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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Senile Senior Sitizen Secures Super Saver Seat on Scrimpers and Skinflints Special Service Subsequently Sycling Sedately Southwards from Sheffield Station

Who could resist an offer by East Midlands Trains for a single ticket from Derby to Sheffield for a mere £2.65?
Not me.............. even though there was no comparative offer for a return journey and the train left Derby Station at 7.20am, arriving in Sheffield at 8am.

No need to fold the Dahon as there was plenty of room in the wheelchair space on the train and in fact only one other passenger in the carriage for most of the journey.
The plan was to cycle back to Derby using as many of the off-road routes as possible, but finding the first one was difficult, not helped by the fact that most routes out of Sheffield involve climbing significant hills.  Getting lost was a problem,  and having a mechanical malfunction was another.
Fortunately I had a compass and also tools, so eventually, after the expenditure of both time and effort, I found myself on the Trans Pennine Trail at Rother Valley Country Park.
I always carry tools of course, and not usually a compass, but this proved invaluable as an adjunct to a map and the signposts.  In future I will take one on all trips away from home.

At nearby Killamarsh is one of the new Sustrans Portrait Benches, this one depicting three local worthies.  They are a local countryside activist, a soldier killed in Afghanistan and a world champion boxer.

The Trans Pennine Trail links nicely to the Cuckoo Way following the towpath of the Chesterfield Canal, which being divorced from other waterways, had only a couple of small boats on it.  The canal has been restored over the years and work is still in hand at the Staveley (North) end

Nona's Coffee Shop here at Hollingwood Lock is a good place to stop for refreshment.

And another ......  the Visitor Centre at Tapton Lock.

As we approach Chesterfield this is a good place to halt for a rest, with a well stocked shop, outdoor seating and tables. Food and toilets available here.

The Chesterfield Rangers have made an excellent job of painting their milepost in glossy black with gold lettering, quite the classiest that I have ever seen.

On reflection, it seems sacrilege to lean my bike against it.

The South end of the canal is close by Chesterfield Railway Station and within sight of the famous Crooked Spire, a perpetual warning to steeple builders not to use unseasoned timber in the construction.
How embarrassing it must have been for the builders to see their originally straight spire gradually take up this twist as the timbers dried out.
I wonder if the financiers asked for their money back.

 A few miles of road and the inevitable traffic from there to access Grassmore Country Park, going off road once more on the Five Pits Trail, re-surfaced recently and much improved since my last visit.

For a former railway route this is surprisingly undulating, but a good North South ride which links to the Silverhill Greenway and peters out just North of Alfreton, where a meal and a pint of Ruddles at the local Wetherspoons set me up for the final run home on the A61 road, which is not at all bad for cycling as it has cycle lanes all the way to Little Eaton and most of the automotive hotheads are speeding along the nearby A38.

So, an exhausting day out, initially frustrating, but once out of Sheffield, a nice combination of off-road and faster on-road cycling.
Not sure that I would recommend cycling in Sheffield unless you like hills and have a bagful of low gear ratios. 


BirdyRed said...

Retired Ranger Really Rejuvenated by Reduced Rate Rail Rides, Restful Rural Routes and Refreshing Ruddles.

Trexrider said...

I think the builders of the Chesterfield spire well knew the result of the use of unseasoned timbers. The twist is their comment about the clergy :-)

And - I do not like the way that portrait bench dog is looking at your bike! very dodgy.

Aaron Aardvark said...

Alliteration attempts are always avidly awaited and accepted advisedly at this address.

Aaron Aardvark,
Assistant Administrator,
Alliteration Associates,
8 Abbatoir Avenue,

Adieu, Aurevoir and Arrivederci.

John SWAN said...

Not going to put a rhyming/beginning with sort of comment Les, but a yours is a very imteresting piece. Especially fascinated by your use of a compass. A GPS unit might have helped, because you can pinpoint your exact position at any time.

swaddywaddy said...

I love hills and don't forget le tour is visiting sheffield next july so it might be useful to get your bearings. I love the value of your train ticket eagle eyed!