Thursday 2nd

Thu 2nd Jan 2014

More not-so-Strangers!




Gavin Mc

Ian M



Mark A

Mark S

Ian B






John R

Colin D


Ian A


A super turnout for this one on yet another almost perfect Thursday evening. Whether it was treat as a turkey-remover or an attempt at yet another hard to keep resolution, it did at least offer the opportunity for several catchups and a very sociable ride.

Suzanne was the first surprise to arrive at ASDA's car park to set about unloading that featherweight Scott racer she reckons is her favourite bike. She was followed in quick succession by Lee and Deryck, missing for about 6 months and a year respectively. Great to see them both out again and hopefully to become the regulars they were in a past life. And another member of Team Mac appearing tonight unexpectedly was Ian M following the removal of the nails from that now infamous broken hip which has brought him nothing but bother.

We started by following Terry into the Rising Sun to just clip the edge of the tree line before doubling back up the waggonway to emerge at Station Road before tootling across the metro line into Forest Hall. Up the side of the church and out around both Killy Lakes before Ian A took us into the trees past that evil iron spike still jutting dangerously out of the trail some years after we vowed to chop it off. Fortunately we all missed it, but only because the front of the group didn't follow the Ride Leaders until they were half way through!

We regrouped near the Station Hotel before cruising gently past it and into Gosforth Park at Peter Barrat's, and from there staying on the cleanest lines as merely a means to an end - to reach the Hole in the Wall. Terry's plan was to cross the fields into Weetslade but after a short parlay with Ian he realised the potential folly after recent heavy rain, so we stayed on the path to the end of Sandy Lane.

Justin took over at Wideopen where Ian B, Suzanne and Gavin Mc turned for home with Ian suffering chain suck on the Giant Force. Don't buy one of those! Others having problems were those mounted on Specialized Stumpies with little or no mud clearance at the rear, and we hadn't touched that much of it yet. We followed Justin as he zigzagged through the estate before Ian took the helm for our target, the woods at Brunswick. Another regrouping half way through saw Justin lead away again taking in as much of the wood as possible before heading uphill for the start of our favourite drop through the trees at Seaton Burn.

No incidents yet although there was an orderly, static queue formed when Ian and Terry caught up with the tail just a few hundred metres from the end of the trail. We crossed the A1 and made our way across to the Big Waters, doing the scenic tour and then heading out to Brunswick Village and a slightly higher paced run across to Havannah, where Ian again led up to the Witches Lair and our food stop. Another chance for the impeccable Lucy to display her wares, and there wasn't a crumb left to tidy away by the time the vultures had descended upon her mince pies. Before yo start nurgling I swear none of this is Cockney Rhyming Slang and the pies were real, and devoured eagerly. Two options on offer tonight, apple crumble and Brownie-topped varieties. The former got my vote and have been ordered for this year's Christmas party!

Unlike previous visits we didn't linger too long after eating, simply dropping off the hill and heading out to Brunton Lane. It didn't take Ian long to dive into the lead and vanish down the skinny rut back toward the A1 underpass. Some of us tackled the low embankment behind Terry, passing him as his steam expired at the summit to join the others down below and head through the Great Park to the bottom of Brunton Lane. We lost a couple more there who turned for home while the remainder set off through Melton Park for Bluebell Woods. That was pretty heavy going with the more exposed trail having been well-wetted. Although there were no catastrophes, Terry lost all his lights and couldn't see to get his emergency supply connected, although he still emerged ahead of the unfortunate Mark A who snapped his chain near the exit.

All that was left now was to disperse by various routes through Longbenton and Forest Hall, another nice little ride out completed by 10:15pm by those who stayed for the duration.

Here's Lucy's GPS trace:



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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.







The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!


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