It’s been just over seven months since I did more than a mile or so biking. So today I decided to change that which led to 12.2 miles biking down to the River Mersey and back to ‘see the ducks’. Inappropriate clothing, no real plan for a route, no spares, money or time constraints. Just a bike that’s a bit too small length-wise for me, which I have to pedal in a weird way so my heels don’t clip the child seat on the bike, a new riding buddy sitting out back and an afternoon out and about. It was great, the weather didn’t matter (bit of rain at the end) and everyone was either happy or asleep when we arrived home. Oh and the ducks were much appreciated.
…it’s been a long time!
I’ve decided that todays ride could have gone in a number of directions. I could have taken the cross bike out. I could have changed the tyres on the singlespeed and taken that, but the most appealling prospect was taking the Remedy out again and letting it rip. The time spent between getting up and setting off to ride was extended a little by having to change tyres from the downhill numbers it’s been wearing recently to some lighter weight treads. As I was ground uphill later I was glad I’d bothered.
From Glossop I had the intent of heading over Chunal and dropping into Hayfield, but a huge traffic tailback saw me take an alternate route via Charlesworth and the Monk’s Road. Thick pea soup fog on the tops meant that the early part of the ride out of Hayfield was a bit overcast. The white shooting cabins at the top of Middle Moor which are usually the point of reference for the turn down to White Brow were hidden in the gloom, so as I nailed it downhill I was hoping it was the right trail.
Turned out it was the right trail, and after hacking up and over Kinder and contouring around some cheeky bits, it was a hack uphill to reach Edale Cross from where it was time to hit Jacob’s Ladder. This is one of my favourite descents, now with a new added roll in and funnel chute at the top… I ran out of disc pads half way down, so just had to go even faster and try not to crash. After the down, there’s always an up, in this case Chapel Gate, which now has ruts 4 to 5 feet deep where the rain has washed away the trail.
The group of five trail bike riders who blitzed passed me on the lower flat sections were soon rediscovered pinned under their bikes, in the process of falling off them, revving the nuts off the engines (but going nowhere) or pushing, dragging and manhandling their bikes. It could be described as messy, but with all the heavy breathing, burning rubber and hot air, it could quite equally be called gay.
I’ve decided that the vast majority of trail bike riders are rubbish. When they come to anything remotely technical and they might as well be wearing pink ballarina slippers and a tutu for all the poncing about going nowhere fast that follows. So they can’t ride up technical climbs, can’t ride down technical descents, about the only time they’re quicker than a mountain bike is when the trails so wide and smooth that they might as well be on the road, which, it seems to me, means they’re missing the entire point of having something with big brakes, a powerful motor and masses of suspension travel…
It had been looking like a complete washout for today with another cold, wet July weekend. Amazingly (and thankfully) the weather forecast was wholly inaccurate for sunday.
It was great to wake up to see out of the window.
I’ve had it in mind for some time to revisit some of the old trails I explored some ten years ago when I first arrived in Manchester. Today’s key trail was the bridleway over the moors that passes Robin Hood’s Picking Sticks.
Despite all the rain the trails were in good condition and it was great to be out riding. It was quiet too, I saw four riders all day and loved some of the great downhills on the Remedy. I think I’ve sussed out the RP23 settings and now have the pro pedal working even better – I managed to complete the ascent up from Mottram Old Road to the summit of the ridge and Werneth Low Road for the first time with no dabs.
It rained a lot today, this was good news for Lewis Hamilton because it appears Ferrari’s don’t like the rain. The British Grand Prix was an amazing event to watch. In the end at about 4pm the weather changed and with all the gear ready I headed out to Marple. Years ago I led a few rides as part of demo days for Harry Halls which were based at Marple’s Roman Lakes on a cracking little route. I’ve used it a few times since to try other bikes and I still think that it’s a good benchmark.
The route has a tricky climb, but the Remedy just swallowed it all up. The grip from the rear end is amazing and very impressive. It doesn’t feel mountain goat like in the same way that the Ti Deluxe does, but pop it in the granny select a sensible gear and concentrate on a line and the bike just does the rest. Very impressive. On the downhill it is great to be back on a long travel bike and the Remedy just flies. It feels balanced and stable in the air and rails through corners. What a cracking bike!
The weather’s not exactly been summery recently. In fact the ominous grey clouds and recent high winds have been more reminiscent of autumn. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost June. I decided today to start exploring in some other directions out of Manchester. After half an hour pouring over Google Maps looking for inspiration and memorising locations, I headed off towards Salford Uni. Up and over the Cliff, past the Manchester United training ground, before dropping down and picking up the Irwell Valley Way.
From here National Cycle Route 6 heads north. I followed it up through Radcliffe and into Bury, before heading up towards Ramsbottom. I turned off and then investigated the route to Tottington. A friend of mine, Hugh Bearn, is the parish vicar and after tracking down his church, it was under darkening skies that I decided that it was time to head home. Fortunately as most of the route is either canal towpath or disused railway line, it was fairly sheltered from the wind.
Riding back into the urban areas of first Salford and then Manchester was a different matter. Hideous headwinds in seemingly all directions. Quite tired after the ride and my left knee is twinging a bit. It started when I was riding a while ago, but I haven’t been to work out what is causing it. After a couple of rides I think that the CST tyres seem to drag like a mofo on tarmac, so I might need to try some alternatives, but still I seem to have found a fairly straight forward way of getting into the area to the north west of Manchester. Not quite made it to Rivington yet, but it’s definitely doable and almost within reach.