Message from Gia
Today’s rides were significant in that it is exactly 17 years ago that Wheel Easy set out on its very first ride. Newer members might like to read the very first ride report when we were all excited to ride 10 miles.
A fabulous ride.
Three of us took it on: John (Leader), Diane and newly joined Stuart/Stewart – apologies I forgot to ask how you spell your name so I’ve gone for both!
Short – tick
Gentle – speedwise tick
Hilly – it most certainly was and at an elevation gain of 2400ft we believe the most challenging short/gentle ride ever!!
This was Stuart/Stewart’s introduction to riding with Wheel Easy and both Diane and I say “chapeau!” for his huge efforts as we tackled some tough climbs. Brackenthwaite Lane/Briscoe Ridge was a gentle intro to what followed and after swooping down Otley Road we took a right via White Pill Lane where I think I saw one of the other groups across the valley heading up Otley Chevin but maybe I was just halllucinating!
After more climbing we were eventually rewarded with even more stunning views with the sun breaking through as we rode up the gated road towards Stainburn Forest. Following a breather at the top, the ride down towards Norwood Edge was a welcome if extremely short relief from climbing because we were soon on the Norwood Edge Climb itself (no19 if the Struggle’s climbs you must ride – eeek!). Anyway we did that 🙂 and had a lovely ride downhill nearly all the way to our welcome café stop at the Washburn Heritage Centre, Fewston where we met three other Wheel Easiers who had just come over from Askwith.
Fully replenished with coffee, more coffee and food we set off showground bound (sorry Simon and Garfunkle) for some more hills via Little Almscliffe, Beckwithshaw and Lady Lane. Thanks again to Diane and Stuart/Stewart who were great company – shall we do it again some time?
24 miles. John C
Medium Steady Plus Ride
Route 113 backwards, which was to take us via Kirkby Overflow and Otley to Ilkley and then back via Askwith Bank and Norwood Lane, was the assignment for today’s medium plus outing. This was the perfect group, comprising Helen, Yvonne, Debbie, Tim, Glyn and Steve, for a first-time ride leader as they all seemed to know what they were doing and even let me go at the front every now and again. There was some trepidation at the start as the Cow and Calf was a bit of an unknown this way round, but it was generally concluded that it couldn’t be any worse. We quickly agreed to skip a coffee stop in Otley and were off.
It didn’t take too long before a puncture brought us to a stop and it couldn’t have happened in a worse place, being in the middle of the short section of the A658 before turning off for Kirkby Overflow. Conditions were still overcast and a bit misty, with lots of surface water after overnight rain, which didn’t help. However, with help from Tim and Helen, and some vocal encouragement from a passing car, the repair was good and we were off again and on to quieter roads. By the time we had crossed the A61 the weather was improving and we were beginning to enjoy some warm sunshine.
On the climb up from Leathley Debbie’s rear derailleur started playing up and her bike eventually ground to a stop. Tim and Steve were on hand and between the three of them they effected a temporary repair and we pushed on to Otley where Debbie departed in the direction of Chevin’s bike shop. That left 6 of us to tackle the Cow and Calf; three tough climbs took us to the top, but this way round we had some pleasant breaks in the climbing and even had to dismount and push our bikes through the coronation street party in Menston. At the top, on the edge of Ilkley Moor, it all seemed worth the effort with fantastic views over Wharfdale to the Dales. From there a fast descent took us down to the bust streets of Ilkley and La Stazione coffee shop, where Debbie re-joined us after an impressive turn-around at Chevin’s, although still only a temporary fix.
It seemed summer had broken out as we set off again in good spirits as far as Askwith village where Glyn departed heading off in the direction of Leeds. That left 6 of us to tackle Askwith bank, which wasn’t too daunting after the Cow and Calf. There was still more scenery to be enjoyed as we descended into Washburn valley and past Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs and then a final-ish climb took us to the top of Norwood lane. From there it was pretty much downhill all the way back to Harrogate, but in a good sense.
At the top of Green Lane Helen, Debbie and Steve headed back towards the Show Ground and the rest of us headed homeward. Thanks to all for a very enjoyable day and for making my life easy on my first day in charge. Hope everyone had a good day and got home safely. DGH