There was a time when Geoff would challenge everyone going uphill. Anyone attacking on a climb would be chased off by Geoff (… maybe why I have always stayed at the back).
Geoff and his trusted road bike would conquer multiple passes in the Alps and the Pyrenees.
What has happen of late is a mystery: Geoff is usually at the back on climbs and even worse he has been captured on many occasions pushing his bike!
The first time I witnessed Geoff beaten by a climb was last year on Castle hill near Brighton (below) where Marcus all in style overtook him effortlessly…..
The last few weeks, happy snapper Matt has managed to capture more shots of Geoff pushing his bike: Last week around Chilham (has anyone ever pushed on this climb?)
and again this weekend: here on the climb to Leith hill tower. This was the only shot of multiple dismounts!
Has Geoff finally been defeated…. Welcome to my world where every climb is a challenge
A trip to Gatwick for Chris was a good excuse for a few of us to meet in Holmbury St Mary on Saturday. Despite Chris having issues at finding the meeting place for some, we all managed to set off pretty much on time.
Destination: the Redland trails on the Coldharbour side as some of the guys had not been there before. The trails were muddier than expected…. or now used to the trails around Brighton and Friston that have been dry for weeks. Still, overall very good fun despite some of these everlasting gloopy holes.
Happy snapper Matt did not miss any occasion to get the camera out, only to suddenly disappear on his own down ‘Firebeater’. The return leg was on some great downhills: Bury hill DH, summer lightening and of course the climb to the tower that defeated Geoff again (He seems to make a habit of getting off his bike recently …. more on this in the next blog).
A quick stop that the tower before a fast downhill back to the cars. Has the Tower shop changed hand since last time we stopped here? More choice and poncy cakes that Dangerous could not stop himself from buying!
Great Saturday afternoon ride where we hardly saw any other riders (for once)
More pictures on our website www.kent.trails.co.uk
It seems that today half the South East was riding on the newly open Blue and Red trails at Swinley. By 9.00am, the car park was already full and proved a challenge for all 7 of us to find a space.
I haven’t been to Swinley for over 2 years but wanted to make my own mind of what the Crown Estate had made of the many trails in Swinley forest. First impression were good as we started on the blue trails and orange surface that has been common to the repaired trails there over the last few years. A very nice first half on the blue with only a few sections I recognised.
The red route however is mainly a collection of old favourites. The trails as you would expect from the carpark situation were very busy. We decided to have a little detour on the Crowthorne area network of trails which seem to have been totally abandoned by riders over the last few months (results from a muddy winter?). This made however a good break from the over crowded marked trails.
The 2nd leg of the blue, on the way back to the carpark was a very pleasant surprise with nice big berms and fast singletracks crisscrossing a small valley.
Over all, a very good effort which is great to come and ride from time to time. Not sure I would be that appreciative if I was a local.
Back to the title… Has Swinley just achieve what Bedgebury has failed to do over the last few years: Established itself as a trail magnet for the South East trail riders? Time will tell but they have already made a good start
More pictures available from www.kent-trails.co.uk
Sunday, 21 April, 10:00-13:30: Swinley forest ride
Location: Discovery centre bracknell
Description: Swinley forest has seen lots of changes over the last few months with some of the old trails out of bound. The crown estate (swinley owner) has now introduced 2 new trails taking most of the old favourites. A good opportunity to try these new trails. Meeting at 9.45am for a 10.00am start
‘Led’ by Michael
An other very cold and breezy day changed my plan of a ride on the Downs. Instead, I ventured in Friston forest for the first time in about 3 months. As the previous day in Oldbury, the frost had transformed what might have been a muddy ride for a totally dry experience.
Since the last time I rode there with Marcus and Lars, it seems that the trail pixies have been very busy with some sections of old trails improved with new berms and jumps and new sections I had not noticed before.
I am sure Geoff would be interested to acquire such a quality trail building tool!
Really pleased to have found some totally new (to me) sections which are a good alternatives to the main singletracks and diverting from the usual mud sections.
Frozen toes and 3 climbs of the Friston fireroad (Trail pixies, can we have a chairlift on this one?) were enough for the day and a fast downhill back to Jevington was a great way to finish such a good ride
Saturday morning brought a thin layer of snow on frozen ground for what promised to be great fun. I had planned to join the Sketchy group for a ride around Oldbury, near Sevenoak and catch up with Dangerous (aka Andy). Having never joined the group and snow still falling, I set off early to ensure I would be on time. Silly GPS sent me via all the small and uncleared roads but still managed to make it in good time to the meeting point: a small, quiet lane off the A25 and some of the guys were already there having a chat under the cover of their car boot doors …. or so I thought!
As I park on in front of the 2 cars, the activity that came from the 3 blokes stopped and all 3 started to stare at me …. surely the excitement of seen a fellow rider joining them on a snowy day. Looking forward to meet my new fellow riders for the day I hastily made my way to greet them and while walking past the first car, the 1st doubt came … Lithuania plates and a very strong smell of petrol. That was now too late as the guys where standing in front of me. I quickly realised there was no bikes in the boots but instead a large amount of petrol cans. My greetings turned to something more apologetic ‘ obviously not part of the riding group I came to meet then…’. I could see the 3 eastern European guys starring at me from head to toe, probably bemused by this bloke in front of them all in black lycra!
A quick return to my car and from my back mirror could see that the can transfer had resumed between the 2 cars. To my relief, after about 10 minutes, the group had finished whatever illegal activity they were involved in and I could wait for the Sketchy mob to turn up.
The first few cars rolled in at 9.35am for a 9.30am departure. This time the activity looked more like what I was expecting … bikes coming out of cars.
Note to myself: Next time don’t be that early!
Introductions made and we were off for a quick spin around Oldbury on snow covered yet very grippy trails. After a return to the car park, we collected Dangerous and late comers and set off for what ended up as a great ride in great company.
Despite the cold and the work of an individual nicknamed as ‘stickman’ who seems to enjoy blocking the trails, the conditions were as good as they could have been for a winter ride.
A last minute crash by Dangerous on a ‘just rolling over a log’ ended up in a face plant and Dangerous loosing his devil’s horns cut short by his helmet’s visor!
Sunday 17 February, 9.30am - Sports Centre/Lewes Rd, Brighton BN1 9RB
Despite the wet weather, this ride should be ok. From the University we will head east along one of the ridge with great views on the SDW, Channel & Brighton and drop to Lewes and a return via the SDW to Ditchling Beacon. From there, it’s all downhill and a few options to spend time on the many singletracks of Stanmer park.
A solo ride for the first outing of this year on the South Downs Ways. Early fog made the climb easier as I could not see the top.
The fog quickly cleared away to reveal some great views over Brighton from the top of Newmarket hill.
From there, all down for a succession of bridleways over the top of Woodingdean and Saltdean before a long (too long) drag joining the SDW.
A very fast downhill took me to Kingston, along the windmill and down the back of Lewes where the slow start of the ride started. I knew that most of the climbing was on the 2nd part of the ride but did not plan for the very sticky singletracks chewed up by horses. Off the bike and a few pushes were certainly faster than trying to ride. On the way back up at the back of the prison, the muddy doubletrack took me off route and onto a nice and dry singletrack, so not all negative experience.
A section of road from Lewes to Offham to catch a usually good but steep singletrack allowed me to make slow progress toward Blackcap.
After a quick rest, the last leg (literally) took me back to Stanmer Park via the Ditching Beacon. Not used the trails around Stanmer for a while but these are as bad as I remembered them in winter and far worse than anywhere else I have been over the last 2 months…
Apart from the singletracks around Lewes and Stanmer, the ride was surprisingly on dry trails.
Five hours or so reinstating one of Covert trails today.Needs time to settle so please don’t ride it.