Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2011/12/09 Xmas Lights 3

Hi if you were on this ride and have some observations/notes/comments about what you saw or what you thought or felt about it then email them back and I’ll expand the report below.

Brief ride report Xmas Lights III 9 December 2011

I lost count but estimates were 50 of us met at the reception at The Workstation, lovely spiced apple juice punch, mince pies, alcohol if you wanted it. Some cheery chats with Showroom/Workstationers and hopefully some of them may join us on the next ride. I thanked them by leaving a SFNR poster for their walls (somewhere)
Bikes and riders were decorated with enthusiasm and a good sense of fun and we had good natured photoshoot for The Star in the pinball park opposite The Workstation. The journalist, Colin Drury who had written The Star article on Thursday was there too – nice positive piece about cyclists.
So we started up Arundel St and up Howard St into town and we processed through Fargate, Barkers Pool up and down Division St before descending through the Moor and out into Sharrow. From the front we looked like a fantastical procession of lights and ‘mystery’ bikes – I saw and heard reactions from people out and about ranging from astonishment to cheers and laughs and looks like; is it just me or is that really weird?
And then there was the market trader packing up his stall who sneered, “On yer bike!”, when I wished him “Merry Xmas” spinning down the Moor – oh the season to be jolly
Fabulous parade of us all up Albert Rd and Meersbrook Rd, cheers from Darren and Claire’s friends and family as we appeared , neighbours came out, a roaring firepit going, hot punch, more mince pies and flapjack. Massive countdown 10, 9, 8 — to get the lights ON and good chat and fun. They gave us a Xmas card (I’ve put it up on the website) and I gave them a SFNR poster. We tried to sing a cyclist’s carol but I, like many ,didn’t know the tune to Silver Bells; never mind, we gave it a go. Jerry sang solo, and a capella(!), a bawdy Sheffield Carol with a chorus that we got to know by the end; great stuff, brilliant hospitality and then off up the hill towards Norton …
BUT as we climbed the road started to sparkle, the temperature dropped, I saw a ped slip over and by the time we were at the top of Lees Hall Rd it was too icy to go on …. and too icy for many of us to cycle back down (watching Dave topple on a steep camber convinced me to walk down, still came off lower down though. Eventually we found surfaces lower downhill a bit wetter and gingerly cycled down, keeping brakes on, not turning sharply and so on. The refurbed Broadfield was not open so we did head to our original endpoint, The Alehouse on Fraser Rd off Archer Rd. Mass of bikes locked up to the railings and we had plenty of room in a wonderful early 1960s interior with beer better than it was in the 60s (Double Diamond anyone?). Riders sat around making friends and renewing friendships in a really warm, hospitable place.
Some locals, two couples, got chatting to me with interest about the SFNRs and then one of the blokes looked at me and said, “But you’re not from Sheffield are you?”
I said, “No, from London originally, but have lived all over the country”
“So what are you doing up here, then?”
“Missionary work”, I quipped, which was taken in good humour.
The final few of us left when we could get no more beer on board, walked down to Archer Rd, except for crazy Paul who rode over the ice, and then for me it was a fast run down Abbeydale Rd and London Rd, through town, on to the cycle path at Sheaf St opposite the station where the bike promptly went sideways from under me on the icy cycle path and I just stopped myself sliding into the traffic on the inner ring road. Luckily no breaks or damage to the bike and rider and I rode all the final leg home on the roads and gave all paths a miss.

I had a good night, hope you all did too, and may I congratulate all on the turn-out and the splendid decorations on both bikes and riders. Its good to know so many people are ‘up for it’!

We never made our objective of Abbeydale Park Rise in Dore, which some of us think is really worth seeing and so I may arrange another impromptu ride before Twelfth Night depending on the weather and my time – just to see those lights!

This ride is ON!
It will be very cold, wrap up warm.
Next Sheffield FridayNightRide
Fri Dec 9 2011
Christmas Lights III(!)
Meet from 5.45 at the Workstation for a pre-ride reception with mince pies and non-alcoholic punch kindly provided by The Workstation
Start 6.30 from The Workstation
and we are turning on the lights at Claire and Darren’s, our hosts, on Meersbrook Rd

After the lights on Abbeydale Park Rd finish at The Alehouse, Fraser Rd (off Archer Rd, opposite to entrance to Sainsburys)

This ride has made it into The Star with a nice feature.

Heads up! All on roads will suit any bike, Steep and steady climb from Meersbrook up to Norton

Help you can give: If you know of any really worth-viewing dwellings or streets decorated with Xmas lights not on the map then please let me know – we may be able to incorporate them into the route.

If you have the time then please decorate your bike.
Battery powered LEDs in Wilkinsons or Poundstretcher can be wrapped round the frame and batteries stored in seat bags, tinsel draped out of your bike helmet or put on a Santa hat and so on

Route: Probably similar to Christmas Lights I and II.
Map Blue route was what we did on New Year’s Day 2010 and green route was route planned but not followed in Dec 2010

View Sheffield FNR Christmas Lights ( in a larger map
If the weather allows we take in the city centre Xmas lights and Xmas light displays on houses and streets in Albert Rd, Meersbrook; Hemper Lane, Bradway; Abbeydale Park Rd, Dore and this year we have been advised to get to Southbourne Rd, Broomhill,
On Xmas Lights I (an impromptu New Years Day ride) it snowed so that was magical, Xmas Lights II so was so icy we had to shorten the route so who knows what we’ll end up doing?