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Wednesday 3 November 2010

Rail Replacement Bus


A train, image courtesy of Northern Rail.

Yesterday, (Remember the weather yesterday?) I went to Rochdale station to get the 21:52 train back to Manchester.  When I arrived I noticed that trains were cancelled in both directions for unspecified reasons.  Technical failures happen from time to time, it is just inevitable.  Annoyingly, whilst bikes are accommodated on trains, when the time comes to run a “Rail replacement” bus, the company simply contacts a bus or coach company and more often than not bikes are not accommodated.  The short ride to the station had left me soaked through and cold as I stood looking at the departures board and the thought of leaving my bike behind was less than ideal.  I decided that as I was wet already, I would cycle the 27 km home in the torrential rain.  Roadies ride in this kind of weather all the time, so why couldn’t I?

Luckily I had my performance cycle clothing with me:



Including a lightweight & breathable suede jacket, fast-wicking denim jeans and SPD Doctor Marten boots.

And my lightweight, crabon-fibré, aerodynamic racing bicycle (photographed on another day):


I made it home in about 65 minutes, a personal best. I also managed to avoid stopping for 5 minutes to have a drink as I would normally have done, the wind and rain stopped me from getting warm and dehydrated.  When I arrived home I had a performance sports drink to replace those lost electrolytes:


Obviously there is nothing at all wrong with sports-cycling, just the perception that cycling is a sport and that you necessarily need all of the associated gear just to get from A-B.  This acts as a barrier to the uptake of cycling by non-cyclists.  I think attitude and motivation are more important than cycle-specific clothes and sporty bikes. Mudguards help too.


  1. Oh dear and well done!

    Mudguards help too.

    Immensely. I fitted some for a mate at work the other week to his new sporty hybrid that came without - silver SKS full jobbies.

    He said his daughter quipped, "What have you got them for? Your supposed to fit those (can't remember exactly, but he meant 'crud catchers'"

    I told him to hand her the newly mudguarded bike & direct her towards the biggest puddle they could find to show her why!

  2. Crud catchers, I remember using those before my bicycle awakening. They were terrible.

    As for the ride, as I have noticed before, once your clothes have soaked through to the skin the rain becomes largely irrelevant. It did keep me hydrated though; I was able to suck the rainwater out of my gloves Ray Mears style to avoid having to buy a drink.

    It was actually pretty enjoyable in the end, and I felt I had achieved something by doing it.

  3. The trains from Rochdale must be the least reliable in the country!, not a week went by without some kind of utter calamity bringing the entire service to it's knees.

    As for the rain, todays was much finer than yesterdays and noticebly more tasty. Not sure about glove flavour though.


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