With a few post Bonfire night hangovers, a group of Moles consisting of DaveC, JohnR, Lloyd, BigAl, RayK, JohnH, The “Tandemists” (Amanda and Darren), Robin, Barrie met up last Sunday morning. There were no serious JRPM factors to contend with so we set off promptly with a vague plan to head over to Peaslake
We trundled up the Admirals trackway, past Polesden Lacy, where JohnR and I skooted down to Hogden Lane and up its rocky length to Ranmore. It seems that only JohnR and I are Mole fans of this lane and we were “almost sure” that DaveC suggested to go that way? Although half way up I was definitely regretting the bottle of Merlot post the fireworks the previous night.
Up to the North Downs we turned to go along Badger run and I went down to the gate on White Down to take some action shots of Moles coming through the gate. Although some of the riding was possibly more action than expected, as the moist chalk and proximity of the gate post meant a few narrow misses. The group headed across to Abinger Roughs to Abinger Hammer.
As BigAl and I (gate openers) caught up with the others, Al gave me his impressions of the Ibis Mojo in lurid yellow that he had on demo. “It’s like cheating” probably sums it up best. It was a fine looking bike and although it had been built in Burly spec (Lyriks, freeride wheels/tyres) it could be built light too. Al was particularly impressed with the lack of out of saddle bobbing when climbing.
As we crossed over the A25 and took the bridleway to The Volunteer at Sutton Abinger, we all noted that it seemed much steeper than when we normally head down. Before heading up to Hombury hill we regouped and The Tandemists, with their the new 25yr debt sentence (aka mortgage) headed off back home for some serious DIY on the new place.
BigAl led up onto Holmbury hill and took us through a great series of singletracks. A couple of which DaveC and I commented that we hadn’t ridden before. There are so many trails in this area! Finally we climbed up to BKB for a blast before a well deserved coffee and cake at Peaslake. Although after a impressive speed dismount JohnH seemed intent on coming down part of BKB without his bike. The BKB dualthlon anyone? Must be a downhiller thing.
The Peaslake stores seemed to be even busier than ever with numerous mountain bikers and roadies standing around enjoying the produce. Apparently the stores make over 700 cheese straws per week! BigAl showed his true althlete status with a meat pie slice and cheese straw snack.
We rode through Peaslake and took the bridleway back to Abinger Hammer. At the bottom of the bridleway my Orange Five took a big hit and instantly flatted. Stopping to check to what had happened it took me a couple of minutes to figure it out, with accident post-portem evidence from Robin. Apparently I’d hit a large rock, which had gone off the rear mech into the wheel, breaking a spoke in the middle (in the middle was the part that confused me!), sending the spoke through the tubeless tape causing a puncture and bending the rear wheel. As DaveC and I set about fitting a tube RayK had a play on the Ibis. He seemed very impressed and we all urged him to get rid of one of his five motorised mountain bikes to get a proper bike.
Wheel sorted, the group got going again however I soon realised that all was not well. I had a mountain bike fixie! The broken drive side spoke was catching on the rivets on the back of the cassette, stopping me freewheeling, plus the gears were all over the place. With careful use of zip ties on the spoke to pull it out of the way and brute force on the mech, I was going again in semi fixie mode. By this time I was way behind the group but fortunately I had one of the walkie-talkies and could find out where the rest had gone.
Back over Abinger Roughs we headed up the tough climb to Ranmore, with plenty of discussion as to whether it was C1 or C2. General consensus was C2. As I came round the hairpin I saw Lloyd and BigAl get to the same piece of chalk and both lose it at the same time. Team Mole synchronised dismounting?
Finally we headed along the muddy North Downs past White Down, along Badger run and down to Yew Trees back to Bocketts. It was a tough day out, with the mud beginning to set inwith trails definitely sketchy and I was certainly glad whenI was able to nurse my “Fixie” home.