01756 796844. Gate 3. Sidings Business Park Skipton. N Yorkshire BD231TB riderscyclecentre@live.co.uk

IMG_4852Coffee and lap top. OS mapping and a free day in the saddle. An exciting prospect for a fantastic adventure. Delusions of grandeur and an appetite for miles.

Saturday was full of bravado and foolhardiness. Sunday started with apprehension and thoughts of returning to a warm duvet with Jade.

If thick frost and a clear sky wasn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm then the 4.30am alarm call was really testing the resolve. A tired mind was quenching the fire. Time for a dose of caffeine and big dose of rule No5.

5am. Door closed behind me. Joystick and rear light on. Strava activated and Garmin guiding the way. Plugged in and wrapped up. Mile No1 underway.

Bloody nora its cold. My poor ears where taking a beating. Jumbo 1 and 2 needed some buff protection before Jack Frost took hold. Up and over to Wycoller Park and already my water bottle was frozen. A sign of things to come.

My climb towards Pendle Hill was interrupted by a call of nature and a swig of my slush puppy. The moon shone bright in the clear sky and the sun was creeping it’s way onto the horizon. My descent down Pendle was a cautious affair. Rivers of ice intersected the road and there was no way I wanted a 2nd off in a week.

When you arrange or plan a ride you include the weather forecast in your preparations and without question you want to believe the proffesional weathermen and women. I expected the cold but either I drank to much Trinacria Rosso the night before or they forgot to mention the freezing incapacitating fog that hung in the flat lands. As I cycled off the hillside the temperature inversions flattened the fog and plummeted the temperature. Only when I climbed out of Waddington did I escape its claustrophobic clasp and climb out to admire the morning sunrise vista and WOW. I felt very lucky for that sweet moment. A view immortalised in pixels and in my memories.

Welcome to The Forest of Bowland. The road sign was masked in ice and frost. My tights, gloves and jacket where covered in a film of ice crystals and my buff had frozen its self to my beard. My over shoes had made a valiant attempt to keep my toes warm. They deserved a Bronze Star for their bravery but alas. I dismounted my bike and began the slow painful walk (which felt like I was walking on my ankles) to get the warm blood back into my digits. The chilblains and it’s itchy stinging pain soon had me hobbling like a wounded goose and a passing motorist even stopped to offer assistance. He drove off with a smirk when I explained my predicament “Silly bugger”.

Back out into the crisp sunshine was my reward for climbing to the top of Blaze Moss but below and awaiting my arrival was another layer of thick fog. It looked like a giant lifeless lake below ready to drown me in it’s cold currents. I was now without my views. My soul searching vistas and views. My tired limbs could no long feed off the landscape. It was time to knuckle down and get myself to Morecambe and a hot breakfast. Back roads and lanes. Cycle ways and single track. Roundabouts and promenades. I made it onto the pier. Welcome to Stuart and his Jones Morecambe. Morrison provided the full breakfast and some WiFi. Robin assured me vis FaceBook that a trip back home would be greeted by sunshine and I quickly rejected the train trip home (rule No5 gave me a slap) and prepped for the return trip. Back along the promenade and around the roundabouts. Weaving through the single track and onto the cycle path. Cruising the back road but now sharing the tarmac with Sunday drivers and thick fog. My batteries where fighting hard. I never expected to be using them during daylight hrs.

Jelly Babies and coffee at Chatburn perked me up. I was counting down the climbs and clocking off the miles. As I sat against the wall looking at the Jones I wondered why I have left my MTB tyres on and why I had not swapped them for something more road worthy. “Silly bugger”.

Up and over Pendle Hill and off to Wycoller Park. The last climb. Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds had kept me company for the last few hours and David Essex and Richard Burton joined me for my final climb before the last few rewarding miles into Haworth. My 1st 100 miler on my new bike. A long ride to get to know one another. Many miles to come Mrs Jones. Thank you for your company.


If you would like to see the route I rode, download the route or see some of the ride stats then please click on the links below.