Cycling with the Hardman   20 comments

When I told people about this they were concerned for my welfare. Going cycling with the Hardman is like saying I’m off for a short stroll with John Muir. The Hardman is very serious about his cycling and despite his older years is seriously fit. He’s thin and wiry and in short everything I’m not. This is man who cycled from the coast to the highest road on Tenerife, a relentless unbroken climb of 2400m, in less than 3 hours. I’d agreed to go cycling in the Peak District with him. I sent him several “go easy on me” and “I’m really quite unfit” e-mails in the hope that I might stand a slim chance of returning directly home afterwards rather than via an oxygen tent in a lonely casualty department.

In the event he was a very considerate cycling partner, reducing his speed down to “middle aged mortal” level and allowing me and TBF to survive the experience intact 🙂

In truth the route was an easy one. North along the Tissington Trail, south on the High Peak Trail and back along the roads to the start. After an excellent breakfast at a garden centre (I had to wait for it to open, how sad is that at my age) we parked up the stunning village of Tissington ready for the off.

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It was a cracker of a day. A clear blue sky is the perfect day for a visit to the White Peak. The green fields and the white stone walls seems to radiate light and warmth

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The Tissington Trail is a wonderful vantage point (or stretch to be precise) to view it from on a bike as its elevated. More importantly the ascent is barely noticeable, in effect a flat ride. Perfect for us less fit types

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We made easy and swift progress to Parsley Hay where the views were superb and we celebrated with a cuppa. The White Peak was my local hiking/stomping ground around 15 years ago when I lived near Derby and I used to love it. The mix of open grassy fields and deep limestone dales and gorges was always one of my favourite landscapes and its a real shame I don’t get back there often enough

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Such was the quality of the day we headed up to the far end of the trail to see what it was like

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This section was especially fine and the easy cycling in such wonderful surroundings was a joy. There is plan in motion to link the ends of the Tissington, Monsal and High Peak cycle ways. When complete it will be a quite superb 2 day circuit through some of the finest scenery in the UK

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We headed south and back along the High Peak Trail. Another stop for a snack and a cuppa was in order but this section was exposed to the cold wind. We eventually found a really well sheltered spot just after this man-made causeway, itself really rather impressive

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We left the trail at Brassington and had a rather excellent sweeping fast descent down the road. The price to pay was a short steep hill preceded by a ford (which the Hardman disappointingly refused to cycle through). Me and TBF were well chuffed to make it to the top without needing to push although a couple of stops to admire the scenery were required

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The Hardman, being a more serious cycling type has a disturbing tendency to dress like a MAMIL!

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A final lazy roll back down to Tissington finished a memorable ride of 30 miles. I may at some point start to enjoy cycling (don’t tell anyone)

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Best way to finish off a great day and a superb weekend? A family meal at Wagamamas when we got home. Sorted!

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20 responses to “Cycling with the Hardman

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  1. Two fabulous days in your great outdoors. Just a tad envious.

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    • It was a superb weekend of weather and one to take full advantage of. I’m not a huge fan of cycling but these old railway line trails are rather good and very easy.

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  2. My kind of bike ride and distance. I have been asked to join the 70 plus mile in a day club a few years ago but 30 to 40 miles suits me nicely. Anything over 60 miles is hard work these days.

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    Blue Sky Scotland
    • I could probably have ridden 70 miles in my youth but I doubt I could now. I’m using the bike as a way to get outdoors and both protect my knees (as well as build some surrounding muscle strength) and gain some fitness. Seems to be working so far. Not a big fan of road biking but this sort of easy mountain bike trail riding I quite enjoy

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  3. Looks pretty good, if you must ride a bike! I think I would have enjoyed that. Be nice to get back to The White Peak now and again.

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    beatingthebounds
    • There is a possible White or Dark Peak walk day in June when I’m up in Manchester with TJS – you obviously haven’t read the e-mail I sent you! 🙂
      This one is a great family bike trip and apart from the one short steep hill at the end extremely easy. These trails are really superb as they are high up with extensive views

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  4. Excellent! We’ve both cycled – and walked – that route many times. Including the ford….

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    • I might give the ford a go myself next time. It wasn’t deep but it did look very slippery! Need go give the Monsal trail a go next time now they’ve opened up all the tunnels

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  5. If it’s suitable for two days, could bikepack it…

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  6. Glad you survived your ride with the Hardman! What gorgeous countryside!

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    • He was nice to me, bless him. The White Peak (so named for the white limestone rock that characterises the area) is wonderful. All green fields, deep valley’s and gorges with tumbling rivers and pretty stone villages. On a blue sky day its hard to beat

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  7. Looks good dad told me you were going. By the way one of the boys yesterday whilst we were climbing Helvellyn said you were younger then dad, since it was dads birthday walk he wasn’t happy.

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    • Its a great ride suitable for everyone, including the younger members. That remark has completely made my day, both in the fact they think I’m younger and that fact it annoyed your dad – result! I owe the boys a special present when I see them at Wasdale

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  8. Looks like a great cycling trail. I keep thinking I need to get back on my bike again. There was a time a few years ago I used to cycle around 1,800 miles a year. Now I stick to mostly to hiking but would like to start doing a little more cycling. Looks like you had a wonderful day!

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  9. One on our list.Any suggestions for campsites in the area. Basic is fine.

    Bob

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    • Hi Bob. All the Peak cycling trails are excellent and this circuit is a real classic. I haven’t camped in the Peak for many years so my recommendations are likely out of date but most of the villages have quiet sites. I stayed at Blackwell once and that was nice

      Liked by 1 person

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