Today’s riders were; Matthew Lowe (Ride Leader); Catherine Adams; Denise Motley; Hilary Thompson; Kerry Wilcockson; Michael Sales; Martin Crapper and Paul Bacon.

Prelude... I’d agreed to meet Matt at the Fat Cat at 7.00am in order to ride to the start of the ride.  We made our way out of Sheffield and onto the Trans Pennine Trail (the usual short walk needed to get to it).  Carefully negotiating a few muddy patches (more negotiation and bike skills needed on the skinnier tyres!) the trail changed to a more solid surface.  It wasn’t fast... we shared the trail with early morning walkers and dog walkers, but it was so enjoyable.  It was then a short ride to Millhouse Green where we met with Martin who had very kindly offered to bring a flask, hot water, mug and spoon.  I thought I might need a drink due to the early start but Martin had doubled the request so Matt and I shared a chocolate drink sachet and enjoyed a hot beverage before the start of the ride.  Many thanks Martin.

So, we all gathered at Millhouse Green and the conversation revolved around who, yes, no and we’ll wait and see.  Eventually there were eight of us making a nice group as we rode out.  It became apparent quite quickly that this was to be a ride of two groups and as such we met up two or three times at pre-arranged points.  Thus, this report concentrates mainly on the bunch of five blue riders.

There were more ‘have never done this’ riders in the group who of course didn’t know what to expect.  What we knew we could expect was expert guidance from the ride leader who kept the pace steady and the stops as frequent as necessary.  It was quite windy on our departure and a little cool; no sun to be seen.  The gentle climb out of Millhouse Green was followed by the rapid descent into Holmfirth where the group had assembled at the junction of Dunford Road and Town Gate.  As I slowed I tried to make it onto the pavement but misjudged it slightly and ended up heading towards the optometrists.  Having no option but to go onto some rather green, wet, slippery slabs I lost the front wheel and the bike and I parted company.  It was an almost standing fall so no damage done and Kerry kindly helped me back to my feet.  I reattached the Garmin and put the bar end mirror in my pocket.  Onto Holmbridge and the start, I believe, of the climb to Holme Moss.

We did become a little strung out as individual cadences differed, but for the most part Martin, Hilary, Matt and I stayed within shouting distance... most of the time we were grouped, single file.  Thanks for the wheel Hilary.  We couldn’t catch Denise but kept spotting her red top up the road.  A set of traffic lights near the top were very kind and stayed on green for us.  On the way up we met Catherine on her way down; encouraging shouts as she disappeared down the hill.  I’m sure my fellow riders will agree when I say we slogged (slog... work hard over a period of time) it to the top where it was blustery, cloudy with a touch of cloud/drizzle in the air.  Kerry and Michael waited for us and so we took the necessary picture (courtesy of anon. rider who we met at the top).  Cramp wasn’t an issue but it had been a feature so it was dealt with (what happens on the ride stays on the ride).

Zipping up for the descent we enjoyed the free wheel down.  We’d only just set off when we saw Mick and Paul on their way up (the weather forecast hadn’t been that accurate so Mick thought he would give it a go).  We were then overtaken by Mr Anon and his friend.  To say they ‘zipped’ past us would be an understatement.  We took the more cautious approach and saw them only briefly as they disappeared off in the distance.  After such a long slog up, then descent, pedalling seemed a strange affair but we continued on and at the bottom we met up at a bus stop with the other riders.  Sid’s cafe was agreed upon.  Three set off, five waited, anticipating the arrival of Mick and Paul.  You could have put money on it.  We didn’t have to wait long.  The now group of seven rode into Holmfirth and, I have to say, feeling very pleased with ourselves (well I was anyways), locked the bikes up and made our way into the cafe.  Friendly, great food and drink with super service.  Some folk seem to have been born in barns and the draft from the door was chilly but the conversation and humour was a tonic for any aching limbs.

Catherine, Kerry and Michael decided to make a move as some of the remainder ordered a second drink (and in some cases cake too!)  However, all good things must come to an end and we made our way outside, which seemed warmer than sitting by the door in the cafe!

Choices... it’s all about choices.  These were explained very well by Matt and voting ensued.  I was reminded at this point of a quote; “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your own way.”  Thus we decided to opt for the short walk, starting with steps (necessary due to the immediate upness of the hill we had to negotiate) and the then, more favoured ride out of Holmfirth.  If you do ride to Holme Moss I do recommend this route out.  I recall Kieran telling me that the ride out of Holmfirth was not an enjoyable one, well, this route made it enjoyable.  This took us south of our ride to Holmfirth as we rode towards Dunford Bridge and then to Carlecotes.  Much easier I feel on aching limbs.  The only hiccup was a small stop to secure a back wheel which had decided to work loose.  It was then straight back to Millhouse Green, where the reliable Mr Motley was at the pub enjoying a drink whilst waiting for our return.

Holme Moss  (tick)

Thanks Matt for organising the ride and us.

Postlude – Matt, being Kind Matt, changed his plan for getting us back to Sheffield and we went to Penistone (which minimized the climbing) where we once again picked up the Trans Pennine Trail which at mid-afternoon was a little busier with dogs, walkers and family groups with children on small bikes making random moves along/across the trail.  Finding the right exit point posed us a little conundrum but as ever it was soon solved and we made our way back to the city.  There was really only one driver who seemed intent on cutting in on us to the point where he almost took out Matt’s front wheel.  Safe and sound we made it back to the Gatehouse and enjoyed tea/coffee and cake.