Saturday, 12 March 2016

Bishop Auckland - Brandon bridleway closure

I'm a little bit late to this party because I haven't been down on the lines from Bishop Auckland to Brandon for a while due to various reasons.

Notice of closure

Anyway, as you may be aware, the Eleven Arches construction is well under way and now the section of line leading from the viaduct car park along towards Willington and beyond is closed for the foreseeable future.

The path is fully closed at both ends

However, there is an alternative route that links Bishop Auckland and the line. This uses the A689 which can be quite busy, but the footpath is available. I know that cyclists aren't supposed to use the pavement, but this is wide, not particularly busy and I know you won't be misbehaving on it!
As stated the road is quite busy so be careful when crossing it. The footbridge is available but the many steps aren't practical for cyclists.

There map below shows where the closures are and how to avoid it. The green line highlights a wide track which is seeing more foot/bicycle traffic and with the wet weather is quite muddy, so bear this is mind.

Google Map handily annotated to show alternative route :)

The track incorporates the Strava segment "Brickworks Climb". I made this segment as the track goes around what used to be the old brick works. The track is in relatively good condition at the moment and is totally rideable. But when I made the segment, torrential rain had washed away the top surface, exposing all of the damaged and discarded bricks (see photo below).

This made for a interesting challenge on the Strava segment - picking your line was crucial
The picture below shows you where you would come down from, if you were coming from Bishop Auckland, or where to turn up if you have come towards Bishop Auckland.

At the bottom of the hill, next to the closure

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Durham City to host stage of Pearl Izumi Tour Series again

Tuesday 31st May is the day that the Pearl Izumi Tour Series returns to Durham City, for the seventh year in a row.

The teams race up the cobbles of South Street in 2013

The Tour Series sees six British professional cycling teams competing in ten town centre races across the UK from Thursday 12th May until Thursday 9th June.

The races all about the teams, which is what makes the series unique. When a team's rider crosses the line first, that doesn't mean that team also wins the round. The rider has pride of the individual win, but the aim for teams to complete the race with the lowest cumulative time with their five riders. Basically, it's the fastest team across the finish in 60 minutes.

This is great news for Durham and north east England cycling fans. In the press release below from Durham County Council, they reveal that the 12,500 visitors into Durham for last years' event spent a very specific estimate of £281,310. How they work that out, I do not know. They also reckon that 82% of the spectators came from outside of Durham, so if you would like to get a good spot, go early and use public transport, or even cycle there! You'll avoid the traffic, closed roads and could even go to the pub for you tea.

The main attraction of Durham's course is the ever popular descent down Crossgate and consequent sharp right hand bend (hay bales are necessary) cobbled and ascent up South Street, where the cathedral looks on over the River Wear. So this is where you'll want to be, other than the finish line.

If you can't make it to Durham to see the live action, highlights are shown on ITV4 and available on demand through the ITV catch up service.

Here are a couple of my photos from the 2013 event:

Heading down into the tight right hander corner. Brakes will be squealing at this point!

Riders will be hoping to round the corner unscathed

Mechanics in the pit lane keep the riders racing with new wheels

Read the full press release here:

Organisers of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series cycling event have confirmed that Durham City will feature in this year's race calendar.

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