After my recent post about cycling to Rochdale during rush hour I found myself needing to return to Rochdale once again. This time it was a Sunday however, and the weather had been dry for about a week. As many of you will know, leaving the Manchester in most directions is at least slightly uphill. Oldham Road is no exception, forming a long but gentle climb until you reach Oldham. On this day however, the slight incline was also supplemented by a strong head-wind and by the time I reached Failsworth I decided to take refuge on the Rochdale canal. Things began to look up immediately after that.
The ride was very pleasant after this point, with the trees and hedges along the canal providing escape from the wind. Due to the dry weather, I was able to get to Rochdale in a time comparable to my previous road trip. I made the return trip via the same route later. The ride back is even better because all of the locks are heading downhill. When I re-joined the road at Failsworth, amazingly the wind was now in my favour. This combined with the slight slope and a bit of luck with the traffic lights allowed me to maintain a solid 45-50 km.h-1 (30 mph) for around 4 minutes without even feeling put-out by it. It was the first time I have managed to spin out on the Tourist, an extra gear would have allowed me to go even faster. I got some curious looks from motorists as I comfortably cruised along at the same speed as them.
I took this shot of my shadow as I was nearing home in the late afternoon sun. I was reminded of it by a recent post on A Grim North. When the weather permits, this is the best way to cycle to Rochdale.