What a crazy year!
With most of the events cancelled that were in the calendar for 2020 due to COVID19 things had changed so much….
After a few months of well not much, a few unsocial rides, quick blasts out, I needed to put some fire back in my “lockdown belly” and get out their rediscovering adventures, this is when I stumbled upon what sounded the perfect trip with Pannier CC on their Peak land Ramble tour.
The tour was an overnight bike-packing adventure from Manchester to Sheffield escaping along their favourite roads, gravel tracks, expect The Peak’s famous gritstone edges and moorlands, single-track roads, the finest cafes and pubs, fire-side food and nightcaps at our overnight stopover in the heart of the Peak District National Park, 160km with around 2500m ascent.
On leaving Manchester we soon hit the canal paths and began to get to know the other riders all with a varying degree of bike-packing experience from the virgin to the veteran, already the trip had such a cool vibe to it, dangle mugs clanging, no stress we were all here for the love of riding bikes and the adventures it brings.
We did have one goal for the day and that was to reach the camp at the 90km mark, where Stef and Dave were readying warm food, firepit and end of day beers! Festoon lighting set the tone and tepee’s were set up for some riders, tents for others or for myself the Alpkit Elan bivi which was perfect for a night under the stars.
Waking to the smell of coffee and a buzzing little camp, breakfast was consumed before we ventured out onto the gritstone and discovered some remoteness of the Peaks during our 70km journey to Sheffield. Not before we had Pannier’s customary chopping of a watermelon, in a super cool barbaric fashion. A watermelon is placed on the ground and smashed with an axe, then handed around the group for a wedge.
Day two was super chilled whilst still keeping a good pace riding we ducked in and out of villages, stopped at cafes before entering the true “Peaks” riding the broken road into Castleton was pretty spectacular along with Stanage Edge over looking Sheffield, where from here was pretty much downhill to the finishing point a trendy craft beer bar in the heart of Sheffield for a well-earned beer.
What a perfect trip to wipe away some memories of the past few months of not a lot and rediscovering adventures in style, you don’t have to go that far or that long, but just getting out there is the key.
By the time I had reached home via the train I had committed to ride in the following two weeks the Second City Divide 600km / 10,000m from Glasgow to Manchester and the Great British Escapades North and South Downs Way 477km / 8,000m and I can’t wait to back out bike-packing, adventuring and living in these surreal times.
Thanks Stef and Dave from Pannier CC
Picture taken by Dan Monaghan and Stu Taylor