Six hardy riders set out on a cold and misty Remembrance Sunday heading northwards to the hills. Haslingden and Accrington passed under our wheels before we reached open countryside after Whalley. A few spots of rain soon cleared and after threading our way through Clitheroe we had to stop while Eric retrieved his rear light from the middle of the road. Quiet lanes were then followed to our destination of Waddington where we were revived by hot food and tea in the café.
Having discussed our onward route we took to the lanes along Back Ridge from where we could see the Bowland fells away to the North, Pendle Hill, Whalley and the hills around Clayton-le-Moors to the south. We returned to Whalley via Mitton and then took the main road through Langho to Brownhills. After a short stop at Whtebirk we turned onto the Roundhills road where we split up on the climb to the summit above Haslingden. After re-grouping we carried on to the tea rooms at Irwell Vale and returned to Bury before dark having covered some 55 miles.
A decent turnout on a cold but sunny morning saw the B ride head off to Whalley. Mark was the only A ride member heading off for a longer more demanding solo ride. During the morning a couple of the riders peeled off - John to watch a local hill climb event and Terry who had agreed to meet up with Phil and Vera. So it was a slightly depleted team that descended into a very busy, sun kissed Whalley for an early lunch.
After lunch the faster riders decided to go looking for a few hills to attack whilst Jim and Eric headed back towards Blackburn, Accrington and a stiff headwind that tested the legs, before heading down into Bury. Eric was in a hurry to catch the World Championships on TV so Jim turned off to the tearooms for a welcome coffee and toast where he teamed up with three local mountain bikers for an off road riverside route into Ramsbottom and then home to Prestwich.
So a fair few mileage differences for our intrepid club members who I’m sure all enjoyed a good dry day out.
A dry day in prospect and a good turn out of riders set out on the ‘B’ run to Croston. We rode along Bolton Road into Bolton where we joined the canalside path which runs along the railway to Lostock Junction station. Here we joined another section of cyclepath which helped cut out the busy A6 and Westhoughton. We joined the A6 only briefly before leaving it for Aspull and a brief cafe stop at Haigh Hall. Proceeding through Standish the group descended Parbold Hill before making a right turn for the lanes to Croston. In fact we stopped at the cafe at nearby Bretherton for our lunch. It kept dry and this was very welcome after last week’s washout.
With some members away at the CTC York Rally we still had a decent turnout for the joint A and B group impromptu ride. Gargrave was the agreed destination and seven riders set off in the usual northerly direction via Edenfield, Rawtenstaal and Burnley. Jon was with us again after recovering from bruised ribs after his fall on the recent ride to Knott End. The pleasant weather made for a very enjoyable days cycling. Apologies to readers avidly turning to this page to read the latest runs reports. This is our first report for a while due to the absence of writers out on runs.
With the promise of the hottest day of the year so far I was looking forward to a route that would take in the promenade at Blackpool. Our new member, Jon, had said he would be out this weekend so I had planned a route that avoided as many hills as possible for what is a 100 mile round trip whatever route you take.
Having been absent for most of the year through work Phil made a rare appearance and this gave leverage to persuade Adam to join the A riders. With Mike, Jon, myself and a new lad called Rick that made for a healthy group of six.
Our route out was over Belmont to Preston, through the lanes to Bilsborrow and then the A6 past Garstang to join the road to Knott End. Somewhere along the road out of Bury we were joined by Stan who was out for his usual half day ride. As soon as we started climbing Jon appeared to be struggling but this seemed to be mostly down to inexperience of riding within a group. Having briefly tutored him on riding closer to the rider in front Phil unshipped his chain and a few seconds later Jon was on the floor with his feet in the air. Luckily the accident was at low speed and Jon is young enough to bounce back up without injury.
At Knott End the tide was out so far that there were airplanes parked on the sand. This also scuppered my plans for the day as the ferry was not able to reach the jetty at Knott End and would not run again until 16:00. With no map and no plan B we had to make our way in land to Shard Bridge the first crossing point of the river Wyre. Thoughts of Blackpool prom were abandoned and we headed back towards Preston where we picked up our normal route along the cycle lanes to Chorley. At Rivington Phil and Adam carried on for home while the rest of us managed to get into the village tearooms before last orders.
After a poor turnout last week, the ‘B’ group was out in force for today's ride to Hebden Bridge with more than ten riders including Phil and Vera, Brian and Beryl, plus a rare outing for Mike Tattersall and his female friend. Nigel and Mandy were out on their tandem. We set off to Rochdale and just after, as a result of a sudden stop with a barely inaudible warning shout of “behind”, Beryl came off her bike to avoid a collision. Fortunately no cars were behind her. She had to leave the ride a bit later on due to bruised ribs we think. The rest of the group continued over the climb to Calderbrook and descended onto the Todmorden road. It was decided to take the high route to Hebden Bridge via Lumbutts.
On the return ride the canal towpath back to Littleborough was taken.
With no ‘B’ riders turning up it was down to Mark and Nigel to escort new member Jon Wheeler who was out for his first club run. Jon certainly looked capable of a good pace but stamina was going to be the unknown factor as we set off at a relaxed pace towards Edenfield. In Shuttleworth we met Steve Willets and his wife on their tandem. Steve advised that they had not been out much and would be doing their own thing so when they pulled over to take a rest on the rise out of Ewood Bridge the rest of us pressed on.
After a brief comfort break in Whalley we headed out to Bashall Eaves where a road race was taking place. Taking the back road we cut across onto the climb of Waddington Fell, the sight of the road rising up in front of us brought a gasp and some words of astonishment from our new recruit. A rapid descent into Newton and we were soon climbing again before the final descent into Slaidburn. It was at the Riverside tea rooms that I realised we had lost Jon, a quick retrace and he was found entering the village.
Upstairs in the cafe I was finally starting to feel warm and contemplated stripping off my longs for the ride home. Luckily I waited until we went outside again as it was still unseasonably cold and rather than stripping off I was looking forward to climbing some hills to get warm again.
The route to Sawley took us through Lane Ends, Bay Gate and Holden. Back on familiar roads we followed our usual route back to Whalley along the old road running parallel to the A59. To avoid going back the way we came we headed out of Whalley up York hill but instead of round hills we turned for Rishton and picked up route 6 for a while. The route through Accrington proved too much though and we ended up back on the main road on the climb nicknamed Meat Pie Mountain by Centreville riders and it was here that we met Phil and Vera who were doing a bit of roadside repairing.
Following a warm Saturday, things had cooled down as we met on Sunday morning for the ’A’ ride to Burnsall and the ‘B’ ride to Catforth. The usual mile eaters set off for Burnsall, while the ‘B’s headed west towards Belmont and Preston. Later in the day at our destination we met up with Kevan and Alan who had been on a weekend cycle event.
The joint A and B ride to Holmfirth was well supported with the promise of reasonably good spring weather. We rode out of Bury into Rochdale and onto Milnrow and Newhey for the first long climb of the day which was rewarded by the fast descent into Denshaw. After regrouping we descended into Delph before again hitting the granny gears for the climb to Standedge cutting. John diverted off here and descended to Uppermill for a direct ride home through Staleybridge, Ashton and Daisy Nook. The others proceeded for their full days ride to Holmfirth for which we have not received a report, but according to Stan 60 miles were covered..
Easter tour weekend. Also read Stan's the 'off the back' report on the News page.
As is often the case, the number of participants was constantly changing and with a week to go we lost our backup vehicle when Derrick pulled out. For Mark, who tours self supported on a regular basis, this was not an issue. For me, on the other hand, I was now faced with a bit of a dilemma: my days of saddle bag tours with ABC Centreville are long since passed, my touring (?) bike was in bits, I have a luggage trailer and there are four point fixings on my audax bike and a spare rack in with all my other cycling bits. As I sat mulling over my options Brian rang to say he was going to go up in the car so could now take my luggage. With Brian giving a lift to Stockport John that still left a reasonable group of five for the ride out to Grinton. Then John Butterworth pulled out and Stan decided to go it his own way. So, like so many Sunday’s of late, it was the hard core of the A group that planned to meet for the ride up.
With the time showing 8:45, Mike and Mark rang to see where I was and to say they were setting off without me. Fortunately I was at the other end of The Rock and arrived before they could sneak off. Gargrave was the obvious choice for Lunch so we headed off through Burnley, Barrowford and Barnoldswick. Now I am not in favour of compulsory helmet wearing but before we reached Gargrave Mike once again demonstrated why, for him, I make an exception. No real damage done but despite our best efforts we could not stop the rear derailleur on Mike’s bike from putting the chain into the spokes so for the rest of the ride Mark and I could be heard shouting “that’s it” every time Mike selected his bottom gear.
After lunch we headed for Kettlewell. Mark’s favoured route of Park Rash had seemed like a good idea from the comfort of my armchair in front of the TV but with the evil combination of a 1 in 4 followed by three 1 in 7’s just round the corner I was only too happy to use Mike’s over geared bike as an excuse to split up and head over Kidstones pass. This gave Mike and I our first view of the spectacular geological landscape we were set to enjoy/endure over the four day tour. Use the link below to see some of the waterfalls around Cray on the way up to the summit of the pass.
After a swift descent, spoiled by excessive mud on the road, we swept along Bishopdale before turning to Aysgarth and the Aysgarth falls visitors centre. Here we stopped for coffee and cake and to kill a bit of time as we were destined to be very early arriving at the hostel.
At Castle Bolton I had my first opportunity to frighten a pedestrian and left her spinning and muttering in the middle of the road with Mike as the likely recipient of her waved walking stick. As we made our way up to Redmire Moor and the woodless forest of Redmire we spotted a group of cyclists ahead and soon identified the crane like features of our Stanley. With hindsight, catching up with Stan and then dropping him will have only confirmed that he made the correct decision to not ride with us.
Having reached the Hostel with bags of time before the reception opened we sat and waited for the rest of the group to arrive.
Saturday and Sunday were our chance to show we could ride as a mixed ability group. I think we deserve a score of about 7/10.
Saturday was a damp affair with all six riders togged up in rain wear for the short run to Richmond for elevenses. From Richmond Brian guided us through the lanes to a safe crossing point of the A66 and then to Whorlton Bridge, a narrow suspension bridge, to cross the river Tees. Heading into Barnard Castle we were passed by a local racing cyclist so I caught up with him and got his cafe recommendation, Penny’s, along with details of where to park our bikes.
After lunch was when the fun was going to begin. After a short journey in the wrong direction and a spell on a cycle route to a closed bridge we finally escaped the clutches of Barnard Castle and headed for The Stang. Not surprisingly this was where the group split apart but while most were happy to struggle up at their own pace Mark and I circled Mike and watched with amusement as he fought with his over geared bike. For some strange reason I had it in my head that it was downhill all the way to Reeth from here so did not bother to wait for the group to reform. In reality there is at least another 200 feet of climbing after crossing the river and with different descending speeds it was quite a wait before all six riders regrouped in Reeth. With the hostel just around the corner I was the only one to visit a Cafe, re-living a previous tour.
Come Sunday, Mark was hungry for miles and set off on his own heading for Penrith. That left four of us to convince Brian that coming back straight after Tan Hill would be a waste of a day. As it happened it was the perfect conditions to demonstrate the advantage of riding in a group and with Brian as our protected rider we rode at a steady pace in close formation up Arkengarthdale into a steady head wind. At the Tan Hill Inn we stopped for tea and to shoot the breeze with some motorized ramblers. Kirby Stephen was little more than a fast descent away any talk of Brian taking the short way home had long been forgotten. It was in Kirby Stephen that we were reminded that this was a bank holiday weekend; it was jammed with people, cars and vintage buses. Luckily we spotted a cafe displaying the CTC sign, The Mulberry Bush, and managed to grab a table.
The return to Grinton was what we ride our bikes for; tail wind, sunny skies, spectacular scenery and Mike finally got to ride up a hill without struggling. The mileage did not justify another coffee stop but we were on holiday and we needed time to savour the views. The following link gives a taste of Swaledale.
We may have managed to get Brian to do a full day’s ride on Sunday but there was no way we were going to get Stan to ride home with us on Monday. So it was back to the (insert your own adjective) three of Mike, Mark and Me (sic). The easiest thing to do, given the terrible weather conditions, would be to go straight back the way we came. But out and back courses are for testers and that way insanity lies...
My original plan had been to use a route that included Buttertubs but having already ridden the connecting road between there and Grinton the previous day we headed along the back road and the climb of The Fleak. By the summit we had climbed a total of eight arrows, none shown on Mark’s map, and managed to find worse weather than at the start. As we started the descent a village at the bottom was picked out in glorious sunlight giving us hope of brighter weather but no matter how hard we battled into the headwind we never managed to catch up with it. In Hawes we paused for a few photos of the river as it cascades through the town but we all realized we were in for a long day and needed to press on. Back on more familiar roads we now headed for Ribblehead and Horton in Ribblesdale where we briefly took shelter behind a fellow cyclist. By Lunch at Settle the weather had improved a bit but it was too little too late. The lasting memory of this day will be of a battle with the elements and a flooded landscape.
It would be easy to talk of roads cycled and hills climbed on Sunday's A run to Howarth, where miles were exchanged for arrowed hills, reducing the ride to a mere 55 miles but it is probably best summed up with the short exchange with a local as we crested our third section of double arrowed hill:
local, "have you just cycled up that steap un?"
Local, " ave you got a photo else I won't believe you"
Sunday’s 'A' ride was a tale of two halves: the morning, cold and overcast; the afternoon, warm and sunny. In the morning Mark, Mike and Nigel were joined by Stan. We set off via Edenfield and Roundhills heading for Ribchester and the bottom of the climb to Jeffrey Hill. Not a particularly high hill at 290 metres but unlike many other hills this one starts at the bottom, just 19 metres above sea level. The climb was quite pleasant but as we negotiated the twists and turns of the descent the wind made sure we kept a firm grip of both brakes. At Rock Brow (not rock bottom) Stan turned right to head for Whalley via Chaigley and then home while the all dayers turned left aiming for Harris End Fell and the lunch stop of Scorton. In years gone by a visit to Scorton meant lunch at the Priory cafe but there is a new kid on the block now, The Barn at Scorton, serving plenty of carbohydrate rich food that cyclists crave. All three of us opted for a jacket potato.
During the early miles of the ride a return over the trough of Bowland was mentioned but having battled into a head wind for 40 miles over three hills, each of nearly 300 metres, we were all glad of a few fast, flat miles across the Fylde plain after lunch. With the sun now beating down on us my thoughts turned to ice cream and as nobody fancied an afternoon stop for tea at Tockholes I adjusted the route to avoid one unnecessary hill and take us up another to the roman road that leads to Edgworth and Holden’s ice cream parlour. In Darwen, Mike had had enough and decided to take the direct route over Bull hill on the devils highway (A666) so I was surprised, but pleased, when he appeared to have a change of heart and followed up Marsh House Lane. Alas, having ridden a third of the way up he realised his error and said his goodbyes. Down to two, Nigel and Mark completed the climb onto Blacksnape Road and soon achieved the highest point of the day, Rushton’s Height at 316 metres. From here it was not exactly downhill all the way home but a small 99 from Holden’s helped to iron out some of the final lumps before home.
by Nigel Hood
The 'B' group had a shorter and more leisurely ride to Bolton-by-Bowland.
The 'B' group had a shorter and more leisurely ride to Bolton-by-Bowland.
A cloudless, bright but very cold early Sunday morning attracted a good turnout of 71 riders to participate in the 9th annual Charlie Westlake Sportive bike rides. 43 cyclists opted for the 50km route and 28 for the 100km route. Compared to last year’s event the weather was ideal with very little wind and a gradual increase in the temperature. Frank Jefferson manning the first control near Belmont reservoir did a great job in checking through all 71 riders from only 45 minutes into the event. Peter Roscoe at the second control at the Britannia roundabout had to ensure that riders departed in the right direction as it is here that the 100km riders go one way towards Blackburn and the 50km riders go another towards Haslingden.
The 100km riders arriving in Downham were greeted and checked through by Mark Cranshaw. At Waterfoot, Jim Holden and Roy Turner interrupted their drinking at the Duke of Buccleugh pub to check through the 100km riders at their last control before the finish at Owd Betts.
At around noon the first of the 50km riders started arriving at the Owd Betts finish to be checked in by John Butterworrth - soon to be joined by Phil and Vera Rigby. It was 4.30pm by the time the last of the 100km riders had been checked in – all finishing within the 7 hours allowed.
Many riders have their own tales of punctures and going off course but all enjoyed the wonderful scenery that the route provided. Only a few failed to make the finish.
Thanks to entry fees and contributions from the riders we managed to raise £403 for Bury Hospice. A big thank you to all involved. Photos can be viewed on the Charlie Westlake Rides page of this website.
Five 'B' riders turned out for the planned ride to Dunsop Bridge. However lack of miles in the legs and a cold chill in the air forced a decision to take an easier shorter ride to the cafe near Cliviger. We took a direct outward route through Rochdale towards Littleborough before which we turned left to take the high road which is closed to motor traffic due to subsidence. After descending to the valley road we sped along into Todmorden.
After a brief stop to regroup we climbed towards Cliviger Gorge noticing with sadness that the Staff of Life pub, venue for many club Christmas lunches in the past, had closed. We climbed through Portsmouth and Cliviger Gorge and after descending through Holme Chapel we stopped at the cafe (except Stan who decided to carry on home). The others entered the cafe which was crowded although it was only 11.50am. After an enjoyable hour here we took the ‘easiest’ route home up to Burnley summit, Rawtenstall and Edenfield to conclude a pleasant cycling excursion of around 40 miles.
'A' ride report. Thankfully the storm force wind and rain that the weatherman had been threatening us with for the last four days had moved farther south so Sunday dawned bright and clear though bitterly cold. At the meeting point regular ‘A’ riders; Nigel, Mark and Adam B were joined by a new member, another Adam. The day’s ride was the Lancashire cycle way and although there is a nice, long, relatively flat loop that can be done out towards Southport on route 91 that is not the way things are done in the A group. Instead we headed for Rawtenstall and picked up the route heading East and never stopped climbing and descending till we got back to Bury. As we headed into Edenfield young Adam showed us what he was made of as he sprinted up the rise to the village and the rest of us looked at each other thinking we were in for a tough day. I lead the group as we turned in Walker Mill and shouted for everyone to get into their lowest gear for the steep climb to Mereclough but Adam B had a new challenger for his big ring crown and as Mark and I twiddled away in our low gears the two Adam’s battled it out for big ring supremacy. Just past Lane Bottom we deviated from route 91 down Robin House Lane to tackle the two fords, I was the only one to ride through the first ford but we all resorted to the stepping stones for the second, deeper, one. By the climb of Laneshawbridge Adam B was starting to see stars but managed to keep it together till we reached our lunch time destination of Genevieve, 7 Station Road, Barnoldswick. Refused my normal meal of full English breakfast I made do with a roast beef dinner, Mark and Adam B also opted for substantial meals, though Mark had to help Adam and myself by polishing off our spuds. Out of the big hills we now had the roller coaster route to Whalley with its short, sharp, leg sapping rises and fast descents on narrow roads. Leaving Whalley on the old road, Adam B plugged in his iPod and prepared himself for a steady grind over round hills while Mark, the other Adam and I took the right turn towards Ramsgreave to continue on route 91. Climbing out of Ramsgreave Adam managed to jam his chain between the inner and middle rings. Once again I demonstrated my ability to break tools, this time my own Allen key, as we tried to free the chain. With four hands on the job we eventually managed to pull the chain free but for one reason or another Adam never quite managed to get going again after this unscheduled break. Just past Brindle we abandoned the route and used Marsh Lane to double back on ourselves and head for Belmont road. With 85 miles under our belts and nearly 3000m of climbing done next week’s Sportive should be a doddle.
'A' ride report. Thankfully the storm force wind and rain that the weatherman had been threatening us with for the last four days had moved farther south so Sunday dawned bright and clear though bitterly cold. At the meeting point regular ‘A’ riders; Nigel, Mark and Adam B were joined by a new member, another Adam.
The day’s ride was the Lancashire cycle way and although there is a nice, long, relatively flat loop that can be done out towards Southport on route 91 that is not the way things are done in the A group. Instead we headed for Rawtenstall and picked up the route heading East and never stopped climbing and descending till we got back to Bury.
As we headed into Edenfield young Adam showed us what he was made of as he sprinted up the rise to the village and the rest of us looked at each other thinking we were in for a tough day. I lead the group as we turned in Walker Mill and shouted for everyone to get into their lowest gear for the steep climb to Mereclough but Adam B had a new challenger for his big ring crown and as Mark and I twiddled away in our low gears the two Adam’s battled it out for big ring supremacy. Just past Lane Bottom we deviated from route 91 down Robin House Lane to tackle the two fords, I was the only one to ride through the first ford but we all resorted to the stepping stones for the second, deeper, one. By the climb of Laneshawbridge Adam B was starting to see stars but managed to keep it together till we reached our lunch time destination of Genevieve, 7 Station Road, Barnoldswick.
Refused my normal meal of full English breakfast I made do with a roast beef dinner, Mark and Adam B also opted for substantial meals, though Mark had to help Adam and myself by polishing off our spuds.
Out of the big hills we now had the roller coaster route to Whalley with its short, sharp, leg sapping rises and fast descents on narrow roads. Leaving Whalley on the old road, Adam B plugged in his iPod and prepared himself for a steady grind over round hills while Mark, the other Adam and I took the right turn towards Ramsgreave to continue on route 91. Climbing out of Ramsgreave Adam managed to jam his chain between the inner and middle rings. Once again I demonstrated my ability to break tools, this time my own Allen key, as we tried to free the chain. With four hands on the job we eventually managed to pull the chain free but for one reason or another Adam never quite managed to get going again after this unscheduled break. Just past Brindle we abandoned the route and used Marsh Lane to double back on ourselves and head for Belmont road.
With 85 miles under our belts and nearly 3000m of climbing done next week’s Sportive should be a doddle.
You thought it was all over – it isn’t yet! Winter just won’t go away. We awoke to yet another covering of snow which ruled out a ride for most members. Better luck next week.
Nigel Hood writes: Having sent
out an e-mail to see who was likely to be out for the A ride I was fully
expecting to be faced with Hobsonï¿½s choice of do the A ride on my own or wait
an extra half hour and ride with the Bï¿½s; Mark was ï¿½getting the miles inï¿½, Mike
was on valentineï¿½s duty over in Leeds and Adam had cried off
However, when I got to the meeting point at Wilkyï¿½s I was quickly joined by
Phil and Alan. So it was that three riders set off for the train station cafe
at Delamere. The plan for the morning was simple, just ride straight through
Manchester on the A56 to Bucklow Hill and pick up the lanes from there, its a
route that Mike and I used last Easter without any problem but today it was so
bad that Phil voted it the worst route I had ever taken him on. Once in
to the lanes it was a lot better, luckily for us route 70 goes through to
Hatchmere so all we had to do was look out for the little blue signs. From
Hatchmere its just a couple of miles to the cafe.
Alan ate his sandwiches then came inside for some pudding and custard, Phil opted for a Turkey baguette and I had an all day breakfast. Last to be served, I was just polishing off the last forkfuls of my meal when the waiter came out with another for me! Tempting, but not this time.
Fed and watered we saddled up for the ride home. Phil had been complaining about his new saddle from the off and with 40 odd miles covered and 40 plus to go things were going to get sore. In Frodsham we picked up route 5 and as the back road turned into a restricted by-way and that into a dirt path Philï¿½s moaning got louder, luckily it did not last long, the path that is, Philï¿½s moaning lasted the rest of the ride. After another section of the A56 we picked up the B5356 that took us through to Lymm. Back on our regular roads we crossed Warburton Bridge and spun our way to the Heritage tea rooms for coffee and cake. By the time we got home I had 88 miles on the clock with plenty of daylight left and no need of an early start.
Meeeting at 9.30, the six strong B group split with Beryl and Brian opting for an easy ride to Haigh Hall and the others, led by Phil and Vera, decided on Roughlee with the usual outward route via Rawtenstall and Acrrington being taken. John diverted off half way down the descent into Burnley for a shorter homeward run via Todmorden.
Eight riders turned up outside Wilkinson's for the "B" ride and none fancied the destination on the runs list - Sowerby Bridge, perhaps it was the thought of all those hills that we still weren't fit for this winter.
Phil (on his new Trek bike) and Vera were going to Roughlee but the rest of us decided on Tockholes where there is a good, cheap cafe. We followed the off road route past Peel Mills before threading our way onto Brandlesholme Road. At Walves we turned for Edgworth and Belmont and the switchback nature of the route made for slow progress up the steep climbs. Quicker progress was then made on to Tockholes where we tarried over the wholesome fare and debated over our return route.
In the meantime the mists had descended and the nearby Darwen Tower was no longer visible whilst the atmosphere was decidedly cold and clammy. We retraced our outward route as far as Belmont but then continued along the main road. The cold descent to Astley Bridge made fingers tingle but we warmed up again on Crompton Way, returning to Bury with some 40-odd miles covered.
Nigel Hood writes about the 'A' run:-
On Saturday I had been doing some gardening in a t-shirt and been tempted to take that off as the sweat trickled off my head but Sunday was back to the reality of winter. With the North West Passage audax only two weekends away and the first control of said audax being our destination for the day (Settle) I decided to use some of the same roads to get there. Unfortunately it was a reminder of what I don’t like about the audax. Having reached Settle via a mainly ‘a’ road route the return route had Mark, Mike and Nigel going ‘off piste’, Wham, Long Gill and Toss Side were all visited on a seldom used route through to Sawley and the cafe at Waddington.
An overnight freeze and a sprinkling of snow caused a few riders to change their minds about riding but Mark, Adam and Nigel set off from Bury with high hopes of some blue skies and sunshine.
The forecast included a northerly breeze giving a slight headwind on the way out to Beacon Fell. To counter this a direct route was used taking us over round hills and through Longridge. Leaving Longridge it might be tempting to follow the signs for Beacon Fell but this is the route for motorised traffic. Half a mile out of Longridge on the road to Chipping we turned left and entered a network of quiet lanes eventually reaching Beacon Fell Road via Carwags Lane.
At the visitors centre Adam bought three breakfast barms but he let Nigel eat one of them. Mark made do with just one. After lunch the sun had finally arrived and with the breeze now on our backs a longer route could be tackled. Leaving Beacon Fell via Rigg Lane we headed for the back road into Chipping, pausing briefly to watch as a glider came into land. As was the case in the morning, a few patches of ice had to be tackled where drainage water had frozen across the road. Adam’s front tyre went flat heading up the climb of Bowland-with-Leagram but Mark and Nigel had pressed on ahead. At the top of the climb Mark stopped to take some photos while Nigel continued to the junction at the bottom of the climb. With no sign of Adam at the top the roads were retraced and after assisting with the inflation of Adam’s tyre we headed towards Chaigley. From here it was the usual route of Whalley and Accrington arriving home mid afternoon but not before Adam’s tyre had flattened again.
Sunday morning brought unforecasted rain and so it was that 5 riders turned up outside Wilkinsons with 3 "A" riders intent on going to Croston and another going home this left your writer with a free choice of destination.
Like many members I was turning out for the first time in several weeks and with rain likely to be around all day I opted for a short local ride. I climbed steadily out of Bury towards Walshaw and continued to Affetside from where there are usually views all around the area but today the hills were shrouded in mist and low cloud. After a fast descent to Walves I turned right for Holcombe Brook and Ramsbottom where the rain had stopped. At Stubbins I headed for Strongstry where I got onto the Sustrans route on the disused railway line as far as Irwell Vale. On the way to Haslingden I saw Stan coming the other way and after four circuits around Helmshore I headed for home with 30 miles covered arriving in time to miss the next wave of rain.
At last a thaw. Most members took the opportunity to get some miles in after the recent snow and ice. Early on there was a risk of black ice and main roads were reluctantly kept to. John set off from Holmes Chapel to ride back to Bury after an evening away. The A50 from Holmes Chapel to Knutsford was quiet early on as far as cars were concerned but very busy with various cycling clubs out in force. Cycling club life is still very healthy in this neck of the woods.
Not everybody stayed off their bikes during the snowy Christmas and New Year period as the following report from Nigel Hood makes clear:
20th Dec. Jordan and Mark set off from Wilkinson's, having first phoned Nigel to see where he was (in the warmth watching telly). At Edenfield they were joined by Nigel but a little way out of Rawtenstall Jordan called it a day. The snowy weather had closed off most of the minor roads so a main road route was chosen with a stop at the DiNe cafe at Cliviger to kill a bit of time. After a coffee and a toasted tea cake we set off again, still expecting the B group to be making their way from Bury. As we started the long descent towards Todmorden the conditions on the road started getting progressively worse and then it started snowing. A quick stop by the side of the road in Todmorden was taken and the decision was made to head straight for home and in the unlikely event of meeting anyone coming in the other direction we could always change our minds. Needless to say no one else was daft enough to come out and we were lucky to have a relatively uneventful struggle back to Bury.
27th Dec. decimated by the Christmas holidays and poor weather, Nigel and Mike T setoff up Walmersley road on this 'combined run' to Tockholes. A reverse of Charlie’s short ride was chosen and a swift pace to try and keep warm. Luckily the roads were clear and the cafe was open. The snowy car park at the cafe put a temporary block on my pedals and it was a full 3 miles before I could clip my feet back in.
3rd Jan. could the weather get any worse? With Snow covering the minor roads and even patches on the main roads I opted to use my mountain bike with a knobbly tyre on the back for the club run although I was kind of hoping nobody else would turn up and I could just come straight home. Unfortunately for me Mark was already waiting at Wilkinson's. Thoughts of cheap, good food and good looking staff made a return to the DiNe cafe an easy choice. A slightly different route was used, heading first for Whalley then through Padiham. A few patches of black ice were enough to have heart rates racing but not as much as when the waitress bent over. This time the route home through Todmorden, Littleborough and Rochdale was without blizzards and snow.
10th Jan. yes, the weather can get worse but the severe cold has prevented the normal thaw/freeze cycle that leads to icy roads so conditions on the main routes were ok. That said my own street, like many in the region, was still covered in a thick uneven layer of snow so I opted to ride my mountain bike once more. As I rode along the rock another set of tyre tracks could be seen in the snow and Jordan was waiting outside Wilkinson's. Jordan was after a short ride and an early return and who could blame him. Main road routes are becoming a habit but I figured that there would have been enough cars going through Rivington to make the roads rideable and this proved to be the case. After breakfast at the village tea rooms we headed for the A6 and yet more main roads and it was a bitterly cold head wind as we headed back East towards Bury. Thanks to Jordan I was able to watch the afternoon’s snow flurries from the comfort and warmth of my front room.