NWA & NE&Yorks: Settle to Malham, Dales ~ 19/02/11
Aftermath thread from the NWA perspective.
A cold day in the Dales
The weather on the way up the motorway wasn't really living up to the pictures posted on the announcement thread. Those clear blue skies and rolling green hills, were in reality just several wet shades of grey. The overnight snowfall had coated the hills and sleet and slush prevailed at lower levers.
Gradually though the windscreen wipers were switched to intermittent, and then eventually off completely, as Settle became closer and closer.
An argument with the satnav and a stop at McDonalds for some high quality athlete's fuel meant that we were already running late by the time we pulled into a car park full of cold and apprehensive looking retrobikers.
A few apologies and an assembling of bikes, mixed with all the usual pay and display faff, eventually saw us setting off shortly after 11am.
The first climb was a good test of the layering principal. Cold limbs were quickly brought up to temperature and beyond, with a steep and merciless climb. The surface deteriorated along with traction levels as we crossed the snow line. With the soft wet slushy snow, it was very tricky to maintain forward momentum. Wheels were spinning and sliding out and it proved quicker and easier to just get off and push. At this stage things weren't looking too promising...
The bikes ~ (click image for a larger version)
The riders ~ LtoR: Charlieboy, HarryCrumb, Kev Duckworth, Woody, giant-one, elPedro666, beavis, kaya, mr_ship, brocklanders, saltyman, Rich Aitch, mrlee (hiding) and paininthe. (drystonepaul taking photos while dodging snowballs)
15 riders had braved the elements to tackle the high level moorland crossing from Settle to Malham and back again. The choice of machinery was as impressive as the views could've been, if it wasn't for the hill fog.
Representing the steel fraternity there was an Orange Clockwork, a Fat Chance Yo Eddy, a DeKerf Generation, a GT Avalanche, an Alpinestars Cro-Mega, a Marin Bear Valley and a couple of Saracens. In the aluminium corner we had an Ibis Alibi, a Kona AA and a Zaskar, while the titanium fetishists would have been more than satisfied with a Dyna Tech MT5 and a Marin Team Titanium.
Also of note was Saltyman's Salsa Mukluk. The ideal choice perhaps considering the snowy conditions.
Brocklanders lines up the dominos.
A brief respite from the opening climb before phase two of the ride. Another climb.
90, 91, 92, 93... An eclectic mix of beautiful old bikes
HarryCrumb checks everyone for frostbite
After a rest for a breather and a conference about whether or not to continue we opted to press onwards and quite literally upwards. At this higher altitude though the snow was colder and less slushy which added traction. The surface became much more rideable albeit still fairly tricky and slippery.
Saltyman's power climbing snapped his chain and after a cold fingered repair we continued higher and higher up into the mist.
Charlieboy in 'rides a modern bike on a retro ride' slur shocker!
HarryCrumb packs his parachute for the return journey
giant-one tests out his new Saracen
Once on top of the moors, a well defined and fairly level track took us steadily eastwards towards Malham. There were plenty of edges and hidden obstacles in the snow though, which caught many a rider out. Fortunately everyone ended up on the ground laughing rather than damaging themselves or their bikes.
Finally, the track began to point downwards and a great section of gravity assisted riding followed, as we ploughed and played our way through the snow.
Up in the fog before a great descent
Reaching the road near to Malham Cove we climbed up and then dropped down a treacherous bit of tarmac towards the Tarn. Veering off towards the Malham Tarn field centre a slide and a twist of the saddle meant disaster for Brocklander's Syncros seatpost. A split down the shaft meant the head of the post and the saddle had separated. Even zip ties and gaffa tape couldn't fix this mechanical.
With the broken post removed, Edd bravely soldiered on without anywhere to sit on his bike. Fortunately we weren't too far from the salvation of the pub in Malham.
Another stop to regroup revealed that Edd wasn't the only one who was having trouble with his Syncros seatpost. This time mr_ship discovered a crack across the bolt hole on his Syncros titanium post.
Onwards we rounded the Tarn, which was barely visible in the heavy fog. A passing coach load of field tripping students trudged along in the opposite direction, clearly impressed by the fat tyred Mukluk in particular.
But we were all fat and tired by this point and eagerly anticipated our visit to the pub.
Grinners in the mist. (grins not visible due to the mist)
Straight outta 98. The secret joy of STX-RC.
Back on snow covered tarmac, the next section was brilliant fun, as the road dropped steeply down a series of tight bends and on into Malham.
The burning smell of fried cantilevers and brake pads was heavy, and whoops of delight, or maybe the squeal of rims filled the air.
With everyone safely avoiding straight lining it into a drystone wall, we reached the pub, delighted that they were still serving food. We quickly filled several tables by the fire and formed an orderly queue at the bar.
A couple of close favourites
By now it was approaching 3pm and the prospect of finishing the ride in the dark was a distinct possibility. It had afterall taken over four hours to get to just over the halfway point. The tough conditions and more than our fair share of mechanicals meant that we would only have about an hour and a half to get back to Settle in the remaining wintry daylight.
Over hearty portions of chips, pies and ale, we decided that our only realistic option was to return on the road.
More importantly we had to decide on the bike of the ride...
With any bikes suffering broken seatposts or chains instantly discounted, this still left many strong contenders. The three ride leaders, Kaya, HarryCrumb and myself, stepped aside leaving the remaining choice still very tricky.
Eventually after applying a rule based on period correctness, previous winners, original features and pure whim there could be only one winner.
The 400LX equipped Bike of the Ride was agreed as Rich Aitch's Marin Bear Valley. The tyres and saddle may have been modern but the rest of the bike was completely original and in very good condition. Rich should also have been awarded a bravery medal for tackling the descents with plastic cantilevers...
Bike of the Ride ~ Marin Bear Valley
Brocklanders had to retire at the pub due to his broken post and beavis left to find a recovery vehicle leaving a lucky 13 riders on the return leg. The snowy tarmac proved to be a fast route back, with speeds clocked up in the high thirty miles per hour on the final brake testing drop into Settle.
With everyone safely counted back in, bikes were dismantled and cold layers replaced with warm clothes back at the cars.
After a few long goodbyes everyone gradually packed everything away and began their journey's home.
Another great retrobike ride.
Fat Tyre Flyer
The NE & Yorks aftermath thread is here: ---> http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=137676
Always nice to see things from the Yorkshire perspective too...