Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year for 2013

Well I've not really been up to much in the month since the last posting, the weather's conspired against me much of the time. A few shortish bike rides and that's been it. Oh well.

A quick review of 2012:

  • bumbled along with my climbing until the end of July when I couldn't be bothered and haven't actually done any climbing since then. 
  • Still closing in on completing the Wainwrights. Nearly there, about four days' effort and I should be done.
  • Quite a lot of biking in the second half of the year with two weeks of holidays (Scotland and Somerset) that happened to coincide with fine weather in both locations.

That seems to be about it! Let's hope that 2013 will be better both in terms of weather and getting things done.

All the best.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Cyclists rescue White Van Man!

Saturday night we went to see Elbow at the MEN Arena. A good show but a bit awkward when you only recognise three of the songs. We didn't get to bed till 1am, a bit on the late side for us, so it was nearly 9am when we got up.

Having not managed to do anything active on the Saturday we wanted to get out given the fine weather. Rather than head down to the Peak we decided on a mountain bike ride round the Ovenden windmills starting from Ogden Water. The last time I'd ridden in this area was a night ride over a year ago.

Moorland riding can be one of three things: a bog fest; dry dust; frozen. Given the time of year and the temperatures it was going to be the latter. The initial track is in a groove so was quite icy and needed the occasional dismount. The moorland wasn't quite as icy and we were soon down on the other side at the crossroads of tracks. A rider heading the other way said that the track we intended to take was very icy so we decided to follow the water leat round to the road on the far side of the windmills.

Just below the point where we joined the road there was a slope covered in ice but cars were heading down. One pulled up and reckoned we'd have to walk the next climb as it was very icy. As we were pushing our bikes up the lower part there was a revving of engine and a white Transit van came up the lower rise and gunned it for the big climb. Just as it looked as if he was going to make it, the revs went up, the speed went down and the wheels began to spin. With only two van lengths to go to the top of the climb he came to a stop and despite a scream of rubber on ice/tarmac he slid backwards. Fortunately he slid off the road to the other side to us.

The driver looked out: "f*****g t**t! F***! F*****g h***!" (Abbreviated, otherwise I'd be here all night writing) He got out of the van and promptly slid 30m down the slope! Fortunately he remained upright and by the time he was level with us he'd calmed down a bit. Then it was just a matter of getting him unstuck. Another cyclist arrived and between us we got him a bit further down the slope but then he got one wheel in to rushes and long grass and one on ice. The wheel on ice would just spin. As luck would have it he was a decorator and had quite a bit of kit in the van including a scaffolding board. Sticking this under the spinning wheel and persuading him to be gentle with the power he got moving again. A few more metres and he was on bare tarmac. He decided to get to Halifax by the main road.

In the meantime Cath was dealing with a car that had got stuck at the top of the climb! Unfortunately she couldn't push it as the road was covered in sheet ice. Not only that but another car was just behind though not on the ice itself, they had just come down the upper climb which was also icy. As we were dealing with these two, yet another car headed down the upper climb! Three cars between two icy slopes. We couldn't do much for the first two as we couldn't push them up-slope. The upper car decided he could make it out so made a 9-point turn and gunned it at the icy slope. A bit of wobbling and he made it.

We walked this bit as well. The rest of the ride was uneventful. Well, if you discount Cath dropping one of the car keys off the car park wall in to a thicket of rhododendrons and brambles!

It was interesting that none of the motorists had any kit to help themselves: tow-rope; shovel; old carpet (can be used under the drive wheels to provide grip). Of course one of them was "following my GPS", certainly not using common sense.