Friday, 12 July 2013

Rule #1 for Dog Walkers

If the cyclist is immediately near said  dog  NEVER call the dog.

The dog is only going to run one way, on instinct towards you, and likely towards the cyclists.(Since you've decided walking in the middle of a wide path is the best position to control your dog, as you ignore the calls from a cyclist behind, and dog switches sides just as the cyclist nears.)

Cloud Trail 30 mile trip

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The view from the grade II listed Trent viaduct

I’m not convinced there is a more scenic cycle track in the whole of Derby (although, it does lead towards Leicester and saying I’ve rode from Derby to Leicester does sound pretty damn good, although a bit inaccurate).

It’s part of the Sustrains cycle network 6, making good use an old railway line and with the use of the Derby Canal takes you from Derby to Worthington completely off-road enjoying the views of going across the grade two listed Trent viaduct, passing Breedon on the hill, and various other places I haven’t yet discovered.  

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Life on the canal, Swarkstone Junction

But there in lays the trouble, it’s extremely difficult to get off the track and get to Breedon on the hill to see the beautiful view of The Priory Church itself, and just as difficult to rejoin, the track is purely designed from Tonge onwards to get you into Worthington.

It was just after the Tonge station that I knew I needed to turn off the track, the Tonge station allows no access to the cycle network or to the road (although Google Maps of course unhelpfully suggested otherwise). So I carried my heavy 16kg dual suspension bike up thirty short steep steps into the village of Tonge itself and cycled from Tongue lane down to Main Street, and this is where I went wrong.

I knew I needed to stay on Main street, although Main street splits off onto the A453, and a turn left at a junction is required to stay on Main street, a turn I missed. 

The A453 is a fast flowing heavily used by lorries with a hill inclined terrain, but cars and lorries generally gave a wide birth, unfortunately the inclines weren’t as forgiving and as I began to notice I was cycling away from Breedon on the hill, and not curving around it, I knew I’d gone wrong and returned back along the A453 to Main Street to follow it correctly. 

At this point I was exhausted, but determined, I hadn’t come all this way for the highlight of the trip just to be that I got lost. 

Main street was brutal on my quads at this point, and of course, slow and exhausted at the peak of an incline I received a short-cut on a blind brow overtake by a Mercedes.

Main Street however was nothing compared to Squirrel Lane, a single track steep incline up to the top of Breedon on the hill, but very much worth it with Cloud quarry just below, and the church itself.
In total I ended up doing thirty miles in three hours, skipped dinner (as I never planned to be out that long) and the ride bike required a lot of effort!

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Breedon on the hill - Breedon Breedon Priory

Friday, 5 July 2013


British Summer time

Summer is finally here in ol' Blighty (Is it? Is it really!) well it's here for a week at least, we can't hope for much more than that. I hate to be the naysayer of good weather but this Summer anybody who has commented on the change-able glorious weather has always ended their praise in for now.

So, for now the sun is shining, and my legs have been furiously pedaling, but wherever my wheels revolve it has to be without traffic.

Is it just me or have car drivers no anticipation for the fact warm weather brings out cyclists in droves? Instead of looking for cyclists, they seem to stop completely.

Alas, fifteen miles completed today, I'm fortunate I live where there's plenty of off road leisure tracks, yet even they can get busy and other cyclists show no awareness for anybody behind, (pedestrians  generally don't, but if you're cycling around pedestrians, you have to expect that).

 I cycle to a few simple rules --

  1. I cycle like I would drive, that means I'm on cycle paths, I stick to the left constantly. 
  2. I overtake on the right.
  3. I always look behind before I move anywhere.
  4. If indicating will help/avoid someone stopping/having to slow down, no matter how silly it looks. I'll indicate on a cycle path.

Some days cycling just feels more stressful than relaxing.