Nipping round Ted Heaths for Mini-Cheddars!

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Summers evenings! Doncherjuslovem!?

Im not totally sure which trail is Ted Heath and which is Mini Cheddars, but theyre both ace. Kudos to the folks over cheddleton way for cramming so much stuff into such a small space, the jump farmers up there are busy and skilled folk. None of us is totally convinced that anyone actually rides the big jumps up there though, which is fair enough even if so cos they stand in their own right as works of earthy art. I really should try and get a piccy.

To be fair, most of this ride just kinda vanished beneath a haze of Red Rum… Im stepping up my hip flask game for wednesday night rides, so it was red rum (in a shiiiining hip flask) this week. Next week im bringing out the big guns and packing the absinthe. Should be interesting after a couple of snifters!

So, yeah. We pedalled some. We did some skids. Some drops off the sides of the locks along the canal. I was dead stoked (i believe thats whats the kids call it) after legitimately stringing together a series of jumps one after the other and getting both wheels off the ground at the same time. The jumps were only about a foot high but ive got a massive mental block with jumping ever since really hurting myself at cannock years ago so i reckon thats pretty good progression for an owd un!

Couple of dead tasty ales were consumed at the hollybush inn for post ride rehydration. No idea what they were now, thats all a Red Rum haze now too, but i do know its still one of my favourite pubs at the minute. Vital stats for the ride? About 18 miles, a thousand foot or so of up n down, one free beer, one very late night!

The Bluetooth Speaker made another appearance tonight and i think this was my musical moment of the ride. Summers evening in the trees, smell of bluebells in the air, three bikes razzing round, this blasting out of one of the bikes bottle cages, and the bemused looks of passers by. Good Times đŸ™‚

Happy Trails! Dusty bikes for happy bikers!

Deep Hazed and Confused.

Like a muddy buckled wheel scraping a rim brake, wednesday evening rolled round again. Quite a gang out this evening, six of us slip and sliding round in the slop, so unfortunately the hipflask didn’t really go very far… Maybe we should step it up and splash some funds on either a bigger hipflask or some pokier booze. Absinthe maybes? Hmmm…

Route wise, it was a re-hash of our exploration on monday. Personally, i’m loving the fact that we’ve discovered trails on the doorstep that are currently verging on unrideable. Its one of the ace things about the mountain bike. Its not all about fitness, and even the most skilled can fail on certain trails. Its a great leveller. The focus needed to get along the slimy slidey steep steppy stuff (and the comedy value of crashing into barbed wire fences) and the challenge presented by the trails (what challenge? Didn’t some people just push their bikes eh? Eh??) are something thats got me proper jazzed on the MTB at the min. Should probably bear in mind that its a group ride though, and that kind of stuff isn’t for everyone… British Stiff Upper Lips were called into play by a couple of us i’m sure. Sorry folks!

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Keep off the wrong side of the tracks.

Heading back to the pub via the railway was spooky indeed. Maybe it’s the old mental hospital at the top of the hill, but this place has always had a weird vibe to me. Not helped by the eerie mist drifting across the tracks… Plus even though it was the official first evening ride of the year after the clocks going forward, it was colder than cold. Admittedly, not too cold to sit outside the pub for a couple of light ales and a bag of crisps while chatting nonsense, but my memory did kind of started blanking out at this point… Presumably because of the cold rather than the Irish Peated Ale. All i can really remember after that point was singing Duran Duran, wearing a scarf over my head, and wondering if it was possible to actually get any colder as i hosed the mud off me and my stuff once back home.

 

lessons learned: I need to get some stickers made. None of us can speak French. Tubeless is ace. Sweet Protection Mudrides are ace shorts. And the things teenage boys can apparently do with an elastoplast while on holiday are truly eye opening…

Vital stats: About 15 miles of pedalling/hiking, depending on skillset. Approximately one third of a pint of free beer (depending on crisp consumption). All in all, what a blimmin great evening!

Time to wind this up, i need to listen to some different music to get Duran Duran out of my head…

Happy Trails!

 

 

 

 

 

Win-Arrrrr!

Ok, so everybody knows a pirates favourite letter is ‘R’. Even though his first love is the ‘C’…

Today has been spent out and about pirating yet more cheeky trails for our future night rides. Summer is coming and since between us we’ve been riding the local trails for a bit more than the last twenty years it sometimes gets a bit tricky to think of new routes to ride from our doorsteps, so a bit of exploration for new ideas never goes unwelcome.

Steveo had a couple of ideas to make last Wednesdays route a bit more’ride-a-bike’ than ‘hike-a-bike’, but to be fair after the amount of rain we’ve had last night we still both ended up doing our fair share of hiking… It unfortunately seems like the trails have gone from almost rideable back to being a pile of wintery slop almost overnight. Maybe it’s because Momma Nature heard i was going to be getting back on two wheels so she’s doing it to test my motivation? After getting all the kinds of weather there are (from sun to rain to hail to horizontal rain to back again), and yet still coming out of it with a smile, i don’t think my motivation can have been found lacking so we’ll see who relents first, Me or The Momma… And given i’ve just spent a vast amount of money on some new waterproof shorts and  am determined to get my moneys worth, good ole Momma Nature is deffo going to have a battle on her hands this year!

Lessons learnt: Five Tens are ace shoes for flat pedals, but are utterley rubbish for walking in mud. The 2016 Orange Five is an absolute RipStonker of a bike. After far too many years, i’ve finally got it sussed how to ride those off camber catch berm thingys (Personal Milestone Ahoy! The trick, like with most trail skills, is to stop thinking, just get on and do it, and let it flow). Sweet Protection Mudrides are great shorts. Maps are useful things, but a sense of direction is also priceless. A hipflask of Southern Comfort can go a long way to improving morale when the mud is as high as an elephants eye and the hail is stinging your cheeks. And finally, salad is a strange accompaniment to sausage egg and chips at the pub. Seriously pub people? Surely it can’t be just me that would prefer baked beans to salad?!

Soooo, vital statistics: 17 miles, 1000 feet of climbing, one free beer consumed, and one big fat belly pub dinner. The Hollybush at Denford had a cracking peated Irish ale on and is still as awesome a pub as there is. I’ve been rubbish with the photos yet again, but today i’m blaming busting a lung having to keep up with steveo and his massive legs. That simply doesn’t leave enough time for snapshots!

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A dry oasis along a flooded canal.

I dunno if its just me, but i often get songs stuck in my head whilst riding. So i’m gonna start putting links to those in here too. Hopefully that might make up a bit for my lack of pictures… Had this crazy number buzzing round my head today, enjoy!

Happy Trails!

Deep Haze, Off-Piste.

Midweek ride or midweek booze up…?

I had a vague plan of where to go… All of us have lived round here for years, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not anything new under the sun (or the moon, for a night ride). My vague plan was essentially plaited out of snot after doing a bit of Strava stalking of other peoples local rides, and it entailed going a little out of our comfort zone for the evening. It entailed hills. And it would probably entail taking the bikes for a ramble. And it would almost definitely entail getting moaned at and shouted at by my fellow FBBC’ers. The trails viability would lie somewhere in the grey area of being whats know as ‘cheeky’, but at the same time, we’re all responsible grown ups and we aren’t about to mow down any parties of orphans out on a day trip or to do any wanton damage to the surroundings…  And anyways, even after all these years, im still seeking the ‘golden trail’ and when that means bits of trail that are super techy, steep and steppy, and not really designed to ride bikes on, you sometimes do have to push the boundarys a little… Is that really such a bad thing?

So i sort of thought i might have maybe known where we might find some new trails… A couple of us had been exploring the other week (and reliving many hours of our very happily misspent youth), so after a bit of map surfing i reckoned there might be a way of linking some bits of trail together in some new ways. Well, i was partially right. Yes, stuff did link up, but also it entailed a LOT of stumbling round the edges of fields (made worse as i forgot the hip flask), until we found the right path (kudos to steveo and his sense of direction). But once we were on it… In the words of Flavour Flav, ‘YEEEEEEEAAAAH BOI!!’.  Steps for days! Trail so tech you couldnt be sure if you could make it for the next few metres, let alone clear the lot… I know one of our riders succumbed to a broken ballsack, but others were lucky to either make it through, up, over and along without so much injury, either by utilising the modern medium of the dropper post, or the more oldschool method of getting off and walking. It was the highlight of my ride tbh, had to fight for every inch of that trail to make it down with minimal dabbing or sustaining personal injury, a real challenge! Hopefully i’ll be able to persuade the FBBC’ers to return, despite the massive hills and severe risk of personal injury… I think the tamer stuff over Cheddleton way that we got to later may suffice to tempt them. Some nice trails up there too, despite only being short. Sort of reminds us of how Hanchurch Woods used to be before they cut it all down.

So that was the riding, what about the beer? Well, we called in at The Hollybush at Denford on the way back (variously known as ‘the smelly dog pub’ or ‘the ship’, dont ask me how or why). Unfortunately, no chips this week as we arrived too late, but still some excellent ales, among them ‘Four Leaf’ a tasty, almost chocolatey brew, and ‘Flummery’ which was an IPA in the style of Titanics plum porter (sorry, but i can’t remember the brewerys for some reason…Ahem!). A proper good end to a proper good ride out. As for the vital statistics of the ride, well. Theres no pictures as it was dark and not even worth getting the phone out to try and take any snaps, and  i’ve no idea how far we went due to not taking my garmin. But one free beverage was consumed, and a massive amount of trail smiles were had. Makes it a mid-week winner in my book!