Archive for the ‘Mountain Bike’ Category

Today I set out on my mountain bike..Nothing technical, just tracks and bridal ways. The plan was to do a 25 mile circular , high level route. I started in a local park with car parking and toilets not following far from my house. I had just fitted some new shimano clipless pedals and got a new pair of cleated mountain bike shoes.
I left the start point and was soon making a steep ascent up a small lane.

Due to the ascent, I made a conscious effort never to have both feet clipped into the pedals until I had mastered getting them free. I also brought a tool with the right sized Allen key to adjust the clips.

This worked well until I was nearly at the top, where the lane ends at a farm and my planned route follows a bridal path. I had to stop due to an overtaking motor vehicle and lost my balance to the right side. Unfortunately, my left foot was free, not by right and I ended up in a grass verge feeling a right Prat. The good thing was that the car was out of sight!

The bridal path began with a short 200m section which was about a foot deep in mud. I carried the bike for most of the way to keep the gears free of muck. Then it was away to the main ridge on a farm track. I managed to locate a geocache in this area and sat on a nearby rock for a drink and chocolate bar.

I made good progress for the next 10 miles or so including a hairy downhill section and a coupe of sharp uphill climbs. Reaching the end of the ridge, I had planned to go north west, picking up another geocache before heading south along a ridge that forms the other side of the valley I has come up.

This plan which worked on a map the night before didn’t survive contact with reality. The tracks at the valley head had changed due to a new mining operation. I discover this when following what should have been an easy track heading off the the east, but stopped at a barb wire fence. I retraced my tracks and took the next eastern track. This one ended in a fence protecting a drop into a flooded quarry. About this time, a bad weather front moved in from the north west with great sweeping clouds of hill fog.

Again retracing my tracks, I followed the main track until it met a minor road. Given the foggy conditions I switched on the bike lights, head torch and a strobe on my rucksack. I followed the road north east in the hope of picking up the trail that had been cut off by the mine. Soon I saw a promising track carrying the “loops and links” logo. I followed the track checking the compass bearing against that of the map to make sure it was right one. Visibility was very poor due tot the fog and the terrain devoid of much in the way of land marks.

The track soon stopped in a barbed wire fence! Thisvtine the culprit was not the mine itself, but a new railway line used to transport the mines products. With a bit of cursing I retraced my track up hill investigating a couple of side paths that invariably ended in sheep tracks. Back at the road, I decided to follow it all the way back to my start point.

All in all a good ride, I’ll very sending some feedback to the “loops and links” people though!

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