It has been a few weeks testing out the new bike and its been quite interesting!
Last weekend Ruth took me for a “slightly hilly” bike ride around the Peak District… In the middle of Storm Doris! Starting in Sheffield we headed up through the trails and foot paths (shhhh don’t tell anyone!) of Park Banks and Eccles Wood and following Long Line up to Ringinglow, this was tough considering Ruth was on a cyclocross running slicks and my touring bike not much better on the wet mud! From Ringinglow we headed through Lodge Moor and down some wicked hills to Rivelin Valley, on the decent the roads were wet and I was only just starting to get grips with my hydraulic discs so this was a mighty interesting (read scary as hell!) first decent then equally tough climb on the other side to Rigs Hill High Road, at which point I was reconsidering how fit I thought I was and Ruth wasn’t even breathing hard!
On to Hollow Meadows we went with me slowly recovering my strength, apparently one thing that spending a fair amount of times in the hills has given me is a quickish recovery time on assents! From here we dropped down to Ladybower Reservoir, a large Y shaped reservoir in the Derwent Valley. Apparently the village of Derwent is still there, under the water! From there we headed to Bamford then Brough-on-Noe and onto Bradewell. We stopped at Bretton to hide from the weather and get a pub lunch at The Barrel Inn. Drying waterproofs and gloves and getting out of the wind felt good, you got to love the great British pub, the worse the weather, the warmer the welcome especially when its obvious you have been exposed to the weather for a while!
After warming up, drying out and refuelling we braved the weather again, heading down Sir William Hill Road. This may have been a road once upon a time but now is a broken rock surface that really should be done on a mountain bike, not a bike running 700c wheels! From here we headed to Eyam and the climbs to Grindleford and some wonderful flat to Owler Bar. By this point my legs had started to cramp and I was out of energy, Ruth had still to break a sweat, just goes to show what living in Sheffield and being a cyclist can do for you! From here it was a pretty easy route back through Holmesfield. I was a mess, my bum hurt and my legs were done but Eve (my bike) had stood up to everything we had thrown at her, although I hadn’t got used to drop bars yet! So that was 70km with 1540m of accent.
Next up was a flatter but longer ride, this was more interesting…
Starting in Birmingham I headed out to Bournville (think I just heard you all say “hmmmm chocolate…”) to meet up with my buddy Mike, who is starting his training for Birmingham Velo. From Bournville we headed to Yardley Wood and Down to Earlswood where we crossed the reservoir on a odd little road and crossed over the top of the M42 to Tanworth-in-Arden and Henley in Arden this is when things got interesting, starting off at a traffic lights in a low gear my chain snapped and I had my first experience in roadside maintenance, and Mike getting frustrated at my bungling! 20 mins later we back on the road, but I was worried with about putting too much torque through the chain and getting into the extreme end of my gears in case is happened again! But on we carried via backroads to Wilmcote and to Stratford for a spot of lunch in a pub by the river (anyone starting to see a pattern here?)
Rest break at Earlswood
A change of seat was required as the one I had bought was too wide and gave me saddle sore!
So after a rather tasty lunch and a pint (mine was a sandy, honest!) we returned to the bikes to find I had a flat, and Mikes pump didn’t fit my valves…. to the bike shop it was to borrow theirs! *sigh* this wasn’t going well! Then just as we finally started to get out of Stratford of all things my chain broke again! This really wasn’t a good sign for the coming trip but a trip to the bike shop implied that the problem was an extremely stiff chain which shouldn’t be possible after only two rides so it was probably just a dodgy one… we will have to see, so after yet another delay we were back on it and followed the same route out to Wooton Wawen before branching onto the backroads where we spent a lot of time admiring the lovely houses. At about this point Mike announced that he wasn’t feeling well, maybe it was the Mac n’ cheese he had for lunch but personally I think he was just starting to feel the miles without enough food, but he just dug in, keeping going even if he did have to slow slightly we worked our way through the country roads and recrossed the M42 at which point I think I heard Mike sigh with relief, even over the traffic noise! We skirted the edges of Kings Norton before we made our way to the Bourneville where we headed off, Mike with about 10mins to go… Me with 5 miles of canals to go. So it was an interesting trip full of issues but we managed the 64 miles with 1000m of assent, some more testing will be needed on the gears before I go though, the slimmer seat seemed to work better too!
That’s it for this time! Happy adventuring!