Bike mag oct proof

Page 1

chris sands

compiled &

designed by chris Sands



Cy g Li fe




u th




l n



Hil e



re mo

the south pennines a landscape and a people Cycling in the South Pennines has never been easy. But it is possibly one of the most rewarding places you could swing your leg over a cross bar and head off into the yonder. The rugged landscape changes by the mile. Rolling hills blend with rugged crags and smooth, flat towpaths run below challenging moorland trails. Then take a turn off crowded valley bottom roads and within minutes you can be riding the tarmac by yourself with only the odd curlew or cow for company. Always though, you are never far from a view that will take your breath away. It’s a place to make the heart sing. The South Pennines is known for its unique landscape and nonconformist people. We don’t take life lying down. Maybe it’s because of the deep valleys which meant, historically, towns kept themselves to themselves. Maybe the history of the cotton mills and the industrial revolution that took place here, along with the start of the cooperative movement, has a hand in it. Or maybe it’s the cold, damp winters followed by glorious summers lighting up the hillsides that gives rise to a connection to the land and an attitude that embraces life.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in cycling. This journal relies on cycling connections. Each article links to someone who knows someone, who is in a cycle group, who loves a certain ride, and so does someone else, who created an event..... you get the picture. Across this area there is a real community that links groups, routes, people, shops, makers and events. It’s a small world in this big region. And this little book celebrates just that. One More Hill sets out to give a glimpse of cycling life around these parts. It’s not about tech, it doesn’t pretend to be expert in any cycling field. There are plenty of books and magazines that do that - and much better than we could ever do. It’s just a celebration of that certain feeling you get as you push off with the first turn of the crank, that giddiness you get when you know your body and two wheels can take you anywhere. It might be just to the shop, it might be a 100km sportive across the hills and valleys. It doesn’t matter. It’s all about the attitude.

So here’s a glimpse into the cycling life, loves and people of this wonderful place - The South Pennines. Hope you enjoy it. Chris Sands


Hello Above The Crowds

City Cross art ‘n’ bikes


RoughStuff Fellowship

biCycle Makers

past glories


Le Tour De Yorkshire

to the rescue bronte sportive Orange


The Great Pie Tweed Race

S ta r Wheelers

People Like Us birds on


Ellis Briggs

Alastair Humphreys

Up The



Every cyclist has their favourite ride. Ask them about it and watch as they gaze into the distance and talk you through it. You usually wish you hadn’t asked. To you it’s a list of names - Widdop, Blackshaw Head, Blue Pig, then the directions; up over, dropping down to, left through a gate, blah, blah, blah. But to the passionate cyclist, the faraway gaze indicates they are re-living the ride. The big drop where they nearly came off the day it was icy, the time they stopped for a pint in the pub and ended up having three, watched a band and got home two hours late, or it’s just that first glimpse of the big downhill path after a long steep climb. Everyone has their favourite ride. And it can change too. Why wouldn’t it? Tomorrow’s ride may be the best you’ve ever done! But there’s always a fail-safe. That route that beckons if you’re ‘just nipping out for a couple of hours, dear’ or you just want to ride for riding’s sake.

This one is mine, and I’ve added some photos. To stop you glazing over...... Hollingworth Lake means different things to different people locally. To some it conjures up winter’s icy shore - abandoned, eerie and dramatic. To others it has the nickname ‘Oldham-On-Sea’ - summer, fish & chips, souvenirs, candy floss and the meandering masses, with nowhere to go but ‘t’lake’. But ride along the lakeside road, keep going until you pass under the huge structure holding up the M62 (yes really) and within minutes you are into some beautiful unspoilt off-road riding. A good start is to leave your car at Lydgate to the east of the lake (Grid Ref. SD 95474 16412) and take the bridle way towards Hollingworth Lake. It covers some lovely swooping, open moorlands before dropping down to the lake, where you turn and follow the Pennine Bridle Way under the incredible bridge which holds up the M62, plonked in the middle of the landscape.

Ride under it and stop to marvel at the huge feat of engineering that holds 6 lanes of heavy traffic high above your head and listen to the cars sounding as if they are tripping across a rickety bridge. It really is surreal. Passing through an isolated farmyard (Rakewood) you soon turn right up a steep rough path which is the bridle way, and all of a sudden that huge motorway structure looks to be transporting little toy cars beneath you. We’ve done this ride in the depths of winter and the height of summer, and both have so much to offer. Follow the route up to the summit until you reach a signposted crossroad, take a left and follow the bridle way until you see Piethorne Reservoir in the distance. Then drop down a great rocky bit of track to the side of the reservoir. It’s a nice place for a bit of seat of your pants riding, with a big grin guaranteed at the bottom. The scenery here is spectacular, and feels completely different to the other side of the hill - this side smooth and rolling, the other steep and rugged. It’s why this area never fails to surprise. As you drop down, you see the Victorian stepped overspills from the Norman Hill Reservoir and Dowry Reservoir, looking strangely at odds with the landscape, yet somehow fitting in their uniformity against the rolling hills. Take a right around the far side of Piethorn and follow it down to the bottom of Odgen Reservoir, where the bridle way takes a right and winds back up.

Sometimes the gates are locked and you may feel you’re trespassing, but talking to the locals, it’s just because the farmers got sick of people leaving them open, especially in mid summer. From there, a fairly steady climb with a great view of the reservoirs behind you, back up to the signposted crossroads you passed through earlier. Then drop back down under the motorway bridge to the side of Hollingworth Lake. On a cold winter day you’ll all of a sudden be glad of all that commercialism, as there’s plenty of places to grab a coffee or a swift half. Then take the road towards Littleborough and back to where you started (or take a sneaky detour along the canal). So - not a massively taxing ride, but a great couple of hours out, taking in some beautiful scenery and great contrasts. If you come across other cyclists on the way, nearly all will tell you that this is one of their favourite short rides, and then they get that look in their eye...... CS

First there was Slow Food then Slow Travel, Slow Companies, Slow Planet, and more. The time is surely ripe for the Slow Bicycle.

So says The Slow Bicycle Movement - a group formed to ‘take cycling back from the lycra-wearing, 21-gearusing, speed-loving weekend warriors’ and return it to the category of ‘the natural way to get to work, to the shops, to the cinema and in fact just the normal thing to do’. In Denmark, Holland, China and many European cities the bicycle is a part of most people’s everyday life. But increasingly in the UK and USA, it is seen more as a sport which demands full out effort and exertion, seeing if you can shave a few seconds off last week’s ride. Which is actually great as it sees more people cycling, more fitness and more general wellbeing. But the Slow Bicycle Movement is here to counter the sport image, returning the bicycle to its rightful place as a feasible transport option for every day life or just to partake in the noble pass time of popping out for a nice ride.

Slow bikes vary from big old dutch bikes, to tandems, to old tourers and something that started out life as a few of these, lashed together. But it can be a mountain bike, road bike, cargo bike, trike, new, ancient, in fact anything. And therein lies the beauty. It’s not about what you ride it’s about your attitude to riding.

Although Slow Cycling is all about being non-elitist, there are some rudimentary, tongue -in-cheek rules, all of which are there to be broken.

. There’s even a debate on the joys of not wearing a helmet, where they are referred to as “The ‘H’ word!”.

An online article on cycling in towns and cities declared “Offices needing to provide showers so that people will be encouraged to cycle to work and can freshen up when they get there”. A Slow biker commented “If you sweat when you’re cycling to work, set off 5 minutes earlier and ride slower - no sweat!”. Now we can all agree, a place for everything and everything in its place. Some days a full-suspension mountain bike pelt across the moors can’t be beaten. And a 100k club run, on max speed with too many espressos can be just what the doctor ordered after a hard week. But let’s be honest, now and then don’t you just want to have the equivalent of a cycle-stroll rather than a bike-sprint? Thought so....

I like slow cycling because it celebrates being an amateur having a hobby. I think we’ve gotten too caught up in the notion of trying to do everything in life professionally. For example, buying professional grade restaurant equipment for home kitchens. Who really needs that? Why dress like a professional athlete to ride a bike? Maybe we’ve lost the ideal of leisure. I ride a slow bike because it just feels good. When I ride, I feel 16 instead of 60. I’ve even been told to act my age and get a car. Dennis Gray I ride to be social - it’s not about getting somewhere, it is about enjoying the ride hopefully with some friends. When we do a group ride with even just 15-20 people it’s amazing how everyone on the street stops, smiles, waves and yells to us like we are a passing parade. A little music certainly helps with that too! Bryn Hughes When I rode a ‘fast bike’, hunched forward and downward facing, all I really saw was the pavement going by under my tyres. Now that I ride a ‘slow bike’, I am upright and able to enjoy the scenery! So, not only do I get a physical workout, I get a psychological one as well! Reiki Ree Why I slow ride? It’s my daily de-stress between work and home, gets me outside, it’s communicative (people often stop to chat at the lights), it avoids traffic jams and overcrowded trains and keeps up a baseline level of fitness without really trying. Alyson Macdonald I like cool slow bikes. Riding one feels like freedom. William Brown

Slow is a philosophy, an approach, not defined by the bike you ride but the pleasure you derive. Whether being overtaken by a butterfly whilst pootling the lanes on a tandem with my love or swooping along a ‘whoopity doo’ roller coaster lane pushing a big gear, I’m riding ‘slow’. Sue Flitcroft I’m from La Charente, France where the emblem is a winged snail & the local produce is cognac & slippers. Slow all the way! VeloDave

Cycling is my way of flying, even at 2 mph it feels like I’m soaring high. It could be my upright Dutch bike that makes me feel high, the way I have to balance or the way I have to fight the elements of rain, wind, and so on. Whatever it is, it’s a mystery, I feel like a bird. Stephen Bell Set your handlebars as high as your seat or higher. Stop and look at anywhere interesting. Alan Hill Slow bike commute to work. Faster than walking but still able to say hello to folks, listen to the birds sing, smell lilacs and other flowers, and see things otherwise missed if I drove a car. Tom Crouse (no, not that one)

The Slow Bicycle Manifesto - Š 2013 Chris Sands

Mikael Colville-Andersen is a world renowned expert in cycling for cities. He works with cities and governments around the world, coaching them towards becoming more bicycle friendly. He is a sought-after keynote speaker at design and architecture conferences and events around the world on the subjects of urbanism, liveable cities and bicycle history. He lives in Copenhagen, often in the top 5 of the worlds most liveable cities. We had a chat. How did you start the Slow Bicycle Movement? It started, like so many things I do, by coincidence. Back in June 2008 I wrote a quick article on about how I was fascinated by Slow Food and all the other Slow movement things and I wondered why there was no Slow Bicycle Movement. The reaction was positive so I thought about doing it, but I didn’t have the time for a new blog. I started the blog but then put it onto Facebook instead. It has its own life there, and over 11,000 people have signed up. I realised that Slow Bicycle Movement was a kind of umbrella under which many different kinds of cyclists could stand. It hit a nerve with a lot of different people. You have done so many other high profile campaigns like Copenhagenize, Cycle Chic and the Green Wave, and your passion for the bicycle shines through. How does it feel when you see all of these ideas spreading across the world? Which makes you the most proud? It gets me out of bed every day to go to work at Copenhagenize Design Company.

All of us at the company feel the same way... that we are doing something real and positive every day. Everywhere I go around the world to speak or to work on projects, people come up to me to thank me for the blogs and the inspiration. A young woman in Sao Paulo is the one I remember the best and she symbolises everyone I meet. She came up to me after a keynote and just said, “I just want to say that I’ve been reading Copenhagenize and Cycle Chic for a couple of years and you are the reason I ride a bicycle in Sao Paulo.” It is so humbling and so inspirational at the same time. Taking what someone later called The Photo That Launched a Million Bicycles - which became Cycle Chic - is probably what I am most proud about, even though it was a coincidence. Imagine starting the global bicycle boom. It makes me proud and humble all at once. Your work focuses on cities. The area of the South Pennines is made up of small towns with a lot of rugged, hilly landscape in between. Many people live in one town, and drive to another for work. Cycling is seen very much as ‘What you do on the weekend to keep fit’. There are some fabulous cycle ways along the valley bottoms, which are flat, but people seem to be scared off because of the whole sport image of bikes here. So... Have you applied the theories and practices that you’ve so successfully implemented in cities, into more rural societies? Do the same rules apply, bearing in mind there is less public money stretched across a huge area, and distances to travel by bike are further? We used to ride bicycles everywhere, including rural areas. There’s no reason we can’t today.

“In the late 19th century, large numbers of women were already using bicycles to get to work, women office workers and shop assistants wending their way each weekday morning from the suburbs to the town. They found the bicycle a convenient form of transport for distances up to, say, ten miles”.

John Woodeforde’‘The Story of the Bicycle’, 1970

Cities are the most important now, because they have the low-hanging fruit. Lots of people living in close proximity to work, schools, etc. But in Danish towns - and we have a lot of hills in Denmark - cycling is still a respected, accepted and feasible transport form. There are 10,000 km of national cycling network infrastructure connecting the entire nation. Could be the same anywhere. I was in Adelaide, South Australia recently, you said “I will not ride a bike in a city that has compulsory helmet laws”. Could you explain a bit more? It is the informed citizen’s obligation to reject and even ridicule flawed laws and the uninformed lawmakers who passed them. It was a statement I wished to make. Although I did ride in Adelaide on a Helmet Free protest ride. Could you tell us what riding a bike means to you personally. The bicycle is just a tool that makes my every day life easier. It is the fastest way for me to get around my city. I’m not a cyclist or a bike geek, I’m just a modern urban man who makes rational transport choices. I experience my city and fellow citizens up close and personal on a bicycle. Nothing special.

Blogs: Shop:

past glories Photos taken ‘in the back room’ at Cycle Recycle in Hebden Bridge.

“I love riding bikes and I love doing first aid & helping people. So this is perfect for me!” says Tristan Pollich one of volunteers of KFA (Keighley First Aid) & CVO Medical’s Cycle Response Unit. And as the name says, they respond to emergencies - by bike! “We carry everything an ambulance does except for stretchers. The bikes are loaded down with defibrillators, oxygen tanks and medicines, so this isn’t for the faint hearted rider - there’s a lot of weight to shift”. “Our job is to administer first aid until an ambulance or helicopter can get to the patient” says rider Matt Dennis. “We can get to places that a Landrover has no chance of getting to, and we’re much quicker than the guys on foot, so it all makes a load of sense”. “We use two different types of bikes GT Aggressor and Specialized Hardrock. The bikes are standard apart from having blue lights, sirens and a cool paint job. All of our bikes carry panniers so they weigh approximately 48KG fully loaded. Which makes for some pretty hardcore pedaling! KFA & CVO attend events like any St John’s Ambulance do, but the cycle team are for those events that are just that bit out of the way, or are bike related. 90% of the team are volunteers. KFA also run training courses in all things medical,including a tailor made first aid course for cyclists. It draws the relevant bits from their Motorbike Road User First Aid course, the Sports and the Outdoor First Aid courses to create a highly relevant course for cyclists, both on and off road types.

Tristan & Matt above Oxenhope

The Sportive was altered this year to take in as much of the route taken by the Tour de France Yorkshire Grand Depart as possible. The longest route includes 30 miles of the stage 2 Tour, including the stunning sections through Haworth,

and Penistone Hill. They also include England’s longest constant incline of 6.42 miles up Cragg Vale. There are four routes that can be taken ranging from 23 to 88 miles.

It all started as an event called Race the Train where riders set off from Keighley at the same time as the 9:40 steam train departed heading for Oxenhope up the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Line. The challenge for the riders was to arrive at Oxenhope Station before the train which had to stop at Ingrow, Oakworth and Haworth stations on the way. In 2010 the event was extended to four routes as The Bronte Sportive.

As well as the Sportive there is The Bronte Mountain Bike Challenge, which is almost 10 years old. This is one of the highlights of the local mountain Biking calendar, and is held every September. More details available at

where you can see some great photos of previous events (including some falling down ones!).

The longest ride is The Bronte Monster (not for the novice!) and is the 88 miles long, and has 8,400 ft of ascents including 21 major climbs each of which is marked with a sign so that riders can count them down and, supposedly, make themselves feel better as they near the finish. The Bronte Sportive happens every year around September and is organised by national healthcare charity Sue Ryder. Riders are encouraged to raise sponsorship money for the good cause. For more information or to register online, visit:

Photo by All Terrain Cycles

Travelling through some of the most spectacular landscape and steep cobbled towns of Northern England, the Bronte Sportive is a cracking set of rides, passing through Bronte Country. Three of them named after the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily & Anne and the other called, rather descriptively, The Bronte Monster.

Bronte sportive





of a


Orange Bikes are legendary. Their bikes feature in most people’s favourite mountain bike list - and they are made in Halifax. That’s Halifax West Yorkshire not Nova Scotia. Here, Sim Malney from Orange gives us a bit of insight about what goes into building a world beating, almost bulletproof bike, and why Halifax has something to be proud of other than its bank... Mountain biking is fun, but I’m not sure my bike would necessarily agree with that. The South Pennines is a tough place to be a mountain bike, the landscape seems set on inflicting its worst on anything with two wheels that passes through it. The ever-present water from sky and ground does its best to defeat seals, cause bearings to fail and chains to rust. The gritty mud and oily peat eats away at gears and expensive suspension forks and shocks. The coarse gritstone that defines most of the Calder Valley attempts to bend, snap, gouge and maim whatever it comes into contact with. This variety of bike-wrecking terrain is packed into the trails that shoot up and down the steep sided valleys and across the expansive moorland. A bike ridden round these parts needs to be able to survive all these elements. A bike designed and built here should thrive in them. It’s given us a no nonsense attitude to design and manufacture; the majority of which is done in Halifax. The distinctive aluminium monocoque sections used on our bikes are designed to be strong and light, the single set of bearings mean that maintenance is minimal. Less time faffing in the workshop, more time riding the trails. As it should be. When it comes to speccing our bikes, we pick the components that will perform at their best for the longest time possible.

Whether it's a product, a company or even an attitude, everything is a result of its surroundings. and it's fair to say the South Pennines, and the Calder Valley in particular, has shaped Orange's bikes and ethos. There’s no point building frames that last if everything else falls to bits. The trail conditions round here might be rough on bikes but they are fun and challenging for riders. From steep and slidey mud chutes to pack horse bridle way, the majority of our prototype development is done on the trails of the South Pennines before being sent around the world for further testing. As well as testing our bikes here, we test ourselves, becoming products of the riding environment ourselves. Our riding influences our bikes. As the trails develop, we develop and ultimately the bikes develop too. It might sound trite but we are a rider focused company that is staffed by riders. We make bikes we want to ride and it seems that the bikes we want to ride are the same as the bikes most other committed mountain bikers want to ride.

A good bike is universal, it works everywhere, whether that's Halifax, Yorkshire or Halifax, Nova Scotia. Would Orange be the same if it was based elsewhere? Unlikely. We’ve been shaped by the same wind, water and rocks that have shaped Calderdale itself. We think this is a good thing. Our customers do too, even if they aren’t lucky enough to have the same hills on their doorstep as we do, and our bikes have become a part of the riding landscape not only in the South Pennines but worldwide. Sim Malney - Orange Bikes

One chilly April a conversation happened between Chris Sands and Emma Ossenton, two riders recently introduced taking part in the #30daysofbiking challenge. 30 Days of Biking saw thousands of people around the world pledge to ride their bikes every single day throughout April, no matter what the weather or circumstance, and blog about it. It was going well then Emma phoned Chris. Emma:“I’ve found an old official Cycle Speedway Track. We should do something”. Chris:“Where’s that?” Emma: “In Sowerby Bridge, in Hollins Park”. Chris: It can’t be, I ride through there every day to work. There’s just an old BMX track”. Emma: “Yes that’s the one”. We need to do something to get it back up and running”. The Great Pie Tweed Race was born.

photo Allan Boult

photo Allan Boult

THE PIE CHART Pie related songs chosen by our facebook group It's A Long Way To The Shop If You Wann'a Sausage Roll - AC/DC Pie, Pie, Pie Delilah - Tom Jones Lucy in The Pie With Pieman - The Beatles I Love Sausage Rolls - Joan Jet A CRUST TOO MUCH - AC/DC I Don't Think You're Ready For This Jelly - Destiny's Child Saturday night's alright for pie tins -Elton John I'll get pie with a little help from my friends - Wet Wet Wet River deep, mountain pie - Ike and Tina Turner One gray-vy or another - Blondie

photo Fishwife Photography

All other photos `Chris Sands

The old adage of Do what you love, love what you do' was firmly behind the thinking of this. We love cycling, we love pies & who doesn't love a bit of tweed? Add them together and you've just started something magical! A facebook page was set up and then a date 2 weeks ahead was announced for the first race. The great planning strategy of ‘do the poster with a date on it, hand loads out then think “Oh, we better make it happen then”,’ was implemented. So on 30th of April 2013 The Very First Great Pie Tweed Race took place - on a bumpy, unloved cycle speedway track in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire. It was raced by a load of people who (mostly) didn’t have a clue what they were entering, to win some locally produced pork pies, whilst sporting the rather genteel get-up of tweed or something similar (we were fairly slack on that rule). Pies, bikes and tweed collided. And it was great! We built it - they came. About 40 people.

Which was perfect for a first event of which nobody had much of an idea how it was all going to work. There was a bit of reticence from riders about being the first to race but that soon broke down after a few blasts around the track and a true competitive spirit took hold. First up was the young ‘uns, and with the fabulous Gilly Dukes at the helm, the ankle snappers had a ball. Highlight was one tiny chap winning his heat, with the biggest grin on a small face you could imagine. Then it got serious. There were pastry encrusted pork delicacies at stake after all. The traditional cycle speedway rules applied - 4 laps as fast as possible, broken into heats. Racing was fast and furious, and resulted in the grand champion “Chris Kilburn” raising the trophy. To the winner a humongous 4lb pork pie. Complete with pastry bike emblem. Straight after the clearing up of the track there were already posts on the facebook page - “When’s the next one?”, “Amazing, more please!”. Who were we to disagree.

eyes on the pies

photo Fishwife Photography

So on the 5th July, ‘The Very Second Great Pie Tweed Race’ happened, and this one was a bit more flash. It was put together to coincide with the launch of the South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival programme launch. And where the inaugural race was in the cold early spring, this one was a scorcher. A lovely balmy night, which brought loads more people out, both as spectators and riders. All in all, about 80 of them. What’s more, the guys from Heckmondwike Cycle Speedway Club turned up and introduced proper speedway bikes into the mix- ie: no gears and no brakes. They kindly brought a batch of their bikes and let anyone grab a ride. If you’ve never ridden brakeless and gearless (not fixed gear either) you haven’t lived. Stopping is done courtesy of your left foot in the dirt! It’s not as scary as you may think. Just very good fun. With the added excitement of officialdom, some of the riders got a bit more daring, resulting of course, in a bit of skin shedding on the track. Some spectacular crashes, but no real damage, just a few bloodied knees & limps to the pub afterwards. So with a victorious Jake from Heckmondwike receiving the Big Pie Prize, everyone wandered to the excellent Puzzle Hall Inn for locally made Thai food, pints and the premiere of a short film to celebrate the Walk & Ride Festival and the Tour De France Grande Depart. The guest of honour was Harry Land-Cave, star of the film, and 8 years of age. But what about a legacy? For almost no money, an event was held. One that people loved. Four families that never considered

cycling have become avid riders. And quite a few individuals have been converted too. That was the whole idea. To create something that didn’t take itself too seriously, but connected people with a passion for cycling. And to celebrate the pie of course. And tweed. Don’t forget the tweed. Pies were donated by the lovely Andrea of Deli Belge in Sowerby Bridge, and handmade by Ingfield Farm of Southowram. The Puzzle Hall Inn always rocks! Last Christmas, Emma Ossenton ran the Secret Santa Speedway on the back of all this. And even more people turned up in the freezing darkness. The small lights in the centre of the track just couldn’t cut through the darkness so everyone held up their bike lights. The pork pies were swapped for mince pies, and mulled wine was served. Despite bitterly cold temperature, the warmth of the crowd shone through and yet more people were introduced to the world of cycling and in particular Cycle Speedway. Which can’t be a bad thing. CS Photos used with kind permission from: Allan Boult, Fishwife Photography, Chris Sands. Special mention to Bill Brady for actions above and beyond the call of duty. The South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival is an annual event.

If variety is the spice of life, then the Rough Stuff Fellowship (RSF) is the pepper and cinnamon of cycling. Founded in 1955 (long before mountain bikes were a twinkle in Gary Fischer’s eyes), RSF have been taking their bikes to moors and mountain tracks in the spirit of friendship and the shared love of the countryside. The world’s first off road cycling club, the first club ever to have a website. This must be some slick organisation you may think? Think again! When a RSFer uses the term ‘bike’ they mean ANY bike. Trips out have seen everything from a mud spattered

Brompton folder to full suspension MTBs, via old steel-framed touring bikes. This isn’t about elitism, in fact the RSF seem to revel in flouting the unwritten rules of which machine and kit you need for some dirty adventures. The sight of this rag-tag group ambling the countryside can confuse the hell out of passers by.

The club has factions all over the country (the infamous George Berwick is the Scotland group secretary), but our Pennine region is a stronghold with groups riding out of Yorkshire, North Peaks, South Pennines, Lancashire & South Lakes; you can take your pick of dozens of rides every month as well as multiday tours or easy, family friendly half day rides.

A former CTC magazine editor once said that “to a RSF member, there’s no such thing as a dead end”.

The Pennine hills are certainly ripe for beautiful off road cycling and between members, there’s a wealth of knowledge of byways and tracks that snake across the hills, valleys and plains of our region. And like all cyclists - we know a good cafe or two! Georgie Curley Ormrod, RSF Lancs. Area Secretary

I’ve certainly been on a few rides where walkers will suddenly come upon us with a look of complete surprise at finding a troupe of cyclists in the most unlikely of places.



Photos: Neil Hendry and Stephen Smith

But I really wanted to be in a ‘proper’ club. To me that meant a club where the lads shave their legs and the women are infeasibly skinny. A club where the bikes were always clean at the start of a ride, shoes were black and socks were white.

My Dad is a cyclist and a precision engineer. He raced for Kingston Phoenix and then the RAF during his national service. So I was taught to cycle properly once I could ride. That meant drop handle bars, toe clips and joining a club. In my case it was Torbay CTC. I loved the miles I rode as a teenager in this club. I didn’t appreciate the fact that however hard I tried to wear my bike out, Dad would sort it out and have it back on the road the next day.

When I was a kid my brother rode with the Mid Devon Cycling Club. His bike was light and geometrically perfect. My bike was a second hand ladies 531 Coventry Eagle.

Well I was wrong. Clubs like the Star Wheelers aren’t actually an elite secret society. You don’t have to have a full carbon bike to go on a club run nor do you have to shave your legs if you’re a bloke. All you need is the courage to turn up; whether that’s a steady Tuesday evening ride with DavGav and Jonny 53; MTB Saturday morning rides with Ian; Ladies social rides or the Juniors Go-Ride sessions on a Saturday afternoon.

When I moved to Huddersfield in the 1990s I occasionally used to ride up Holme Moss before lectures. That’s when I first came across the Huddersfield Star Wheelers. As I hauled myself up (still on that Coventry Eagle), I would be passed by lads in Red, Yellow and Black. Cool, I would think. They would nod as they passed me and wave as they hurtled back down. But I still thought clubs like that weren’t for me.

So have I transformed? No, but I am married to a man who rides with the club (and still doesn’t shave his legs) and I have a son whose best friends are Star Wheelers.

This year I have raced cyclocross, had to learn the basics of speedway, coached kids, ridden sportives, marshalled at road races, shouted myself hoarse at a hill climb and taken my Dad to meet (the) Brian Robinson.

You don’t even need to ride a bike! Clubs need volunteers to help at events. We thrive on good cake.

For the strong of heart the Bull and Bear will put you through your paces in the early hours of Sunday morning. The annual hill climb will have you blowing your lungs out your ears. The Zig-Zag Wanderers will lead you out on mid-week social (don’t let the name fool you, these riders are fit!)

Gilly Dukes

Confession; I do now own a full carbon bike, but I will never be infeasibly skinny.

A chat and a brew with five people about their love of cycling, the landscape and how they came to riding. Everyday people. It just happens that cycling is a big part of their lives, and has helped to shape them into the people that they are.

Gerogie is known among fellow cyclists and friends for her ability to just keep riding..... on & on & on...... massive hills are her favourite. She’s also known for riding out in a dress on a variety of ‘unsuitable’ bikes. She is Area Secretary of The Rough Stuff Fellowship, which you can read about elsewhere in this journal. “I started riding again six years ago, the first time since childhood, because of the price of petrol. Originally it was to and from work to save money. That was the only reason I bought a bike. But it didn’t take long to reach the level of obsessive! I just started riding everywhere. I loved it. After a while I plucked up the courage to talk to The Rough Stuff Fellowship. I’d heard of them and thought “That sounds like my sort of club”. They invited me out on a ride with a raised eyebrow and a patronising smile, this tiny 5ft 1” girl in a skirt riding an old clunky bike. I could almost hear them thinking “Aw!”. I spent the whole ride at the front and it was a real tough ride! At the end of it they went “Yeah ok, fair play”. I’m now the area secretary.

I’ve always loved getting into the country. Walking is great - but you get to see much more on two wheels. Cycling has taken me to amazing places, most of which I would never have dreamed of going to. Like most addicted cyclists I have a few bikes. My every-day mount is a Raleigh Hybrid. It’s definitely not intended for the abuse I give it. The local bike shop is impressed it’s still alive!

I also have a beautiful lime green 60s Mixte (as seen -in the photo). The previous owner toured all over Europe on it, and when I bought it she got out her old photo album out to show me all the fantastic places the bike had been.

She then asked to take my photo next to it to add to the album. That’s sums up true cycling to me. I love this bike and all its history”. I’ve only ridden abroad once, and that was on a trip to San Francisco. We rode along the San Adres Fault. We set off for a days ride in 26 degrees - ran into really thick fog and finished in 5 degrees and no jackets with us. And I thought the weather was changeable in Burnley! My dream trip? Taking a long, long ride though North California. My favourite ride around here has to be from Townley Park over Widdop - Hardcastle Crag, then Walshaw Hebden, to Todmorden on the canal up by the observatory, with a nice descent to Cornholme and back home to Burnley. It’s pretty hard going and the first time I took my boyfriend on this route, I thought he was going to dump me! But the hilly rides are always the most beautiful. Why do I do it? For the love of the hills and the countryside.

ranger bill Park Ranger for The Pennine Bridle way

Bill and Toby Thelwall Viaduct Brady

When you're on top of the moors and the sun comes out from behind a cloud, and the birds are singing. Then you know you're in the right job. “My patch is the Pennine Bridle Way, from North Yorkshire to Lancashire. 70 miles long and 3 meters wide probably the strangest proportioned landscape a ranger has ever had to look after. After working it for a while, I asked for a bike because there are places you just can’t get to in a Landrover. Good times! I now use my bike for patrolling and doing guided rides. All the other rangers do guided walks, but I thought why not on bikes? Now I take people out on rides along the bridle way. I’m the only ranger that does this. I linked up with Pennine Prospects Walk & Ride Festival, and that increased the amount people coming along which is great. I started riding, like we all did, as a kid. My dad wouldn’t let me have a BMX, because he was into ‘proper’ cycling. So I ended up with a Puch, a big lump of a thing which made a Raleigh Grifter look like a carbon fibre racer. Puch are renowned for making 4 wheel drive systems - not bikes. It showed. Me and my dad used to go cycle touring together, and in the summer we would ride up to Scotland. That’s where the passion all started. We’d cycle up over 3 or 4 days to where we would be having our family fortnight holiday.

My mum and sister would drive up and meet us there. There’s lots of pictures of me looking really glum and knackered. My dad has a favourite one where I’d obviously run out of energy and I had a face like a slapped arse. It’s got pride of place on his wall! Dad doesn’t ride any more, being in his 80s but he’s passed his bike down to me. Five years ago he hung up his cycling shoes, so I said “Can I have my inheritance early please Dad?” He agreed. So I’ve got his bike, and I’ve had it resprayed. It’s an old Ernie Clemmence and I love it. It’s my only road bike, but I put cyclo cross tyres on it now and then and do a bit of the bridle way too. It’s as pingy as anything with its 531 steel frame. There’s something lovely about riding a family heirloom”. Although Bill’s job would seem idyllic to many of us, the reality, as with most jobs, can sometimes be a bit less romantic.

If I had a quid for every rambler who walked past me when I'm working and said Wow I wish I had your job', I'd be rich enough to not have to work!

“It sure beats sitting in an office all day, but some days (like today) the cold and damp just go right through you. It’s tough, the pay’s not great, but it’s the free things that make it all worth while. When you’re on top of the moors and the sun comes out from behind a cloud, and the birds are singing. Then you know you’re in the right job.

I still see cycling as an escape, but I suppose I'm the opposite of those people who have an offIce job. TheY spend all week cooped up, then head for the hills on the weekend. I spend all week in the element, and come the weekend, sometimes just want to curl up by the FIre and watch tv. But then there's always the old road bike calling.... Bill lives in The Yorkshire Dales, works for Lancashire County Council and is responsible for the Pennine Bridle way from The Dales right over to Lancashire. He often takes his faithful (and smelly) dog “Toby Thelwall Viaduct Brady” with him while working. Bill was one of the instigators of the now famous “Up The Buttress” ride. He came up with the name too - just because it made him snigger.

k i m ke dumbrec There's something about climbing high on your bike, getting to the top and looking down on all the chaos that's going on in the valley below. A staunch Scot, Mike Dumbreck is a bit of a ‘Coals to Newcastle’ sort of bloke. Coming from a part of the world where people travel for miles to go riding, he fell in love with the Pennines when he came down here to ride with his step uncle. “We would go out and help with the Calderdale Mountain Bike Challenge, staking out the routes, then we’d do the course. I even brought friends down from Scotland with me, I loved it so much, I ended up moving down here”. “I was extremely competitive as a kid, especially with my brother Anthony, and especially around bikes. So the Mountain Bike Challenge was great for me, and the people I met way back then are now my regular riding buddies. But now, the competitive edge isn’t there. I just ride for the pure passion and the experience of the great outdoors. Also, having a young baby boy has made me calm down too, as think I’d like to be around to take him out too!” The hills are Mike’s big love. “There’s something about climbing high on your bike, getting to the top and looking down on the all the chaos that’s going on in the valley below.

It might take me ages to get to the top, I might feel rubbish when I get there, but as soon as I do, I’m on top of the world”. My passion for cycling came from growing up on a farm, where I had two choices of how to get around. Horse or bike. I would often ride Kipper, our horse, to school and park him in the field across from the school gate. When I got a bit older I realised I just stank of horse crap, so the bike took over! My mum was always working, so if we wanted to go anywhere we had to go by bike. Mike Dumbreck is a full on bike nut. He rides a Yeti 575 carbon bike full suspension and a Cove Stiffee hard tail. Unfortunately a couple of months back he smashed the carbon swing arm on a very big jump. How much will that cost to mend Mike? “Ermm..cough.... But the quality of the bike has helped me out of some very sticky situations. There are times when you solely have to rely on the bike to get you out of a near miss. That’s when you know you’ve got a good one”. Oh, it cost that much then....

Mike grew up near the Pentland Hills, in Scotland, and although totally different, the similarities of canals and big hills are enough to stop him from being homesick. “I prefer life here, particularly the riding. Last winter I didn’t get out for a month anf I felt all pent up and anxious. When I finally got out for a big ride, I got back and my wife Nic said “Thank God, you’re back to normal again”. And she was right. Without my bike I’m a very different person”. “I love winter rides most of all - the cold on your face and the lack of people on the trails. “My favourite ride is over Norland Moor. The climb is hard, but when you get to the top, the sky is huge and you can see right across to Stoodley Pike and Rochdale. If I lived somewhere flat like York I think I’d be buying a shovel and making my own hill range”. Managing a print shop Mike has an ambition to be the first printer to deliver locally by bike. I’d love to have one of the cargo bikes with a big box on the front. It would say so much about us”. He hopes to do it soon.

to see how cycling can benefit your life long term, look no further than Wray Simcock. At 80 years old, Wray is out most days, either riding with a group or on his own, just because he loves it. Wray took his first long bike trip youth hostelling with a bunch of friends at the tender age of 15. He was hooked from that point onwards. “I loved the friendship and the camaraderie of it all” said Wray. “We got to see some amazing countryside, and we struck up friendships that lasted for years”. Even at 80, Wray’s fitness levels are pretty obvious. For his 70th birthday he rode Lands End to John O’Groates just to prove he could do it. “I was a bit nervous at the prospect beforehand, so I did a trial at age 68 just to make sure I could finish. It took me 10 days the first time, then 9 days the second time on my 70th birthday. We did 932.98 miles and raised over £9000.00 for charity”. “We started on the cliffs in Lands End, and finished on the beach in John O’Groates. So if you’re a member of the Flat Earth Society, it was down hill all the way... Devon & Cornwall was the hardest part as the hills were really tough.

I’m immensely proud of this trip and the time it took us, but when you think about the record time of just over 2 day, well....”. Riding brings more than just physical benefits to Wray. “I used to be a computer programmer in Leeds, 20 years ago. Sometimes I’d be stuck with a problem I couldn’t fix, then I got on my bike to ride home and within a couple of miles I’d think “Ah - that’s it!”. It clears your head so much. I’ve solved many a problem that way”. If you cut Wray in two, he’d probably have cog shaped bones. The house is full of cycling memorabilia from certificates to photos of trips and races he’s competed in and each has a story behind it. Even the garden weather vein is tandem shaped.

Warning - retirement can be good for your health! “Now I’m retired I get out most days on my bike, rain or shine.” said Wray. “I ride with The Autumn Tints group at least twice a week and we always start in a destination cafe and ride from there. We average about 25 miles each time. On Thursdays I head to Gargrave to ride with The Gargrave Tuesday Club(!) and then I ride over the weekend, sometimes on my own, sometimes with friends”.

“Friday is my rest day, and on Mondays I go spinning at the gym”. Puts most of us younger ones to shame really. “I used to ride mountain bikes, but not any more. I think if I fell off I’d break! I did the Mary Townley Loop a few years ago, which I loved. Now I’m really glad of Route 66 (cycle path) which gets me away from the traffic without needing to be fully off road”. “Every year I try to get to Mallorca to ride in the spring sunshine. We base ourselves just south of Palma and ride out every day. I love it”. Over the last year or so, Wray has found some of the Yorkshire hills a bit of a struggle, so he’s invested in a Giant electric bike. “The best think I’ve bought in years” he said. “All of a sudden those hills I was struggling with are no problem at all. It really is fantastic and has added a good few years to my cycling life. The battery life reckons to be 50km, but I don’t think they were taking into account the hills round here. I got stuck at the bottom of Luddenden and had to pedal the thing up the steep hill back home under my own steam. And it’s VERY heavy”. “I’m thinking of buying a kit to convert my Specialized road bike to electric, to make a lighter ride, but that’s another thousand quid to find. Then again you can’t take it with you, can you?!”

Joolze is a world renowned cycling photographer (see some of her stunning images on the City Cross article), and travels endlessly covering cycling events globally. She had much success riding for the Welsh National Team, but now calls Yorkshire her home.

All for love “I’m in Yorkshire. Not born and bred. Here for love. Love of my soul mate. Love of the countryside. Love of cycling and the love of photography, which is handy as that’s what I do for a job. Cycling photography, it’s where I’m at, at the moment. It’s a fast paced job that entails ‘chasing lycra’ around the globe. It also regularly entails lying in muddy ditches, standing on feet-burning tarmac, riding shotgun on a fast moving motorbike covered head to toe in dust, bouncing from cobbles to tarmac, trying to grab those all elusive shots.

So why photography? And why specialise in cycling? Well for me, the two go hand in hand. I have a passion for both which all started way back in the mists of time… Around the age of 15 I started riding a ‘proper’ bike. My best friend at the time had a hand built Mercian and I wanted to do what she did. So I badgered my Mum & Dad to get me one of thosethere ‘racing’ bikes. I traded in my girl’s shopper and I soon became the owner of a brand spanking new Raleigh from Halfords, it was blue, it was 23”… Well I could always grow into it…

Luckily, my best friend had bought hers from the local bike shop and we were invited down to the cycling club. And that, as they say, was how it all began…. I was hooked from the start. The freedom, the adventure. For a teenager in the Welsh valleys this was definitely my ticket to ride. I met my first boyfriend through the club and it was he who introduced me to the delights of photography. A zenith body was the kit of choice (well all we could afford back then) and anyway, I was saving for a new frame at the same time, one that would fit - a 21” Dawes Atlantis, two tone blue, a beaut 531. So my teenage years where shaped by the bike and photography. When I wasn’t out riding I was out shooting, rushing back to a friend’s house to play in the darkroom he built. My bike took me everywhere, my camera usually came too. Strangely though when it came to make life choices about careers, I was incredibly naive, I’d already decided I would do a degree in ceramics. After all I probably had a better chance of making a living out of that, right? So college years intervened, and saw me take a break from both cycling and photography. Little did I know how those two aspects of my life would be intertwined for years to come…

Fast-forward a year or two. I spent my time working in the cycle trade in many different guises as well as riding my bike. Then back in 2001 I decided I wanted to return to my roots, get all creative and I picked up the camera again. It was as if I’d never been away! I soon developed a style that was instantly recognisable, my own passion for cycling etched firmly in each and every image. I started out shooting mountain bike events, lying in various muddy ditches cheering on riders as they whizzed past. Working long hours, loving every minute, encouraging new and old riders to embrace my sport through my art. These days though, I’m usually found on the continent working on various commissions, either on the race scene or covering adventures. Each day is varied and a challenge, and each day is steeped in passion. It’s certainly not glamorous! You see a hotel room, a hundred miles or so of foreign roads at high speed, then it’s head down stuck on the computer, processing, tweaking, selecting. You might eat, you might not. The next day you do it all again, and the next and the next. You come home exhausted; sleep for England and then you’re off again!! And why? Well this is where I’m at, this is my life, my passion, it’s shaped who I am and I love it!”.

“Aye Up - Birds on Bikes!” shouted a farmer across a field to the group of ladies riding past. And the name stuck. And eleven years later they still meet every Tuesday, rain or shine, for their ‘Birds Only” rides. There’s a difference when women ride together” says Heidi , “It’s so different to riding with a group of men. The camaraderie we have shared over the years, the fitness and bike sense we have gained from nothing, the injuries and predicaments we have been through together, the difficulties we face actually getting out when other responsibilities threaten - these are the things which have created a lifelong bond. While we laugh at each other’s misfortunes, men are far more likely to capture a get-off on camera than rush to the rescue. We never lower our expectations that each one of us must carry an equal burden for each ride and we look out for each other all the way. Whatever ride we have committed to, and whatever the conditions, there’s absolutely no mollycoddling (and sometimes the best kind of love is tough love), but at the end of the day, whether it’s home or away, we finish the ride. Together. As a group. Laughing. Priceless!”.

I went out for a ride around Stoodley Pike area with a couple of the ‘Birds’, Penny and Gill, and we talked as we rode. The next week they got togehter and had a chat about what made their group special, their infamous weekends away, and why they do it. And here’s what they said;

What’s the Birds ride of choice? I personally would say that the ride we did with you (Chris) is def my favourite and I know Helen, Kirstie, Mary like it too. It has a bit of everything...stunning views, classic pack horse route gnarly single track downhills, rough but do-able up hills and some glorious cruising bridle ways. Gill

Probably every group of bikers; men, women or a mixed group, have their own way of riding. We do a lot of laughing, enjoying the ride, the scenery and each others company. Penny

How far do you spread your rides? Derbyshire wasn’t the furthest, but it felt like we were a long way from home when we were trying to find a hospital after Gill had fallen off and twisted her knee. Especially when I had to knock on the door of the police speed trap van to ask for directions! Jane

Tell us a bit about your Bird Weekends. We love trying new trails, and twice a year we head off in Kirstie and Penny’s camper vans for a weekend biking together further afield. There is so much good riding in the North of England that we’re spoilt for choice. Over the years we have ridden Dark Peak, White Peak, The Yorkshire Dales, North Yorks. Moors, High Pennines, North Wales and The Lake District. They are all fairy close, as we all work and have family commitments, so we try to plan our Bird Weekends to maximise ride time and limit drive time. Penny There’s so much to say about the weekends, I don’t know where to start. For me, it’s all about the company and the camaraderie and laughing until my sides ache. Why else would I look back fondly on taking a cold shower by helmet-light in a barely-converted cowshed? Jane The weekends are indescribably fantastic rides, amazing scenery and full of laughs. No make-up, no pretence just a bunch of girls having the best time ever. Jane

How long have you been meeting? I can’t remember when I started but I definitely wasn’t going to make it a regular thing. Why would I want to go out in the dark, mud and wet on a school night to gasp my way up hill and down dale, when I could be snuggled up by the fire?? It seemed an insane thing to do. Fast forward more than 10 years and it’s become an entrenched and much cherished part of my week. Heidi Yep we’ve been biking now for nearly 11 years. I started just after my son Sam was born and he’s 11 in November. Penny I’m the latest Bird, and couldn’t think of a better group to join. I love playing out on a Tuesday night with my best buddies and seeing the lovely countryside where we live. Mary

Most of the Birds live nearby to their Mytholmroyd starting point, apart from Gill. She lives in York! “I remember Heidi telling me I was mad to think of driving 1hr 15 there and (even more mad) 1hr 15 back after 3 hrs flying over dark wild moors. I’m often so cold and wet I can hardly start the car! I remember her saying “Maybe you could find a group over York way.” Well I might be mad (in deed I often think we are all a little crazy) but joining this lot has been a jewel in my life. I thank each one of them for putting up with me when I was even slower getting up the hills and didn’t have the right bike or right lights. I’m proud to be in the gang and the official ‘Old Bird’,. Worth every minute commuting the M62. So rumour has it that you always end up in a pub. Is this true? Nobody’s said anything about ending up in the pub? Absolutely not. Our bodies are temples ha ha. But exceptions are made. Especially when they serve crusty pies and sponge pudding. I seem to recall our collective capacity for bathtub gins being quite impressive too... Heidi CS

Photo: Joolze Dymond

By Emman Ossenton Main Photos Joolze Dymond

Photo: Joolze Dymond

Photo: Joolze Dymond

Sometimes chance happens and sometimes you make your own chance. I’m at a meeting about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire back in the summer, I’m introduced to Dawn Mitchell, manager of Halifax’s grade one listed Piece Hall, the last remaining example of a cloth trading hall. She’s like a bounding ray of enthusiasm. She mentioned that she’d like to do something involving cycling within The Piece Hall. I disappeared off for a think, half a memory of The Piece Hall, an almost square courtyard with corridors behind stone pillars. Now this is where chance needed a nudge. The building is owned by Calderdale Council, I’ve been working with their help on a few projects, the first of which was the very first Morvelo City Cross. I took a guess at what Dawn’s email might be and arranged a meeting. When Morvelo City Cross was conceived the idea was to create an urban cyclocross race. Cyclocross is normally a mixed terrain race with various obstacles lasting around 50 minutes. City Cross was to be different. Oli Pepper of Morvelo came up with a new format; short knock out rounds throughout the day with the top 50% going through to the next round. To create a visual spectacle, so that

both the racer and the spectator got something out of it. To have nice food like Hog Roast, Wood fired Pizza and frites. Then wash it down with nice beer and coffee. With Morvelo doing their finest colouring in and me chasing about on the ground, we knew we were onto something special. The first round had been due to happen in an old derelict mill. However the site permissions fell through at the last minute. Then Calderdale Council came along, saving the day, letting us shift onto the Old Shroggs Tip site and have one hell of a party. Riders came from all over the country, and as soon as it was over they were already asking when round two would happen.

When I suggested to Dawn that we hold round two of Morvelo City Cross in the Piece Hall I hadn’t really realised quite what we were getting ourselves into. A little historical detail for you, The Piece Hall was built in 1779, almost a folly of a building, it didn’t last long as a cloth trading hall, as the mills of the South Pennines soon became more mechanised and production was too great for trading halls. Many were demolished, though the one in Halifax has constantly evolved to meet the needs of its people. It’s about to go into the next phase of its long life, but in order to do so will be closing for two years whilst the work is carried out. City Cross was to be its last big party.

Photo: Joolze Dymond

Photo: Joolze Dymond

The Piece Hall is an architecturally beautiful building, each layer has differing cut stone columns, I began plotting in my mind where the course would go, checking back each time with Dawn, often surprised as she never seemed to say no! I also began reading more about the history of the building, its significance to the area and also looking to see if anything of the like had ever happened before. Nope, nothing, the more I read, the more I became a little scared. Never before had anyone ever raced bikes inside a grade one listed building. They’d been in the grounds of castles but never actually raced down the corridors. And definitely not in the dark, under flood lights. Oh my, this really was shaping up to be something really quite different indeed.

Morvelo’s Oli came up from their Brighton base, both of us still wandering round in a bit of a daze, surprised that anyone would give us the permission to use such an amazing space. Photoshoots with Joolze Dymond and a trailer film with WhiteNoSugarTV’s Tim Royle were done, entry was opened. I booked food stalls, DJ’s, MC, paramedics, extra toilets you name it. As the building is shutting down, many of its side units are now empty, the shops having temporarily relocated. Artists, stalls and stands from all over the bike trade booked in to them. As the date drew near the Kinesis/Lezyne scaffold bridge went up, Jewsons donated 12 tons of sand for the sand trap, Lazer, Castelli, Kinesis, Morvelo, Arundel, Lezyne, Sportique, Jo Burt, Clifbar and Hope all donated prizes for the grand draw. We’d decided to raffle off all the prizes to the

competitors so that everyone stood a good chance, not just the same people winning everything. The CTC and Calderdale Council came with their mini pump track for the kids. There were even pirates doing magic tricks from Eureka Childrens museum. The morning of the event had arrived. Banners and flags decorated every inch of the Piece Hall. Music was booming out. Race tape wove in ribbons around the courtyard, volunteers arrived to marshal, registration opened and everywhere flooded with bikes! The children were the first to race, zooming around the spiral of doom. The course was then extended taking in all of the obstacles; sending riders up steps, across the stage, through clouds

of smoke, down ramps, whipping round the muddy grassy sections, skidding on the gritstone sets of the courtyard. Then round the Morvelo berms where the daredevil could take a faster wall riding line. The atmosphere was growing, the smell of the wood fired pizza oven wafting across, bemused shoppers were passing through, stopping and cheering. Brightly coloured racers on a multitude of bikes whooshing past at scary speeds. The lawns, once so well tended were turning into a quagmire with riders running them or sliding with their feet out. I must say, I was quite impressed at how muddy they were all getting inside a building. The Yorkshire weather was helping with the distribution of the mud, in an odd way, it kind of made it!

Once riders had ridden over the bridge they then had to dismount and run up the steps before racing down the flood lit aisles. The spectacle was something else. Riders dancing in and out of pools of light, gritstone sets glinting, shimmering in the soft rain. Music pumped. Beer flowed. Shouts roared. And now, in the memory of it all, I look back with a surreal mind. As an event organiser you never really quite grasp how an event has been for others, I know I’ve had countless messages from competitors and spectators alike, saying what fun they had. Dawn, The Piece Hall Manager, said it was everything she dreamed it would be. A fine finale to her time there.

All though the day, we all knew what we were waiting for, the darkness to fall and the lights to come on.

I can’t thank all the people involved enough. Oli and Dave from Morvelo, Mark from Smartiming, all the Piece Hall staff, Calderdale Council, all our sponsors, but most importantly, my partner Ali for putting up with me.

At 5pm the course was closed and rerouted around the colonnade level.

Where will Morvelo City Cross round three pop-up I wonder..... Emma Osenton

Photos on these pages, Chris Sands


Stu ies hav sh wn



ha t

r i di ng a


b ike

you more awesome than makes

the rest of the g neral public



Fab drawings courtesy of Chris Mould

jUst ride


ON A BIKE Christine Evans Riding, drawing and smiling, that’s me.... My creative practice is based on a love of line, the looseness of drawing and mark-making using drawing, printing, stitch and collage. Cycling is my inspiration. Why? Because I just love it, and whilst I ride I love looking about and seeing what catches my eye - avoiding the wheel in front of me and the potholes on the road as I go. Every time I finish a ride, I do a drawing recording among other things, “how far, how fast, how long”. You can see more of Christine’s work at

it’s a Fam

David & John Brigs

mily afFair “I’ve just got the records in front of me now”, said John Briggs, third generation joint owner of Ellis Briggs of Shipley, to the man on the other end of the phone. “Your frame was sold in 1961 to B. Taylor of Yeadon. It was blue, but I’m struggling to read my dad’s handwriting about the rest of it”. A regular occurrence apparently for this renowned Shipley based company, now run by John and David, the two grandsons of the original founder Thomas Briggs. “We get people ringing all the time with a frame number, asking about its history, how much it’s worth and can we re-condition it? Our biggest downfall to family wealth and fortune is that our bikes last too bloody long! They never wear out! Not good business sense really”, he says with a twinkle in his eye. Ellis Briggs have been a part of the Yorkshire cycling scene since 1936, when Thomas Briggs was persuaded to open a bike shop by his brother in law Leonard Ellis. It was a time when cycling represented freedom and an escape from the every-day for the young. And it was big business. Quite a few shops sprung up around Bradford and Shipley at the same time. “But it was just after the Second World War, when we really took off” said David. “Lots of lads from the forces came back to England, having experienced riding on the continent on lightweight Italian and French bikes, and they wanted something similar. They’d experienced Road Racing there too, and there was a big desire to start it up here. So my dad Jack, who was in charge of the frame workshop at the time, spied a gap in the market and started building lightweight frames. And the workshop was also where our reputation was built”. It was a quiet Monday in January when we popped in to see the brothers, and the post Christmas rush had subsided. The frame shop was quiet, but as John later said “Our work is constant really. We don’t sell £8000 carbon frame bikes, and we don’t sell ultra cheap ones. We’ve a steady flow of customers who know us locally for our reputation, and our own bikes sell themselves. We get a good amount of orders from America and Canada too, where there’s a real interest in British built steel bikes. But in the end, you either want an Ellis Briggs or you don’t!” “We mostly sell the Randonneur model now, which is our bread and butter. The usual customer is someone in their 40s or 50s whose kids have left home or they’ve got a bit of spare cash. They want something different, and to know that what they are getting is a hand made, steel British frame. And as David said - they last. A long time! When quizzed about younger riders, John answered “When we do get a younger customer calling they are nearly always from London. There seems to be a bit of interest in steel frames down there”.

Ellis Briggs don’t custom make bikes to your size, but they have a set stock of sizes to choose from, and they’ll build the bike to your spec from there. Again, there’s a good bit of no nonsense theory behind that. “You used to be able to come in to us with your measurements and tell us what lengths of tubing you wanted and design a bike yourself, but we made one for a bloke who had very precise measurements he wanted. So we built it exactly as he asked, but he came back unhappy. We then realised it was because we had done what he wanted, not what we knew was best. We sorted him out though and he went away happy. One chap asked for a 23.025 inch frame. I said “Lets do a 23 inch and we’ll higher the saddle a bit”. As they say, you can take the man out of Yorkshire...... One of our favourite tales was told over a brew in the office, surrounded by old family photos and cycling memorabilia. David recalled “Way, way back, two Japanese chaps came in to see us. They were very polite, bowed and got out notebooks. They asked us loads of technical questions about gearing, frames, cranks, all the while scribbling notes. When they left I said to John “Do you think they were stealing our knowledge?” John said “Oh well, if they were, I don’t reckon the Japanese will do owt in cycling do you?” They were from Shimano!!”. Big burst of laughter.

Our biggest downfall to family wealth and fortune is that our bikes last too bloody long! They never wear out! Not good business sense really. As well as the workshop for repairs and frame building, the EB boys can respray your frame on site. And true to their roots, the process they use is exactly the one they used in the 1940s. Stove enamelling. And often they are reenamelling bikes that left the workshop up to 60 years ago. In an ironic twist, the guys now use Shimano and Japanese Nitto components as standard on their bikes.

Ken Outside Shop 1952

RACE HISToRY Cycling in the 1940s to 1970s was very different to current times, especially in racing. Sponsorship of riders was often provided by small companies and individuals rather than the huge multinationals of today. Ellis Briggs saw sponsorship as part of their every day business.

In the 1980s the Ellis Briggs Saturne Racing Team helped to help kick off the late Dave Rayner’s career, as well as other talented local riders such as Bernie Burns, Dave Mann and Ian Smith.

Over the years they’ve sponsored many of Yorkshire’s best riders: Dave Rayner, Dave Mann, Bernie Burns, Albert Hitchen, Arthur Metcalf, Doug Petty, Danny Horton, Gordon Thomas, Brian Robinson and Ken Russell.

Today they still sponsor the Ellis Briggs Road Team, so continuing to back the sport that has served their business so well over the years.

The frames have had success in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, the Tour de France and British National Championships. The biggest success was in the fifties when Ken Russell won the Tour of Britain in 1952, completely unaided by any team support. Two years later Brian Robinson gained 4th place in the Tour of Britain, before going on to race in the Tour de France and win two stages (riding on Ellis Briggs frames badged up as Geminiani). John told me “The legendary Beryl Burton, always preferred to ride an Ellis Briggs frame. It’s quite amazing really”. Success in the British National Road Championship came in 1971 when the late Danny Horton won, riding an Ellis Briggs with Falcon transfers on.

So there you have it. Probably the longest continued family owned cycle business in the North of England. And the thing that stands out is that, just like any organisation when the owners are ‘too close’, the brothers John and David don’t see their business as anything special - it’s just ‘what they do’. And that’s a big part of the charm of Ellis Briggs. In an age of huge sponsorship, mass produced high end cycles shipped all over the world with global marketing strategies, a small Yorkshire bike-maker still carries on. They’re still making great bikes that people love. And in turn they ship them out to the corners of the world that should have put them out of business long ago. A tale of family, passion for quality and ‘just hanging on in there’. A snapshot of a great British small business, which just happens to make some lovely bikes.


forks being made in the workshop

The Randonneur

customer order book from 1961

frame tubing in the workshop

Frame tubing in the workshop


The Randonneur

e TOUR L comes t Yorkshire o

by someone who wasn’t there!

photo Chris Sands

it’s all about the bikes (sort of) By Fran Lister MAIN Photography by Bruce Fitzgerald

To say people were excited when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire is a huge understatement. They didn’t just stand beside the road and watch the riders fly by, they got involved and celebrated all things Le Tour. It was an amazing weekend across the region with, thank goodness, sunny weather, all things going smoothly and thousands of people out to experience the once in a lifetime event of the Tour de France cycling through their home territory. It was a weekend to never forget. All across the route streets were packed and Calderdale was no exception. The cyclists received an amazing welcome as soon as they arrived on Cock Hill and it continued until they left at Ainley Top. With thousands of people lining the streets or crowding into spectator hubs, especially in Hebden Bridge, through Mytholmroyd, on Ripponden Bank and in West Vale there were big smiles and shouts everywhere. There were lots of events going on all across the area throughout the weekend. Official spectator hubs rubbed shoulders with parties in back gardens, pub celebrations and community galas. There was little excuse not to find a way to celebrate Le Tour over race weekend. The whole time was absolutely incredible, with great crowds showing their support and our stunning scenery shown on TV screens across the world. And it seemed everyone turned out on race day - from cycling fanatics, to weekend riders - it even captured the imagination of people who hadn’t ventured out on a bike in years, nor had any interest in doing so! Le Tour was a huge event for the region and it surpassed everyone’s already high expectations. But what made it really special was the way it was embraced in the strangest of ways. When else would you see people dressed as Mexicans up Cragg Vale, random graffiti popping up along the roads, yellow bikes galore, field art and Cragg Vale’s new Guinness world record breaking bunting, which went on for miles and miles!

photo Chris Sands

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the race, you could almost pretend you were there just by following twitter. The twitterverse went ballistic for all things tour. There were posts from early morning to late at night showing everything from the build up of the crowds, the publicity caravan throwing freebies into the crowd including a special edition Yorkshire THÉ (sorry but I couldn’t resist getting a bit of French in), the race itself and the celebrations after it had passed. #TdFYorkshire

photo Chris Sands

Sunday 6 July 2014 will be a day that I and many others, will never forget. For those people unlucky enough to miss out, get prepared for the annual Tour of Yorkshire taking place in May each year, an opportunity to watch and cheer for your favourite riders.

Fran Lister is one of the team who co ordinated Le Tour through Calderdale. She worked on the build up, the logistics of the day, and is now doing work on the legacy of the whole thing. And on the day she missed the action, because she was working!

fran photo here

Some of us were lucky enough to work on the TDF in the weeks and months before it raced through the region. I was working behind the scenes on the day so, ironically, I missed out on being part of the Tour de France experience (an excuse to travel to next year’s tour?), seeing the crowds, caravan and the riders. Am I upset about missing out on seeing the riders in Yorkshire? No not really it was a brilliant experience to be involved in, but I really would have loved to get a box of special Yorkshire THÉ delivered by little urn. . . . . .

ad At aged 24, Otley man Alastair Humphreys left England to cycle round the world. His selffunded journey across the Earth’s three great landmasses (Africa, the Americas, Eurasia) took more than 4 years to complete, on a budget of just £7000. Sir Ranulph Fiennes described the trip as “The first great adventure of the 21st Century”. An inspirational speaker and writer, Alastair’s new mission is to get us to go on Micro Adventures - 24 hr low budget adventures on our doorstep.

AlastAir Humphreys

whe n r ventue calls

“If my journeys can convince children (or anyone) to out-stare the fear of failure and insecurity and to take a risk upon their ambition then I shall be wellpleased. If I can also share my new appreciation of how good the people of the world actually are, as well as my experiences of the great imbalance and injustice in our world, and my corresponding scorn of the apathy and “afLuenza” in our own society then so much the better”. Some people are extraordinary. They were never going to fit into any preconceived role in society. Neither were they destined to darken the doorstep of the 9-5 existence. Alastair Humphreys is an extreme version of that model. An adventurer from childhood, he completed the 26 mile Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge at aged 8 and the National 3 Peaks in 24 hours aged 13. At 14 he cycled off-road across England. In his adulthood he’s travelled the world including an unsupported crossing of Iceland by foot and pack raft, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, undertaken an expedition in Greenland and walked across the Empty Quarter desert, raced a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean, canoed 500 miles down the Yukon River and walked the length of the holy Kaveri river in India. He was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2012. Alastair now lives in a village just outside London with his wife and two young children but he still visits his Yorkshire birthplace regularly, and has recently written a “Tour de Yorkshire” micro adventure (see www. for details).

But it is his epic 4 year bike ride around the world which Alastair is most famous for.

Riding solo over 46,000 miles he covered terrain from searing African desert to

Siberian plains in the middle of winter. All self funded and all on the tiniest budget. On his incredible journey, Alastair rode from England to South Africa, crossed the Atlantic by yacht and then cycled from Patagonia to Alaska. Crossing the Pacific by freighter, He completed his expedition by cycling back to England from eastern Siberia. A huge detour, after September 11 made central Asia a no-go area, added to the length of time it took, but Humphreys’ relentless belief in the human spirit seems to be the thing that drove (and still drives) him on. The ride took him from the deserts of Sudan to a Siberian winter, from Albania to Zimbabwe, from the Dead Sea to Andean heights. It was a truly global journey, succeeding through the kindness of strangers. The cost of the journey was kept to a minimum by sleeping in a tent, under the stars or staying in the homes of generous locals, and eating simple food along the way. The whole trip came in at under £7000. Or less than a small car as Alastair says (or a 2 week cruise for others!). “My route to making a career from arduous physical challenges began when I was small and weak and couldn’t get into any sports teams at school.

I found my niche in the outdoor clubs, sailing, fell-running and completing the National 3 Peaks in 24 hours. At 18 I taught in Africa for a year. This opened my eyes to the beauty of the world, and the fact that the world is crazier and there’s more of it than we think. I tasted adventure, camped beneath southern stars and I wanted more. Throughout university I read books of epic journeys*, dreamt of being a writer and an adventurer and I set about taking the steps to make it happen. I saved up for summer exploits and the more I saw the greedier I became. Back home in Yorkshire I ran in the hills and realised that simply refusing to stop is a good way to ensure you reach the end. My self confidence rose and, with it, my ambition. Freed at last from the shackles of formal education I headed for the world to start learning. My journey round the world by bike was intended as a journey not a structured expedition. I would wander where the fancy took me, I would travel slow, and cheap, and with wide open, curious eyes. If I could also help to promote ‘Hope and Homes for Children’ by succeeding that would be a further boon. There was focus to it all as well: I wanted to make it right round the world to come home with sufficient material to begin learning to be a writer.

A kit list of everything Alastair used on his round the world trip (phew!). Bike(s)- Two steel Rockhoppers which were great and finally a wonderful steel mountain bike with downhill rims (I was sick of breaking wheels - a Thorn Raven - dream bike! 4 large waterproof panniers, 2 large Ark dry-bags, bungees, granny-style shopping basket (so much better than a bar bag), 2 water bottles, Brooks saddle, Jandd Extreme front rack, Blackburn Expedition rear rack, Schwalbe Marathon tyres (1.9s), DT spokes, SPD pedals (one sided), bike odometer, bar ends, horn for amusing kids and easily amused

adults, Topeak Alien multi tool, adjustable spanner, Leatherman Wave, freewheel remover, tyre levers, 2 pumps, puncture kit, 2 spare tubes, spare tyre, spare chain (switched them every 3000km), duck tape, superglue, zip ties, string, oil, spare nuts and bolts, strip of sidewall of old tyre to wrap round inner tube in case of split tyre, freestanding Coleman tent, Therm-a-rest, sleeping bag, LED head torch, MSR Whisperlite, pan, spoon, cigarette lighters, mug, 10 litre water bag, iodine for water purifying, 2 zip-off trousers, 1 long-sleeved cycling top,

2 t-shirts, SPD sandals, 2 socks, lots of warm clothes in Siberia and none in Sudan, Karrimor rain jacket, rain trousers, thin gloves, waterproof mitts, thin balaclava, multi-purpose cotton tube thing for hat, scarf, sandstorm face mask etc, baseball cap, helmet (occasionally worn), suncream, Oakley sunglasses (worth the cash), cycling mitts, rechargeable AA batteries and charger, little First Aid and needle kit, insurance and photocopy of all papers, blood group info, dollars cash, lots of credit cards, passport photos, maps, books, diary, camera, iPod, passport, toothbrush.

A chat and a virtual brew with Alastair: 1: Being a Yorkshireman, do you think your love of adventure comes from growing up with all this amazing landscape on your doorstep, or were you always destined to travel? When was your first realisation that the world on your doorstep was there to be discovered and what caused it? Growing up in Yorkshire certainly made me enjoy the outdoors (especially mountain biking and fell running), but I only got interested in travelling far when I began reading books at university about great adventures and gradually started thinking, “I wonder if I could do that…?” 2.You took up outdoor pursuit because you weren’t good at team sports in school. You seem to say a young person just needs to be given a chance to find that one thing they are good at, and this seems to be a big driver of yours - to get kids to realise they can tackle anything. Is this your favourite part of your job? If not what is? Have you seen kids take up your challenges and what was the result from them? Encouraging people to tackle adventures of their own is certainly the most rewarding aspect of what I do (other than the personal fulfilment you get from doing hard stuff in wild places). Increasingly often I get emails from people who have decided to head off on adventures of their own. Given the way I began adventuring (from reading books), I find this really satisfying.

3. Do you have a favourite place to ride? I’ve got a fond spot for Ilkley Moor. My Dad’s shop was in Ilkley and I used to have to help out there in the school holidays. Needless to say I found this incredibly boring, so much preferred any opportunities to get up onto the hills instead! 4. Your love of cycling really shows. Could you describe what cycling means to you? I love cycling because of the freedom it gives you. Normal, non-athletic people can propel themselves the entire length of the UK on a bicycle in just a couple of weeks. I think that is amazing, and all for just a few hundred quid and as many tea-shop cakes as you can get hold of! 4. Your Micro Adventures are truly inspirational. What first step would you recommend to someone who is just a little scared of just heading off and sleeping under the stars? I’d suggest starting small, and starting with a friend if you are nervous. Wait until the weather is fine, then head up your nearest hill with some camping gear and some warm clothes. You’ll find it slightly unnerving, perhaps, but also very exciting and fun (if only retrospectively!). You’ve now done the hardest part of any challenge - begin and hopefully will be tempted for bigger trips next time. 5. Cycling is at its best for you off road or road? Off road. Or on a road but with no cars (i.e. not in Britain or even in Europe).

6. What bike/s do you ride now? Like all lovers of bikes I would say that I need ‘just one more bike’ to complete the bikes that I really ‘need’. I ride at different times a Brompton, a Cannondale road bike, an Orange mountain bike and, most frequently alas, a cheap old 80’s Claud Butler racing bike that I am willing to leave at the local railway station. 7. (Great cyclist question) Best cafe round this area? Bainbridge cafe for the full breakfast! 8. A lot of this book is about introducing people who may be interested in cycling or have just dabbled a bit into the culture of biking and how it can have huge mental and physical effects on a person. It can also help you fall in love with where you live. If you were trying to get someone to ride for the first time, what would you say? I would say start small. Most people don’t begin things because they are daunted. So wait for a sunny day then go for a stupidly short ride. The next sunny day go for a slightly longer ride. Gradually build it up. You’ll notice your fitness improve, as well as your calmness and local knowledge. 9. Is there a place you’d really like to cycle before you kick the bucket? West Africa, New Zealand, Torridon. And ever since I was at Uni I’ve been planning to cycle a lap of Yorkshire. I definitely need to do that!

y MICRO ADVENTURES y An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. You don’t need to fly to the other side of the planet to do an expedition. You don’t need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure. Adventure is only a state of mind. Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. And if that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times, when getting out into the wild are more enjoyable, invigorating and important than ever. And you can do any of these from your doorstep. Just set off, and see where your feet or two wheels will take you. Or take a detour on the way home from work. A great, simple idea. Fnd out more, and how to plan your own Micro Adventure at

up the Buttress

Distance: 0.3km Avg Gradient: 24.2% Climb: 67m Up The Buttress - Stop sniggering at the back please! If your idea of fun is riding a bike up a cobbled street so steep it has a handrail to help you walk up it, while people cheer you on, and if you want to be in an event that has been called “sick inducing” and “the most excrutiating 3 minutes of my life”, then maybe Up The Buttress is for you. Every September crowds gather in Hebden Bridge to either try to ride this crazy climb or to cheer riders on from the sideline. Cowbells, whistles, tin lids, you name it, are used to will the riders to the top. It’s sponsored by some of the great cycle related businesses in the region, and prizes vary from drink bottles to full-on Orange Mountain bikes. Let’s be honest - it’s awful. But as a test of pure grit, determination and a battle against the clock, it doesn’t get much better. And it makes for a great spectator sport! For more information check out

Independent Bike shops in the


pennines &


We all know an independent bike shop, run by owners with passion for the stuff they sell and cycling in general, beat the big multi nationals chains hands down. They give that little extra, they care about you and they really DO love cycling. It’s why they started their business in the first place. And when you buy bikes or gear from these guys, you are investing directly into the local economy (rather than lining the pockets of big shareholders), helping to keep our beautiful area buzzing. So we thought it would be a good idea to list all the great shops for you. Which will help you avoid the big conglomourates that usually begin with an H or an E. And to add to this we’ve listed some of the cycling clubs that are worth investigating too. So here’s our guide in cycleogical order.



Ilkley Cycles

Riders Cycle Centre

Previously JD’s, these guys have not only got a new name but they’ve got a fancy new shop too. A great local bike shop with one of the biggest and busiest workshops in the UK. They supply some great brands such as Scott, Giant, Yeti, Ibis, Pivot, KTM and Genesis. They do all aspects of servicing from fork servicing to full rebuilds and frame bearing changes. And they have several demo days through the year, so keep a look out on their facebook and website. 25 Leeds Road, Ilkley, LS29 9ew 01943 816101

Ilkley Cycling Club The largest cycling club in the UK with over 1000 members from recreation to racing. Their aim is simple -To promote cycling to the people of Ilkley (and surrounding areas) and to those who cycle in or near the town. To provide an avenue for club members to race and compete by having affiliations to governing bodies (British Cycling, Cycling Time Trials, MTB, cyclocross etc).To provide a focus for recreational cyclists and promote the sport at a grass roots level. These are a welcoming bunch- they’re open to all, and encourage cycling for everyone! So whether you’re a newbie or a dab hand on 2 wheels, if you live within cycling distance of Ilkley, what are you waiting for!?

The owner of this friendly bike shop has it rather aptly named for his profession and passion. This bike repair shop takes a unique approach to bike service, maintenance and repair with it’s dedicated workshop, and the lovely team here will make sure you get the best possible service. Their friendly shop is a lifestyle choice and not just a business. They’ve got a warm and welcoming approach which will have you becoming a regular in no time.

experienced racer or anything and everything in between! Head to their website where you can find news updates on club events and activities as well as an introduction to riding with the club. Whether evening or weekend rides, sociable no-drop rides, training rides, sportives, off road rides, racing or meeting in the pub…the club will give Skipton riders the chance to find friendly people to hang out with. And who can say no to that!?

Unit and Gate 3. Sidings Business Park, Skipton North Yorkshire BD23 1UP 01756 796844

Dave Ferguson Cycles

After 10 years in the cycle trade and competing at a professional level, in 1990 Dave Ferguson decided to take his passion for cycling to the next level and open his own business, doing what he loves. Some might say that is living the dream! It’s grown since its first little lock-up shop and is now in a prime town location where they continue to flourish. As well as your standard accessories and cycles from toddler to adult, they specialise in their own brand of Dave Ferguson cycles. And for any tourists in the area who want to explore the surrounding Dales countryside and canal tow paths they’ll even hire you a bike.

3 Albion Yard, Skipton, BD23 1ED. 01756 795367

Skipton Cycling Club Skipton’s club for all cyclists, whether you’re just getting into cycling as a sport, an

Shipley Ellis Briggs

The Briggs family has been serving the cycling clan of Shipley and the surrounding area since 1936, so you could say they know what they’re on about. They’ve the knowledge, skills and experience that only come with over 75 years of selling, repairing and manufacturing bikes. For more info see previous article.

Ellis Briggs Cycles, Otley Road, Shipley, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD17 7DS. 01274 583221

Otley Chevin Cycles Chevin Cycles are known to be one of the most successful independent retailers and the country’s biggest 29er specialist. Quite simply, their huge success over the last 40 years has been built on the loyalty and personal recommendations of satisfied customers. They simply know what their customers want from a cycle store and they do all in their power to provide it. Just the kind of service we like to see! They’ve got an enviable spacious, clean, well laid-out store with top class products and a
 state of the art repair service centre - with speedy lead times too one might add. They think bikes made specifically for women make sense, so ladies this might well be the place to come for some advice on your next 2 wheeled purchase. They are one of the very few stores in the UK with a dedicated Women’s Specific department. This means they stock the latest brands and products specifically designed for the female market- from women’s specific road to mountain bikes, they’ve got you covered! The Showrooms, Gay Lane, Otley, Leeds, LS21 1BR.

Keith Lambert Cycle Sports

You’re in safe hands with the guys here. They’re a family run business, based in Bingley for 30 years, so they must be doing something right! New and used cycles sales, accessories spares and repair service. Hand built cycles are their speciality. 108 Main St Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16 2JH

Bradford Pennine Cycles

What you might call ‘a proper bike shop’, Pennine Cycles is an independent retailer, who envisions a world where every person enjoys the freedom of riding on the great open road! Based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, they show a reet old bit of Yorkshire warmth as they love their customers, cycling, family, keeping fit and their cycling heritage. Their mission is to make sure cyclists have fun on their bike, so why not go and test them on it.... 1019 Thornton Road
 West Yorkshire
 BD8 0PA. 01274 881030

Bikes 2u Direct

They started out as Highfields Cycles back in 1976 and have since grown into a larger premises and even a little name change when they opened their online store offering the same range of high quality bikes that they’ve got in their bricks and mortar premises. If you’re a newbie, don’t fearmost of their bikes are aimed at the leisure cyclist, but they also stock higher end bikes for the enthusiast. Whether you are after a BMX, mountain bike, hybrid, city bike, trekking bike or folding bike, they can probably find something to float your metaphorical boat. Next day delivery is available too.

Colne Pendle Bike Doctor

For all of your bike ailments head to Pendle Bike Doctorthey have over 15 years experience in mountain/road bike repairs and servicing and they pride themselves in offering a good, affordable service. Now that’s what we like to hear. They even offer an ambulance (ok, a ‘collect and drop’) service for Burnley Nelson Colne and surrounding areas. So whether you’re short on time, don’t want to get your hands dirty or would rather someone else did the work for you, you know your bike will be in good hands! All family bikes repaired. 07534 250003

Fox’s Cycles

A true working bike shop that is family run, so they understand family needs as much as they understand cycling needs. So when you pop in for any bike purpose you can guarantee you’ll get a nice chat and some good service to go with it! 20-22 Dockray Street,
 BB8 9HT 01282 863017

Wicked Cycles

Paul Milnes Cycles

A family run online business but with a small bricks and mortar presence. They’ve been trading since 1978 when the business was set up, and still run by former international cyclist Paul. They specialise in road, cyclocross and bespoke custom built bikes, offering customers online prices with the knowledge and backup of a shop. So that’s a bit of a win-win situation isn’t it? Unit 4I, Hillam Court, Hillam Rd, Bradford, BD2 1QN , 01274 308860,

Keighley Aire Valley Cycles

Aire Valley Cycles started over 25 years ago with the idea of delivering high quality cycles with high quality service. Now on their 3rd premises with 7,500 sq ft of retail space they’ve a great selection of road and mountain bikes, as well as BMX, trails and cyclocross. Not to mention an impressive dedicated floor for accessories. Also in the building is a full service department capable of all manor of repairs all carried out by cytech qualified mechanics. Aire Valley Cycles, Millennium House, 74 South Street, Keighley, BD21 1DQ. 01535 610839

These lovely folk are cycling enthusiasts themselves, and work hard to provide the level of service you would expect from a good retailer. They’re big on providing a helpful, friendly, professional, and well, just wicked service! From repairs and servicing to re-builds and custom builds, they source only authentic manufacturers parts and products, which they provide at a damn competitive prices. Wicked indeed. Unit 1, The Exchange Building, Spring Lane, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 9BD. 01282 863089

Burnley On Yer Bike

With branches in both Burnley and Blackburn, as well as an on line store. If you’re looking to buy a new bike they have lots of brands available such as Scott, Trek, Giant, Cube, Whyte, Marin, Wilier and more, or if you’re looking to spruce up or repair your current bike; all of their mechanics are Cytech qualified. So you’ll be on yer bike in no time at all (you asked for that one). Burnley: 01282 438855

Burnley Cycle Centre

Burnley Cycle Centre is a family run business that looks after the road/off-road cycle enthusiast. For the little nippers they also have a large selection of children’s bikes, BMX bikes and scooters. Their online shop houses a pretty large selection so browse away to your heart’s content! 30-34 Briercliffe Rd, Burnley BB10 1XB 01282 433981

Muddy Cycles

They started as out as ‘Car and Cycle’ back in 1983, with car accessory and parts as the main feature and cycle parts were just a side thing. But bikes are a passion of the owner and in 1997 they moved premises and although they kept the Car and Cycle brand name due to their good reputation, cycling became the main priority. Today bicycles and cycling products is all they do. Muddy Cycles is their new name, and it adorns their new store in Burnley. So from cars to cycles is what we call good progress. Who needs four wheels anyway? 158 Accrington Road Burnley Lancashire BB11 5AJ,

Queensbury Firth Cycles Firth Cycles opened in August 2007 in what was the old Chapel Cycles shop positioned half way between Bradford and Halifax on the A647. There has been a bicycle shop up in t’hills of Queensbury village for over 20 years and the wonderful people at Firth Cycles are proud to continue serving and operating in the local community. They specialise in repairing, servicing and building all types of bikes from top of the range full-sussers to your grandma’s 3 speed Sturmey Archer powered shopper. Quality repairs with a quick turn-around are what they’re about. Being cyclists themselves, they understand what you’re after. They carry a big range of spares and accessories to keep you on the road too. They also specialise in wheel building, so if you’re after the perfect set of custom wheels let them know and they’ll quote you a competitive price. Tha’ can’t say better than that, son. 72 West End
 BD13 2ER 01274 817483

Hebden Bridge Blazing Saddles

Four wheels move the Body, Two wheels move the Soul. That’s what the wise folk of Blazing Saddles reckon anyway, and we quite agree. A very friendly, independent bike shop in the busy market town of Hebden Bridge, deep in the heart of the Pennines. They’ve got world class riding on their doorstep and they do a good job of supporting a busy community of cyclists of all sorts, from hardened downhill heroes and top class triathletes to everyday commuters and towpath pootlers.

on a bike deserves the same service and attention, and a great bike to enjoy too. If you get the pleasure of visiting this lovely shop we’re sure you’ll be impressed. Truly nice people, and our regular shop. 35 West End , Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire , HX7 8UQ. 01422 844435

The Bicycle Den

A bike shop and coffee lounge combo. They sell pre-loved bikes, they repair and service bikes and sell a few limited accessories, such as lights, locks and helmets. There’s a cosy and inviting space to have coffees and cakes. On warm dry days there are tables and chairs outside, so you can sit right beside the stunning canal. The Den offers bike maintenance courses and are even launching Yoga & Pilates classes specifically aimed at us cyclist. Nice. Unit 1, Hebble End Works, Hebble End Hebden Bridge. HX7 6HJ 0791 262 7483


Oh how we love CycleRecycle! A place to get second hand bits for your bike, peruse some lust worthy old riding irons and to generally hang out, drink coffee & chat. But there’s more than that to CycleRecycle. Here’s the official list of what they do: Sales of refurbished bikes at affordable prices using qualified Cytech mechanics Recycled parts – from saddles to frames and everything in between Workshops in bike maintenance Public bike stand

All this whilst training up new mechanics. And CycleRecycle is a not for profit company too. And that’s why we love them!

Halifax Shay Cycles

Shay Cycles is a family business that has been around since 1991, so they know their stuff. Specialists in reconditioned cycles, with over lots of bikes on show all the time. They offer same-day repairs, and provide new and reconditioned parts to keep the pices keen. They pride themselves on their commitment to provide a professional and speedy service so that’s time, money and stress you’ll be saving on. Winner!

46 South Parade, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 2LY. 01422 367244


No matter what your twowheeled aspirations involve, these guys have the right bike for you. In their shop based in Halifax they have a great environment in which to choose your next bike, or clothing and accessories. They’ve got top notch customer care and they’re are all cycling enthusiasts and cyclists. Let them share thier knowledge and experience with you. They also run........

Pedal Sport Cycling Club

a well respected and friendly group who meet and train together, from the very young to the not so young, all abilities too. On top of that they run really great training and coaching sessions. They really do live their Pedal Sport promise.

Electric bike hire - using we:cyclebikes

193 -195 King Cross Road
, King Cross, 
Halifax HX1 3LN, 01422 361460

Meeting space


Supported maintenance sessions

All supported by a training programme for young and old prospective mechanics. They are also working with many partners on being able to offer more, which will include: Bike storage facilities Hire of ordinary bikes alongside the electric bikes Indoor off road Bikeability sessions Learn to ride a bike – for all ages Creative bike recycling

They believe that everybody

Vintage bike building

Build a bike

A family run bike shop in the heart of Halifax, run by cycle enthusiasts.Their roots go back to over 40 years ago when they took over a small shop in Sowerby Bridge. Slowly but surely they’ve become one of the UK’s biggest independent online retailers for quality bikes at the best prices stocking brands such as Genesis bikes,Saracen bikes, Ridgeback Bikes, Whyte bikes and Scott bikes. In their very cool Halifax showroom they’ve

got a huge amount of Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes, Hybrid Bikes, Touring Bikes, Kids Bikes and Accessories ready to be collected or shipped to all corners of the UK free of charge. And, Brucey Bonus, they’re open Sundays, so there’s plenty of time for a nice browse and you’ll be well on the way to finding your perfect bike! 68 Horton Street Halifax HX1 1QE, (01422) 341963 (01422) 344602

Halifax Cycle Repair

A mobile cycle mechanic/ repair shop based in Halifax, covering the Calderdale area. It’s an expert repair service offering bicycle servicing, repairs and custom builds. All work is carried out by Andrew Radcliffe, a local Cytech Technical qualified technician. They offer free, fixed price quotes, and many jobs can be carried out without taking your bike away from you; alternatively for more major work, your bike can be collected and returned when your bike is ready. They can also supply quality bike parts at competitive prices. It’s just music to many timeshort cyclists’ ears…Less time traipsing to shops and more time, well, on your bike!

23a Clifton Street, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, HX6 2DQ. 07523 081 842.

Cycle Fast

Cycle Fast run a full workshop service facility and a fully fitted wheel building workshop. They service & repair all mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids but specialise in high end mountain bikes. Besides servicing and selling parts they also build custom bikes, repair them and provide a full custom wheel building service in house. They say they won’t be beaten on price and will match any other real internet price on what they sell. And if you’re stuck at work and can’t get your bike to them, they’ll collect and return if direct to your door, or your work place providing you are local (obviously Scotland is out). Good service like that goes a long way! 32 Meadow Drive, Halifax, HX3 5JZ 01422 255791

If you’re wondering how this book was put together - this is how. Everyone & everything is linked in some way. A sort of 6 degrees of separation bike style. It shows how close the cycling community of the area is. And that’s what this whole book is about.

Thanks to the people who made this journal possible. Ruth Hair for her unbelievable patience, guidance & encouragement through this whole thing. And for being plain brilliant. Everyone at Pennine Prospects. Craig Simcock at Simprint for printing and general encouragement. Emma Ossenton for her great article and her inspirational ability to create spectacular events in a seemingly effortless way. Gilly Dukes, Allan Bout, Jade Smith Georgie Curley Ormrod, Christine Evans, Kerri Goulden, Joolze Dymond, Chris Mould, Sim Malney, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Joolze Dymond, Fran Lister.

Pennine Prospects write up

Dedicated to my Grandfather, Cyril Sands and my dad david sands for bringing cycling into my life, and to my wonderful son, Alistair Sands in the hope he will join the club. Special thanks to Simprint, Sowerby Bridge. Our local printer for services above and beyond the call of duty.

Chris Sands

Sometimes I ride my bike to nowhere, to see nothing. Just so I can ride my bike. Anonymous

This journal is a snapshot of the cycling life and the people of the South Pennines. It’s not about tech, or about as going as fast as you can. It’s about people and how the bicycle and this stunning landscape have affected their lives. It includes rides, interviews, events, art and some nice stuff. All through it runs the thread of the joy that riding a bike can bring. Cycling for the everyman. All profits from the sale of this journal go to the South Pennines Love Give project - which lets residents and visitors contribute to environmental and tourism-related projects in the South Pennines, just by buying something nice. Which in itself, is nice too. ..

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.