One of the great, liberating things about owning a bike is you can explore places you’ve never been before. I used to be obsessed with navigating round the estate where I lived when I was young, finding ‘new ways’ to get home, and places I’d never been before.
It was with this spirit of adventure in mind that I set out on my latest jaunt, heading down to Little Packington, a few miles away from Coleshill. I’d seen a road on one of my earlier jaunts, which was marked as a Cul-de-sac on the sign, but, looking on Google Maps seemed to lead to a network of confusing looking roads, and ultimately leading back up towards Maxstoke. I thought I’d check it out.
I must’ve got 100 yards or so when I was confronted by a body of water, which definitely looked impassable to most cars, let alone my little Brommie. There was also a sign informing me of a stopping up order, which I don’t think had come into effect yet. It seems that the network of roads I’d seen on the map were ancient highways, no longer in normal use.
As soon as I got home, I got on Google and searched for the road, hoping to find the stopping up order, so I could have a proper look. I couldn’t find it, but I did find that the road is quite popular with 4x4 green laners, who’ve posted up quite a few videos of them going through the ford. Here’s one of the best ones.
As you can see, it’s quite deep, and I’m glad I didn’t venture in, but I’m determined to find out more and explore a bit more. There’s a path running alongside the ford, so I can have a bit more of an investigate as to what lies beyond it, but I’d love to know the history of the road, and why it fell into disuse. I’ll report back if I find anything else.
First of all, I’d like to start with a confession, I’m not much of a cyclist. I used to ride a mountain bike* around my estate as a teenager, but other than a few cycling trips on holiday and an abortive trip around the Warwickshire countryside which resulted in me and my wife reaching a particularly difficult hill and getting off and pushing, I’m a cycling virgin.
I’ve now broken my cycling hymen (so to speak) and gone out and bought a second hand Brompton M3L, mainly for commuting, but also just for the sheer fun of it.
My first ride was a slightly nervy one, partly because it’s been so long since I’ve been on a bike, but partly because I was terrified I’d put the Brompton together badly and it was going to fall to pieces at any minute leaving me and my bike in a crumpled heap at the side of the road.
It’s also a tad scary being on the road for the first time, as a car driver I’m used to having a rear view mirror, so it’s a little nerve wracking having to glance furtively behind me occasionally, and hand signals are a bit of a difficult one too - I used to pride myself on being able to ride one and no handed, but I’m a bit out of practice now.
Anyway, my first ride out was just me testing the waters, a quick 2 mile jaunt around the top end of Coleshill in a pretty respectable twelve minutes**. You can see my route on Endomondo here.
I’ll be using this blog partly to share experiences, partly to fish for advice from other bikey types, but also as a way of trying to get back into the habit of regularly writing stuff - I’m a trained journalist, but have accidentally turned into a web developer over the last 8 years, so have sort of lost my writing mojo.
Like I say, I’m a n00b to all this, so if you’ve got any stories or tips to share, please let me know - I’d love to hear from you, and please, do stick around!
*I use the term ‘mountain bike’ very loosely, it was one of those bikes with gears in double figures that would probably fall apart if they even caught sight of anything which wasn’t a tarmaced surface.
**I actually thought it was 18 to start with, but 6 minutes of that was me swearing outside my house trying to work out how to fold my Brompton back up. I’ve done it before no problem, so I know it’s just a matter of time before it’s as natural as putting on my shoes