May 072017
 
ABC Centreville Cycling club Manchester in Luddenden Dean

Nick and Jim on the only easy way up Luddenden Dean – top secret!

As Wordsworth wrote in his great long-form poem, The Prelude, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be on a bike was very heaven.” We wandered, but far from being lonely as the madding clouds, it was another ABC Centreville social ride, and as readers of these well thumbed web-pages will know, that means wheel-fueled bliss on routes that delight the eye, ravish the senses and knacker your legs up with their high climb to mile rate; all in the company of a mongrel group with the consistency and class of an Aldi remainder bin. But then who doesn’t love an Aldi remainder bin?

ABC Centreville social ride in Luddenden Ed

Newby Ed contemplates getting his racing Ed on with Centreville – see what I did there?

Luddenden Dean is a gem of place to ride, run or walk in, as beautiful as anything in the Yorkshire Dales. It does, however, have some notoriously steep lanes, like cobbled Old lane, which Cycling Weekly describes as “… a truly terrifying mixture of slippy, skewiff cobbles and a stupidly steep incline; it demands a flat-out effort just to avoid falling over. Like the most famous cobbles of Europe, it’s exciting to ride in the same way that sprinting on a set of rollers is exciting to ride.” Halifax Lane and Luddenden Bank is also up there on the ‘pig of a climb’ list,  along with Stocks lane, both having Hill Climb events on them that have been used for the national championship race. Yeah, we didn’t do any of them.

ABC Centreville social B ride in Luddenden 2017 2

Ah, civilised, a nice gentle unmade lane threading the sites of old water-powered mills in the valley bottom

The well graded and eminently rideable unmade lane that sneaks up by the river at least gets you to the bottom of another of Luddenden’s piggy climbs un-harmed, though the climb up Banks Lane from the bridge below Jerusalem Farm up the east side of the valley sets the record straight with it’s gradient and cobbled section. It gets you, albeit slightly the worse for wear, to the magic of Saltonstall Lane, which contours the valley past the home of Richard Saltonstall Lord Mayor of London in 1597. I read that in a guide to the Calderdale way, so it must be true.

ABC Centreville cycling club South Pernnines Luddenden Dea

The glorious Saltonstall/Heys/Low Lane

Once round the head of Luddenden Dean a sneakily steep few metres kicks you round on to another unmade lane which takes you back on the other side of the valley, again rideable on a road bike. Can’t beat a bit of rough stuff in my opinion, although there was muttering from the delicate roadie sensibilities in the ranks. Inspired by recent political events (who’d have though it, turkeys actually do vote for Christmas) I simply screamed “Back you dogs, down I tell ye!” which did the trick. Let’s make Centreville great again.

ABC Centreville Cycling Club social ride above Cragg Vale Jack

Newby no.2 Jack gets off the main roads on a lane above Cragg Vale. Yes sir, this is how we roll

Through Midgely and down the steep descent to Mytholmroyd, there was only a half Cragg between us and Craggies café, though Ed and Jack (soon to be gracing an A ride) used their young legs to good effect, put the hammer down and did a full Cragg and were pleased to do a PB. Mel, Jim, Norman, and Andy were therefore first in the caff, with Nick helping me with a gun-shot-loud rear blowout which was unrepairable: smart-arse off-roader gets punished straight away. I walked the bike up through the fields to Blazing Saddles and bought a new tyre. There are worse places to have a blowout, but then in heaven a bike shop is always there when you need it.

Geoff

ABC Centreville social B ride Littleborough 2017

Andy, Jim, Ed, Norman, Nick, Jack and Mel back at the ‘Boro looking blissed out.

 May 7, 2017  Posted by at 3:46 pm 'B' Group, Club rides 3 Responses »
Apr 232017
 
Centreville cycling club social B ride South Pennines

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.

Centreville cycling club B social ride Saddleworth

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.

Centreville Cyling Club Littleborough above Ripponden

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.

Beatiful bike riding with Centreville Cycling Club, Littleborough lancashire

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.

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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.

Geoff

Centreville Cycling Club east Lancs and the South Pennines

Norman exchanges a career as a head teacher with being a good clubman, and on his first week of blissful unemployment keeps Andy company

Come and join us  – get in touch through the contact page

 

 April 23, 2017  Posted by at 11:57 pm 'B' Group, Club rides 1 Response »
Apr 162017
 
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A spot of the rough stuff in Ripponden

A spot of unexpected off-road adds a frisson of the unknown to any road ride, and today’s social B route was no exception. This was on top of the civilised, planned and eminently rideable off-road half-way round. We were held up by an Easter-related delay, as Mandy obviously had to hide 13 eggs in the garden for daughter Rebecca to find before taking to the wheel, as you do. Usually the kids are younger than 22, but hey, tradition is tradition. The tradition of the young not dragging themselves out of their pit when visiting home from uni was also upheld, and not only did Becca not have time to find the eggs before setting off, she also had to forgo breakfast. Such is yoof.

New kid on the block Andy didn’t have a rain jacket with him, so I also nipped back for my knackered-up cag, which he just managed to get on his manly frame. It’s England mate, there is a slim chance it might rain! It did. We chatted up Blackstonedge and round the Blue Ball lanes. There was nearly a serious accident at the sharp left above Sowerby where we were going straight on, but the deep groove, trench even, worn by Centreville on their standard ‘Blue Ball and a bacon buttie at the Waterside’ route tried to send us left. Only Nigel’s bike-handling skills honed over years of top-level bunch racing kept us on track down through Sowerby and on to the canal bank to Elland.

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Following the sat-nav again….

It’s tres continental along there, the broad tree-hung waters and smooth tarmac tow-path allowing two abreast riding. We only had two dog walkers into the canal, and I’m almost sure the old lady with the Airedale could swim. Mandy managed to kick off her mudguard stay as we grappled with the cheeky little sharp left up a 25% cobbled ramp to the road through Elland. The long drag up to Barkisland – all Viking names round here tha knows – was finished off with Becca beating her dad downhill for the first time ever. Perhaps it was the scent of baked beans wafting from The Robin’s Nest cafe in Ripponden.

The egg theme continued on our plates. Now I like a well cooked yolk myself, but the Bishops weren’t happy, not happy at all. They like ’em runny apparently. Having successfully put ourselves outside some calories and caffeine-laced beverages, we listened to Nigel (which you should never do, we know that now), who had found a lane on his phone he’d never done before. After an interesting corner of old and new houses tucked into the valley bottom, and some rideable though green cobbles, we hit a somewhat less rideable muddy slope. Nigel nearly made it, but didn’t, so he wasn’t able to use the line “You see, I told you, it is perfectly rideable.” As with hard yolks, I have no problem with walking a bit.

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Who needs foreign holidays?

The rain finally came in as we headed into a headwind back over Blackstonedge and saw the classic sight which probably only can be seen in the UK, and specifically on the Pennines, of an ice-cream van rocking in the wind in the pissing rain on top of a hill; and someone coming to buy an ice-cream! There’ll always be an England. Mandy and Nigel were looking forward to aubergines al parmigiano. The secret is only adding the quorn to the tomato sauce after it has cooked down, apparently. By the time we got down to the Boro’ Andy had burst Hulk-like out of my cag, which was admittedly held together by gaffer tape in the first place and will now grace the bin. Becca was wondering if her hidden eggs would have been melted by the rain or eaten by dogs. I could no longer feel mine.

See you on the road, Geoff

 April 16, 2017  Posted by at 4:46 pm 'B' Group, Club rides 1 Response »
Nov 052014
 
Centreville cycling club in Saddlewort

Richard climbing Knott Hill Lane out of Delph

‘B’ ride: Saddleworth lanes to Edna’s

See what I did there? What’s your saddle wor….oh never mind. We had a good turn out for a Wednesday morning of seven, tempted by the low sunshine and blue skies to go out on a limb, forsake the Blue Ball circuit and have a look-see at the lovely lanes of Saddleworth. They are steep, scattered with lovely domestic architecture tucked up on the hillsides and fantastic views over the valleys and moors. There was muttering about potholes and mountain bikes, but in my humble opinion it is no problem on narrow tyres if you keep your wits about you. Of course if you have left them at home you could end up in a ditch or plastered on a gable end. I like the alertness factor myself, gets the synapses firing, both of them.

Knott Hill Lane_Delph_Centreville Cycling Club

The bunch disappearing up Knott Hill Lane. Very steep, vary narrow, rough surface: what’s not to like?

Ray and his son-in-law Neville (?), Dave G, first timer Phil Hodgson, Richard and myself rode to meet Pauline in Newhey then over Huddersfield Rd to Delph, Wham Lane, numerous small lanes through Dobcross to Diggle and the big climb up to Running Hill Lane, round Pots and Pans, Greenfiled then over Burnedge Lane to Delph and a stop at Ednas café. The café does good grub and as well as giving you free top-ups  of coffee or tea, and they claim it is part of the oldest individual co-operative in England, with the cafe, a craft shop and gallery sharing the same building. If you need to pick up a knitted figure resembling an in-law on your rides, this is the caff for you. There is good ‘Last of the summer wine’ banter to be had from the couple who run it, and the home-made flapjack is stellar.

By the way, my saddle is worth very little, but gives me a lot of pleasure. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right…

Geoff

 November 5, 2014  Posted by at 3:00 pm 'B' Group, Club rides 2 Responses »
Sep 272014
 
Centreville 'B' ride Saddleworth lanes

Centreville in ‘Different café” shocker

A bit of variety is good for the soul, so while Ray and Dave G plumped for the usual, I inveigled Pauline, Tony and new boy Richard into exploring the small and hilly lanes of Saddleworth on Wednesday, in a loop taking in Denshaw, Delph, Dobcross, Diggle (nice climb up and round by Pots and Pans), Greenfield, around the back of a hill whose name I can’t remember and back to Delph for, wait for it, a different café! We got there and nabbed the tables in the sunshine just in time, as about 25 other cyclists arrived shortly afterwards.

Tony thought the coffee was expensive, but in compensation a nice silver-haired old lady took a shine to him, asking him if he was all right and patting him on the shoulder. She had a twinkle in her eye, that one, she’d have had him round for a scone given half a chance I could tell. Well, he is a good looking chap.

Saddleworth lanes cycling route Centreville

Piggledy or squiggly? You decide.

Café legs are not the best for tackling Knott Hill Lane straight out of Delph, which is barely a road but is plenty steep and with stunning views over Saddleworth, but Pauline and Richard seemed to manage it all right as they disappeared up the road: the Strava effect, no doubt. We had done “Wham” lane, taken a wrong turn, as people often do, on “Lovers’ Lane,” negotiated a lot of pot holes, all with the help one of those funny flappy things people had before smart phones and GPS, what is it now? Oh yes, a map. Damn fine route though – gotta love those Saddleworth lanes: they are higgledy, and I might even go so far as to say, piggledy.

Richard’s ride (includes from Todmorden): on Strava

Geoff

 September 27, 2014  Posted by at 7:50 am 'B' Group, Club rides No Responses »