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Historic Calderdale


Place names are an invisible history. They talk of purpose, ownership or notable features – some still visible, some long vanished. While ruined castles, mounds of earth and miles of drystone wall all tell a very obvious and tangible story, the names that have been given to places are often only apparent if you’ve got a key.

Maps are, in theory at least, definitive, but they are more of a snapshot of a place, capturing its current state and its commonly used name – committing a person or feature to cartographic immortality.

There’s a tradition in mountain biking, certainly round these parts, of naming trails or in most cases renaming trails to best fit our experiences of them. These names are passed on by word of mouth, rider to rider. They may not appear on any offcial map, but Craig’s Hand (where Craig broke his hand), Craig’s Knee (where Craig broke his knee), Craig’s Hip (you get the picture), are very real places. While I might now be chuckling about a point on the map called Tom Tittiman, the fact is that his name is permanently associated with a location; something I, and indeed Craig, can only dream of.

Bleeding history.

Despite its reputation for being home to some short and sharp climbs and descents, Calderdale also has its fair share of mellower big loops: Cross Country or Cross County if you pedal in the right direction. The moors and reservoirs of Calderdale are now in partial retirement after a hard career keeping the industries below them going. Out of the way and troubling no one, most of the time, they are a giant museum to a working past, one that threw up names both prosaic and fanciful. They seem the perfect place to go to learn more about how names from history bleed through to today.

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About Singletrack

Hans Rey – No Way? Yes Way! 30 years as a sponsored bike rider. Hans must be doing something right. We chat over burgers and beer. Bike Test: Hardcore Hardtails – We test three examples of that very British of bike categories: the long forked hardtail, with bikes from Ritchey, Onza and Chromag. Classic Calderdale – Sim ponders our need to name trails and places on a guided tour of Singletrack’s own home trails. Trail helmets – 12 (count them!) trail helmets ridden and rated. Early Rider – a profile of a company that’s making kids’ bikes cool again Nepal – Spectacular views and bikepacking courtesy of Miranda Murphy, Todd Weselake and Steve Shannon. Joe Barnes – A profile of enduro racer, former downhill racer and Dude of Hazzard Joe Barnes. Shimano: behind the blue veil – Chipps goes to Japan (and Singapore) to see what makes this very private company tick. Retro Bikes – Were the good old days better, or just different? Warning: may contain pictures of alarming outfits.