The Monsal Trail (almost)

Hello again! Told you it wouldn’t take long.

After spending two weeks in hospital due to an infection, I found myself really craving a bike ride.  The weather had been perfect for cycling while I was in hospital, and the infection had somehow sorted out the water retention in my legs, so walking no longer hurt.  Trouble is, my exit from hospital coincided with the wind going a bit crazy, and our child minder going on holiday, so each day was spent either cursing the wind (I don’t have the energy to cycle against wind, yet), or looking after my son.  I spent a bit of time planning where I might cycle, and everything seemed to align for the Friday..

On Fridays, my in-laws look after my son, meaning I’d have practically the whole day to cycle.  The weather was forecast to rain, but the wind was only 5-6mph, which I don’t mind at all.  One of the routes I’d found was the Monsal Trail, which normally sounded a bit nightmarish due to walkers, but I figured the rain should see most of them off!

So, on Friday, after lunch, I put the Muddy Fox into the boot of my car and drove the 25 miles to Miller’s Dale.  Why Miller’s Dale?  erm.. because I mis-read the map when I was telling the sat nav where to go.  I was supposed to start at Blackwell. 😛  Anyway, it turned out that the car park required exact change, and I didn’t have any change at all (too used to paying by phone), so I had to drive back to a village called Tideswell, which looked like a lovely place, but I was only interested in the co-op, a carton of milk, and a pack of Crunchie bars.  One parking ticket later, and I was on the trail!

I decided to head in the direction of Bakewell, as 8 miles seemed do-able.  I had 2 hours before having to head home for dinner, and 8mph should be easy peasy, even for someone in my condition!  Of course, I forgot to consider time taken admiring views, or reading the information panels that’re dotted along the trail.  The trail is a disused railway track, which heads over viaducts and through the hills via tunnels.  The tunnels are pretty spooky at first!

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I got used to them, though. 🙂  Also, the views from the trail are awesome;

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I lost a lot of time gazing at old mills, rivers, and outcrops! So much time that I’d only managed just over 6 miles before I had to turn back.  I didn’t quite make it to Bakewell, and the end of the trail, but I was pretty close. On the way back, I realised that the trail was not quite as flat as I’d hoped – it was a lot more uphill going back!  I had been right about the rain putting off walkers, though – there were hardly any, even though the rain had stopped just as I’d arrived.  A few had appeared once the rain had stopped, so the way back involved a lot more pedestrian dodging (there’s a keep left rule, but almost all of them were on the right).  I got back to the car with wibbly legs, and something really weird had happened to my stomach (hard to explain.. I looked pregnant, but the bulge was largest just under my rib cage, as if all my organs had been pushed up), but I was sooooo glad to have got the bike ride out of my system.

Since then, the weather’s been shite, but the next time the wind slows, I’m heading out again!  I don’t know where to, but I’ll try and post an update when I do.  🙂

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Flippin eck – 3 years??

Well, umm.. sorry to anyone who’s interested in my ‘adventures’.  It seems I’ve neglected this blog a little, but I have got a good excuse; my liver died, so I got a second-hand one, then that died, and then I got another one.  That one hasn’t died yet!

So, all that has kind’ve put me out of action for the past couple of years. My last major illness was back in September last year, which resulted in 4 months in hospital, and the loss of almost all my muscle mass.  It took 3 months of protein supplements and physio to get me on my feet again, and another 2 months to be able to walk normally.

After a few local rides to the supermarket, I finally managed a proper ride on the Middlewood Way in February.  I only had a small amount of time, and I’m pretty slow at the moment, so I only managed about 7 miles in total.  I’ve ridden there a few times previously, and it’s a nice place for a pootle.  Just watch out for the horses!

ooh – the Muddy Fox is complete!  I actually completed the build back in 2015, and the Kili’s been out of action due to setup issues, so I’ve used it quite a lot since then.

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There’s also been another addition to the fleet, which I bought *just* before my liver keeled over; a Lynx Parrilla.  If you google the name, you get motorbikes and barbeques, and practically nothing about the bike (except my own posts to retrobike).  Info on the bike is rarer than it was for my Courier, so I have no idea how many exist, or what their spec is supposed to be.  Luckily, the frame under the branding is not so rare; it’s an early Roberts Genesis!

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So that means it needs a decent spec, but as I’m a cheapskate, XT is about as far as I’m willing to go.  I’ve got the crank and mechs so far, and I bought some Project 2 forks.  I just need to get some brakes and put it all together! Once I’ve built up the strength to hammer in the headset, that is.

I just noticed that I never posted an update about the Kili Racer, or the ALX89 for that matter.  Shameful!  The Kili worked for a little while, but after the ride down south, it was clear that I’d set it up badly, and I never quite got around to finishing it properly.  I’m gonna finish it soon, though – honest!  Here’s how it looked just before heading south:

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Not bad, eh? Since then, I’ve put on some silver chainrings, swapped the front brakes for some that work, put on a black handlebar with some Yeti grips, and the tyres are now Panaracer Smoke and Dart.  The brakes are Suntour SE XC self-energising brakes, which are spring loaded to pull the brake in as they grip the wheel.  Only the rear are spring loaded, but the front brakes are a lot more expensive, despite being basic brakes.  Originally, I had rear brakes on the back and the front (they’re reversed, so the spring does nothing on the front), but the shape of the brake meant the fork got in the way when trying to adjust them.  In the end, I bought proper front SE XCs, but now I’m pondering fitting some Maguras that I’ve got…

As for the ALX89; I sold it.  It was just too small!  Shame, though.. that bike was ace in every other respect.

And that’s everything up to date!  Except for my most recent ride, which I’m gonna stick in the next post.  It’s gonna be a lot sooner than 3 years!  🙂