Commuting through t'city? That's nowt!

A Yorkshireman's route to the office is over the Pennines

by Tom Henry   February 10, 2010  

pennines.jpg

If you're keen enough to commuter to work by bike – ice and potholes notwithstanding – chances are that you've picked a route that is quick and reasonably flat.

Spare a thought, then, for Yorkshireman Jon Corker, whose 28-mile journey from his Huddersfield home to his office near Manchester takes him over some of the highest peaks in the Pennines.

Jon gets up at 5am, has a bowl of porridge, then climbs on his bike towards Huddersfield town centre.

Next, it's a steady four-mile climb up the A640 to Outlane before crossing the M62 at junction 23 and pushing on further up, past Nont Sarah's pub, and finally to the top of the Pennines at Buckstones. A quick glance at the view from the summit and it's straight into a steady descent down the A640 via Dowry Reservoir and into Denshaw, from where it's a left turn onto the A672 into Oldham and five miles of traffic queues before he reaches Middleton.

Mr Corker, financial controller with security company Chubb, took up club biking five years ago with the Huddersfield Star Wheelers.

He decided to fit his cycling into his working day and now completes the commute over the Pennines at least once a week.

"I did the commute for the first time four years ago and have been doing it ever since, although I do it a lot less in the winter than I do in the summer for obvious reasons,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

"It's a route I know well, so thought I'd give it a go and see how it went. The first two or three times it was quite tiring, but now I certainly don't come into work shattered or anything. In fact I tend to feel very awake and alive from the adrenaline.

"The quickest I ever did it in was one hour 27 minutes, but it can sometimes take more than half an hour longer than that due to the weather conditions, mainly the wind," he said.

"One of the hardest sections is the climb near the Nont Sarah's pub, as you're usually going into a head wind.

"In the evening I go back normally by the same route, but in the event of bad weather I have an alternative route which is not quite as exposed.

"I actually prefer the evening ride, particularly the moorland stretch, as being quiet, ploughing along in your own bubble of light in almost perfect silence is heavenly after a tough day at the office.

"The only disadvantage is the extra 100m metres of climbing, which is all in the final mile," he said.

He told the Post he was becoming "fixated by weather forecasts" and enjoying looking down on the M62.

"I allow a little schadenfreude if I see a traffic jam below me – any other day of the week and I'd be stuck in it," he said.

"If I'm late there will be occasional clusters of children beside remote farm houses waiting for the minibus that takes them to school.

"I usually get a wave from them – presumably they are thinking 'there goes that fool on a bike again'," said Mr Corker.

* How far is your commute? Is it as tough as Jon's? Let us know.

4 user comments

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blimey! I'm impressed.

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [584 posts]
10th February 2010 - 14:50

3 Likes

I like the idea of commuting along roads like the one in the picture, but not the actual A roads of the story!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1376 posts]
10th February 2010 - 17:30

3 Likes

I thought that was the A640 Smile

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
10th February 2010 - 17:48

3 Likes

The A640 was effectively superceded by the M62 40 years ago; it runs parallel to it but out of sight. As a result it's extremely quiet (even in rush hour) and a great favourite amongst local cyclists.

posted by Mossrider [3 posts]
12th February 2010 - 12:25

2 Likes