#whereweride Station Road/Handley Lane Climb
It’s easy to get into a routine when riding. You take the same familiar roads, cover the same manageable distance and regularly tackle the same identical climbs. Sometimes the best way of changing these habits is to purposely take an opposite turn and see where it leads you. On some occasions it may take you down a steep descent only to find the disappointing sight of a farmer’s gate signalling a dead end, however sometimes you may uncover something else, something worth writing about.
As you turn off some of the less familiar roads surrounding the beautiful town of Bakewell you find yourself passing what once functioned as Bakewell’s railway station, which now acts as one of the many stops on the Monsal Trail. Rather than trains that once travelled along the trail it now regularly plays host to muddy walking boots, furry paws and our beloved two wheeled machines. As you pass the station you have the option of taking a left turn, an option which we thoroughly recommend. You now find yourself at the foot of the lesser known climb of Station Road/Handley Lane.
The initial gradient immediately lets you know that you are in for a difficult lung taxing 10 minutes. You continue to climb at an average of around 8% before the cover of the surrounding trees provides pleasant shelter from the gusts that seem to provide an incessant head wind. As you pass by the beautiful scenes of a neighbouring golf club it’s hard to believe quite how quiet this road really is. Like any climb attempted in early spring, it seems just as important to avoid the fallen leaves and loose gravel as it is worrying about your legs and what awaits ahead. Around half way up you reach the steepest section.
This 22% hairpin tests your bike handling skills whilst giving you a little taste of the climbs synonymous with other countries on the continent, perhaps a little taster of one very famous climb regularly featured in a well known annual bike race in France. The hairpin provides a little boost as it whips you towards the final burn to the top. As you slowly begin the final ascent out the trees you start to see the blue sky appearing as the road looks as if it has reached its end.
Upon reaching the summit you only have a second to catch your breath before falling down the descent through to Pilsley. The descent provides a well earned reward for the hard work of the previous section and presents a stark contrast to the forest with its open fields and exposed sections.
It’s always worth taking that wrong turn, as it might end up being the right one.
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