Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

As 2014 draws to a close, it is time to reflect once more on another successful year of rangering for Sustrans! My heart-felt thanks to all of you for the effort you have put into making our local trails more accessible and user-friendly; for the assistance you have offered to others - in knocking down walls and cementing waymarker posts, for example! for the background campaigning and liaising with outside cycling bodies and local authorities; and of course, for breaking new ground in musical productions! Well done all of you, take a bow (you all know who you are!) and again, thank you! Next year I want to organize some rides for the public - maybe one a month - and I hope that a number of you will volunteer to lead these. I hope also that we will continue to work together with other groups. Have a great Xmas and I look forward to meeting you all again in 2015. Happy cycling!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Police advice to motorists and cyclists

Following on from the post below (which is quoting from the national Highway Code), how do you think that Derbyshire Police advise motorists & cyclists to behave and interact with each other? Perhaps surprisingly the following are headings in their guidance to motorists regarding cyclists:
 • Realise cyclists are vulnerable
 • Be cautious and be patient
 • Allow plenty of space
 • Cyclists have a right to claim the lane
 • Beware a left turn
 • [take care] Opening car doors
While the advice does tell cyclists to be alert and aware of the potential dangers, generally the approach is summed up by the statement:
It’s your responsibility as a driver to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Being overtaken by cars

You all know the experience. You are riding along a main road, not too far out into the carriageway, and there is a double white line down the center of the road (continuous on your side, and either continuous or broken on the other side - it makes no difference). A car comes up behind you and the driver wants to overtake. The driver figures there is just enough room to do this without crossing the white lines, so s/he does - passing within millimetres of yourself. Feel the breeze! There is no prize for this 'skillful' piece of driving, and what is certain is that there is no prize for the cyclist who ends up under the wheels of the car because the car driver cut things a bit fine. But squeezing past us like this may not even be necessary. Read this, which is from the Highway Code online:
Rule 129
Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 26
Admittedly, the motorist can only overtake by crossing the white lines if the cyclist is travelling at 10 mph (so it says) but who is that good about judging the speed of a cyclist, or the speed of anything for that matter? I couldn't ride continuously ride at much over 10 mph myself, and I imagine that goes for a number of riders who are not actually taking part in the Tour of Britain. The interesting thing is that, in discussions with cyclists/motorists, I find that most people don't even know this rule. I'm guessing it's a relatively new one in the Code - I certainly don't recall being aware of the last sentence when I took my test eons ago, when the first part of the rule used to be much beloved of examiners in the days before the theory test. I only learned it myself a few years back while on a Speed Awareness course (don't ask!) 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Road section of Route 68 near Hurdlow signed for first time ever!

At the top end of the High Peak Trail, between Sparklow and Wheeldon Trees, there is a road alternative to Route 68, which had never been signed, although always appearing on the Sustrans online mapping as part of the network. Now it's had the treatment! Here are some pictures of our successful workday last Thursday, when we had a brilliant turnout - well done, folks! (1) At Sparklow car park, L2R: David, Maldwyn, Catherine, Ian (in red), our Regional Liaison Officer, Bob (from the Lichfield Rangers), Jim & Paul (2) the group at work near Dowlow (3) not a very sharp pic of the two alternatives: straight on by road, or left by bridleway and High Peak Trail (4) a deserved pint in the Royal Oak, Sparklow (5) Ditto with rare cameo appearance by myself! And on my way home (6) and (7) - the HPT has got wider! This section, recently widened and resurfaced, is near Friden brick works. Excellent!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ride to Castleton

Last Thursday, Andrew, David and Catherine and I met at Grindleford Village Shop (see earlier post), where we had an excellent cup of filter coffee before slogging up the long hill to the Fox House, and then on to Ringinglow. Heavy showers, followed by heavy rain was the weather that had been forecast, but in fact the gods of cycling were smiling on us, for we encountered just one light shower of any significance during the whole ride, with mostly cloudy conditions and some blue sky on occasions! Andrew led us from there along Route 6 up and down some seriously undulating roads and tracks through the beautiful Dark Peak scenery, to Ladybower Reservoir, where the route goes over the dam. We replaced a few signs on the way (see pics). At Ladybower itself, signs put up by the Sheffield rangers have been systematically removed by Severn Trent because the water company does not want to give rights of way to walkers or cyclists over its property (there's a sign there to this effect) and so we decided not to do any work there yet. We continued on to Hope, where we had something to eat in the friendly Woodbine Café. Now in the Hope Valley, you might have thought that the route had become flat - think again! Another 2 miles of undulations took us past the cement works and on to Castleton, where Route 6 fizzles out at the moment, although it should go to Manchester. We returned by the main road to Hathersage, which really is flat, and with the wind behind us - as with all well planned rides! By this time, I was suffering from cramps in both legs, as I hadn't cycled for some weeks, and so I bade the others farewell, as they pedalled the comparatively short distance back to Grindleford. I considered my options (which were many) and eventually decided to also go to Grindleford from where, after a phone call, I scrounged a lift back home with my long-suffering wife! I had intended to follow Route 6 back to Sheffield, but that will have to wait! Thanks to Andrew for an excellent ride in the Peak, and to everyone for risking the weather! 

East Midlands Regional Conference 2014

I'm sure you've all had the email from Ian Keetley, but here's a reminder. This conference will be on Saturday 22 November 2014, from 10:30 to 16:30, at Cleeves Hall, Castle Gate, Nottingham. NG1 7AS. Lunch will be provided and expenses may be claimed. Sustrans staff will talk about projects they have planned in the East Midlands area and nationally, and also about the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the National Cycle Network next year. There will opportunities to ask questions, as well as workshops that we can take part in. Should be good! Please let Ian Keetley know if you are coming, on 0115 853 29 48 or email

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Dates for your diaries

I trust that everyone has had a good summer. It's been a long time since we did anything as a group. I have put a couple of dates aside, but there will be more before the year is out, I am sure. I look forward to seeing you all again.

I am proposing a half-day ride in the Hope Valley on Thursday 9 October. There may be a little signing to do while we are there - this is part of Route 6 from Sheffield to Manchester - but this is mainly meant to be a work-free social occasion! We will go a little further than we did last time, ending up at Castleton. It's an opportunity to try out a new route in progress (part of the Little John Route - click on the Pedal Peaks Phase II link to the right of this post for a map). Our starting point will be Grindleford community shop, which is a new venture situated in the vestry of St Helens Church, catering for walkers and cyclists and selling drinks, snacks and other things (click on the link to the right for the website). Co-ordinates: Postcode S32 2JG, GR 246778. Meet there from 09:45, for a 10:00 start. On our return from Castleton, I would like to ride Route 6 right into Sheffield (since I'm not familiar with this route), if anyone wants to join me. I will take the train home from there.

The other date is a fortnight later, Thursday 23 October. This will be a work-morning, to check signage on Route 68 near Hurdlow (northern end of High Peak Trail and the road alternative). Meet Sparklow car park (opposite side of road to the Royal Oak pub) 11:00. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Tale of Two Cycle Routes

Many of you reading this post will have received an email from me recently, informing you of consultation meetings on the proposed Bakewell to Matlock cycle route. Given the failure a couple of years ago of a planning application made by Peak Cycle Links and John Grimshaw to open precisely this path, mainly due to protests coming from certain quarters in our local area, it is imperative that you give your support to this project. Click here to do this now. As I’m sure you know, the extension of the White Peak Loop from Bakewell to Matlock is only part of the Pedal Peak project, led by Derbyshire CC, which last year succeeded in obtaining grants totalling £7.5 million. I think that we can expect to see more and more projects of this kind taking shape over the next few years, both here in the UK and across the Channel.

In south-west France, the River Isle runs through the middle of the département (county) of the Dordogne, flowing through the capital Périgueux and into the River Dordogne, over 100 km downstream. Périgueux already has a superb greenway, about 15 km long, which follows the river. In the near future, this is to be lengthened to 30 km. To the west, the département of the Gironde (capital Bordeaux) also has several wonderful greenways, mostly running over old railway track beds, some more than 50 km long. The latest news is that a number of communes (parishes) in the Dordogne have got together to build an 86-km long cycle route alongside the Isle. This will consist of present minor roads linked by new sections of greenway - and it is due to be finished by May 2015. It will link with the Périgueux greenway and hopefully with others in the Gironde. It includes no fewer than five substantial crossings of the river (I’m talking 75 metres or so). The cost of the whole véloroute is 12 million euros (£9.6m). Eventually, it will form part of an even longer véloroute all the way from Bordeaux to Limoges – that’s a long way! So make a note in your diaries to ride this one day! If you want to know more about this route, click here and scroll down to the bottom right, to open a pdf file of maps ("Véloroute voie verte de la Vallée de l'Isle"). I'm looking forward to the completion of both of these routes!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Sustrans Get Together - Derby – Thursday 14th August

Hopefully you will all have received an email invitation from Ian Keetley to this meeting at the new Park Bikeworks from 4 - 6.30pm.

If you haven’t yet been to the Bikeworks then have a look at their website:

The Derby group are organising a pre-meeting ride: 6 miles on the “Five Parks” route.

There is more information in the post by Les Sims at the Derby group blog:

Monday, 30 June 2014

Cycling in France

Maldwyn and I, and three other Sustrans rangers from Derby and South Derbyshire, have been doing a ride in May/June every year since 2009, when we pedalled the Lôn Las Cymru from Holyhead to Newport. Since then, each year we have been alternating between a region of the British Isles and France. This year, our third French ride, it was the Loire à Vélo from Orléans to Nantes - about 260 miles over 5 days. This is a fabulous cycle-route, forming part of Eurovelo 6 which runs from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. We followed for the most part the mighty River Loire, which the routes crosses several times, but also the rivers Cher, Indre and Vienne, passing by several famous châteaux (and visiting a couple) and stopping at many equally famous towns: Blois, Tours, Saumur, Bouchemaine (near Angers). We slept in 3 Formula 1 hotels, a youth hostel originally a tobacco factory, a mobile home on a campsite and, on our penultimate night, in bunk beds on a traditional Loire fishing boat! Most of the cities mentioned have modern tram systems, and in Tours in particular trams are the only vehicles allowed in a busy bike- and pedestrian-friendly area in the city center.  The Loire à Vélo is not unlike a Sustrans route, with some excellent stretches of purpose-built greenway, but it also uses minor and quiet roads. The weather was kind to us: mostly sunny intervals with a bit of rain on a couple of days, but less than was predicted before our ride started! Click here for a link to the Loire à Vélo website. Zoom in for very detailed maps. Pictures: (1) Europe Bridge, Orléans (2) the old bridge at Beaugency (3) château de Chambord (4) coffee pots on a wall (5) central Tours (6) Tours cathedral (7) useful bike shop and café at Bréhémont (8) château d'Ussé (9) tyre-pumping station at Bouchemaine (didn't actually work, as we were there out of the high season!) (10) our floating hotel - traditional Loire boat called a 'toue' at La Possonnière (11) official LàV signage - Eurovelo 6! 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Route 6 loop in the Dark Peak

I met new ranger, Andrew Battye, and Simon Geller of the Sheffield Sustrans Rangers this evening at the Norfolk Arms, Ringinglow, on the edge of Sheffield. The rain, which had been quite heavy earlier in the afternoon, had abated and our ride was blessed with blue skies, some sun and a very light westerly wind. Simon led us on a 12-mile loop which took in a stretch of the recently-signed Route 6 and other quiet lanes. We saw beautiful bluebell woods, the imposing Stanage Edge and some impressive views over Sheffield. Our group will be looking after this portion of Route 6 from now on and Andrew, living locally, will be able to keep a watchful eye on it. I suggest another ride later this year, taking in more of this marvellous route and the wonderful scenery.


Friday, 9 May 2014

Ride leaders required for public rides around the reservoirs in Bike Week

This was the other job I mentioned! Do we have any volunteers for leading/marshalling* at two public rides, one around Ladybower/Howden/Derwent Reservoirs, the other around Carsington, please? Dates would be either 13 or 14 June, at the start of Bike Week, and on behalf of Severn Trent Water. Please email me and/or leave a comment below. This could be a good way of maintaining and improving the profile of our group and that of Sustrans. I'm pleased that we have been asked to help out at these events. The rides will be for families, so not a race! In beautiful settings. Should be good! Thanks. Clyde
(* by marshalling, I mean riding with the group to keep an eye on riders, if not actually leading)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

More jobs for the group!

I mentioned recently that I had been contacted by Rose Clarke at Parsley Hay about a couple of jobs that we can help with. The details are as follows. 
(1) A waymarker post near Tissington ford (GR 199 521) needs straightening up. Picture of the post below, before it got knocked over. Could a couple of you go out there and have a look at it, please? You will need to see if the wooden post is damaged before talking to Rose about methods and tools required (these can be borrowed from Peak Park). A replacement post can be ordered if necessary. Please let me know if you are free to do this in the near future. You can contact Rose directly by this email address: (but email me or leave a comment here to keep me up to speed!)
(2) The other job concerns Himalayan Balsam along the Manifold Track. Rose has sent some information, which I copy below.

Rangers, riverkeepers and landowners have been working to try and eradicate/stop further spread of HB in the Dove catchment which includes the Hamps and Manifold Rivers and tributaries. We have been making good progress by working from the source areas of the rivers where it is present travelling downstream to try and stop seeds spreading on the water. Outlying areas, often where the seed or plant has been brought in on farm or other vehicles or from moving soil and earth we have been working with landowners to a) make them aware of the problem, b) encourage them to survey and destroy any plants found and c) helping with contractors or volunteers to pull/strim the plants to prevent further spread and eradicate.
In essence much of the stretches of the Manifold from Hulme End right out beyond the National Park boundary (and confluence with the River Dove is invaded with HB. Some sections where the river is near to the Manifold Track (NCR 549) the plant seeds are likely to be picked up on people, bikes, horses and animals and spread to new areas accidently. We would like to gather a few SUSTRANS volunteers to patrol the track throughout the growing season to a) identify where the plant is growing which it closest to the track and poses a threat of spread and b) pull these plants and destroy them before they go to seed. Please let Clyde know if you are interested in helping us combat this alien species that is threatening our native wildlife. No experience necessary, just need thick gloves, sometimes wellies and some time to check the route on approx about once a month maybe between May and October.

I am going to be away over the next few weeks, but will be back in June. I would be happy to willing to lead a patrol then. Could someone check the route this month, please? I can organize something for July and September; maybe someone could look after August? Rose is willing to give us some training at Dale Bridge on Mon 12, Sun 18 or Mon 19 May. Will anyone be free then? - please email me or leave a comment here. Thanks. Clyde
PS Another job to mention, but probably best in a new post!  

Monday, 28 April 2014

L'Eroica Britannia

Don’t know if you are all aware of L'Eroica Britannia, a weekend-long festival celebrating cycling heritage, local territory and overall Britishness. It begins June 20th, culminating on the 22nd with a vintage cycle ride over 3 different routes round the Peak District National Park. See

They are looking for 2 local volunteers to help with directional marshalling on the 22nd June from 12 noon to 2 pm.  If any of you are interested please contact Marco Mori at   

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Evening ride - Hope Valley

Simon Geller of the Sheffield Rangers group has suggested a ride on the evening of Tuesday, 13 May 2014, over a new section of National Route 6, in the Hope Valley. NCR6, when complete, will run from London (more or less) to Carlisle. Closer to home, the route goes from Derby to Nottingham, through Clipstone Forest and Clumber Park, and on to Worksop, Rother Valley Country Park, Rotherham and Sheffield. The trail continues westwards to the Hope Valley, and should eventually extend to Manchester. The Sheffield group has been responsible for signing this new bit, as far as the border with Derbyshire, and it is possible that our group will be asked to continue the signing through our county.
Meet at 18:00 at the Norfolk Arms, Ringinglow.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Another unusual sign - an apology!

I saw this unusual sign last August on Route 75 (Glasgow to Edinburgh), near Armadale station. It's not often we get an apology for the quality of our trails! 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Unusual signs

On 8th December I posted an example of a rather different sign.
The workday on 6th March gave an opportunity to see what route the sign is on and its purpose.
It is on a bit of the 68 through Ashbourne that runs up the tarmac path at the back of Premier Avenue.
The request is not directed at cyclists using that path but to motorists parking nearby.
If they let the car wheels touch the kerb edge then the car overhangs and blocks the path.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Greater Peak District Cycle Strategy - an update

I wrote a post a few weeks back about the consultation which has now been going on since 17 February 2014, and in fact is due to finish in just over a week, on 21 March.

If you wish to have your say, here is a link to the consultation documents. Read the Strategy and the Action Plan, and then give your support/make your comments in the survey, which is at the bottom of the introductory page.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Ladmanlow Wall demolition

Catherine and I turned up in the mist and murk at Ladmanlowon Wednesday the 12th. to find there was quite a workforce - about ten - on hand. We stayed of about an hour to help dismantle the wall and since we were falling over each other we beat a retreat.

Friday, 7 February 2014

More workdays

As planned, the next workday will be Thursday 6 March 2014, to renew the signage on Route 68 from Ashbourne to Etwall, which is a road section. Meet in the Tissington Trail cycle hire car park, north of the tunnel, at 10:00. Warning: Jim advises me that, if you are driving, the charges there are £3.50 for 4 hours, £4.50 all day, but that the other side of the tunnel, in the leisure center car park, the charges are even higher. The Thorpe car park on the Tissington Trail, 2 miles N of Ashbourne, is free, however. Better still, Jim has kindly offered a parking space or two at his house DE6 2AA (email him at

There will be another workday on Thursday 13 March 2014, on the High Peak Trail. Meet at Parsley Hay cycle hire car park at 10:00. The plan will be to ride the trail in the direction of Cromford, signing (NCR54) where necessary.

My mobile, as usual, 07855 804 451.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Help required on the White Peak Loop

For some time, the charity Peak Cycle Links has had planning permission to build a path near Ladmanlow, Buxton. This will eventually become a vital link in the White Peak Loop, as it will form a small but important part of the route from Buxton to the High Peak Trail at Hurdlow. The actual path in question was once a tramway running parallel to Grin Low Road, on its northern side, from the entrance to the Grin Low Country Park car park and caravan site, and the junction of Grin Low Rd with Leek Rd (opposite the path leading to the Health and Safety labs). The planning permission is due to expire on 14 February 2014, unless work commences on or before that date. The work required at this location consists of taking down a 4-metre section of dry stone wall and cutting down a number of trees and saplings. The County Ranger Service will undertake the tree work and will supervise all demolition but are looking for volunteers to assist with taking down the wall.  It is proposed that this be undertaken on Wednesday 12 February, starting at 10:00. Please spread the word and turn out if you can, even if only for a few hours. Thank you.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Yes, more signing!

Meet Monday 3 February 2014, on Route 68, the High Peak Trail, at the junction with Route 549 - 600 metres south of Sparklow (I make that GR 130 653). Time 10:00. Parking is possible (but not brilliant) on the road below the HPT; or better, at the Royal Oak, Sparklow (if you buy a drink later!) or at the Parsley Hay visitors center (2.5 km away, and paying). The plan will be to ride Route 549 to Hartington and Hulme End, signing as we go! This represents the very last section of renumbering which has to be done, but we need also to improve on some of the signing we have done during 2013, and have a look at some of the established trails in our area, some of which have very little Sustrans signage. Following on from that, over this coming year we could add some customized 'fine-tuned' signage (eg "Station 1/2 mile" or "Shops 300 yd"). 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Greater Peak District Cycle Strategy

I received this email recently from Emily Fox of the Peak District National Park Authority:

"As you may be aware, we are currently developing a cycle strategy for the Greater Peak District. As a key organisation or person who has been involved in its development to date, or an organisation we are keen to hear the views of, I am emailing to let you know that next month we will be consulting on the draft strategy. The consultation will start on the 17th February and last for 5 weeks.  As we would really like to hear your views, we are letting you know these dates early so you can plan for this in your work plans."

The Greater Peak District is the National Park and surrounding urban areas, such as Sheffield, Manchester, Stoke, Derby and Nottingham.

I'm sure that many of you will have some thoughts on this.