Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2010/06/04 Bridges II

Ride Report Bridges II Friday June 4 2010
(Figures in brackets indicate a bridge crossed and its order in the ride)

Map at:,-1.503239&spn=0.072215,0.222301&z=13

By 6.40 just under thirty of us met at the Kelham Island Tavern (KIT)and at least four more joined on the way – we peaked at 33(!) including 8 people new to FNR – welcome to all new nightriders. This was the 25th Sheffield FNR and a monster ride in terms of the distance – I rode just under 18 miles on the ride – let alone getting to and from the start and end; and the hills were grand gradients with a total ascent and descent of over 1500 ft. It was a warm, light evening with a bright, hazy sky, later a cloudy sky, but it stayed light to past 9 and became crepuscular nearer to 10.

We skipped going round the bridges on the new inner ring road (at what is called Bridgehouses)and started off along Green Lane, turning right and crossing the Don at Ball St (1) and then left onto Neepsend Lane and left again onto Rutland Rd to cross the Don again (2). At Penistone Rd we took the cycle path right along Penistone Rd towards Hillsborough and when we got to the T-junction with Neepsend Lane we crossed the Don (3) on our right to enter Club Mill Rd on the left. The metalled part was fine and the unmetalled part had been scraped level with a bulldozer or somesuch so it was a bumpy ride over the caterpillar tracks and soft soil. At the end we stopped at the bridge over the Don (4) to gather together and chatted about the value of this route along the Don and the hope that it gets surfaced properly for all bikes.

Leaving the bridge we entered Livesey St near the Bassett’s sweet factory and we cycled past the Hillsborough campus of Sheffield College on our left and Owlerton Stadium on our right and took the cycle path, or what we could find of it, north along Penistone Rd to cross the Don (5) again opposite the Hillsborough Stadium. Then we crazily crossed the down bit of Herries Rd, crossed the Penistone Rd, up Vere Rd (drivers trying to go down this narrow road couldn’t quite believe the mass of riders blocking the entire road in the direction opposite to them – aah, they had to wait) and arrived at Leppings Lane by the bridge over the Don (6). I was mad enough to go up Leppings Lane do a U-turn and come back just to say I had crossed the bridge but most sane riders just noted the bridge and turned right down Leppings Lane to get back to the Penistone Rd North and then a quick turn left onto Clay Wheels Lane.

We picked up two more riders here and sauntered along this road to the end and entered Beeley Woods on the newly laid Sustrans trail through the woods by the side of the Don. Ancient woodlands to your right, the lazy green Don to your left, dappled sunshine through the trees, some Dad and his son camping on the bankside, just idyllic for a summer night’s riding. And so to Oughtibridge to turn left across the Don (7) on Station Lane.

And now the first hard part, we cycled to the end of Oughtibridge along the Don in the Middlewood direction and right straight up Birch House Avenue, and followed the roads up the hill and finally got to a gentler gradient on Haggstones Rd at the top of Oughtibridge. We gathered there as we had lost some riders but Stuart led the peloton on to Loxley whist Mick waited. And the climb up to Worrall was superb, up on a bike you can see over the stone walls down and across the Upper Don Valley and fabulous it all looked too, Grenoside to your right, Sheffield ahead. Into Worrall we picked up some isolated clumps of riders, some had shot off down Worrall Rd and companions were waiting for them to return, then as we got to the top of Long Lane more and more pockets of riders were gathered and then finally one and all hit the summit and saw the splendid panorama of the deep green Loxley Valley with the ruler straight line of Long Lane ahead, we raced through Loxley Common, down to Loxley Rd and all together enjoyed the swift descent, wind in whatever hair we may have.

At the Loxley Rd we all turned left to gather as a whole group again at The Admiral Rodney, where staff couldn’t bring themselves to serve any faster so eventually all 33 of us got a drink and some even two. Chats, laughs, new friendships made and old friendships reinforced, whilst we all kept an eye on the incline opposite that was our route up to Stannington. Eventually somebody got me out of my reverie and Ian took the lead to guide us up Loxley Rd and down Rowel Lane to cross the Loxley over a tiny arch bridge (8) and then left at Spout Lane with the intriguing sculpture set against the stone wall. This was our second tough climb but I thought we all did it in reasonable time and with no casualties. Unfortunately Paul had a puncture and his spare tube was knackered too and so he phoned us from the bridge to say he was on his way home. But upon this bad news Team Fixie-Swish Bike swung into action, in a Dunkirk, small ships type of way, and all turned back to rescue their comrade and ride back through Loxley and Hillsborough to meet up with us all later at the KIT.

So the rest sauntered through Stannington, past the youths who spontaneously started to sing the chorus of Queen’s ‘Bicycle Race’, to gather at the ridge to see the Rivelin Valley laid out in front of us. Then for me a spine-tingling plummet down Rails Road, a momentary safety check before crossing Rivelin Valley Rd, and crossing the bridge on Rails Rd over the Rivelin (9) and then right onto Manchester Rd to cross the Rivelin (10) again up near the post office and do a sharp right back onto Rivelin Valley Rd and by the time we in the vanguard got back to Rails Rd the rest of the peloton were there and most decided to head off down Rivelin Valley Rd towards Hillsborough missing out the extraneous loop with two bridges. Rivelin Valley Rd was getting gloomy and whilst well-surfaced and wide it does have fast car traffic but Ian took us on a left up Tofts Lane. Whilst missing a bridge on the Rivelin Valley Rd this was a much quieter and much pleasanter way to go, riding up high in the light with pretty views, it felt like a country lane. I’d never been along it before and thought it a real find. Spotted the pub The Rivelin too which seemed to be bucking the trend of under-utilised pubs and looked like a real local – I think some people were even playing dominos. Must create a ride that makes The Rivelin our pub stop.

I’d waited back for riders at the tail and when we got going again the main group had headed off, luckily Ian and Matthew waited at the turn onto Roscoe Bank (otherwise we would have been lost). Down and along and then a last gentle incline up onto Stannington Rd and a swift right steeply down Hollins Lane to cross the Rivelin (11). From there it was left and straight along the Rivelin Valley Rd to cross the Loxley (12), just before we entered the one way system, with Malin Bridge crossing the Loxley on Stannington Rd to our right. This is the point at which the Rivelin joins, and becomes part of, the Loxley.

Our small group then headed through Hillsborough, losing Andrew who we found had gone to get some chips (anticipating a future ride perhaps?). We skipped crossing the two bridges just to the right of Hillsborough Corner and forked right past the Regency Court flats to get onto Penistone Rd and cross the Loxley again (13). [The Loxley meets the Don further downstream – the junction can be seen from Club Mill Rd]. From there it was a straight run back down the cycle path on Penistone Rd to the Globe Works and left through Philadelphia to arrive at the Kelham Island Tavern where all who had not already peeled off home or elsewhere were gathered. So to some chatting and crunching of crisps and nuts washed down with the ready supply of ales, ciders, beers etc.

Later it started to spit rain which turned to showers so shelter was taken indoors and slowly nightriders said “See you on another ride” and made their way home. I rode home in a warm rain shower – which was not unpleasant and got in about quarter to midnight (I think).

So we didn’t get to cross every bridge but so what, we had a great ride – you can look them up on the ride map and they can be included in a future ride sometime. Great weather, excellent company, and for me a delightful sense of fun and adventure. Stacey summed it up for me, saying that it’s like being out on your bike when you were a kid, exploring, nosing about, having a laugh, enjoying yourself and enjoying the pleasures of, and being satisfied with, riding a bike and forgetting about all your other stuff. I was half expecting my mum to be waiting to moan that I didn’t get home for my tea and she was worried sick about where I was.

So act your shoe size not your age; join a Sheffield FridayNightRide.

Impromptu FridayNightRide
Friday 4 June 2010
(ride bikes whilst the sun shines and S Yorks is like the S of France)
Start 6.30 pm Kelham Island Tavern (Russell St, S3)

Heads up!: some trails proposed so may not suit hi-spec bikes but road alternatives are available

A ‘quick’ theme is Bridges not yet crossed or Bridges II [- we did the canal from the canal basin to cross the Tinsley Viaduct and back down the Lower Don to Lady’s Bridge and some bridges over the Sheaf from town up to the Sheaf View in Nov 2008 – see the website for ride report on Bridges I]

The route is only a proposed route – changes and revisions and alternatives are possible – so take my phone number if you want to join later on

Map with elevation profile at
I warn you there are hills as we cross from the Don to the Loxley to the Rivelin but hey I go slow up hills and it will be light and nice weather –

Look forward to seeing you