Cycling the Roses (Wetherby to Liverpool)

The few inches of snow which had fallen during the night made my first 10 miles a little treacherous but was soon cleared away by the traffic. This didn't stop me having an embarrassing fall as I failed to unclip from my pedals with sufficient alacrity as I came to a stop sign in Leeds city center. No harm down beyond a severe blush.

The day remained unrelentingly dull interspersed with wintry showers and as I stuck to A-roads the cycling was more reminiscent of my London commute my already idealised north Pennine cycling. As I wove my way through Bradford’s less than beautiful suburbs I had little reason to dawdle and made excellent time arriving in Huddersfield in the early afternoon. A quick stop for a pie and a pint at the charming Head of Steam pub and I was working my way along the last 10 miles to my grandfather’s house in Marsden.

The weather couldn't entirely hide the charms of God’s own county.

The stack visible is the chimney from the Textile Mill my Grandfather and his father before him ran.

Riversdale has more than a little magic and the excellent company, good advice and cooked breakfasts meant staying an extra day was never in doubt. I also put the time to good use giving my bike a bit of well-deserved tlc reminding myself that my maintenance knowledge still needed a lot of improvement.  (where do I put the grease??)

Pouring over google maps with George with a glass or two of sherry we used his local knowledge to devise a route which would see me join the Huddersfield narrow at Diggle and follow the canal all the way to Manchester Piccadily - presuming there was a bike path.

All went to plan and having climbed over the top at Stannich to find the promised views veiled in a thick mist.

An exhilarating downhill to the canal let me enter a little bit of heaven as I ambled along the canal side through picture postcard rural Britain.

Enjoying some architecture.

Enjoying others less so.

As I entered Ashton canal the surroundings became decidedly less pretty and uneven surfaces and aggressive Canada geese curtailed my speed but I was off the roads, the sun was out and by noon I had arrived at Manchester city centre. An hours dash through the traffic saw me in South Manchester relaxing in a local pub recommended by my friend Steve who joined me shortly, before ushering me home where he and his better half Vic showed me hospitality that my short days cycling barely deserved.  Thanks guys!

An early start saw my best days cycling to date as I covered the 45 miles from Manchester to Liverpool in a crisp five hours. Following the Trans Pennine Trail from Carrington I was again spoiled by an almost complete lack of road cycling. Following first the Mersey, then the Manchester ship canal, St Helens Canal and numerous bridleways...

before re-joining the Mersey for the Runcorn estuary.

I was so thoroughly spoiled that I was then able to follow the trail through parkland into Liverpool itself along a disused railway line which deposited me in Tuebrook little more than five minutes from my destination. And there can be fewer more welcoming destinations than Jean and Les’s house. Where the promise of sardonic wit and a never empty glass is always kept.

I really felt like I was finding my stride even if I had been spoiled rotten by the all the home cooked food and warm beds.

No comments:

Post a Comment