Sunday, 27 January 2013

Snowy night riding

Went up to Whinlatter for a bit of night riding, some of the Lakes had seen some snow and the trail here was covered in a thin and grippy layer of the white stuff. The bike lights illuminated the ribbon of white trail perfectly and it really was a joy to follow it through the trees.

Monday, 21 January 2013

A few rides later, rides 7, 8 and 9

I've decided to add a little extra challenge into the 100 rides of 2013 by attempting to include 50 unique rides into the mix. This will hopefully mean I will get out and adventure a little more and try some new routes too. None of these rides are really unique but it is cold, wet and winter after all.

Ride 7 - Another night ride this time with a friend around his local hills at Geltsdale. The last few rides here were rather wet boggy affairs but due to the recent cold weather most of the trails were frozen. We didn't do a long route due to a very chilly wind but it was good to get out.

Ride 8 - I was dog sitting for the day so took my little friend Pepper out to Mabie Forest where we had a nice wee ride around a mix of trails and paths I know. I was left for dead on all the hills as four legs are clearly faster than two wheels but I like to think I at least held my own on the downs.

Ride 9 - Went back to Newcastleton, and thanks to a little covering of snow it made the ride a little more interesting than usual. All the little humps and bumps were smoothed out and some of the looser sections actually had grip.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gisburn Forest - Ride 6

Gisburn is a popular trail centre, when we arrived this morning both car parks were full and there were loads of bikers out in force, from young kids with parents, new comers on simple builds, downhill warriors pushing up the hills ready to tear back down again and more like us with reasonably expensive bikes that can do it all if you have enough fitness and skill.

It's quite a rough trail with plenty of technical challenges and more than a few ups and downs. Most of the trail is hard pack build as without this the sheer number of people visiting would make a muddy mess of some of the forested sections. It's not an overly long trail but it is quite tiring, the rough nature of the trail and technical aspects certainly drain the batteries. The highlights are probably the Hope line which is a smooth section through the woods with jumps and drops and the infamous Hully Gully, huge rollercoaster like berms which will having you grinning or shaking once ridden.

Once you've finished it's definately worth visiting the cafe they do the biggest slice of flapjack for a winning price :)

Everyone wore red today, not sure why...

Ride 5 - Whinlatter

Headed out on my own for this one and went to another local well known trail at Whinlatter forest. Decided to ride the south side first as it's not often I ride that side, the climbs weren't great thanks to the beers the night before but it was a pleasant clear day with good views and good trail conditions. The view from the top of the south is one of personal favourites.

Once that loop was finished I decided to keep moving and do a full loop of the north, the trail was pretty quiet considering the amount of people I had seen on bikes milling around the car park. There was a diversion in place for trail maintenance on the top section of the down that couldn't really be ridden but the last set of switchbacks was open and is always fun and fast.

Good clear view of Skiddaw for once

Ride 4 - Mabie night ride

An old favourite and one used quite often as a night ride destination. We know the trail quite well and there are other optional sections to ride also. Rode most of the red loop but finished on the fast footpath and a quick lap of the 4X, followed by a post ride snack at Dante's in Dumfries.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Ride 3: Caldbeck

Went out for an explore around Caldbeck Fells to see if a route could be found for future use. Took in the summit of High Pike but due to low cloud couldn't see very much, most tracks in this area are fairly grassy and quite draggy if pedalling up but they don't seem to get too boggy. Quite an open area with no cover so if the wind is up you are a little exposed but I think a route could be put together.

A cloudy view on High Pike

Friday, 4 January 2013

100 Rides of 2013

This year I am going to attempt to document (write up or just a simple photo) all my rides this year, with the hope that I complete a minimum of 100 rides.

The first two are already completed.

New years day ride: The regular new years day ride was attended by an impressive 20 people this year and we also broke from tradition (Mabie forest) and did a loop near Askham. It wasn't great weather, a little rain, a little wind, but everyone completed a 10 mile loop (13 mile for some of us) and all came back smiling. It's a nice short loop that does punish with a long climb to start with but then rewards with a pretty fun (and this time very very wet) descent. It also finishes back at the pub which does good beer, food and has an open fire, perfect for warming up cold hands and feet.

Thursday night ride: This was a very foggy affair at Newcastleton. The lights helped us see in near pitch blackness but they did little to help pierce the thick fog which brought visibility down to about 3 feet in some places, still a good ride for a warmer than usual January evening.