Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The off road club continues apace. We had no fear of reprisals this weekend from our skinny tyred brethren, distracted as they were by the heavy physical demands of coasting along some dual carriageway. Call me a bit of a stickler for tradition, a dyed-in-the-wool adherent of orthodoxy, a proselyte for the old ways, but doesn't cycling involve turning the pedals at some point? Descending from Ainley Top in the company of your own weight and the odd pull from the back end of a receding lorry until you simply stop, cease to move, grind to a halt, unwilling to work, might be a good metaphor for the Daily Mail wanting yet another florid way of explaining to its credulous 'readers' how our country is becoming bedeviled by a me too, hand-out culture where everyone wants to get everywhere without expending any effort, but is it a way to treat a bicycle? No. So we sticklers for real cycling went off road, that way avoiding any guilt by association. We pedaled UP and over old road, ALONG the water course, UP and over the top o'stairs and ALONG and OVER to Gorple, ACROSS to Heptonstall, down and UP from the Blue Pig, down and UP from Lumb Falls... oh you get the point by now. Snow, ice, sunlight and moor made a heady and occasionally upsetting mix (viz, Nigel's new hobby of 'static stacking', there are many different ways, evidently, of falling off your bike whilst simply standing astride it, or against it, he is beginning to go through them with a classificatory zeal). The food in Heptonstall cafe was as welcome and uplifting as it always is; sticking to long established ways serves as well for catering as it does for cycling.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Condor Dinner - 5 Feb 2011 - Works, Sowerby Bridge




Meet at 6.30 for 7.00pm



Roasted pepper & tomato soup

Prawn & crayfish tail cocktail with a chilli & mayo dressing

Herby stuffed mushrooms

Farmhouse pate & toast


Roasted duck breast with a cherry sauce

Loin of lamb with a minted gravy

Roasted loin of pork with a rich mustard gravy

Poached salmon with a creamy dill sauce


Fresh fruit salad and cream


Lemon cheesecake with a raspberry coulis

Cheese & biscuits

COST : £ 22.00 per person

(complimentary wine included)

Please contact either Paul or Trevor with numbers and choices by 25th January 2011 Thank you

Paul Gower : 01422 201533

Trevor Lever : 01274 874789

Dates for next year:

Comment from Pete Horne

Early dates I know about for next year are -
Sat 19th Feb NW Passage
Sun 11th Mch Todmorden Loops (promoted by Danial Webb on behalf of CRC)
Sun 20th Mch Red Rose 200
Sun 17th April Spring into Dales

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Autumn Tour

Every year I go on a cycling tour with other patent/legal types. This year we met in Wetherby and rode to Ravenscar on the coast, stayed over in a pleasant old hotel on the cliffs and then rode back the next day. It was roughly 80 miles there (including three cafe stops - we know how to live the good life) and 70 miles back or thereabouts.
We started in our first cafe and then took in some very pleasant flat miles through Ouseburns Little and Greater, over Aldwark Toll Bridge (free for cyclists), and on to Easingwold (excellent coffe and buns). Then continued through the fog in the Vale of York to the Howardian hills, via Brandsby and Hovingham, for stop #3 at Thornton Le Dale (late lunch, in what turned out to be a bit of a transport cafe really).
Then came a real treat. Which, at least for now, is listed in my book as the best road in England. Just imagine. Freshly-laid smooth tarmac for miles. Easy gradients. Great scenery. Cars are actually charged money for using this road, which meant that we saw about three in two hours or so. A bit of north shore to play on every now and then (but I was on a loaded touring bike so only risked a quick go) . There was even a stall outside a farm near the end in Staindale selling jam and scones. So where is this nirvana? It is the Dalby Forest Drive. From Thornton Dale to Hackness and beyond. And I'll be going back there. Soon.

I don't have any pictures of our luxurious accomodation. But let me just say that it would have been better if there had been hot water for a decent shower. Still, a cold rinse was enough for decency, and sitting with a pint by the open fire chatting was a reward in itself.
Next day we took in the scene from the Panorama Restaurant at breakfast. We could very nearly make out the waves below through the thick mist, so it's just as well that we didn't pay extra for sea-view rooms. Fueled up we were soon out there enjoying the soft morning air and gentle rain showers. A well-signposted bike path soon lead to a farm field. It would have been better in high summer. Maybe.

Looking for variation on our return route we headed north and inland to find some frighteningly steep 1:4 descents on wet leaves and poor surfaces. Only to find positively terrifying 1:3 assents on the other side. The sadistic road makers here even managed to take the road half way up the hillside before dropping, sickeningly, back to the valley floor to start the climb again. This is, at least for now, in my book as the worst road in England. Aftertwo hours we'd managed to struggle through Littlebeck and Sleights to reach Egton, where we could plunge down again to Egton Bridge and begin our final struggle up and over the moor to Rosedale. A fine cafe revived our spirits, and we were now within reach of easy flat roads again.
But, of course, we weren't. After hearing representations from both sides, m'learned friends decided that Rosedale Chimney Bank would be a fine pudding. Well, nearly. But the 40mph descent did take us to Hutton le Hole pretty quickly. And Patrick gets to tick another entry in his "100 Best Climbs".
Now the group had to separate and all that remained was to retrace our steps, by and large, back to our respective starting points. And to look forward to another trip next year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sorry Robin I was trying to add this Fay Godwin photo to the end of your report but it refuses to go anywhere but here - I prefer your photo anyway.

Thrown underneath a hastening notation of staved clouds being pushed along by of the brisk pace of an east wind, we - that is condor off road club - took ourselves off over to Ogden - the never ending wall (for the waller) had had a little more completed, and as if in a kind of comical echo of this effort, the decaying farmstead just beyond had also born witness to some building work, though here the job - paving - might well have scored a little lower were some aspirant Saturday night tv gameshow judges to come passing by with their numerical paddles and acid hyperbole: 9 for the wall, 0 for the paving me thinks. Ogden cobbles were very wet, but not as wet as the rest of the ride, during which we spent much time talking about warm socks, overshoes, plastic bags, dry shoes, hooves, anything in fact that we could use in the stead of what we actually had. Our feet excepting, the ensuing ride was exacting in the best possible sense, one of wheel sucking technicality that had us on always on the edge, or in my case over the edge and onto my head-arse (not sure which hit first), twice. Obviously I was inhabiting the limits of possibility, warning others of the risks through a staged occupation of the possible hazards en route, thereby preventing greater harm to my companion. Others may have misread this noble act as bad riding, but such is the life of the unsung and noble. My reward is my constancy.

The last shot looking toward Heptonstall is from way above The Stairs, a bad camera phone homage to Ms Godwin, whose 'Land' series is showing currently at the National Photography and Media Museum down Bradford way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just checking in...

Mens Kilo at the BUCS national track champs. Did 1:20, hardly competitive but considering I'm not a sprinter I was fairly pleased!

Hope everyone's well over t'other side of the pennines! Just a quick post to let you know I'm still riding!

The University club here is going pretty well this year, over a hundred riders now! Keeping busy with two club runs a week as well as lots of socials. Just settling into some long steady rides on the winter bikes now, the hardest part is convincing first years that full mudguards and a flap are essential!

Still racing every monday night at the track in the ACT league, though not many points coming my way recently. Just moved house to south Manchester so not had much time for interval training!

Hope to get out on a couple of Wednesday night outings followed by some beers in the Catty at christmas. See you soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What the retired folk have to do to keep warm

The Wednesday runs from Shelf Roundabout seem to be gaining momentum, 14 old codgers turned up this week for an 80 mile dash round a circuitous route, ably guided by TomTom (Paul Hickey), for lunch at Thorpe Arch cafe. We were lucky with the weather and with the likes of Peeps and Grimpy setting the pace (not much shelter from those two) maintained a brisk pace averaging 15.5 mph for the full journey.

I'm in the process of putting a clothing order together so can you let me know what you want to order ( petehorne@yahoo.co.uk ). The design will be pretty much the same, I am intending ordering the shorts in either a more practical dark blue or black rather than the current lightish blue (retaining the white side panels) and perhaps altering the snowcapped Andes from the current blue to a medium grey so they may look more like mountains. I'm also intending to include some 3quarter biblongs in the order. Please let me know in the next week or so, e-mail me or ring me on 07549 821349 if you want to discuss what to get.

Whilst on the subject we do still have some clothing in stock at the old prices (the new prices will be £6 or £7 more), we have some med & lge short & long sleeved road jerseys at £30, sml & med Training tops £35, 1 pr med bibshorts £35, 1 lge Gilet £30, sml & med thermal biblongs £35.
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More from 7 November - The Cracoe Cruisers

I'm grateful to Robin for the photo and post below, and look forward to the next one. Meanwhile, let me tell you about Sunday's ride. In words I can understand. A prosaic* version.

1. Having the style or diction of prose; lacking poetic beauty.
2. Commonplace; unromantic.

Seven blokes on bikes met outside a closed-down joinery shop and rode to the Dales and back.

There, what more could you want?

Keeping with the cultural theme, A Day Out was mentioned and compared with our jaunt. Alan Bennett wasn't there, but we did have the Hartley boys, Richard, Neil, Pete Smith, "the professor" and "the beard". Nigel had a plan that involved a steady potter on some quiet lanes. However, there were other plans which involved pressing on and taking in a few more hills. Despite some grumbling, these others grabbed the lead and we were off over Cringles to Draughton then took the scenic back road from Bolton Abbey to Burnsall. A couple of riders looked wistfully at the Wharfe View cafe but were dragged on through Thorpe over another steep hill to finally reach Cracoe.

While we were in the cafe Paul Gower called in for a cyclist's special - tea, eggs, beans, toast, of course - but he decided against joining the rest of the flock. Not wanting to be late home for lunch we took the direct train to Keighley, lined out behind Robin and Melv as they finally got to stretch their legs. However, reading the post below, it doesn't sound like Robin really had this in mind and would have preferred hammering a few more hills. It worked for me though, and there was even time to do some gardening after.

Its time to think about the Sunday rides in the new year. It works well if we pick a regular time and place (e.g. 09:00 at Denholme, 09:30 at Keighley) and stick to that through January and February, except for the known rides - NW Passage, Reliability ride, etc. Any comments on that idea?

Monday, November 08, 2010

once an empty byway running from the hidden dales village that shall not be named is suddenly found to be carrying hastening cyclists, dropped by the leading bunch, but still accompanied by the expectation of breakfast barms (or some such northern word) to be had in cracoe's second best sausage emporium ... on the front we have the sly bearded chap, then a clean clad neil for whom the expanding view of fells clad in low winter light is paling in comparison with a permanent close-up of his quill stem, followed by vicar, for whom the ride - that is the ride after his assault on the gathering of meat and egg that no mere barm, no matter how indigenously capacious, could ever contain - was to become a mere bagatelle, a whimsy, so easy was the post repast pace ... indeed there was no sport to be had for any of us, bedevilled as we all became with a deeply unspiritual group mentality in which the above was the only really break, a shining shaft of individual light breaking the weighty underbelly of a slow-moving cloud of common denominator togetherness and solidarity

Saturday, November 06, 2010


In the absence of any other ideas from our cycling chums, Nigel & Melvin have arranged to repeat last week's meeting times, Denholme 09.00, Keighley 09.30.
Route is up for debate, but perhaps looping west in a Pendle (Waddington) direction. All are welcome on what should be a steady ride, it is meant to be the social season after all!