Autumn is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque seasons to be out and about in the Hodder Valley on one of our e-bikes, whether you’re exploring with the family, or enjoying some scenic solitude.
Hiring an e-bike gives you the perfect way to get out into nature at its most beautiful and enjoy all the advantages that autumn has to offer, while making short work of Lancashire’s well-known hills and fells.
image credit: Joe Hayhurst
The higher the hill, the better the view – so don’t forget your camera.
Choose a route that has a bit more altitude than you might tackle on a conventional bike, so you can really feel the benefit of the e-bike’s power boost.
(Read our previous blog post for a reminder of how an e-bike works ).
You might head towards Whitewell Woods where the shade of the autumn leaves casts a honey-coloured hue at this time of year, and make your way up Hall Hill for one of the best views of Mellor Knoll and the Hodder Valley while the hillsides are bronze with bracken.
If you’re looking for accommodation nearby, it doesn’t get much more autumnal than Browsholme Hall’s ‘Woodland Glade’ micro lodges.
Whether you have a warming homemade crumble in mind, or a festive flavoured gin, woodlands and hedgerows provide an abundance of tasty treats for you to take home at this time of year, and – unlike speeding past in a car – e-bikes give you more chance to spot sloes, blackberries, beech nuts, crab apples, elderberries and more.
Bring a backpack for any findings, or add a rear pannier to your bike hire booking and take advantage of the extra (waterproof) space to bring dry clothing in case you get caught in a seasonal shower.
Visit the Woodland Trust website for recipe ideas, and be sure to follow their guidelines for safe and sustainable foraging.
Show Us Your Knits…
Although crisp, bright October days still offer plenty of sunshine – it’s not going to be as warm as a summer bike ride. If you’re not planning on pedalling up too much of a sweat, lose the lycra and get wrapped up in your winter woollies. You’ll enjoy any stop offs more if you can enjoy the view without feeling the chill.
Autumn Arts and Crafts
Who says a wreath is just for Christmas? A homemade autumnal wreath for your door or table can bring some much needed colour and ‘warmth’ to your home at this time of year.
It doesn’t have to be perfect – half the fun is in the gathering and the making.
During your e-bike ride, collect different leaves, seed heads, pine cones, rose hips, feathers, rushes, reeds and more for a seasonal garland with lots of texture. There’s plenty of ideas on sites like Instagram and Pinterest, or take inspiration from local florists like Flowers from the Heart in nearby Slaidburn.
E-bikes are a great way to explore with the family and get the little ones (and big kids) excited about the outdoors this autumn, especially during the October Half Term.
Although you have to be 14 to ride an e-bike on the road, we’ll soon be adding children’s e-bikes to the hire fleet (and sales website) for use on private routes.
Until then, we have conventional kid’s bikes available to hire or buy – or they might prefer to bring their own – and parents or grandparents will have no trouble keeping up, thanks to the integrated electric motor on our e-bikes.
Nurture A Love Of Nature
Keep an eye out for the last of the conkers to take home and string for a game, or find a quiet space to embrace your inner Andy Goldsworthy with some land art. (Don’t forget to tag us if you put them on Facebook or instagram)
Bring along some paper and crayons for the kids to try bark or leaf rubbing, or pocket the perfect materials to build a fairy garden or dinosaur land when you get home.
Earn Yourself A Pub Lunch
When it comes to award-winning eateries, we’re absolutely spoilt for choice in and around the local area.
There are too many to list here, but keep in mind that – as well as The Red Pump and Inn at Whitewell – The Parkers Arms in Newton, James’ Places, The Higher Buck in Waddington, Three Millstones in West Bradford and Spread Eagle at Sawley will all offer a warm welcome to e-bikers once you’ve cycled up an appetite.
Don’t forget to ring ahead.
Barking Up The Right Tree
The foliage across Lancashire offers a dazzling display of colours throughout September and October.
Download the Woodland Trust’s ‘Tree ID’ app before your ride and you’ll be able to impress the family by identifying trees using their leaves, bark or branches.
Autumn often brings clear and bright blue skies, allowing us to soak up the last of the sunshine before the winter weather begins to draw in.
Keats described Autumn as the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’, and with dappled sunlight shining low through the trees – it’s hard to feel anything but mellow.
Sunshine is our main source of Vitamin D and Good Housekeeping Magazine reports that a little sun can also contribute to: being a healthier weight, enjoying improved sleep and having lower blood pressure. Combine the sunshine and fresh air with the endorphins released during exercise and an autumn e-bike ride is set to put you in a great mood.
And, should the weather turn drizzly? At least you’ll feel you’ve earned a fireside lunch even more.
Don’t forget to look out for rainbows between shifting showers.
The Power Of Outdoor Exercise
Stephen Buckley, head of information at MIND charity reminds us that physical health and mental health are undoubtedly linked and (especially in current circumstances) advises getting exposure to the outside world as much as possible and creating routines that include physical exercise, The MIND website also points out that spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including conditions like anxiety and depression, it may also help combat seasonal affective disorder.
And according to British Cycling, studies have also shown that regular cyclists enjoy the general health of someone approximately 10 years younger. As a low impact exercise, it is also much kinder on your joints than many other aerobic activities.
And Finally… Wonderful Wildlife
One of the many advantages of an e-bike is the fact that it is just as quiet as a conventional bicycle, and – unlike a car with its humming engine – is unlikely to startle and scare away wildlife before you get a chance to see it.
Look out for deer along woodland edges, especially early in the morning. Roe deer are the ones you’re most likely to spot in the Forest of Bowland.
Many birds begin their migration at this time of year, so keep an eye on the sky for impressive starling murmurations. Kingfishers, however, are UK residents all year round, and beautiful flashes of their blue feathers have recently been spotted darting above the River Brennand.
Hire one of our e-mountain bikes and head for the exciting off-road trails of Gisburn Forest and you’re likely to see an abundance of birdlife as you pass Stocks Reservoir.
According to United Utilities, Stocks is rated as the most important of the organisation’s 160 reservoirs for wildfowl, and is high amongst the best sites in north west England.
“Up to 30 species of wildfowl can be encountered during an average winter and amongst often spectacular numbers of common species one might come across more uncommon species such as Red Throated Diver, Whooper Swan, Gadwall, Ring-Necked and Long-Tailed Ducks. From October to March, the most numerous water birds are Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Canada Geese.”
To get started with YOUR autumn adventure – give us a call, and Stef or Roger will be happy to help.