The Day after Friday 13th…

Friday 13th was fairly uneventful, but the following day was something different. The plan was to head up to Grizedale to introduce a friend to some trail centre riding. On loading the car up its noticed that the rear tyre on their bike was all split and cracked – Hmm didn’t notice that when cleaning it. So we stopped off at Wilf’s in Staveley on the way up for a late lunch and picked up a new tyre in Wheelbase.

By the time we arrived at Grizedale it was gone 2.30pm. The pay and display rates are currently £2 for 2 hours or £4 for all day. We had just over £2 in lose change, so decided to buy the ‘2hrs will be just enough’ ticket just before leaving the carpark. By the time the normal preride getting changed and ready faffage had been complimented with a tyre change and then a inner tube change in the same wheel due to a sticky valve leaking air, it’s nearer 3pm when we start riding.

Anyway off we go. The trails are easy going in comparison to some centres so I think it’s a good introduction to singletrack with some technical bits and boardwalk sections. Still I come around one corner to find my fellow rider tangled up in their bike to the side of the trail. Not enough momentum to get over a step up and they’d crashed out. No damage other than some dented confidence and we’re soon back on the route.

Progress was fairly slow, but steady riding around in the snow covered fireroads. Coming out of a singletrack section near the most northerly part of the loop a graunching noise from my rear wheel makes me think that the rear disc pads have picked up some grit. Feather the brake lever a bit and try and get it to clear as I climb up the hill and about 5 seconds later there is a rifle shot as the rear tyre explodes.

Another Kenda Nevegal that’s ripped through the sidewall just above the bead. Oh well no problems, I’ve been in this situation and done the repair before. Camelbak opened up to get the tools and food out. A wrapper from a bar will form an adequate tyre boot. So with the tyre off I set about putting some air into a new tube to give it some shape for fitting. About four strokes into pumping the tyre up, the shaft of the pump snaps off the piston. Bugger. My Mountain Morph’s been all over the world with me, but it’s just died in the Lakes.

So it’s 4.30pm. Light is fading fast. We’re in the middle of a forest in the Lakes. We’ve just realised that neither of us remembered to buy a car parking ticket from the Pay and Display, we’ve one bike between us, the other has a tyre with a hole in it and no means of pumping it up.

Just as I’m calculating the best way off the mountain, a horse rider turn up with a mountain biker riding along side. I do a Tinker Juarez and ask if he has a pump I can borrow and it’s with some relief that he says “yes”. We have some banter with our Irish rescuer who also donates a Park tyre boot and with the aid of some duct tape wrapped around the tyre and rim in the damaged section the bike is back in action. We part ways and trying to keep as little weight on the rear wheel as possible we make it into Moor Top carpark and begin the final and best sections of the North Face Trail back down to the Grizedale Visitors centre.

The fields are becoming misty, the light is disappearing and it’s with a woop woop that we make it back to the car to find that we’re escaped getting a parking ticket. Great day out…

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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