Monday, 21 March 2011

Rutland Water Bike Route

Rutland Water

Finally, I have a whole weekend off! The sun was shining this morning so we headed to Rutland Water in Leicestershire with the bikes.

Rutland Bike Route

We parked at the home of Ruland Cycling in the Whitwell car park. The shop is huge and has a wide range of bikes (mountain, road, hybrid and kids amongst others) for sale and hire (including tandems). The shop also includes outdoor clothes, cycling clothes and accessories and climbing gear.

We had our own bikes but bike hire is reasonable, although it does add up for a family but info on prices can be found here

There is also a climbing wall, trampoline and high ropes course (over 8’s only) Prices are here

It’s advisable to book for the climbing wall and ropes as they are busy at weekends and holidays.

We set out towards Egleton, anti clockwise around the water. It’s 17 miles for the circular route. If you include the Hambleton peninsula, which we did, it adds up to 23 miles. It’s worth taking a trip round the peninsular as it offers some beautiful views and impressive houses. There are some steep climbs and descents around the Peninsula as there is around the whole of Rutland Water but if your thighs are up to the extra miles and you have time, it’s a nice trip round.

The paths are pretty good quality with some softer ground at times which would become boggy after rain but there is also tarmac surfaced areas.


The tarmac and trail sections are intermittent so there isn’t any section all the way round of one surface or the other. It’s not particularly off road either for hard core mountain bikers but I imagine it can pretty mucky in winter!

Egleton in a beautiful picture postcard village. There is parking there but it’s for the nature reserve and a sign does state ‘no parking for cycling’. It’s a bird watching centre with a shop serving ice creams, drinks and vending machine coffee. The visitor centre also has a small interactive exhibition.


It’s a good stop off point if needed but just a bit further up the road is The Horse and Jockey is situated in Manton is situated at the half way point and a good place to refuel with bike parking and outdoor seats.

There are refreshments at all the car parks, the usual coffee, cakes and plates of chips but nothing fancy and don’t expect too much from the coffee!! If you don’t fancy a pub lunch and can’t survive on ice creams it would be best to take your own food.

There are other pub off the track and the leaflet from Rutland Cycling centre has them listed and shown on the map.

Just past Edith Weston is another car park and here there has just opened a Giant bike shop. Well worth a look. Again there is a small cafe and toilet facilities here.

Normanton church museum sits just past car park. The church was saved from the water by raising it’s floor and now houses a museum.

Details of it’s opening times can be found here


The last part of the route takes you over the dam, which is lovely and flat before heading down into the second to last car park situated near the water sports centre. We reached here between half four and five and the cafe was closed by this time but it is only a short trip back to Whitwell car park where the cafe and cycling shop remained open.

As it’s open water it is pretty exposed and despite the sunshine a wind blows over the water brings a nip with it especially later in the day but I would imagine after a run round in the heat of summer (!!!) it would make a refreshing change!

I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Rutland Water as it is a beautiful location and even if you don’t intend to cycle round it, a walk along it’s shores will dust the cobwebs away.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Carsington and Tissington Trail

A few of us from work have been out a couple of times to

It’s a great trail for beginners and advanced bikers, although advanced bikers may think it’s a bit easy!

I am the least experienced cyclist in the group but they are all good and patient and wait for when I panting for breath and about to puke!!

One way round is pretty tame but the other way is a bit of a challenge. First time round we went the hilly way, well it was hilly to me! The second time round, after a stop for coffee and cake (coffee courtesy of Dave and his campervan and cake courtesy of me!) we went the easier way but it involved a very steep hill. Thankfully Dave, who is seasoned cyclist was on hand to give me tips on how to get up the hill without giving up straight away. He made me realise pace was important and to give it my all at the hardest bits rather than straight away. And to use objects such as trees, bushes etc as goals to get to then when you get to that marker find another etc etc and eventually you will manage to get up the hill. Although I did stop once and push my bike a smidgen half way up!

He also taught me how to start on a steep hill. It can be difficult to get purchase on wet, muddy and steep ground so he taught me to face my bike at an angle 45 degrees to the path with the back wheel on grass or as firm ground you can find and it’s so much easier to get going again!

Parking at the main car park (there is a cafe, toilets, shops and exhibition here) is £2.50 for 2 hours and £4 for the day. At the Millfields car park it is £2.50 a seasonal shop and toilets. Millfields is just down the road from the main car park. Sheep wash car park is free but has a 2.5 m height restriction.

Directions to get there can be found here:-

The day after I thought I’d tackle The Tissington Trail. It’s set on a disused railway track so it’s lovely and flat with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Well normally you can, only the day I decided to go it was very foggy and a little chilly! There is a slight incline in the direction from Ashbourne to Parsley Hey. The outgoing journey was pretty slow and I was really disappointed with myself thinking after all this training I should be going great guns. Maybe Team Hardcore (as I have christened the animals from work) had worn me out too much the day before!

The wind was also against me too and it was so foggy that I couldn’t see a thing so the view wasn’t distracting me either!

About 18 miles into the ride it finally got a little easier and I picked up speed a bit, which was good news for the return journey!

I managed to get 22 miles, one mile short of Parsley Hey but time was against me. The return journey was somewhat speedier and I knocked half an hour off my outward journey time. It was much nicer speeding along the train rather than the slow progress I’d made before and the sun even peaked out!

To park at the Ashbourne end is £2.50.

To get there you can find the directions here :-

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

No photo's please!

A team of us from work decided to go to Carsington Reservoir for a ride round on the bikes. Originally it was just 2 of us but then a few others decided to come. Excellent, as biking alone is ok but it's a bit lonely and you don't always push yourself enough alone. I think I'm pushing myself but in actual fact I'm probably not!

The people who came are all seasoned bikers except for 2 of us so we used each other as an excuse to stop and have a breather!

I took the OH's bike as it is a mountain bike and the track can be quite muddy however OH's bike hasn't received a lot of attention over the past few years and immediately the gears gave up the ghost! I was peddling like an idiot and going nowhere! I managed to keep up (ish) though but came a cropper at the first hill. I managed to get into first gear but lost momentum and couldn't get going again. Luckily Dave the bike pro was on hand to give the bike a quick fix and off again we went.

It was far more undulating than I remember!! The 'Coach' and I were at the back and puffing and panting, well I was!! Coach was keeping quiet until we got to the pub and declared he felt ill!! It is difficult in a group of different levels to try and keep together and enjoy the ride without feeling that you are holding someone back. I did start to think 'oh my god what have I done signing up for the Kenyan bike ride?'!! I've always been one to be at the back and never one the leaders of the group. It doesn't bother me too much but I feel I've put so much effort in so far and am still at the back is a little worrying!!

I've never been known for being speedy and when I was a kid and we did a group walk whilst on holiday and I was at the back and got hauled to the front of all the year group and everyone was moaning I was too slow. It was awful and scarring!! Even whilst walking into town with my nursing colleagues I struggled to keep up and found it hard work!!

We stopped at the pub and were aiming to have a pint but the way we felt we didn't bother and opted for juice and coffee!!

The weather was gorgeous and it was really nice to have a bit of sunshine for a change!
We'll be doing it again that's for sure and aren't really sure why we haven't done it sooner!!