Mountain Bike Shenanigans

County Durham and Cross
November 16th, 2014

Weekend in Durham, so out on the bike today heading up towards Consett and the hills. Felt a bit ropey out of the blocks but after clearing the lungs on the ride up to Sacriston, seemed to find a comfortable pace. Plenty of climbing, and a still, but chilly Sunday afternoon ride.

County Durham

Back in Durham we’ve had a weekend full of Cyclocross. Yesterday was the CXNE Round 9 & University Champs and I was back in time today for the final races of the 3rd round of the British Cycling National Trophy. Inspiring Racing…

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One Way Ticket to Marple
July 27th, 2014

Time to catch up with some friends this weekend, so the family headed over in the car and I set off a couple of hour before them on the bike. One way trip cross country heading East over the hills and then dropping down into Manchester. Leaving Formby, the IF express called at Ormskirk, Parbold, Rivington, Bolton, Radcliffe, Prestbury, Manchester, Stockport and ended its journey in Marple.

View from Parbold

62 miles 3,000ft climbing. Several spokes came loose in the rear wheel to the extent that it wouldn’t go through the brakes even with the callipers in open position without rubbing. Then on looking at my stats on Strava it turned out that the cadence magnet had fallen off my left hand crank on the previous ride…

View towards Standish

Cracking weather too, not to hot cloudy with sunny spells and only a breath of wind. I’d forgotten how bad the road surfaces in Manchester and Stockport are though. Loads of pot holes.

stockport

To Bury
June 22nd, 2014

I really like point to point rides, but ending up miles from home at the end of the ride is generally not a good outcome. Consequently most of my P2P rides have been on supported trips like the Chamonix to Zermatt or have involved riding self supported with all my own kit like the Trans Cambrian Trail. Having the option of a lift home in the car is a new variation on me. It is however the option that let me ride up to Bury, crossing for the first time in my life Rivington on a bike. The rider names from the Commonwealth Games road race in 2002 are still painted on the road over to Belmont.

To the Ranges
June 15th, 2014

Having ridden east and north, I decided that it was time to head south and try and find the path to Hightown the next settlement down the coast from Formby towards Liverpool. I knew it existed, I’d spotted the cyclepath sign whilst out driving with the kids. I could remember exactly where it was, but it looked clear enough on google maps. I was wrong. It wasn’t the right path and a white road became a double track which became a single track and the next thing I’m at the perimeter of the Altcar Ranges with the Army shooting at things.

Near Altcar Ranges

I skirted the red flagged area, but the bath turned literally to sand which is not ride-able over any distance on a road bke with 23mm slicks so it was hike-a-bike until I eventually found the path I was looking for. Once into Hightown another white road descended into track as I headed for Little Crosby but from there it was all on the black top. I ended up in some of the less glamorous parts of Merseyside which I decided (based on the number of boarded up houses and funny looks from the locals), was not the place to be on a road bike, in disco slippers wearing lycra. A swift exit followed, back to the tranquility and relative wealth of rural Lancashire for the rest of the ride.

That was windy
May 11th, 2014

Decided to head south and pick up the disused railway line that turns out to be the Trans Pennine Trail that you can join from the road between Sefton and Maghull. It would be fair to say that the surfaced section didn’t last long before it became smooth trail and then Singletrack.

Trans Pennine Trail on the Sefton Moss

Came back onto tarmac and headed across to Ormskirk, picking up the quiet A59 and heading up towards Preston. Ended up passing Martin Mere having explored a few route options that descended into private gravel roads.

Chuffing windy ride all in all – really suffered on the final push across the moss to Birksdale. Saw loads of chain gangs out during the ride.

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