Bumper Xmas Post

For the first time I have depended solely on my bike for transport at Xmas. In previous years I have walked or used public transport to get to where I needed to at this time of year. This year was different.

On Christmas Eve I went to visit my Dad in Pendlebury. I took the DL-1 up there and my odometer rolled over to 10,000 km total just as I was arriving. I got the usual accusation of madness for choosing to cycle there “In this weather.” Obviously he hadn’t noticed that all the main roads were completely clear. Pendlebury is uphill from the city centre, so the ride home is always fun. Traffic was very low by the time I left and so my speedy ride back was most enjoyable.

On Christmas Day I went to visit friends, one of whom was receiving a bicycle I had been working on as a gift. This meant taking the Yuba Mundo to allow me to tow and carry my trifle and other Xmas stuff. The towed bicycle itself was an old Universal 3-speed utility bike. The bike has fractional 26 inch (590 mm) wheels with non-steel rims allowing the brakes to actually stop the bike, and a pleasing upright posture. I hope it is being enjoyed by its new owner.

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On Boxing Day I went to Rochdale to visit my Mum. Due to limited public transport options I decided to take the DL-1. By the time I had gotten to Failsworth, the wind made the snow-covered canal towpath look quite appealing. By maintaining a minimum speed of 20 km.h-1 wherever possible (Also the towpath speed limit) I was able to keep the bike under control on the compacted snow. The ride was most enjoyable. I was grateful to receive a B67 Saddle from my Mum for the Yuba.

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Rochdale canal in the snow on Boxing Day.

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Today I was going to get the train home due to the poor weather, but upon arriving at Rochdale station the industrial action taken by Northern Rail employees meant that there was a huge queue and I was unlikely to get a ticket in time. Thankfully I was able to hop on the bike and make my own way home. The rain meant the canal was not really an option today, so I rode my usual route home on the road. I saw a handful of other cyclists, all using the pavement. This was despite the fact that the roads were clear and the pavements were covered with ice; perhaps a sad indicator of the pent-up desire for segregated cycle infrastructure here in the UK. Despite the rain it was quite a pleasant ride, the rain even got some of the salt and grit off the bike.

The new saddle needed to have the underside Proofided and the top Proofided and polished off before it was mounted on the Yuba Mundo. Proofide is recommended for all Brooks saddles by Brooks, but it is not included with the saddle. The recipe is secret but it looks and smells like old lard, leading me to think that it might just be old lard.

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Before Proofide application.

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After Proofide application.

When I warm up a bit I’ll take the Yuba for a spin to see how the new saddle feels. Has anyone else done much cycling over Christmas?

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.

Sunny Morning

I decided to go for a ride before work today, it was sunny and clear skies and I figured it might be a while before we see this kind of weather again.  The pictures do it more justice than my words will:

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The shared bike/footpath leading behind MMU Hollings towards Owen’s Park.

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Morning light through the trees on the recently re-surfaced bike/footpath leading through Owen’s Park.

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Fallowfield Loop, heading towards Chorlton.

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A reasonable Twenty copy parked at Morrisons.

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Beautiful clear September sky.

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On to Salford Quays.

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After riding along the river I ended up near Deansgate station, with the odd bicycle sculpture.

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The main reason I came by here was to pop into this shop.  A great little shop, family owned and with fair prices (especially considering where it is).  So that was my 20 km morning detour, and very enjoyable it was too.

Manchester Shots

One of the great things about cycling is that you see things which you wouldn’t have noticed driving.  The other advantage is that you can stop to investigate and take photographs of things without it being problematic.  I recently found these old wintery pictures I took whilst riding around in Manchester and I thought I’d share them here.

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The church on St. Ann’s Square (St. Ann’s Church I assume)

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No. 1 Deansgate against the clear winter sky

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Cross Street, facing back towards Manchester Victoria.  I like that this road is closed to motor traffic, but it means that people tend to step out without looking, so if on a bike, proceed with caution.

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The town hall clock tower against the clear sky.  The city council really went nuts with this building when the city expanded in mid 1800s.

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Part of China town, the shop on the left corner is Ho’s Bakery which is an excellent place to get some amazing sweet and savoury bakes goodies (Wong’s on Princess Street is also very good).

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The gap in the buildings here is to accommodate the last (or first) few hundred metres of the Rochdale Canal.  Also in shot is another tourist visiting from nearby Hyde.

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The few hundred meters of canal on this side are much more popular, lined with various bars and nightspots which make up Canal Street.

I wouldn’t have bothered taking these shots of I was in a car, or on the bus.  At least now if anyone reading this is coming to Manchester for the first time, you will know where to go for Chinese baked goods.