Posted by Alan on September 3, 2011
Rochdale pool, regional winner, 1987
It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve written anything down. I thought about it but somehow the keystrokes just haven’t been forthcoming. Last weekend I spotted this sign in the foyer of Rochdale baths after having swum just over half a mile in the ‘big pool’, which unusually, is 100′ (30.48m) long. The pool itself is perfectly functional if a little rough around the edges – the concrete rot has set in and plans are a foot to replace it with something shiny and new next door. Still, the regional winner of 1987 plaque is still there. And still polished.
There’s some cycling stuff on the way soon, but I’ve started to put small nuggets of cycling at http://piepowered.tumblr.com/ for anyone that way inclined.
Posted in Buildings and Places | Tagged: Milk Marketing Board, Pool, Rochdale, Sign, Swimming | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on June 14, 2011
This weekend I attempted my longest bike ride yet, the target a pint of Darkstar’s finest at the Evening Star. This was always going to be a challenge and sadly I gave in 15 miles short in Haywards Heath. But not without some adventure and some lovely Southern scenery. Heading out from home the first stop was Crystal Palace, 17 miles down the road from home.
It's that tele mast again
A short pause for a quick snack and drink before an excellent run down the other side of the hill. At this point I wasn’t following a route map, just trying to point in vaguely the right direction. This was probably a mistake! Seeing signs for Bromley and Beckenham I turned westwards and ended up on the edge of Croydon near Selhurst. Not something I really wanted – Croydon is a very motorised place, fully of dual carriageways and car parks. This diversion easily added 2 miles compared with the route I could have taken by heading towards Beckenham. Oops. Eventually I fell out of the urban sprawl and onto country roads.
Frylands Wood, New Addington
The next pit stop at around 27.5 miles was a pub called the ‘White Bear’. It looked pretty good – a reasonable selection of ale, busy but not uncomfortable and the food looked fine. Some of the reviews online are less positive and it was £2 for a blackcurrent and soda – daylight robbery! Still, an ample chance to sit and take on board more liquid before heading southwards again. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to work my new gps toy properly yet – so ‘mile 27’ apparently took 44 minutes to complete…
So here comes the ranty bit. In my planning I’d looked up a couple of routes, using CycleStreets and Sustrans. I really don’t know why I bother with the latter – I’m more and more convinced each time I try a Sustrans route that it’s been designed for someone with a 4×4 and bike rack who likes a slow pedal at the weekend.
This is 'national cycle route 21'
NCN 21 is Sustrans London to Brighton route, or more specifically Greenwich to Brighton route. So perhaps you might expect that connecting two cities it is a well paved, waymarked route allowing comfortable progress of 10-15 miles per hour. I’m not exactly Chris Boardman after all. Sadly it isn’t. Just 100 metres after finding the route at the White Bear, it turned into a muddy ditch. Since destroying my pedals on the way to Southend (and possibly the other rides before that) my bike is currently out of action waiting new pedals and retirement in the north. This mean’s I have Ruth’s Trek road bike – it’s not designed for this and this slowed me right down to 5-8 mph.
Spot the sign
The route is waymarked, but these are often small hidden dark coloured signs on dark trees. Admittedly not a great photo but if you can spot the sign good on you!
Sign in Context
As soon as the next sign pointed onto another track, I gave up on NCN 21 and took to using maps and minor roads. By Caterham (mile 32) I was getting ready for the next break – but instead I got held up, by a carnival! This 5 minute wait proved a useful little boost.
Just over 35 miles, the pit stop proper arrived – the Caterham viewpoint. It’s a great view with the M25 completely hidden from the top. You can still hear it though – in the distance, the South Downs and the next lot of challenges.
By this stage I had started to flag a bit – I’m not convinced I’ve got the diet right on a ride to provide the optimum level of energy. At mile 42 I found another pub to take on water, the Dog and Duck close to the village of Outwood. I was fast running out of afternoon and it started to become clear that I wouldn’t get to Brighton, at least, not if I wanted to get home at a sensible hour. So I switched the target to beat 55 miles so that at least I’ve cycled further in a day than I’ve walked!
Ouse Valley Viaduct
The Ouse Valley Viaduct just outside Haywards Heath provided a last breathtaking scene, this time man made countryside as the road dips down just above the river before climbing into Haywards Heath itself. Arriving just after 6pm, it had taken me 8 hours to travel the 57.6 miles – with stops. According to the GPS thingy, a moving average of 10mph, with my actual moving time being just under 6 hours.
Onto a train by half 6 and back in London sometime around 1915 leaving time for one last photograph.
Looking up - The Shard
It’s not long now until ‘the big one’ – the c2c ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. Our maximum distance per day is around 45 miles. Now it’s just the hills to worry about!
Posted in Cycling, Travelling around | Tagged: blackcurrent, Brighton, Carnival, Caterham, Crystal Palace, CycleStreets, Cycling, Glass, gps, infrastructure, London, NCN21, pub, shard, Sign, soda, Sustrans | 1 Comment »
Posted by Alan on January 7, 2011
Even if you can break the ice…
Posted in Buildings and Places, Photography | Tagged: Cowm Park, EOS 500D, Lancashire, Reservoir, Sign, Whitworth | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on September 13, 2010
I wonder how many people actually refer to any of these vehicles using these names any more, or when this sign was put here. Looks like it’s been a while…
And why is it Pedal cycles, not pedal cycles?
And. Why. The. Full. Stops?
Posted in 2010 North Norfolk Holiday | Tagged: Norfolk, sheringham, Sign | Leave a Comment »