Blog Archives

Finally, cycling Pugneys and Sandal Castle

Well, what a crappy run of luck. Influenza A and probably B, bad back yadda yadda yadda. I have not been running or hardly on a bike for a couple of months maybe more. To top it all, the day before I leave for my summer in the uk something happened to my back again and I was in excruciating pain in the mornings for over 4 weeks. I ended up with daily pain killers and a back brace.

BUT guess what. I am almost ok. I am finally able to cycle around and about, though for 20km at the most. I can work with that. I can build on that.

So where did I go for my first cycle?

Just around my home town in the UK, Wakefield. There are quite a few cycling routes around and a number of websites with details. Including this one. When I had to visit my mum in the hospice I had to go up Ouchthorpe Lane every day. Boy it was hard and it only got a little easier. I really struggled this time and almost gave up, but I didn’t. Then I trundled off to a local country park and a castle. There is always a castle somewhere nearby in the UK, though they are not always intact.

Sandal Castle is on a mound and you can see it from quite a way off. But for some reason I couldn’t find the road from Pugneys Country Park. I eventually stopped to ask an old bloke walking his dogs. In typical Yorkshire fashion he replied, “Can you not see it on top of the ruddy hill?” I said I could, but did not know the best route. So he then informed me, “Well, its best to go along that path, but hark on that bloody farmer has just ploughed the damn field again.”

True enough, I pushed my bike over the field and up the side of the moat. Once I caught a couple of pokemon on the castle I headed home. Feeling refreshed and happy.

Here is my route and stats. It turns out I wasn’t as slow up the hill as I thought. It was my second best time.

Ok, so barring a change of luck I will add more rides.



Newmillerdam ride and walk

I haven’t been posting much recently due to some family issues. Basically I returned to Japan from the UK at the end of the summer holiday only to receive a phone call 2 weeks later asking me to return as my mother had taken a turn for the worse. After a quick flight and train I was back in Yorkshire. Now mum is a tiny bit more stable I can venture out a bit. It is good for stress relief. I also joined a gym so I can do something during the day close to home while mum has the district nurse and carers change her meds.

Knowing how much I like cycling my parents lent me some money, plane rides are expensive, and I found a second hand Giant Liv on ebay. It is exactly the one I wanted and my size. The giant I have in Japan is too big, now I know why having a good fit really helps. When I return and pay off my credit card 🙂 I will invest in the same one there.

2015-10-03 12.45.12

Today I didn’t go far as I was hoping my sister could meet me with mum in our other ebay purchase, thank goodness for honest ebayers, a wheelchair adapted car. To be honest it didn’t look good as she had had extra meds in the night. So while I waited to see what happened I wandered around the reservoir. As you can tell by the route map as I forgot to turn my watch off. But here is the route non-the-less.

Newmillerdam is a great place to wander in English woodland. There is an easy trail around the water, but you are not supposed to ride around it. Though that rule doesn’t seem to apply to children and I am ok with that. You can read more about the area here, here, and here.

2015-10-03 12.24.36 2015-10-03 12.24.56

This is the actual dam. I thought there might be cycle parking near here, but there wasn’t and the path with the fence is small so you can’t chain it there. In the end I decided to take it with me, it is light.

2015-10-03 12.28.42

But first a 99 ice cream.

2015-10-03 13.25.12 2015-10-03 13.37.54

It is a short walk perfect for families, dog walkers, and pushers of wheelchairs.

2015-10-03 13.57.05

When I completed the shorter circuit I got a message saying that I would not be met later so I decided to have a late breakfast before my return home. Then just as I finished another message saying they are coming. Yeah! Such is life right now, no set plans can be made.

2015-10-03 15.32.30 2015-10-03 15.32.59

Another wander around the water with a very red mother much to the annoyance of the Canadian geese.

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.

IMG_1304 IMG_1305 IMG_1306

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.

IMG_1316 IMG_1317 IMG_1321 IMG_1322

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 🙂