A bid for freedom, July 2020

Has it really only been three months?

I started the month by meeting a new Sustrans Ranger down on a very soggy Brampton Valley Way, the part of the NCN 6 that runs from Market Harborough to Northampton, chatting through the role and talking about some of the interesting biking trips he has been on in Europe.

I also got together with my youngest son up at the yurt site, Country Bumpkin Yurts, to help installing the outdoor kitchens he had built. This would enable each of the three yurts to function in isolation, so it is possible to have a full site with no cross contamination.

The first weekend in July saw six of us start up for our Saturday morning café rides again. The new rules over travel and visiting gave me the opportunity to head north on the day after our ride to meet with my son and his family, and touch base with my mother, both of whom I had not seen since early March.

Staying in Yorkshire for a few days to help with family projects gave me the opportunity to get a couple of short rides in around the north Humberside area, mainly looking for trails and gravel, but I struggled to find anything worth riding. I need to do some more research, as there must be some routes that need investigating. I feel an OS map purchase coming on.

The second weekend saw a further return to normal with a full complement of six riders on the Saturday café ride and a fully sanctioned club ride on the Sunday with Welland Valley CC. It was also nice to see that the easy week in Hull had rested my legs sufficiently to give me a good kick on both days.

P1060107

I have found July to be a great month for off-road riding locally, getting the OS map out and marking up the ridable trails as and when I ride them. As well as using the OS maps, I have been plotting the routes on Komoot, which is proving to be a great bit of software. Once plotted it is possible to get a bunch of data such as surface types, way types and points of interest, all of which helps makes route choices so much easier. Then you just upload to your Garmin/Wahoo device. This I find so useful when you are in the middle of a field, unable to see the next yellow post, wondering which direction to go. All of this just adds to the fun of exploring.

I put together a great 90km off-road loop out to Rutland water, round it and back home again. A good 60% of the ride was off-road in one form or another, taking in bridleways, rights of way and cycle paths. A lot of the route I had not ridden for years, since back in the days when my mountain bike was go-to bike. I am finding the Mason rides like my old rigid mountain bike from the early 2000’s, only much quicker and much more comfortable.P1060108

My son managed to get a great deal on a couple of second-hand Whyte hybrid bikes for him and his wife. They looked almost new, so we serviced them, installed a child’s seat and headed out for a picnic. My grandson loved it…then fell asleep on the way home, just like his dad did back in the day.

Back in April I bumped into an ex-boss, who I used to ride with regularly but had not seen for a good four or five years as he had been concentrating on his tennis. The lockdown had given him to opportunity to get the bike back out, so we have got together several times over the last six weeks.

This week we rode an off-road route he put together, which took in a lot of trails in the north of the county that I have either never ridden or have not ridden for years. He uses his mountain bike and I used the Mason, which I found very capable on all terrains.

At the end of the month there was a last minute need to visit family up North again. This also gave me the chance to ride the bike up there. I promised myself an easy week and a couple of steady rides. I achieved half of that, with a nice relaxing week, but pushed hard on the two rides.

One was a hilly 50km out to the edge of the Wolds, which was lumpy and windy, but it was nice to see Beverley, Bishop Burton and North Newbald. All places I had not ridden through for a while.

Day 1 Total 50km and 514m of climbing

hull 1

Then on Sunday I had a 105Km trip out to and along the North Sea coast. It is always good to see the sea when you are land locked all year round. It was twice as far as the previous ride but only half the elevation gain.

Day 2 Total 104km and 360m of climbing

hull 2

The coastal erosion on this coast is alarming, with houses just 20 metres from the collapsed road (below) in Aldbrough. I was so surprised to see how many wind farms there are now along that north east coast, both on shore and offshore.

The journey back from the coast helped me understand why there where so many wind farms; 40km of head wind on the Holderness Plain, with big open fields and no hedge rows. All good training.

As things start to open, I can start to plan some trips which has lifted the spirits. I have a B&B booked, so more about that next month, all being well.

July Wheel

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