Today’s cycling outing is a regular fixture – the pre supermarket trip round Hurstwood. For those of you who don’t know about it, Hurstwood is a tiny hamlet near the village of Worsthorne on the edge of Burnley, and it is home to a reservoir, woodland, and lovely little single track mountain bike trail.
Now, I suspect there will be some for whom the trail is just not ‘rad’ or ‘gnarly’ enough to satisfy them, however Ed Oxley runs some of his Great Rock courses here, and what’s good enough for him is certainly good enough for me and Kid 2. From my perspective, the tarred track up through the woods to the start of the trail is a godsend, Kid 2 still being too small for gears that would get him up the hill. The smooth track means I can ride up while pushing him with one hand, and then we can both ‘hit the trail’ and head down the singletrack through the woods.
Being a singletrack, it is one way, which means there’s not so much chance of Kid 2 cannoning headlong into another cyclist. That said, today was the first time we’ve actually seen anyone else using the trail (although we are usually there midweek) – Dean from Ribble Valley Adventure was waiting to take a school group from Rossendale out for a ride. Lovely to meet yet another person carving out a living by sharing their passion for cycling.
Another thing I like about this trail is that you can either go fast and scare yourself on the berms, or you can take it a bit slower, and then, even for a novice, it’s rideable pretty much the whole way. There’s a couple of short steep lumps in the track that Kid 2 has to push his bike up, and there’s one steep drop that he is cautious about. To be fair, last time he went he fell off twice attempting it, so he’s probably right to be a bit wary (though I’m sure he’ll get it cracked soon – he just needs to stop braking so much).
So, if you have a child that is ready to move on from pootling along the canal or round the park, I highly recommend Hurstwood as a first step off road. I really enjoy our outings here – I think it’s the first activity Kid 2 and I have done together that is genuinely fun for both of us.
Normally we’ll do two or three circuits before heading off, but today it was so windy we nearly got blown off the track on the way up the hill, and it was absolutely freezing. So we chickened out after just one lap and headed for Burnley.
Perhaps not everyone is aware of the delights of Burnley beyond the boundaries of Towneley Park (also a great place to ride with children). However, there’s On Yer Bike, where I spotted a potential mountainbike purchase, and for those who don’t have a 3 year old in tow, there’s a coffee bar so you can refuel while perusing the bikes in your own time. None of that for me though – Kid 2 was keen to get to the supermarket, since he knows further delights await (but only if he sits quietly in the trolley).
The treat that awaits him is the Continental. This is a cafe which serves a mean milkshake, serves great platters of meat cooked in a delicious haze of chargrilling smoke, and brings Kid 2 his cheese panini neatly chopped up into bite-size squares so it cools quicker. Lunch for 3 for £12. Ah yes, there’s a third party sneaked in here – we meet up with my husband on his lunch break (it’s nice to see him, and he pays).
Lastly, we took a trip to Immanuels, my final favourite place in Burnley. They say the right number of bikes is n+1, and I think this may also apply to fabric – I seem to have a massive stash of it that is totally disproportionate to the amount of time or skill I have to ever use it all. For this, I blame Immanuels (on Bright Street, off the Colne Road, open 9-5 Mon-Sat). It is an old church full of massively reduced fabric. The picture below shows half of the back room, in which everything on display is £1 a metre. At that price who can resist?!