The Forest

Everyone probably has a route they ride regularly but if asked what is the appeal of your own such circuit you may struggle to articulate to a stranger the reasons you keep coming back. If your route is out of the way and not on any natural path from somewhere to somewhere else, if you need to ride some lonely lanes which are narrow, broken, gravelly, steep and mucky and frequented mostly only by bike riders heading for the hill, if the hill itself with its north facing aspect and sun blocking conifers is prone to terrible black ice, if there is not much of a view until you reach the top and even then it is behind you and often lost to the murk, if it doesn’t lend itself to grand photographic vistas for your bike blog, and if when you reach the top and the tarmac begins to fall rapidly away beneath you the wind is sometimes enough to bring you to a standstill despite the front end of the bike pointing decidedly downwards then you might have to think about it a wee while and struggle to avoid the ‘because it is there’ trap. You might then think though that perhaps the hillside woods in a mostly treefree Pennines give a slight whiff of something foresty and alpineish, the switchbacks near the top which lift you high above the treetops with not a little exhilaration after grinding through the rows of firs and pines with no visible sign of altitude give just a little feeling of climbing something higher and more frencher, and the imposing Loire chateau some ten kilometres of fresh air directly behind you when you glance over your shoulder before heading down one of the best bits of downhillness (or uphillness if you like that kind of thing) to be found for miles lets you imagine for a brief moment that the border you just crossed is just a teensy bit more international than the northern county one which actually lies at the top of this little windy bit of England.



  1. secondratecyclist

    Northernbike, I’m going to have to unfollow you . . . if you can’t stop showing off. You are killing me with these pictures. I have expressed to other cyclists how much I want to ride in Europe, especially England, Ireland, and France. One day, my friend . . . one day!

    • northernbike

      Hi SRC, thanks for dropping by, and following this blog – if you are ever in my neck of the woods be sure to let me know (you would get the best of France and England in one country the first weekend of next July of course – you shouldn’t take any advice from me on cycling but I do know where to get the best coffee 🙂

      • secondratecyclist

        Okay now you’ve entered the ultimate combination, coffee and cycling. Whether it works or not, my wife and I are actually saving to be at the Tour this coming year. Fingers crossed! And yes, it’d be cool to get in touch.

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