This ride report is ostensibly about a ride that we did on Saturday during the only reasonable weather of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. We set out to visit Bikers’ Gearbox at Matlock Bath to buy some new summer gloves to replace my old and very worn ones. We took our familiar route up the M1, along the A38 and A610 to the A6 from Ambergate into Matlock Bath. We parked a little further along the main street than we normally do and reversed the Heritage into the kerb at the side of a couple of other bikes outside a cafe and bar called “Charles”. I believe that this must be fairly new as it had never previously registered on my radar, although a cafe in Matlock Bath is nothing out of the ordinary; there are lots of them.
As we pulled up, one of the staff from “Charles” spoke to us, encouraging us to try his place, but we were on a mission to visit the two bikers shops and were not going to be diverted. After a look round Adrian Peach’s shop, we went next door to Bikers’ Gearbox. With the help of the friendly staff there, we quickly found a suitable pair of gloves and Sue spotted an Oxford Tailpack hanging up in the shop. On asking the price, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was £24.99. We looked at another tailpack that the staff went out the back to fetch, but settled for the Oxford pack. This will come into its own when we head for Somerset in just a few weeks time.
With our purchases secured and packed into one of the panniers on the Heritage, our thoughts turned to lunch and we went into “Charles” (for which I can’t find a web link at the moment). We ordered that bikers’ staple of fish, chips and mushy peas with a couple of slices of bread on the side and a two teas. The tea turned up moments later in teapots with cups and saucers, followed by doorsteps of bread. Our meals were excellent and we were very happy with the food and the friendly service.
With the inner bikers satisfied, I was up for a ride and suggested to Sue that we head northwards rather than retrace the southerly route home. She agreed, although later may have come to regret this a little.
To be fair to Sue, she was a little “fragile” on Saturday because she had been out for a meal and team celebration the afternoon and early evening before with some work colleagues and had apparently made a heroic contribution to wine consumption.
Anyway, we headed north on the A6 and turned off just beyond Bakewell towards Monsal Head. After crawling up the road behind a low loader carrying an excavator, we spent a while on a bench looking over the amazing view of the valley and the old railway viaduct. (Take a look at Andy Savage‘s great pictures of this area.)
We spotted a road along the valley floor and I suggested to Sue that we could follow this and find a way back around towards Bakewell via the lanes. So we set off via the villages of Cressbrook and Litton. It was somewhere around here that I went wrong because I turned right at a main road where I should have gone left to circle back towards Bakewell. It was when we reached the Ladybower Dam (of Dambusters fame) that I realised that we were slightly off our (un)planned route.
The sign gave us a choice of heading for Manchester or Sheffield and I chose the latter as the least worst option, hoping for a turn off to get us back south. This was not to be and we found ourselves in the city centre before long where I picked up signs for Chesterfield. I was riding along, minding my own business, when a tap came on my shoulder and a hand pointing to the right ahead of us. “Great”, I thought, “she’s spotted a sign for Chesterfield that I had missed”. So I took the right fork at the traffic lights right in front of us.
This later proved to be my undoing because this helpful gesture from the pillion seat wasn’t a direction to a road, but a signal to look at the twin minarets on a large and very impressive mosque.
Some time later, on the road towards Bakewell, I realised the my mistake. Eventually we left Sheffield behind us and pulled up for coffee at a pub in the hills, on a roundabout where a road to Baslow and Chesterfield was signed. I think this was the Peacock.
After refreshment and recriminations, we headed down to Baslow and on to Chesterfield and to the M1 south and back home. I can say that neither of us enjoyed Sheffield very much, but the ride through the spectacular countryside scenery of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire was great. This was a route of a little over 100 miles in all and was a good one.