Every so often we head over to ‘god’s own country’ (Yorkshire) for a weekend with my parents. The village is nestled on the side of a hill near Helmsley, North Yorkshire, and with only a handful of houses is the antithesis to our life in Cheshire, living next to a busy road.
We visited last month and the weather was beautiful. Yes, the daylight hours are getting shorter, but the days were warm for autumn with the leaves on the trees showing a mighty display of yellows, orange and reds.
I managed two bike rides, each an hour long, but far more gruelling than the Cheshire plains. The roads were undulating (they felt more like mountains to me) and my chest heaved when I reached the top of the climbs. I got off once – to take a photo – but in truth I had slowed down so much I was starting to reverse.
Yorkshire lends itself perfectly to bike riding. I have never attempted it, but the White Horse Bank climb ranks in the 100 Climbs book and it’s just round the corner from where we stay. Right now that climb seems just far too difficult for me.
While we were there we visited Sutton Bank visitor centre. There are lovely walks, which I stuck to with the buggy and children in tow, while my husband went on the new off-road trails. These kinds of places are brilliant for families. We’ve visited Dalby Forest in Yorkshire, just through Pickering, many times before. With the baby seat on the bike it is perfect for a family day out.
As I am getting used to being in the saddle and putting in some miles my husband thought it would be a good idea to “step it up a gear” – cue frightened face.
We went out last weekend together, a rarity to enjoy. After we’d pedalled on the flat for about an hour I was led to Artists’ Lane in Alderley Edge. There are beautiful cottages along the route and actually although it feels like it goes on forever it was not as harsh as some of the hills I’ve encountered, especially those in Yorkshire.
I think my husband was impressed, as at one point spotting horses walking up the road I overtook him, and them. There’s nothing like the thought of getting kicked in the face by one of those beasts to get you pedalling.
Actually, it did the job because although that effort made me peak early, it got me up the road. At the top I was breathing heavily and my face glowed, but I did it. For a moment, I felt like I was dying.
Heading down Macclesfield Road into Alderley Edge was a relief, although fast descents scare me as much as horses. I am not a fan of excessive brake use; I’m worried that the bike my combust – it’s crazy, I know.
So I conquered my first proper climb. The next one has already been chosen (not by me). It’s the road up to Pott Shrigley from Bollington. I’ll let you know how I get on!