Saturday, 14 June 2014

Derby's New Bike Hub


A superb addition to Derby's cycling facilities is the Park Bikeworks which opened it's doors to the public for the first time today.  It was soon crowded with local cyclists, anxious to check out the various features which include free secure bike parking in the City Centre Cathedral Quarter, and an excellent café serving a variety of good food.  There are lockers, toilets and showers, and two bike shops with the services of a mechanic. There is also a physiotherapist with a private treatment room.
The Park Bikeworks is situated in Full Street right next to the Cathedral, having good access from several directions, one of which is the traffic free riverside cycle path.

                 A tempting array of food on display at the counter in the café.

The café has two parts, one indoors and another out on the balcony, which looks out over Full Street and Cathedral Green.  Double doors lead out onto the balcony.

  Towards the rear of the large building is one of the spacious bike shops with a wide  range of machines and accessories on display.
On the ground floor is the bike storage area, accessed through the double doors to the left side of the frontage to Full Street.  Current capacity with these temporary racks is about 50, but this will increase to 150 when the permanent racking is installed. This facility is free and you will need to show proof of identity when you return to collect your machine.
This is the treatment room, with physiotherapist Paula giving a check up to Joe Oakley, who was not actually injured in his spectacular jump from the rail of the café balcony down onto his car.

 Joe, a recent finalist in the TV programme "Britain's Got Talent", balances on the one inch wide rail of the balcony ........................

                                .......................... before leaping down onto the roof of his car...............

..................... and finally back to earth (or thereabouts).
Please do not try this at home, especially if your car has a glass sun roof.
Opening hours for the Bikeworks are from 7.30am until 6.30pm on weekdays, and 8.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays.  Sunday hours are from 10am until 4.30pm. There is a charge of £2 for the showers and you need to bring your own towel.  The lockers are available at £1 per day.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Newark to Lincoln

Route 64 of the National Cycle Network runs between Newark and Lincoln, making a nice half day ride of some 22 miles.  The route is well marked as such and has a variety of quiet country lanes, tarmac paths and a short section of grassy path which can be muddy.  The surrounding land is mostly flat, in fact there is only one rather insignificant hill to climb and the final section from Harby to Lincoln is a re-claimed railway route, entirely tarmac.

Newark has two railway stations, Newark Castle and Newark North Gate, both giving easy access to Route 64, so very convenient if travelling by train, and of course you can cycle to Lincoln and return by train.

Close by Newark Castle Station here is the route alongside the River Trent.  After crossing the river on the pedestrian bridge, the route is temporarily blocked by building operations, but it is not far to Newark North Gate Station by alternative road routes and we can pick up Route 64 there.

                                               Cross the River Trent on this pedestrian/cycle bridge.

           Once clear of Newark the route passes through some nice quiet villages, these being  Winthorpe, Collingham, South Scarle, Eagle, Eagle Moor, Swinethorpe, Harby, and Skellingthorpe.         

                                                                 Right here at tee junction.

                             We turn left here, before the level crossing, onto another off road section.
                                           Our destination, Lincoln, is still 19 miles away.

                                                  Through the gate ..............................

                                   .................. and onto a well surfaced path through the fields.

                              Here we cross the entrance road to the Langford Sand Quarry.

     This section is the only part of the whole route which is not surfaced and can be muddy after rain.

                Two nice seats at the Langford Nature Reserve which is alongside the quarry.

                                    The quiet lanes are good for horse riders as well as cyclists.

         Turn right on reaching the Harby to Lincoln re-claimed railway route at the Sustrans milepost.

                                      A nice flat straight run from here all the way into Lincoln.

                          This large photograph alongside the path depicts the scene behind it.

Turn right here at this miniature cattle grid.

                             Turning right after this bridge brings us to the waterside path................... 
                         .................. which runs along to the centre of Lincoln and Brayford Pool.
This is the Fossdyke Navigation (canal) which runs Westwards 11 miles to join the River Trent at Torksey Lock.  At High Bridge in Lincoln, it joins the River Witham, this flowing Eastwards to Boston and hence to join the waters of The Wash.

                                                  Hire bikes alongside Brayford Pool.

Lincoln is a beautiful city, steeped in history, with the Cathedral standing high on the hill and visible from miles around. During WW2 it was a welcome sight for aircrew returning from bombing raids over Germany to their home airfields in the surrounding countryside.
The ancient cobbled streets are unsuitable for cycling in either direction, but generally speaking uphill leads to the Cathedral and the walk is well worth the effort.
The closer we are to the Cathedral, the more impressive the building becomes, and one can but marvel at the skill of it's designers and builders, who persevered over hundreds of years to bring it to this level of magnificence. Many would have worked on it for the whole of their lives and never lived to see it in the finished state. For a few years towards the end of the 14th Century, it was the tallest building in the world.