Category Archives: cycling

Cholera Momument grounds Sheffield

I visited this place today. I thought I would mention it as it is part of the ‘green link‘, which is a cycle way in Sheffield. I hadn’t intended to go to the park and once there I was intrigued by the history of the place. You can read an in-depth history here. Basically around 1832 there was an outbreak of cholera in England, and it reached Sheffield by the middle of the year. There were over 400 deaths and those bodies had to go somewhere, there weren’t enough spaces in local churches. This space was used as a burial ground and a monument erected a couple of years later.

Today it is a nice peaceful park over looking Sheffield. It has great views of the skyline and is a good walk. I suspect it would be a hard cycle for me though.

If you do visit Sheffield try going out of the back of the station rather than the front. I didn’t even know this area existed and it is very interesting to wander around.

Longdendale trail

I went to a car boot sale recently and purchased a couple of books. One of them was this one.

A good car boot buy for 50p

I made a google map of all the starting points. That way if I felt like doing one someday I could just set off. Yesterday I was a bit bored and decided that the next day I would set off and do a cycle ride. I chose one that was the closest to my home, number 5, “The Jaws of Longdendale“. I made a Strava route just to be sure of the effort that might be required.

It definitely seemed doable even though I haven’t been on my bike much. So I loaded up my eBay £30 bike to the back of my car ready for the morning.

And when I woke up…it was raining, just slightly, more like mist. The book said not to bother with the route if it was windy as the valley acts like a tunnel and it wouldn’t be fun. Bugger it, I am going anyway. It would be a nice drive??

The carpark was an easy find and I thought it was a great place to start. In the middle, so if it did turn blustery then you only had to do half the route or less back. There was also a toilet block.

Look at that bike, it has been a bit of a bargain but I have to say the brakes are crap. I cannot stop quickly and going downhill I don’t really come to a complete stop without putting my feet down. I have tried adjusting them and they do stop perfectly when I am not on the bike so I am not sure what to do about them. Just pray I don’t need to do an emergency stop.

Anyway, the cycle path looks like this the whole way. A mountain or cross bike would be better. There are runners, hikers, and dog walkers on the path, take care. On a sunny day the car park will fill up quickly as will the path.

There were a couple of cobbled sections near gates, probably to get you to slow down. Another device to slow you down was this…

I couldn’t get through without getting off.

At one end of the route you will come across these tunnels.

At this point you head back toward the carpark…toilets 🙂 and then on to the other end.

Even though I had made a route, I couldn’t access it due to the poor reception in the area. Luckily it was an easy to follow path having been made from an old railway line. Though it did mean I did not go down to the dam and headed straight for Hadfield. I didn’t mind not doing the exact route as I am sure I will visit the place again sometime. It really was lovely, even on a misty day. The sun did pop through once though.

The route only had one road to cross, but that road can be busy so take care. It isn’t helped by people parking here to avoid carpark fees. I don’t mind the fees as it pays for the toilet block and is safer.

As for the rest of the route, take a look.

It ended up being a super day and I was back home for 1pm. That did indeed make me smile.

The Hepworth and Chantry Chapel

It’s not that I have forgotten this blog, it’s not that I have not been out an about…but it’s just life in general. Life sometimes gets in the way of life.

Plus, the weather has been complete shite here, as we say in Yorkshire.

But yesterday I decided, sod the weather, I am going “out”.  As it is coming up to the season to be jolly, there are lots of Xmas markets around. So off I trot to the one at The Hepworth Wakefield.

I put on my new winter coat and started walking, then after twenty minutes, I went back home. Ordered some waterproof spray, changed coats and set off on my cheapy bike. The stupid coat was supposed to be water resistant. My arse it was..gosh my language this post is atrocious. I blame it on the ridiculous coat. I could take it back and lighten my mood, but gosh..it was warm. I will try the waterproofing spray first. I am hoping resistance is not futile.

Anyway, The Hepworth was very bike friendly, welcoming even.

My cheap £30 bike, that I have used more than my much more expensive bike. No fear of it getting stolen.
See told ya, they welcome cyclists 🙂

The xmas fair (sorry not religious, just love xmas) was more like a good craft fair with a festive brass band and few xmassy items spread around. I enjoyed it for a few minutes…but then it got way to busy and I couldn’t move around or look at anything comfortably. I headed for the food tent and was jokingly insulted because I didn’t know what a ramekin was.

A stall was selling reuseable food covers and she explained the small ones were for ramekins. What are they I ask. The seller tilted her head in a pitying way and said, “oh love, they can also cover your tin of beans”. Charming!

So I went outside to the food vans and bought a Gin and Tonic.

The whole area is lovely and there is a free art gallery to boot!

Then I decided to trundle home, but when in that area I can never resist having a look at Wakefield Bridge and Chantry Chapel.

I might try to find the other three.

I used to work next to this building and have never seen the inside. I was even tempted to go to a service, just so I could see it. BUT, what was that??? Could I see the door open??? Holy Moly the door was opennnnnn!!!!

They were having their own xmas fair, bugger I spent all my money in the other one. Sorry, Chantry Chapel

Here are some photos of the inside and outside.

And now time to cycle home.

World’s comfiest seat.

Maybe time for some fish and chips too.

Frickley Country Park

An Instagram friend sparked my interest in visiting Frickley Colliery. Apparently, his grandfather worked at the pit and seeing as it was just 30 minutes from my house I thought I would go an take a look.

So, on a brisk and cloudy day off I set in my smashing car and went for a walk. I took a camera to test and my super little Olympus U-mini. This time remembering to use the settings for close-up 🙂 as I forgot last time. Seriously for stuff like this, a good old 5mp camera that fits in your pocket is perfect. And that is the last time I will mention it, honest.

The colliery began its life in 1903 with the first seam being the No.1 Barnsley which went to a depth of 608 meters. Next was the No.2 Dunsil seam and finally the No.3 Shafton seam. This seam was first based at another colliery close by, South Elmsall. The two collieries were combined in 1967, which is a simple history garnered from the link provided. That site has much more information so navigate to that if you are interested in coal mining. Or there is Wikipedia of course, which gives details of the closing of the colliery in 1993 and of the country park opening in 2005.

You can walk the virtual depth of these seams by taking the long path in the middle of the park. Here are my photos, I virtually used one roll of film.

The mounds you see represent stromatolites that were found in the area. Stromatolites are the prehistoric fossilised remains bacteria that grew in shallow seas. You can see living ones in this video…do you think the mounds are a good representation?

While I was walking around I saw cyclists, runners, dog walkers, and ramblers. Nearly all said hello or afternoon. One bloke’s dogs got very excited by the noise of a nearby ice-cream van. He said his wife always buys them an ice-cream so they start barking demanding a treat.

I think I might visit this park again as there are 7 miles of cycle and running paths.

Now, if you want to know what the area looked like when it was an actual colliery you can watch this amazing homemade video. It is a bit long, I didn’t watch it all in one go, but skimmed through. It is a brilliant and wonderful piece of history, which if the time stamp is true, was made in 1994 just after the colliery was closed.

I also found this more professional one from a bit earlier that features the local brass band. Though it does seem to stop working after 25 minutes so be warned.

I didn’t walk the full 7 miles, but I did have a lovely afternoon. If you really want to learn about mining then I recommend visiting the National Coal Mining Museum nearby.

Cycle to Wakefield and Thornes Park

It was a lovely day today. I did think about going for a drive and a walk in some woods about an hour away, but then I remembered Thornes Park. This park is made up of a few different parks, but most people refer to it as Thornes.

Considering I have lived in Wakefield since I was 9 years old, I really haven’t made the best use of this park. Though I have spent time there, playing rounders, feeding the quack quacks, taking photos, it isn’t somewhere I go regularly. Maybe that should change.

It was a short cycle from my house and I took a couple of film cameras to try out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also took a small, older, digital camera. I read a few photography blogs and one I read regularly mentioned using older digital cameras. Then saw a camera I used to own on eBay for about a fiver. A fiver for a 5 megapixel camera.

I originally had a black version but sold it to a friend. I always regretted it as I loved the size and shape. Gosh, this is starting to sound like my other blog. Anyway, it fit into my trouser pocket perfectly so it was perfect for a cycle camera…ignore the bag on my back with 3 other cameras in it.

Wakefield is a lovely place during the day, it has a cathedral and many old buildings. Nearby are many museums and lots of beautiful countryside. And sitting near the M1 and M62, you can get to other parts of the country very easily.

I love the Queen Victoria statue. It has moved about a bit since I have lived in Wakefield. It used to be near Thornes Park, then in the bullring, now it sits near the civic buildings. This amazing video shows her when she was first installed and when she was moved to the park.

The building with the blue sign used to be the city museum. I often went in there growing up as there was a life-size Roman soldier that I was fascinated with….and it was free. So a great place, however…Wakefield is said to have one of the highest number of pubs per square mile of anywhere in the country, allegedly. Which was great for a night out when I was in my 20s, not so great if you don’t want your city to have a binge drinking issue of an evening. Though researching this blog, I couldn’t find any evidence of Wakefield even being in the top ten, and lots of evidence that the council is working on improving the issue.

Anyway, from the civic area I cycled the short distance to the park.

I love that tiled announcement. Somebody was seriously annoyed about Shaz and Matty if they went to the bother of actually making the tiles and putting them up in the shelter. Plus it is kind of funny that they have never been taken down. The black and white building is a bandstand and there are sometimes free concerts there.

The park was opened in 1891 and you can read more about the history here. I love that it was classed as a Grade II park because it survived! It is almost like someone said, “Good grief is that park still there? Ok, give it an award.”

The first place I visited was the duck pond, though I didn’t feed the quack quacks. However, it was a perfect place to test my film cameras. I will write about that on my other blog. These are from the Olympus u-mini.

At this point, I broke the kickstand on my bike, “someone” who reads this blog will like that as he has made a few comments about it before.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The little camera seems good for general shots, but not for closeups unless you change the settings which I did not do. I will in the future now I know.

From there I headed to the conservatory and rose garden. Just to note, while I was in the park I didn’t cycle.

I came here with my mum a few times, she loved the roses and ducks.

From there, I wandered through the woods to the pet cemetery, yeap, Thornes has it all.

There are other things to see and activities throughout the woods including playing fields, exercise equipment and a scavenger hunt.

But the best might be hunting CONKERS! This is the perfect place to go conker hunting.

And…where there are conkers….there will be nut eaters around, and I saw quite a few squirrels 🙂

Now to be fair to the little camera, these were not taken using it. I knew there might be squirrels so took my other small digital, just in case. The Olympus would only have capture a squirrel if it had literally come up to me and asked me for a nut. Even then it would have been too close to be in focus without changing the settings.

After a bit of squirrel watching, I headed to the ‘kids’ side of the park. This is where the cricket ground is. Here you will also find a playground, a skateboarding park, and a miniature train track.

The trains run at the weekend during the summer. I have been on them a couple of times many moons ago, but not in the past 20 years. They were not running today but here is another video.

And done for the day. So I cycled home and had a Japanese beer, which my local off-licence kindly started stocking for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As for the camera, if you are never going to print the photos then old digital cameras are perfect for blogs. Plus they are as cheap as fish and chips. Thank you Mr James for the idea.

Cycling Around Stanley Ferry

For the past few days, I have been thinking about buying a new mountain bike. Mine has dodgy brakes and is not a great make. I originally bought it to be a cheap bike to cycle into town and not worry about leaving it in a bike rack. My main bike is a Giant road bike and I would feel uncomfortable leaving that chained to a rack out of eye view. But many of the places I want to cycle are unsuitable for a road bike. That means I have been using the cheap run around more than I ever intended. Hence maybe I need/want a better one.

But before I spend any money I thought I would give my cheap bike another try. So off I trundled to a local cycle path, one perfect for a mountain bike. I also thought I would do a little geocaching along the way.

The Transpennine cycle route 67 is fairly close to my house. I am quite lucky.

Here is my strava map.

Part of the route was really tight, but being near water it was also fairly flat. Before and after the actual trail route was quite hilly though. That means you get a great workout.

The trail was fairly quiet apart from The Stanley Ferry restaurant area. And with it being Yorkshire I got the chance to chat with a few people along the route.

As for the bike. It is a bit rubbish, but it was fine for this kind of route. I will think on a bit more.

 

Lofthouse Colliery Cycle

Well, after getting obsessed with cameras for a while, I am now back to cycling a bit more. I think the Tour De France might have had some influence, but without Sagan and Cavendish it was a close call.

I am back in the UK for a month and the weather is playing ball. Today I took out my two bikes from my shed and checked them over. They seemed ok, but the tyres needed a pump.

Then I set off on a very short ride around a local trail just to check the gears. I didn’t want to go far in case anything happened….like a tyre going flat.

I am lucky to live next to an old colliery that has been repurposed into a walking and cycle trail. Here is a video I found on youtube about the site.

It will amuse anyone who knows me because of the accents. (See, I have changed my voice so you can understand me better)

Anyway, it was a short jaunt today, just dipping my foot into the water, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how easy it was on my eBay bike. The trail is part of the Wonders of Wakefield cycle route.

Hopefully, I will get to do some other parts of the route before I return to Japan.

And here are my tiny stats.