Tuesday, 30 June 2009

June review

June turned out to be quite a good month for cycling; especially seeing as it's only my 2nd month after getting the all clear to ride again.

Distance covered: 226.83 miles
Days ridden: 10
Areas covered: High Peak, Oldham, Ashton, edge of Yorkshire.
Middleton CC: yeah, 28/6
Chorlton Wanderers: nope
Hill climbs/repeats: 1 specific, others were as part of hilly routes.

I'm happy with the progress so far: if you think that I managed 137.42 miles in May, I've gained another 89ish miles over the extra few days.

July will bring me back into play in Trio's century rides as it's Manchester to Blackpool on the 12th and that's a minimum of 65 miles for me. Hopefully I'll up the miles too to try and bring it nearer to 300 for the month.


While writing up about Tank (or Evo, still not made my mind up about her name yet) I received an email from a place I'd applied for a job at.

The UK Border Agency based at Manchester Airport have decided that I meet their minimum requirements and have asked that I attend an 'Information Day'; basically a further assessment type thing, similar to that which I attended for my GMP application.

So, I've booked myself in for 9th July at midday for the 2hr assessment. Finger's crossed that I pass this assessment and move onto an interview.....unless they spring it on me at the end of the assessment!

Free bike

After yesterdays wondering about whether Bike man would be giving me a free frame or a complete bike I found out as, bang on 7pm as I crossed over the main road I live on I heard toot-toot, looked around and saw him waving at me from the other side of the road.

As I crossed back to his side I saw it - a complete bike. She's not my first choice of frame as it's the old style femme frame, she's purple (really don't like purple on bikes), but you know what, she's free so I'm not complaining!

She's a Concept Evolution, with Shimano SIS gearing. The twist-type gears are something that may take a while to get used to as I've never had a bike with that type of gearing. The seatpost, stem, headset, handlebars, cranks, pedals and saddle are all non-branded and non-descript, so they'll be the things I'll change on her other than a respray at some point.
I won't be riding her til she has a service at Gerry Shields although I haven't found any rust or anything wrong with her.

Did I mention that she's steel? I shall call her Tank or maybe Evo.

She'll do until I find work and can afford the rather nice Pinnacle I've seen at Evans.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

June club run

At 10am on a scarily hot, muggy Sunday I met up with Joe, Paul, Pantani (Pete), Simon & Arthur to head off for this months club run which was heading out towards Littleborough and Blackstone Edge.

After leaving the Gardeners Arms in Moston we immediately had a large and annoying roundabout to contend with to head up over the motorway and alongside British Aerospace to the JW Lees brewery (reputedly haunted) in Middleton and up along Kenyon Lane to Oldham Rd before turning off up Hilton Fold Lane to Rochdale Rd where, after a right turn, we met John W (Welly).

After quick greetings, we all set off up round Slattocks' evil roundabout (huge, very scary when lots of traffic on it) and up Manchester Rd, under the M62 and bore right by Castleton Station to take us up Queensway and Kingsway to Albert Royds St with a right turn at the roundabout bringing us out on to Halifax Rd and the long climb up towards Littleborough Station. At this point I was contemplating my future actions as I was extremely doubtful that I'd get to the Moorcock Inn never mind up Blackstone Edge; Paul let me know that if I wanted to turn off back to Hollingworth Lake I can do. I said I might just sneak off round through Todmorden and meet them at Hebden Bridge while they climb the Edge and descend Cragg Vale. Welly wasn't going to be riding the Edge or to Tod.
As it was, both myself and Welly continued to climb Blackstone Edge to the Moorcock (and the base of our hill climb). Once there Paul was waiting for us and having a welcome rest as he was hauling ass on his Scott Yecora mtb while the others were on lightweight Giant (Joe), Dolan (Pantani) and Jamis (Simon) roadies.

It was decided that, as my legs were whining a bit too much for my liking (most likely due to the heat and humidity) that myself and Welly would head back to the Lake - we'd both taken part in the club ride which is what matters!
After watching Paul set off up the vicious climb, we turned back for a rapid descent into Littleborough and the dippy road that leads to what used to be The Fish and headed to the visitor centre for coffee and tea cakes.

After we were rested and refreshed, we both set off down Wild House Lane (beware the furry Exocet missiles) and Kiln Lane (lovely fast descent, shame about the junction at the bottom of the steepest bit!) and turned right into Milnrow and Firgrove to take us back to Kingsway, where we followed our outward route back through Castleton and on to Middleton, passing the MCC club room to the Middleton roundabout by the lovely shiny new Middleton Arena, which was opened not so long ago by Steve Redgrave and where, according to Simon, the water in the pool is rather cold.

I bid farewell to Welly as he went straight across the roundabout to head back to his wife while I went through a bit of Grotsville to get back to Kenyon Lane where I followed my outward route exactly until I reached Phillip's Park and turned off to head to my moms for a lovely roast pork dinner and then home.

Whilst at Hollingworth Lake we got talking to a fellow cyclist (mtber) who noticed my wheels were still muddy after Wednesday's Whaley Bridge ride, and he was asking me where I ride etc. I told him that I take Everest off road onto tracks and trails provided they're not too rooty, gnarly or crap. He said that I should get an mtb (if I had the cash I would) and went on to say that he has an mtb frame that I can have for free provided it's the right size of course! Obviously, I'd need to buy the components etc, but that can be done cheaply on eBay, Amazon and at bike fairs etc. naturally I snapped his hand off for it, gave him my mobile number and asked him to phone me once he's measured it up. At 6:55pm I got a call from the Bike Man to say the frame is a woman's one (I dunno whether it's an older design one or not and didn't ask), he'd measured it and it comes out at 18" - I can ride Paul's Scott happily and that's a 17.5" frame, so the 18 would be a tad better for me. He then asked me if I could change tyres, which I thought as odd seeing as it's just a frame I'm getting; it seems there may be some wheels with the frame. It may be that he's kind enough to give me a complete bike.

Anyway, he's bringing it round to me tonight, so we shall see from there. It could need a bloomin good service, it may be falling apart or in bits, or it could be a fab freebie. I'll let y'all know soon.

Stats - view route
Hot, muggy, sticky, cloudy yet still fab
Average speed: 13.4mph
Miles: 35.61
Climbed: 705ft

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Where there are no whales

What a wonderful day to go for a lovely ride into the hills - the sun was shining bright, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was already rising as I set off south/southwest without having much of a destination in mind other than to get further than Marple.

I set off on a route that I rode with Amy last year or the year before through Denton and Bredbury and along what is possibly the worst cycle lane I have seen in my history of riding a bike - it had to be only 6 inches wide and was on a very busy road with an industrial estate on either side of the road. Not pleasant to ride along at all.

Once onto the busy A560 between Bredbury and Woodley I managed to miss my turning due to the influx of traffic coming in the opposite direction (I didn't even get to see the road I wanted!), so I had to carry on a little further and made a right turn onto George Lane, which would make a later turning not necessary as I then went straight across the cross-roads onto Barrack Hill, Otterspool Rd and then Dooley Lane.At this point I did exactly what happened when I rode it with Amy and took a right turn instead of the left. I'm blaming the climb up to the junction for addling my brain! Anyway, rather than turning round like a numpty, I decided to carry on this way and took a left at the very next junction to Hazel Grove. At this point I gave up on Marple and thought I'd head to Lyme Park down the road in Disley, although I wasn't sure if the cafe/restaurant would be open seeing as it's a National Trust site where the buildings are closed for periods of the year.

So, off I set up the climb for approx 4 miles to the gates of Lyme Park and promptly changed my mind and continued on as the road dipped down a little to New Mills and beyond stood Furness Vale. Not much further was the roundabout on the A6 that was to be my final deciding point: carry on along the A6 to Chapel-en-le-Frith, Dove Holes and Buxton or get onto the A5004 to Whaley Bridge, Fernilee and Buxton? I opted for the A5004 as it was a little less busy than the A6 which was looking very much like an uber busy multi-laned motorway never mind a dual carriageway!

It was a spur of the moment decision (literally) as I swooped right at the roundabout and headed off up the hill. Once I got to Whaley Bridge I was disturbed by a loud rumbling sensation - my stomach reminded me that I needed to eat something. I asked in the local bike shop (The Bike Factory) where any cafes were, only to be told that it's half day on Wednesdays so may be better off going to Tesco on the canal bank.

After a Cheese n Onion sarnie and an OJ from Tesco I decided I'd head back along the canal; something I haven't ridden along for a couple of years, and when I did last time I was on my mtb which I no longer have. The first section was along a freshly gravelled path through Bugsworth Basin before becoming the old tracks that need to be repaired. Once through Fernilee and alongside Strines Rd I was back at Marple and the lock flight where I'd damaged the mtb on a previous ride out this way.
The first section of locks has a tarmac road to ride down before crossing the road or squishing the bike through a very narrow tunnel (and I mean narrow!!!). Once on the other side and alongside the memorial park, the locks continue and the tracks now become rutted, gravelly and pot-holed. Not fun to ride down, never mind when there're boats going through the locks and dogs running around off the leash. Once past these lot of locks and across yet another road or through another skinny tunnel and the locks come thick and fast. At this point, I developed a following of teenagers on mtbs who thought they'd be clever and either try to whizz past me at warp speed or tail me closely, making silly little comments thinking I wouldn't be able to make it down the locks on my roadie as the tracks were crap with a few steps to drop down. At this point I was beginning to wonder if I could get down them safely anyway as the pathways were getting worse, but I persevered, balanced myself perfectly and slowly dropped down the locks hearing the odd yelp as a muppet came off or skidded.

So much for their 'ability' and their hardtail mtbs. My classic steel roadie handled it all better than them! Their jeers and taunts carried on as a cobbled humpback bridge loomed into view. One of the muppets flew past me thinking they'd show me how to get over it, only for me to laugh my head off as I sailed past them as they bobbed about all over the place. My final bit of revenge came about as I neared Hydebank Farm as I knew the canal went into another long tunnel and a big climb carrying the bike was ahead of me as the track left the canal side and reared it's ugly head at a 45 degree angle straight up to the road outside the farm. I leapt off Everest, hoicked her up on my shoulder and began to climb the stairs; as I neared the top I heard squealing brakes and more yelps as it soon dawned on them that they'd have to carry their tanks up a bugger of a hill if they wanted to keep up with me. Sadly, for me, they doubled back and I was left to my own devices.

The section of the canal for the next 4 miles was the worst I've seen in ages with huge chunks missing in sections with sheer drops to the valley floor below and in several places mud so deep it covered my tyres and rims. It certainly made for interesting riding and tested my bike handling skills!

I left the canal at Hyde as I knew the tracks would only get worse. Besides I wanted to ride onroad again. A sting through Dukinfield, Guide Bridge, Snipe and Droylsden and I was at my moms hungry for the roast chicken we were having for tea. Yum.

Stats - view route
Glorious, hot 24C, sunny, not a cloud in sight.
Maximum speed: 34.3mph
Average speed: 13.7mph
Miles: 39.93
Climbed: 761ft

Climbs of note -
Stockport Rd (A6017): 66ft in 0.15miles with max of 17%
Dooley Lane (A627): 59ft in 0.11miles with max of 20%

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Another appointment ride

Had yet another appointment in Ashton, so seeing as the weather was lovely I made a short ride out of it - through Guide Bridge and Denton on the way back instead of straight home down the main road.

Stats -
Gorgeously warm, cloudy and sticky
Maximum speed: 29mph
Average speed: 13.7mph
Miles: 13.71
Climbed: 203

Monday, 22 June 2009

Brain Freeze

Yet again I've had to tweak the totals. Due to brain freeze and it letting me down big time, I managed to balls up totting up my mileage!

I've checked, double checked, used a calculator (twice) and now it should be right (honest!).

You may note I've added a bit to the totals so you can see my monthly road cycling miles.

Please, if you see that my totals aren't all adding up to the grand total, let me know ;o)

Monday meander

My weekend passed by without even getting on the bike and after last nights events I wasn't sure I'd be able to today, but I gritted my teeth, ignored the pain, forced my gloves on and got out. It had to be a short ride as if I got a flat I wouldn't have been able to fix it given the state of my thumb and the fact I couldn't (and still can't) really use it properly, if at all.

The ride followed one of my common, just out for a quick un routes - into Ashton, through Bardsley to Daisy Nook and back home via the Jericho Trail and Littlemoss.

Every jolt sent waves of pain through my thumb and steering ended up being a one-handed affair near the end, but miles are miles and one little ride adds to the mileage I'm building up no matter how short it is.

Stats -
Lovely and warm though very cloudy and a little drizzly
Maximum speed: 23.9mph
Average speed: 12.8mph
Miles: 12.50
Climbed: 118ft

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Want to join us for a ride?

Although it's a little late to be part of Bike Week (it was meant to be, but then ended up staying on it's normal day), Middleton CC are having their June club ride as a Bike Week ride.

The ride will take place on Sunday 28th June and will start from the Gardeners Arms Pub on Lightbowne Rd in Moston at approx 10am and will head out through Rochdale and Littleborough and up Blackstone Edge to Cragg Vale.

If anyone wants to tag along with us (me included, though I'm not sure I'll be able to ride Blackstone Edge), then contact me through here or via my email address - all on my profile page - and I can sort out some directions to the start place for those who haven't a clue where it is!

See you out there folks!

Thursday, 18 June 2009


You may notice that I keep a running total of my mileage (whether blogged about or not) over there -----> you may also notice that it has seemed to leap up a fair bit recently. that's because while blogging rides, I've forgotten to update that total section! Whoops!!

It should be current and up to date now.


I had yet another appointment to be at this morning, so I set off on yet another commute. No probs except for a kamikaze cat that nearly lost it's life as it jumped out right in front of my bike! A few squealing heart-stopping moments later, it finally remembered to move out of the way and dove under a parked car!

Aside from that, it was a pretty average commute.

Stats -
Maximum speed: 25mph
Average speed: 14mph
Miles: 12.32
Climbed: 154ft


Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I've finally managed to book my place on the Manchester to Blackpool ride for 12th July. I've repeated what I did last year - picking the earliest possible start time, thereby giving me plenty of time to get to Blackpool before the last coach leaves to head back at 5:30. not that I'm expecting it to take me 10hrs!

I'm hoping to replicate my 2008 time of 4:15 or thereabouts; at the slowest I'd expect 5hrs.

I have another month before I ride the event, so I'll just keep on doing what I currently am doing as that is working a treat for me. The route has no major hills, the worst thing being a climb once out of Euxton that I managed last time so should have no problems this time.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Easy pootle

Seeing as the sun was shining when I woke up early, I threw on the cycle gear and practically bounced out of my place for an easy ride. I opted for an easy ride on a route I know extremely well, with just a few tweaks to keep it fresh. The main tweak being a little bit more off road stuff along a portion of the Jericho Trail.

Stats - view route
Maximum speed: 31mph
Average speed: 13.9mph
Miles: 11.92
Climbed: 256ft
Time taken: 50 minutes

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Paupers Beach

After thinking long and hard over a few days (Friday and Saturday) I decided I would get out for a ride on Sunday.

As I woke up early and found the sun streaming and a very gentle breeze blowing through the window, I slapped on the Riemann P20 and readied Everest for a gorgeously sunny ride.

After a stint through Clayton and Failsworth I got onto Broadway for the long steady climb up through Hollinwood and Chadderton and past The Latics before having to follow a diversion through God Knows Where before it felt like all the hills in what I now know as Shaw were coming out to get me!
Once back on known land I ploughed onward and upwards, soon arriving in Newhey and hunting for the hill I prefer to climb than that on Kiln Lane. For once there was no furry Exocet missile on a suicide mission as I flew along Wild House Lane before turning at a dinky roundabout to head along the waters edge on Lake Bank passing John W (Middleton CC) and round to Halifax Rd where I trundled uphill to the start point of Middleton CC's hill climb route. I wanted to see how I did riding Blackstone Edge but my legs had other ideas as after a mile of 7% climbing they screamed at me to stop going uphill and then refused to push me any further! So I turned back and headed back the way I came in search of food which I found at the visitor centre for the Paupers Beach (Hollingworth Lake).
After some yummy sustenance and a phone call to Evans Cycles I set off back along Lake Bank where I spotted a few more members of Middleton CC - Paul, Lyndsey and Simon. After a rapid and twisty descent back down Pennine Drive I was flying down through Newhey, Shaw and Chadderton to the base of Broadway with it's junction at Oldham Rd. As I wanted to treat Everest to some new things I set off along Oldham Rd to Manchester City Centre and had the thrill of attacking the one way systems and skinny-laned contraflows while the victorian sewers get replaced and going in the opposite direction to Evans.

Eventually I managed to get back on a road that would take me to the shop and treated Everest to a new Knog Frog light and some lovely carbo effect Cinelli bar tape.

Once I'd left the shop I was back in the roadworks, only this time I could follow the buses and taxis through the no-go areas for other traffic and got onto Plymouth Grove which would take me to Longsight and the fast road through Ashbury's all the way to the Velo. Pretty soon I was zooming through Medlock Vale and at the start of my hill repeat hill. I thought I'd give it a shot while totally knackered after the rest of the climbing I'd done in the day. I was happy with my time for it.

Stats - view route
Beautifully sunny, hot and clear
Maximum speed: 29mph
Average speed: 13.7mph
Miles: 46.46
Climbed: 912ft
Time taken: 3hrs 19 mins

Hill climb
Maximum speed: 10.3
Average speed: 6.4
Miles: 0.26
Climbed: 85ft
Time taken: 2.10

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Appointments, docs and a loony driver

I was kept busy today with a couple of appointments in differing parts of Manchester. Rather than fork out for a day ticket on the bus I though I'd ride to them and save a bit of cash.

The first appointment was up in Ashton. Seeing as my legs were a little achy still I left early to give myself a slow pootle if I needed to. However, I got into Ashton with more than half an hour spare, so I set on a random ride around the streets surrounding Stamford Park, up one of my favourite routes along Gorsey Lane and back down Mossley Rd and also a brief encounter with Bardsley. Finally my appointment time was near, so I set off to find a good place to lock Everest up where she'd be safe for half an hour or so.

After I rescued Everest from a horde of motorbikes I had to set off back towards Manchester for my other appointment at the docs (nowt untoward, just a review of a lifelong thing). I could have gone the most direct fast route, but I peddled through Audenshaw and Guide Bridge to the Snipe and then along the A662 before I turned off to waste yet more time around Clayton and the Velo.

Once I'd left the Phillips Park area I got onto Alan Turing Way to hurtle along to my docs (which is off this road); as I neared the huge A662/A6010 crossroads, happily pootling on the cycle lane and about to leave it to enter the main traffic to head straight across, I let the cars in front of me and one alongside to turn left as they'd indicated. All of a sudden, as I'm picking up speed out of the saddle (when not one car was indicating or even moving over to my lane) a VW came flying across several lanes - after indicating right and being in the correct lane for a right turn, the muppet decided that she'd go left instead and crossed 3 lanes without really looking. I managed to slow down, swerve to avoid the bonnet as she slammed the brakes on when she finally bother to look if anything was in the way, and came to a halt right in front of her car. After a very icy glare from me and umpteen honking horns she finally apologised for being an ass!

Stats - view route
Cloudy, cool bordering on warm
Maximum speed: 76mph - apparently I hit this while heading uphill!
Average speed: 12.7mph
Miles: 21.55
Climbed: 509ft
Time: unsure as cleared details off pc before making a note of them!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Impressive Apology

As you know, back in February I had the accident that rendered me unable to ride for 3 months due to a fractured pelvis. As a result of this and the way that I was treated by the NHS regarding ambulances etc - I was told I could have one and then had it cancelled and made to travel to hospital with no pain relief and by taxi - I issued a formal complaint to the NHS Trust Ombudsman.

There's been a few letters going back and forth between myself and the trust, and a little while ago I received the official letter from them.

"....Your call was routinely transferred from the Ambulance Trust to NHS Direct for further assessment by a registered nurse. The health advisor established the reason for your call and then transferred you to a nurse advisor for a clinical assessment. Our review showed that, regrettably, the health advisor failed to document and/or inform the nurse advisor that your injury was as a result of a collision with a car. Had this information been made available to the nurse advisor at the time, this would have resulted in a more urgent level of care.....The nurse advisor undertook a clinical assessment. During this it was confirmed that you had fallen off your bike but the nurse advisor didn't explore this further....Following this assessment, the nurse advisor gave self-care advice and advised should the symptoms not improve you attend your local Accident and Emergency.......The review showed that the nurse advisor did not explore the mechanism of your injury and I apologise for this.

I assure you that all our staff received ongoing training to support them in providing a high quality service to patients. On this occasion, the service that was provided did not reach the high standard that we expect. I uphold and agree with your complaint, and I offer my sincere apologies....."

I didn't make the complaint in order to get a form of compensation, as some people expected me to, I simply wanted the NHS to examine how they respond to people who were in my position. Granted, there are people who use the ambulance service as a taxi service; however, I have only contacted the trust for serious matters: for my mom which resulted in life-saving surgery, myself on this occasion, and the 2 times I helped people who'd been viciously assaulted in the street.

It is good to know that there is ongoing training for the staff. I am intrigued how they can try to diagnose a broken bone over the phone though. I've had several broken bones that have gone undiagnosed due to my high pain threshold. I had a broken ankle diagnosed years after it'd happened (I'd been happily walking on it all the while); I was able to walk after the most serious injury of my life had happened: when I got beat up by the ex and had fractured my tibial plateau, which resulted in a femoral brace for the majority of that year; and this one when I was still able to walk, albeit only just!

Despite all this, I'll still have no qualms about calling the trust again if I need to - after all, they are only human.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A Wandering We Go

I set off for a 'recovery' walk and left Bardsley to walk up the disused Hollinwood branch canal to Park Bridge and have a wander around the ruins of the Fairbottom Bobs, Bright Shop and the Steaming Mill. After a lovely wander round (I was the only person about at the time) I came back along Park Bridge Rd to Bardsley, crossed the road and entered Daisy Nook to amble along the canal bank to a very, very dry boating pond by Sammy's Basin and along to Crime Lake. Along this portion of the canal is a lot of lovely waterfowl families who seemed quite happy to let me take photos of them.

I climbed out of the valley opposite Crime View House and crossed the motorway to enter the delightful Woodhouses, where I continued through the village, past the cricket pitch and towards Rose Cottage and it's beautiful cottage neighbours.

After spotting a public footpath sign leading down a lane by the side of Christmas Cottage, I descended down a lovely old cobbled lane (quite steep) and past Medlock Vale Farm (very pretty) entering more into open countryside and away from the urban sprawl. After a peaceful rest stop by a weir on the Medlock with only the rabbits for company, I set off through the fields following a tiny footpath on the Oldham Way which took me past a largish pond I didn't even know existed which isn't put on many of the a-z publications. It seems this pond belongs to an angling club although it is on the Oldham Way, so maybe this is why it isn't publicised.

All too soon I was leaving Medlock Vale to cross Berry Brow and re-enter the Vale on the Manchester side of the border rather than the Oldham Side. Now following the Circular Walk route I made my way up the steep valley side to the top where I again left the Vale and entered urban sprawl to head home.

Stats - view route
Cooler, cloudy
Miles: 6.15
Climbed: 190ft
Max gradient: 4%
Time taken: 3:00

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wednesday Wander

I had arranged for a walk with Joe and we were both praying for a cooler day as the walk would be a tough one anyway without scorching weather. Thankfully our prayers were listened to and our wishes granted, as the day was nowhere near as hot as the previous days and any humidity had gone.
We arrived at Dovestone Reservoir car park to find it almost empty, but with a Traffic Warden already scouting for a vehicle to slap a fine onto.

After heading off along Chew Rd and the little wooden bridge that crosses Chew Brook, we left the road and took the track route as it's a little easier to climb to the halfway point of the ascent, due to it being more stepped rather than a constant climb up a 19% monster. This track joins onto where an old narrow gauge tramway was built when the reservoir was being created in the early 1900s, so the going was pretty good here. After crossing the narrow bridge over Chew Brook we joined the main access road which, at this point, is not quite so steep as the first half, but still steep enough to limit chat and cause both of us to be breathless - and not just for the views of the narrowing valley.

Once up at the top of the valley at Chew Reservoir a rest break was needed. While enjoying jam butties and tea, we were serenaded by a mating pair of Willow Warblers and treated to a little flirtatious dance from them. I was rather surprised to see these little birds as previously I've only seen rabbits and birds of prey up here; but having looked into it once home, Willow Warblers love the territory up here: scrub land & bog is their favoured nesting site.

We now had a choice of walks - across the other side of the valley along Indian's Head, across Ashway Gap and Dish Stone Rocks or across the peat bog to Laddow Rocks with many fords to cross. Seeing as we'd had excellent weather, I chose to go to Laddow Rocks - at any other time of year this would've been a very difficult walk due to the nature of it crossing the peat bogs and having to cross several fords with no real firm footing about. As it was, the recent heat had dried out many of the cloughs and peat making the going a fair bit easier although we still got sucked in at times. The heat had also rendered Chew low on water making the peat slopes leading to the waters edge look like an oil spill had occurred!
The going across the bog was made easier by the ground being more level due to being on top of the moor and we soon made good headway. After crossing a stile with an ingenious section for hounds - a panel was slid up to let them through (don't think any sheep would be able to figure that one out), we were more into heather territory as we closed in on Laddow Rocks and the spectacular (still a little misty) view down the valley to Crowden, across the Longdendale Reservoirs and over to the peak of Bleaklow.
After the rest of our lunch atop Laddow Rocks we set off back the way we came literally to where we crossed the tramway bridge. As we approached the next bridge across the brook, we turned off through Chew Piece Plantation and over to the Tank - a huge rock used for rock climbing with varying degrees of climb. Joe decided he'd have to be king of the castle and climbed up the easy route to the top.
Once he'd scrambled back down we continued through a fir tree forest where I got smacked on the head by an unseen low lying branch. The path continued through a farm where lots of lovely young lambs were out with their mothers; the lambs being very brave and coming up to us for a look before running off again the minute we spoke to them! After scrambling back down the hillside, we had to descend down the farmers drive while having 2 large hounds bark, growl and jump up at us. The farmer, meanwhile, did absolutely sod all to get the dogs off us until we were leaving through the furthest gate. Only then did he shout at the dogs and ask us if we were ok. I wonder if he really berates living on a farm with a public footpath through it?!

Finally we were back at the car park where ice cream was devoured instantly!

Stats - view route / map location
Cooler, but still warm, misty
Miles: 7.57
Climbed: 1014ft
Max gradient: 19%
Time taken: 3:45

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tuesday Pootle

On Tuesday I set out for what was meant to be a nice, easy ride - kind of a delayed recovery ride after Sunday's hilly efforts. What was planned and what actually happened were two completely different things!

I originally set off in the direction of Ashton, but changed my mind when I remembered there were lots of roadworks and contraflows to contend with; bad enough at any time of day, but nightmarish at the early hour I'd set off at. So, a change of direction and I was zig-zagging my way to Newton Heath, found myself unable to take a turning I wanted due to a lorry blocking the way and ended up heading down a steepish hill only to have to pretty much double back up the hill on another busier road by a level crossing - thankfully the traffic was at a standstill due to an incoming train, so I had the hill to myself, otherwise I wouldn't have even tried given how narrow and busy that road is.

Once back near Brookdale Park and my route followed my frequent pootles to Daisy Nook. Up through Failsworth and Cutler Hill Rd with a turn off to Woodhouses, then onto Crime Lake and the canal-side along to the John Haworth Centre before heading back along the canal-side to Oldham Rd and Bardsley.

After flying down and along Oldham Rd to Ashton and the fun of one-way systems on little roads, I seemed to hurtle along Stockport Rd through Guide Bridge and over the motorway to Ashton Moss and the Snipe, ready to join the busy, fast, multiple laned road that leads to home and the contraflows which had quietened down a lot as I flew through them.

Did I say that it was meant to be an easy ride? Erm, it wasn't that easy in the respect that it was faster than my previous rides with my average speed being at least 1 mph higher, my fastest speed was actually gained on a flat road and not downhill and I actively sought out the 17% section.

Stats - view route
Hottest day of the year (already 26C by the time I got home)
Maximum speed: 28mph
Average speed: 13.5mph
Miles: 14.86
Climbed: 203ft
Time: 1:05

Monday, 1 June 2009

May review

Seeing as I've only been back on the bike since May 10 I don't really expect my stats to be that great for May, so here goes:

Distance covered: 137.42 miles
Days ridden: 6
Hill repeats/climbs: 4 sessions
Middleton CC Club Ride: yeah 31/5
Chorlton Wanderers Ride: nope

The century-a-month challenge I began with Trio in January has fallen by the wayside, purely because at the moment I doubt I can ride that distance without some pain or extreme energy loss.
However, despite that I am happy with the progress for this month. Although I'm not riding up Hartshead Pike every week, I am using the hill Trio recommended almost every time I ride regardless of where my route has taken me.

June should be a better month for me as I'm now getting back into the riding, I now know I can ride up to 50 miles without dying and i have fortnightly appointments I can ride to each time.