The Quiet Route

After my recent post about cycling to Rochdale during rush hour I found myself needing to return to Rochdale once again.  This time it was a Sunday however, and the weather had been dry for about a week.  As many of you will know, leaving the Manchester in most directions is at least slightly uphill.  Oldham Road is no exception, forming a long but gentle climb until you reach Oldham.  On this day however, the slight incline was also supplemented by a strong head-wind and by the time I reached Failsworth I decided to take refuge on the Rochdale canal.  Things began to look up immediately after that.

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The ride was very pleasant after this point, with the trees and hedges along the canal providing escape from the wind.  Due to the dry weather, I was able to get to Rochdale in a time comparable to my previous road trip.  I made the return trip via the same route later.  The ride back is even better because all of the locks are heading downhill.  When I re-joined the road at Failsworth, amazingly the wind was now in my favour.  This combined with the slight slope and a bit of luck with the traffic lights allowed me to maintain a solid 45-50 km.h-1 (30 mph) for around 4 minutes without even feeling put-out by it.  It was the first time I have managed to spin out on the Tourist, an extra gear would have allowed me to go even faster.  I got some curious looks from motorists as I comfortably cruised along at the same speed as them.

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I took this shot of my shadow as I was nearing home in the late afternoon sun.  I was reminded of it by a recent post on A Grim North.  When the weather permits, this is the best way to cycle to Rochdale.

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