We left behind sunny Yorkshire yesterday for the freezing fog of Lancashire. A great turnout of nine (Nigel, Ian, Steve B, Paul D, Chris, Richard, Damien, Dave Woodhead and mysef) left Hebden Bridge at just turned 9am when it became apparent that Brian and Grimpy had chosen the warmth of their beds over the crisp minus 4 degrees that was the reality of life on the Valley road.
Ian and Chris led the peloton at a civilised pace up through Cornholme and Portsmouth but at Holme Chapel Ian moved over and when Paul joined Chris at the sharp end the pace shot up, on the plus side my hands did thaw out.
We thought we were about to climb into the sunshine but how wrong we were, we entered a Lancashire enveloped in freezing mist and haw frost. From Padiham we took the back roads towards Whalley and then the icy single track through Wiswell and Pendleton to our destination of The Green Jersey bike shop and café at Clitheroe.
It was our 1st visit to this establishment and although it was a little disappointing to discover that there were no bacon, sausage and egg butties or beans on toast on offer (not yet anyway although the proprietor is intending to rectify the situation soon) the coffee, flapjack and general 'Je ne sais quoi' more than made up for the omission.
We spent a good hour loitering there, a very productive hour in that I managed to collect four lots of 2015 club subs including the important new signing of a replacement for Paul Daly (recently sold to Tauranga Bay of Plenty Wheelers, NZ) when Dave Woodhead signed on the dotted line (hope he can push bonked club members as well as Paul).
On leaving the café/bike shop we made our way home via Chatburn and Downham, taking the old roman road from there to Barnoldswick and Elslack having a good laugh at Paul who the previous day had put a new chain on his bike, it was syncing okay with the almost new cassette but not with the little chainring he was left with no option but to stay on the big ring.
From Elslack we took the steep road up towards Pinhaw Beacon with the intention of going down to Laneshaw Bridge and the Herders but by the time I got to the summit a decision had been made to turn left and go down to join the Cowling - Slippery Ford route home. It had been said that Nigel and Richard had opted in Elslack to give Pinhaw a miss and Steve seemed to think we may catch them up, we didn't - in fact it appears from Strava that Nigel was following us up the hill and no doubt chased us (or thought he was) towards Laneshaw Bridge.
I was hoping to get a photo of Paul having to walk up Earl Crag from Cowling or up the fiercely steep Tim Lane from Oakworth to Haworth but I was to be disappointed as, being restricted to the big ring, it just seemed to make him go faster.
About 30 or so have put there names down for next Sundays Ride-out buffet and Presentation (1pm Robin Hood, Cragg Vale). All Condors and friends are welcome but please let me know if you are intending to come along so I can arrange the catering.
For those who want to a group of us are meeting 9am Denholmgate/9.30 Keighley for a ride round Crosshills, Laneshaw Bridge, Nelson & Tod en-route to the Robin Hood.