Tag Archives: Focus

Owd Betts For A Cuppa

On Saturday, I had a couple of hours out in the sunshine on the Fat Boy, and a very pleasant couple of hours they were.

Getting across Rochdale was the least fun part, dragging through urban roads before the pull up from Spotland Bridge towards Norden.  Once climbing Owd Betts though, thoughts turned to stamina and gorgeous views.

I did stop for a rest on the way up, though.  It’s a steep old pull!  Nevertheless, I was pleased with myself after 7 miles to be enjoying a cuppa from the Granelli’s burger van opposite Owd Betts pub, gazing over Ashworth Moor Reservoir one way and up towards Knowl Hill the other.  After a brief chat with a bloke who was testing his new 250cc CBR on a nice afternoon run out (he’d got rid of a Ducati for it), I headed back home, but not before the fun and swooping descent of Ashworth Road.

My knees complained a bit afterwards, but I didn’t!

Oh yeah, the ride also pushed me over the 100 miles for the month.  That’s #Jul100 done! Hurrah 🙂

Happy Days! A Slow and Smiling Weekend Ride.

Before the rain came to stay, I took a couple of hours to make a slow offroad trip onto the moors and (to quote a friend) stop to smell the roses a few times.

There weren’t actually any roses, but there were a few lovely views.

Up and Under The M62

I set out on a loop through Milnrow, up across the M62 past Tunshill Golf Club.  I’ve cycled down this hill before, but never up it.  Now I know why!  Running out of gears, stamina and talent, I hike-a-biked most of the way to the top of the hill before things got easier.

The sunshine and clouds were lovely and two layers were all that were needed.  Perfect weather for a lone mountain biking trek.

Once the up was out of the way, the excellent trails on the moors so close to Rochdale, Milnrow, Newhey and Littleborough were fantastic.  A long, steady, mostly downhill undulating ribbon of fun unravelled in front of me, with my grin expanding as it did so.

Needless to say, I found a few minutes to stop halfway round Hollingworth Lake for a cup of tea and an apricot Danish, before a quick dash down to the canalside and the last couple of miles back home.

Happy Days 🙂

Now, let’s hope this rain doesn’t stay too long, eh?

How Will I Finish The #May100 ?

Damn You, Cycling!

So far this month, I’ve cycled 89.96 miles, all of them leisure.  I don’t do that commuting lark as I work in a poncy suit in a poncy office and on the only dress-down day we have (Friday), I take my daughter to school which is 6 miles in the wrong direction.

So, What’s The Problem?

I always ride on Tuesday nights, for around 11.28 miles – not that I’m a creature of habit or anything!  Then ever other Saturday, I have the day to myself: I get a few chores done then I have a few hours out, and always hit somewhere between 25 and 30 miles.

No problem.  Until this week.

My schedule would have me do my 11.28 miles tonight and the #May100 would be done, woohoo!



Sunset Over Littleborough

On The Way Back From Tunshill With My Boy Last Friday





Tonight is Tuesday.  Autopilot Loop night.  Tonight, Utility Masters Rovers Of The South United are playing in a football match against the mighty Gazprom (sponsors of Schalke and one of the biggest companies in the universe – but we’re just playing a bunch of chancers from the Manchester office).

So I can’t ride tonight.  “No problem“, I hear you cry, “Just ride over the weekend.”  Well, this weekend I’m off to Llangollen with a friend, white water rafting.  It’s going to be awesome.  But I won’t be riding my bike.

Tomorrow is Wednesday.  Regular footy night with the lads from work.  On Thursday I do the school run and we have a family evening.  On Friday we’re kid-free so it’s couples night.

have to get those 11 miles in!  Now what?  Huh? 🙁

Yay! Splosh! Thud! Hello! #May100 Ride

Basically, that’s the synopsis of yesterday’s ride. 🙂


This Sunday (22nd May) it’s Over The Edge, an annual ride for the British Heart Foundation which goes up Blackstone Edge from Littleborough then back down by various routes of 22, 29 or 52 miles.  I wondered how I’d cope with the hill since I haven’t been up there since I did it with (or after, technically) Joby and Chris last year.

So I set off and at first I struggled like mad.  Bad gear choice, cadence and breathing I think.  I rested just after The Moorcock pub and was nearly sick.  So, I gathered myself and set off with a lot more self-control, then plodded the rest of the way up the big hill without any issues. I felt like I was sailing past The White House at the top, well into the cloud cover by then.

It's a Big Hill

Up and Over Blackstone Edge

It felt great to have got there and the 6+ mile descent down to Mytholmroyd was a blast, if a bit wet and quite hairy on the slippery roads in places!


If you haven’t laughed at my expense already, now’s your chance.

I fell in the canal.  Yup, after 20 years of riding along the Rochdale Canal towpaths, I finally got my come-uppance.  It was raining, the cobbles were slippery, there was goose poo and (critically) I made one wrong decision: I thought that the smoother big slabs near the waterside would be easier to cycle on than the rough-looking cobbles near the structure of the bridge I was passing under.

Stocktaking After The Dunking

Checking Everything’s Working After My Dunking

The front wheel went up onto the slabs ok, but he back wheel didn’t and somehow I was flipped around, my spuds had unclipped and the Fat Boy and I were headed waterwards. I managed to land on my chest on the canalside, then hooked my legs into the frame and crawled forwards to think about my next move.  Thankfully a Good Samaritan and his missus were walking towards me and he jogged to me asking if I was ok.  I wasn’t sure but I said yes and asked him to grab the bike.

One back wheel hoiked onto the towpath later and we were up and stocktaking.  Bike ok, no real pain, and miraculously my phone was totally unscathed thanks to the new weatherproof mount and an extra butty-bag rain cover!  So thank you, Good Samaritan!  I should have asked your name but I felt too much of a prat.

Thud! Hello!

That shook me up a bit so I slowed up a lot the rest of the way home.  I knew I had more than 10 miles of towpath to do including more cobbles and more bridges.  My legs suddenly got tired and the rain seemed colder.  Probably just a reaction to the adrenaline levels going back to normal.

Rising up a little sliproad to one of the many locks, I noticed – too late – a car crossing the path from my right.  Brakes on… feet clipped in…stopped… Thud! That’s all I need“, I thought, “two falls in one ride!“.

A very nice cyclist approached from behind at a fair lick and asked me if I was ok.  Then he recognised me.  Cue mixed emotions.  It was great to meet Adrian and to prove that the messages on twitter are from real people, but my introduction was less than dignified!  He’d recognised my bike and remembered my name, which was very nice of him.  He’s a lovely bloke.

We had a chat and headed off towards our respective homes.

I got home having done over 26 miles and with a big smile on my face despite the dunking, the weather, the unplanned body-slam… And I think I’m doing Over The Edge on Sunday! 🙂

Motivation #May100 Maladies

This May Motivation Malarky

I’ve noticed that the 30 Days Of Biking was a brilliant idea for most of us, urging us to take advantage of the Spring weather to put some miles in.  Since May began, I’m seeing people struggling to get the bikes out.

Why is that?  I know that the May weather’s not been as good as April here in the UK.  I know that the effort of riding 30 times in April is a Herculean one (which I didn’t achieve by the way).  I know that motivation commonly works in cycles and that a pause is a natural reaction to a flurry.

I just hope that we all get back into a sustainable habit soon.  It’s reassuring to read that everyone else seems to struggle finding the time and desire to open the shed door, but it’s more motivational to read about the times you do get out, to see the photos you do take, and to enjoy your rides by proxy whilst dreaming about the one I’m planning to do this Sunday/Tuesday/whenever.

Go on. Open the shed.

Shopping Advice Request

OK, so this isn’t usually a forum where I ask you how to spend my money, but:

1. SDG Bel Air or Charge Spoon saddle?

2. 661 Recon helmet? In the light shade? Or what else should I look at?

Hey, if I can’t abuse my readership by picking their brains, what can I do with this flippin’ blog? 🙂

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