Thursday, August 26, 2010

Can I Come Riding With You?

Four months since I posted anything, I have been out on my bike, but have been either too busy or lazy to write anything on here.

Anyway today I'm going to write about my riding partner for most of the summer.

He's not been riding long, probably just over a year since he first threw his leg over the bike and made a few pedal revolutions, before the bike threw him off. A few tears were shed, he picked himself and the bike up and tried again. Never once throwing in the towel. Frustrating those early days, though perseverance quickly paid off. Soon we were riding a few slow miles, but eventually made it as far as the next metropolis (New Mills).

Need For Speed

Anyway at the beginning of the summer hols he decided he wanted to go and do some "proper" riding. So along with his 3 year the elder sister we went on a 12 mile loop, which is steady away in terms of technical ability, mostly towpath type surface, but like most rides round here takes in some steep hills. He rode 90% of it no problem, and pushed his bike up the rest. One of our running/riding friends with similar aged kids, described the ride as child cruelty. :)
Back at home he was buzzing, and asking what was next.

"OK, let's go and do some proper mountain biking" I say, and he says "cool".

A steady ride down the Sett Valley trail, then up Sitch Lane (steep), left up past Barking Dog Farm and we're into off road proper, loose and rocky and he just rides on. A couple of pushed bits, but importantly he gets down the loose rocky descents, with only a couple of crashes. Oh, he does crash and cry, but after we check for major blood loss and breakages, he always gets straight up, and gets back on the bike. Next we skirt Lantern Pike, and he modulates those brakes down the loose sketchy descent no problem. Wow. Back down the road and then to home. Not a long ride, but plenty of technical challenges especially if you consider those little 20" wheels.

Later that evening "When are we going out next"?

The Tissington Trail is a disused railway line that runs from near Buxton, down to Ashbourne. More or less flat, and 17 miles in length. I reckoned the kids would have no problem riding down to Ashbourne, and as a long shot, would even make it back. Transport home was arranged in case of sense of humour failure en route.

We parked the car near the start at bang on midday, and South we rode.
An early cafe stop at Parsley Hey, and then jelly babies fuelled the other 15 miles to Ashbourne.
In the cafe they asked if the kids wanted kids portions of beans toast and chips. Err no thanks, they'll eat the adult portions, and they did.

So I asked if they wanted to ride back, and they said yes. Slow now, especially on the slight hills, but amazingly my lad was having little trouble keeping up with his sister. At 8pm as we pulled up to the car my phone rang. My wife wanted to know where we wanted rescuing from. Tom shouted "we don't need rescuing, we're on the way home".

That evening at 9:30 Tom, sat like Buddha in front of the TV, obviously tired, he asked with enthusiasm in his voice "Are we going riding tomorrow"? Me, "No, I need a rest day".

The week after we went to the Lakes. A couple of 10-15 mile rides, and 3 back to back loops of the Whinlatter blue route. Very little pushing now, the boy is getting strong, if I can ride it sat down in granny ring and 3rd sprocket, he can grunt up it no problem.

He did wipe out quite spectacularly on one corner at Whinlatter resulting in a big scratch on his face. Everytime someone asked how he'd got it, and lots did, he said it was a scratch he'd got in a sword fight.

This weekend he came out on his first grown up group ride, from Hope up the Roman road, on to Hope Cross down, Jaggers and on to Edale, there we opted for the cafe and a train ride to New Mills before bombing back down the trail to home, as the others continued up some more big hills.

Out again the day after, rode all the way up Highgate Road without stopping, every weekend I see adults pushing up there, and then a couple of hours of offroad splashing through every puddle possible, which seems to be one of his favourite bits.

All that riding has taken some toll on his bike, so we spent a rainy day this week fixing up his bike this week. Swapping out some heavy junk (500gm handlebars anyone?), and adding some better stuff UN72 BB and an XT front mech to stop the chain jumping off.

The Fettler

He really likes the whole thing, and even scary jumps and stuff. I hope he doesn't break me when he's older.


If the weather is reasonable at half term, we will be somewhere on the Coast to coast, shame there's not time to fit it in before the end of this summer's holidays, and most likely LeJog next summer.

Anyways I've had a fantastic summer's riding, and I think Tom has too.