Warning: Those of an orderly disposition may wish to look away now. This post contains wonky text and poor picture alignment, but I don’t have the patience to fiddle with it any longer.
Today is misty and cold (again), and I have a hundred things to get done today ready for various weekend activities. So, usually I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a ride, and Kid 2 would have watched more TV than I would publicly admit to while I ran around the house trying to find space to hang up a third load of washing.
However, with 30DoB improving my parenting skills, off we went for a little pootle along the newly resurfaced cycle path from Mytholmroyd to Luddendenfoot. For anyone looking for places to take their children to learn to ride, this is the ideal path. The ground is firm, and (unusually for round here) flat but away from the canal, so there’s no danger of them toppling off and into the water.
The official cycle route starts at the Manchester side of the station at Mytholmroyd, and you have to push your bikes from the rather narrow pavement at the bottom, up the ramp, weaving through the barriers, until you reach the path at the top. Anyone pulling a trailer or tagalong would be better accessing the path through the gate at the edge of the car park at the Good Shepherd, although this route, and the route through Scout Road park which we took today, do mean you have to tackle quite a sharp hill up to meet the true path. The surface at the top of this hill is a bit loose, and proved a bit of a challenge for me pushing Kid 2 up it while trying to remain upright on my bike.
Once on the true path, the surface is nice and mud free, although you do need to keep an eye out for the dog poo. Some of it is helpfully bagged so you can turn it into a poo bomb as you ride over it. I’ll refrain from ranting at this point. You continue along beside the railway line – very exciting if you’re a train obsessed 3 yr old – and eventually cross over it at a bridge, where you’ll find a carved stone with a skeleton on it. There’s another carving a bit further along the path. Does anyone know how they came to be there?
For the absolute beginner, the ride can end here. Rather than continuing on, a small play and picnic in the mini park at the end of Brearley Fields before embarking on the return leg is probably enough. However, those with stronger legs or a passion for transport should continue along the marked national cycle way route towards Luddendenfoot.
Happily, since the path was upgraded, someone sensible has removed the metal staple that used to be in the ground at this point, preventing bikes with trailers from getting through. Hurrah for that someone sensible, whoever they were. Past the second carved stone, the path feels quite European, as you cycle along beside the railway line again. Then there’s some kind of depot or other, where you can play spot the digger/crane/road roller/tractor, and then you pedal through the site of Yorkshire Heritage Buses where you can look at shiny buses. The nice man there even let us in the shed so we could take a photo. I felt obliged to explain I was not a bus spotter (though in today’s cycling outfit it would be an easy mistake to make).
Through/under/round the hurdle-staple combo thing which you need to use if the gate isn’t open (this is a right pain if you’ve got a trailer, but I have managed it by feeding the bike under the hurdle thing – my handles bars just make it under) and you’re in Luddendenfoot, home to another park and an exceptionally well equipped playgroup with a ball pool (room available to hire for parties etc). We went for the park option, and Kid 2 spun and swung on 4 stomach churning pieces equipment before tucking into a little midmorning snack, and then heading back the way we came. There’s a longer version of this ride, but I’ll save that for another day – there are still 27 more to go!