Bolsover and District Cycling Club
Simon Warren takes to the hills with a flock of early birds
On a bright fresh morning in late August I met up with the Bolsover and District CC to join them on one of their Saturday ‘Sparrowfart’ rides. Starting from the traffic lights in Newbold to the west of Chesterfield and leaving at 7.30am each Saturday morning. this is the club’s weekly hilly ride out into the Peak District. To complement this ride and starting from the cenotaph at their base in Bolsover are the ‘Cockadoodle’ rides, which also head out on Saturdays at 7.30 but venture east over much less demanding terrain, and then on Sunday there are the longer club rides which leave the cenotaph at 9am with four groups of varying ability.
Back to today, and looking at the route file I was sent we were using Sparrowfart ride number 14 (all their regular routes are listed on their website, complete with maps and gpx files), a short but challenging ride with a real sting in the tail in the shape of Curbar Edge. As we headed out of Newbold it was evident right away that this was a well-drilled outfit, the two lines were neat and tight and communication up and down the rows was exemplary.
I talked first to Michael Jervis, who had invited me on the ride and he outlined the three main weekly rides that the club promotes and that each week the route is posted in advance so riders can decide if they fancy it and also be prepared for what lies ahead. The start today rolled gently as we headed to our first climb of the day up Fox Lane heading towards Owler Bar. Our group was a mix of men, women, young and old and for the most part kept pretty much together with no one in the mood for any heroics early on.
Reaching Owler Bar we dropped down the fast decent into Hathersage then double
backed to tackle the first proper hill of the day, a climb I had not previously ridden.
With two steep hairpins and a significant amount of double digit gradient, Leam Lane split the group to pieces and there was a serious amount of grunting from those bringing up the rear. We all met at the top, only to then join Sir William Hill Road for some more elevation gain on the rough surface to the high point of the day on Edge Road.
I moved round the group, chatting to various riders, the majority of whom it seemed joined the club about three or four years ago, including current chairman Andy Ebbage. As chairman Ebbage is especially proud of the work the club does for under-16s with their Go-ride events and that they have brought through a number of promising juniors who have then gone on to bigger sponsored clubs.
We dropped down into Eyam, and then via the B6001 worked our way to Calver and the base of the mighty Curbar Edge. The mumblings about riding up this from a few members had now grown into full-scale moans as they knew what pain it can dish out to the legs. Here was a chance for all riders to flex their muscles and it was obvious from the off that a few of them fancied beating their PBS. Greg Barker set the early pace with me on his wheel, and promising hill climber James Stirling on mine. As Barker tired I moved past and then Stirling attacked me. I got back on and sat on his wheel, but as soon as he realised I was there he jumped again and this time I had no answer. A bit of healthy competition is always fun on a hill and of course we all waited at the top for the stragglers and then set about dropping back down into Chesterfield.
As it was still early there was every reason to indulge in a second breakfast and I ordered what promised to be the mouth-watering scrambled eggs with pancetta. As the plate arrived, Darren, who was sat next to me claimed them as he’d ordered the same. No worries, I can wait. I waited, no more scrambled eggs arrived, then a huge sausage and egg sandwich was presented, at which point Darren shouted, “Oh, actually, that’s what I ordered, um, sorry Simon, I’ve eaten your breakfast.” At the time it was hilarious and sorry Darren, your club-mates will not let you forget that in a long while! Thanks to the B&DCC for having me on what was a brisk little ride with punchy climbs and great company, even though they did steal my breakfast.
Formed in 2006 the B&DCC is a new club but one that is already thriving with members active in all forms of cycling. Although centred around Bolsover it draws members from many surrounding towns including from
Worksop in the east over to Chesterfield in the west and everywhere in between, drawn by the quality of their weekly rides. Filling a void in the area left by the struggling Bolsover Wheelers it has gone from strength to strength, which is due in no small part to the huge amount of work put in by its members. With a club that is currently just 12 years old it is no surprise that it can’t boast about past victories of members; however, it is home to the current and three time women’s vet cyclo-cross champion, Maddie Smith. While its palmarès may be a bit thin, what it can shout about is how hands-on it is in organising events and providing opportunities for riders to access cycling across a multitude of disciplines.
bolsover grill Warren on the severity of the local climbs
refuelled and ready to ride
The hallowed bean tastes sweeter after a morning awheel