Peak District Challenge - 23rd April

Anyone else fancy doing this? Apparently it’s easily cokerable; a mixture of roads and easy off road. Myself and Pete’ll be doing it. Meet at Rowsley station between 9-10 am. Rowsley’s slap-bang between Matlock and Bakewell. 900 people did it last year so it should be quite a fun day out. Sorry for posting about it so late but was only told about it today.

2 late notice tbh, sorry i can’t make it :frowning:

Too late for me as well :frowning:

I shall be in Devon - although not unicycling. Otherwise I may well have been up for it.

Well, we’re back. When we woke up this morning it was raining and the fog driving there was crazy but luckily it cleared up by 10-11 o’clock-ish.

The start point was the car park of Rowsley steam railway where we had a coffee before starting out. Whilst supping our caffeine a lady came over who was part of the organisation and said in a very concerned voice:“Have you ridden the course before? There are lots of big hills you know.”

Then my dad told her we’d ridden down Snowdon the week before and she went away. Chortle chortle.

The ride started on a wee path before joining a road a few hundred yards later. Then there was a hill. A big hill. I got about 4/5ths of the way up on Pete’s Schlumpf before getting puffed out and deciding to walk the rest. I got a good deal further up than a lot of two wheeled types though. Over all I was pretty happy with my climbing today.

At the top pete and I swapped steeds and continued on over rolling, gentle hills for a good bit longer. Pete knocked the geared goer up a notch and started feeling the wind in his hair (and the bugs in his teeth).

Then not much happened for a bit…Roads, rest stop, rising and returning to various altitudes. I picked up a slow puncture somewhere along the way which was a bit of a bum. I’d be pedalling along trying to work out why it suddenly felt like I was riding through snot or some other slimy substance. Then I’d look down and realise my tyre had gone all squidgy.

We picked up an escort at the first orange squash/custard cream station. A guy who was a rolling marshall had been asked to stay with us, first aid kit at the ready, by someone. Probably our concerned friend from the car park.

There were loads and loads of other riders doing this. It was a really fun, sociable day out. I discovered a new unicycling phenomena too which I have dubbed “the doppler nice one”. It’s when you’re on a big descent and a two wheeled type zooms past offering a compliment or word or two of encouragement. nnnnnnnniiiiiiiceone…Whoosh.

After the second rest stop we went onto a disused railway track which provided me with my first UPD of the day. I was riding El Schlumpfo at the time; hit a bump whilst not paying attention and found myself suddenly jogging. My second (and happily final) UPD happened about a mile further on whilst aboard the good ship Coker. muddy, rocky descent, foot half off pedal, me on floor. No damage done though.

Pete’s Schlumpf really came into it’s own today. Mucho ass and dee sending. The Schlumpf really is lovely for climbing when in 29’er mode. The mud proved a bit of a problem for the Big Apple but luckily there wasn’t too much of it.

Due to the hilliness of the ride we were keeping pace with the cyclists pretty well and were overtaking a lot of them on some of the uphills. Though I have to admit we walked most of the last hill up through Stanton. But it is a biggie. It’s pretty cruel of the organisers to have put a big hill in the way of the course only a few miles from the end.

Probably the best moment was being cheered on by hippies who live in the treetops. At the top of Stanton are some standing stones at a very old sacred site called Nine Ladies. A nearby quarry wants to dig where the stones are so there’s been a tree top protest there for years. So far they’ve been succesful in protecting the site.

The last descent from Stanton was a killer on the knees, 20% in places. So was pleased that the last bit from there was relatively flat.

All in all 'twas excellent. Will be doing it again next year for sure. A nice target to work towards could be to try to ride up all the hills next time.

Nice write up. I like the Doppler “Nice one!” comment.

Nine Ladies (and the King’s Stone) make a nice group of stones. there are other less obvious but equally old sites on that patch of moor, and it would be a pity to lose it.

Yeah, that whole area has heaps of pagan sites dotted about. Derbyshire’s a lovely place. I really like the style of stone cottages you get in the Peaks too.

I’d have liked to have stopped for a chat with the altitude advantaged hippies but time didn’t allow unfortunately. I’ve not heard how their protests going for a long while.

Here’s the photo we took…Yep the, singular:

What size wheel is on that Schlumpf? It looks tiny!

it’s 28". It does look little next to the coker though don’t it.

Can you tell that we were eating hob nobs at the time the picture was taken…

Whoa, I alway thought Cokers were only a bit bigger than 29ers. Obviously not!

Mmmm, Hobnobs…

Pete’s also quite petite so his saddles’ fairly low. I have to concentrate hard riding his Schlumpf with the saddle set at his height.

Hob nobs. Yep, lovely…The nobbly, oaty bitchtit.

Hey, that sounds fun.

I’ve got a ride round there that’d be great for the Schlumpf and should be rideable on the coker with 150mm cranks too, a big loop from Cromford train station. A bit longer than that ride, I think it was 38 miles. Some good stuff on it, good offroad descents, particularly the ones into Darley Dale, and the last bit, down into Bonsall, then over the hill to Cromford has a couple of fantastic descents (with a big climb in the middle). Fancy meeting up and riding it sometime this summer?


Yeah, that sounds like a fine plan. I love Darley Dale, 'tis a lovely place and I’ve not unicycled there yet. Is it all off road or a bit of a mixture?

Give me a shout when you’re free to do it.

Well done guys, sounds like a great ride. Give us more notice next year and you’ll get at least one extra rider :slight_smile: