Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/12/04 Dissent

Ride Report Fri 4 Dec 2009 Dissent
13 people gathered at Barkers Pool. Five new to Sheffield FridayNightRide – welcome. A smaller bunch than recently but it was cold, overcast and rain threatened – and it is winter. Great range and variety of bikes again and Mick was being all swish with his LED spoke lights. It was a good chummy atmosphere as we started with some talk of the Miners Strike 25 years ago. Then it was off, out onto West St across to Holly St, right, along Trippet Lane and across Townhead St onto Campo Lane and eventually down to Bank St and to Castle Market. Took the crossing to the Canal Basin and then pick up the TPT by (and then under) the Parkway to climb up Cricket Inn Rd and then right, up Maltravers Rd through the Wybourn as the locals gazed on so many riders.

It was decided to stick to the roads rather than the TPT, so we went through Manor Park, past Park Academy and across Prince of Wales Rd. Even though we had done quite a bit of climbing by then we had some breath and legs left as we had a few stops as we gathered after enforced disruptions from lights and traffic at road junctions. Then a climb up Hastilar Rd to the shops where we were met by the local teenage kids on their bikes who accompanied us, rode in and out of us and wheelied their way up and down whooping and shouting and then suddenly silence as they disappeared from being with us as we left their patch. It’s just so territorial.

We took stock at Richmond Rd and then sped down towards Handsworth and just before the triangle of one way streets turned right to go up on the pavement and cycle past the shops avoiding going round the one way system. Then we followed Bramley Park Rd to a trail/path that runs behind Ballifield School. This was a lovely little ride in the dark with just orange street lights and amber house lights all around us. And as the main peloton emerged from the end of the path we got our first call, Puncture! at the back. So we had a wait whilst that, puncture no.1, was fixed.

Eventually we all gather at Beaver Hill Rd and head left onto Handsworth Rd, climb up a bit of main road where every car thought it was fun to blast their horns at us; warnings that they are there? expressions of irritation? taunts and jibes? Who knows? Then right onto Rotherham Rd to the bridge that goes over the railway line and adjacent to the site of the Battle of Orgreave. A chat there about what we knew about the Miners Strike and our experiences of it and back on the bikes to go on towards Catcliffe.

This next section was all new roads and cycle paths with splendid surfaces so a good spin to the Parkway where we went through the incredibly bright and still quite pristine tunnel built for bikes under the Parkway. An amazing facility – Oli where’s the photos you took? Then rejoin the roads and cycle paths on the other side, round the site of the airport, down by the side of the steel works to Shepcote Lane, over and through to the canal and onto the footbridge where we had puncture no. 2 and Mick donated his spare tube to facilitate a quick change. Then down to the side of the Arena carpark, across the ring road, past Centertainment and we halted at Carbrook Hall for a pint. Back into the same roomas the last ride, it is a bit weird 17th century wood panelling, oak carvings and plasterwork all with cyclists, a large, relatively cheerless hen party and lashing of bonkers music. Hardwick hall is never like this and would probably be better if it was!

Drink over, out the back and along the Five Weirs Walk to Meadowhall and reminisces of the steel industry. Out onto Brightside Lane and belt down towards town. One group split off to go and get a curry and then the leading group get a call – we have puncture no.3. And this was a good one. Imagine a ‘cartoon’ nail or tack, you know, big round head, round wire and very pointy nail, this had gone through a tyre again and again so it was a mess. Christine, the punctured one, was mortified as she had also had puncture no.1, we will send her out as ‘minesweeper’ next time to clear the route! By now it was drizzling and every time it was thought to be fixed another leak appeared, and the drizzle got on the glue and stopped the patches sticking so eventually we all end up in a subway with a couple of people fixing and the rest watching and advising until we find another inner tube that can fit and voila that does it.

Now its late and we speed back to town through the Wicker, up Waingate, right into Castle St and eventually back onto Campo Lane where, by 11 p.m., we all end up at Paradise Square where the Chartists met and we find that the plaque commemorates John Wesley and not Charles – although Charles did preach there too! Honest. These Methodists! too much internal dissent and deviance, I say.

At that point we all said our farewells and made our respective ways home. A long night, nice route for a ride, just bad luck with the debris of Sheffield lodging in our tyres.

Sheffield FridayNightRide
Friday December 4 2009
Meet Barkers Pool
6.30 p.m.

A ride out to places associated with political and social dissent so starting in town at the old NUM HQ at Barker’s Pool then via the TPT through the Wybourn, round Manor Park to the Richmond Rd and Handsworth (I’ll recce the condition of it and may change this to a road route through the Manor) and then a trail round the back of Handsworth to Orgreave (Battle of Orgreave 25 yrs ago) and into Rotherham momentarily before we pick up on the TPT again and go round the site of the airport on some pretty swish cycle paths and roads including the amazing tunnel under the Parkway and to Shepcote Lane and across the canal and onwards to the site of the Hadfield steel works (now Meadowhall) and then the old Vickers steel works in Brightside (British Steel strike 1981) and a heart pumping ride back into the town centre through the now delightful Wicker and the old town to get to Paradise Square, one of Sheffield’s architectural treasures, where the Chartists assembled (1840s) and both John and Charles Wesley preached (1740s) and contributed to the establishment of the non-conformist and Methodist faiths in Sheffield. Map and route at
for an OS version and elevation section of the route go to

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