Length of route: 44.5km/27.8 miles
Route: Doncaster-Turnholme Wood-Thorpe-in-Balne-Trumfleet-Haywood-Holme- Cusworth-Sprotbrough-Doncaster
Difficult level: Easy-medium
Well today was an interesting today of cycling and bike-related things. Today was yet again the day of my intended ride in the Peak District. However, it appears that for one reason or another I am ill-fated not to do this ride. First of all it was the rain, then yesterday I was hampered by inner tube problems - today it was the turn of train's not running to Sheffield day, from where I intended to start the route. Since I had no intention of cycling all the way to Sheffield and then starting the route, I decided to give upping my mileage a go in Doncaster and around instead.
Fortunately for me, today was the day of the Doncaster Cycling Festival - the first in 25 years! Of course, it's no Tour De France/Giro D'Italia, but it made a nice change for Doncaster to have something interesting going on, whilst also giving the Council an opportunity to put the new 'Cultural Quarter' into action as June begins in earnest and the sun shines down on our heads. Basically, the festival was a series of races for different age/ability groups doing a number of laps around the town centre on closed roads, with a series of stalls nearby promoting cycling and offering a number of freebies (free drinking bottle, anyone?).
They asked me very politely if I could possibly tell them how to get to the Doncaster Cycling Festival, as they had attempted to find it twice already and had failed. Fortunately for them, and me being a jolly amiable soul, I told them I was going that way and just to follow me, as I was headed into that direction. I imagined them saying 'What a nice young gentleman he was.' after we parted ways, however I decided not to dwell on such arrogant thoughts and after a brief look round the stalls and watching the racers go by, I headed on my merry way.
I had decided to head out to the country lanes to the west of Doncaster on a similar route to that me and my friend took a couple of months ago on our 120 mile/four day 'epic', as the roads round there tend to be very quiet and free of traffic. I somehow managed to take a wrong turning and therefore ended up going across som gravelly sections of tarmac and through a rather dark and mysterious forest - luckily the terrain wasn't anything I couldn't handle and I emerged into daylight on the other side to find a very wide and large brand new bridge (that somehow didn't fit with the area at all) to take me across to the quite farming villages that populate this area of the country.
Since I knew this was a way I could get back home whilst adding in a few hills, I decided to go that way, thus avoiding more traffic. My legs were starting to feel slightly fatigued by this point so I stopped by the road side for a final snack and turned off before reaching more familiar territory and an excellent downhill (right before a nasty curving upward slope) before reaching home. I managed the hill much better than I used to and I'm pleased to say I resisted any urge to go into my lowest ring, as I really don't reckon it's necessary in almost all of Doncaster. I arrived home in one piece to take a refreshing shower and reflect on a pleasant days cycling. Here's to finally making it to the Peak District for a ride in the near future!