Caran S writes
19 riders assembled behind Chevin Cycles this week, maybe some had been put off by the 1433m of climbing over the 50 mile ride, although it could have been the grey, murky morning too! However, the murkiness didn’t last long and it ‘turned out nice again’ once we were up and over Sidegate Lane in Lothersdale. ‘Where?’ I hear you cry, well I’d never heard of it either and I planned the route! It wasn’t the hill I’d intended but a pleasant error, of sorts!
A watery blue sky could be seen and everyone was feeling much warmer by the time we got to a heavenly stretch of new black stuff on the tops at Black Lane Ends. A smooth and sleek descent towards Colne, where we said Bon Voyage to Mark and new rider Matthew – who were off to Café Cargo in Foulridge for a brew. Alas, they failed to find it so goodness knows where they stopped or if they did, they did get home though and Matthew said he may even join us on the 50 miler next time.
The remaining 8 riders continued along Red Lane, a lovely country road that is great to ride on but often plagued by the ‘rat-run’ drivers. On this occasion though it was pretty empty and all was well.
Riding down into Barrowford, we were all trying to remember which right turn to take, luckily we took the right one and another climb (then descent) into Roughlee. Then onwards to Barley, climbing the fabulous road alongside Pendle Hill (famous for being on Doctor Who), which looked splendid in the sunshine. We stopped at the crossroads for a photo and chatted to a few chaps that had climbed up the road that we were (rather sensibly) riding down.
There’s always a bonus or two to climbing a hill, the view from the top and the joy of the descent, we are so lucky to have such varied terrain on our doorstep.
Off we went, following the twists and turns to Downham village – apparently the toilets there are something to behold, next time you’re there pop in! We arrived at Greendale View Café earlier than expected, the faster group had arrived and had the comfort of their own dining room! I apologised to them for the ‘mistake’ hill but they’d enjoyed it anyway and can’t wait to do it again!
After a lovely brunch with lashings of tea, we left the comfort of the log-burner and ventured outside again, brr! It was still sunny outside but you could feel a slight chill in the air so we headed quickly off through Chatburn, Grindleton and Sawley to keep warm. We needn’t have worried though, as there was another climb out of Bolton-by-Bowland towards Wigglesworth, we do like a hill or three! With a right turn towards Settle Lane and Halton West, with no traffic for a change, we joined the main road to Hellifield.
Along familiar, well ridden roads we headed to Airton and the lovely ‘kick’ to Calton, Phil’s fave! Shortly afterwards, Cath got a puncture and several riders wrestled with her tyre to free the busted tube, they managed eventually. Christine headed off alone as the dogs would be cross-legged!
Meanwhile, just down the road, a few of us watched in surprise as a herd of hairy cattle walked up the road towards us! Nobody was leading them, they just appeared but they were scared of us and started running down the hill – towards our puncture people! Cows were going rump over udder all over the place on the slippery road surface, then the farmer arrived on his quad bike but he didn’t seem that bothered when we told him. Apparently he was walking them to Malham!
We reassembled at the wonky Winterburn Bridge, all safe, fully inflated and cow injury free for the home run. We formed a tight group on Grassington Road and stuck together rather impressively, avoiding all those bath tub sized holes and arriving back in town with smiles on our faces. ‘That was such good fun!’ was the first comment and I think it just about summed up the whole ride! Perfect!