Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2010/01/01 Christmas Lights

OK the last full moon of 2009 is actually New Year’s Eve Thursday Dec 31st 2009. So…

Sheffield FridayNightRide

Friday January 1 2010

Christmas Lights

Meet at the Big Wheel, top of Fargate
Meet 3 p.m.

Route to be decided

The theme is lights and I need help.

Send an email or tweet or txt 079 49 59 67 02 with the location (A-Z, Sheffield cycle map, Google map) of examples of brightly lit and dazzlingly decorated houses, shops, pubs, or turn up to the meeting place with the location and we will start with the locations and sort out the route there and then.


I’m going out to check the local suburbs around me so send them in when you see them or bring the locations to the ride.

Bring seasonal fare and drink if you want – we’ll finish at a pub somewhere.


Check email/website/facebook/ twitter before you go because if the weather is inclement (strange, I thought it was inSheffield) then I may call it off


I thought it would be fun to visit and admire the Xmas lights that people put up on their houses, sometimes whole streets.
Not in an ironic way but as a celebration of vernacular art, (other vernacular art that I like to admire are things like greengrocers’ displays of produce, shop window displays, suburban gardens etc)

Friday Jan 1 2010 is a totally appropriate date to go out for a social ride –
* ride off your hangover,
* take up your resolution to be more active
* wish your companions all the best and have a laugh for the New Year
* reminisce about the decade just gone
* get into the old pagan festival of light, Yule, and start celebrating the days getting longer
* and if not working in retail you may well be on holiday.

Join in!


Ride report Christmas Lights January 1 2010

By ten past three on a beautiful sunny afternoon 17 nightriders had gathered at the Big Wheel.  Simon and Mick had a ‘fuzzy’ look at the places sent in by folks and the route emerged: town centre to Meersbrook then on to Norton, thus to Bradway, hence to Dore, and consequently back into town. (We’d have to skip visiting the decorated cranes at Grange Mill Lane nr Meadowhall – opposite side of town.) A map of the route is at,-1.458092&spn=0.074782,0.222301&z=13

 A Bikehike version which also details an OS version and a section of the route is at


So, with Simon kindly agreeing to lead, the bevvy of riders set off past the decorated Christmas tree outside the Town Hall.  Down Pinstone St, onto the Moor, with shops open but not many people about. The first site was the spangly, illuminated Christmas ‘tree’ made out of globes on the Moor and whilst we stood and commented on its looks and how much we liked it, another four riders joined us.


So now a horde of 21 (five new to fridaynightriding) carried on through South Lane, between Staples and Moorfoot, and across the inner ring road to London Rd.  Traffic was very light and it was good to be able to cycle two abreast up past Sharrow Lane , and then down London Rd into Lowfield, across Heeley Bridge and then left up Albert Rd.  Soon after we started the long steady climb up: puncture! and a spectacularly fast flat at that.  So by combining our resources we got tyre levers, a 15mm spanner, a spare inner tube, pump, and enough advice and labour to get the jobs done: removal of wheel, inner tube, and tyre, extraction of shard of glass, some air into inner tube, re-assemble tyre, inner tube, and put retyred wheel back in frame whilst freeing chain from jam in derailleur cage, and final pump-up of tyre. (Whilst Mick handed out some of his flapjack, either ginger or dried fruit, for tasting tests (recipes later)).


The stop was convenient because it was just getting to the crepuscular time of day when lights would be more impressive.  On Meersbrook Rd we spied our first decorated house, rope lights around doorways and gutters, aeroplanes and sleighs on the roof, trains in lights but nothing on.  So whilst all gathered across width of the street along the frontage, Mick knocked on the door and politely asked, “Do you mind turning your lights on?  I’ve brought 20 cyclists to have a look at them” and instantly they were on accompanied by a loud cheer from the multitude.  In fact the residents came out to see the crowd and we chatted about the work involved and where one gets these things. 


 With a parting thanks and “Happy New Year” we carried on up Meersbrook Rd as dusk progressed.  Avoiding the direct routes to keep to the smaller gradients we turned right onto Carfield Ave and kept our heads down whilst our bikes climbed up.  At the top of Bishopsfield Rd we all took a rest as we debated whether to go and see if there were decorated houses as predicted.  Paul R was sent out as scout to see what was round the bend down the hill and he came back from his recce with nothing to declare.  With some relief that we wouldn’t have to speed down to only climb back up – again – we carried on along Upper Albert Rd and Lees Hall Ave and then turned left to continue the ascent up Warminster Rd.  We saw some decorated houses and trees in gardens and windows but nothing too fancy.  Finally reaching Hemsworth Rd we took another break to catch our breath and discuss the next stage of the journey. 


The last brief gentle climb was along Hemsworth Rd and we reached the highest point at the roundabout, now it was more or less downhill all the way back to town.  So past the watertower along Norton Lane into Norton Park View, by now the night had caught up with us, and then through a gennel into Little Norton Lane, where there was a splendid trio of houses with some nicely syncopated flashing lights on trees and bushes that we admired very much, and then through a snicket to cross Meadowhead Rd and on to Hemper Lane where there were some minimalist decorations until we caught a glimpse of a glow and then were dazzled by an acid-house bungalow: illuminated sleigh on the roof, flashing star on the wall, Santa Clauses of various sizes and brightness on the drive, a puffing, blinking train, crazy Christmas tree at the window – it was fab, so we stood awestruck, talked about what we liked about it (for me; the chaos), exchanged a wave with those inside and on to Bradway.

Xmas lights at Hemper Lane 

At Bradway we took a right down Twentywell Lane, where those of us left stopped for a refresher in the Castle Inn, on Twentywell Rd. (very ‘naice’ area; didn’t need to lock the bikes, mind you, nobody was out).  Well-kept pint of Farmer’s Blonde, interesting, genial, eclectic chat and finally finished off Mick’s flapjack and discussed how to get flapjack to bake so that it is moist and not brittle.  Having sorted that, back on the bikes and a rapid descent onto Abbeydale Rd South to the west of Dore Station.  There we went left, and then we went right (ah, does one go left to right as you get older?) into Abbeydale Park Rise.


We entered onto a gentle slope with a curve ahead which hid the grotto to come.  As we pedalled round the bend past a silvery-white bright display on a corner house we entered a co-ordinated rainbow of twinkling lights arranged like illuminated fan-vaulting in the branches of the trees in the street, with strings of bright spots of lights in, and along, the hedges, beautifully arranged twirls, swirls and runs of contrasting lights in trees and shrubs in gardens, sparkling trees and lights in front windows and even a spot-lit illuminated Nativity scene, and as we cycled up and through this phantasmagoria it started to gently snow – I kid you not, we were enchanted; kids again.  Brilliant!

 Xmas Lights Abbeydale Park Rise

This display slowly petered out as we got to the top of the road and then we turned right up Devonshire Rd to catch a display in Devonshire Drive.  Here was a super individual house, with an giant air-filled snowman and a man-size Santa, both internally illuminated, waving on the porch roof whilst decorated trees, and another flashing train, were accompanied by a coloured illumination saying ‘Let it snow’ over a green background with white snowflakes, thrown onto the front wall by a projector on the front lawn. 

Let it snow!

Finally round Burlington Rd to Ashfurlong Rd with an illuminated house here, tucked behind a high hedge, with a fine display of white, yellow and silver lights.  So we had got to our end, the furthest point before return, the snow was starting to settle, and we decided to head back into town but not before going slowly back through the illuminated tunnel of Abbeydale Park Rise ringing our bike bells with joy. 

Abbeydale Park Rise 

When we got back onto Abbeydale Rd South we decided to give Southbourne Rd a miss and get to pub where we thought we may be lucky and get snowed in.  Some split off at Dore or on the way back down Abbeydale Rd but five of us completed the brisk ride, putting on waterproofs in a bus shelter by Carter Knowle Rd, and made it to the city-centre and on our third attempt found a pub, the Red Deer on Pitt St, that was open.  More refreshers there and a laugh and chat and then away by 8.30 (was it?)  I got home by 9 – I think.


So 4 or 5 hours on the ride, enough exercise to justify the effort of getting the bike out, good to wish folks a happy new year and some fun and joy with the sights we saw and sites we visited.  Excellent.


Next Ride: Friday 22 January. Hospitals and Health. Start: 6.30 p.m. West End pub, corner of Clarkson St and Glossop Rd.  Ride route and points of interest by email and on website soon.


Recipes for flapjack

I am working on a basic recipe (or recipes) so that kids we train can cook and eat this as an energy bar when they take part in cycle training.  We could distribute the recipe when we send stuff to the school.  They could make this with their families, or friends, or in school.  At the moment I work in Rotherham and the Ministry of Food (remember Jamie?) are interested in working with us in promoting this in some way in Rotherham.  So your interest, encouragement and help, if you want to, with other recipes or variations, would be welcome.


I have simply adapted (or appropriated) the recipe from the Crank’s Cookbook by using more refined ingredients.


Basic Recipe (enough for about 8-12 portions)


Stuff you need

Butter or margarine 150g (5oz)

Demerara sugar 75g (3oz)

Golden syrup 75g (3oz)

Porridge Oats 225g (8oz)




Mixing spoon, knife

Scales (oz/g)

Baking tin 20-25 cm square or round

Airtight container for storage


·         Preheat the oven to 190 oC (or 175 oC if fan assisted)

·         Gently melt the fat, sugar and syrup in a pan, do not let it boil,

·         Whilst its all melting use some of the same fat to grease a baking tin (mine are circular about 24cm across with one of those rotating bars which lift the bottom up). 

·         Once fat, sugar and syrup are all melted, take off the heat and mix in the oats. 

·         Then once all well mixed pour and spoon the mix into the tin and smooth over with the back of the mixing spoon

·         Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden brown (all sing the Stranglers tune)

·         Remove and use a knife to mark into portions (don’t try to cut it whilst it’s hot)

·         Leave to cool and set fully, then knock out and break into portions and store in something airtight


Ginger flapjack.

I made ginger flapjack by finely dicing two ‘knobs’ of stem ginger and adding a dessert spoonful (10ml) of the syrup from the stem ginger.  I added this to the mix with the oats.  Some people liked this.  For me it was nice but not gingery enough.  Next time I will try three ‘knobs’; would grated raw ginger root work? What do people think?


Fruit flapjack

I diced up some raisins and dried apricots – about 60 ml by volume in all so I reduced the amount of oats to about 200g.  This went down well with eaters.  Think I’ll try cranberries next.


I presume a vegan alternative would be to use pure vegetable fat – Flora White? (I used Stork which has buttermilk).


I’m going to try oil instead of fat and also try honey as a sweetener. Mmmm – honey and ginger ….


Experiment for yourself and maybe bring some on your next FridayNightRide – or bring another different energy bar type product. 


There’s no money it –just some fun and if we hit some good variations perhaps we can encourage kids to cook and to eat healthily.