The only chatter on our group ride’s WhatsApp page last night was from folk who couldn’t make it or would meet us at the cafe. Given the dramatic change in two days from 14 deg C to 1 deg C I didn’t really expect anyone to turn up and I was right.
I set a pace which kept me nicely warm for minimum effort. That was a mistake though, whilst the legs and body felt good, the hands gradually went numb!
I was glad to see a mate at the cafe and another one joined us. Cycling back from the cafe was in much more sensible temperatures
Cold and grey or dry and peaceful, glass half empty or half full? Whatever, I waited for the frost to disappear and headed out to Kendal. It was very cold with temperatures never get above 5 degrees but no windchill to worry about. I thought the route through the woods of Silverdale and Arnside might be a few degrees warmer and so they proved. Followed NCR6 through the drumlin field to Kendal and stopped for a brew at a cafe by the river. Then it was the one big climb of the day, out of the town and up to Scout scar where I stopped to admire what little view there was while making progress through my flask of coffee. Next was the steep descent into Lyth valley before another stop to pick up supplies at Levens. Came home along the estuary and the AONB. 84 km with 1050 m of climbing and a face like a beetroot!
A little tight on time this weekend with family commitments and short daylight hours. I still managed a short ride down the river and back though.
It's been pretty wet this last month or so with precious few sunshine hours. The river has overflowed its banks and onto the floodplain, the fields all around are underwater.
Riding onto side tracks through an area of marshland it's all underwater and the trail is precarious.
I manage to get through and before long I've climbed up and away from the marsh and instead find myself on drier trails through the woods.
several kilometers later and I'm at the water works and the crossing of the river. The river here is roaring through the gates of the hydroelectric plant and in constant turmoil, not a place I'd want to find myself in. I cross the bridge safely and make the turn back towards home.
The ride back is smoother and easier going the trail is part of a long distance path and well maintained so I start to make good time.
It's late afternoon now though and the daylight is fading fast. I ride on picking up speed and rather than divert to rougher more adventurous trails to the side, I keep to the main path.
Finally I reach the edge of town and before long my garden. At just over 24 kilometers, not the longest of rides, but with temperatures of around 1°c and limited daylight, it was just nice to get out for some fresh air.
Another chilly one today. Some great views before it clouded over but I only dared t take my gloves off once and that was probably too often. My body was perfect but not long after the chemo damaged hands were numb again. I routed to grab a few OS tiles and it turned into a total mudfest.
Lol, I only had 50% battery in my Garmin 1030, so I took a backup 130 in my pocket. You can see when the 1030 died at circa 54 miles.
A sunny, seemingly windless day though it was chilly. I needed to go to town to pick up a few bits and pieces of shopping so what better way to go than on the Spirit recumbent? The underseat panniers were still on it from a previous trip so it was ready to go. I stretched the route a bit on the way out since I’ve been doing shorter rides recently.
I had my thermal underwear on, some gloves and then the usual dark trousers, pullover, gilet and black cap.
I set off through the back gate to Swanlow Lane and the uphill traffic lights. I had to wait at the lights but as I was going straight on it was no sweat. I wasn’t feeling very strong today and it was a struggle to get a decent speed up on the gentle gradient to the small summit on Swanlow lane but once there I was rolling well on the slight downhill to the A54 roundabout. I had to stop for traffic, then again at the lights. I followed the roundabout round to the right and spun out on the downhill though the anticipated speed wasn’t too impressive due to a headwind. Traffic was backed up at the next lights but there was a painted cycle lane on the left of the road so I kept going on that. I was going to turn left here and as I slowed for the lights they changed so I continued into Grange Lane without having to put my feet down. This is a slightly undulating road but I wasn’t able to take much advantage of it what with initial speed humps then random parked cars. Eventually I turned right to follow it through a housing estate and out into the countryside. Even though the trend is downhill I had to keep pedalling to keep up speed despite no apparent headwind.
Eventually I passed the entrance to a golf course and the slope became more obvious. I curled my lip at the pessimistic speed reading of the Garmin on the handlebar and stopped pedalling, just enjoying the sensation of lazy freewheeling. I plunged into a gravelly potholed dip avoiding the worst parts of it and changed down to pedal steadily up the other side.
Soon I reached the turning on the left where the ramp up to the Whitegate Way begins A bit nadgery as it was muddy and narrow but I was pleased that I’d got this moderately lengthy beast through without taking my feet off the pedals. Next the ramp. I’ve got up everything so far since I’ve had this bike without using the lowest range on the hub gear and so it was today. Despite leaning backwards in my seat by a disconcerting amount while getting up this slope I only had to go down to the second gear of the middle range of the hub. The front wheel went where it was pointed despite feeling light. It must have been several months since I came this way on this bike and I got up this ramp then, too. As it levelled off I went up the gears and my breathing slowed to somewhere near normal as I rolled along.
The speed didn’t increase much, but maybe I was just more aware of the reading on the Garmin as it’s on the bar right in front of your eyes whereas on my underseat steering bikes it has to live on a bracket further along the frame, so you have to squint to see it. Perhaps it’s a more enjoyable ride when you don’t have it nagging at you all the time, and just see the results when you stop.
Plenty of fallen leaves on the ground but despite all the recent rain they were dry, and just swished pleasantly as I rode on them. On this gradual uphill slope I wasn’t going fast enough to make them swirl about in the mirror.
I came across two couples walking with dogs who gave way, a rider on a nervous horse who waved me past anyway, a mountain biker, and a couple with two dogs and a pushchair whom I stopped for. Nobody overtook me even though it wouldn’t have been difficult. As I crossed Dalefords Lane on a tall bridge the trail became more level and I was able to change up a gear or two.
Soon I came to Whitegate Station car park and stopped to inspect the plumbing. These are very convenient conveniences as they are big enough to take your bike into. There are stands outside to lock your bike to, as well. Just in case it’s already too full of bicycles inside when you arrive.
Feeling suitably drained, I crossed the car park with its small but vicious speed humps and turned right onto Whitegate station bridge. The name lives on long after the railway that created it has gone. There is a wide pavement on the station side of the bridge, so I cycled along that, avoiding any conflict with motor traffic at the lights on the bridge.
Back on the road, there were a number of undulations. Cyclists more than anyone are aware of changes in gradient but on a recumbent bike or trike there are mini summits everywhere and the lower you are, the more there are of them. My introduction to recumbenting, the Linear, is fairly upright with a highish seat base, but I became aware of undulations that I’d never noticed before on that. The Spirit is lower and more reclined, and my trike is even lower and more reclined still.
For those grand horizontals who ride lowracers and really low trikes the fenlands of East Anglia must look like the Alps.
Meanwhile, back in leafy Cheshire I was undulating towards the junction of Dalefords Lane and Clay Lane, before going straight ahead for another go at the Test Hill of Doom, aka Cinder Hill. After crossing over I stopped in a field gateway to take my cap off so I could sit on it, living in hopes of getting up so much speed that it might otherwise be ripped off by my superhuman slipstream, never to be seen again. I waited for several cars to go past so that they wouldn’t get in the way, causing me to have to brake unnecessarily.
So I got under way, and as I lined up for the start of the downhill, felt the wind in my face. Not a good start. I pressed on, pedalling in top to about 15mph, then let the downhill do its worst. Despite steeling myself not to touch the brakes I could feel that this was not going as well as my last effort where I reached 33 mph. Sure enough, after I turned in in front of the school at the bottom of the hill, the Garmin showed a weedy 30.7.
To paraphrase the quote from Jaws, “Yer gonna need a bigger hill!” I turned round, and went across to Mill Lane opposite. The climb out of Whitegate on Mill Lane is a bit of a stinker, but fortunately it’s quite short. I actually had to get into the low ratio on the hub gear here for a while. Then there was a long gradual downhill, eventually following the course of the Pettypool Brook past the old Bradford Mill and crossing it over a narrow bridge just before it joins the River Weaver. Uphill past the Salt Mine on Bradford Road, then to the Eastern access to the Whitegate Way. Here it had been churned up by machinery which seemed to have removed some trees, making progress a bit interesting on two wheels. Fortunately it did not go on for long, and the normal surface resumed.
A view back to the road.
A couple walked by with dogs, and in the distance another couple in tracksuits appeared. They were walking, and as they went by they were kicking the dry leaves about. I stopped to take a photo of the distant Catsclough crossing.
As I got going again I saw them jogging back towards me in the distance, in my mirror. I put a bit more effort in, as it would be embarrassing to be overtaken by joggers. Getting a bit hot, I turned left at Catsclough Crossing to follow an unmade, bumpy bridleway to turn left on to Grange lane. Last time I came this way there was a fallen tree across the road which I just managed to squeeze past. It had gone this time. Despite the gradual uphill in this direction I felt that I was going better here than I was on the outward leg despite no noticeable wind. I followed Grange Lane to stop at the town centre lights, then sharp left on to a wide pavement, right by the Library, then into the precinct where I walked the bike to my usual supermarket. Here I locked up.
Having grabbed some shopping I then headed for home.
Across the car park, left at the exit roundabout, right at the next one into Dingle Lane with its speed humps, across the pavement at the end. Through an estate, on to Gladstone St. Definitely not at my best today as I ground slowly uphill with my load of shopping towards the chicane that separates Gladstone St. from Townfields Rd. A small boy was walking uphill with two older girls on the other side of the road saying, “can I have one of those?” “can I hop on?” I might have accepted the offer of a push as I crested the top after the steepest bit but speed soon got to respectable levels again before I had to stop at the lights at Swanlow Lane. Left and downhill, gathering momentum for my uphill turn off then a lazy pedal to my back gate.
Distance 11.16 miles. Max 30.7. Average 6.5mph. Ascent 350ft.
I don't usually share in this type of threads but I am very excited about this one. It was an easy ride on a trainer but I was very happy to visit Cap de Formentor in Mallorca Spain again after several years at least virtually via Rouvy app. My real trip to Mallorca was connected with my early days when I started falling in love with cycling and I really recalled the feeling there, on the ups and downs. It was just so nice to remember those moments.
Just a gentle, short ride of about 6 miles today ... brrrr! It was cold The first time I've ventured outside on the bike since the 15th November. Still, it allowed me to try out the base layer clothing I bought from Lidl last week, which turned out to be better than I expected. The purpose of my saunter was to pop into a local bike shop that I only found out about recently (although it has been there for several years) as it is only a few miles from home. A very pleasant visit indeed; free coffee and some thoughts on the set-up of my bike, with suitable adjustments to saddle position and handle bar tilt angle to help alleviate my soft tissue/tingling hands problem. Only time will tell if the changes help. I did spend some money whilst there because my hands were flippin' freezing and I came away with a new pair of gloves.
For anyone living in the Frenchay/Filton area of Bristol this excellent emporium is Gary Harris Cycles and they are just off Exit 1 of the M32 at the crazy golf place.