New Year mountainbiking

I had a notion first thing yesterday morning that it was going to be a good day. The clues were there;  wispy high cloud and patches of blue… then hallelujah, I found my afternoon was blissfully free!

No question but to sling the Orange P7 in the back of the car and head for the Forest for the first mountainbike of 2013.

It was so weirdly mild there was no need for the usual winter double tights, no need for full finger gloves even, or ear-warmers but the waterproof socks – a thoughtful Christmas prez from son #1- saved saturated toesies.

The light was flat when I arrived, with trees , and bracken all looking a little grey, broken only by vivid patches of bright green moss.

It was incredibly quiet too with just a few dog walkers here and there, about  six or seven cyclists including dads and mums with kids and otherwise perfect wonderful peace.

As the cloud lifted and the sun broke through just before sunset, all the crinkly clingy beech leaves were fiery copper and even the silver birches had an orange glow about them, with the dead bracken transformed to burnished rusty red.

It seemed bizarre riding on 5th January without any snow or ice anywhere.  I headed up a little-used track (with some difficulty, I must admit, not unconnected to at least 4lbs extra of Christmas ass)  to the site of the old Trafalgar coal mine and realised the last time  I was there was about the same time of year, riding with friends through three inches of snow.  That’s what I call *proper* winter riding.

Near Trafalgar is a nice longish ridge which joins up with a fast smooth downhill before the obligatory stop to take in the view at Kensley Ridge. The sun had set  and the sky was golden yellow across the wasteland where the Forestry Commission have clear-felled thousands of trees.

The ride back was in silent spooky twilight. I was half-expecting to see a family of wild boar trotting into my path but no such luck- even though the evidence of their turf-shifting disturbance is greater than ever.

Must tweak my gears though. The shift from middle to big ring was a bit unreliable. Now what was it again? One clockwise quarter-turn of the inner screw….or one anti-clockwise quarter-turn of the outer screw….  I’ll soon find out.

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Wild boar damage – worse than ever.

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Alas poor Santa, I knew him well…

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Sunset over the ridge at Cannop

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The view from Kensley Ridge

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About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
This entry was posted in Countryside, Current Affairs, Cycling and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to New Year mountainbiking

  1. Darrel Kirby says:

    My New Year’s resolution must include dragging the bike out of the cobwebs and out to the Forest of Dean – one day your inspiration will get through!

  2. IsobelandCat says:

    This post reveals so many differences in our vélo-lives. You have to specify which of your stbale you will be riding. My bike has never been inside my car. Nor have I ever driven anywhere for a bike ride. I am tempted by a carrier for the back of the car so that I can enjoy the flat roads of East Anglia when at das Boot, but my attempts at acquiring one through freecycle have so far failed.
    The idea of riding my bike in snow terrifies me, but I have never calimed to be more than a fair weather cyclist. But the line that makes me nearly rip the flower garland from the carrier to salute you is your oh-so-casual remark aboiut tweaking the gears. I wouldn’t know where to start.
    Respect.

  3. janh1 says:

    Well i only had the Orange until I got the Trek, which will be two in July. The Orange is still my first love and fits like a glove. Although the Trek is zippier on tarmac, it always feels like coming home riding the Orange. Knobbly tyres are fine in the snow, Isobel – quite secure as long as you know where the usual track is. It’s ice that’s the problem.

    I like to take a bike on hols whenever possible and I’d really like to go on bikes-only holidays but that requires agreement. A bike is like a dog; it will pine with sadness if its abandoned in the garage. My pals who love canal boating always take their bikes to ride the towpaths. If it’s not to difficult to take the front wheel off and squeeze your bike into the car, it might be fun for you to take it and explore?

    No respect deserved! I’ve only got the basics because I’ve had to do it myself when sons or brother isn’t around 🙂 If you’re ever stuck on anything at all, you’ll find You Tube is a fine resource 🙂

  4. Pseu says:

    Loverly. I must get out the bike this year… If only I could solve the numb feet problem .

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