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> Rivington Pike, near CHorley, Lancs
Dr Feelgood
post Apr 15 2010, 12:11 PM
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From: Nr Blackpool, Lancs



I went out for a rare solo ride last monday after overtime was called off at work and I found myself free with a day to play. I live near Blackpool so am reasonably central to a good expanse of riding after a shortish car journey north, south or east.

Couldn't at first decide whether to head for Grizedale or Llandegla but then thought of all the more natural type of riding that I actually prefer slightly more than trail centres and so it was a toss up between the Dunsop Bridge Death Ride and Rivington Pike, both rides I’ve long thought of doing and both that I’ve read about and looked forward to trying my hand at.

After researching the death ride at Dunsop a bit more I decided it would be foolish to attempt this on my own just incase the worst happened and I came a cropper with no one to summon aid or help me (also the swmbo peeked over my shoulder, saw the reviews of it I was reading and immediately forbade it! DOH!!! dry.gif ).

And so the decision was made; Rivington it was!
Easy enough to get to - just off the motorway near Botany Bay at Chorley and has a nice large, clean and safe parking area aswell as the two barns that open to serve hot and cold food and drink to hungry walkers, cyclists and those chaps in leather with the bikes that go brrrrrrm!!!

Now it's rare that I get chance to go out riding alone and even rarer that I've ridden somewhere I've never been before on my todd too but I decided to grow a pair and throw caution to the wind, getting out there for a day of solitary self flaggelation and flog my brand spanking Meta 5.5.3 and see what it (and I) was capable of.

The reports I'd read said there was a lot of climbing to be had but this was more than justified by the stunning scenery once the peak of the pike was reached and they were right!
The initial climb up there was lung burstingly tough and I found myself getting off to push a good couple of times aswell as catch my breath and sit on a rock before trying again. Now I'm no fitness god and certainly no major xc, lithe as a whippet racing snake but I can hold my own and cycle 15 miles to work two or three times a week to keep my hand in so I’m in reasonable shape, but this was hard going!!

Apparently I'd rather masochistically chosen the hardest route possible to the top and so it was little wonder I'd floundered, but still it was very enjoyable and I looked forward to descending it immensely.

After a good while I reached the very top of the Pike and was pleasantly surprised by how warm and welcoming the sun felt on my sweating back as I propped the bike up for some pictures of the area (to follow shortly once uploaded) and I took a well earned rest for 15 mins or so as I surveyed the different descent options open to me.
I could have gone straight back down the way I came up then started to climb back up again, off down a very rocky downhill type section that looked quite steep indeed, a gentler but still decent drop down to a path seemingly leading across the moors to Winter Hill and it's enormous TV mast and stunning views or yet another choice of meandering down another path back to the bottom carpark via several terraced gardens, ruins of old buildings and a manor, waterfalls and other such delights; hmmm – choices, choices….. I decided to mince around the summit for a few minutes more and then set off down the more severe and rocky downhilly part.

This descent, while I'm sure was within my bikes remit was more however than I was willing to try on my first proper ride of the machine and so I half rode and half walked down, only jumping on and speeding up when I knew I could cope with the smaller drops and rough bits - a good choice judging by the speed I arrived at the bottom, if I'd gone the whole hog and pretended to be Gee Atherton for a moment I think I'd be typing this from a bed at the local A&E as my skills aren't up to that just yet.

Anyhoo, after this little taster I decided to pedal back up to the summit then head down a little onto the path across the moors to the afore mentioned Winter Hill. This seemed a brilliant notion at first and as I merrily pedalled onto the beginning of some fine singletrack I thought "this is what mountain biking is all about!".

My reverie though was shattered as my front wheel, at some speed I might add, sank axle deep into a very wet and sloppy bog that I'd mistaken for dark, hard packed earth and I cartwheeled over the handlebars, landing flat on my back deep in the mire!! dizzy.gif
Luckily such a soft landing was completely pain free but my beloved new bike looked about to sink forever into the depths and so a huge burst of adrenaline saw me leaping forward and dragging it out of the oozing, sucking mud that threatened to halt my ride as quickly as it had begun - I'm almost sure I could hear the people stood on the pinnacle of the Pike chortling at my cack handed efforts to ride across the rest of the moor but fortitude and determination were with me and after a 3/4 hour hike-a-bike I had eventually dragged myself clear of the wretched bogs and was once again on terra firma.

The views from Winter Hill are fantastic and the mast itself, while a bit anorakish to some people fascinated me with it's sheer size aswell as the engineering it must have taken to construct at the time (around 1964 I think) on such harsh terrain.
I rode around the top and the other masts belonging to BT and other such companies for half an hour, chatting to walkers and a couple of other bikers as I went and then decided to head back.
The bogs had given me enough of a beasting and so I sought another route back to the sun drenched Pike and I set off following roughly the trail of a guy I could see walking a couple of dogs across the moor, back toward Rivington.

This route while still much easier than the initial crossing was frought with obstacles such as hidden rocks in the grass, the odd bit of debris and empty wine bottles left by god knows who up there and ditches that appeared without warning before my spinning wheels.
It was one such of these that saw my second trip over the bars that day and this time I landed on hands and knees in a sludgey green and brown algae mixture that splashed up one full side of me and I received a lovely pedal rash to my left shin and both knees from my DMR V8's as a memento also - happy days indeed! doh.gif

Cursing, swearing and wiping myself down over with, I persevered and after 20 mins I reached the other side again and the sun burst from a slight cloud that had hidden it as I crossed, seemingly right on cue as I lifted my muddy bike over the barbed wire fence and made my way through the small gate back onto the Pike's lower levels.

By this time it was lunch and my grumbling belly was calling so I set off down to the Lower Barn in search of sustenance. What a descent this was!!!!
Fast and gravelly, small obstacles to jump and manual over, friendly walkers who let me by with a cheery wave and shouts of encouragement and then onto a very rough and rocky shute that had me almost frying my brakes in an attempt to slow my suicidal speed.
It was at this point that I realised how much of a very different ride this bike was to my previous GT Avalanche 2.0 hardtail. Now that was a great bike to ride and a fantastic starter to the pastime we all love and enjoy but this was something else!

The bike coped with the rocks, jumps, drops and rough descent easily and while I bounced around a good deal, the speed that I descended amazed me. On the hardtail I'd have been thrown out of the seat any number of times and had to slowly pick my way down with great caution. This however left me feeling like I'd just stepped out of Roam or Kranked almost - for a moment I was Steve Peat, Romaniuk, the Athertons.... it was fantastic and I carried on all the way across a short bridleway and down more lovely, rocky descending paths right to the Upper Barn's carpark before gliding victoriously into the lower one and back to my car. I won't lie - I was buzzing by this point and had to sit down for a moment and calm myself before locking the bike up and heading into the cafe for fodder.

Half an hour, one hot beef and onion barm (very tasty indeed) and a bottle of water later I was ready for round two and slowly so as not to get a stitch I started the climb back up to the summit once more, only this time taking the much more scenic and slightly but not over easier route through the terraced gardens. This provided more stunning views and a few more picture stops had to be thrown in, just for my facebook album to show off! he he

This time the ascent took a good deal longer than the shorter but tougher route and I once again enjoyed the red hot sun on my back, arms and face and dispensed with my helmet as the sweat poured from under it.
The funniest sight I saw was all of a sudden a knackered volvo estate with 3 of the worlds fattest people in came trundling down the wide but very rocky path above me. These folks had gone up to the top to admire the view but were seemingly so idle they hadn't even been bothered to walk up the easier hikers path and so had driven - the mind boggles!!!! laugh.gif

I chuckled to myself as I slogged on upwards and before I knew it I was back on the peak next to the small castle type building that sits atop and admiring the view in what I thought was the early afternoon sun.
As I say, I'm reasonably fit but wouldn't consider myself an athlete in any shape or form and so I freely admit to being cream crackered by this point and I happily lolled on the grass, flat on my back next to the bike for 10 mins as I took in deep lungfulls of wonderfully fresh air, my dreaming only being interrupted by the arrival of another rider on an Orange 5.

We chatted for a few minutes and compared riding & bike notes etc and as we relaxed I got out my mobile to check the time. Unfortunately - being the clot that I am at times, I'd forgotten to charge the buggar that morning and it was as flat as a pancake. No worries - I'd ask my new found mate and then decide what to do before 2 o'clock when I needed to set off home in order to be back for 3pm and get tea on as promised....

"You'll be lucky mate" he said, "it's five to three now!" ha ha ha
AAAAARGGGHHHHH - I was back on the bike in a trice and without boasting I can hold my hand on my heart and say I made it down to the bottom again in around 5 minutes - I literally flew!!!

I used the same descent as the first time but quicker now I knew the route and had a little more confidence. Down the paths from the summit, which become gradually rougher and more fun as you drop down, onto the very rocky area that almost resembles a dry riverbed – this was the most fun part for me, though a bit unnerving and half way down as your shifting at a good pace, a large flat rock sits smack in the middle of the trail for those brave enough to use it as a ramp, which I did this time and landed perfectly if I do say so myself, carrying on swiftly right to the bottom, across the bridleway for the last time, down the following fast flowing and stony path to the Upper Barn and the road back to where my ride home was parked.

To sum up - I’d recommend this as a great ride for anyone; beginners to more experienced folks and if you chose you could make an entire days fun from this area as there are loads more paths to choose from than I had time to look at.
The facilities are great with good food, drink and toilet facilities though there is nowhere to shower with this not being aimed mainly at biking. It’s nice just to get up here even if just for a walk or hang around the barns and drool at the motorbikes that congregate there daily too.
The walkers and families I encountered were all very friendly and pro biking, there was none of this “them and us” attitude that’s often the case and they were all happy to oblige and step aside to let me pass by if asked politely.

The type of terrain is mainly sandy ground, gritty and rocky but the rides across the moors are obviously rough, longer grass with lots of mud and slower going though fun in it’s own “punish yourself with cardio and balancing act” kind of way.

In short – I WILL be back, and I’ll be trying my best to drag a few friends with me too. For somewhere so local and easy to get to it rocked and a fantastic day was had by yours truly. agree.gif


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DaGuv
post Apr 15 2010, 01:06 PM
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From: Bolton, UK



WOW what a write up... Very interesting read! I ride Rivvie very regular... But have never once travelled over to Winter Hill. This write up definately makes me want to do it even more.
I know what you mean about the Slabs section at the top of the Pike. Most people I know have some kind of "off" on the first run down there. I cracked my manhood on my first run and it was very painful lol. Although after one or two more runs down there I guarantee you will be flying down it.
I tend to just ride from Lower Barn to the top and back down via the Slabs and the Pigeon Tower and then over to the red/black downhill runs at Healey Nab. All done in 4 hours if you count the 4-5 runs at Healey Nab.

Two videos of us last weekend in the sun:

Slabs Run
Pigeon Tower Run
and
Healey Nab in the mud

I'd definately recommend going over to Healey Nab as it is very close to Rivington Pike and is perfect for improving skills (I get more confident each time I go)
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Dr Feelgood
post Apr 15 2010, 04:34 PM
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From: Nr Blackpool, Lancs



Thanks very much mate - I thought it might have come across as a bit long winded but I'll take your compliments gladly there! agree.gif

I've read about Healey Nab too and I'll be trying thos red and black runs sometime in the near future hopefully - can you tell me much more about them at all please?
I'm dying to watch those video's but my pc here at work won't let me access them so I'll have to wait until later tonight when I'm home and take a gander then.



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Dr Feelgood
post Apr 19 2010, 06:20 AM
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Had a look at those vids of yours pal - Healey Nab looks mucho interesting, might have to have a trip up there sometime soon! agree.gif

In the meantime, I've uploaded one picture of the start of the down hill bit at the top of the Pike, think you'll recognise it, it looks like where you started from.

http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/forum/index.ph...si&img=4487


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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 08:04 AM
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Swines.... i almost feel fit enough to ride and last night planned a spare hour up the Nabb today and it goes and pisses down wi rain! banghead.gif


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DaGuv
post Apr 19 2010, 09:02 AM
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From: Bolton, UK



QUOTE(U31 @ Apr 19 2010, 09:04 AM) *
Swines.... i almost feel fit enough to ride and last night planned a spare hour up the Nabb today and it goes and pisses down wi rain! banghead.gif


ouch! doh.gif

And knowing the nab, the few hours of rain will have turned it into a total sponge again lol. I was up there last week and it was bone dry so i'm sure a couple of dry days will see it back to tip top condition again! They have done a lot of good work there too. New gates with access for bikes, and the path to the top has been properly covered with drainage and steps put in too. Big up to Terra Firma, William, James and all the volunteers for the great work!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=208749681411

beer.gif
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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 09:07 AM
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Yeah, they were doing the gates and paths the day before i broke my foot...
I did 2 or miles on road and cycle paths on the disused railway through great lever, and pain was manageable. Did a few jumps at speed off kerbs without drama. I was walking a bit slow with a pronounced limp afterwards but i reckon if i take it easy i'm good to go!


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DaGuv
post Apr 19 2010, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE(U31 @ Apr 19 2010, 10:07 AM) *
Yeah, they were doing the gates and paths the day before i broke my foot...
I did 2 or miles on road and cycle paths on the disused railway through great lever, and pain was manageable. Did a few jumps at speed off kerbs without drama. I was walking a bit slow with a pronounced limp afterwards but i reckon if i take it easy i'm good to go!


Hope you get to 100% asap dude. Great time of the year to be riding and it sounds like you are well on your way to hitting the trails again agree.gif
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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 09:53 AM
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My riding partner Mark (on Dyf & yours facebooks) is also out of action, Rotator cuff kyboshed the back half of last year and after the last Nabb ride he got a trapped Sciatic nerve, he's hoping for the end of this week...
Tell me why do we do this again? banghead.gif


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Dr Feelgood
post Apr 19 2010, 11:14 AM
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From: Nr Blackpool, Lancs



because we've much more of a life than these who just sit down the pub all day of a weekend growing fat(ter) and seeing nothing in return for it other than an expanding waistline and heart disease! Hows that? wink.gif

Joking aside, hope your feeling better soon pal - nothing worse than being laid up when the suns shining or riding conditions are favourable!


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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 11:21 AM
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Tell me about it! The last 3 week has done my head in! disgusted.gif


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Dr Feelgood
post Apr 19 2010, 01:51 PM
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From: Nr Blackpool, Lancs



nasty! doh.gif
fingers crossed for a rapid recovery from where your at now then eh?!

still - they do say we're supposed to be in for a good summer so you should get your chance to be out later in the year once fully healed perhaps.

I'm hoping to get out more of an evening now the nights are a bit lighter, infact maybe even do rivington again later this week! dance.gif


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lawmanmx
post Apr 19 2010, 02:18 PM
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Lovely Rivy is right on me doorstep and i hardly ever ride there any more ... im so Ashamed disgusted.gif


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Nik
post Apr 19 2010, 02:28 PM
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QUOTE(lawmanmx @ Apr 19 2010, 03:18 PM) *
Lovely Rivy is right on me doorstep and i hardly ever ride there any more ... im so Ashamed disgusted.gif


Me to! whistling.gif
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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 02:47 PM
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And me too, last year i rode once there when i had those horrendous gear problems, trying to find Healy nabb.
It turned in to an 11 mile loop from hell with only top and bottom gear and middle ring...
http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/workout...x.do?id=1555381


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DaGuv
post Apr 19 2010, 03:05 PM
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From: Bolton, UK



QUOTE(U31 @ Apr 19 2010, 03:47 PM) *
And me too, last year i rode once there when i had those horrendous gear problems, trying to find Healy nabb.
It turned in to an 11 mile loop from hell with only top and bottom gear and middle ring...
http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/workout...x.do?id=1555381


lol... looking at that, you literally rode right passed it. So near yet so far hehe. disgusted.gif
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lawmanmx
post Apr 19 2010, 03:24 PM
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we'll have to arrange a forum ride there in a few weeks or summat Eh smile.gif


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U31
post Apr 19 2010, 03:42 PM
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Yeah, it was just after i'd hit 30 mph down the mettled road from anglezarke viewpoint the gears stuffed up, i'd seen the sign but with the state of the bike my mate and i decided it was better to try and get back to the car staying on the blacktop.

Tony, it's the best fun you'll have with your clothes on, and it's only on our doorstep!

if we are having a forum ride there i'd best do a sneaky session to learn to clean the rock drop off where i get a psychological block and the Mrs best learn to clean that big berm! (did i tell you that story? pmsl)


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Dr Feelgood
post Apr 19 2010, 03:52 PM
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a forum ride sounds a cracking idea to me - I was very very impressed with the place and any chance to revist is always welcome aswell as more of those delicious hot beef barms!!! mmm!!!!


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lawmanmx
post Apr 19 2010, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE(U31 @ Apr 19 2010, 04:42 PM) *
.

Tony, it's the best fun you'll have with your clothes on, and it's only on our doorstep!

if we are having a forum ride there i'd best do a sneaky session to learn to clean the rock drop off where i get a psychological block and the Mrs best learn to clean that big berm! (did i tell you that story? pmsl)


Tony meaning me???

and what rock drop are we talking about then? smile.gif


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