Since I’ve not been able to contact Angus (where are you? Turn your phone on you moron 😉 I did some washing then went for a ride on my bike. I didn’t have any set plans about where to go, I just thought it’d be fun to cycle up the valley to Newlands Hause which is the pass over into Buttermere. Then, when I got to the bottom of the pass I thought it’d be fun to go up it so I could come back down. After all, on a bike, even a small hill feels quite hard and any chance you get to freewheel down something is good fun. What could be better than a long valley with a steep bit at one end.
Except I went down the other side into Buttermere. Very steep road… very steep. Especially the bits with 25% gradient on them. Although, I wasn’t reading the signs as I rocketed down the road, I was concentrating more on going around the corners in a controlled manner and not activating my bike’s ejection system – or the Front Brake as it is more commonly known. When going fast enough that your momentum makes a difference, any imbalances in your bike become quite obvious. I definately noticed the slightly buckled back wheel I have and the underinflated back tyre. Big knobbly tyres don’t help cornering either.
Oh well, seeing how I was then in Buttermere, I had to get out of the valley and go back. The road I’d just whizzed down didn’t look that fun to cycle back up. The only other way out of Buttermere is to go up and over the Honister Pass. This is a pretty steep road. At the bottom of the valley you are at 115m and at the top – a mere two miles up the road – you are at 356m. It wasn’t that bad really, but it was probably best I didn’t have a map else I would have probably turned around and pushed my bike back up the way I’d come.
By making use of my bike’s extra-low gear I slowly wound my way up the road, stopping every so often to look at the scenery and suck as much of the surrounding atmosphere into my body as I could. The road got shorter and shorter as my legs spun round for all they were worth. The extra-low gear is great; since it removes any strain on your legs, it is probably possible to cycle up the side of a house if the momentum is kept going. The only challenge to getting up the hill then becomes whether you can sustain the rate of peddling required to keep your bike upright. I was definitely approaching the stage where getting off and pushing would have been quicker. However, pushing bikes up hills isn’t something you do if you can help it 😉 and anyway, after a while the Slate Mine scrolled into view ever so slowly. Inch. By. Inch. A car passed me going not much faster, another one came the other way and I used them as a good excuse to stop and suck in some more air. Reaching the obvious Top I stopped and sat down.
You can be at the bottom in two minutes. An average speed of something around 30mph which is a speed that begins to feel slightly out of control on my bike. Every time I applied the brakes I had to fight the momentum trying to throw me off my bike. Damn you Newton 🙂 Down I went, into Borrowdale. From there it was just a long ride along the valley to the bridge that leads into Grange, up the road that goes around Cat Bells and then a short-cut up to Skelgill before going back down to the Centre. Not that that part of the journey is short. Seatoller is probably the half-way point in the route I took, but cycling down a valley and around a hill feels exponentially easier when you’ve just come into the valley the Hard Way.
Just over 17 miles in around two hours. Not bad for a random bike ride with no aim 🙂
I can now justify sitting in all evening writing my game 😉 People keep passing me asking if I’ve done anything all day, it’s funny telling them where I’ve just been 🙂