I find myself back in Leeds for the Easter break, the weather is beautiful, a warm sunshine with just the slightest wisp of a cool breeze rising up the slopes.
I brought my favorite bike back with me and wanted to show it around where I grew up and where I first climbed on a mountain bike.
So this morning a got up at 8am and headed the short distance from my parents house on the North edge of Leeds to visit the House I grew up in and the park I spent many hours playing in.
These are the pictures of my mornings ramble and reminiscence. Also a bit of a botanical tour de force of my little corner of Yorkshire.
The footpath down through Shadwell leading to the top end of the gorge in Roundhay park.
Entering the gorge in Roundhay reveals the springs finest display, the Bluebells carpet the deciduous woodland and the wild garlic is just starting to flower providing a fantastic scent to the section. The path through this area of woodland is still a favourite of mine, it is well mettled and provides for a fast flowing section of trail constantly losing and gaining height and criss-crossing the beck on small railway sleeper bridges.
Climbing up through the woods out of the park you cross the long lost park boundary wall, now hidden amongst the ivy and brambles on the woodland floor. This boundary wall marks the start of the old grounds to Elmete Hall. A House I was fortunate enough to of lived in until the age of 12. A house where I first learned to ride a bike, and years later first rode a mountain bike, a hobby which on and off has been a big part of my life since. During the eighties and early 90's the house was run as a residential hostel for children with learning and physical disabilities. During the week the place was alive with Kids, during the weekend the place became a dream playground for myself and my sister.
Effectively this overgrown council house is the cause for my delusions of grandeur! My youthful dreams of one day having enough money to buy the house back have however sadly been killed off by brutal reality.
The house was derelict for best part of 20 years after we left, the local council allowed it to fall into a terrible state and I am sure would of been content with letting the listed building crumble into ruins if it were not for the private purchase and conversion into offices that took place in 2007. A move that saddens me because it took it away from being a house, but ultimately makes me happy because it has been saved and is in use once again.
Having sat in the sunshine on the slopes, listening to the birds and the insects and watching the young bunny rabbits hopping about, I decided to Drop back down through the woods to waterloo lake, the larger of the 2 lakes in Roundhay park.
Another sight that I have not seen in many a year was the lake being used for sports. It was fantastic to see rowers practicing on its still calm water, and provided a collision in memories between my time growing up here and my years living in Oxford.
The loop back around the lake took me back to the valley that had brought me into the park. 15 minutes later I was back at my parents. A short but ultimately sweet journey back to my childhood, riding a Rigid Pace RC300, the most evolved version of a bike I first fell in love with way back in the days I used to live here.
On a sunny day, there is no where I would rather be than home. I live in London these days, I have considered moving abroad in recent times, but Roundhay will always be home to me.
[size=67]Where we're going we don't need roads!
Under cover operative of the YVMBAPFS cartel.
The Pace fleet:
16" RC100/ 21" RC100/ RC100 Trials prototype/ RC200 F5/ RC200 F8/ RC250 Trials/ RC300 Gunmetal/ RC300 Silver/ RC500 F1 DH