Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Visiting our cow Molly

Yesterday's short evening run
As we've had some very pleasant weather in the UK over the last few days, I decided to do something I haven't done for a fair while - I decided to take an evening bike ride after work. Nothing too strenuous as it's quite hard to do to much when you know you have to get up for work again the next day. So, an hour or so out and back seemed the perfect solution - hey, it's still miles in the legs right?!

I'd had my eye on cycling out to Bradfield near me for some time, as I knew you could form a nice 20 mile or so loop going up one road and back down the other on fairly quiet roads to rejoin the quiet but fast A57 back into residential Sheffield. As it was 7pm by the time I set off however I stuck to my plan of doing around 10 miles in the hour or so I had planned to be on the bike. The temperature had cooled down to a pleasant level by this time as well.

Which way to go?
There are myriads of unexplored roads close to where I live that lead to mile after mile of rural roads in gorgeous scenery. That being the case I headed down Walkley Bank Road which is sharp steep downhill segment that brings you out at Malin Bridge, one of Sheffield's tram termini. Coming out on the mini roundabout here you have two choices: turn left for Stannington, and right for Loxley. Both bring you out at Bradfield, you simply approach it from different directions.

Good to see buses come out here too.
As I had never been through Stannington before, and it looked less steep than heading into Loxley first I decided to head that way, knowing I would have a pretty smooth and sweet descent on the way back in. The climb up through Stannington is pretty constant, but never gets unbearable to the point where I felt the need to stop cycling. It wends it's way upwards as the B6076 before a deceptive but small sign tells you to turn right to head towards Bradfield and Dungworth (attractively named).

Suburbia slowly disappears.
The right turn leads through relative suburbia with a few general stores (Spar and Coop) plus a fairly standard looking pub before the houses drop away and the terrain becomes more rolling. As you crest the hill on the approach to Dungworth, an old style village sign indicates that Glossop is off to the left 21 miles away while Bradfield is just a few miles further on. Also to the right of this sign is a local family farm known as Our Cow Molly's selling ice cream and milk.

Hello sheep
I had seen their products in local shops in and around Sheffield but had never associated them with this place right on my doorstep. It's so amazing to live near to places where products are made right next to your house and makes you wonder why we ever source most of our products needlessly from miles and miles away. The farm is open 4 days a week and I made a point to stop off later in the summer as part of a long weekend ride out this way.

I pushed on and reached the end of the B6076 making a sharp right for the return to suburban Sheffield. Not long after the right turn the impressive Damflask Reservoir appears on both sides of a narrowish bridge. It's a beautiful spot and is worth a brief dismount from the bike to soak up the atmosphere of people on rowing boats rented for use on the lake.

Some kind of village green.
Pressing on I knew Sheffield was not too far away, and as a started to gain speed on the long straight descent another pub called the Nags Head Inn caught my eye on the right. You'd be forgiven for thinking I was cycling through Edale, home of the Old Nags Head pub but I wasn't! I made a mental note and pushed on for the rest of the thrilling descent down to the other side of Malin Bridge roundabout.

Nice to see signs like this.
I made a slight mistake on my exit from the roundabout, as I came off onto Walkley Bank Road I didn't realise that it splits and goes in two separate directions as effectively two separate roads. I came out at Rivelin Valley Road which is right at the bottom of Sheffield relative to where I live. I looked at my options on the map and knew whichever one I took I'd have some serious ascending to do over a relatively short distance.
The scenic and beautiful Damflask reservoir.
I opted to take the turning onto Rivelin road before a sharp right turn onto Waller Road which I knew would bring me out on a level close enough to mine to make me forget about any more climbing. Still, I had around 200m of climbing at around 14.8% gradient to contend with first. I stopped a couple of times to catch my breath and was cajoled on by a man in his 60's who cheerfully told me his 60 year old neighbour cycles halfway up that hill every day. I cheerfully replied that I might need to give it a few more goes to attempt it again.
The Nag's Head Inn - NOT in Edale!
I arrived home around 10 past 8 feeling very satisfied and not overly tired. I could easily have done more but with luck the weather will hold out this weekend so I can do a similar ride but over more roads. I crashed following my post-ride shower and finished up in bed watching a film before slipping into a joyful slumber.
Overall ride stats.

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