A good friend of mine, Phil Gayes lives on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District. Phil G has cycled for years, and is a mine of information when it comes to the roads and trails of this very hilly area.
Phil has been kind enough to introduce Emma and I to a number of great routes within the Peak District. As a result of this, a couple of hilly loops have become firm favourites. These have been labelled G1 an G2. Okay, not particularly glamorous titles, but that’s just a bland disguise for some of the intricate lanes and fabulous views of the Peak Park.
These routes weave their way though two areas of the Peak District. One being known as White Peak, the other Dark Peak. Each has its own distinctive landscape. White Peak holds many, relatively small steep sided valleys, carved by beautiful rivers and streams. Dark Peak, more open and rugged, with climbs that elevate and offer views across expanses of hilly landscape.
These areas neighbour each other, and a cyclist with a reasonable capacity for climbing can create routes that visit both areas on the same day. This saves the the dilemma of having to try and choose a favourite area.
Our cycling has gradually taken a leaning to longer days on the bike. This gives the opportunity to be a little more imaginative with routes. This has created some great days, but also a few that have been a little longer than expected! Thankfully Emma has a sense of humour and always carries extra food!
G1 and G2 are both about fifty miles long, and have incredibly jagged profiles (Phil G tends to be really good at squeezing maximum height gain into Peak District miles). Joining the two routes had crossed my mind a few years ago, but other than talking about the potential, I had managed to throw the idea back into a dark corner, away from other more sensible ideas!
Emma and I had been fortunate to have experienced a fabulous bike trip to Italy in July, and returned full of enthusiasm to carry on riding up hills for as long as the legs would allow, and the weather made it pleasant to do so. With this being the situation, it seemed the right time to head out to the Peaks and try out the G1, G2 combination.
For some reason we were heading out slightly later than normal, but if the first half of the ride went to plan, there would be time for the second half too. (It was possible to start at a point where the two routes touch. This gave the option to add the second half and top up on food and water). Continue reading “Peak District 100: Part 1”