For the first time since 2008 (after three consecutive years of snow) we managed to get in our Christmas lunch ride. The venue was the Staff of Life near Todmorden. Five riders met in Bury at the later than usual time of 10.30 for the hour and a half ride which, after meeting up with Stan at Bamford, took us through Rochdale towards Littleborough which we bypassed by diverting off for the climb to Calderbrook and the descent down to the main Todmorden road. Approaching Todmorden it was a jarring ride over a badly deteriorated road into the town where we then took the Burnley road and the climb towards Cliviger and our lunch venue. Mark was already there to greet us and we timed it well as the pub opened as soon as we had locked our bikes.
No sooner had we settled in at our table than Steve and Elena Willetts with Jim Holden and Roy Turner arrived by car. And before we had finished our first pint of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord bitter we saw Phil and Vera Rigby outside locking their bikes up. With the full complement settled in we had a very enjoyable meal accompanied by the usual banter which took us up to 2pm or so when we decided to leave for the ride home. We could have gone back in for another pint because as soon as we got outside Eric noticed that he had a flat rear tyre. It took longer than usual to repair but we eventually set off. Stan returned home by retracing our outward route, but the main group set off uphill towards Cliviger through Cliviger Gorge and returned via Burnley Summit and Rawtenstall not needing our lights until Edenfield. A very enjoyable day with ideal cycling conditions for the time of year.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
A very cold but dry start attracted eight riders out for the B ride. The planned destination of Delph in Saddleworth was changed due to news that the café in Delph had closed. Not only that, but there was a risk of ice on the road. Alan had already had to abandon his participation in the A ride having been delayed by a fall due to ice in Ainsworth. Fortunately he could join the B ride which headed off for Bretherton.
Due to the ice risk we took the direct route into Bolton and then along Chorley New Road to the outskirts of Horwich where we turned off on a new route to Lostock which took us up to the main A6 where we almost immediately turned left towards Aspull. We got separated from Eric near Horwich. He continued over the big roundabout into Horwich town to meet up with the group later in the day. Deciding not to make a stop at Haigh Hall we rode on to Standish where your writer turned off for a return home via Rivington but still managed to get 50 miles in.
Five riders met up outside Wilkinsons for the B ride to Clitheroe. It was a foggy start and the misty weather stayed with us until we climbed out of it on the road to Haslingden. John turned off at Accrington to find his own way back. The rest of us continued through Whalley to our lunch break in Waddington where we met up with Tommy so we were five once again. We had obviously chosen a good day for cycling and a popular lunch stop. The café was doing a roaring trade with cycle clubs from all over! We struggled to find a parking spot for the bikes as the alley at the side of the café was stacked with cycles and even the outside tables were fully occupied. We were lucky to grab a table as a group left and we were soon enjoying a fine lunch.
Our return journey involved retracing our steps to Whalley where Tommy left us to pick up his car. We then took different route back towards Blackburn and climbed over Roundhills to our afternoon break at the Chapel tea rooms. Well refreshed we set off for Bury in fine form only to be stopped in our tracks as Eric had punctured. Tube swiftly changed and we resumed our journey into Bury. A great day and we were lucky to enjoy some fine Autumn weather. Some 50 plus miles on the clock.
A dry but very cold start attracted six riders out for the B ride to Rivington, including youthful newcomer Ryan. On such a fine morning a longer circuitous route to Rivington was taken with a ride over the Roundhills into Lower Darwen where Kev was accidentally knocked off his bike by Ryan when setting off from traffic lights close to Blackburn Rovers’ ground. Ryan is still learning the ropes but he shows good promise. With Kev dusted down we continued through Feniscowles and Riley Green to one of our favourite cafes - Walton-le-Dale.
After a very enjoyable feed and a warming brew we rode on, led by Eric, towards Rivington via a complex route around Clayton-le-Woods and Heapey A stop was made at the chapel café in Rivington prior to the final leg home to Bury. A very enjoyable day out with just over 50 miles covered.
A total of eight riders turned out for the A&B ride to Marsden. It was a bitterly cold morning with a good deal of mist still lying about. Before we reached Bamford our new young member decided that the cold was just that bit too much for him. We commiserated as we were all feeling it. John kindly decided to stay with the youngster and make sure he got home ok. We toiled up the usual route from Newhey and after the descent a couple of members chose to try a flatter, though rougher route to Marsden. The rest of us rode on up the A640 through the mist and were met with welcome sunshine as we climbed. Marsden was bathed in sunshine. The little town was busy with people enjoying the markets stalls and Brass Bands. Tommy met us at the little café and we all enjoyed a rest and a good lunch. It was just as well, as we returned to the bikes, prepared for the long climb up the A62. We were ready for a hot drink and a break as we descended into Delph only to find that our usual café stop was closed. There was no choice but to saddle up for another climb out of Delph and busy run through Newhey and Rochdale back to Bury. A testing day on the climbs, but a good day out with beautiful scenery as a bonus. Approximately sixty miles on the clock.
A dry day in prospect brought out a good number of members for the ‘B’ ride into Cheshire. We were joined by newcomer Martin. The outward route was through Bury Cemetery onto Manchester Road before turning right after Prestwich in the direction of Agecroft which took us down the steep Rainsough Brow. Then it was onwards into Salford towards Irlam and the crossing of the Manchester Ship Canal and a short cut through residential areas to Carrington Moss. However we did not spot any Manchester United players at work on their training ground. After a little rough stuff we were very soon on the final leg to our lunch stop at Lavender Barn, Dunham Massey. The homeward route took us over the toll free (for cyclists) Warburton Bridge and through Glazebrook and Glazebury to one of our favourite tea stops - the Heritage Tea Rooms in Astley. Then it was back home to Bury cycling through Little Hulton, Farnworth and Little Lever. A very enjoyable days cycling in near perfect conditions.
There was another good turnout for the ‘B’ run to Bretherton. The usual route over Belmont was taken with a fast descent to Riley Green before taking to the lanes through Brindle and skirting Leyland . A brisk tailwind assisted our progress and an early lunch was taken in the antiques shop and café at Bretherton. After Croston we got into the West Lancashire lanes around Eccleston and Heskin Green before following the A49 to Coppull. At Rivington we stopped at the Old Chapel tea rooms before taking the line of least resistance along Chorley New Road into Bolton and back to Bury via Breightmet with around 65 miles having passed under our wheels.
There was a good turnout of nine riders on this bright dry day for the B ride to Catforth. We took the outward route via Edenfield, Haslingden and the Roundhills to descend to Blackburn and the bypass road before arriving in Wilpshire. A fast descent took down us to the old bridge where we crossed the Ribble and then it was only a short distance to a rest stop at Ribchester.
We left Ribchester on the usual gently uphill route towards Longridge and then it was on to the lanes to Broughton. After a short delay at the traffic lights over the busy A6 we had a pleasant ride over country lanes until we reached the café stop at Catforth. Here we met up with Steve Willetts who had assumed we would have taken the outward route over Belmont so had made his own way to Catforth.
As one group we left the café and headed back towards Rivington lead by Eric who led us there via an interesting series of off-road cycle routes. This enabled us to avoid Preston and Chorley. A stop at Rivington chapel café was made before a return to Bury via Horwich and Bolton. A great day’s cycling with over 70 miles covered in ideal weather.
Seven members turned out for the B ride to Settle on what was forecast to be a warm sunny day. No sooner had we set off than Phil and Vera appeared, crossing our paths on Bury Bypass. They were out on a shorter flatter ride of their own. Stan and Terry decided that they would accompany them and left the main group so they could ride a shorter route in order to be back in good time to watch the TdF finish in Paris.
That left the five of us to head out through Edenfield and Haslingden towards our Yorkshire destination. We had a few stops for mechanical issues but it was fine day and the scenery in that part of the world was, as usual, breathtaking. A just reward for some of the hills we encountered.
Settle turned out to be packed with visitors as was to be expected on such a lovely day. The first café we entered turned out to be expensive and the all day breakfast was evidently not available after 11am! Off we trotted to the next café on the row and had a large tasty breakfast at a much cheaper rate than the first one. Good decision. The calories consumed were soon called upon as we negotiated a set of steep winding lanes to bring us back to Lancashire. Eric was still experiencing mechanical problems and we had a couple of delays, but this gave us chance to get our breath back after some challenging hills. We headed eventually for Whalley for an afternoon tea break but were turned away from the Abbey tearooms as there was a wedding party in residence.
By this time we were looking forward to a welcoming brew as the high temperatures and a headwind had found us starting to flag on our homeward route. We settled for a drink from a café on the main street in Whalley and found it’s prices and service very welcoming. Once again we headed for the outskirts of Blackburn and climbed over Roundhills before eventually dropping down through Edenfield into Bury. There was almost ninety miles on the clock as we hit Bury town centre. A long, hot, but satisfying day out.
Nine turned up for the days run at 09.00. It was decided that the planned run to Wycoller would be too long to enable most to get back and watch Wiggins in the Tour, therefore: a loop round Belmont was decided upon. The usual route through Egerton, over the dam at Belmont Reservoir and then down to Higher Walton was taken. A depleted group of 5 arrived at the cafe due to 4 turning off at various stages on route. From the cafe, Eric led the group on an unusual route through Whittle-le-woods and on to the Chapel Tea rooms at Rivington. The usual high standard of ivory tickling was in evidence.
The rain that had been threatening all day finally made an appearance as we left the cafe forcing us to cape up and even take 5 minutes of shelter in Horwich. A straight run down the A6 was decided upon, however: once past Middlebrook the rain cleared and a fine run home ensued. 49 miles completed and home in time for the Tour. Lovely.
A decent turnout of eight riders met for the ‘B’ run on a very warm and sunny but breezy morning. The Pennine destination of Sowerby Bridge as published on the runs list was changed for Barley. So we set off up Walmersley Road on the traditional outward route through Edenfield, Rawtenstall and Burnley. Then it was on through Nelson for a brief halt at the Barrowford toilets before the climb up to Blacko. After passing through the village we turned left and enjoyed a fast descent on the beautiful lane into Barley, the surroundings looking at their best in the sunshine. We made our lunch stop at the Barley picnic area café - and also slapped on more suncream.
Then it was onwards and upwards towards Pendle Hill which loomed large on our left. At the summit a left turn was made at the crossroads for a fast and exhilarating descent into Downham. Alas Adam had a puncture after just starting the descent so we all regrouped in Downham. Here a further repair had to be made to Adam’s front wheel as dodgy rim tape had been a contributing factor to his puncture. An attempt was made to codge up some ‘rim tape’ from an old inner tube until John finally realised he had some of the required insulation tape in his saddle bag.
After this delay the ride resumed on the lovely narrow lane out of Downham until we eventually came to the busy by-pass road which had to be crossed on foot. Safely across we joined the quite lane (which was once the main road) and rode into Whalley. After a brief stop, the final leg of the ride was through Clayton le Moors and Accrington and a very hot climb up ‘Accy Brew’ to Haslingden. Then onwards through Ewood Bridge and Edenfield back to Bury. A very strenuous at times ride of around 60 miles completed. These kind of days make all the winter riding worthwhile.
An overcast morning saw five riders set out on the 'B' run to Great Budworth. The usual outward route for rides into Cheshire was taken through Bury Cemetery, Prestwich, Rainsough Brow, Salford, Worsley and on to Irlam Locks, where we were met by Adam. John B had turned off for home just before Irlam. We took a route along the back roads round Dunham Massey, through Little Bollington, High Legh and on to the cafe stop at the Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm. Stan had turned off to Knutsford just before the cafe stop. On the way out the sun showed its face when we hit Cheshire and stayed with us the rest of the day. We returned via Lymm, where Adam left us, which left Eric, Kevan and Dean to go on to the Heritage Tea Rooms at Astley. The usual run back through Little Hulton, Farnworth and Little Lever was taken from there - some 68 miles completed.
Eight riders showed up for the ‘B’ ride to Haworth. It was bright, breezy and a bit chilly at the start, but the wind was behind us for the outward ride through Rochdale. Towards Littleborough we forked left for the climb to Calderbrook and the welcome relief of a traffic free road due to the road subsidence on the far side closing the road to motor vehicles. Once back down on to the main road it was a swift ride into Todmorden and on to Hebden Bridge which was already quite busy. Turning on to the stiff climb up to Peckett Well and Oxenhope Moor the wind hit us in the face but fortunately that was not the case all the way up. A welcome café stop was made in Haworth. Although a windy day, at least it kept dry with sunshine at times and there was a hint of the better weather hopefully to come.
Five turned up for a cold but dry 'B' run. The planned run to Longton was dismissed in favour of a second attempt at Bretherton, as last week’s run to that destination was abandoned half way through due to inclement weather. There was a lovely tail wind for all the cyclists going in the opposite direction, where as our little group appeared to have the wind in our face whichever direction we headed. The usual route was taken through Belmont, Brindle, Leyland and on to the Tea / Antiques shop in Bretherton, where a potential new member riding with us decided to head back on his own.
After a surprisingly cheap cafe stop we headed off to Buyabike for the usual 'walk round the shop and not buy anything' visit. From there, it was then onto the Piano bar in the chapel tea room in Rivington. Alan decided not to stop and carried straight on over to Belmont and off home. This just left Eric, Kevan and Dean to enjoy some wonderful tunes done in the Les Dawson style. From here we eschewed the usual route along the canal and instead headed straight back along Chorley New Road, through Bolton and onto Bury. Some 63 miles completed.
Weather-wise it could have been June for the B run to Chipping. A bit of a chill in the air first thing but with a promise of temperatures up to 20 degrees later on it was surprising that only six riders turned up. Having discussed the fact that the café at Chipping is now very expensive we decided on Waddington as out café destination. We took the most direct route there via Accrington, Whalley, Barrow and the back roads of Clitheroe. A brew stop was suggested in Whalley but alas, as reported to us by Mark a few weeks ago, the Cloisters Café is now closed and a new café has opened in the main abbey building with no place to safely leave the bikes. No such problem in Waddington and we were able to sit outside in the sunshine.
Later on we rode upwards towards Waddington Fell but turned off onto the single track road part way up. The scenery up here is magnificent, and we enjoyed quite a few miles of largely traffic free cycling before emerging near Brownsholme Hall and Cow Ark. From here we rode the lanes in a zig zag fashion eventually arriving in Longridge. We continued on down to Ribchester for a stop at the shop for refreshments and watched a bit of football near the playing fields and toilets. The final leg of the ride was the very familiar mainly uphill one of over the river Ribble, up to Wilpshire and then the Roundhills road to Haslingden before a final stop was made by all except John at the café near Ewood Bridge. Back in Bury John met up with Mark and Alan making their way home from the A ride to Malham. A great days cycling with almost 70 miles ridden by the B group.
Two weeks on the run we have set out in dry weather, but today’s turnout did not match last weeks. Although bright, it was chilly and only Terry was brave enough to wear shorts. Sowerby Bridge was on the runs list for the B ride but the consensus of opinion was for a flatter ride down south – to the environs of Dunham Massey; the Lavendar Barn Tea Room to be precise. We all set off through Bury cemetery and onto Manchester Road. At the right turn down to Agecroft, John, determined to take in a few Pennine foothill climbs on such a nice day, turned left heading for Blackley, Woodhouses, Daisy Nook and Ashton. Here a new cycle friendly bypass is now open which is a short cut to the far side of town. He then continued through Stalybridge and Mossley to Uppermill. After Delph he got the climbs he wanted up to Denshaw and then up again towards the summit before the long descent into Newhey. His homeward leg was through Milnrow and Rochdale arriving home at 2pm.
At last spring has sprung – or at least for one day for our B ride to Catforth. The good weather brought out the biggest number of riders this year so far – at least 15. Having been told that the road through Ainsworth was closed for road works (thank goodness it wasn't last week for our sportives event) we rode along Bolton Road through Breightmet before turning right up Crompton Way. At the crossroads the large group split – some taking the route through Bromley Cross, while the others continued straight up the A666. We all met up again at Egerton and as one group again turned left onto the minor road which took us up past Delph reservoir to Belmont reservoir. Here two young lads, who were out with us for the first time, and a father decided to head for home after a sandwich break whilst the main bunch continued over Belmont and down through Abbey Village and Riley Green before turning off onto country lanes to take us down to Higher Walton and the greasy spoon café for a mid-morning brew (and for some a full breakfast).
From here John and Karl took the shorter homeward route via Salmesbury, Blackburn, Darwen, Chapeltown and Edgworth. The other riders continued on to Catforth for lunch.
On a mild but damp Sunday morning the assembled masses awaited the arrival of our glorious leader. Wycoller was the destination but why coller ? was the question and as if on auto pilot we set off up Walmesley Rd. As we ambled along towards Edenfield we encountered a gaggle of ‘tandemized’ riders (Bury Tandem Club) en-route to Hebden Bridge. After a couple of minutes at Edenfield terminus chatting with said tandemists we ventured on towards Burnley. The pace was a little slower than usual until Crawshawbooth where big T went off the front and never looked back.
On the drop down to Burnley the group was way out of sight. We swung right towards Walk Mill and took the Burnley road stopping off at JJs Diner just before Cliviger. This is a favourite stop as we always get a warm welcome from the delightful, and very easy on the eye, female staff. Then it was back on the road through Holme Chapel, Todmorden, Littleborough and up to Hollingworth Lake for another brew stop before heading home through Milnrow and Rochdale.
Next week 100K or 60K of torturous climbs in honour of previous venerable leaders, not to be missed, enter on the day. See graph of 100K ride on the ‘Charlie Westlake Rides’ page. Join-in if you think you're hard enough!!!!
Stanley Feerick (and tweaked by the glorious leader)
At last a break in the freezing weather, and this enticed five riders (The Two Terrys, Dean, Eric and John B), out for the ‘B’ run. The destination was changed to Tockholes as we wanted to avoid high ground and ice (read on). After an uneventful ride through Ainsworth, Bradshaw Chapel and Egerton it was on the road up to Belmont reservoir where drizzle began (that fine rain that soaks you through as Peter Kay would say). The conditions worsened near the summit when ice was encountered on the road. Luckily no one came a cropper but a short stretch of careful walking and wheeling our bikes was needed before the conditions improved and we could remount near the reservoir. Four of the group continued into the mist and drizzle towards the warmth of Tockholes cafe whilst John decided to head back down towards Belmont village where on the descent to Astley Bridge he passed Phil and Vera on the way up out for a ride on their own. Not a memorable day’s cycling but we hope we have seen the last of the snow.
Icy conditions following Saturday’s snowfall meant a postponement of the club runs. Better luck next week.
Brilliant sunshine but very cold with a hard frost was the weather that brought out a good turnout of eight riders for an ideal winter club run. A full array of winter clothing was in evidence. Alan Webb was out celebrating his 50th birthday and with Mark with us too it became a joint A and B group ride . The runs list had New Mills as the destination, but as Brian Richards usually leads this ride and was not out, we decided upon a flat ride to Eccleston. We rode directly to Bolton and then took the off-road cycle route alongside the railway to Lostock before continuing on more of the same to Middlebrook and Horwich. Here we rejoined the main road to take us through Adlington and Coppull Moor to ride past the Camelot Theme Park and onto the lanes. John B turned off and left the group at Coppull Moor and rode through Standish, Wigan, Ince, Hindley and took some rarely used roads back to Bolton finishing his ride by passing through Kearsley and Radcliffe to take his total mileage up to 50.
The first (well attended) ride of the new year, and the promise of a dry day, brought out eight members for the ride to Waddington. The planned destination of Downham was changed due to reports of very high prices at the Post Office café. Another café bites the dust as far as us price aware cyclists are concerned. The outward route was through Edenfield, Haslingden, Accrington and Whalley. John turned off in Accrington to ride back through Hapton, over Burnley summit and Rawtenstall in gradually deteriorating weather (another dud weather forecast by the Met Office). By the time he arrived home after detouring around Holcombe Brook and Hawkshaw a serious drying out was needed. Still, 40 miles in early January can’t be bad.