've not let anyone down by not being able to make it.

For those that are coming, a cafe lock would be helpful.

Parkhead cafe is remote, but the lass who runs it said she's had gels pinched from a display inside that is stocked by a local bike shop.

She'd like to think it's riders passing through rather than regulars, but it seems criminals operate everywhere.
 
OP
Pale Rider

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Four of us set out on this ride in cool but fine weather.

We went over Sunderland's new bridge, and took what is the old C2C path west along the south side of the Wear.

A short road stretch took us through Penshaw and over Fatfield Bridge to join the current C2C route at St Robert's Newminster school.

This is where the constant gentle climbing begins and hardly lets up until you reach Parkhead about 28 miles later.

We stopped at Tesco at Annfield Plain for some much needed sustenance, and for a possibly even more needed toilet stop for Julia.

My path restriction avoidance strategy involves nipping onto the road past Consett to miss out a few A frames and gates.

Rather too much traffic, me having failed to account for it being Saturday and not Sunday which it usually is when I pass that way.

It's then nine miles of gravel track up to Parkhead.

Fairly remote up there, so the station cafe is always a welcome sight.

It also signals the end of the draggy climbing for the day.

The OS map gives Parkhead as 466m above sea level.

Doesn't mean a lot to me, but those of you who study these things can judge how much up that amounts to.

Simple but good scran in the cafe, Julia was able to get her preferred beans on toast, Andy and Al a fish finger sandwich, and a toastie for me.

It was 3pm and chilly by the time we set off for home.

Very little pedalling to be done, it's just a matter of covering the brakes as you barrel along at 15-20mph.

The result of this speedy cycling action was we got back to Sunderland by the target backstop time of 6pm.

My companions still had some motoring miles to do, so quite reasonably didn't want to set off too late.

Good effort from them to turn out for the ride.

As ever, we all got along famously.
 

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
possibly even more needed toilet stop for Julia.
Oy! You don't have to tell everyone! I had to have two coffees due to the early start!
A great day. As ever, great company. I particularly enjoyed the stretch from Consett to Parkhead station - the scenery was stunning and despite the cold, the weather was actually pretty perfect - it would have been really grim if it had been windy.
Thank you for organising.
 
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