Welcome to the first Newsletter of the year. I hope you all survived the winter’s riding without mishap. For our first report we are going back to summer last year and the PBP.
Was it worth all those long qualifying rides in the wind, rain and grey skies only to ride the PBP in the same conditions? Not for me or anyone with an ounce of common sense, but it was for a certain Mr Stui Lea (once seen never forgotten). Stui’s simple strategy was to spend most of the outward leg to Brest asleep and overloaded on croissants/pain au chocolat followed by Brett looking at the differential on the rear axle of a fast moving trike flying past him down a hill into Brest. It must have been similar to a sports car being outpaced by a Reliant Robin! That was the last that was seen of Mr Lea until Paris. Such is the legacy of a once amateur road racer! Apart from having the fastest time of those I know who entered, Stui later went on to receive an award from Audax UK for the fastest time ever achieved by a trike.
For those waiting for the next PBP the plan is obvious : Become an amateur road racer, fit a mirror to look out for 3 wheelers, sleep like a door mouse during the ride , buy a trike and hope that Mr Lea has not reverted to his fast, carbon fibre, audax specific machine !!
Congratulations to both Brett and Stui.
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Sally climbing ‘Blakey Bank’
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Railway Incline Bank
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John admiring the view from top of Railway Incline
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Climb out of Cockayne
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Top Blakey Bank - Nick and Andy G.
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Nick and Andy G. - Climbing 'Blakey Bank'
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Nick at Gate on Railway Incline
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Sally and Andy G. - Gate on Railway Incline
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John S. at 'Bloworth Crossing'
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Nick and Ken climbing out of Cockayne
Five met up to ride to Osmotherley on a cold but sunny October morning. Ken would make his own way there (Beer Festival at Huddersfield!). It was decided to go via Kirkbymoorside and Castleton. It was a very pleasant route with good views, especially over the moors, once we’d climbed ‘Blakey Bank’. It was strangely uneventful for one of our rides, well Andy had lost one of his chain ringbolts and a piece of plastic wrapping was used to prevent loosing the spacer. We met up with Ken at the Hostel.
Our evening meal was at the ‘Golden Lion’ in Osmotherley, the food being of good quality, before moving on.
The following day, all were ready for the journey home, after a good breakfast (we’d planed to meet up with PG later that day in Helmsley). The route took us up the Railway Incline from Ingleby Greenhow (all walked – now that’s what I call a climb!). The view was well worth it, even though it was hazy, while the track was easily rideable to Rudland Rigg. A short distance along the Rigg before dropping through a wood to Cockayne and back onto surfaced roads to Helmsley.
Upon arrival at the Café PG and John G. were ready to leave (it had taken us longer than anticipated).
From Helmsley we came through Oswaldkirk, Gilling, and Snare Gate.
With good company and good weather, what more could one ask for!
The forecast for the weekend in the Peaks was good, almost unbelievable for February, 15°C, no cloud cover and, incredibly, 0-mph wind speed (never seen 0 mph before). The forecast matched up to the weekend so closely that everyone wanted to walk for England!
The Saturday started with a 12 miler (15 on Andy’s GPS!) from Over Haddon through beautiful Lathkildale to a prerequisite bacon buttie & tea in Monyash – somebody has to do it. Along the Limestone way to Bradfordale, Youlgreave and back along the river Lathkill with wooded cliff escarpments to a perfect sunset at the end of the walk.
Ravenstor Hostel & BnB’s in Tideswell served well for accommodation & then down to our old haunt the Anglers Rest in Millersdale for ale and scran. With beer connoisseurs Cashpoint Pete, Ken and Nick the evening swiftly kicked off to a good start with everyone getting louder as more beer was quaffed.
Sundays 14 mile walk (or 15 on Mr. Kirby’s GPS!) found the fellowship of the CTC trekking down Millersdale to Monsal Head, Highdale, Chelmorton and again along the Limestone way into the dramatic deep river Wye valley of Cheadale. This snakes down a deep limestone gorge with two awkward long stepping stone sections along the river and against a high limestone cliff. The river was not in spate so dry feet (unlike last time) but poor Ken attempted and nearly succeeded in launching himself into the river.
Some of the group required a few days convalescence after the weekend I understand – a sure sign, I think that a good time was had by all!
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Cogden Moor towards Reeth
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On the train ‘Wensleydale Railway’
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Elaine climbing over Redmire Moor
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Peter and Nick (Bellerby Moor)
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Woodlands Disused Quarry near Harmby
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View of Reeth from Grinton Hostel
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Peter and Nick (Bellerby Moor)
Eight set off from Skelton at 9am with the intention of catching the 12.11pm train from Bedale to Redmire on the ‘Wensleydale Railway’. Due to the strong head wind we ended up arriving at Bedale at 20 past twelve. The next train was 14:54, which we ended up taking, after a long lunch break.
The climb from Redmire station looked as though we’d end up getting rather wet. Fortunately, the rain held off with a strong wind blowing across the left shoulder. John had a puncture and Nick stopped to help him, while the rest pushed onto the Hostel.
We were in the Annex of the hostel which holds 12 with it’s own kitchen. Only Peter and Ken where brave enough to go down to the pub in the wind and rain, while the rest had a hostel meal (which was brought across the court yard with the wind blowing a Hooley).
Sunday started with the usual hostel breakfast before riding back. The wind had picked up; this literally blew us home over Bellerby Moor to Masham (1st stop) and through the lanes to Knaresborough (2nd Stop).
Looking out of the window at the horrible freezing weather it seems that our holiday in Majorca was months ago. I can’t believe that it was just a fortnight since I was in shorts and sandals in bright sunshine.
Peter, with his years of practice, organised everything faultlessly and it was such a shame that he couldn’t join us. Lets all hope that his strength improves and we see him out again.
When we arrived in Palma we noticed that we were a couple short. Micky and Geoff had been unable to come because of last minute health problems, otherwise everything was OK and we were at the Palma Bay Club in Arenal in no time. Hans sorted everyone out with their hire and there were no major problems all week. The only injury was Melinda. She and Atul snagged wheels on the second day and she was off her bike for the rest of the week. There were two new people in our group. Dave Cook, a member of Clifton CC, who has only been cycling for 18 months but is very fit indeed thanks to his running background. The other was Sharon’s partner Phil, a cycletrack racer who was also very fit but unused to cycling our distances.
Our first ride was along the cycle path by the bay. This was quite exciting as we came across all sorts of obstacles on this narrow track, often on blind bends. These were roller skaters, one chap on a skateboard towed by a huskie, joggers, chap on a moped, bad tempered Germans etc, etc.
Brett led most rides and we had some really nice days out. I cannot remember ever seeing so many cyclists there, mostly ultra-fit types, we saw some having to brake on bends powering up the climbs. There were all speeds on the road, Brett even found a tortoise!
Map reading was done well and we found a little used track descending towards the airport. Unfortunately we found that this track was used as a dump by all the cowboy builders for miles and it got worse and worse, finally ending in a huge mound blocking our exit to the road. We got through eventually with just a few swear words and Brett getting stuck on the fence!
We had a good ride to Soller and arrived just as Atul and Melinda arrived on the little wooden train. The others cycled back around Inca but Elaine and I took the coastal route and around by Valdemossa. The sea views were terrific and the only rain we had started right outside a cafe back in Palma (yes we did go in).
It was a lovely holiday, just the thing to get fit and in a summer mood. It’s a shame there was not more snow at Leeds airport as another week would have been just fine!
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Nick (track to Dalby)
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John S. and Sally (track to Dalby)
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Dave and Jacque (track to Dalby)
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Jacque on climb to Suffield
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Diversion after Ravenscar
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Dave and Lydia on Abbey Steps (night)
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Dave climbing steps to hostel (night)
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Jacque on track to Aislaby
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Nick and Andy G. on track to Aislaby
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Sally (climb out of Egton Bridge)
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John J., Sue and Jacque (climb out of Egton Bridge)
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Nick and Dave (climb out of Egton Bridge)
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Sue negotiates ford
It wouldn’t be Spring without out our annual ride to Whitby for the weekend, so off we set. True to form the weather threw us a challenging ride out on the Saturday. A persistent headwind ensured we had all earned our bacon butties at Malton station. Jacque Green joined us here. Three riders decided to let the train take the strain to Scarborough. The rest of us continued via Thornton-le-Dale, Ellerburn and a muddy track to Dalby, on through Langdale End, Hackness and Suffield. With a couple of mechanical hiccups behind us and a refuelling stop at the Station café in Cloughton we hit the railway cycle trail up the coast. The fun started north of Ravenscar. Due to a landslip the track is diverted onto the Cleveland Way. If you’d managed to keep your bike clean this far, you were in for a challenge now! It was so very muddy, you either laughed or you cried!! We just made it to the Hostel in time for a quick wash and brush up before heading to the Magpie for tea.
Sunday, luckily the wind would be in our favour today. Another track to start the day, taking us up to Aislaby, then the usual route to Pickering via Egton and Stape. We said our good-byes to Jacque Green at Amotherby and continued home via Castle Howard and a cuppa in the Arboretum Tea Shop.
Thanks to Dave for organising the trip and the mud!! Prize for the w/e goes to Andy G’s tyre, which finally expired after 6 years!!
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Lydia outside Woody's Top Hostel
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Lydia at Backpackers 'Berwick'
We are all aware of the problems associated with touring using the YHA (if you can get in that is)! This is made more awkward as most B&B’s now only take a minimum of 2 nights. Do not despair, there are alternatives are worth considering!!
Travelodges These have been used by our friends for some time and are available seemingly everywhere and can be very reasonable if you book in advance. Only downside is that you have to sort your own breakfast – usually something nearby or use your imagination. Our friends & child have used this type of accommodation before. On one occasion Liverpool hostel was fully booked & would have charged £50!! Hello Travelodge at £20.00 for the room. Look on http://www.travelodge.co.uk
Backpacker’s hostels. They offer availability, good value & no need for a membership card (what is the point of a card anyway when you cannot access all international hostels?). There is a good network throughout the UK and Southern Ireland. They vary from A1 (Berwick, Northumberland is excellent) to a bit rough though these are far and few between. Gerry tried to get in last year at Llangollen YHA at £21/night to be told: “ Sorry, for groups only”. Solution: converted stone barn (with Jacuzzi) a few miles away for £14. No card needed, much better standard /location and cheaper! Is there really a choice? Try this link email@example.com. You can also buy an accommodation guide for the UK from the York Backpackers 88-90 Micklegate, York.
So keep calm, keep flexible and give it a go !!
Unique opportunity now to ride in new territory without using that B.... car - Grand Central trains running north from York - very
reasonable fares, i.e. 50% discount for over 60, but also cheaper than normal rail fares. Example: York-Northallerton senior return £3.
- 3 trains/day each direction Travel to Thirsk or Northallerton for a day riding in WensleydaSwaledale or getting to Richmond & Barnard Castle; Eaglescliffe for Cleveland Hills & northern coast south of Saltburn; Hartlepool for Durham Coast trails. Trains go to Sunderland, cross the Tyne and head into Northumberland or to Hadrian’s Wall.
Plenty of room for bikes in HST brake van at rear of train going north.
Setting Off 100k m Sign on at the Start
Here are a few snaps from the PG archive. Look closely and see whom you can recognise, who’s aged the least/most??
Wishing you all a safe and sunny summer’s cycling!!