Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report: Sunday 22 November – Holmbury and the new BKB

Posted by DaveC | November 22, 2009 | 17 comments so far

It was a ride of two halves, the wet half and the really very wet half.

After some late confusion about time change we still met in Car Park No2 at 8am, in the rain, to prepare for the new BKB. Starting over on the Pitch Hill side it seemed only fair to Take in the “T” trails before the climb up to BKB. Conditions were moist.

Jem, Tony, Colin, DaveW, Lee and myself headed out trying our best to “enjoy” the sideways tendancy of our steeds. Trust me, tyre choice isn’t going to alter the slide, maybe just the length and severity of the slide. I was all over the show as the final “T” trail spat us out near to the top of Death Star. I always get a funny look when I mention Death Star as a preferred trail, I’m not quite sure why as I love it!

The gulley was slippery and rock strewn as normal but I had it all under control and it spat me out into the opening with enough time to set myself up for the first big root on the left. That clear, I proceeded to head staright on despite my best attempts to head further left. Finally coming to a halt at another large root step with little run out beyond. Much laughter from behind indicated some comedy offs and indecisions while I manually lined myself up and head down the leaf covered descent. Much opposite lock was the key to the day, that and a cool head. It’s all riding, it’s just a little different to what we’ve been used to.

As the rest joined, we headed over the road to climb up and begin our first descent down the newly modified BKB. Eyes rights at the bottom showed some big berms and what seemed to be a surprisingly early exit. The singlespeed guys pushed on up the climb and I engaged my diesel mode and trudged up to the top. I hadn’t rained for about an hour so I set off ahead of Colin to find what delights the trail pixies had for us.

I guess the first 60% is unchanged until you see a fir tree layed down to divert you off to the right. The trail changes colour as well and you know you are on new trail. I think you head up a bit first before you meet the first berm which speeds you round and down for some swoopy trail taking you below the trail you’ve just ridden. Then it’s a sequence of big berms weaving you back and forth before spitting you out close to the road. A whoop or two from Colin behind confirmed to me that the was plenty of grinning to be had on this trail in the moist conditions which could only be surpassed when it all dries out. Those berms can really push you out though so make sure you ride within your envelope!

It didn’t take us long to decide to climb up again and re-do it but we also decided to throw in Yoghurt Pots and a few bits of singletrack before heading down BKB again and making for the Peaslake store. There seems to have been a bit more work on the exit of YP as well as a nice new berm diverts you to the left. Here we met a large group of bikers and one of them was Ian! He’d been a bit late and missed us at the car park. He was riding a Whyte 120 Carbon test bike which seemed surprisingly understated and also sported badly set up brakes. Quite why a £3000 is let out of a shop badly set up is beyond me!

Anyway, A few more miles through the trees finding plenty of muddy puddles to remind us of the rain soon had us back for the second run down BKB. Ian, having never down BKB looked a bit dubious as to what he was about to encounter but Lee gave him a quick run down and off we went.

Thsi time I followed Colin, who after his big accident at Swinley a few months ago swore he was going to be a XC ridder taking no risks. Bollocks! Now I’m not the best rider by any means but I couldn’t hang on to him down this run and I knew I was on the limits of the tyres. The last time I had that thought was at Swinley… but we arrived safely at the bottom grinning away so it must have all been OK. We headed to the Post Office to get refreshements and Tony, Lee and Colin headed off while the other 4 of us thought it would be rude not to give it one more bash.

While at the store I eyeballed the first Ragley Bluepig that I’d seen “in the wild” and had a quick chat with the owner who was so impressed he was saving up for a Ti version. I’m still unconvinced we “need” it round here and I did note that the Pig din’t have so much of a stem and a pair of bars attached directly to the steerer but the owner seemed well pleased so Brant has another happy customer in the Surrey Hills. Hopefully Hotlines will look kindly on us and send us one to test ;o)

Regrettably the rain god decided that enough was enough and it started to tip down as we edged our way back up to the top via assorted trails and bridleways. We did a bit of the Cycleworks test loop to give Ian a few more miles on the test bike and also make the climb seem a bit more worthwhile. The rain was making things much more slippery now and as we headed back to BKB I knew I was going to take it a bit easier. Still fun, but by this time I was very wet and ready for the car.

A good ride and I have to say that the new end to BKB is a very good addition to our riding in this neck of the woods. A big thanks should go out to all the trail pixies concerned in making this an excellent ride! Roll on the dry conditions!

Filed under Rides in November 2009


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 17 comments on ‘Ride Report: Sunday 22 November – Holmbury and the new BKB’

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  1. Andy C says:

    Withdrawal symptoms due to my enforced absence with a fractured metacarpal are now kicking in big time!

    It’s been exaccerbated by:

    a) Seeing the Pace half-completed in Cycleopedia earlier this week (the green Chris King hubs and gold disc rotor ‘supports’ looking particularly fetching)

    b) Having been in Wales for the rugby this week-end, and staring at the Blorenge mountain’s ‘punchbowl’ descent from my old bedroom window

    c) Reading Dave’s excellent report on today’s ride of some of our best-loved Surrey Hills trails.

    I really wish, Dave, you could have focused more on the crappy weather or the poor state of the trails. As it is you seem to have conveyed an impression of all having great fun and really enjoying yourselves. That’s really hacking me off, big time.

    You know the recommended way to end Dark Star in wet conditions is not to faff about heading left but keep straight on down the rocky run off gulley!

  2. Dave says:

    Sorry Andy,

    How about “The riding was awful, rain and mud soaked trails drained my will to live until I was left a wimpering wreck on the smooth rooted entry into the new section of BKB”? Is that better for you?

    Yeah, but any idiot can throw himself down a 45 degree, rock strewn gully. Control and finesse is the thinking mans fun.

  3. tony says:

    Hi Dave

    Oh how Colin, Lee and I laughed when we saw the rain coming down. I don’t think that any of us was regretting the early finish.

    Lee did you get stuck in the car park with the coach?

    When I got back to Fetcham it was hailing with fury. I hope you didn’t cop that. I left the bike on the back of the car for an hour before the rain slackened and I felt like getting it.

    I really enjoyed BKB. With berms like that it just makes me want to go to Brechfa to try more of Rowans trials. More please!

    Andy – the Punchbowl off the Blorenge is a great trial. Fairly full on descent in places. Perhaps we should try to meet up in Wales over the Xmas period?

  4. Colin says:

    Great ride chaps and as per Dave, top marks to all the trail pixies for the work on BKB. I’ve heard people comment its over too soon but that’s only because you can nail it down there and have a lot of fun to boot.

    Was nice to do a quick blast of a ride and return home at a family-friendly hour.

    Start time confusion entirely my fault and sorry to those who felt they could’ve had an extra half hour in bed……like i did

  5. Matt says:

    Reading Dave’s comments about ‘make sure you ride within your envelope’ reminds me that in conditions like today I wasn’t so much inside an envelope as a very large and surprisingly durable paper bag!

    As I peered out at the deluge from my Mum’s I have to say that the thought of riding the sodden trails again held little interest.

    Reassuringly, I’m sure my riding mojo will re-awaken come Wednesday’s night ride. Reading about BKB has certainly ‘whetted’ my appetite (boom-tish) but I think I’d prefer to sample it for the first time in the dry, if only to help preserve it’s new and possibly weather-vulnerable state.

  6. PIJ says:

    get your mojo on! Today was an utterly brilliant day to be out and about as a mountain biker. We were caught in the worst of it; tyres slipping, gears mashing and glasses steaming. The rain and hail was horizontal for much of it. Honestly, this was, for me, the best ride for literally years. I had an utter blast. Just see my posting!

    Don’t let the weather get you down. Enjoy it for what it is.

  7. James says:

    Sounds a great run, any plans to repeat it? Maybe on a Wednesday night ride? Or if again on a Sunday I will try and get clearance.

    I did manage to get out for a swin of the park and before the heavens opened. See you Wednesday night.

  8. james says:

    I meant a spin round the park!!!!

  9. John R says:

    Dave, you didn’t say much about Yoghurt Pots. Were they full of chocolate yoghurt today?

    I had a more leisurely run over to Leith Hill in the morning and got caught in a good downpower all the way home from Wolvens Lane. I hope next time BKB is on the agenda the conditions are a bit drier.

  10. Andy C says:

    Yes, Dave, that version makes me feel a lot better. Not so sure about the emphasis on control and finesse, just wallop into the nearest tree to stop … oh, hang on a minute …

    Tony – Nice idea, but I’m planning on returning to the trails with some gentle cross-country round the Preseli Hills. Brechfa’s Raven or Afan’s W2 might be a little to taxing for my cossetted carpals. So if you fancy some far, far west mountain action at Christmas, Preseli Hills is where its at!

  11. Lee says:

    Dave, nice write up.

    Yesterday’s ride proved if nothing else that low mileage doesn’t mean a low fun factor (did anyone clock it to the tea break?). I thought we packed a lot into barely 2.5 hours (for some of us) even if through a combination of bad footwear/crap riding, I ended up on the floor more than I would have liked in the conditions. New BKB is brill and I’m sure will ripen with age and there’s the potential I’m sure to put the odd little ‘obstacle’ on the new longer sections.

    Tony – I did get stuck momentarily in the car park by some mental coach driver who insisted there was enough room for him, along with the queue of cars behind him! But hey (**Smugness Alert**), I was DRY AND WARM!

    See you chaps soon.

  12. Colin says:

    Lee, I clocked a ‘massive’ 15.8km

    But as you rightly say, size isn’t everything

  13. Dave says:


    This is a well established fact noted by many Moles over many years. I think the gravity may be higher over there requiring extra work. That was always my excuse when heading head first for a tree on the now defunct Waterfall section of BKB.

  14. ian says:

    Dave et al

    Thanks – despite the rain it was a good ride which allowed me to test the whyte

    I’d heard it was good on the climbs, smooth along the singletrack but a bit sketchy on the downhill – which is not chuffin’ surprising with no brakes and squidgy front suspension

    But hey, at least I got my 40 quid back


  15. tony says:

    Hi Ian

    It was “only” the £3K version you were out on (South London bike shop snobbery in-joke). Air for the shock and fluid for the brakes is only available on the really expensive ones!

    I wonder how many the shop expect to sell handing them out like that?

    I did feel guilty about your front shock after I left since I remembered I had my shock pump with me. Hope the problems didn’t blunt your enjoyment of the bike.

    Just reading a review of the Lapierre 914. Very nice. Have you tried one yet?

  16. ian says:

    evening tony

    thanks for the recommendation – although i’d struggle with £3K

    climbing to £4.5K…..!

  17. tony says:

    Surely the 914 is “mid-price” for South London shops?

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