The great outdoors

Whilst much of the cycling world is online, the off-road section of the Club is very active. It is much easier to adhere to the current government and British Cycling guidelines with small groups off-road. One thing we’ve been promising to do for a while is an epic ride somewhere. So it was that three of us met in Buxton in the Peak District at 10am, 11 July 2020.

Weather was a bit overcast as we headed up the old Roman Road to the Cat and Fiddle pub. Then the sun peeked out a bit and we were making good speed over the moors. Next part of the ride took us to Three Shires’ Head – where Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire meet. More climbing up some rocky tracks to Flash Bar – the highest village in England. We rode past an open cafe as we’d only been going an hour. Another hour later, after a very rocky descent to Hollinsclough, and a climb up Axe Edge, we stopped at the cafe. Lots of motorbikers had turned up, so social distancing was a bit tricky, but everyone was trying hard and was being very courteous.

Down the Cumberland Brook this time, and back to Three Shires’ Head which had become like a beach in Bournemouth. Quite incredible how many people had made their way to the middle of nowhere.

We took another track upwards and arrived on a minor road which took us up a very sharp climb to Macclesfield Forest. This is an absolutely fantastic hidden gem. Wonderfully wide tracks, swooping descents and superb views. A real highlight.

Probably worth mentioning at this point that David was riding an eMTB. David said that the motor just “took the edge off” the uphill efforts. As I was seeing stars through trying to keep up as we rode up a mile-long gravel track, and Stuart was audibly losing the will to live, David was whistling a tune and enjoying the view!!! Stuart and I both race cyclocross in National Championships, so it was really pleasing that David, a very muscular, former cage-fighter, was easily able to keep up and enjoy the whole ride.

Another gravelly descent and you guessed it – another climb, this time on the road to Cat and Fiddle again. Back over the Roman road, bathed in glorious sunshine. An absolutely fantastic way to spend 5 hours in the saddle. 5000ft of climbing and the same descending of course!

More epics are planned over the Summer and into the Autumn, so please do email Scott, [email protected] for details of those, and to join the monthly social rides, or any of the many smaller rides in between.

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