RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

Before I start the report, may I remind you to make the most of this year’s extra day on Monday the 29th of February; you won’t get another chance for four years!

This ride was my first Sunday ride for almost two years; Sunday is usually our walking day, another way to enjoy our wonderful countryside, but circumstances had dictated that I would be free until around four pm, so a ride could be fitted in. The route was originally intended for a weekday, rather than a weekend, and to be a middle of the day ride i.e. 10-30am to 2-30pm, or thereabouts, thus missing the peak travel times.

The last time we did this run we climbed two steepish hills, but on this occasion I decided to circumnavigate them; well I did say this was to be an easy and leisurely ride, and I did hear some muttering going on whilst riding the hilly option a few weeks ago.

Our first port of call was to be Bradley Fold Garden Centre for elevenses; this was reached by crossing the Avon Bridge over the River Croal and following the, muddy in places, bridleway up through the gravel pits of Darcy Lever to join the old railway, now a cycle-path, to Bradley Fold. But!  A number of today’s riders had not seen the three old, but re-built railway bridges, opened a few months ago over the Croal and the A666, so a one mile diversion was taken to ride over them and then to re-trace our tracks to join the original route.The last time we used this route the cycle path along the old railway was closed after Bradley Fold, so whilst everyone was having a hot cuppa I did a recce to suss out our next leg. With a little devious barrier negotiation I found it possible to follow the route, so a quick ride back to join the team for a coffee was now in order.

After our brief stop at the garden centre we headed along the railway towards Bury, on the lovely new tarmac. The route through the new housing is not yet open, although peeping over the fence the route did have a hardcore surface, so it is coming along nicely. After heaving our cycles up from the track bed beside a bridge and onto a farm track we rode through the quiet lanes of the housing estate to Back Lane (A village).

At Back Lane we joined the farm track to Elton Reservoir. On our last visit here it was being re-surfaced with limestone chippings; it was better for cycling before this was carried out.At the end of the track we joined NCN 6 towards Radcliffe and our lunch stop at MacDonald’s. On leaving the canal there is a short, but steep hill, I was up on the bridge taking a photo or two when I noticed Eric on his electrically assisted cycle almost freewheeling up the steep incline. I have often dreamt of having a cycle that could freewheel uphill, well almost anyway. Has Eric discovered this Utopian secret?Leaving Radcliffe we continued on NCN 6 through Outwood to descend to Ringley on the usually wet and muddy bridleway; today it was almost dry.

From Ringley we joined the Salford / Bolton Canal near Prestolee, and then simply rode back through Moses Gate Country Park to the end of the ride.I must now confess, we arrived back 3 minutes after 3-00pm, I’m sorry I got the timing wrong. Unfortunately I cannot come up with a valid reason; we may have dawdled a little in the sunshine taking in the distant and scenic views, or been slowed down by the oodles of walkers – dog walkers – and other cyclists. Anyway, sorry, please forgive me, I owe you three minutes!

A day of brilliant weather and brilliant company, thank you all, Brian.