We, the shop boys and a few others, went out for our annual ride on Tuesday evening. Off to Stanmer Park to ride some of those magnificent & technical trails. The last night ride that I had done was in the very same Park on a balmy (dry) evening in June. Boy was this different.
The pace started leisurely enough until we hit the single track. Talk about technical riding. This was difficult. It was like riding in grease. The best or should I say worse that the South Downs had to offer. As you know it had rained buckets. Whilst the ground was sodden the sky was moonlit and clear. It gave the woods an enchanted aura.
I was using a Marin Riftzone, the perfect bike you might think, but it was a large (good for up to 6’4″) and the bars measured 690mm. I usually use 600s. Those Brighton trail builders don’t like wide bars and so as well as dealing with the slippery surface I had to plan each twist and turn in order to get the handle bars through with out clipping them. I soon became a master of the “knocked off line” recovery but my knuckles were getting bruised. Of course the whole ride would have been easy enough had I not been trying to keep up with Darren and Jim. A natural order soon prevails in these situations and I soon gave up my third place to young Wil I Am. It is amazing how much concentration is required to pass though these trails smoothly and at speed. You don’t realise how much until you lose it. Eventually, a handle bar whack to many, and I went down. After that my speed dropped so much that I ended up at the back as I tried to regain my composure and get the mind up to speed again.
I managed to focus for one final push, this time between the two masters Daz & Jim. I was hoping to get on film (Jimbo had the camera strapped to his chest).
Thanks guys it was great. So what was the high point for me, the single track? No. Fun though it is, I’ve been riding that sort of thing for near 25 years. The best bit of the lot was following the crew through the University and clearing the staircase. My wheels usually stay firmly on the ground. I was only about 6 steps but for me it was massive and will get bigger and bigger the more I look back on it.
As I am not a regular night rider and my only equipment are a handle bar mount and a helmet mount. Something to go in them would be useful. I used a Joystick on my helmet and a Niterider Minewt Cordless 150 on my bar and I had enough to ride with.
Also out where Deadly, Paulo & Mike.
What is the best thing about riding in a group? Doing stuff that you’d probably not try. What is the worse thing? Buying all the drinks?