Thursday 26th

So, you don’t see to many ride reports appearing here these days, do you? Principally that’s because my once all-consuming MTB life has been all but destroyed by Cycle Speedway racing, leaving me with about 6 free Sundays a year since 2013. Of the rides I have done, few have been memorable enough to try and recall in print, hence so many gaps in the Ride Diary.

Of course there are still our Thursday night ventures, and it’s been apparent for some years now that we have morphed into a Thursday Night Club rather than maintaining our previous “weekend warrior” reputation.

And it’s one of these rides, the one on Thursday 26th November which has prompted me to try and recall some of it as it did seem worthy of a diary entry. Main reason for this was the discovery, part by chance, part by half decent navigation of a new off-road playground. The Strava trace will give enough clues without me going into great detail and maybe exposing our new secret place to over-indulgence by those who follow our lead.

Anyway, I’d all but given up my one-man crusade to discover ever more uncovered ground; it’s obviously difficult to keep finding unridden tracts of land within the restrictions of a 3 to 4 hour return loop from Benton’s ASDA store. However tonight’s romp into the unknown paid off big style. It wasn’t really the unknown, just a fortunate discovery on the way to target number two after we’d ridden into and through the western edge of Crammy headed for the north side. In fact, the toys were bang on my chosen route, so we dived in and…

This is an area of old coal mine land now tree-covered, and either unsuitable for building on due to the possibility of subsidence, or they’ve got enough spare ground to keep the builders happy elsewhere. Whichever, it’s left a super little treasure trove for us to navigate and it’ll be just a question of time before we start naming some of the sections. It has one exceptional feature among its many others – no hills to climb, but plenty of downhill slopes to enjoy! I kid you not, it’s probably just a couple of acres but once you’ve jumped in at the top and covered as much gravity assisted stuff as you can, it’s hardly anything more than a cruise to get back up there and find another way down, of which there were too many for us to fit in.

We took turns at leading in on different paths, one in particular full of short, sharp turns leading into each other with the skinny, wet ribbon of bare earth allowing us to pedal through them sideways with both wheels sliding, just enough material on the outside edge to correct the bikes for the next change in direction. Never had this much fun for ages and manicured trail centres are a level below the natural stuff for me. Really enjoyed this one, and judging from the squeals and giggles so did everyone else.

Just a shame that Fiona felt unwell and had to leave us after the first hour or so, but she got back home OK and we hope felt better once indoors. Our other Girls Group member Lucy once again provided us with very welcome confectionery treats when we stopped at half time and we even made use of her satnav to keep us from straying off in the wrong direction once or twice. Yet again Thursday proved to be the most reliable night of the week weather-wise, a beautiful evening apart from the stiff breeze, most of which we avoided.

Those attending:
Mark R

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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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