30 Days of Biking in the South Pennines

Joining in the fun with #30daysofbiking

Hannah, Days 11-15 (HALFWAY!)

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Whoop! I’m HALFWAY through this and haven’t failed yet. So I thought I’d mark the occasion by writing up my rather uninteresting rides, and illustrating them with some beautiful photographs.

Day 11 – while still feeling zen about riding-for-no-particular-reason, I had failed to do enough pootling to offset the ice cream intake (I’m blaming the ice creams, not the cakes called ‘fifteens’ we discovered in N Ireland, which contain 15 ingredients, none of them healthy) so some drastic action was called for. That, and the fact that Sunday promised an early weather window of relative niceness before the wild rains blew in. Apparently riding your bike before you’ve had breakfast is THE way to burn fat, so I pedalled out before I’d had so much as a cup of tea. I was enjoying myself so much, I underestimated how fast the rain clouds were moving, and duly met the rain cycling back over Cock Hill to Hebden. The rain was like needles on my poor bare legs and the headwind so strong I had to pedal hard to get down the hill. Which was probably just as well as my hands were too frozen and painful to operate my brakes. I got home not feeling like I’d enjoyed myself so much after all, but was at least deserving of my scrambled eggs.

Day 12 – back to work, so a brief commute between Mytholmroyd and Hebden at either end of the day, trying my best not to sweat into my work clothes.

Day 13 – another commute to work. This time trying not to sweat, but also not to crush my shirt, which I had ironed. This is a vanishingly rare occurrence. I don’t believe anyone in the office noticed I had ironed it, so I probably won’t bother in future.

Day 14 – more commutes to work, and then an evening mountain bike ride. This was supposed to be a fell run with Calder Valley Fell Runners who are doing a get-back-into-running series of sessions for lapsed runners such as myself, but my knee felt a bit funny so I went on my bike instead. I met a couple of women pushing their bikes up Spencer Lane. I could say I felt superior since I managed to ride up it, but they had full face helmets on and a quick chat established that they were about to tackle some particularly tricky downhill sections so I carried on and left them to the scary stuff.

Arriving at Rake Head, I was pondering which route I might take from there when I met up with a bunch of blokes on full sus bikes. I told them that if they didn’t mind I’d just follow them, and they seemed OK with this. It seemed like a good idea, and a possible way to discover new trails, until they disappears around the edge of a cliff, bunnyhopping round rocks, and generally vanishing into the distance over a route which seemed designed to kill me. I managed a few drop off type things that I might not usually have tried, and made it over a narrow wooden plank bridge (a particular fear of mine) with a huge drop off at the end that I had no choice but to ride since the only other option was to throw myself sideways off the bridge. Having learnt an important lesson (don’t follow random groups of men on full sus bikes), I retired to the Shoulder of Mutton in Mytholmroyd – a pub with excellent beer that has recently been taken over by the proprietors of the Stubbing Wharf in Hebden Bridge.

Day 15 – Another commute to work. On the way home some blokes on road bikes whizzed passed me, I put my foot down and caught up with them, the creaking of my tired bottom bracket alerted them to my presence, they looked a bit surprised to see they’d been caught by a girl in work clothes on a hybrid with cyclocross tyres, and then they pulled away from me on the hill. I really must stop chasing men on bikes.

So that’s it. Halfway! Oh yeah…and about the photos. Well, I forgot to take any.  I’ll try harder for the second half of the month.

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