Taking the scenic route to the office

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FEATURE writer Helen Johnston continues her training for the Great Notts Bike Ride on a Land Rover bike loaned by Church Street Cycles of Gainsborough.

The good thing about having a hybrid bike is that you can use it for light to moderate off-road use.

So for my first solo ride out I decided to follow a circular route of just under 17 miles which took in part of the Chesterfield Canal towpath.

My teenage son had abandoned me because he claimed he was busy revising for his GCSE English exam. I could hardly argue with that, although I suspect the fact it was a very hot day had more to do with his apathy towards physical exercise.

I picked up the towpath at Kiveton Park station and headed towards Shireoaks.

The path is well maintained and was no problem for my bike, which coped well with cobbles under the bridges and some stonier parts of the path.

I’d forgotten how being out on two wheels helps you to appreciate the countryside and this route, whether cycling or walking, is a real gem.

There were birds singing, ducks splashing around in the water, people out walking their dogs and having picnics.

The path was mainly flat so the cycling was easy enough but disaster struck when I stopped to consult my handwritten route notes and discovered an energy drink had spilt all over them, making them soggy and unreadable.

I was fairly confident I could remember most of the route so decided to continue.

Once through Shireoaks I was en route to Worksop and before I knew it was whizzing past the Lock Keeper pub and on to the Priory Centre.

From there the route took me along Bridge Street to Ryton Street and past the Worksop Guardian offices.

I commandeered an unsuspecting passer-by to take a photo of me at the office door as proof I’d made it this far.

I even fleetingly thought that maybe I should start biking to work every day. But maybe not.

Then it was a quick tour of Worksop town centre before heading out towards Rhodesia, back to Shireoaks, on to Thorpe Salvin past Netherthorpe airfield and back to Kiveton station.

The country roads took in several hills but my legs were fine - it was the saddle soreness which made me glad to get off.