Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/10/02 Ginnels, snickets and tracklements

 Ride Report Fri Oct 2 2009 Ginnels, snickets and tracklements

The deep grey clouds hung low as I cycled into Barkers Pool.  Ah, one nightrider here already, that’s good.  Then another, then another, then the ride leader, hungry so he went for kebab & chips – any carbohydrate in a storm will do.   Then four people new to FNR then another, then another, then another new person, and another, and another and rapidly they gathered, so much hi-viz and so many cycle helmets it was like a flock of yellow-bodied birds with domed shiny heads homing in – for what?  Sheffield FridayNightRide, of course.


In the end 30 of us, so many we had to stand on a bench to introduce the ride and our ride leader, Simon, and announce that Polly and Tony (founder members of the FNR) were spending some of their 37th anniversary with us – to cheers all round.  So whilst Jim fixed his puncture, Simon chatted and explained about gennels, snickets and tracklements and then we were off.


Out through Barkers Pool to West St.  We all trundled over to the Co-op Bank where Simon was surprised to see that the gennel down to Trippet Lane and the Grapes was still there and unobstructed –so the ‘lost’ snicket had been found.  A police car cruised slowly past with the driver looking puzzled as 30 cyclists seemed to vanish into the wall and from his view.


I knew something was wrong – I had cocked up drawing the map and I had the ‘lost’ snicket over near Leopold Square.  In fact, over the evening the route evolved as Simon, noting the number of us, decided to leave some gennels and snickets out and modify the way we went.  So, I think, a map of the route actually taken is,-1.498432&spn=0.018595,0.055575&z=15

Adaptable this FridayNightRide malarkey eh? [If I’ve got it wrong get back to me – I was ‘’following’ as tail-end Charlie]


One more rider joined us on Trippet Lane and then we pedalled up Portobello and turned left down into Victoria St, across Glossop Rd and through the snicket at the Bath Inn onto Gell St.  The drivers on the inner ring road politely waited as our horde crossed at Broomspring Lane – and all evening was a demonstration of the phenomenon that the more cyclists there are the more courtesy and respect cyclists receive.  Then ‘through the wall’ at the bottom of Holberry Gdns out onto Brunswick St on the cycle ‘gate’, left up Collegiate Crescent, right up Park Lane, left along Clarkehouse Rd and a right turn into Newbould Lane.  (This is a no-right turn jn but we all seemed to make it and the drivers let us).


At the jn with Glossop Rd a sharp left through the bollards into Melbourne Rd, a no-through road to motorised traffic.  (It was on a drive off this road that the Yorkshire Ripper was arrested in ’81.)  Down this pleasant leafy, quite road and right into Ashdell Rd back to Glossop Rd, up and right through Peel St and left up into Crookes as people at Broomhall stood in amazement at over 30 cyclists purposely pedalling across the main road and up to Crookesmoor Rd where we hung a right and down to a fine steep stone flagged gennel (a few steps at the beginning) that took all of us as a single file lantern parade through to Northumberland Ave where another nightrider was waiting to join us.  Up Northumberland Avenue and a staccato set of crossings at Whitham Rd to continue up and then down by the side of the Royal Hallamshire and across Glossop Rd into Broomspring Lane through the cycle ‘gate’ at the top and back down to a right into Brunswick St, through Broomhall to the snicket on Sunnybank and onto Ecclesall Rd, which, I think, we crossed in two mass crossings.


Cut through by the Porter then round the London Rd flats and up to Sharrow Lane through another cycle ‘gate’ and then past Sharrow Park and down into Lowfield now more people out on the street, astonished to see such a peloton on their patch, in their territory, but many shouts of encouragement and some jeers as some kids joined in the ride (but only in their territory).  Down to Lowfield and then to Comet for a group photo and video and another single file procession along Cutlers Walk (under the railway and over the Sheaf) to the Sheaf View.


Had a pint and lost some nightriders but picked up two more and restarted by going through Heeley Millennium Park to Thirlwell Rd and past ReCycleBikes down some steps and through a gennel to Shirebrook Rd.  We had a short sharp climb to hit Gleadless Rd again and as we appeared from, and disappeared into, snickets and gennels the teenagers hanging out on benches and adults outside pubs were, at first bemused, then astonished but never speechless! Again we were on their territory and strange visitors we were too. [Anthropology by bike?]. So back down to London Rd and across to Abbeydale Rd and into Nether Edge as some more nightriders peeled off from the ride.


A family of kids waved to us from their front window as we climbed up Sandford Grove Rd and turned up Brincliffe Edge. We split into an off road and an on-road parties and all met up again at Quarry Lane where again some dropped out and one more nightrider joined us.  Then a fine snicket with a hairpin bend through to Psalter Lane and a short gennel by the Banner Cross Hotel to end up on Ecclesall Rd.  And now we could sense the Rising Sun.  Up through Greystones to the top of Bingham Park and down the path to Rustlings Rd and back to Bingham Park where we all followed Simon up the path and into the sidegrowth thinking we were going somewhere but he was just taking a pee.  So we regrouped and went up a track through the allotments and managed to pick up all the dog poop in Fulwood or some of us did.[Simon must have had magic shoes and tyres as he stayed clean and I was last so everybody had got to it before me. Shame!]


Up Hangingwater Rd a bit and left to the end of Bramwith Rd with probably the best example of a gennel (good street lighting too) to Oakbrook Rd.  Round the corner onto Fulwood Rd and stopped at the Rising Sun – a light drizzle dampened us down a bit whilst we had another pint.  So most made this their end and stopped for more refreshment or to ride home. The last seven of us saddled up and went round the back of Tesco to go down Carr Bank Lane (a good quality snicket) and took Hangingwater Rd back to Bingham Park and then belted down Rustlings Rd to Hunters Bar, and into Sharrow Vale Rd where the cars overtaking us too close got stuck with oncoming traffic and we cyclists could all weave our way behind, in front and round the lot of them – a bit like alley cat racing, well exciting!  So leaving the knots of cars we put a last good effort to reach Sharrow Lane Top and then disappeared into the top of Frog Walk which for me was about a handlebar’s width wide so I bounced down to the bottom over the Porter and into Cemetery Rd.  Then along Stalker Lees Rd to pick up the path by the Porter and round to the Pomona.


Another pint for all, a bit of a chat and banter and off at 11.30 to the noise of the Beer Fetsival in the grounds of the General Cemetery.


Great fun – remember that advert? – act your shoe size; not your age!  Join the Sheffield FridayNightRide.



The waxing, gibbous moon was beautiful last night as I cycled from Tinsley to Manor Lodge, so why not check it out on the ….


Next Sheffield FridayNightRide

Fri Oct 2 2009

Ginnels, snickets and tracklements

Meet Barkers Pool

(NB not Kelham Island Tavern as in the Telegraph)

Mobile joining service also available, see below

6.30 p.m.

You are cordially invited to join a ride in the city to take in some of the surprising number of shortcuts, and alleys that are all over Sheffield.  We start in the town centre and head out to Broomhall and the University and then plunge into Sharrow, Heeley and Meersbrook before climbing up through Nether Edge to Greystones and touch Fulwood and then back into Sharrow to end up at the Pomona.  This ride will also pass, and probably stop, at the Sheaf View and the Rising Sun(!). About 15 miles

Weather: The day may see rain but the Metcheck Friday evening forecast is for dry and cloudy so may get a good view of the moon and its light should help us through some of the route.


And now a first, not only can you drop out when you like, you can join when you like: the ride is being led by Simon, who says, far from losing people en route, we expect to pick up a few. There are joining opportunities at:

  • Broomhill,
  • Heeley (Sheaf View),
  • Greystones,
  • Fulwood (Rising Sun)
  • and of course after the ride at the Pomona.

Just give Simon a call on 07799 834837 and he will let you know where we are. Also you can call Mick on 07949 596702.(He will be probably riding ‘tail-end Charlie’ partly through wishes but mainly because of his cycling aptitude.

Bring lights (some riding through parks) and locks!

Heads up! Should suit most types of bike.

Map:  Ginnels, gennells, snickets and tracklements now identified so please have another look.

Route: Start at Barkers Pool and then over to Leopold Square to find a lost snicket through to Trippet Lane which we follow up to Portobello and then down into Broomhall and across the inner ring road to cut through streets up to the University and around Crookesmoor Park into Broomhill and then down to Collegiate bumble around there for a bit (I think we pass the spot where the Yorkshire Ripper was arrested if you fancy the ghoulish) and then should find ourselves cutting through Sunnybank over Ecclesall Rd and through the path through the site of Ward’s Brewery and then up across Cemetery Rd up to Sharrow Park where we pick up the Sheaf Valley path to Heeley and the hidden snicket of Cutlers Walk over the Sheaf to the Sheaf View.

Those remaining will proceed up to tour Heeley, get up to Heeley Green and then saunter back through Meersbrook to resume on the cycle paths in Broadfield and we shall see the most pointless cycle path in Sheffield.  Then across Abbeydale Rd to Nether Edge and cycle up Brincliffe Edge to cut through Psalter Lane and turn back towards Ecclesall Rd South.  Here we climb up into Greystones (I am sure Simon, the ride leader, is doing this so we can see his house – still we may get a cup of tea?) and from Greystones we head into the top of Bingham Park and then cut through to Rustlings Rd and back along Bingham Park on the Porter Valley to Hangingwater Rd.

We will then use a fine gennel to get to to the Rising Sun.  After we have stopped there we can cut through back to Oakbrook Rd and we proceed down through Endcliffe Park to Sharrow Vale Rd which we will ascend to reach Frog Walk – the prettiest short cut in Sheffield.  This takes us to the bottom gates of the General Cemetery and then we will follow the path along the Porter to get to the Pomona where Simon says there is a folk singer on that may be worth a gander.  So fingers in your ear and join in a chorus of “Friday Night Ride! Friday Night Ride!” (to the tune of Cwm Rhondda).  If that is not suitable entertainment we can go up to the Stag on Psalter lane.

I thought we may be the only ones left by then but Simon has offered the phone service to join the ride where you will – hope to see you all Friday.

“We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
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