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29X Style MTB Wednesday Night Ride 4th January 2017

By Paul Whittaker

Facebook tells me that every fist Wednesday of the month we're going to do something different (or not so different if you've been on a Saturday morning ride) and have a 29x style hilly ride with theoretically less mud and more hills. That'll be different I think, wonder where Mark will take us. The preceding Sunday I get a message from Mark asking if I'll lead the ride as he's poorly sick.

OK best figure out a route then...

So as most people will turn up on cyclocross bikes or gravel bikes (bigger tyres and brakes that work) I can't really use any of my 'special' stuff in the route so try to find some quieter roads and gentle off-road stuff to join up and still get up on Werneth Low then over to Gun road above Rowarth and New Mills.

Penny Farthing or Cross Bike

Wednesday and we meet up; the usual suspects are here including Mike who's been know to bring a cross bike on the mountain bike rides. So I'm surprised to see he's not stepped up to riding fixed or on a penny farthing for extra suffer points.

Penny Farthing

Apart from one rider who turned up on a mountain bike, all riders were astride cross bikes.

Penny Farthing or MTB

We head out on the road toward Bredbury Hall and up the bridleway to Bredbury Green then zip down the road instead of the cobbled track which took out three riders the week before by way of a badly trimmed tree. Round Chadkirk then under the canal to Romiley and past the eerily steamy paper mill avoiding the muddy canal towpath. We use a short section of bridleway through to the Cherry Tree estate then haul ourselves up Colishaw Road (20% climb) on to Werneth Low. It’s getting cold now and the forecast is for it to fall below zero. I’m mindful that many of the back roads I’m planning to use won’t have been gritted so I figure if I stay on the front I’ll be able to spot any ice and if I find it people will at least see me fall off first and know to try and do something about it.

We get down off Werneth via Apple Street otherwise known as the "Concrete Bastard" which is a seriously steep climb in the other direction. Great Woods is an excellent route on MTB’s but tonight is bypassed as we head down Leyland’s Lane past Botham’s Hall instead. By the time we’re down at the bridge over the Etherow in Broadbottom we’ve come 3 miles from Werneth Low and it’s mostly been downhill. The first part of the climb out isn’t even that bad up Woodseats Lane to the Glossop Road but the gradient kicks in from Chisworth up to Gun Road. This is as high as we’re going tonight and it’s largely downhill or flat all the way to New Mills which means that wind-chill is a big factor; doing 30mph when it’s minus 2 is quite bracing.

From New Mills we head through Hague Bar and Strines to Marple then pick up one of our regular MTB return routes via Marple Hall and Chadkirk. Back down scally alley or The Alan Newton Way (Stockport’s first ever Olympic medalist) as it’s known to Stockport Council.

Overall I think everyone enjoyed the change of bike and route and I imagine the Arden Arms bar staff were surprised at how clean everyone was for a change.

Report by Paul Whittaker