Mini Glow: Short, sweet and snow free

The weather held. I was worried in the week that we’d have to cancel. Angharad was worried the night before about looming snowmeggedon. Nothing happened, so we met in the car park of New Mills Leisure Centre at around 10am and got ourselves ready to ride. I arrived first and found a spot up the corner. Leaving Holly in the car I set up the bike and the trailer, then let her out to stretch her legs before grabbing her to bundle her into her new Dare2b snow suit – an all-weather essential! With the trailer and the baby all set up and ready to go the next step was to reunite the baby with the trailer. She was curious about it, looking in, so it was a huge relief when I asked if she wanted to go in and she nodded, “yes.” First hurdle over. Meanwhile Angharad and Brian were busy putting their trailer together – the very sleek-looking Thule Chariot – for it’s first with-bike adventure. They did a good job of figuring it out and were soon ready to ride, with their little boy, D, all snuggled up inside.

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As the weather, although dry and bright, was a little nippy, I left the rain cover down but, as I suspected, this cut H off from the outside and she wasn’t keen, so up it went, with the net still down to catch the mud that would inevitably be splashing off my back wheel into the cockpit.

We set off through the car park to the start of the trail, where there’s a short, steep down followed by a short, steep climb – good fun!! Lots of whooping from me, while Angharad was still figuring out the with-trailer cycling dynamic, so pushed up.

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Here we had to cross the road, open another of the many gates, and then we were on our way. At this point I was fell victim to the dreaded poo. Yes, it’s a popular route – and like most trails in close proximity to towns and houses, the locals like to walk their dogs there – and not everyone picks up. Yuck. Luckily it was the front wheel, so I didn’t have to worry about it flicking up onto H in the back, but all the same…

We carried on along the trail. More pedaling. The trailer was feeling comfy on the back. H was happy and settled. The weather was our friend. All was well. It was good to be out on the bike.

It wasn’t long before we arrived in Hayfield. I had tried to call ahead to Rosie’s, keen to avert a cafe-disaster, but was told they don’t take bookings, so it wasn’t looking good when we arrived to a full cafe. But as luck would have it, there’s a new kid in town: The Roundhouse. This place is actually much more convenient than Rosie’s, being just across from the main road crossing, and it as space outside to store the bikes – even a few outside tables, good for visits in better weather – and lots of space inside too. The menu was good and they didn’t look disapproving when we rolled in with our babes in arms and asked about high chairs, so that’s where we settled for our lunch.

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We settled in. After a good while it was noted that we’d spent more time lunching than riding, so we gathered ourselves up for the return journey and – after extensive floor clean up – made our way out for the return journey. Being ever-so-slightly downhill on the way back it really didn’t take long for us to arrive back at our cars. What a shame! – so I suggested, since the babies were fast asleep and obviously happy – we carried on a bit further into town to see where the trail continues too, as another time it might be preferable to start from the railway station, which has access to the trail.

The section of the trail that takes you past the leisure centre is actually where it gets interesting, as you drop down into an area called Torrside, where there’s a green energy project, Tors Hydro: essentially an archimedes screw powered by the weir. On the bikes you have to take the top route (the only one without steps) which makes it possible to drop down to the main path, which is the way onto the station, or to climb up and into the town. We didn’t fancy a cobbled path in either direction, as steep climbs aren’t for the faint-hearted when you’re pulling a bike trailer, so we stopped at the top to take some pics – of ourselves and our sleeping babes in their snuggly trailers.

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We were back the cars shortly after, then time to pack up. H woke up just in time and seemed to have had a good time.

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So there we are: Mini Glow route #2. To those who don’t know it, the route is along a beautiful valley, with Lantern Pike on one side and Chinley Churn on the other: old MTB night ride routes I look forward to revisiting later this year – and lovely to be able to share my love of this place with my little one.

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