Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wednesday 31st July 2013.

A little cooler this morning and the weir-water, at Warth, is, more normally, at a lower level. There’s rain about too but that shouldn’t stop a cyclist – especially one out for fun rather than on a work-run.
The ‘box’, amid the wild-flowers, is for the lecky generated by the nearby Archimedes Screw. (Gimme a Sturmey-Archer to fix any day, this lecky stuff is, to some of us, unfathomable Rocket-Science.)
But a dry-run this morning until back at Radcliffe – then the rain came down and still is.
At the Spring Lane/Bury Road roundabout left-turn, a metre out from the gutter, there’s a load of glass for a few hundred yards along Bury Road. It fades-out by the garage and then there’s small tree-branches and twigs everywhere. At the Warth Bridge area they’ve put-up a bit of roadside, low wooden fencing, so the easiest way onto the river path is through the footpath gateway on the bridge. The footpath here is narrow and close to the riverbank – take care.
The canal tow-path, from Warth back to Radcliffe, is clear of glass but there is a little among the cobbles below the bridges.

Tuesday 30th July 2013.

Very warm this morning for the ride and, over the past say twenty-four hours, quite a lot of rain-water has fallen. A picture of Warth weir, yesterday, compared with one taken today, easily shows, today, a greater depth of water at the weir. Last year, with all the rain, the weir more or less disappeared, under a deluge of water, for a few days! The nearby Warth Bridge, with two arches over the river, holds-back water as one arch is seriously silted. One single arch, at high water-levels, simply can’t cope, but so far the bridge has stood firm against the water, propping-up it’s highway regardless, against the never-ending onslaught. A good dredging of the river would help by lowering the water-level; it’s far too bloated even now, but that won’t happen. Ever. So the river lumbers on. Ever eroding…ever silting…the highway supports.
Not far away, from the watery Warth, things are quieter along the less public by-ways and paths. But, even here, the resulting aftermath of an unchecked, out-of-control river, can easily be felt – the insidious flow taking-out the big highway bridges and then, brick by brick, weakening the smaller – usually it’s a financial thing. But the end result is always the same – a bare river bank inhabited only by a few Hogweeds.

Monday 29th July 2013.

It looked, early-on, like rain, so a quicker than usual circuit was ridden this morning. It has rained hard, over the past (say) twenty-four hours, and so the Irwell level is up a bit, making the Archimedes Screw, at Warth, turn more efficiently. It’s been on a ‘go-slow’ of late.
Nearby, the majestically morbid Giant Hogweeds are beginning to fade as they ‘go to seed’ and then, for this season, die back. Already rampant, along the Irwell banks, next year might be awesome for the Hogweed, and too for those charged with its control.
From the bustle of the main Bury Road, the footpath track at Warth Bridge leads to the farm lanes and, after the tunnel at the Lattice (Monkey) Bridge – like a portal to the past – the canal tow-path is reached.
Along this old, now weedily overgrown bit of megalithic stonework, horse-drawn-barge-speed is quite enough.
Unless, of course, you’re one of the trendy, ‘Olympic Speed’ joggers that, seemingly, fly past now and then. Mind you, the geriatric used to keeping ‘Mill Hours’ will be up, out and back before many, of a more officey lifestyle perhaps, venture the morning air to jog, dog-walk or cycle.

Sunday 28th July 2013.

There was rain in the air this morning but it was still warm for the bike-ride around Radcliffe. Along Spring Lane a side-street was explored and a view of the ex-East Lancashire Mill land photographed. This was to be – allegedly – the site of a new secondary school.
Later, while cycling the homeward part of the ride, the existing secondary school was photographed from across its once well-tended sports-field. Strangely, apart from the ex-sports-field being fairly flat and level, both areas are no more than wasteland at the moment. And, thus, Radcliffe has no secondary school, at all.
So, as there is no secondary-school provision locally, surely a rent/rate-reduction is on the cards for Radcliffe tenants. And, while all this (brownfield) spare land is going begging, there’s surely no need to build anywhere remotely ‘green-belt’. (Tricky anyway with all the Himalayan Balsam about. Who wants a ‘new’ garden full of Balsam seeds?)
And, for the cyclists and walkers around the Red Bridge, watch-out for the bramble just by the bridge – the runner is enormous!
And there’s a balloon by one of the other bridges.
The very wide Cycle-Lane, along Manchester Road toward Bury, has road-works along it that was, this morning, blocking the wide cycle-lane and the footpath, so be careful if cycling along there. (There was a bus using this lane, the other day – shouldn’t be allowed!!)

Saturday 27th July 2013.

It was already warm for the early bike-ride and, being Saturday, not too busy, traffic-wise, along the roads.
Riding a bike along the canal tow-path, more or less daily, gets you familiar with the area and one point you notice is: the amount of footballs floating along the canal.
In picture two there are two footballs hidden by the bull-rushes. There is a red football, in the distance, in picture three.
There’s also a lot of general rubbish floating about in and on the canal water. (The green stuff is Duck-Weed – harmless but it cuts-out the light from the water = no oxygen = fish etc. die.)
Some of the footballs are nowhere near ‘habitation’. The canal water is stagnant – the footballs can’t drift along. But, they are there.

Friday 26th July 2013.

An early Tour of Radcliffe, on the bike, was already warm and sunny while the roads were clear of traffic. A few bikers were about though, probably going to work the (relatively) easy way.
From Warth, the ride back along the canal is lined with naturally growing flora, some of the grass varieties five feet tall.
‘Sticky-Bobs’ abound a bit too.
In parts the canal is just a mass of green water-soldiers, lined, at either side, with Bull rushes. Lying across this carpet are thick new bramble ‘runners’, with thorns half an inch long.
Other ‘native’ wild plants are presently blooming, but, already, the invading Himalayan Balsam is on the ‘rise’. With its more or less unlimited growth range and exploding seed-pods, this land-choking weed will over-run all else as it rapidly spreads.
Photo’s of the Balsam coming soon!
Meanwhile, as the good weather brings-out the cyclist in folk, many summer-cyclists are buying something earth-shatteringly cheap, to find, later, that it is actually un-rideable, due to some (usually major) fault, and therefore a liability. So, if you see something in the bike line that looks ‘too-good-to-be-true’, it probably is.
A good idea, if looking to buy ‘used’, is to ask if there’s a recent Service Record Sheet with the bike seen, as you would with a used car. No sheet, be wary.
Children out-grow bikes fast. But their kiddie-bikes, if kept in good working order and, above all, with the original stabilizers and clips, hold their value well. Something damaged and incomplete is, until repaired properly, more or less worthless, and as kiddie-bikes change ‘style’ and colour from year to year, obtaining matching parts isn’t always viable. So keep all the ‘bits’.
Strangely, some of our customers – after a full service overhaul and, perhaps, with a few ‘upgrades’ to their ‘old’ bike – decide to carry-on using that, rather than shelling-out for something new. But, if they do sell, their ‘old’ bike is fully working and, with the Service Sheet, potential buyers know that they’re probably not buying a liability, whatever the price.

Wednesday 24th July 2013.

Warm and sunny early-on and, along Bury Road the Archimedes Screw is still on a ‘go-slow’. The water feed here seems to be blocked too, so although the teething-problems persist, the screw idea is still far more effective than the wind-powered generation attempts.
But, this morning was a little different as I followed another, local, geriatric cyclist along his daily route. Speed is never the aim but the miles are soon covered when two (or more) cyclists are pedalling along together. And this cyclist knows the theory of electricity generation backwards and inside out! This morning though, owing to a front wheel collapse on his ‘A’ bike, this cyclist was on his heavy old ‘B’ machine. But a new wheel, with a slightly unusual size/specification, has been sourced for him and later he picked it up. That’s bicycle generation. Tomorrow, after some spanner-work, he should be back on his A machine, which is much easier to ride along the tarmac of a cycle-route.
From Warth to Daisyfield and then along the old railway route to Wellington Street viaduct and down to river level to see the massive (but pollarded!) Giant Hogweed plants below the small footbridge. They’ve spread to the lorry park that’s adjacent too!
From there it’s a ride back in time along the stretch of canal from Bury to Radcliffe, the bike wheels dodging the old mooring-loops, set into blocks of stone, at intervals, along the cindery tow-path. Along the way ducks, cygnets and coot often follow in case you throw over a bit of bread.
So, a good few miles done this morning and there were quite a few two-wheeled travellers doing the same.

Tuesday 23rd July 2013.

A ‘archive’ photograph this morning as, up-to-the-eyeballs getting into waterproof weatherproofs, sou’ wester and water resistant boots, I forgot me camera.
But yes, it was and is, raining. After a week, or more, of hot and dry roads, this morning’s ride was a few miles of sheer cool. And me spuds will like it too.
And then too is the ‘new’ Royal. What will they call him? James? Or Phillip after his great grand-dad? But hey, a Radcliffe peasant blog isn’t the place for London’s high court! (They can’t afford our advertising fees!)
So it’s back to things Radcliffe and cost-effective transport modes. To that end I cycled to Radcliffe Indoor Market to see how things were going; apparently some sort of ‘refurbishment’ is on the cards. Inside the old tin building a large area has been boarded-off (quote:…to make the space inside seem more ‘full’…) and it is, as always, clean and tidy. But, despite the efforts of the remaining regular stall-holders – some trading for many years at Radcliffe – buying customers are thin on the ground. Mind you, major retail outlets are experiencing this problem. Some say the daily rent cost is too high. But will this be lowered if a refurbishment is done? Highly unlikely most say. Some say the Internet, and its ‘cost-effectiveness’, are to blame, but even there not everyone makes a profit.
Apparently too, close to the Indoor Market – which has a ‘sales-mix’ of new and used goods, (flea market) a ‘new’, local supermarket is planned. Hopefully that will attract a few folk, and their buying-power, back to down town Radcliffe.

Monday 22nd July 2013.

Well done Chris Froome! A good win for another British rider, in le Tour de France, yesterday. Meanwhile, here, in G.B., the sun is back and it’s already warm!
At certain locations, along Cycle Route 6, there are ‘gates’ that prevent cars and motor-cycles from acceding the pathway. (Don’t laugh, if they could, they would!) These gate thingies are narrow; some of them too narrow for some bicycle handlebars. So you have to get off, wiggle your handlebars through, and then get on again.
This is a bit tiresome but you get used to it. You also get used to the gates that are wide enough for your handlebars. In picture two is one of the topless bridges at Coney Green. The Cycle Route gate here is wide enough to ride straight through, with a bit of practise, which, normally, you do without thinking when you know that the gap is indeed wide enough. Even so, clearance, at each handlebar end, is only an inch or so.
Handlebars that are too wide would, obviously, hit the gate sides, causing the bike to stop dead, while the rider, propelled by momentum, would carry-on going – usually performing a cartwheeling somersault over the handlebars.
So, those cyclists buying and fitting ergonomic handlebar grips, something like the ones I’ve just fitted, should ensure that the grips are shoved fully onto the handlebars.
Especially if you ride through a cycle-route gate.