What makes an epic ride? We have all been on enough of them. For me it is about getting out on my bike and riding as many of my favourite spots as I can. But rather than just riding between each downhill it is about connecting them into an interesting loop. I often think we all forget how lucky we are to have so many great riding spots on our doorstep. People drive from miles around to come and ride in the Dark Peak. I know that we all wish we had a Bridgewood or a Hopton woods, but I think that many of our local bridleways have a lot more to offer than either of these places. I think this is even truer at this time of the year when the trails freeze and ruts start to form.
So despite the cold weather Nicky and I headed out on a epic ride but this one was a little different. First of all we decided to make things a little more interesting by getting the train up to Edale and starting the ride there. So after stopping off at Francis house for a bacon sandwich 🙂 We started the short ride along the road to the first bridleway. Nicky was keen to show me how fast he could ride along the flat on his new Enduro. He even had a race with a couple of roadies which must have lasted a good mile. By the time I caught up/Nicky stopped we were at the turn off. Seeing as Nicky was eager to ride all the hills I decided to join in and in no time we were up at Jaggers Clough. This short decent was very interesting as large sections were covered in ice. After crossing the river we pushed /rode up to Hope cross. We decided to head straight down and luckily the woods had provided enough shelter to stop the track from freezing. This was lucky as this downhill is tricky enough at the best of times. I quickly pulled the camera out and took a picture as Nicky as continued down.
We decided to take the alternative route on the lower section of track as the main track was very wet. For those that have not been down the alternative route it is quite similar to normal track, but the rocks tend to be a little smaller and the track is straighter and quite a bit faster. With a fallen log half way down making for an interesting feature to clear. We stopped down at the bridge crossing for our lunch, before crossing over the bridge and heading up to Hagg Tor. As they are still repairing the bridge there was a small dumper truck parked at the top of the bridleway close to the A57 crossing. We thought it would make an interesting picture.
After pushing up Hagg Tor in record time we headed up even further onto the very top of hill and over to Alport Castles. A lot of this route has been covered by slabs which made interesting riding, as many of them were covered in sheets of ice. This must have been the coldest point in the day as both mine and Nickys gear cables froze. Although we were alright as we had come prepared with many layers including thick gloves. Why go all the way up to Alport Castles you may ask, well running down from the Castles is a new decent that we spotted which runs all the way down the edge of Howden Reservoir. The top section is fast, rocky and rutted and the bottom section is even faster, and very straight. It is a decent length as well at about 3mins. It was that bad both sets of our brakes overheated; luckily there is a river nearby.
To make things more interesting we headed back around the longer way via Slippy stones. And we stopped off at Abney clough we were planning on pushing all the way to the top but got distracted by a huge pile of leafs. It was like jumping into a foam pit. After messing around here for a bit we made our way back down through the woods freeride style which was fun. After the short ride back to Fairhomes which was quite eventful as, Nicky raced someone else on his bike. We stopped to refuel and I managed to get another half price mars bar. We then had the final boring ride back to Bamford along the road. The total ride came to around 20 miles which i think me a Nicky were pleased with. The addition of the Alport Castles > Ditch clough added to the distance but the decent was great something different is always good, but I think next time it might be easier/more fun to ride the road side back from the bottom of Ditch clough to Fairhomes. I didn’t take that many pictures are we were pushed for time with the days eing as short as they are.