Friday, 22 April 2011

Work horse

My normal commute bike is a hybrid (grammatically speaking wondering if that should be an hybrid).  It has umpteen gears, a big wide padded sofa of a saddle, slick tyres and a back rack to take panniers.  It offers no resistance to the road, and if I'm honest not a lot of grip either; cornering is with caution.  It goes a lot quicker than the old mountain bike would on road rides.

This week, though, I've been pottering in on the mountain bike for purposes of saddle trials.  Anticipating the bike having huge resistance I expected a week with a bit of a work out as my legs were going to have to push me through every revolution of the wheels.  I also felt a bit of a fraud commuting on the roads with my hardtail.  Therefore I went exploring.  I've a few routes to work, tried and tested, familiar and uneventful, but using the mountain bike, surely I thought I can add a twist.  So I did.

Getting out my Cycle GM maps I checked out any off road options, canal tow paths, riverside etc. and came up with a cunning plan.  Route 86 from the city centre out to the velodrome looked just the thing.  Unlocked the front suspension (because I could rather than because I needed to), and went for it.  Half way along the path which criss crosses roads it petered out.  Puzzled, I studied the map.  Where has the path gone?  Asked a workman from the tram works and he simply advised I got on the road.  Where's the diversion, I asked?  He shrugged.  Crap.  Back on the road on a route I avoid because it's frankly horrible on a bike, with no warning and no choice.  Wrote to Manchester City Council - after all, the rules of the land are that footpaths are sacrosanct and if closed there must be suitable signposted diversions.  Really rubbish job of enforcement there, Manchester.

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