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Lofthouse Colliery Cycle

Well, after getting obsessed with cameras for a while, I am now back to cycling a bit more. I think the Tour De France might have had some influence, but without Sagan and Cavendish it was a close call.

I am back in the UK for a month and the weather is playing ball. Today I took out my two bikes from my shed and checked them over. They seemed ok, but the tyres needed a pump.

Then I set off on a very short ride around a local trail just to check the gears. I didn’t want to go far in case anything happened….like a tyre going flat.

I am lucky to live next to an old colliery that has been repurposed into a walking and cycle trail. Here is a video I found on youtube about the site.

It will amuse anyone who knows me because of the accents. (See, I have changed my voice so you can understand me better)

Anyway, it was a short jaunt today, just dipping my foot into the water, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how easy it was on my eBay bike. The trail is part of the Wonders of Wakefield cycle route.

Hopefully, I will get to do some other parts of the route before I return to Japan.

And here are my tiny stats.

 

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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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/661883634

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.

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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.

https://www.strava.com/activities/405584238

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.

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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.

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But first a 99 ice cream.

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

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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.

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

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.

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.