I’ve continued my tactic of not doing very much of interest but still managing to ride every day. Riding every day is made much easier by being able to ride to work – it’s the other days where I find myself having to make the extra effort to get away from the routine of family activities and go for a ride.
I’m sure it is as quick, if not quicker, for me to ride into Hebden from Mytholmroyd as it would be for me to drive, find somewhere to park, and then walk from car to work. I don’t wear any funny cycling clothes (although if it’s really wet I do wear waterproof everything), and the hybrid bike I ride creaks and groans. I have to kick the front derailleur to change down. I get to work awake, and I get home fairly wound down. What I’m trying to illustrate here is that riding to work is easy, doesn’t require any fancy kit, and really anyone could do it. Maybe you should give it a go?
After couple of days on the usual commute, I managed to take advantage of the sunshine and snuck off work early on my mountainbike to explore some new trails I hadn’t been on before. Unfortunately during the course of the day my rear wheel has ceased to turn, but thankfully Blazing Saddles were on hand to fix it. ‘I’m sorry, but I’ll have to charge you for that’. Bonkers, a shop apologising for charging for their goods? But then Blazing Saddles is a bit like that in my experience – helpful to a fault. While sometimes online suppliers offer discounts you can’t refuse, you can’t put a value on having a local bike shop that can rescue you when you really need it. Having already tried to fix the problem myself on a number of occasions, it was well worth the titchy workshop fee to have put it right properly.
With my wheels turning freely, I rode off in search of new bits of bridleway. Unfortunately it became clear why I hadn’t ridden these sections of bridleway before. It didn’t look like anyone had ridden them for some time, and above where I took this photo the walls had fallen in so much it was completely unrideable. It’s the first time I’ve come across ‘missing’ bridleways in this area, and it brought home what an asset it is to be able to look at an OS map and know whatever bridleway is shown will actually be there. I hope this bridleway will survive to make it onto a future edition of an OS map.
On my way home I met a guy tucking into a pan of pasta he’d just cooked up on his camping stove. Stopping to chat, I established that he’d been planning to ride the Pennine Bridleway, but after setting off from the Peak District at the start of the day, he’d decided it was too rough and up and down to do with his bike, so he was going to divert along one of the national cycle routes instead. His bike did look very heavy, so I couldn’t blame him for looking for an easier option. He also pointed out that he was 67. Chapeau!
Thursday is my shopping day. I hate shopping (unless it is for bike things), so I have got this down to a fine art so that it takes up the absolute minimum amount of time possible. On Thursdays I drive into Hebden, park the car, and cycle into the middle of town. I leave money with Maskills butcher on Crown Street, and money and bags with one of the vegetable stalls on the market. This takes less than 7 minutes, including time to get cash out at the bank. Then I go to work. When I finish work at 3, I ride to the butcher’s and pick up my selection of meat, and then to the market to collect my veg. 7 minutes later, I’m back at the car, shopping done. Sometimes I leave shopping lists, but usually I just go for a lucky dip selection, so when I get home I have the fun of deciding what to cook for the week. Admittedly, the week I got 2 colours of cabbage, a cauliflower, a celeriac and 3 turnips this was a bit of a challenge, but everyone is happy to accommodate any requests I might make. A weekly shop in under 14 minutes – and it’s local. What’s not to like? And yes, I did ride my bike carrying it all. Including 2 pairs of shoes from Ruby Shoesday which I bought while inexplicably having a moment of shoe-shopping-would-not-be-actively-unpleasant-ness.
Friday – a ride to Hardcastle Craggs with Kid 2. The road to Midgehole is pretty quite and fairly level, so is good for a short ride with a child. This is him trying out a bit of gnarly bridleway. Rad. Awesome. Cute.
Saturday – I needed a reason to ride. I also needed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Cue a trip out to the shop and back. Unfortunately the shop was probably too near to offset the calorific intake. I’m not telling you how much of it wasn’t left…
Sunday – a quick work related trip to check out the allotments in Mytholmroyd.
And BOOM! I’ve made it to the final week and I’m still riding.