Thursday 23rd

A beautiful evening, 13 riders awaiting the Ride Leader at ASDA and just as they approach the Wheatsheaf roundabout accompanied by Ray and Lee, they ride through a mass of broken glass. "It's OK" shouts Terry, it's not the sharp kind" and his rear tyre immediately explodes.

That's true, not made up for effect. However, it was only the timing of his comment that made him look even dafter than normal because it wasn't the glass that caused the blowout, it was the bulging patch he'd applied with useless glue 2 weeks previous on the inside of the tubeless Nobby Nic's sidewall.

Anyway, you read the other bit right - Lee was back again. This time sporting his dream machine, a spanking orange Whyte T130 S, just like this:


Let's hope we see a lot more of the Big Fellah and the Whyte this year. I can also confirm that since the suspension layout change, I now LIKE Whyte bikes, much better than the monstrosities they used to be with that crappy back end that competed for Top Ugly with the one and only cringeworthy Orange Five. And if you missed us at ASDA tonight then the same Lee E is the man to blame, as when I flatted I asked him to haul everyone back to my place while I changed the back wheel but didn't expect the whole crowd to leave the car park as early as they did. Buck duly passed, but please try to be ready to leave ASDA very close to 7 pm in future or let someone know if you're running late.

So we set off toward the coast this time, or should I say again as it's only a week or three since the last easterly excursion. However, as Alan W was also making his comeback after narrowly missing us last Thursday I decided to head in his home direction, only discovering much later at the farthest point away that he now lives in Gosforth and not Northumberland Park! And to cap it all he wasn't carrying lights, although it wouldn't be dark until 9:00 ish.

We had a nice thrash up the skinny to Backworth Crossing and another rapid transit behind Peter to Seghill tip, and that's where the latest mutiny occurred. And all because TK got his eye on a thus-far untried hilltop, and there aren't too many of those around here. So it transpired that only 4 or 5 dutiful disciples followed him upwards, and up top another "missing soul", Olly managed to lose his pinned-in brake pads! Surely some day he's gonna learn to bring his mountain bike (yes, he does have one, I've seen it) on mountain bike rides with a mountain bike club who climb mountains instead of that embarrassing pile he calls a cross dresser or something like that. Welcome back Olly mate.

Just remembered another "Welcome Back" I need to announce - that of Sarah who's been neglecting us for quite some time now, always good to see another happy-go-lucky (has to be to come out with us!) girl in the group.

With Olly's brake repaired there was only one way to go - back down the way we came, but the drop was pretty fast, easily into double figure speeds! It took us a while to catch the tail end of the others as someone up front had just kept going (thought that was a thing of the past!) but we covered at least a mile alone before reaching Grant, riding shotgun for them. After we'd emerged at Holywell Ian and Terry decided to seek out another possible singletrack on the other side of the little stone bridge, but it didn't prove too fruitful after a half mile seeking a way out that wasn't there, so a backtrack was required. All the better to confuse Strava with though.

Back at the edge of Holywell we plunged down to conquer the little riverside singletrack before popping out at the top edge of the Dene where we hovered while Ian chatted to a fellow Newfoundland owner he recognised, out grazing his beastie. Matt started playing on the nearby slopes to await the conversation's end and it was here that Adam suffered the first mechanical of the night when his chain got jammed inside the cassette. That took a few minutes to fix before we got back on track. Terry then led into the trees and down one of the steep little chutes at the bridge, where the jump spot proved irresistable and we spent a good five minutes playing around before scurrying along to the steps. I believe John suffered the same misfortune as Adam here, but again it was easily fettled. That's where Alan had the misfortune to collect something smelly under his top tube, and after carrying the Yeti up the steps discovered it was all over his hands and most of the bike! Strange how we kept our distance from him  after that, although a minute later down in the half-way hollow he decided to turn for home having no lights, and sped off up the tarmac to Earsdon. let's hope he's back in the fold on a regular basis, our rides at least providing a pottential means of escape from nappy changing!

The RL stayed in front for the two steep climbs, then dropped to the back to recover some breath. When he arrived at Andy J's Playground he found bikes crawling all over the jumps and berms awaiting his arrival, but as it was now 9:20 pm he called a bait halt there for ten minutes. A chance to sit on Lee's new mount and resist a ride on Olly's.

A complete change from the last 10 years "norm" came next as we hit the waggonway as normal but this time turning right towards Whitley Bay. That took a few folk by surprise. A couple of false starts (or stops, more like) looking for the best way off were followed by the surprisingly short race along the fence line at Red House Farm before taking to the tarmac to Monkseaton Drive. Then another twist from the norm as we turned into West Monkseaton and the field crossing up to Murton Village. At the far side Ian led along the skinny into Shiremoor and we ended the night passing the side of the Village Hotel on the path through to Holystone Roundabout.

Biggest surprise was our finishing time, exactly 9:45 pm back at the Cave after another reasonably brisk tour.


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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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