Friday, 8 February 2013

Derbyshire Ride Raymondo’s Style – "The Test Ride"

Welcome to Derbyshire

“They’ll be fine in the top box Dad, just as long as I don’t come off that is,” referring to the half a dozen freshly laid eggs my Dad had just given me to take home.

Sat on the grass covered bank,  with my back against Mr T’s seat , boots six inches deep in loose soil and grass. I was sweating profusely, despite having taken my helmet and gloves off and un zipping my jacket, I could still feel it running down my back.

I just couldn’t help but start to laugh, suddenly I heard a loud ping, only inches away from my left ear, it was a message on my mobile,  which read………

Bike Down Alert - Device attached to Mr T triggered a Bike Down Alert at 13:25 07/02/2013 at North East Derbyshire Lat/Long: 5xxxxx22 , -1xxxxxx97  Map:

When I’d stopped laughing I typed out a quick text to Jeannie,

“Don’t worry just a small spill off road lol”

Just how heavy can an unladen Super Tenere be?
Very bloody heavy is the answer!

As it happened Jeannie didn’t read either text until much later that afternoon.  It was just as well I hadn’t had a major accident somewhere and was lying in a ditch unconscious or worse!  Still it’s nice to know the BikeTrac does what it says on the box!

“ Now how the bloody hell am I going to get you back onto your feet if I can’t even stand up myself?” I asked myself, with just a hint of annoyance and worry in equal measures, creeping in.

After a good ten minutes trying to lift Mr T up there was a huge hole on the opposite side of the banking where my boots had just ripped the grass and soil away. It really didn’t help, the fact that I was still laughing, so much so I couldn’t get a grip of Mr T. I just found the whole situation hilarious.

Here I was 85 miles from home, 10 miles from my Dad’s (who couldn’t help even if he had wanted to due to a recent shoulder operation), 3 miles from the nearest paved road and looking at Mr T wedged into the side of a small grassy bank at the side of a dirt track a foot deep in mud. What’s not to laugh at. At least I wasn’t in the deepest darkest corners of the planet stranded and fearing for my life!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve sat and watched all the “Off road survival”  video’s on YouTube. My side stand was down in readiness for the eventual “up standing”. I’d turned the handle bars the right way, well I think I had and bent from the knee’s with my back against Mr T.  The problem was,  each and every time I began to get Mr T off of his side the banking below my feet just slid away, again and again and again.

After 10 minutes I took a rest, “Right I’ve had enough of this messing about” I told myself as I eventually managed to wedge my right knee under the crash bar with my right boot  far enough up banking for it not to just crumble.  Another good heave ho on the bar end and Mr T up right. I carefully  lowered him onto the side stand only to have to run around the other side as fast as you can run a foot deep in mud, just in time to stop him falling over the other way! So much for the side stand extender, mind we were a foot deep in pure mud,  so I’ll let it off.

Riding another 20 foot forward without my helmet felt strange but once I was on something that resembled “terra-firma”  I parked up and walked back to pick up my helmet and gloves. My face was stinging were the tears had been running down my cheeks.

If you fit "Knobblies" 
you just have to use them, it's the law!

So what was I doing in the back end of Sutton Wood caked in mud? Well the truth is “My Big Mouth!”  had got me there Oh! And getting a bit too over confident up on the peg’s  in a foot of mud.  Just as well I was taking it really steady or I’d have been up and over and in the ditch!

Late last year I had asked the lads (Manc Riders) if they fancied  a ride around Derbyshire Raymondo Style. I was really pleased when a small group of about 5 said yes. Unfortunately the ride was cancelled a few weeks later when someone (LBK) booked a white water rafting trip in Wales not realising it was on the same day. Well time moved on and before long the weather broke and I never thought about the Derbyshire ride again until late last year.

The trouble with trying to get a group of folks together on a ride is timing. The lads (& lasses) all work different shifts and trying to get anything organised takes quite a bit of logistical manoeuvrability. (Wow where did that come from?) So to cut to the chase, I posted up “Derbyshire Ride – 2nd Attempt” at the end of December to give everyone a chance to plan ahead . To my delight a fair few folks got behind the ride especially as I had factored in two “unpaved” sections. Plus as it’s so cold I didn't have to worry about any white water rafting trips “gazumping” me.

Due  to being a bit of a perfectionist, I spent a fair few hours at the computer planning what I hope will be an enjoyable and entertaining ride. Just  to make sure it is, I chose to ride it all yesterday. Hence being where I was, a foot deep in mud in the North East of Derbyshire.

I did say Raymondo Style.....

The route starts off in the South of Manchester at the end of the M67 heading due South through a couple of small villages before climbing up and over Monks Road. Finding two foot of snow on the tops was a bit of a shock as most of the white stuff has now gone around Rochdale.

Just how deep is that snow?

The route takes predominantly single track roads all the way to Buxton then on to Bakewell.  Continuing towards Clay Cross via the Fabrick and Alton. Stopping for refreshments at CMC Chesterfield which is the turnaround point.

However I would not want the ride missing out on a couple of nice roads which run by Sutton Hall and Hardwick Hall,  continuing up through Hardstoft where the only “English Oil Well” can be found at the local garden centre. Cutting through Pilsley, Higham and on towards Crich. 

I called in at Crich War Memorial to ensure we would be welcome. The caretaker has lots of RBLR  information around the very cosy “Tea Rooms”. We will be able to visit but I was somewhat a taken aback when he said we could park on the two “Cripples” Parking spaces.

I have an interesting story about Crich Tower,
Ask me about it the next time we meet.

Looking him straight in the eye I replied “I have a disabled daughter!" He immediately apologised and then went on to explain that "the Derbyshire Cripples are a pain as they never want to pay for parking!” I’ll leave you to make you own decisions on this somewhat out of date character, needless to say he will not be appearing on my Christmas card list in the near future. I was absolutely appalled by his comments and just hope someone from the Worcester & Sherwood Foresters Society comes across this Blog.

Moving on the ride loops down into Matlock Bath for a late lunch break. After Lunch we're off again towards Monsal riding through Chatsworth Park, passing the house set out on the right. There is a  section of “unpaved” road on the way to Monsal Head but finding conflicting signage along the way yesterday has made me a little unsure as to whether it is legal or illegal to ride over. Still we will be taking in the  full length of the Monsal Valley before turning left at Litton and riding the back roads towards the last “must see” location in Derbyshire and our dispersal point the famous “Cat and Fiddle” public house.  After that we will all head in our own directions home.

I am fully aware that I have not taken in any of the amazing classic biking roads that you all know and love. That was one of my main criteria for putting the ride together, not to use all the well know routes. Anyone can jump on a bike and zip along the Cat and Fiddle A537 or over Woodhead Road A628 but this ride is just a little more sedate and personal, especially to me.

If ever you feel like having a look at Derbyshire from a totally different prospective give me a shout, I would be happy to point you in the right direction. Who knows I may even join you on a tour of Derbyshire Raymondo's Style.

Derbyshire Lad, 
Born & Bread

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