Blue ride to Old Moor Nature Reserve
Sunday and the Blue ride was awash with riders, yes, awash. There were five of us Anita Twohig, Emily Tweed, Diane Jordan, Martin Crapper (me) and Rob Drohan. Putting them in alphabetical order gave me something to do!
It was a lovely day, the sun was out it was warm and there wasn’t any wind worth arguing with. So we set off round the back streets and off towards Wilsic. We all seemed a bit slow to begin with but made our way, chatting as we went — and regrouped at the end!
From there we went single file into Conisbrough and down the hill like pros I think - I was so far behind I couldn’t tell!
They waited for me just before the traffic lights; they didn’t know which way to go so they had no choice.
Now that should have been a warning or a least a little hint of who goes first. The frequently and often badly wielded word is “ride leader”. Stay behind him and if you get lost it’s his fault. Gets confusing though when ride leader is me and I like wanders up and down to make sure everything is going well. There’s a long slow hill out of Conisbrough and I did my struggling up the hill thing and went slow. Rob went fast, I tried to catch him up honest I did. I even shouted. We four turned right to the station — three of us probably thinking is there a train to catch and Rob thinking“where’ve they gone?”
From our view point half way down to the station we saw Rob stop, realise and try to turn back. It was a bit of a wait because suddenly half of South Yorkshire found it necessary to get in their cars and get in the way.
Before too long he was back and we pedalled down to the station up and over the rickety bridge, down the other side, over the road and up the first of the car free tracks. Proper tarmac as well!
With a bit of going backwards to go forwards we looped around and hit the national cycle route 62 and turned left towards the frozen north. Except it was far from frozen. There was a clear blue sky temperature in double figures and no wind. But most of all, no cars.
From time to time we had open fields at both sides, we had woodland, we had the river all with tarmac down below. Admittedly tree roots were in the early stages of conspiring to break it all up in places but we didn’t care. Mind in a year or two you won’t want to do it with piles and no padding. Emily let us know later that she didn’t have padding but we let the subject drop.
This section seems to go on forever and you want it to. We crossed the first wooden decked bridge, with me going too fast, skidding on loose leaves and almost coming off and the others just enjoying the day. We passed dog walkers, hikers, joggers and at one point 4 heavily armed lads hoping to spot something they could hit with their telescopic sighted air guns. Lads you can’t look innocent no matter how hard you try, their mums probably think the same.
We passed Denaby Main and Mexborough without knowing they were there, and not caring really. The countryside was winning.
We reached a point where we had to turn off the embankment (Dearne Way) and head towards Harlington. We waited at the gate separating the embankment from the roads to let a couple of cyclists pass. They turned out to be Cath and Kerry! Kerry turned back to catch up for a short (club) business discussion and then left to say he was going to catch Cath up. Now there are not many that can say that, it needed recording!
A couple of left turns brought us to the public car park and the pedestrian/cyclists bridge where we rejoined the track. I’ve glossed over the fact that some parts of the journey were unmettalled - I think that’s a word meaning the council haven’t put tarmac down yet. But even those bits were smooth ish and hard so it didn’t matter too much. Give it a miss if you have slick tyres though.
We then followed the course of the river(?) passing between Bolton and Wath (both on-Dearne) along the trans Oenone way without seeing more than a handful of buildings in the distance.
We began to see expanses of water so new we were near to the café stop. Under a road bridge along a short distance and then a sharp right over a narrow bridge and we were into the grounds of the nature reserve.
Lots of cheerful people and more bicycle stands than any other café I’ve been to. It didn’t take us long to lock up and get into the café. Drinks and snacks were taken on the terrace. It was warm, comfortable and a pleasant surprise. Being at first floor it can get windy out there - but not today.
There were lots of subjects of discussion but apparently prompted by odours encountered on route one of the subjects was drugs. I was way out of my depth so left the ladies to cover the subject from either experience or heresay I can’t be sure which! Rob went off to another table to give himself room to spread cream and jam on his scone he said and missed this bit!
We I they remember about group photos so we lined up in front of the café and set the camera to do the job. Diane wanted scenery in the photo so we pedalled along a couple of hundred metres and took two more. One with 5 cyclist and sky and one with 5 cyclists and scenery. Well I had to balance the phone (camera) on my saddle and run to join the line-up.
I swear I breathed deeply through my nose every time I past somebody o the way back and didn’t spot any drug users, pushers or even very sweaty youths.
We past lots of dog walkers ( the dogs didn’t smell either) and they all stood aside as we passed. Apart from one dog who was with a man on a mobility scooter. With a little nod at the dog it leapt up on the scooter and sat in his arms till we were passed.
The return journey took the same route as the outward one as far as Denaby Station where we continued straight on up and down and pausing on the viaduct to take in more scenery. And watching a small child falling of its bike some hundred feet below ( the was a track down there he didn’t fall off the viaduct.
There are some vicious little inclines between there and Edlington and we got a bit spread out but eventually regrouped. In time anyway for Anita to tell us “I’m staying in that house”! She hadn’t realised she was 100 metres from seriously good off road cycling.
Once we reached the main road Rob left us to go to Maltby leaving us 4 to meander home taking in the hill of Tolfield Road up into Wadworth and then following the back roads via Wilsic and the cricket club.
If you weren’t there you missed a really good ride. There will be another next week come and join us.