Dan and Andrea venture off the beaten track, not entirely on purpose.
A happy new year to all our readers (maybe just reader??) and here’s to some great and safe cycling
in 2020! Apologies for the lack of a December update, too many parties got in the way!
Winter riding is always a challenge as you layer up with clothing in an attempt to defend yourself
from the chill wind and face the overcast skies, the dark nights, dirty roads and the inevitable mud
and gunk that gets stuck to your bike.
But you can’t beat getting out there to blow the festive cobwebs off…and to burn off some of those
Over the Christmas break we headed up to the village of Abney in the Peak District to stare wistfully
at the one of our favourite climbs now washed away in the recent floods. Having studied the limited
rebuilding progress, we sighed heavily and retraced our route. Half way down the hill we had the
sudden urge for adventure and swung a left down another road we had never ridden before but
often wondered where it went.
After about 100 yards we met a couple of blokes walking up the hill with shotguns slung over their
shoulders and asked them about the road. “Oh aye” they said “it’s rough, but passable”. With this
obvious assurance from armed strangers we carried on optimistically. The first mile or so was great,
a new road with new views and the weak winter sun on our backs. Then rather abruptly at the
bottom of a steep descent the tarmac ran out and a sea of mud, pot holes and puddles spread out
Whilst this sight wouldn’t phase intrepid mountain bikers, who long to plough through mud and
puddles unconcerned, us road cyclists are (dare I say?!) a different breed. Our elegant bikes are built
for gliding gracefully over well maintained tarmac. They are definitely not at home wading through
thick muddy puddles in the middle of the Peak District in December. Similarly, our road cycling
shoes/cleats are not built for wading or walking for long distances across filthy farmland and our
carefully co-ordinated lycra clothing is not enhanced by streaks of cow pat! The Rough Stuff
Fellowship would obviously disagree though ;)
However, we decided retreat simply wasn’t an option and boldly headed forward on foot. A mile
later whilst standing ankle deep in a murky puddle I pondered the wisdom of our decision.
But at least we now know where this mysterious road leads, down into the small hamlet of Shatton
apparently, and the lovely guys at Bike Rehab later had the “pleasure” of chipping off the
accumulated gunk on our bikes during their winter service. But of course a winter bike is never
meant to be clean after all…