The inaugural Bolshy Cycle Ride

“On an antiquated, ridiculously heavy frankenstein’s monster of a bike, I rode up agonising hills and down wild descents. I was last home and felt it for days. And here’s the thing: my mind, my imagination, my sense of history and somehow my spirit of solidarity were all reinspired and reinvigorated, just as my craving to cycle was. Best Sunday out in ages.” Dan Higginbottom


“The ride was well worth the travel up from the Midlands. I ride a lot but what marked this out for me was not only discovering new roads and stunning views but learning about the bike and its role in social history. The long route was challenging but we were rewarded by spectacular scenery and it was a real buzz to ride some roads that had been used for the Tour de France and seeing the names of the pros still grafittied onto the roads. I will definitely do another Bolshy Bike Ride.” Helen Russell, Former World and European Duathlon and Triathlon AG Champion, and Rider of Tour de France One Day Ahead 2015

“I didn’t know how I would do cycling for 20 miles across the Peak District, but it was a stimulating, exciting, and rewarding experience. The combination of the encouragement of my comrades, the inspiration of Camila’s talks and the glorious sunshine made the day incredibly memorable! The history of cycling and its emancipatory role in the lives of women and the working class, of socialist politics and of environmental movements was fascinating, and the day was a perfect balance of nourishment for the mind, body and (apologies to the materialists) the soul.” Max Munday


“The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre, go dancing, go drinking, think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save and the greater will become that treasure which neither moths nor maggots can consume – your capital. The less you are, the less you give expression to your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the more you store up of your estranged life.” Karl Marx

For details, see my blog page: The Bolshy Cycle Ride

Tour de France: watch out for those Sheffield hills!

See also my page: Sheffield Hills

The end of Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France is an ascent of Jenkin Road in Sheffield. Here’s what cycling journalist Matt Westby says about this hill: “Sheffield’s Jenkin Road may not have the glamour of the great climbs of the Tour de France, but what it lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in brute difficulty. Indeed, the Tour will have seldom have encountered anything quite as steep as its 33 per cent maximum gradient. The climb comes 5km from the end of the stage and is only 800m long, but the ramp is so severe and arrives so late in the day that it will provide the perfect platform for last-gasp and potentially stage-winning attacks. The riders will also be moving at a near crawling pace here as they battle the ludicrous gradient…”

The statistics on Jenkin Road are as follows: average gradient 11.2%; maximum gradient 33.0%; length 0.8km; height 136m; vertical gain 94m; km 193 (source: Cycling Stage).

So, Anaemic On A Bike reckons she can bag it but the real question is, can Cavendish? 😉

What’s more, Jenkin Road isn’t the only beast of a climb in Sheffield. A review of Sheffield’s steepest hills (Hagg Hill, Blake Street, Jenkin Road, Myrtle Road, and Kent Road) by Robin Lovelace of Now Then concludes: “Taking ‘the highest average gradient over 100 metres of horizontal distance’ as my definition, I looked at Ordnance Survey data only to find that all the hills mentioned (except for Myrtle Road) were about the same: a ~20% gradient over their steepest 100 metres. Hagg Hill may just have the edge. Measure it over a 500 metre stretch, however, and the deceptive Myrtle Road would probably win.”