Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Present - Paul Gower, John Ginley, Kevin Brown, Phil Sandeson, John Lumb, Martin Bury, Brian Sunter, Ian Robinson (Chair), Steve Thewlis, Paul Daly, Melvin Hartley, Peter Horne.

Apologies for absence - Allan Simcock, Steven Cavell, Chris Smith, Gordon Turner.

Minutes of 2012 AGM  held on 10th October were accepted.

Annual Dinner and Prize Presentation  Paul Gower confirmed that the annual dinner and prize presentation is once again to be held at the Bailiff Bridge Community Centre, on Saturday 25th January 2014. He confirmed that a DJ would be hired and he is hoping to use same caterers as this year.

Correspondence - CTT, 2014 subs already paid.   BC, subs to be paid before end November 2013. The club voted to once again affiliate to the CTC for 2014

Official Reports -
Secretary - Nothing to report
Treasurer - Paul Gower distributed balance sheet showing that the club has just over £3000.00 in the bank, similar to last year. Paul reported that he had received 1st claim subs of £6 from 26 members and 3, 2nd claim subs of £4.  Four 2012 members have failed to pay 2013 subs - Robin Holt, Chris Sylge, Graeme Brown and Stewart Harper.
Racing Secretary - not present.
Social Secretary - Dinner in capable hands of Mr Gower.
MTB/Audax/Sportive Secretary - Peter Horne reported that Monday evening MTB rides had been resurrected for the summer months and due to the good weather had been popular with up to 15 riders taking part. The club has supported most local Audax's with 12 riding the recent 'Season of Mists'. Simon Fortune became the 1st Condor to complete this years 1400km London/Edinburgh/London and 'Padiham Chris' Smith completing an astonishing number of Audax's in his first year in the discipline (including 7 x 600's). Members have taken part in sportive's throughout the north of England with Melvin Hartley regularly flying the Condor flag at the sharp end.
Beak - It was agreed that the condorroadclub blog has taken over from the Beak.

Election of Officials - President Ian Robinson proposed that club officials be re-elected en-mass, this proposal was supported with the exception that John Ginley has now taken over as racing Secretary.

Any Other Business - John Ginley reported that a date had not yet been fixed for the 2014 Condor LVRC Road Race but he is planning to organize it on a Saturday in Spring. He is currently looking at a new circuit taking in Scammonden and Buckstones.

Good weather attracted 16 riders to Shelf Roundabout for todays ride, 85 miles for me so others, not living as near to the start will have had distances up to the mid 90's - new man Garry Traviss couldn't be much short of his first century after he was abandoned on the Greenway when a visit from the man with the hammer caused him to stop for an emergency re-fuel, unfortunately he then got lost.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday's Club Run

Not the best attended Condor Sunday ride but a good day out anyway.  I met Damien at Denholmgate and we hung around enjoying the sunshine until it became apparent that no one else was coming. However Mel, Oakworth Steve and, fresh from his starring role on Look North, Padiham Chris were waiting at the roundabout at Keighley.  We headed further east than in previous weeks intent on enjoying the autumn colours and were joined by half a dozen or so assorted Aire Valley and JD's riders.  Good legs had deserted me today and I was found wanting over Cringles and was lucky to have the company of Steve, on the comeback trail after being off the bike some time following a MTB crash whilst on holiday abroad.  We were re-united with our team mates at Addingham and made our way to Stump Cross Caverns cafe via Cavendish Pavilion, Strid Woods and Skyreholme.
A tail wind blew us up to the cafe in double quick time and by just turned 11o'clock we were enjoying better than I had expected b & e butties.  Once refreshed we rode on to Greenhow and turned right into a strong cross wind down Duck Street before dropping down into the shelter of the Washburn Valley and West End. From Blubberhouses, instead of crossing the busy A59 and onto the Otley Road we turned left, staying on the Harrogate road for less than a mile before turning right onto the little single track road down to Fewston.
As always the Washburn Valley was putting on a magnificent autumn display and it was a delight to potter up through Timble, around Low Snowden and over to Askwith.
At Askwith, being only a couple of miles from home, it must have been very tempting for Mel to say goodbye but, I'm not sure if it was the lure of Keighley Gate into a head wind, or the fact that I'd suggested we sample the Old Spot ale at Cullingworth, but he resisted the temptation to be lazy and before long he was battling with the Flying Farrier on the gravel of Rombalds Moor. Steve was feeling the miles by now and encouraged us to abandon him over the moor.
Anxious to take the most direct line once over the track Mel suggested the cobbles of  Thwaites Brow from Riddlesden, an inspired choice, I'd never been up that road before, if there's anyone else out there who's missed this pleasure you must add it on your things to do list.

Another stiff climb soon followed over past the Guide Inn then it was all freewheeling down to The George, a 1st class establishment, the Old Spot excelling itself and the locals friendly.
Once refreshed we said our goodbyes to Mel, Chris, Damien and myself heading for home via the Great Northern Trail.
The map at the beginning suggests 70 odd miles; you can add another 30 or 40 on to that for Chris; when I left him at Queensbury he had another 30 miles of head wind in front of him - he assured me he would enjoy it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halifax Imps Annual Dinner & Disco 30th November, 2013

Hi all
As always at this time of year I've begun once more to promote the Halifax Imps Annual Dinner and prize presentation
Once again it will be at Bradley Hall Golf Club, Holywell Green, on Saturday 30th November 6.30pm for 7pm seating
It will be three course dinner & coffee, (same chef as last year - who did an excellent job) followed by prize presentation and raffle followed by disco until 12.30 when last orders at the bar.
Once again the Price will be held at £22.50 pre payment required and all choices to be made also two weeks prior to the dinner.
If you decide to join us, it's a night to ditch the Lycra and get out your glad rags (smart casual is the requirement)  for a really nice social evening -

Menu is below (as I don't know how to do an attachment on a blog page)
Halifax Imperial Wheelers Annual Dinner, Dance & Prize Presentation
To be held Saturday 30th November, 2013 at:-Halifax Bradley Hall Golf Club, Stainland Road, Holywell Green

                                                                                                     To Start

Garlic Roasted Mushroom and Chestnut
Char Grilled New Potato, Spinach and Stilton Tart, Walnut Pastry and Dressed Salad Leaves
Buttered Leeks, Double Cooked Soufflé, Cheese Sauce
Crisp Skin Belly Pork, Black Pudding Swipe, Tangy Apple Puree

Main Event

18 Hour Slow Braised Palace of Beef, Crisp Yorkshire Pudding, Shallot and Port Jus
Tarte Tatin
Balsamic Roasted Red Onion and Tomato Tarte Tatin, Creamed Goats Cheese, Baby Basil
Butter Roasted Chicken Supreme, Dauphinois Puree and Sautéed Wild Mushrooms
Fillets of Sole Slow Poached in Cider Sauce, Bacon and Parsley Crumbs, Kale Cooked A La Francaise

All Main Courses Served with Boulanger Potatoes and Colourful Panache of Vegetables

To Finish

Selection of Three Cheeses Served with Celery, Grapes, chutney and Biscuits
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Brownie, Cherry and Kerch Crème Fraiche
Cinnamon Spiced Raisin Bread and Butter Pudding, Rum and Raisin Cream
Stem Ginger Panna Cotta, Homemade Cinder Toffee

                                                                                             Coffee & Mints


Order Slip - Return with payment to: - Janice Saleem at 19 Scar Top, Rochdale Road, Upper Greetland, Halifax. HX4 8PF
Please make cheques payable to J Saleem
01422 370490 / 07762 181 457 email

Name: ……………………………………………………..

Starter …………………………...     Main ……………………………......     Sweet ………………………..

Name: ……………………………………………………..

Starter …………………………...     Main ……………………………......     Sweet ………………………..

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sunday 27th and AGM Monday 28th

Sundays club run - 9am Denholmgate, 9.30 Keighley for Dales and Washburn Valley.  

Reminder - AGM, 9pm Monday 28th @ Travellers, Hipperholme.

Autumn Tour - The Report

Thanks to John Kaye for his Tour report - if any of the tourists have the odd photo please e-mail a few and I'll add them to the report ( 

“The Autumn Tour” by our embedded reporter Nimrod

Day 1     After taking extensive advice from Mike Darke (a one time resident of Staffs) Monday 7th saw our intrepid riders setting off due south west to Baldwins Gate, Staffordshire. A place so small it’s not on most maps, Baldwins Gate that is not Staffordshire. The advanced motorized bag carrying party consisted of Paul Gower and copilot Derek Needham, Peter Sutcliffe also made the journey by car from the far dark north.

The riding  party consisting of Imps JK, Hoppy, Neil D. Everard,  Condors Brian and John G and a Star Wheeler Dave Saleem. With the aid of Daves electronic bar mounted map wotnot no map reading stops were needed and we zig zagged our way via Stalybridge, Marple (via a steep concrete climb) 9 miles on a cycleway, Alsager where we were joined by Paul and Peter for the rest of the journey to the Slaters Inn, base camp for the rest of the week. About 85 miles and four pints.

Day 2      After Peter and Dave had retired to their room early the previous evening and up loaded the route to Daves machine Tuesday morning saw us venturing further south in excellent traffic free lanes warm sunshine and once again shorts. A thoroughly enjoyable ride saw us carrying out a detailed inspection of “the” Iron Bridge and a more detailed one of the Robin Hood.  More excellent lanes on the way back but no beer stop. 70 miles 3pints

Day 3       Another “electronic” route this time west to Ellesmere, more traffic free lanes but 20 degrees colder than the day before plus a little rain. A good pub was found for the dinner stop and after much messing about outside it those more alert in the party decided the funeral car and undertaker parked outside were much more likely to be in the church next door than the pub and so it proved. A different route back and once again a early night for Dave and Peter to plan tomorrows route. 70 miles 3 pints.

Day 4       Speed training courtesy of Neil, quiet roads but a bit of a blur at racing speeds. Dinner at Nantwich in the piano bar, very up market but we fitted in. Brian asking the very attractive blonde waiteress if she had anything different, on return he simply said she showed him what she had. 55miles 3 pints

Day 5       A return home more or less the same route we took on the outward trip. A sandwich and a pint or two for dinner at Prestbury and then a long drag into the head wind and a final stop at Denshaw were the John Willy Lees proved to be the best pint of the week. Driving rain and a head wind strong enough to make it hard riding down from Buckstones brought another enjoyable tour to a close. They used to be known as detraining tours but with the beer dropping and the milage rising I don’t know anymore 90miles pints on request

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Condor on the telly

If you missed this it's our owh Chris Smith in the Robin Hood at Cragg Vale talking about the TdF. Very good coverage on last nights Look North.
Be quick because I don't think they leave it on for long.

Wednesday Vets Ride

Only 5 hardy souls turned up for the wet Wednesday ride, JK, Mike B, Pete Horne, Brian Sunter and Hoppy. The first part of the ride was a discussion whether or not to put rain tops on, the weather getting the better of it eventually forcing the decision. After going through the ford at Brighouse JK and Pete testing the waters by cycling though! The ride went for another repeat of the Ossett cycle path (no cheering crowds of kids at the top of the mini Alpe d'Huez this time). We headed down to the Horbury Bridge foot bridge crossing then over towards Blacker Hall farm and then up and over to Woolley Village before going through Kex to the cafe at Cannon Hall where Kev Brown met us there.

Out of the cafe it was a drier but windy route following the hill top route over towards Ingbirchworth, JK off the back again on his heavy metal steed. On the top of the hill with wind in the face meant we had to pedal on the downhills too. The ride climb up towards Castle Hill through some scenic roads, but unfortunatleyt not one of JK's favourite rides (now named Father Jack - feck, arse, feck... its no fun cycling out this side of the world!!!) On through Huddersfield and up and over to Brighouse with 'slippery' PH getting through the lights at Rasrick before the rest of us who have to wait, no change there! Has he got a remote in his pocket for traffic lights?

Thanks to Mike Beecham for the ride report.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sundays Ride Report

Sunday 20th October

Todays Riders
  • Pete Horne 
  • Melvin Hartley
  • Big Phil
  • Simon Fortune
  • Oakworth Steve
  • Damian
  • "Padiham" Chris Smith
  • Garry Traviss
  • Paul Daly (met en route)
Despite a poor weather forecast of mixed wind and rain, a good number of Condors showed up and decided to spread their wings. Was it the promise of a tasty cafe stop and the rumor of a warm country tavern for refreshment, that twisted their arms?? Of course not! We are seasoned athletes, its purely for the love of the sport!
The route was soon decided. Up around The Duck Pond to Airton, for breakfast, and a route back similar to the reverse of Spring Into The Dales, to take in the climb over The Herders and a cheeky drink at The Old Silent.
The Condor road train left Keighley, with a good steady pace, bound through Skipton, to Hetton and onto Airton. A favorable wind assisted with Autumn colors making the journey more pleasurable. Condor stomachs rumbled as we settled down to the usual good grub offered at Airton. With Malham Cove in the background, we were soon putting the world to rights and dreaming of new machines for next season carbon frames and electronic shifters, ( I was out of my depth!)
Rain started as we made a swift depart. Again I apologize for the lack of mud-guards and providing everyone with a free, backwheel shower. Skipping on towards Gargrave and West Marton the climb out of Earby seemed to drag on and up forever. Melvin winding up the pace as per like he does so very well!
Laneshaw Bridge soon came as Condors swapped and changed pace on damp roads, the first outing for many of our Winter machines. Of course, what goes up must come down and so with demon descents our 2nd stop was soon in sight. Tavern Time! We stacked our steeds up to gather around the welcoming open fire, each with our chosen poison. Tales of old and Condor heritage filled the air as Paul Daly joined us, (looking very dapper in new kit!)
Reluctantly, home called us away from the hospitality and climbs into Stanbury beckoned. Suitably oiled, we whizzed over the reservoir and with my new nemesis (Paul) spurring me on, "We're still with you Chris!" in my ear, climbed the last short sharp dagger.
We topped out, to regroup before splitting on Cock Hill. A good days riding was had by all. The perfect way to spend a Sunday with friends, whilst trying to maintain an ounce of fitness into Winter. 

Chris Smith.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunday 20th October and AGM

This Sunday, 9am Denholmgate or 9.30 Keighley for club run to Burnsall or Airton cafe and back over Herders (its rumored we may be stopping at the Old Silent for a pint on the way home).

AGM is set for 9pm Monday 28th at Travellers, Hipperholme.  Any items for agenda please e-mail me at or phone me on 07549821349.

Crikey Peter, that picture goes back - around 1980 I'd guess. JD, Martyn Bury & myself. Note Martyns trademark giant kit roll on his saddle - and I reckon the socks should make a comeback with all this retro fashion at the moment

I'm sure the socks will make a comeback (I probably have some at the bottom of my sock drawer). I'm not sure that the giant kit roll (or Martin) will though.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mills Hills Report

First I must say a big thank you to Paul Daly and Phil Purdy for their efforts last Monday evening when, sprinting up a short hill in Mytholmroyd on our mountain bikes en route to the Stubbing Wharf I fluffed a gear change which resulted in the rear derailleur jamming into the wheel twisting the mech. and gear hanger and snapping the chain. Efforts were made to convert the bike to single speed but it doesn't work on modern cassettes with their angled teeth.  I was prepared to turn and head for home, 3 hours walk so should be home before midnight, especially as I would be able to freewheel on the downhill bits.
My companions wouldn't consider this sensible step and insisted on pushing me on the canal bank to the Stubbing Wharf where over a couple of pints Paul came up with a cunning plan, he would borrow a rope from the landlord and tow me home.  I wasn't convinced but remembered how not long ago he'd whittled a branch from a tree to jam into my snapped handlebars enabling me to ride home from Headingley so I thought I'd better not dismiss the idea before trying it.
No rope was available but the barman kindly gave us a very long knitted ladies scarf in a rather attractive red, green, blue and yellow design which had been left on a coat hook some months earlier. With the scarf tied to the back of Pauls bike and to the front of mine and with Big Phil pushing (it felt like a scene from Last of the Summer Wine) we stuck to the roads and were back in Hipperholme in time for a few quick ones at the Shed. An awesome effort by my clubmates who, perversely, appeared to enjoy the challenge.

Although todays Mills Hills Sportive from Mytholmroyd took place in mizzley windy foggy weather we all appeared to enjoy the event - how could you not enjoy a ride that included 8000' of climbing in just over 70 miles. Big Phil and I rode out collecting Robin at Ludd. Foot. Chris Sylge was just crossing over the timing mats when we arrived at about 8.45, shouting out to us that we would catch him up. Mel and Padiham Chris were loitering at the start urging us to hurry up and register so we did as we were told and before long were zooming up Cragg Vale with a tail wind.

Being on the winter bike and having reverted to full winter clobber, I'd made my mind up before the start that there was no way I was going to kill myself up Cragg knowing the likes of Rippenden Bank, Stocks Lane, Herders, Widdop, Deerplay, Sharneyford and Cross Stone were to follow.  Mel looked to be on a mission aided and abetted by Chris and Ilkley CC's Dave Leckenby so by the Robin Hood I announced that I was dropping off. Robin expressed his disapproval but sat in with the pacemakers, Phil and, rather surprisingly Paul Daly (who'd joined us at the bottom of the Cragg) dropped back with me and we rode at a more comfortable but still lively pace regularly passing earlier starters.
Once on the descent to Ripponden I was surprised and not a little worried when we caught Robin. I asked him what the problem was, he told me there was no problem, the pace was too fast with Mel's group and so he was going to ride with us; he promised to behave himself.
By now we'd settled in to a comfortable pace, a pace I was confident I could maintain for the full distance and we had the regular morale booster of catching and passing earlier starters. A hiccup occurred on the steep descent to Sowerby Bridge when for the 2nd  week running Phil's front tire exploded, possibly due to the heat generated in the (Fulcrum) rim when braking. Our rescue specialist, Paul, took over and using his Lidl special pump put so much air into the new inner tube that it blew the tire off the rim.
Once moving again we were soon re-catching riders and enjoyed a very pleasant ride up Stocks Lane, the first time I've ridden up there for ages and I'd forgotten what a beautiful view it gives of the Luddenden valley.
Over the Herders and Widdop the mizzle abated but on the Long Causway towards Mereclough it came back with a vengeance causing Robin to don his new, immaculate, pink, and very expensive Rapha rain jacket, he looked lovely but I'm not sure its legal to wear such a jacket outdoors in Bacup.
Phil got detached over Sharneyford and at the bottom of Cross Stone Road Robin suggested we should stop and wait for him, I put myself in Phil's position and decided that the last thing I would want is to be waited for at the bottom of the steepest climb of the day so we carried on. On descending  Mytholm Steeps I caught sight of Condor's Stuart Harper standing at the side of the road shouting at his rear wheel  - he'd over cooked a hair-pin and crashed into the verge - perhaps he needs to get out more than twice a year.
It was good to finish but hard riding home after sitting in the Community Centre in damp kit for an hour or so.

Mel and the Chris's sounded like they had had a good day, fast times (the fastest of the day with 3rd fastest going to Dave Leckenby a couple of minutes behind) and no mishaps - good luck to Chris in tomorrows Horseshoe Pass 200k Audax.

Its the social season now and there's a suggestion that next Sunday we will call in at the Old Silent on our way home from a club run in the Dales.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Saturday 12th October

Tempted by an attractive looking route several Condors are intending to fly round the Mills & Hills Sportive this coming Saturday.   HQ is at Mytholmroyd Community Centre ant it costs £15 to enter (or £20 on the day), entry does include 2 feed stations and meat pies at the finish. Entries are being taken on-line at
Its a 75 mile route which starts with a timed climb up Cragg Vale and also includes the following climbs - Ripponden Bank, Stocks Lane, Herders, Widdop, Deerplay, Sharneyford and Cross Stone - the route will be signed.  Start times are between 8 and 9.30am, a few Condors are again intending to meet at Hipperholme Crossroads at 8am to ride out, with the intention of starting about 9ish.  Note that if you were intending to ride the Hebden Bridge Star on Sunday its been cancelled.

Todays Vets ride 

With the bulk of the Wednesday group being away on the autumn tour we were down to 8 for todays ride. With temperatures dropping and a strengthening north west wind forecast we headed over the Herders  and Fanny Greys up to the excellent cafe at Guisburn for lunch. As planned we enjoyed a strong tail wind back over to Barrowford, Nelson and Widdop. Hitting Hebden Bridge early we took a left and shocked Carl by going up through Birchcliffe, Sandy Gate, on Height Road and round Jerusalem before attacking Jowler. Despite telling us numerous times that he is poorly with a chest infection Paul Daly still managed to be first up every hill by a considerable margin with Peeps uncharacteristically struggling following his flu vaccination.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Mists Report

Once again CTC Calderdale have excelled themselves, a super route, magnificent weather and a terrific spread at the finish. It was good to see so many Condors stretching their wings, glancing around at the start I saw the following; Ian Robinson, Nigel Hartley, Steve Barker, Robin Holt, Chris Sylge, Graeme Brown, Pete Smith, Phil Haigh, Phil Purdy, Pete Whiteley, Stewart Harper and of course Chris (Padiham) Smith (apol's had been received from Mel Hartley and Paul Daly (chest infections), Simon Fortune (bad back), Richard Burnham (riding cycloX sportive in Lakes) Paul Priestly (grandchild minding), Paul Gower (Olwen would'nt let him out) - sorry if I've missed anyone.
At 9am Padiham Chris and I led the large peloton out of Salem Street. Once on the climb up to Heptonstall I couldn't match Chris's pace, but there again not many could. Whilst Chris, Robin, Graeme Brown and Chris Sylge flew the Condor flag in the leading group together with Condor friends such as VS's Dwarty, Dom, Martin plus young Alex who showed us old folk a clean pair of heels up through the Heptonstall cobbles.
Myself, Pete Smith, Everest Phil, Stuart and a few others formed a 2nd gruppo, teaming up with Brian who had been pottering up through Slack and the 3RT as far as Blackshaw Head. Despite a head wind over the Long Causway and on towards Burnley we made good progress regularly reeling in riders dropped from the 'tete de la course' until we eventually caught Padiham Chris who was guiding a number of riders, including Chris Sylge, round the back streets of Brierfield en route to the road to Fence.
I went to the front to have a chat with Chris but now he'd got his bearings again he was difficult to live with so I gave up trying and he went off up the road. Not surprisingly those he had been towing round the back streets were also happy to let him go, all that is except for Martin Croft who, not having ridden with Chris before, foolishly attempted to go with him - he soon learned his mistake and I doubt that he'll try that again (however there are those who never learn).
Nick o' Pendle came and went effortlessly and we caught that famous Hebden Bridge butcher and star of the YouTube sensation 'Keep it Local - the tale of a £10 note', Dave Woodhead (he insists he doesn't always fall asleep at the bar after 3 pints) see . Dave's Colnago is moving really well having recently completed the end to end and he joined us for most of the rest of the ride as did his cycling companion, Cragg Vale's Jon Embleton. He and Martin did have the occasional foray up the road over Newton Fell but were hampered by not knowing where they were or where they were going so they finally realised their folly and settled into the peloton.
As we passed through Slaidburn there was a rush of cyclists dashing out of the cafe, it was the 7 man break who had been about to settle down to enjoy the delights on offer when they witnessed a lone rider in Condor blue on an old black aluminium steed with steel mudguards and a saddlebag pass by without showing due respect to the carbon fibred electronically geared bike porn stacked outside the cafe. There was panic among the ranks with Mark Sadler, Dwarty and others sprinting off up the hills in their vain attempt to bring our own Padiham Chris to heel.
I don't have a blow by blow account but do know that Chris got back to the finish in lone splendour. When I finished at 1.15pm Dom was protesting that Chris had somehow cheated by being self sufficient and not having to stop to re-fuel - some may think that is a rather weak argument - I couldn't possibly comment.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Mists & Falling Leaves, Sunday 6th October

Whilst the worlds top racing cyclists are in the Lombardy region of Italy riding the historic final monument of the season, the 'Race of the Falling Leaves', here in the sleepy valley, Chris Crossland and his CTC Calderdale team are once again organizing our very own late season Audax classic, the 'Season of Mists', the longest and hardest 100k there's ever been. Starts 9am from the Salem Community Centre in Hebden Bridge - note, a few Condors are meeting at Hipperholme Crossroads at 8am to ride out to the start.

If you haven't been wise enough to pre-enter make sure you get there early because there's always a long queue for entries on the day - if you're able to (this excludes Padiham Chris) you would wise to print off and complete an entry form from the Audax site and have the correct entry fee, £4.00 ready.

Thanks to Chris Crossland for the photo's of last years event, more of which can be viewed at

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Wednesday wanderings

How different two Wednesdays can be. Last week a full compliment of 14 riders enjoying 80 miles of mild weather, this Wednesday only four riders braving a day of rain and mist. 

The previous Wednesday started by a turn on to the Spen Valley Greenway. This easy start for those wanting to chat and cycle at a nice speed as you burn up the first few miles was interrupted by Paul Gower puncturing and early momentum coming to a stop. In fact it made it quite a long stop as he managed to pull out the total valve assembly from the tube, a feat not commonly used by experienced cyclists but performed with ease by the old fella! 

The ride got back underway and traveled the Green way via Dewsbury and on the Ossett cycle way section through the edge of Wakefield and out to Methley Junction. Here we tried a new route (suggested by Mike Beecham) to cross the river over a footbridge and onto Allerton Bywater, missing out Castleford town centre could make this a route for future rides.  With mutterings from the ranks it seems that hunger was setting in so the cafe stop at the 'Bikers Cafe' was a welcome sight, all be it at a later time than usual!

The return journey also had some new roads included after going via Ledsham and Castleford the ride climbed up to Featherstone area and Sharlston then onto Crofton and Walton, crossing the footbridge to get to Horbury Bridge. A return onto the Ossett cycle way took us through to Dewsbury where the group had now split into three distinct clubs, the Condor, the Imps and the Alzheimers club, as decisions where to go had to be repeated a fair few times before the right direction could be taken. During the day Pete Horne managed to earn the nick name of 'slippery eel' as he managed to get out first at every junction, managing then to slip through lights at Dewsbury as others waited for a considerable spells of time and played catch up.

The ride gathered speed back up the Greenway it was then Paul Gower experienced his second incident by hitting the deck as an old guy on foot decided to stagger out in front of him, possibly an age thing I'm told! Not wanting to slow things down Neil put the hammer down as the group fragmented through Buttershaw and towards Shelf, the average speed of the ride doubling in the last few miles.

This Wednesday was a case of the brave or the daft! John Kaye, Paul Preistley and Pete Horne setting off at the allotted time in a strong downpour and Mike Beecham setting off more than half an hour later as it had stopped raining for a short while. The three riders took the Greenway and Ossett cycle way route in the morning to head over to New Millar Dam. Mike Beecham on instinct went that way too, entering the cafe twenty minutes later to tell them they were daft for going out in weather like this! 

At least the afternoon proved more hospitable as the rain held off and allowed a route back to Horbury Bridge, Dewsbury and on to the trusty Greenway that then linked to the Caldervalley route through to Hudddersfield Road and then on to the Bradley side of the route. Coming back via the Old Halifax Road. The ride then went down to West Vale and onto the canal bank with a leisurely ride to the famous Paul Gower ‘drop’. A celebratory picture had to be taken to commemorate the beautiful bit of cycling performed earlier in the year where the old fella hurtled down a cobbled stretch without applying brakes, ended up on the floor and narrowly missed a canal swim and sinking his beloved Boardman! Happy days.

Thanks to Mike Beecham for making his debut blog - volunteers always welcome.