I thought today was going to be ‘one of those days’…set out from home on the Tricross got 1/2 a mile down the road and thought hmm should have put some air in my back tyre. Ok well I have my new pump I’ll just top it up, unscrew the valve cap and it unscrews the valve core too!! Argh! The valve cap appears to be welded to the core and now I have no air in my tyre, crap. So I walk home, but I am going to go on a ride today, if all else fails break out the single speed!
The first thing I notice (especially now looking at that photo above) is that the handlebars over time have moved downwards, but it’s too late to fix that now onwards! So I head out towards the ring road figuring I’ll head out on King lane and then round the back of Harewood. So I’m crossing the ring road at the big roundabout taking the lane for safety and some guy in a black golf beeps me and gives me a load of abuse, I’ve clearly increased his journey time by two minutes. Being the tactful man I am I give him two fingers and a wanker sign, naturally he sees this slows down ahead pulls into a bus stop and gets out of his car! Fuck this I’m not having a bloody fight with this dick so I do a u-turn and start to head in the opposite direction. I hear him yell “where are you going” and give me the wanker sign back before getting back in his car and driving off. So I pull up give him enough time to get up the road a bit and away from me and then do another u-turn to continue on my way. I want a ride not a fight.
Anyhow I carry on up King Lane and then take a right towards the far side of the Harewood house grounds, it’s at this point I notice I have no phone. Shit, did I lose it or just not pick it up off the side, luckily it turned out to be the latter. However now I was a man alone if I got any form of mechanical, I thought about what people did before mobiles I guess it was phone boxes, walking and the kindness of strangers.
So after looping round I ended up on the A61 and an idea struck me, every morning I see this hill off in the distance to the right of the main road as you go towards Harrogate, so I thought I’d go and find it. So the first climb I came to on this route looked like it could be the one I could see but then it was pretty easy even with one gear, I then rounded the corner to the real climb. I got half way up and then it defeated me, at the top it informed me it was called Kearby Cliff, apt? I reckon that you could get up it pretty easily with gears but it does ramp up nicely towards the top to give you a challenge.
Right now where? Well considering where I was I had two choices Harrogate and Wetherby, I chose the latter as I’ve never ridden there and I thought I could easily loop back round to Leeds from there. I’ve been to Wetherby a few times and it’s a nice market town to have a wander round but I didn’t really stay long today. Crossed the river and then joined the A661 back towards Leeds with a nice view of the A1(M). Once into Collingham you can peel off and take the back road towards Harewood again, I was amazed by how much stuff (pubs/shops etc.) was boarded up in Collingham I guess they don’t get much passing trade.
Turned left off the A659 into East Keswick so I was heading towards Leeds against rather than west and beat the hill on the outskirts of Bardsey which is damn tough on 46 x 17. I continued along Wick Lane and was a bit worried I was going to pop out back on the A61 again but following my nose this didn’t happen. Here the second hill of the day defeated me, just before you get to The Village Golf course on the outskirts of Wike there are a number of short sharp climbs. The last 200 metres of the last one was just a bridge too far, my breathing got to the point that it sounded like when Davey is attacking at the top of the mountain in America Flyers, VO2 max?
It’s worth noting that the song ‘Rough Draft’ by Lemuria gets me up so many climbs, I only know about 6 lines but for some reason in the summer I started singing them to get me up the hill to work every morning. Now if I have to dig in and I need to know what level of exertion I’m putting in I sing the song over and over again. Trust me her vocals are much better than the raspy out of breath ones I end up pushing out. Random thing is it appears I don’t even own the song.
So as I just start to get back into Leeds proper I come up to another cyclist and even though I’ve only got one gear know I’m going to catch him climbing the hill ahead. As I pass I offer a cheery ‘afternoon’, to which he starts ranting about how he’s listening for cars so it wasn’t appreciated and after I’m passed immediately pulls over to turn right. What the fuck? Should I have yelled ‘on your right’, it’s a good job I said something because otherwise he could have pulled straight across me. Bloody miserable roadies.
Back into Leeds proper now, cruise down Shadwell Lane, across the ring road to Moortown, double back slightly to get onto the road back to my house and then relax. Except some arsehole decides he has to undertake me on the roundabout at the top of King Lane, for fucks sake. Oh well bite my tongue and keep my hands on the bars, almost home, plus it’s all down hill on Stonegate lane so I can free wheel to the end of my road.
The scores on the doors? Somewhere in the region of 1.5 to 2 hours, 25.72 miles covered and a not too shabby 804ft of climbing. Not super fast but hey that’s on 42 x 17 on a bike frame that was pretty much a skip find.