Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Back to the Peak
August 20th, 2017

I thought I’d close up a great summer of riding on the Scott by heading back to an old stomping ground and riding some of the trails that first introduced me to the Dark Peak. In about 1997 when I moved to Manchester it was one of the first rides I did, back then on a rigid hardtail with 21 gears. Riding into Edale is one of my favourite routes. I parked up in Hayfield and road in over Jacobs Ladder and back via Mount Famine. All was good until about 30 seconds after this photo when I got a pinch puncture.

Jacobs Ladder, Edale

I drew blood on both thumbs trying to unseat the beads of the tyres and then when I eventually did, they then wouldn’t seat properly again. To top it all the patches I put on the tube didn’t stick and ten minutes later I was stopped again this time by the river getting eaten by midges whilst I changed it again. After that I was back on it cleaning the ascent up Chapel Gate and nailing it all the way back to Hayfield. Proper ride.

Back to Glentress
July 15th, 2017

Thursday. Leave work drive completely the opposite way to home back to a place you haven’t been for 13 years. Find the same place to stay and the same place to eat. Welcome back to the Tweed Valley, Glentress and Peebles.

The border on the A68

Friday day off work and riding to be done. Glentress Red Route (I had completely forgotten what this trail was like) kicks things off. The trail head is completely unrecognisable. Bike park is new. Quick loop around and back for a coffee. Refreshed out to do the black, ah this is more like it. Those trails that Wee Ben and I did in the snow. The ones I rode with other friends over the years. Still a bugger of a climb. Body armour on for the descent. Deliverance feels slow today, bit over grown. Redemption, still that cramp inducing grind back to the fireroad. Yes I still hate you climb. Spooky woods and the rest and back to the trail centre for lunch.

Innerleithen Forest Singletrack

Refueled, it’s time to head off to Innerleithen. Jon Woodhouse and I rode this not long after it opened. We got lost. It was miserable. The downhill run on the insane course we did was far more memorable. Still today I’ll be remembering that climb to the trig point. That goes on. And on. Then the false summits. It eventually ends and I’m on top of what feel like a mountain with a cracking view. This is why.

Minch Moor Summit, Innerleithen Forest Trails

Gisburn Full Spectrum
September 13th, 2015

Headed up to the Gisburn Forest in the Forest of Bowland for some riding. It was a first time trip there for me and finding the place is a bit of a mission, but managed it in the end. Having taken in the black, the red and the blue routes I have to say that there is some great riding to be had and that made it well worth the trip. The black run down the gully is a bit of a giggle and flows well but I suspect many are put off by the step down at the entrance. I’ll be going back for more.

Gisburn Forest

Gisburn Forest

Penmachno Again
September 9th, 2015

It’s four and a half years since I last rode Penmachno in North Wales. Then I was fitter and riding more regularly than now. I some how managed both loops on the Singlespeed. Today I returned with the Trek Remedy and vague memories of the trails. Still ended up getting simultaneous cramp in both quads again!



Rode the whole trail without seeing a soul taking in the beautiful scenery. Sunshine and dusty trails gave way to some very waterlogged and wet sections, which made me think as I cruised round in my IMBA shirt that some trail maintenance is probably now needed. My arms now bear the marks of the over grown undergrowth lining the trails with brambles having grown a lot this summer.

My view having ridden this a few times now is that although there are some good bits this is a very rough trail and not that much fun. The rationale for this rather critical view is that there are big chunks of trail where you’re contouring slightly up or down and that this is just a bit dull. The slight downhill sections are so rough that they don’t flow and that you don’t really roll very well.

I was really tired by the end and had a very near miss clipping the bars on the penultimate singletrack section rounding a hairpin and grazing into the hillside bank. This led to me getting very out of shape whilst riding one handed at high speed. I’m going to put that down to honed natural instincts and baseline skill… still a bit of a moment because the consequences would have involved an inappropriate descent of a steeply sloping wooded hillside…

Peak District Biking
March 2nd, 2015

Had a weekend away in Buxton so threw the Singlespeed in the car and planned for a ride. Saturday morning rode up towards Long Hill out of town taking the Midshires Way. I caught up with a local fella near the top of the climb and we rode around together.

The steep climb out of the Goyt valley by Taxal defeated me but I managed most of the ride on a 32:16 without hiking. By the time we reached Derbyshire Bridge I was hanging on and the descent down into Burbage which is rapid on the Remedy was a bit of a disappointment. 

Good ride all in all. Need some new shoes as the grips on the soles are pretty shot on mine these days. 

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