A group of 11 moles met just outside Hindhead on Sunday morning for a gentle ride in leafy Hampshire. Sorry for the incomplete list but as I remember it was MarkyMark (married to a saint), Wob, Ray, RetroSteve, Clive, Karl, Kev, BigAl (ss), Jon, D-dub (ss). D’Andy couldn’t make it since he’d had the cycling version of a castrastion – going to a car boot sale with the Mrs – unlucky!
After a minimum of fuss we were on our way and straight into deciduous woodland and soft loamy trails that would be a feature of the day. The day was a beautiful but the rain the day before had made the roots slippy and care was needed. We headed down into some great singletrack with off camber sections, where good bike balancing skills were required.
I was on the latest N+1 bike addition to the fleet, a second-hand Orange Five built from various bits hanging around the garage and parts of my Clockwork Orange. On the first part of the ride there were too many things going on for me, gears needing adjusting, shocks tweaking and generally coping with slippery roots. I was glad once we’d made it down the first hill. However we were soon into short sharp hills and some hard efforts.
Sections in the woods came and went but it seems that soon we were into the Whitmore Vale and running along the riverside. Again care was needed to prevent a inpromptu wash.
The majority of the ride continued in a blur of wooded singletrack, loamy tracks and super expensive houses glimpsed through the trees. We eventually crossed over the A3 and peeled off for a jump area play. As D-dub headed for the woods, to do what the bears do, I took a phone call and heard an almighty crash. With the usual trepidation in these circumstances, we went over to find out what had happened. Obviously no Hindhead loop would be possible without Karl crashing but it was a little unusual to find a bike on bike crash. Karl vs RetroSteve. Everyone (including bikes) was fine and we breathed a sigh of relief (as did D-dub).
We headed further round the loop and it was obviously getting to be hard work for our single speeders. BigAl and D-dub. Particularly BigAl on his Kermit Green Ibis Tranny that was flexing alarmingly, which seemed strange for a solidly built carbon frame, but when we stopped to check, it was clear that the frame was fine but the wheel was not. Some of the spokes were almost completely loose and the spoke key had to come out to “tweak the tranny’s nipples in the woods”. Nice quote from the group!
We skooted round the south of Liphook and the ride got hillier. With some long tricky drops and clagging climbs where traction was at a premium and walking was required.
There were some tired bodies as we finally got back to Hindhead and stocked up with cakes and tea.
Top marks for Keith for riding home (in the rain again!)