Friday, 15 January 2010

Cliftonwood Road

When the postponed ride takes place, the Cliftonwood section will probably include this uphill; with the hairpin it has a hint -just a hint- of an Alp

You get a nice view looking back -this is an interesting part of the city which, without any direct through roads, is very underexplored. Not for us though, we will cover many of the ups and downs in the area.

On bicycle, though, not on foot. If you were walking, you could follow World's End Lane...

This leads to White Hart Steps, which bring you down past a little park to Jacob's Wells Roundabout. Not for cycling, unless there was an MTB event. But walking, that would be good. It could be interesting after rain too: that cobbled area to the right looks designed to take runoff from storms.

Again, vaguely reminiscent of the Alps; those mountain villages with empty stream banks in their middle, streams that turn into torrents after only a day's rain.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Bastard Hills ride postponed: snow!

We, the organisers of the Bastard Hills of North Bristol ride, along with the Bristol Cycling Campaign, are sad to announce that the planned tour of many of North Bristol's steepest hills, from Montpelier to Clifton by way of Kingsdown, Cotham and Cliftonwood has had to be postponed from January 10 to a future date to be determined. Snow.

Lots of snow. Here is Cotham Vale, one of the shorter climbs. It has no tracks on it other than sledge, ski and snowboard.

It is possible to cycle round the city, you just need to go on the main roads and worry about the water freezing back to ice at night, water which can be just as lethal in the morning.

Our route wasn't just going to be on the main roads though, it was going to the steepest hills in the area, the obscure ones, and zig-zag up and down them, using quiet connecting routes wherever possible, routes like this one, which is nothing but compressed snow:

Get out there and enjoy an excellent winter, be it sledging or some mountain bike fun. If you are cycling around town, look out for ice, especially as you approach junctions or hills. Many of the classic favoured-by-bicycle routes haven't been gritted, and are pretty hazardous.

We will be rescheduling the ride to spring or summer. This lets everyone who overindulged over Christmas a chance to get slightly more in shape, which they can do by training: ride up as many of these hills as you can.

Keep an eye on the web site; we will put up news about this ride and other cycling activities in the city. The future date will be published in a future edition of the Bristol Cycling Campaign magazine, as well as other channels.

We apologise to everyone for having to cancel this at short notice, but it doesn't look like it will be less icy on Sunday. If it had been a crisp winter morning without the ice it would have been a lovely day out -our route planning rides were in these conditions, and it was wonderful. Exploring Cliftonwood by bicycle on a sunny Boxing Day is a good use of a bank holiday. Now that we have some routes there, we will be getting everyone else up them, so that you can share the suffering too.

Adam and Steve

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow status

Some of the hills we've planned to cover are currently fenced off and only for use by skiers, snowboarders and sledgers.

This is making the Sunday event somewhat doubtful. The big concern is not just snow, it's ice. The Montpelier roads usually become safe quite quickly, as long as you only travel in the two grooves cut by cars. Nugent and Nine-tree hill ice up and as they don't get much sunlight, stay icy. the others, well, it varies.

We will take a look at the route and the forecast and make a decision on Thursday, announce widely. If its postponed, it will be until later on in the year, maybe make a big event of it.

Saturday, 2 January 2010


This is the draft route. Kingsdown and Cliftonwood are the hard bits; the rest are just glue

View The Bastard Hills of North Bristol in a larger map

Friday, 1 January 2010

Cotham Vale: a secret little bastard hill

Hiding in Cotham is this short but steep bit of gradient, one with lovely views over Redland.

As a downhill, when it isn't fenced off after a snowfall, the primary problem is the sharp corner at the end. You cannot take the turn with speed as there may be something coming in the other direction.

It has fairly little traffic though, not even school-run parents, just people hoping for somewhere to park. As these cars are moving slowly or waiting for someone else to pull out, they are slow moving: no sprints to get to the school before 8:45 here!

As an uphill, well, it's a bastard. The gradient is between 20% and 25%, no letup. But short, wonderfully short. After Ninetree and Marlborough Hills, this one will be over before you've even noticed that you are suffering. That is, assuming your legs are working after the St Andrews and Kingsdown bits of the ride.