Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Changes along Stanage Causeway to Dennis Knoll

The ride to work this morning started off well.  I made good time to Redmires.

Logging on track to Stanage Pole

I noticed there was some new logging activity going on in the plantation by the side of the track up to the Pole and as I rode along the top, the sun properly broke through. 


Then I reached point where the causeway starts to drop below the Edge and I was a bit surprised to see just how much snow was across the track.



I was able to ride some of it.  Having spent last week riding snowy tracks in the Vosges, I felt I was trained up for this.  However, the combination of ruts, holes, icy hard pack punctuated by patches of soft snow, plus the proximity to a drop over the edge quickly led me to abandon that approach and walk it.

There were signs of a few mini-avalanches.  

 
 

As I walked over/around this one, I came to the conclusion that a mountain bike is not a good substitute for crampons.  But it was a fine adventure and I was in a happy, 'at peace with the world' frame of mind, in one of my favourite places, under blue skies and a shining sun.

Far side of the 'avalanche' - Stanage Causeway

Looking back up Stanage Causeway


Then I reached the old gate posts and found a new stone drainage channel had been built across the track. 

The first channel - by the old gate posts

A pipe has been installed further down, which is a much more 'user-friendly' solution

Further down the track, I found a second channel, which is no subtle affair.  It's certainly not been designed with mountain bikers in mind (unless you ride like Steve Peat). It's wide and deep with the leading and trailing edges lined with stone setts to form steep edges. There is no chance of just rolling up out of the thing, and the two rows of setts are inconveniently spaced apart so that the back wheel is descending as the front wheel has to rise out. 

The second channel

The second channel - another view showing position of  'kerbs' compared to axle spacing

On the way home that evening, I found this third channel under construction

It seems pretty clear that there has been no discussion with the local riders about this.  This part of the Causeway, down to Dennis Knoll, doesn't need resurfacing and it certainly doesn't need drainage channels.  There is never any serious ponding here.  The timing says it all.  DCC have some year end budget to use up, so they rushed this through without consultation or any real thought for the needs of the users.  And don't anyone even suggest that this makes the track wheelchair accessible.  It doesn't.  Not with those drainage channels.

They've taken a track that was fun and fast to ride and buggered it up the same way that was done across Houndkirk.

There were a couple of guys working on the track 'improvements', so I stopped to have a chat with one of them and express my dissatisfaction.  To begin with I thought he wasn't listening to me but in fairness he was just doing what he'd been told and had no awareness of how well it might actually work.  He said they might be able to build a by-pass track round each channel.  So we'll wait and see.

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