Through the wonders of Facebook and Messenger I’ve made contact with a bunch of local guys who do trail riding, the FB Group is called a Lot of Bikes, which is how I refer to the group. I have been in touch with them for a while but Sunday was the first time I had been out for a ride.

What a fantastic day out !

Trailered the bike to the start “John’s place” – but only about 20 min away. Followed another guy from Albas who I vaguely knew called Andy (bought Pod’s old Clio) in his van with his son Adam and son’s bike. Turns out Andy doesn’t ride much any more but used to a lot in the past etc.

Met up with the others – very relaxed and friendly. Seemed to be old ‘uns and young ‘uns – fathers and sons. I was probably the oldest but possibly had the newest (best??) bike. The young lads were bonkers and raced about everywhere – everyone was way faster than me and the pace was fast anyway. John has set up a motocross track in his garden and I pootled round a lap of that – while the lads roosted round and took off over the jumps etc. He also has an Enduro loop through the woods which was more to my taste – did get stuck once but managed pretty well for a first attempt – some steep bits up and down and a rocky dried up stream.

Once everyone had arrived and got set up we were off down a never ending series of superb trails – from wide open very fast (for some) to tricky weaving in and out of trees to very scary climbs and descents. One of the team was Albertine (a lady) who has a reputation for being a bit slower (like me) and falling off quite a bit. Her second fall of the day resulted in a fractured wrist and a visit to hospital – but that was the only real injury of the day. Falling off seemed to be the norm – especially the youg guys. I managed to stay on but was proceeding with caution. At some point we came across another private motocross track with even bigger jumps and drops – I pootled while the others ripped.

Lunch stop to eat our sandwiches, refuel and carry on. Don’t know how many hours or miles we did but got back about 4. I hope the video will show something of what it was like.

Really great day – very exhilirating. Pleased that the bike ran perfectly and happy with the setup. The detuning has given it a much more linear and safer power delivery. Not sure about my tyre choice as everyone was using enduro knobblies and I did struggle for grip on some loose sections. I tend to ride standing up which is generally good but I need to look at cornering technique as I am slow on corners, but they were tending to sit down and stick a leg out – motocross style to lean the bike harder into the turn. Might also be that my tyres are meant to run upright – no side knobs.

Another technique I need to learn – a few places we were going at a reasonable speed and came across a ditch across the path. They were pulling up the front wheel and partially jumping the ditch with the rear tyre hitting first on the opposite side. I was slowing down and riding into and out of the ditch. Maybe only a couple of feet across. My technique is very dodgy if the ditch turns out to be deep !

Very dusty following the others on some trails and often splattered with rocks from the bike in front accelerating and spinning the wheel. My open face helmet and “sunglasses” maybe not the best choice. Everyone else with full face (motocross) helmets and goggles.

This was a Sunday afternoon and at one point we came through a very quaint old stone village with a cafe/restaurant – lots of diners sitting enjoying their lunch with a bottle of rose in the sun – bunch of lairy bikers blast past in a haze of 2 stroke smoke. Where do you picture yourself in this scenario ?

On Any Sunday…

Hill Climbing – King Of The Hill

At one point in the ride we came across a steep hill climb and so the boys set off to “have a go” – which showed it was far from easy so I declined. The best perfomance and King of the Hill award went to Tanel who just made it look easy…