Friday, 14 June 2019

Birmingham City Ride

HSBC Bank have taken over the organisation (together with British Cycling) of a number of City Centre Rides, from the previous sponsors Sky.  City centre roads are  closed to motorised traffic for the day and thousands of cyclists of all kinds and ages ride around the 5km route enjoying the many cycling related activities on display.
Here is the account of the ride held in Birmingham on Sunday 9th June 2019.

The hub for the event was Aston University where the ride started . There were lots of trade stands and refreshments could be purchased here.

The whole length of the route was very well defined with security barriers and cones.

Thousands of bikes of every description out today but only one unicycle.
Great to see the very young out on their bikes although a little help from Dad was necessary for this one.

Birmingham city centre exhibits lots of innovative modern architecture. 

One of the displays around the course was a demonstration of stunt cycling showing just what can be done on two wheels.

Don't try this at home!

High jump from a standing start.  Amazing!

A great day out for thousands of cyclists of every description riding on streets which are normally choked with motor traffic.  Brilliant organisation with lots of marshals at all junctions on the well planned
Thanks to HSBC and British Cycling for all the hard work which must have gone into the organisation.
More such rides in other city centres as follows.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Willington to Shardlow Canal Ride

We are lucky living in Derby to have the Trent and Mersey Canal within easy reach, since like many of our canals, the towpath makes for good cycling away from traffic and often through beautiful  rural scenery.  Apart from areas around the locks, the paths are flat making for easy if not rapid progress. There are some disadvantages however.  Most of the paths are narrow and surfaces may be poor especially in the winter.  However, in the warm dry days of summer a great place to ride your bike, which for preference would be a mountain bike to cope with the variable surfaces.

This ride goes for 11 miles from Willington to Shardlow, where the canal meets the Rivers Trent flowing to Nottingham and the Derwent coming from Derby.  So in fact a long ribbon of water which crosses the country from the North Sea to the Irish Sea.
We start the ride from Willington which has several nice pubs and a supermarket where you can stock up with provisions for the journey as there are few facilities apart from the excellent waterside cafe at Stenson Lock and The Bubble Inn.

This is the view from the road bridge in Willington.  On the right is the Dragon PH alongside which is the towpath.

The path from here to Stenson has a reasonably good surface as it is well walked by customers of the Dragon pub which has a large garden (right).
The lawn in the garden is artificial grass so needs no mowing - just vacuuming.

Enjoy the ride to Stenson.
The ride distance is about 11 miles but surfaces are not this good all the way

Lots of boats out on the canal in this fine summer weather.

We pass Mercia Marina which lies here on the left bank having a short length of water linking it to the canal.

Another good stop for boaters here at the Wragley Boat Stop but not easily accessible from this side of the canal without a boat.

Last bridge before Stenson.  This bridge was badly damaged by a farm tractor a few years ago, but being a listed structure, has been properly repaired.

The old lock-keepers cottage at Stanson Lock is now an excellent cafe.

View from the cafe with a volunteer from the Canal and River Trust operating the lock gates.

More workers from the C&R Trust cutting the grass on the towpath. Nice job guys.

The best bit of towpath on the Canal Network here as we approach Swarkestone Lock, where on the left is the dead leg of the old Derby Canal which one day will be restored to take the waters back into Derby and eventually rejoin them to the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre.

Swarkestone Lock where the lock keeper's cottage is now a private house.
Cross the lane by the bridge and continue on the towpath.

From Swarkestone to Weston the path is part of the National Cycle Network, which takes Route 6 from Derby into North Leicestershire and as a consequence the path though narrow, has a better surface.

We leave NCN Route 6 here at this ugly and derelict railway bridge and go straight on keeping to the canal path.

From here at Weston, a quieter stretch of canal and a good place to see the wildlife.

Very nice residence beside the canal.

Here we pass beneath the M1 Motorway.  Much nicer down here than up there!

From Weston Lock looking towards Shardlow.

 Here we are at Shardlow, once in the days of commercial canal traffic, an inland port and now still a busy place in the days of leisure boating.

 Plenty of places to have a celebratory drink as we near the end of the ride.

This is Derwentmouth, the meeting point of the three waterways.

And here is the Longhorse Bridge which spans the River Trent and is the end of our ride.  It is an important link in the cycle route from Derbyshire to Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.  The original wooden and concrete bridges which stood here were vital in the days of horse drawn barges.
Return to Derby via Ambaston (a quiet lane leading from the A6 at Shardlow) and Elvaston, where you pick up the Riverside Path into Derby itself.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

A Day in Newark-on-Trent

The market town of Newark is some 40 miles from Derby by road and conveniently connected by hourly trains via Nottingham. It makes a good springboard for cycling trips to Lincoln and Nottingham, several such rides being the subject of posts on this blog.
With a Railcard the cost of the journey is only £6.65 and on this occasion we left our bikes at home to spend a day on foot in Newark which stands in a strategic position on the River Trent joining the River Humber to Nottingham and Derby so has a rich history.

                            The Market Square.
Nice old buildings and narrow streets with interesting shops.

St. Mary Magdalene
church stands high above the market place and is visible from miles around the flat landscape.

The new museum is well worth a visit with lots of historical exhibits relating to military action from the Civil War.

Even a BSA paratrooper's folding bike from WW2.

                  Newark Castle stands by the River Trent.

So - plenty to see and do in the lovely town of Newark.