Wednesday 18 March 2009

ronde van oost lancashire route description

Update: The 2013 Ronde will be on Sat March 30. Details to follow soon.

The Ronde starts and finishes at the beautiful Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford, a Grade II listed farmhouse dating back to the 15th Century. There is a car park on the opposite side of the road with an honesty box and a cafe and art shop within the Centre making it a lovely base for a day out.

The full route on ridewithgps

Pendle Heritage Centre

Whilst the cobbled sections of the route are certainly a little contrived, I hope they add to the overall experience. They are indeed optional as the route is easily followable by missing out these slightly nadgery sections but I urge you to check up on the directions and photos and include them for the nearest thing to a full-on Flanders experience you will get this side of the Channel.

From the start at the Heritage Centre, the route begins climbing almost immediately leaving Barrowford and heading for Pendle Witch country -

A series of short, but sharp climbs criss cross the area and mimic the multiple crossings the Flandrian Ronde makes up the local escarpment.

After crossing from Pendle and into Burnley, a long scenic descent skirts with the Ribble Valley before swinging back toward Padiham. Here the first cobbled climbs of the day await in Padiham centre first up Mill Street and then the ancient Double Row - sit down and try to use a biggish gear with as much speed as possible! These are good warm up for the really hard cobbled sections later.

Mill St cobbles

Entrance to Double Row cobbles

Double Row cobbles

Leaving the conservation area of Padiham the route swings west toward Blackburn and over into Hyndburn. The landscape is more open and at times industrial, leading toward the Brickworks climb between Clayton-le-Moors and Huncoats where Accrington brick became famous. On through the shallow ford and climb at Mill Hill before a long run toward the outskirts of Burnley.
Though the climbing now is not steep, the height gain is appreciable as can be seen from the profile as the southern fringe of Burnley passes by, dropping down to the corner of Townley Park and a possible cafe stop if you fancy a small diversion -
The landscape begins to become more traditionally Pennine as we head above the narrow valleyed mill towns of Todmorden and Hebden - watch though for the descent off Long Causeway into Hebden. It is very steep, very bumpy and contains several hairpin bends. There are good cafes in Hebden to break up the ride.

I discovered the Packhorse climb in Hebden on a shopping trip with the kids. It is brutal to ride, probably impossible in the wet or damp, a throwback to the days when mules and horses lugged huge bails of cotton and wool around the area, providing great wealth to these small mill towns. Enjoy it and turn left at the top to almost immediately turn right to begin the climb to Hepstonstall. This too is cobbled in it's upper section and combined with the Packhorse climb makes for a very tough ascent -

Packhorse cobbled climb up from Royd Terrace

Packhorse cobbles

Town Gate, Hepstonstall

Now the countryside opens up as the route wends its way along narrow lanes toward Widdop Moor and back from Calderdale toward the Burnley and Pendle towns. The scenery here is stunning with wide open moorland, big views and some short sharp climbs here to sap the legs before a steep descent toward Colne. Save a little for the final hard section up from Colne's South Valley on cobbled back streets, finishing with a 1 in 4 cobbled monster up Chapel St to Colne's central spine. This is similar to the Muur and Kapelmuur sections (well sort of) of the real Ronde, which also form the penultimate cobbled sections of the Flandrian classic. Dropping off this into the North Valley, it is worth the small diversion of Langroyd Rd for the cobbled Dickson St and Montague Street, throwbacks to a bygone age.

Entrance to cobbled climb off Shaw St up to Duke St

Chapel St - it is as steep as it looks!

Last section of cobbles up Dickson and Montague St

Montague St - the Bosberg of Colne (without the woods)

Your day is almost done now, save for a beautiful section along narrow lanes above the lake with panoramic views, and the final climb after the canal and back to your starting point. Make sure you get back before the cafe closes!

If you come and ride it, please let me know and give some feedback. I hope you enjoy your day and get a real flavour of the area, cobbles and all.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your efforts in posting this route. I am looking forward to trying it out

Red Bike said...

Great stuff!
I am going to have to make the effort to try this!

Longwayround said...

I'm actually genuinely gutted that I've got tickets for Oulton Park this Saturday.

It makes the Cheshire Cat's ascent of Mow Cop look laughably easy. If you're doing this next year then count me in.

Unknown said...

Hey up, I'm thinking of coming over from Manchester to do this, can I just roll up and ride?
.. and will it be easy enough to either follow or ride with people?

crossjunkie said...

Hi Oliver - just turn up and ride. Just been out putting some of the signs up - more to come this afternoon. You should be able to follow the full route alone assuming they are still there in the morning but we will ride as a group too, so stick with us :-)

Rich said...

can you post or someone post a reflection on this ride. Want to know if it's worth the trip up North, as the distance is the same to Belgium from here.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. I am originally from Oost Lancashire but now live in New Zealand. De Ronde van Vlaanderen is my favourite race and to have those streets I remember well compared to Flanders really made me smile

Dave Haygarth said...

Flipping Marvellous. How exciting.

Anonymous said...

Would have looked forward to the challenge, unfortunately on holiday. sure the barlick clarion will be out in force. Stevo

Anonymous said...

come on Barlick Clarion, lets support CSP Bob

Unknown said...

This looks like a superbe event, as a frequent visitor to flanders, I hope to do this event next year when I will hopefully have the weekend free. Fantastic work mate, brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Good work Alan and Dave. Hope to be there and bring some of the Darwen Massive!
Mr Sparkle

Rick Knowles said...

hidden gem of a ride and urge anyone new to have a go

once again, I'm gutted I can't make this year's event

Rick K said...

hidden gem of a ride and urge anyone new to have a go

once again, I'm gutted I can't make this year's event

Rick said...

So looking forwards to this ride on Saturday! Hope this week's weather can stretch itself all the way to the weekend but then I'd also like the moon on a stick :)

Anonymous said...

Hi just wondering if normal road tyre's will be ok for this ride. If yes see you saturday morning!!

crossjunkie said...

Road tires are fine - there's not THAT much cobbled stuff and it isn't Roubaixesque :-)

David Lane said...

Hoping to join you - is it likely to go ahead with the snow?

crossjunkie said...

David - check the front page of the blog! No, I'm afraid I've had to cancel - the details are in the announcement. Hope to reschedule soon...