Monthly Archives: July 2015

Cycle to RSPB reserve – Fairburn Ings

Today I took the chance to explore my hometown’s area. I never really owned a bicycle when I lived here. I had motorbikes and cars, but I don’t think I explored areas like I do now. I followed my usual method of looking online for interesting places, well, interesting to me. I plumped for an RSPB nature reserve to do a spot of birding. The closest reserve to me is Fairburn Ings. I love the RSPB, they make seeing nature easy and interesting. They have activity days, well marked trails, interesting information and they take care of wildlife, awesome. I am a member and proudly pay just a little bit each month to hep this wonderful society. So be warned there are more bird pictures than bike pictures today.

Getting to the reserve took me passed other places that I had forgotten about, some within walking distance of my home. And of course lots of cycle paths..though they seem to be more routes than paths.

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Here is my Chav outside Stanley Marsh Nature Reserve. That is a visit for another day. Many places around my home used to be mining areas. As that industry has moved into history, as you can see on the link above, many of the old collieries have been turned into nature reserves.

There are a lot of fields of wheat and other produce around too.

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I cycled through Castleford where I first started teaching, a lovely memory.

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Then a few more kilometres to my final location and birds, birds, birds. Just don’t go tI o far as you might end up in another county.

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Birds, birds, birds…no.. rain, rain, rain, so coffee and cake in the visitor’s centre until it stopped and then birds, birds, birds.

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Yeap, I did see a few robins and other small birds. There are larger birds there, but I had an appointment with a plasterer and had to start the ride back.

Here is my route there. Here is my route back.

Did you notice I put a new seat on Chav as the other was so uncomfortable and I added a kick stand, just a water bottle holder to go.

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The fattest seat ever! No need for cycle shorts on the Chav!

On another note I don’t know what has happened to the wordpress website but inserting photos into this blog was a pain in the butt today. It added the make of the camera as a title to all photos, which I had to remove. Also they were harder to move around. I hope this is not permanent and I am curious to see the final published version.

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Biking to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Today I had a little free time and a fairly nice day to take a ride. I chose a place close to a relatives house, just 5km up the road – The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). This place used to be a college that I attended while training to be a teacher. I once tried to cycle to the college, the same route, but I gave up. It was too hilly and I was too unfit. This time it took me just 20 minutes without stopping. I felt very proud of myself as I am almost 20 years older.

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Look at Chav, my smashing scrapper….with no kickstand and an uncomfortable seat.

The YSP is a great place to wander around on a clear day. There are places to explore, trails, dog paths, sculptures, cafes, exhibits, experience/lesson days. It has it all. A pity I didn’t appreciate it when I went there for 4 years. I guess I was a little busy working full time and studying.

Here is a gallery of some of the exhibits outside, but there are plenty more sculptures in the grounds plus some inside galleries too. Visit when you have a chance. There are also examples of Henry Moore and an indoor gallery about him and his work.

Note though, there is no cycling allowed in the actual park.

After wandering around for a couple of hours and stopping for lunch it was time to tackle the 15km ride home. There are cycle paths around Wakefield. The town even has a website dedicated to their promotion. So I thought I would try to stick to them in the middle of town.

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But first getting to town.

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This part of Wakefield is a little rural and quaint. I went past a cricket match next to a field of cows, how very English.

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Through town the route was hard to follow at points. The website and routes seems to be a good start, but I think it needs a bit more investment. I guess that is the same for most cities. I will try some of the other routes when I get a chance.

Overall it was a lovely day, but I need to invest in a comfier saddle. Here is my route home, I didn’t bother putting my initial 5km ride on as the first part of this route is the same. Just reverse the elevation in your head.

Summer withdrawal and an Ebay bike

As I am an expat/international teacher I often fly home to England for the summer. That means I leave my bikes behind and go bike free. This summer I just couldn’t stand being bike free for a month. But what to do? I don’t want to spend loads of money on a bike I will use for only a short time and then leave for up to a year… Hello Ebay!

I did a bit of searching and looked for something that I could pick up locally, would be cheap, and in working order. That didn’t leave much room for movement. Eventually I got a bike for about $50 and my sister helped me pick it up. The guy we bought it from took off the front wheel, for that price there is no quick release.

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After I got the bike home I did a little more research and it has terrible reviews, but it is cheap, cheerful and will get me around. I have decided to call it Chav. I added lights and a spring lock, it may be cheap but I don’t want to replace it due to theft. The gears changed ok once you get use to them, but the brakes were none existent. So the first trip was a family ride to Halfords. A detour on the way back took us to Pugneys Water Park. By this point I had only cycled 18km, but I had forgot my cycling shorts and my butt was feeling a bit worse for wear.

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Also while I am away I can’t use my iphone and the Strava app, but my Garmin GPS watch worked fine and I downloaded the data from basecamp and uploaded it to the website with no issues. I have been careful to make my location private, blocking the start and finishing points. This is not Japan, though I have to say cycling on British roads was not as scary as I thought it would be. There has definitely been an increase in cycle awareness and use since I last rode a bike here.

Anyway, this may not be my best bike or one I will travel far on, but I am mobile and can trundle around when I want. Now I have fixed the brakes, with a bit of help from my brother-in-law who patiently gave me a lesson, I feel pretty happy and safer. I also feel much more relaxed knowing I can go out if I want.

Here is my first ride in the UK for a long time đŸ™‚