The green beast by the Wheatsheaf. My bike is green as well
It’s a puzzle: if there are more people than machines, what’s the best way to cope? Perhaps each rider takes it in turn to run for a while? That wouldn’t have been a problem on this fine edition of the Centreville social B rides as it turned out. ‘A’ group regular Gary has started running on the quiet and has entered his first trail race for Todmorden Harriers – today he was having a recovery ride from his hard velodrome training for track racing, and was “Just here to ride the hills hard” in the course of what for him was a pootle. Fell runner Mark from Barnoldswick turned up with Pauline – late of course. He was wearing Pauline’s spare club strip, we didn’t like to ask if this borrowed wardrobe extended beyond the outer layer….and of course I have been known to run, though my underwear is my own.
Gary getting fit doing the right thing – going hard to the top then riding back down to Andy
Once Norman had got back from his car where, from the time he took, he had done protracted battle with a pair of recalcitrant leggings in order to keep his dodgy knee warm (definitely not shorts weather yet mate!) we were off on a classic Pennine loop of 41km with a mere 750m of climbing. Where it wasn’t lumpy it was bumpy. Gary popped off the front on the climb from Newhey and Mark and Pauline stepped on the gas on their….oh wait a minute, that’s what you do when there are 7 riders and 6 bikes, you take one of those thingumys, silly me, no one has to run at all: a tandem, that’s it. Andy is new to cycling but getting stronger every week sensibly elected for a pace that he could keep up to the end, which he did in fine style without blowing up. If he ever starts riding more than once a week he’ll be dangerous.
Mark modelling across the bonnet of his nice Dolan Tandem above Ripponden
We are adopting some serious etiquette for these B rides, which is both friendly and rational. We take it in turns to ride with who ever is at the back on a given day, and anyone who wants to ride hard up the hills rides back to the last person on the road, repeating until satisfied or knackered whichever is the sooner. This has two advantages: people don’t get p****d off riding on their own and leave (you don’t need a club to do that after all), and the group gets tired at a similar rate. The bonkers habit of the fit riders getting more rest as they wait at the top, while the slower riders get little or no rest and get more and more tired, just increases the energy gap between the two and does no-one any good. It also has the benefit that everyone gets a workout and you finish the ride with a similar level of tiredness. Win, win.
John D on his first ride back a few months after getting taken out by a drunk driver remembers just how nice it can be
It was good to have John D out with us again. As he said, “The biggest matter for me was that first ride back on the road in 25 weeks! following the 3.5 times over the limit driver hitting me, with you around on the ride (plus Pauline and the others) it greatly diminished my anxiety and apprehension though the ‘butterflys’ were there all the way round.” No problem big man, you’ve paid your dues to the sport over the years, what goes around comes around.
Mark and Pauline on Pike End Road on a glorious day for riding
There are no better roads on a sparkling fresh day like today than the moorland roads with vast vistas of space, and the twisting and challenging lanes, of the South Pennines – we are lucky to have them and to share eachother’s company in the fellowship of the wheel, the sunlight flashing on our spokes etc.etc, freedom, blah blah. Never mind all that crap, where’s the café? Back in Littleborough after racing the tandem off Blacktsonedge (you have to pedal hard, they don’t as it turns out) we quaffed some unfeaseably strong tea and got on the outside of some carefully selected scran while comparing the relative merits of an over-priced university degree versus an apprenticeship. Without Gary though, he was still out there riding, getting a few more miles in. He might still be out there now, for all we know….So that’s six riders , with four bikes now, or is it five minus…carry one, no, I’ve lost it now.
Norman exchanges a career as a head teacher with being a good clubman, and on his first week of blissful unemployment keeps Andy company
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