Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Signing days

At last! Workdays are back again! I think all of you know that I've been in hospital recently but I'm hoping to be back in the saddle again soon. I've been trying to accommodate as many of you as possible in a timetable of signing days early next month. What I propose is three days of signing, on different days of the week. Our main job is to renumber a section of the NCN which includes the Manifold Valley Trail from Waterhouses to Hulme End, roads and bridleways through Beresford Dale to Hartington, the gated road to Pilsbury and finally the road past Pilsbury Lodge to the High Peak Trail south of Sparklow. All of this will be National Route 549
The days I have put aside are: Thurs 17 and Fri 18 Oct, and Wed 23 Oct.  May I suggest a departure to our normal routine on the Thursday, please? Could we start in the afternoon, at Waterhouses station (cycle hire), south of the A523, where our signing can begin at the car park there - let us say at 13:00. This is to give me time to ride over in the morning with the signage. Bring panniers to take some of this stuff away with you, and a hammer! I will do some research before then on types of signage, as Jane Chapman at Bristol tells me that we can have tailor-made number patches that will be acceptable to the Peak National Park. 
As for the second and third days, we will continue wherever we have left off the day before, working probably from 10:00 to 13:00 on both days, as we usually do. I'll add the details on this post, and also confirm by email.
By the way, this job will never be finished! Sustrans gives us the option of ordering our own customized destination patches ("town centre 1 mile", "station 400 yd", "shops", etc). Moreover, it is possible that we can be of use to Peak Park rangers in the future.

Festival of Cycling

The recent Peak Park Festival of Cycling was a successful series of events. Here are a few pics of the stands at Thornbridge Outdoors on the final Saturday, including our own joint Sustrans and PCL stand (Greg Thomas and Dave Clasby are chatting to members of the public). Good to see some of the members of our group there during the day! The weather was excellent.

The evening before, five out of six expected riders turned up in pouring rain for a ride which I led from Parsley Hay. I had done the ride the night before, in better conditions, and decided that my original route was perhaps tougher than the ‘moderate ride’ described in the blurb! So I shortened it for the real thing, going first up the HPT to Sparklow, then taking NCR549 and the beautiful, long descent of Long Dale to the outskirts of Hartington. A toughish climb to the Signal Box, then the TT back to Parsley Hay. 13 km. Everyone enjoyed it!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Peak District National Park Festival of Cycling

As I write, the Festival of Cycling will have already started (last Saturday 7 Sep) and it lasts until Sunday 15 Sep. I am leading a ride on behalf of Peak Cycle Links on Fri 13 Sep, from Parsley Hay, starting at 18:00. If anyone would like to join me, come along! 

There will be a Sustrans tent at Thornbridge Outdoors on the Saturday and Sunday (14/15 Sep). Feel free to show up at that, and maybe staff a stand there for an hour or two, maybe jointly with PCL. I will be going to Thornbridge around 9 on the Saturday. I promised more details earlier in the week. In fact, what I have already written above is all I have.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

North of the border

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, I managed to get away to Scotland, a country I had visited before but never cycled in. I headed directly to North Queensferry and rode Route 1 into Edinburgh, making use of the Forth Road Bridge (1), which is superb and has wonderful views of the Firth of Forth, the railway bridge (2) and North and South Queensferry. NCR1 is a varied and a pleasant ride, including some ex-railway line (3). I bought a ticket for a stand-up in the evening (it was the last day of the Festival) and then rode back to my car, had a Chinese meal in South Queensferry and then drove to Edinburgh for the show (quite funny), a pub (I sampled several different real ales unfamiliar to me) and the Youth Hostel. The next day, I pedalled first to Leith by Route 75, then retraced my steps back into town on the Water of Leith Walkway (4) and on to Glasgow by NCR75 and 754. Once out of town, NCR754 follows two canals, the Union and the Forth & Clyde, which are connected at Falkirk by the famous Wheel (8), an amazing piece of engineering for lifting boats. Obviously, this ride was very flat but it took me through pleasant countryside with plenty of interest: aqueducts (7), castles, red hills (6) and wooden sculptures (5). Day three saw me riding back to Edinburgh, this time by Route 75. This was hillier, but I had the wind behind me! The route began with Clyde following the Clyde (9), passed through a few built-up areas (this impressive piece of artwork (10) above the trail is at Coatbridge), ran alongside a brand-new railway line from Aidrie to Bathgate (some 15 miles of beautifully tarmacked path (11) created when the line was built), passing through the tranquil Almondell and Calderwood Country Park and under Camps Viaduct (12), eventually joining the Water of Leith path (13) and merging with Route 754 again before entering Edinburgh. The weather was very kind to me and I was pleased to have covered these 266 km in Scotland over the three days. Strongly recommended! Map: Sustrans "Discover: Forth and Clyde")