Ride Day Date: Friday 13 March 2015
Venue: the Reindeer Inn, Overton
Number of Riders: 4
Weather Conditions: dry after heavy rain, overcast.
Riding Conditions: mud and big puddles in places but overall good.
Comments: Two cheerful old blokes and two professional moaners met up at the Reindeer Inn for our usual ride. Even before we set off a rerun was in order of the amount of rubbish seen on Tuesday’s ride, it would seem we need to do all our rides around Baildon for a pristine experience.
Plenty of standing water on the 1st bridleway but the trip down through the woods was great fun and the next bridleway not as bad as some days.
Arriving at Upper Denby the return leg of the loop was fenced off as contractors were sanitising the bridleway and had just laid some tarmac. A friendly chat and they agreed to let us through if we promised to keep off the newly laid bit. The whole lane has been graded and raised about 6”, looking on the bright side it’s uphill so will be easier to pedal!
By now the moaning had reached a level where Peter was threatening a shilling fine for every offence; mud, bridleway upgrades, drivers, Clarkson, not allowed to do anything, you name it.
A new route was attempted at the next field crossing; Dave had spotted a parallel footpath which seemed to have a better exit. It started well with a nice field side route, then into the woods on an interesting track, Charles assumed the leader’s mantle, though he had no idea where we were supposed to be going, and led us on a perimeter ride until he realised we would soon be back where we started. Dave, bringing up the rear as usual, had spotted that he had missed the correct route which was actually the other side of the wood boundary; wouldn’t have been as good though. Charles spotted a nice return route, then a bit of fence climbing and barbed wire snagging by Peter and Mick and a duck under the fence by Dave and Charles and we were on the correct path. This led into another woodland track and finally a dreaded stile; probably back to the old route next time.
We added in another couple of bridleways before the lunch stop, this time successfully, only to arrive at the café on the industrial estate when the staff had declared home time-at 1.10pm!
Mick had the sense to ask if there was another and we were pointed in the direction of Thorncliffe Farm Shop at Emley Moor. A ride up hill and we were lucky enough to find a table amongst the ladies that lunch, lowering standards in our muddy attire. An excellent menu for those with the eyes to read it, three pulled pork sandwiches and a soup and sandwich followed by various buns. Needless to say Charles’ cup was dirty, his sandwich too sloppy and the scone stale, some people just attract bad luck; but he enjoyed a really good moan.
The afternoon ride was fairly event free apart from liberal helpings of mud and Charles getting stuck in a hedge trying to avoid a muddy gateway.
We arrived back at the Reindeer Inn at 5pm and knew we’d had a ride but there was a good fire and the Dr Morton’s Antelope, Abbeydale Brewery, was so delicious Mick had to order another, a moan free zone at last!
Submitted by: Dave
Ride-Day-Date: Tuesday 10th March 2015
Weather-Conditions: Nice sunny and warmish day.
Riding-Conditions: Mostly dry, some mud and slippery in places.
Comments: Starting from the centre of Pudsey Paul led off sporting his new red helmet, a replacement for his damaged one of a few weeks ago, and back from his enforced layoff. Through the streets and onto a dog walker’s path we came upon a very upset dog and crotchety woman that caused some delay. The next meeting was with a group of 4 horse riders. Unusual to find them more than two at a time!
The sun, whilst pleasant and being low in the sky, was causing a problem for us spectacle wearers as on some of the tricky sections it was in our eyes!
The main topic of conversation throughout the ride was not on the quality of the going, but the amount of discarded rubbish which was to be seen! Still it was a good ride. The meal in the local Wetherspoons was a very noisy affair being as it was very crowded.
Ride-Day-Date: Friday 6th March 2015
Weather-Conditions: Nice sunny day, but very windy on the exposed parts.
Riding-Conditions: Reasonably dry for the most part. Deep mud in places.
Comments: A very relaxed start to this week’s ride as we started with morning tea and toast in the village cafe. Not long into the ride, when we did start, Dave had a lie down in some of the aforementioned deep mud. It must be pointed out that this was completely unintentional; a navigational error leading to the “off”!
Five minutes of cleaning off the mud left Dave just slightly wet!
The lunch stop was arrived at 13:00 where most riders had something that included an enormous portion of chips!
Starting out after lunch we were faced with the long climb up to the wind farm and there was plenty of that before we arrived at this point. The wind was very strong here and doing its best to blow riders off the bike and succeeding more than once. Fairly uneventful after that until the finish was reached around 17:00
Another good ride and day out.
Ride Day Date: Tuesday 3 March 2015
Venue: Sun Inn, Norwood
No of Riders: 4
Weather Conditions: Sunny, windy, chilly.
Riding Conditions: Plenty of mud
Comments: A morning with plenty of snow and hail showers had some of us doubting the wisdom of leaving home, fortunately about 12.30 sun and blue sky stayed around long enough to convince us to go for a ride.
As we were about to leave the car park another shower of snow came in briefly but we were off across the road towards the reservoir. There was plenty of mud in the field and plenty in Swinsty woods but when we reached the permissive bridleway around Fewston Reservoir it was a pleasure to ride although the wind was howling across the water.
We returned through the woods by a slightly different route which was nicely manicured, thanks YW, and Peter picked out a better way to get to Folly Hall avoiding further mud.
A good route back brought us round Swinsty and a tarmac climb to the start just as another snow flurry passed over.
We popped into the pub to pay our parking dues by buying a drink and hogged a roaring fire, very welcome as there was a raw wind across the car park.
The bulk of the team then went to The Bowling Club in Otley for a meal.
Submitted by: Dave
Ride Day Date: Friday 27/2/2015
Venue: Red Kite
No of Riders: 4
Weather Conditions: Dry, mainly sunny.
Riding Conditions: Surprisingly free of mud.
Comments: Quite warm in the sun and the tracks in excellent condition, this area must have avoided the heavy rain experienced in other areas.
Dave was the unlucky person to pick up a thorn today but in view of the number of thrashed hedges we were lucky it was the only one.
We arrived at Squire's Cafe by 12.30 so a leisurely lunch was taken, all going for the breakfast.
After the 'afters' Charles lead us on an exploration of Haw Wood, a new bit over a bed of brambles had Peter on his back when his pedal hooked up.
We were back at the cars by 4pm after an enjoyable ride, rounding off a good day with pints of York Terrier or Landlord.
Ride-Day-Date: Tuesday 24th February 2015
Venue: The Beeches
Climb: No climb figure available at the moment (a lot)
Weather-Conditions: Stayed dry, but a strong and cold wind blowing apart from the sheltered spots.
Riding-Conditions: Thick mud in places requiring a lot of effort to ride, mostly off road.
Comments: The “Tuffon”, going a different way round to avoid the long tarmac climb was probably a good idea, but in practice the muddy conditions meant that quite a bit of walking was undertaken all apart from super athlete Mick who proved it was possible to ride whilst everyone else was walking; although he was beaten by the steepest sections.
My mileage figure is just the riding distance; it doesn’t include the pushing/walking distance.
Just one puncture this week, Charles being the unfortunate rider picking up a nail through the tyre towards the end of the ride. The river bank finish was probably the hardest to ride as quite a bit of it is cambered towards the river! A slide here could have a rider in the drink! A different type of drink is what most riders were looking forward to by this point as by now we were all cold and tired (well I was anyway).
Ride-Day-Date: Tuesday 20th February 2015
Weather-Conditions: Mostly dry, one rain shower after lunch clearing to sunshine. A cold wind was blowing most of the day apart from the sheltered spots.
Riding-Conditions: Mostly dry with some deep mud in places. A mixture of tarmac bridleway and footpath (tut tut)
Comments: A good ride, quite hilly, lots of ups and down. Dave had endeavoured to keep the ride as level as possible, but in this area that’s quite difficult to do. Started out in a different direction and with some new bits thrown into the mix and other parts done the opposite way round (quite deliberate today) it felt like a different ride.
Lunch at Bowers Mill cafe, quite cheap and Dave thought his egg was perfectly cooked (for him at least). The rain in the afternoon gave way to sunshine by the time we finished at 16:30.
Ride-Day-Date: Tuesday 10th February 2015
Venue: Noble Comb
Climb: 1600 a guess!
Weather-Conditions: Dry, fine and cold
Riding-Conditions: Dry, some light mud.
Comments: A good ride, lots of technical sections, a few good descents, a fair bit of climbing. Climb figure a guess.
Tuesday 20th January 2015
Mileage 9, climb 1450’
Five riders today for Paul’s ride from Luddenden Foot, Peter absent with an eye problem. It being the Calder Valley the route was immediately up hill until we reached St Mary’s Parish Church where we followed a nice flat bridleway alongside Luddenden Brook. It's hard to believe this small stream supported four water driven mills in the 1800s, in fact the valley has a long history,the Warley corn mills were established by 1284.
Turning uphill again we pushed up a steep cobbled lane followed by a grassy bridleway towards Mount Tabor. We had climbed 750’ in the first 2.7 miles lured on by the promise of endless downhill to follow.
Too much snow prevented us from using the next lane so we headed to Wainstalls on tarmac passing the Crossroads pub, scene of many an evening ride until a new landlord objected to us using his car park, not giving us chance to explain we would be eating later. At this height it was below freezing so the next bridleway was rather slippery where resident’s traffic had flattened the snow, especially as we turned downhill. More tarmac brought us to the edge of the private Castle Carr Estate where the famous fountain is on display for one day a year thanks to the landowner and Halifax Rotary Club. It can reach a height of 100’ and is second in the UK to Chatsworth House.
A rough track climbed gently along Luddenden Dean (variant of Dene: deep narrow wooded valley). On reaching tarmac again Sam had to be persuaded that it would really soon be ‘all downhill’.
As we set off uphill again Sam’s back wheel decided to abandon ship, no damage was done so we were off on what we hoped would be the final ascent. We picked up an icy path which, as promised, took us to a downhill cobbled track and muddy bridleway into Booth where school was just finishing. It really was downhill now on a mixture of muddy tracks and cobbles into Luddenden where the pub was advertising meals from £2.50!
Earlier moans about the climbing were replaced with smiles as we reached the cars at 3.50pm with a shorter than average distance and a much greater than average climb.
Wetherspoons in Sowerby Bridge cooked us all a great meal, the roaring fire was a welcome sight and The Slightly Foxed and Ilkley Gold went down well.
Friday 16th January 2015
Mileage 14.95 Climb 2460’
Today’s ride started and finished at Dave’s conservatory where tea, coffee and biscuits were supplied and made by Helen; both before departure and on our return.
A late start as at the appointed time the snow, rain and sleet were lashing down, but by 11:15 the weather was improving and Dave led off. A slightly different route than last time and somehow Dave had managed to avoid some of the more strenuous hill climbing, although many of the sections which we had previously ridden were today impossible.
A heavy snow shower before lunch saw us making directly for our lunch stop at Shibden Hall where we arrived just as the snow was abating and a welcome relief it was too.
The afternoon session included the descent of Dark Lane which unfortunately coincided with another heavy snow shower which rather detracted from the enjoyment of the descent. Also on this descent for the first time ever we met a horse rider coming the other way!
With the light beginning to fade we arrived at the final lane down to the A58 which was taken as fast as possible; the deep mud in places flying in all directions mostly onto bikes and bodies. It was a bedraggled group of riders which arrived back at Dave’s just as dusk was falling.
Following the bike washing and tea drinking session we retired to the local for a drink and a quiet natter which turned out to be anything but!
Thanks to Dave for the ride and Helen for the tea making duties.
Tuesday 13th January 2015
Mileage 11.17 Climb 1547’
Starting out from the Wetherby Whaler, on a bitterly cold day, six riders braved the imminent danger of frostbite! They were to be led by the duo of Charles and Sam.
Charles led for the first section up to and including part of the Great Dib. This first section included some very tricky single track which is difficult to ride in the dry, but today was well nigh impossible. Sam took a shortcut here thereby avoiding the worst of it. Following this was a muddy climb, lots of bike pushing occurred here. It was also here that leader Charles got tired and had a lay down in the mud (this was probably unintentional, but nevertheless muddied his nice new jacket).
The route from here took us down the sanitised Ebor Way across the road and into Chevin Forest Park.
After this we switched to back-up leader Sam who declared that he knew the woods quite well and some interesting riding followed. Sam tried to make the uphill on firm tracks and the downhill in the boggy areas and this worked quite well with a couple of exceptions. As mentioned at the outset it was very cold and there was not much hanging about at any point. Having done a few of the woodland tracks we began the trek back towards Menston and the run back to the cars.
Arrived back at the car park at 16:00 where we were quickly changed and into the cafe to partake of the fish and chips. Without exception everyone chose the ‘Seniors Special’, but with different choices of starter and desserts. Mick was still suffering from cold hands and had to run warm water over his hands to get some circulation back.
Whilst it was a very cold day, it didn’t rain; we had a good ride, a nice meal and a day out. Roll on lighter evenings!
Tuesday 6th January 2015
Mileage 11.06, climb 805’
A new start place for today’s ride. We had decided on the centre of Otley which has plenty of reasonably priced parking as well as some free near the greatly missed Dunnies. Peter in charge again with just four riders, after a wet morning west of Leeds we were pleased to see blue skies.
A steady start through the park and along the banks of the Wharfe, it’s hard to believe this was once a road; and the Definitive Map suggests this status has not changed. From the height of stranded rubbish in the trees we would have been riding underwater a few weeks ago and there were several fallen trees to impede progress. The mud was very sticky and we were carrying plenty of extra weight by the time we reached the road.
At Leathley Bridge we climbed up the tarmac through Leathley before following the banks of the River Washburn. This was a pretty muddy route which called for some ability to ride and at least some of us were glad to get to the decent track alongside Lindley Wood Reservoir. Peter picked up a puncture along the way but no thorn was found.
We crossed the bridge and turned south climbing the Otley Road until we turned right on the old road towards Dob Park. At this point Peter stopped as his back tyre was again soft and he thought it had just popped out so added a bit more air. The road headed straight into the sun and it was very difficult to see until it turned north around the farm. Unfortunately Peter’s tyre was again flat so the tube was replaced. Barry assiduously searching the tyre for the culprit, even resorting to washing it in a cattle trough, but to no avail.
The climb towards Dob Park was pretty tough, sticky mud, ruts and bog to contend with but at least we were soon dropping down to Clifton and the old road to Walton Park, (reopened thanks to Rod Jackson of the TRF). Peter has a good downhill route through the woods and a couple of sneaky routes soon brought us back into Otley.
We retired to Wetherspoons, Surprise! where Charles raved over his pint of Saltaire Raspberry Blonde, Dave was less impressed with Sharp’s Doom Bar but the meals were good. Yet again Peter had come up with a good winter ride.
2nd January 2015
Mileage 21.34 Climb 1354'
The Red Kite ride is traditionally Richard’s ride, but in view of the breezy conditions that were to be encountered today it had been decided that we would have a go at doing this ride. With the collective power of 4 or 5 brains what could possibly go wrong? Well, to start with, Dave had forgotten his map which he had painstakingly prepared!
It was a nice sunny day, but the wind was correctly forecast and there were some strong gusts from time to time. With Charles leading the six riders set out and did the first part of the ride up to the planned pub lunch stop without much incident; apart from Stewart’s puncture and bikes blowing over causing much merriment. It was at the pub when disaster struck. The kitchen was closed and no food available! Oh heck! It was here that Stewart had to mend his second puncture, this time in the front wheel, an earlier thorn removal being the suspected culprit.
Having fixed the puncture we set out headed for Anglers Tarn hoping that the cafe there would be open. Charles did a good job of remembering the way until a slight falter, but a bit of the aforementioned brainpower was applied and we were soon heading along by the lake into a fierce wind with the cafe in sight. Arriving at the cafe the relief was almost tangible when the smell of cooking food assailed our nostrils. Whilst the majority opted for a cooked meal Barry opted out and busied himself with his portfolio! Meanwhile Stewart began his third puncture repair, the front tyre once again flat, only this time in between bites of his sandwich with tubes and wheels scattered about on the cafe floor!
Following lunch we headed to Haw Park; it was here that once again the combined neural pathways were called upon to remember the way. Having successfully negotiated the myriad of tracks here it was then plain sailing for the rest of the route back to the Red Kite.
As Mick was acting chauffeur to Stewart and Stewart had an urgent tea making appointment to keep they dashed off. The rest of us went in for a drink to ruminate on the day’s activities. The conclusion reached was that once again we had enjoyed another day out and Stewart had kept us entertained with his puncture mending efforts.