Journal

Around the World with Rutland CC

There is sometimes something new to be found in something old. I have always enjoyed the camaraderie and tales that come with riding with a cycling club - we all love a good story and if it involves the bike then even better! 

Whilst out riding with the famous Sheffield club Rutland CC I've heard numerous stories during cafe-stops including fights in fancy dress, drunken shenanigans and the odd 'epic' ride.

One story that kept popping up was the round the world trip of four Rutland members back in 1980, so I got in touch with one of these men, Malcolm Pearce to see if he could shed anymore light on it for me. 

What transpired during this trip, along with Malcolms photos are now published below. Enjoy! 

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What inspired you to go on a cycling tour around the world? 
We were all out on a Sunday Rutland winter club run - usual rough stuff ride then finish up in a Derbyshire pub. Sat around a table we got talking about usual stuff then the conversation turned around to doing something different.
I can’t remember who brought it up but an idea was put up to ride overland to Australia on the bikes. We all had drunk a few pints so this sounded bloody great at the time! This idea came up again later on another winter club run sat around talking the usual banter but it got a bit more serious - enough to take it further. We then started taking names of guys who would be keen to do this, initially had heaps of names but as the weeks went by the list got smaller until we whittled it down to five definates. These were myself, Ian Minty Murray, Brian and Les Pickering and Martin Coucho Teanby.
From here on it was all go and we got really serious trying to get some sponsorship to help fund the ride. Karrimore Panniers donated a set of panniers each and a Sheffield camera shop loaned us a camera to take photos of the trip. We also were told that if we reached Singapore, Lion Tyres were keen to help. Eric Smith then decided to set off and ride as far as Athens with us for a holiday. 
What is your most memorable moment from the trip? 
I think my most memorable part of the trip was my time in South America, most notably at high altitude - 3,800 metres in the Andes of Peru and Equador. This was the hardest times in my life. At this stage we were down to two - myself and Martin Coucho Teanby. Ian Murray decided to pull the pin in Athens and returned home with Eric Smith. Ian later confessed that this was the worst decision he had ever made. Sadly, he died a few years ago in a  road accident at Ladybower - R.I.P. my old mate!!
Brian and Les Pickering decided to stay in Sydney as their girlfriends came out from Sheffield to join them. Me and Martin thought bugger it - we got half way around the globe so why not go the whole hog. The Andes were so hard on the bikes and the bodies but I personally found this the biggest challenge of my life. We suffered altitude sickness, bike breakages, Martin became really ill and the road conditions really paid their toll but I personally loved and embraced the challenges. Martin then became seriously ill and I had to put him on a bus to capital of Equador as he couldn’t go any further. I carried on alone and found this part alone a serious challenge.
       
You had your bikes full loaded, what did you take with you? I've heard stories of Minty taking "load of "dancing" clothes?!" Is there any truth to this tale? If so, can you shed anymore light on it?
What you need to know Thom is that none of us had done any bike touring ever before apart from the odd weekend rides in winter with a saddle bag.  The first time I test rode my bike fully loaded was on the morning that I left my home in Wisewood and rode to the Town Hall where we had a civic send off with the Lord and Lady Mayor.  I didn’t finish loading my panniers till about 2.00am!!
I set off riding and could not stop the bike from wobbling.  The back end of my bike was so heavy that I could barely lift it.  We had spare tyres each, spokes, chains, clusters, tools, a camera tripod, tents etc. etc. I even carried a spare wheel rim!!  My bike was wobbling on the front end so bad that I could hardly control it.  Going through Holland and Germany we were each breaking rear wheel spokes every few hours, this came to a head in a youth hostel one evening in Germany. We came to a decision that we had to get rid of some weight so we threw all of our gear onto a table and started biffing stuff out.  We shed heaps of stuff in the hostel that night and set off next morning much lighter and less spokes broken.
Yes the story of Minty is correct – he had boot polish, after shaves but no gloves, hat or good warm clothing.  We all had a decent pair of “dancing shoes” and going out clothes!!  We got snowed in one night at the top of a mountain pass in Germany and had to stay in a hotel that night.  Next morning the snow ploughs had cleared the pass although it was bloody freezing.  We set off down the pass and almost got to the bottom when we realized Minty wasn’t with us – I rode back up and found him huddled beside the road behind some rocks blowing onto his hands, he was freezing and had no gloves!!  Later in Yugoslavia we had to ride through a blizzard and finally arrived in a village where we checked into a hotel – we literally had to prize Minty’s fingers off his handle bars, he was frozen and in a pretty bad way.  We carried him into the hotel and got him into a hot bath, it was first initial signs of hypothermia.  He never really got over that and when we bought tickets fro the rest of the trip in Athens he bought a return ticket back to London with Eric Smith.
Poor old Minty –R.I.P. He regretted that decision so badly! 
     
Did you have a bike built especially for the trip? 
We managed to get a deal from Dawes and got a good price on a Super Galaxy touring bike each although Martin Teanby, Coucho used his old Bob Jackson bike.  We all got a set of panniers donated from Karrimor.  These consisted of two rear, two front and one handlebar bag.  We kept breaking the steel clips so had to get new ones sent out to us but these bags saw us right around the world, although they were pretty stuffed when we finished back in UK!
My Dawes broke three times.  The rear stay came away from the back of the down tube so this was repaired in Sydney.  Then my left chain stay snapped clean in half in Equador – I did a temporary repair with two flat spanners and two Jubillee pipe clips to get me to the next town where a motor mechanic did a weld job for me.  Then the right chain stay snapped clean in two in North America so I welded this myself at a garage. On my first ride back in Sheffield my handlebars snapped in two so I pushed a tree branch down each half and wrapped some wire around it to get me home. 
When we arrived in Singapore we met up with the director of Lion Tyres Company who put us up for 4 days in his home. He took us to a local bike shop and the owner gave all four of us a Shimano Groupset and tubular wheels as Les Pickering said we would do a “record attempt” to ride across the Nulabor in Australia.  We had the bike gear freighted to Perth and Lion Tyres made some special heavy duty tubular tyres for us – 10 each for the Nulabor ride. 
Anyway when we got to Perth, Les decided to stay there and work leaving myself, Brian Pickering and Coucho to ride across the Nulabor.  We didn’t do the record attempt but fitted the Shimano gear.  The tyres were a disaster, the glued tyres kept rolling and we had heaps of punctures.  We just made it to Adelaide with no spares left!!
      
I heard, whilst travelling through India, you ended up on the film set of Ghandi? Can you tell us anything more about that? 
We stayed in New Delhi Christmas 1980 – we camped on a tourist campsite.  We all went into the Thailand Embassy to sort out visas for our next part of the trip and got talking to an American guy outside the embassy who told us about the film crew looking for western faces for the epic film Life and Times of Mahatma Ghandi.  He told us that the film crew were really keen to find any western faces who wanted to be extras on the Richard Attenborough film and gave us an address to go to.  We took up this offer and went to the Ashoka Hotel to see about the film.  We were all taken on straight away and measured up for costumes. We were all British newspaper reporters for the Ghandi assassination scene at Birla House, Brian and Les also got work as extras as soldiers in the South African scene also filmed in New Delhi. 
We had to meet at the crack of dawn each day at the hotel where we were then bused to Birla House.  Fresh food was flown in everyday in a container from England as they could not afford to have any illnesses which would severely impact the continuity of the filming.  We ate like lords for 4 days, full cooked breakfast, morning tea, full cooked lunch followed by afternoon tea. We had been living off eggs, bananas and stewed veg everyday untill then so this was absolute luxury!! All we had to do was stand on the grass at Birla House and chat to each other whilst Ghandi, Ben Kingsley, came out of the house to be shot by the assassin. 
First day filming and there was a large catering tent full of extras, westerners and Indians.  As soon as the food arrived there was a stampede by the Indians – we actually saw one guy push Dickie Attenborough out the way to push past to get his food.  The next day, the tent was segregated with westerners one side and Indians at the other with a 4 foot high cloth partition but the film crew got sick of being staired at so next day the partition went the full size – floor to ceiling. 
My birthday was during filming and we managed to get hold of some “bootleg” whisky from the local Punjab Tyre company.  This stuff was like drinking battery acid and very cheap.  The day after my birthday having consumed the whole bottle we were all pretty well hung over and were laying down on the grass.  Dickie Attenborough came up to us and said “come along darlings – filmings starting” – never forget this, so funny. The film crew told us of a small Chinese restaurant where they went each night and advised to go there and try the special tea.  We did this and asked for a pot of “special tea” only to find that this was beer served in a tea pot so we drunk quite a bit of tea that week!! 
We were also invited to the film crew’s Christmas party.  This was a real lavish affair – no expense spared, food for Africa along with booze.  There we met Ben Kingsley and his wife, James Fox and of course Sir Richard Attenborough.   A great night was had by all but the funniest thing was the disco lights on the dance floor – this was a row of Indians holding a small box each with coloured glass fronts on hinges, the glass flaps were opened and closed to reveal a candle inside!! 
We had the chance to go further south in India to the funeral scene but this was way off track for us so we declined. We earned $37 dollars cash in the hand each day for the 4 days filming and this paid for our ride right across the Grand Trunk Highway from New Delhi to Calcutta.
      
Can I ask you about "The Ramp" in Hull?
After the civic send off from the Town Hall with the Lord and Lady mayor, we kissed our family and said our goodbyes to friends who had come down to see us off and that was it – we were away.
We were late getting away then we had numerous stops shortly after with mechanicals etc.  We had a ferry crossing pre-booked from Hull to Rotterdam which was late afternoon as I recall. When we got to the small village of Rawlcliffe we decided to stop and have lunch at the pub.  After numerous pints we got back on our way and realized that we were very late and risked missing the ferry so we had to “line it out” to Hull. 
Someone from Sheffield had rung the ferry company and told them to expect a group of cyclists who were on their way but were running late. As we approached the Hull Docks we spotted the ferry with the staff waiting and as we rode onto the ramp it immediately started lifting as we were actually wheeling our bikes down it.  We caught the ferry by the skin of our teeth – all because of the pub and the beers!!
As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why? 
I’ve actually got a few results that stand out in my mind.  First one is the year that I won the Stannington Grand Prix – I think 1976?   This was a really proud moment for me as it was my local race so had huge support from family and friends so the win was pretty special especially as me and Jeff Evans (R.I.P.) lapped the field. 
I also won the Sankey Grand Prix which had a pretty good first cat field with some good riders – I attacked in the last couple of miles and managed to stay away for the win.  Prizes were presented by Beryl Burton. 
Another memorable win was the Team Win – Rutland CC at the 1978 Newcastle Journal 2 –day. Myself, Malc Elliot and Phil Axe.  Malc got 2nd and I got 4th in the prologue TT.  On the first big road stage from Newcastle to Berwick on Tweed I attacked with 25 miles to go and was later joined by a group of riders including Malc Elliot and Joe Waugh.  In the gallop, Malc got the win from Joe Waugh and I got third.  We were so elated by this result that we celebrated in the pub that night and finished up having to climb the drainpipe to the upstairs window of the hostel we were billeted in.  Next morning we were feeling pretty seedy but set off on the last 90 mile road stage back to Newcastle.  We had a neutralized section over the tweed then straight into a big long climb with a prime at the top.  Surprisingly enough I kept up at the front and on arrival at the prime realized that there were only seven of us including Malc Elliot and of course Joe Waugh.  We stayed away the whole stage, Joe Waugh won, Malc was second and I was third.  This gave us the team win for the Rutland so pretty proud. 
Whilst in Australia we all bought road and track bikes and got back into racing.  We were living in Sydney for the 50th anniversary of the Harbour Bridge and decided to ride into the city for the celebrations but it was a drizzly day so we decided to go into the Rocks Pub instead.  Twelve schooners later we emerged from the pub and set off home, I did my “party trick” of standing on my cross bar whilst riding down George Street but hit a pothole and went over breaking my collarbone.  I got a taxi to the hospital with my bike in the boot. Brian, Les and Martin later arrived at the hospital to see how I was and asked where my bike was – I said that I’d left it in the reception only to find it had been stolen.  I was pretty gutted as I had no insurance and couldn’t work for a month.  I loaned an exercise bike and sat on this for a couple of hours every day to keep my legs going.  As soon as the month was up the doctor said I could ride my bike again so I went out every day and crammed a huge amount of miles in which flattened me right off for a short while. 
Our next big race was the Sydney Metropolitan Road Champs at the Amaroo Motor Racing circuit.  I got in a four man break and gradually the other three riders dropped off leaving me alone to hang out and just about lap the field as I rode over the finish line to take the win.  At the prize presentation third place was awarded to the guy who got forth, second place was awarded to the guy that got third, and first place was awarded to the guy that finished second  - I got nothing and when I questioned the organisers they said I couldn’t take the win as it was a championship and I was English.  You can imagine how gutted I was!! Next day I never even got a mention in the Sydney Herald Sports page – it’s as though I hadn’t even ridden, that’s Aussies for you!!!
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
The obvious changes for me now is my age.  I raced competitively on a regular basis up till about 5 years ago.  I raced every Saturday without fail plus track racing every Wednesday and Sunday evening. As both my boys Olly and Tom also raced we did this as a family affair.  Both boys represented NZ, Olly spent a season racing and riding at the New Zealand Under 23 training camp based in Limoux South France then went on to ride the Chinghai Lake Tour of China. When I rode as a 1st Cat back in UK in late 70’s – early 80’s I raced everything I could, Saturday – Sunday – Nottingham Track League Wednesdays and North Mids H’cap League Thursdays. I’ve always had a passion for racing even when we got to Australia on our world tour.
Are there any cycling traditions that you think have been, or are being, lost as a result of changing attitudes and behaviour? And are we better off or worse off as a consequence? 
Yes definitely!!  Riders today take things far too serious – I’m not talking about the top echelon of pro riders here but more of the run of the mill club riders who think they are pros!!  I’ve always been a firm believer of enjoying yourself and having a bloody good laugh on the way but never been distracted to race hard when it counts.  I also think a lot of riders today are a bit soft compared to the past days.  It would appear that club runs are struggling now – more focus on big miles in winter rather going out for the enjoyment.  We used to have some epic rides, especially early season training rides and end of season “de-training” rides to Scarborough, Llangollen, Stafford etc. These were an excuse to cram some big miles in and have a great night when we got there!! I can recall riding over the Cat & Fiddle in a blizzard and getting to Llangollen absolutely stuffed but having an awesome night out.  We also used to have weekend away racing in Builth Wells, camping, pubs, hard racing and loads of laughs.  I don’t think these happen anymore which is very sad.  Another big thing was our end of season holidays in Spain and Greece on the good old 80-30 holidays.  I could write a book about those times but that’s another thing.  Finally our great times congregating in Tony Butterworth Cycles at the back of the shop.  Such funny times taking the mickey out of each other and playing pranks on each other.  These were certainly Character Building Times!!
 
Images provided by Malcolm Pearce 
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Local Riders Q&A - Hugh Carthy

Born in 1994 in Preston, Hugh Carthy is a British racing cyclist with a bright future. In 2014 he won the Tour of Korea stage racing in the colours of Condor-JLT before joining the Spanish Team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA until 2017. He now rides for UCI WorldTeam EF Education First and has been on the start line for the 2016 Vuelta  and the 2017 Giro. 
This year saw Hugh race an amazing Giro d'Italia finishing 11th overall (+16' 36") and hung-out with the favourites in the mountains, including an epic wet assent of The Mortirolo; thus proving he can mix it up with the best and perform on the biggest stage races in the world. 
Many thanks to Hugh for completing the Mamnick quiz
As a racing cyclist, which results are you most proud of and why?
Any good result after a set back or low point really. Back in the summer of 2015 I was racing Volta Portugal for Caja Rural and was at a low ebb and felt totally out of my depth and like I was in the wrong line of work. It was stinking hot and the peloton was so fast and intimidating. I started the race with a stomach bug and I’d had a few injuries mid way through the season and I just wasn’t returning to the level I knew I was capable of being at. I persevered and finished the race. I raced in The United States a week later and had my stand out result of the season, I was on a massive high and it gave me massive confidence and belief that success is always around the corner as long as you persevere and keep doing things right. That experience keeps me going even now when things don’t seem to be going well.
Which are your favourite stretches of road to ride on locally and what is it that you like about them?
I don’t go back “home” to Preston all that much these days but when I do I always head to the Trough of Bowland, in particular the stretch between Whitewell and Scorton. I always think it’s at its best midweek, in the rain on a really grim day. No Sunday’s drivers, barely any other cyclists. Just me, the sheep and farmers. Last Christmas I was back home for 8 days I think I rode through “The Trough” 6 times.
In Lancashire, there’s a local legend called Randy Allsop. He rode in the Olympics in ‘72 in the team time trial. He always did the same training ride every day, even in recent years. People asked him why he did the same ride every day. He always responded, why would I do my second or third favourite ride when I can do my favourite everyday. I liked that.
The same question for roads anywhere in the world?
When I lived in Pamplona I used to like heading into the “Baztan Valley” it was always cloudy and damp even in the middle of summer but enjoyable to ride there nonetheless.
What is your most memorable moment on the bike or involved with cycling?
It’s not a particular moment but a period of my cycling life. When I was young going out on the winter club run on a Sunday. I’d look forward to it all week at school while my mates were looking forward to going to watch Preston North End or play Sunday league. I’d come home late Sunday afternoon in the dark shattered having spent the day with friends, have a hot bath and my tea then try and get all my homework done before I fell asleep.
Has racing affected your relationship with the bike? If so, how?
A lot of the time I don’t go out riding for enjoyment and it can feel like I’m in a rut, always following the numbers and planning routes around what efforts I have to do. I definitely fall out of love with cycling towards the end of the season, but when the season’s done and I ride for fun without a schedule I realise I still feel the same way about the bike as I did when I first started riding years ago. Once I finish racing I like to think I’ll still ride as much as I can.
Do you agree with Mickey Goldmill's advice to Rocky that 'women weaken legs'?
It depends on the woman involved. Some will be a distraction while others will bring the best out of you.
All cyclists, whether they race or not, seem to obsess over the weight of their bikes. Why do you think this is?
Probably because it’s significantly less effort than doing hard training and following a diet. I always enjoyed tinkering with my bikes and “tuning” them. I guess it’s a bit of a hobby for some people too.
Do you approach riding, or ride your bike, differently now to when you first got into cycling?
Primarily I ride to train and prepare for races. Enjoyment, to a degree, is secondary. I still enjoy going out and returning home knackered like before but if training doesn’t go as planned you can come back feeling a bit deflated. Some days it’s good to refresh things and go out with your mates, without numbers or a time schedule and just ride like I used to years ago.
Who has been your favourite pro riders over the years and why?
Before I was a pro I used to love watching the big stars. For me in the mid 2000s Vinokourov was my favourite rider to watch. Since being a pro I respect more the riders that aren’t in the limelight. Imanol Erviti springs to mind. He’s a gentle giant and one of the most respected riders in the bunch. He’s a great racer in his own right and he’s played a big part in many of Movistar’s biggest victories over recent years.
What was you favourite era of professional bike racing?
For me my favourite era was early mid 2000’s when I first started watching pro racing. More brightly coloured jerseys and shorts than now and more “traditional” bikes. It was around the time just before helmets became mandatory so you could identify the riders faces more easily and see the pain and suffering on the climbs.
What is your favorite piece of cycling kit (either something you currently own or have in the past)?
Currently it’s my thick winter training jackets. Now, most of our kit is made to measure and for a tall lanky person like myself that makes a big difference. I give away a lot of my kit after the season but I never give away the thermal training jackets. I hated it when the sleeves were too short in the winter and exposed my wrists to the cold. It’s a nice luxury to have that I appreciate every time I wear one.
What do you think about Strava?
I don’t upload rides personally but I use the app when looking at race routes to find information about climbs etc.
If it gets people out in the fresh air on bikes then it’s not a bad thing but purely going out to beat a certain time or coming home pissed off because you couldn’t beat that time doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve read about blokes falling out about Strava segments which seems a bit sad.
What do you think about Sportive rides?
I like the idea of bringing different people together that wouldn’t normally have met but I don’t agree with the extortionate prices some events charge. Some people taking part need to respect the area they’re riding in a bit more. I remember crossing paths with a sportive locally to me a few years ago and seeing blokes riding five abreast and littering gel wrappers and all sorts at the road side, I didn’t like that and it doesn’t do any good to the reputation of the local cyclists.
Do you have any cycling pet hates?
When I catch and pass a rider I don’t know while out training. I give a polite wave and greeting as I’m passing but get nothing in return only to turn my head around a few minutes later to find them sat in my wheel.
Also when cyclists ride through red lights and generally show no respect to other road users.
Are there any cycling traditions that you think have been, or are being, lost as a result of changing attitudes and behaviour? And are we better off or worse off as a consequence?
No one seems to drink pots of tea at the cafe anymore! All I see cyclists drinking in the cafes now are flat whites and Americanos. For me, tea is the traditional drink of the British club cyclist and I always try and honour that when I’m home.
Cotton cap or helmet?
A few years ago cotton cap, against my parents wishes, but now nearly always a helmet.
The benefits of spinning a low gear compared to mashing a high gear is often discussed. Putting aside the serious, physiological and mechanical aspects, what cadence you think looks right?
About 90rpm on the flat, 80rpm on the climbs.
What do you like to talk about when you are on a ride with friends/team/club mates? Do you prefer to keep the subjects lightweight or get your teeth into something contentious or controversial?
Depends who I’m riding with. With James Knox, for example, we can get our teeth stuck into something trivial and argue for hours on end about it.
When were/are you most happy?
When I’m with like-minded friends, doing something we enjoy, having a laugh without any stress or time restraints.
When did you laugh the hardest?
Recently in the Giro on some of the flat transitional stages we had a good bit of banter between the young British riders. It was mainly me defending myself against their abuse, but we had a good time.
Are you the type of person who likes to have a plan? Or do you prefer to wing it?
Definitely like having a plan.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Not much, I’ve tried to learn from mistakes I’ve made along the way which have helped me get to where I am today.
All photos provided by Hugh Carthy 
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On Cycling in The Peak District

Adventures From Your Backdoor 
I woke up on Friday thinking about the rise in trendy new independent bike races and long-distance events such as the TransAtlantic, TransConti, Sportifs etc. I gave some consideration as to why I have never done one, nor have any desire to do one (I’m open to having my mind changed on this by the way).
It’s not that I’m looking down my nose at those that partake. But there is so much to explore riding from my house in Sheffield that I don’t have the desire to do one.
Within a 100 mile radius in any direction, but particularly into Derbyshire and the Peak District, there is a network of roads, bridleways and tracks that keeps my interest. Whether I do a couple of hours, an all-day ride or a saddle-bag stop-over.
I must admit, having a knowledge of the lanes and backwacks in the Peak makes planning a ride/route really enjoyable and interesting. Not everyone knows the lanes, but I would advise checking as OS map once in a while, this keeps it interesting. I have also benefited from riding with people who have the same mindset as me and there is no finer feeling than showing someone a new road, or finding a new road together. For none bike-riding readers, I know that might sound a bit weird!
I’ve done a few rides recently on my bike that have been 60% off-road, with the ride starting from the back door (rather than riding main roads to get somewhere first). By using woods, parks and lanes you can make your way out of Sheffield without having to deal with traffic, allowing you to do a 2 hour ride that is peaceful and scenic without never getting more than 15 miles away from the house. Furthermore, you can do two to three days riding in the Peak District without riding the same road and the topology of the land there lends itself to cycling perfectly.
It is an oddity of the times that which we live that there seems to be this desire and fashion to go all the way around the world, but never really paying attention to what's yours in front of you. It reminds of gap-years students that travel the globe to see the famous temples of the far-east but have never visited the beautiful Cathedrals of Europe. It seems odd to go to Siem Reap if you’ve never been to Chartres (or better still, York Minster). Besides, a ride from your door can cost practically nothing, except for perhaps a few quid for a sandwich in the cafe or a pint in a pub. Even if you have responsibilities, you can get out most days if you plan your time well.
I’m not comparing one to the other here, I have enjoyed cycle trips in Portugal, Italy and Mallorca over the years, as well as riding in other parts of the UK. But still, in regards to the essence of the bike, not much compares to routes I can do from my backdoor. This also takes away the frustrations of trying to manage the logistics of planning a trip with the bike that needs air or train travel.
I guess I’m lucky too - all this on my doorstep. I’m going to continue to celebrate it.
Words by Thom Barnett
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The Beeley & Chatsworth Estate

I've explored these parts many times on the road bike, both the road and rough-stuff from the top of Beeley Moor. I've noticed a few footpaths and bridleways that I thought would be worth checking out on foot. 

The influence of Chatsworth house on the surrounding villages of Pilsley, Edensor and Beeley can be felt in this area, for over two centuries Beeley was effectively an estate village belonging to the successive Dukes of Devonshire. 

Many of the properties now have been sold-off but the village pub, The Devonshire Arms, has been brought back into the Duke's control in recent years. Formally three separate cottages, these were knocked together. King Edward VII and Charles Dickens are both said to have stayed there and this is where we started our walk. 

The first part of the route leads up through the plantations, running next to Beeley Brook and Moor Farm, before opening up across the open fields of Beeley Moor. From there you can visit Hob Hurst's House, a Bronze age burial mound named after a mischievous goblin (or giant) which lives in the nearby woods. 

Dropping back down into the woods across Beeley Brook you cross the road and take the bridleway for approx 1 mile, eventually encountering the remains of industry in the woods just beyond Fallinge Farm. As early as the mid-1600s a lead smelting mill has been established on the hillside, fuelled by coal dug from a seam on Beeley Moor. 

Once you leave the woods you cross several fields and across numerous wall stiles,  heading back towards the village. The Devonshire Arms serves Jaipur, or you can nip in The Old Smithy Cafe for homemade cakes and tea. 

 

Start + Finish ~ Grid Reference SK265676 

All words and photos by Thom Barnett 

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Lathkill Dale & The Limestone Way

“Lathkill is, by many degrees, the purest, the most transparent stream that I ever yet saw either at home or abroad…” ~ Charles Cotton, 1676 

If you park at the Lathkill Hotel at Over Haddon as we did, you can walk down the winding lane to the Lathkill lodge, or you can ride here but you’ll need a change of shoes in your saddle bag, or cycling shoes that are ok for walking (the route is approx 8 miles). 

Before you reach the lodge, you will turn right onto this beautiful limestone dale next to the River Lathkill. Down here, there is a scene of ash trees, growing beneath limestone crags, scree and pastel coloured grassland. You’ll notice the crystal clear stream and if you stop to inspect, you may even spot some darting trout. 

Lead miners came here in the 18th and 19th century, some of the mine caves are still there for you to inspect. They drilled shafts and adits into the rock and built pump houses, aqueducts, waterwheels and even tramways. Due to overseas competition, the price of lead slumped and by 1870, the pistons stopped.

There are remnants of that time here, the Peak District’s industrial past, now surrounded by lush plants. The valley is full of sycamore and ash trees. Amongst them you’ll see the mossy pillars, remains of the aqueduct built to supply water to the Mandale Mine which is close by. You can cross the river in places, a nice bridge allows you to inspect Bateman’s House, the former mining managers dwelling.  

I have since been told that in dry periods of summer, the river disappears completely beneath the bed of limestone to be replaced by purple orchids, cowslips, primrose-like flowers and rock rose. Although, truth be told, I’ve never witnessed it. 

When you exit this twisting valley you will arrive at Monyash. Here you will find a pub ‘The Bulls Head’ and a cafe ‘The Old Smithy’, a popular cycling destination for local riders. The pub once held the miners special Barmote Court. 

The return leg of the walk is along high pastures overlooking the valley that you’ve just walked through, via Cales Dale and Calling Low this is know as the Limestone Way. You can nip through Meadow Place Grange to get back to the lodge where you started your walk. 

If you want to make a weekend of it, there is Haddon Hall nearby, home of the Duke of Rutland. One of the finest and unspoilt medieval manor houses in England and used as a location for countless films and tv drama including Jane Eyre and Price and Prejudice. 

All words by Thom Barnett

Photos by Lulu Watson

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On Racing (And Why I Don't)

For a short time I considered trying my hand at bike racing. This was before I realised how hard racing actually is! Every cyclist must be able to relate to the visions of grandeur that you have when you start getting fit. You start with the bike, you enjoy it, you ride more and more and you get fitter. Then you ask yourself the question “I wonder if I should race?“. 

A good friend told me “Apart from a small number who are good enough to win races and enjoy it, most lads who race do it to prove something to themselves or to others”. It spared me the time, money and embarrassment of turning my bike rides into hard training-rides and pinning a number to my back. I don’t regret never trying. I have still been fortunate enough to ride with some good riders, some proper talent.

The idea of putting the bike in the car at weekends, driving to a race only to get my head kicked-in, all in front of one-man and his dog, does not appeal! When you fantasise about racing your bike, you’re riding the Giro or de Tour, dropping people in the mountains, in the sun. When in reality, you’re more likely to be getting blown out of the back on a dismal circuit in the rain!

Long weekend rides made more sense. Riding with friends who know the etiquette and ‘how to ride’. It made sense then and it still does now. Straight out of the house early, riding all day, side by side, good conversation, great routes exploring new roads, a cafe stop (usually a pub stop!) - halcyon days! 

          

Having said that, I'm glad there are people with the drive, the talent, the skill and the capacity to suffer, or who want to prove something, who race bikes. Because I  love watching top notch bike races.

I was lucky enough to watch a friend win the best known and most prestigious domestic race on the calendar, Lincoln Grand Prix.

There are some photos I took from that event ~ here 

 

Words by Thom Barnett / Photos by Nick Newton

 

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Notes on British Shoes

This year we have released the Buxton chukka boots, a repeat run of our popular Royals and our latest Derby (or Blucher) shoes - the Ashop. In the past we have done an Oxford-cap shoe named Winster and a loafer named Abney as well as the robust and utilitarian Yompin’ boots.

All of the names for our shoes are after places in the Peak District. All have been proudly made in England.

The use of high-quality leather is essential in British shoe manufacturing and all our shoes (apart from our Hibell cyclo-touring shoe) have been manufactured in the mecca of high quality British footwear, Northampton. All of the best known British shoes are made there, although unfortunately now, many ‘supposed’ British brands now outsource their manufacturing to Portugal and India. 

One of the factors that makes British footwear stand out is the tanning process which preserves the leather and due to the water sources that are available in Northampton many shoe-makers opened up close to these tanneries. 

The other detail that makes the construction of our shoes so solid is the Goodyear-welt, which is the dual-stitch reinforcing sole technique that provides resilience in British weather as well as ensuring the shoe will not come apart if and when they need servicing by your local cobbler. 

Another advantage of the Goodyear-welt is that when the sole is replaced, the form of the shoes stays the same so you only have to break your shoes in once.

A pair of Goodyear welted quality British shoes work well with a variety of different looks and styles and are a great investment that will last many years.

To view all of our shoes and boots click ~ here

 

All words by Thom Barnett

Photography by India Hobson

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We All Start Somewhere

I found this photo attached an old email. 

It was taken by my pal Tim on the 1st of November, 2010. The location is at the top of Ringinglow Road, right before the sign that reads ‘DERBYSHIRE’. The road has since been resurfaced.

I imagine that Tim rode away from me on the climb and then stopped in the lay-by to take the photo as I approached, I don’t remember much about the ride, it was a long time ago. 

I’m wearing some M&S casual shorts over the top of my bib-shorts,  a pair of Nike trainers, Campagnolo cap and a vintage Carrera jersey. 

Back then I was totally clueless about bikes and bike riding etiquette, I owned very little proper cycling kit apart from some vintage jerseys. I was on my first proper road bike ~ T.J. Quick Reynolds 531c frame with some vintage Campagnolo parts which I bought from a friend at the time. 

Andy Mac built the bike up for me it in his garage one Saturday afternoon and I rode it home across town that same evening. I remember it feeling good to ride the bike, to go down hill reasonably fast with the wind on my face. I also remember feeling vulnerable riding on the main road with cars. 

At that time I was 25 years old. This was all before I started Mamnick. 

Since then so much has changed, but finding this photo reminded me of how far I'd come (in bike terms). It reminded me of how hard riding a bike in Peak District can be when you're not fit. 

I get sent messages from people on social media asking for advice of how to “get into cyclingand I never really feel like I can give a adequate response. My first piece of advice is usually - “Buy a cheap bike and see if you like it”

This is the first image I have of me riding a road bike but ironically, some fundamental things have stayed the same. I still ride steel bikes with relatively big gears, with down-tube shifters. I still wear a cotton cap and I still ride on (or near) this road frequently. 

The image got me thinking about how we all start somewhere, and this (is roughly) where I started. 

 

Word by Thom Barnett

 

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Fluid Mechanics #5 ~ Michele Bartoli

During the 1997 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Italian Michele Bartoli broke away with another Italian, Marco Pantani and teammates Alex Zulle and Laurent Jalabert of the ONCE team.

The climbing specialist Pantani was quickly dropped on the flat stretches and the World Champion Johan Museeuw failed to bridge the gap to the leaders by 50 meters.

With 16miles remaining, the breakaway trio had 1min10 on the chase group.

Teammates Zulle and Jalabert attacked one after the other on the Cote Sart Tilman but were unable to drop the Italian. A tired Zulle was dropped after an acceleration by Bartoli in the final kilometres.

As Bartoli and Jalabert approached the finish, Bartoli launched the ultimate attack in the final uphill, dropping Jalabert and claiming his first win in the Ardennes Classic.

Bartoli’s form on the bike, his position out of the saddle is a beautiful spectacle - one of the finest examples of fluid mechanics ~ when man and machine are at one creating some kind of liquid poetry.

  

Words by Thom Barnett 

 

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