An unexpected meeting

My (work) team & I are doing an 11 mile charity ride next sunday (13/5) so I was out practising. Before everyone gets excited I’m the only unicyclist, the rest are b*kers

I forgot a few things, water,the fact it was bank holiday sunday, snacks, you know stuff (its my age or general absent-mindedness or phase of the moon I forget which). The carpark was therefore full of families and dippy dog walkers (is it really that hard to keep you animals under control ?), so my 2 wheeled companion & I decided to take off the main trail where possible.

It seems most people are scared of a bit of dirt, so we had a lot of nice dusty forset tracks to ourselves, its quite difficult to get lost in the pines (but reasonably easy to get misplaced). Popping out from the side track onto the main trail we passed a bunch of families who no doubt commented on the unicycle, I’m sure most of it is in the “quote of the day” thread.

We hit a vaguely thrilling bit of single track that descends through a lot of heather, the main fun comes from the narrowness, after that its back to the main track for the big hill & everyones favourite sport of riding past MTBers.

Another turn off took us into the burnt forest which according to the ranger I spoke too last week is the result of arson, people grrrr. I still can’t make it up the 3 in 5 slope (estimate) to the top of the ridge, but I can ride the descents off the ridge, which is fun.

That leads to a bit of single track which is not too challenging (apart from a couple of climbs with tree roots) but provides a bit of speedy fun. I had to go faster than usual as a very courteous chap was waiting for us, he seemed quite impressed. We popped out on the main trail, the original plan being to whip round the back of the forest, where we thought it’d be emptier (& there are some really nice grassy avenues under the trees). However a rather obnoxious family were making a production of going through the gate so we decided to ride round the back & try our luck on the dual descender, and what a stroke of luck.

At the top of the descender there is a picnic bench, so whilst we had a quick discussion about what was going on later we had a bit of a break. What did I see coming up the path, but what looked like another unicyclist, closer, it is a unicyclist, nice KH24 too. Looked a bit like mikefule, but being absent minded I wasn’t entirely sure and being shy & retiring I wasn’t about to yell “MIKE!?” at a potentially random stranger. They turned off onto the dual descender, no option but to give chase…

I’ve never cleanly ridden the descender, there is a nasty bit at the top that I only get right about 30% of the time, today was a good day & I aced it, after that it was into the rough stuff where the “north shore” skinnies were til the huge storms in Jan, I cleard that and a branch got the better of me, Damn! A quick hop back on and I caught up with the mystery unicyclist (the observant RIde report readers amongst you will know it was indeed Mikefule).

After a brief chat about wildlife, unicycling & stuff we went our seperate ways, me to get some refreshment & Mike to scare BMXers. Whilst taking another break & drinking our hard purchsed water, Mike arrived, more chat was interupted when the oncall phone for work went grrr, so I wasn’t abe to bid Mike as polite an adieu as I’d have liked.



After our water break we headed back into the forest.

Unfortunately one of our favourite trails was blocked by 4 abreast dog walkers, so we hared off by the lookout tower (since we’d just had a break, we broke the rules & rode on by). The trail there is used mainly by Horse riders, so its a lot of churned sand. Instead we headed off between the trees.

We found a really nice trail, that dropped out just where I expected and continued on as well, a cross roads & a decision left,right or forward. A wise man said let poetry be your guide & we took the road less travelled. NEVER EVER trust a poet.

The track quickly became a narrow twisting thing littered with craters and tree roots, one of which catapulted me from the saddle and somehow allowed the unicycle to land in front of me (huh ?) and somehow bite my elbow with its tyre.

The rest of the ride followed the marked route with the odd deviation, unfortunately due to the imminenant arrival of my 2 yr old neice (and family) our trip to the unexpected pond had to be cancelled. I was partly glad as the descent from it would have been more exciting than necessary & the Heron (will this do mike ?) that lives in the reed bed can be quite territorial.

so after 17.5km of dusty technical & smooth riding (during which I found out how much fun unicycle skids are (I think I’d like another stab at the snow now I’ve more KM under the pedal) ) we’d earnt our chips, of course my neice demanded more fun, so an hour of piggy back rides & running about the forest followed. That post ride Hot bath was particularly welcome.

Till next week (hopefully)

'Twas indeed nice to meet you. That was the first time I had ever met another unicyclist in the forest, or indeed on any other ride, except when planned. Nice write up, with the bonus of being far shorter than mine.

Just go down that little hill keeping the netrance tot he “descender” on your right and you will find the bride over the railway. Bear left there and up onto the old railway and you will be on your way to the Cursed Earth and The Desert.