Friday, 29 July 2011

Some memorabilia from earlier

Just a few bits and pieces I picked up on today's cycle trip - a map of the Haworth and district area, and a West Yorkshire cycle map which may be useful for planning other routes in the future. It's worth mentioning that you can get chocolate covered Kendal mint cake in the TIC at Haworth for just 30p also - a good energy snack for cyclists.

Cycle trip 2: Bradford-Haworth-Wycoller-Oakworth-Keighley

Date: 29th July 2011
Length of route: 30.4 miles/49.0km
Route: Bradford-Haworth-Wycoller-Oakworth-Keighley
Difficult level: Medium-Hard

Started today's cycle trip at Bradford Interchange railway station. Taking a left out of the station onto the main Hall Ings road, follow round onto the B6145, cutting up the steep Hollings road as a shortcut onto the B6144 - the road leading directly to Haworth, the first stop on today's journey. The road up to Haworth is very scenic, and it only takes 5-10 minutes steady cycling to get of the city and out into the open air of the countryside. The ride is a steady climb in several places, but is not as taxing as some of the other climbs that were to be encountered later on. Come off the B6145 onto Brow road, and the first real view of Haworth - picturesque stone houses and former factories that identify this area as one of the key players during the industrial revolution - Brow road is a very steep downhill ride, and you may want to get off and walk down unless you have extremely good brakes, I would say this is a test for most riders. The alternative is to turn right off the B6145 onto Hebden Road, although this lengthens the journey time a little.

Heading over the railway bridge off Brow road, I leave my bike at the Bronte Parsonage Museum car park and have a brief look around the main street and tourist information office for any information about the onward journey to Wycoller. Haworth is one of England's premier tourist attractions and it's not difficult to see why - full of character and blasts from the past, yet still managing to feel largely untainted by tourism. After eating lunch in the Bronte Parsonage Museum gardens, continue along the country lanes to Wycoller, bypassing two reservoirs along the way. Compared to Haworth, Wycoller really is in the middle of nowhere and it's possible to find parts of the route where you can't even hear any noise at all, just pure escapism from modern life. A point to mention here is that your GPS may lead you onto a left turn thinking it's a road when really it's an offroad track that actually leads onto a hiking trail - I ended up walking through a field full of cows and sheep and feeling rather nervous! Wycoller itself is a picture postcard little village, with iconic stone bridges and old ruins that feels totally secluded.

Leaving Wycoller by the main road instead of attempting the cow fields again, I take the Keighley road up to the Laneshaw Bridge. Ask at a local B&B to see which is the less hilly route to Keighley - the main road A6068 or back through the country lanes via Oakworth. Choose the country lanes, and what a nasty climb that was. However, this brings you back onto the same road back to Haworth. I take the fork up into Oakworth and find it to be one of the smoothest roads I have ever had the pleasure of riding on - either it's been recently surfaced (unlikely, given the location) or it's very little used. Either way, the steady climb up then down into Oakworth is a real pleasure. Take a brief detour in Oakworth to see the station featured in the film The Railway Children, but that's also a pretty nasty climb back up and I find myself walking. Thanks to this, I miss the train that would have been my connection at Leeds, but manage to get on the train with my bike anyway. All in all I would have to say today's cycle has been pretty challenging, but the scenery is one of a kind and Bronte country really is a terrific place to cycle if you try and avoid the hillier routes.

For full route information:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Cycle trip 1: Sprotborough-Cusworth-Conisborough-High Melton

My first cycle trip since being back home.

Date: 19th July 2011
Length of route: 21.9 miles/35.3km
Route: Hexthorpe-Sprotborough-Cusworth-Conisborough-High Melton-Sprotborough-Warmsworth-Hexthorpe
Difficult level: Easy-Medium

This route followed a roughly figure of eight pattern. We started off from my house, heading into the town centre down St. Sepulchre Gate and past the railway station, going over the North Bridge and onto York Road. After a brief stop at Morissons for supplies, we continue up York Road then take a left onto Cusworth Lane. At Cusworth country park head off-road around the lake and through the fields before doubling back for a lunch break. We continue on road down into Sprotborough, passing by the Boat Inn for a circular manoeuvre before heading off road once again, following the Transpennine trail along the river all the way up past Conisborough Castle to Earth Centre. Eventually come out at Pastures Lane, taking a right turn for the fairly steep hill up into High Melton. Following down through High Melton, we retrace our steps (?!) into Sprotborough, head over the bridge past the streaming waterfalls and attempt the hill back up into Warmsworth. At this point (3 miles from home) my friend's chain decides to go after coming off his bike earlier in the trip. Continue on foot through Warmsworth, down into Balby and back through Hexthorpe Park. The route took around 3 hours including rest stops and walking back through the park.

For full route information:

Cycle ready

Given my recent increasing passion for cycling (and free time!), I decided to create a blog about my cycling trips. I'm intending to put up pictures of scenes of the routes I've done as well as information regarding the route itself and the areas covered etc. As you can see, my current bike is a blue Trax mountain bike from Halfords, age just over 1 year. It's not the best bike for cycling long distances, but it suits me for now, and is perfectly adequate for rides of up to 30 miles/48km or so. In September I'm hoping to get my hands on a new road bike, ready for the great Aberdeen Adventure! My next ride is planned for Friday 29th July, so look out for more from me in the very near future!