“Sheffield is a city—like Rome—built on seven hills.”
This introduction to Sheffield from a leaflet I picked up on my first visit to the city has stuck in my mind. I was disappointed not to see a corollary statement when visiting Rome. I can attest that Sheffield is indeed a city with some fairly steep ascents. I feel this quite keenly when cycling, though I have as yet been spared some of the meaner hills.
More surprisingly, the effect on cars is quite noticeable, too. A neighbour’s visitors requested that I leave them three car lengths so they could pull out from their parking space on our 20° hill. (I saw them use all of this space too!) And it is the rare, brave motorist who reverses into a parking space on this hill. Although the spaces here are hard-won, mine is usually safe if no-one else moves. Most striking of all, though is the unmistakably acrid and cloying smell of the super-heated clutch. I have had some trouble with this when driving a moving van, Yesterday and today I realized that I was not alone. Large stretches of the city reek of burnt clutch. Throughout the day traffic inches up the Netherthorpe Road to Brook Hill, and many, many drivers simply don’t know how to drive slowly and jerkily up a hill.
It’s rare that I wish this country were more like the US, but I wish more of the cars on the road had automatic transmission or automatic clutches.