LE TOUR AND MORE: SHEFFIELD ON BROMPTONS
Sheffield: riverside rides, Tour de France climbs, stately homes, canals and industrial heritage. One of the London Brompton Club members organised a Saturday ride, starting and finishing at Sheffield railway station. Amongst them was Mark Jacobson.
Regrettably only five of the London Brompton Club met, the majority having gone to Paris for the weekend, to join in the Car Free day, Parisian style. The obligatory photograph was taken by the fountains outside the station, then off we rode, taking cycle routes through parts of the city to reach the riverside tracks by the River Don, speeding through the woods to Oughtibridge, and the start of the Tour de France climb, a mere 10% average but steeper parts of 15%, for one mile. Having lowered gearing on my Brompton makes life easier on ascents: I reached the summit after about 12 minutes, positioned to photograph the others as they made it to the top.
Lunch was taken at the Rockingham Arms hotel, Wentworth; good food and excellent Black Sheep on tap. A short detour was made to Wentworth Woodhouse in Wentworth Park. The main house facade is spectacular, said to be the longest country house facade in Europe, at 606 feet (185m). It is owned and managed by a preservation trust.
From Wentworth our route was downhill all the way! Taking us on to the Trans Pennine Trail alongside the River Don and adjacent canal, past many former industrial buildings. As by this time we were shrouded in a fine wetting rain, very few stops were made, and no more photographs taken. Eventually, close to the station again, we passed over the 'spider' bridge, creepy if prone to arachnophobia.
All the 34 miles had been quality miles, despite the wet end to the ride.
The return train travel was less enjoyable: overcrowded trains and, from Derby to Birmingham, just two carriages, standing room only, and a cheerful bunch returning from the Wolverhampton match, shattering our ears with very loud football chants while drumming on the carriage panels However, they were singing in tune!