30 Days of Biking in the South Pennines

Joining in the fun with #30daysofbiking


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Alan Day 30 – and relax…..

 

My Summer ‘Cross and Criterium racing season starts tomorrow – what better way to prepare than a lunchtime spin to stretch the legs, in the Spring sunshine.

It’s been a hoot riding #30days. I haven’t managed all of them, but it has given me renewed appreciation of not only where I ride (and how good it really is) but also how I ride. I’m still going to be a competitive soul for a while yet, but I value more the act of switching ‘training brain’ off and engaging ‘soul ride’ brain more.

So here then is what has been, and is below, ‘my’ little corner of our fabulous South Pennines.

Thanks too to Emma for cajoling me into it 🙂

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Alan Day 27 – go long or go home

The Ray Eden Memorial ride, a chance for Planet X staff, friends and general hangers on to remember someone who made a big impact on those who knew him, but whose life was cut short. Anarchically organised, there was some confusion about what was happening and more than half of the group bailed out after 50 miles, a few hardy souls rode back to Planet X HQ to make it a chunky 107 miles. Me and our very own Emma enjoyed pushing home into a stiff headwind with a ragtag band of survivors, Emma usually on the front (the force is strong in that one) and me pushing a cramping rider at the back through the last miles. All good epic ride stuff.

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Neil’s Days 21 to 24

So this week presented a challenge, my work was taking me first to Norwich and then on to London so how do I incorporate cycling into this?! Ah simples I here you say, just take the bike on the train. Not so simples though to commute into London with a bike and then there would be problems about safely storing it whilst I worked. “I’ve got the perfect thing” says fellow #30daysofbiking comrade Chris, “it’s a full size fold up mtb!”. Problem solved then, we exchanged my road bike for his mtb and off I set to try out this commuting by bike thing.

First off to Norwich, arriving late on Sunday night to a 4* hotel with my gear for the next 3 days stuffed into a large rucksack on my back. The bike had already stirred up trouble with the train company, “have you got that booked on?”, “no, but it’s a fold-up” … ensue looks of sheer disbelieve as the staff watched me fold it up. Got to say I felt a tad smug! Now to ruffle some feathers in the hotel, I forgot to bring a lock, and with nowhere safe to store it I proposed storing the bike in my room. A withering look from the receptionist suggested she wasn’t too pleased with this idea so again I had to demonstrate the bike’s party piece! Success …

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The next two days would involve short commutes across the centre of Norwich which I found to be a very popular place for cyclists to commute to / from. I guess it’s the lack of steep hills that makes it more accessible. Determined to do more than just commute I discovered Route 1 of the National Cycle Network came through town, so off I went to see what the local riding was like and to try the bike out offroad. Now I’d had a long and stressful day at work so my head wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I set off. The first few miles consisted of an internal dialogue with myself bemoaning the handling of the bike, the uncomforableness of the saddle, the lack of feel through the cabled brakes etc etc … then something interesting happened. I realised I was out in the countryside on a lovely dry evening with the hustle and bustle of city / work life behind me. Guess what? I started to enjoy myself, I even found some woods on the way back to have a play in so my spirits were lifted even higher. I arrived back in Norwich feeling fresh and revived and ready to tuck into all you can eat Japanese!

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The next evening filled me with trepidation … riding across central London! It was surprisingly stress free, the roads were much quieter than I imagined which I guess is as a result of the congestion charge. We (yes by this stage me and the bike had bonded!) did a bit of sightseeing then hooked up with a friend at a trendy bar in Soho. Now I arrived in bike gear with a bike and expected trouble from the fashonista and more withering looks. Not so to my surprise, the bartender spotted my #CityCross t-shirt and instantly started telling me about his cycling exploits and asking my advice for where to ride in Scotland, next the waitress clearing the table spotted the bike and started asking all about it, then when leaving I was surrounded by folk looking on in disbelief as I unfolded her (the bike!) and set off back to the hotel.

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A little bit more commuting round London was involved before finally heading back up north on Wednesday evening in a tired but reflective mood. This bike, a Dahon is a rebel amongst the biking ranks, yes it has it’s faults and will never be a thoroughbred XC mtb, but it isn’t supposed to be is it? What it is is a really fun commuter bike which enabled me to ride on and offroad whilst working away. I’m very grateful to Chris for lending me this bike which has reminded me that cycling is about more then Strava segments and races!!!


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Alan Days 25 and 26 – yin and yang

Weather. It’s the one thing you are guaranteed in our lovely area. And not insipid, unchanging, middle of the road stuff – instead you get proper weather. The kind that makes you notice it straight out the door, whether fine or not so fine… The one (almost) constant component in this is wind.

You may not like it, you may welcome it but as a bike rider you might as well embrace it either way as you’re not going to avoid it.

So yesterdays hard interval session with teammate Dave contained wind and rain. In copious quantities. Today’s easy spin contained wind and sun. In copious quantities. It is the way it is. And I love it.

 

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Chris Day 25

Had trouble getting a ride in today, so I did one tonight. I love night time rides, especially over the tops of the moors with the lights of the towns of Calderdale in the distance. Calm, quiet and no traffic. Perfect end to the day.

 

view over to Halifax

view over to Halifax

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Alan Day 24 – tub fettling

As a cyclocross rider I have always had an intimate relationship with tubular tyres, ‘cross tubs to be precise. Part dark art, part ultimate tech solution to grip vs slick surfaces, tubs allow the self respecting geek hours of endless pleasure, often in the company of very strong solvents. And so I spent a happy hour sorting and re-gluing a few tubs in preparation for some forthcoming Summer ‘cross races. Happy days.

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Alan Day 23 – keeping it in the family

I’d promised my son a ride after school, so that’s what we did. He doesn’t come out with me that much – the inertia of wanting to play computer games and the onset of teenage angst means he is sometimes a reluctant riding partner. He won’t ride much with our local kids Go-Ride club preferring to ride solely with me, which is nice but not always possible.

But, once we’ve got through a bit of moaning, he always (secretly) enjoys riding, and my goal is just to keep him in the saddle enough over the next few years so that at some point he will become motivated enough to take himself off riding as and when he fancies.

His younger sister is a different kettle of fish – feisty, determined and mustard keen. More on her later…

 

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