[Ride Report] Delamere Forest Solo XC

Location: Delamere Forest
Unicycle: Qu-ax 36 With a KH gel seat and better pedals.
Gadgets: Forerunner 205

So it has been over 6 months now since I’ve ridden over 5 miles in one go on the 36" so I was a little apprehensive how I’d fare especially since this was all going to be offroad forest tracks. I have however been riding to work everyday now for 4 weeks and although it’s only about 1.6 miles each way it has got me back in the saddle.

As I pull up into the carpark ready for my ride the heavens open and it starts raining very heavily. Now I don’t mind riding in the wet at all it’s just the starting in the wet that I have trouble with :wink:

I give it 10 minutes to calm down a bit and after attaching the pedals and a quick check I set off. The car park is packed and there are lots of bikers, and walkers etc getting ready so more than a few heads turn as I ride past.

2 Miles in and I’m struggling. It’s taking me a while to get used to off roading again and the high gusts of wind keep trying to push me sideways. I can hear my hear my heartbeat ringing in my ears and I’m dripping in sweat. I reach a hill, hit a rut in the path and get pitched forward, landing on my feet and running fast. My plans for doing 18 miles at this stage are not looking to favorable!

I take the opportunity of the UPD to remove my waterproof - arrhhh much better. I was literally cooking inside.

I continue, now that my legs have warmed up and my heart rate settled down things are going much better. I’m riding 6.5 mile loops though the forest on marked trails. The ground is usually hard packed gravel or stone. In places it gets a little muddy and there are stretches where the ground gets more rocky, some of this is both up and down hill make it more interesting.

I finish the the first loop which takes me past the carpark and the handy toilets where more buttr gets applied and it’s then back on the uni before I cool down to much.

The second loop goes really well and I’m making good time and there have been no dismounts unplanned or other wise, well apart from the last long downhill section where I go a little to fast, touch a patch of wet grass to the side of the path and the wheel slides sharply away from me. Again I’m lucky to land running. This time round there are more people to dodge, especially one lady who jumps to one side with her camera at the ready to take a picture when I come past. On the finally section I see a couple of bikers ahead of me and I spin faster to catch them up, passing some more bikers on a hill while doing so. I get a satisfying ‘Oh’ as I pass between them on the hill. I carry on spinning fast till I reach the carpark again. As I’m dismounting ready for more buttr the bikers turn up and we have about little chat about big wheels and the reasons why I ride.

Ding Ding round 3. More of the same but this time I have some horses to negotiate as I make my way round. I’m still managing the up hills fine but when I do UPD on some rocks it takes me two attempts at mounting rather then my usual one so I know my legs are getting a little tired.

18 Miles in I’m just about to cross the road through the forest when an elderly gentleman comes running at me shouting ‘Unicycle Unicycle!’. His name is James and he’s 72, and the most excited about a unicycle person I have ever met! He tells me of an old friend of his who rides big unicycles and we chat for a bit while he takes a picture. He also told me of a tandem ride he did once which was more than 500 miles just to get a bottle of wine!

I’m soon back on the uni and shortly back to carpark again where after a stretch of the legs I sit down with a large helping of carrot cake and a coffee.

All in all a brilliant ride. I’m pleased with the distance and hopefully now I can get a few more rides in and aim for a 28 mile ride I’ve got my eye on - at least I know that I can manage the 18 miles if needs be.

Conclusion

  1. However wet it is I will get just as wet wearing my waterproof as not.
  2. I love offroad riding on a big wheel and had forgotten how much fun it is.
  3. Overtaking bikes never ever gets boring.
  4. I can ride for longer with buttr
  5. It takes me a good 1-2 miles to warm up.

Stats
Distance: 19.95 miles
Time: 2:46:16
Climb: +1,292ft / -1,280ft
Speed: 10.8mph average for 4.7 miles & 9.1mph for 14.3 miles
50% of the time was flat riding, 25% was ascending and 25% was descending

sounded like fun, and that has just made me want a KH36 more! How much harder is off road on a 36 compared to the 24 and what are the advantages of it(other than just plain fun!)?

Nice one Neil. Pretty good average speeds there - was it a faster course than the likes of Mayhem and Sleepless or have you just got really quick?

Rob

Nice write up Neil.
Were you wearing your shades?

And I like James already.

It really depends what surface you are riding on. General XC and fast single track the 36" is a blast but chuck in some mud and big rocks and I’d have to switch to a 29" with a better tyre. Start getting bigger rocks and drops I’d then be reaching for my 24". The great thing about the 36" is that it rolls really well over stuff and can smooth what might be a bumpy ride on the 24". I have a 24" and a 36". I love them both.

I feel faster offroad now on the 36er now that I’ve gotten used to it, saying that the course was much easier than sleepless, the tracks were wider, there was hardly any mud and far fewer bikes to get in the way :wink:

Sadly the shades stayed in the car, not that there is any photographic evidence of this, unless anyone knows James?