It was a cool, dry morning on Saturday when we set off on my birthday ride, coined the “Tour de Forty” by Dan! Obviously we had to stop for the photo opportunity with Frank Sidebottom in Timperley village as we began our ride out to the Peaks, where we would meet Paul and Jimbo before heading north to Hebden Bridge.
It was a pleasant ride out East through Stockport, the Peaks as the back drop, i couldn’t help feel a little anxious thinking on the climbs that lay ahead with only a fixed 65″ gear at my disposal, but I had promised Jimbo I would ride it in moral support of his first ever big ride on a single speed!
The Logdendale trail proved very picturesque as one would expect, but not quite the surface quality we had been hoping for, it was pretty wet and muddy in places, still, better than mixing it up with the mad drivers of Woodhead!
Woodhead reservoir marked our turn North towards Holme Moss Summit, the big climb of the day, and ultimately our rendezvous at The Fleece Inn with the Sheffield contingent. It was a savage climd, with a ferocious head wind, I was soon reduced to pushing, whilst Dan showed off the merits of a triple chainring!
A combination of pushing and riding saw us to the summit, but then faced with an epic descent towards Holmfirth, personally I think the descending on a fixie is harder than the climbing, I almost touched 30mph!!
Both parties arrived at the pub only five minutes apart, how’s that for planning!? A hearty lunch with a pint was consumed by all, probably to the determent of the riding that followed!
More steep climbs, cobbled roads and dirty cycle paths followed, Jimbo lost a shoe and we eventually rolled in to Hebden as it was going dark. We found a decent ale pub and rewarded ourselves with some refreshment. Phoning ahead to the pub next door to our accommodation revealed that they didn’t serve food on Saturdays, doh!
We had another 2 mile push up a steep hill before we eventually rolled down the other side to our digs for the evening, another moment of perfect timing as Phil and Declan rolled in just behind us, and Nick and Ade were sat waiting in the car with a boot load of beer!
We all got settled in and showered, and the decision was made to get takeaway, which I think suited everyone perfectly, no messing around with taxis and pubs, we had a fridge full of beer and tunes, Ade collected a Chinese banquet for 10 and we were in for the night…. Top night!
The following morning was damp and cooler still, only myself, Phil and Declan were riding the return leg, the Sheffield contingent were on the train, and Rob was suffering with a sore knee, so him and Dan took the train back to Manchester. We found a decent breakfast in a town center cafe, bacon and egg barms, the train goers had full English! It was a pleasant ride out to Todmorden and on to Littleborough, hugging the valley floor so no major climbs!
All to soon though we were back on the city limits, each of us parting ways at our respective homes and I rode the last ten miles alone, tired but very happy!