Sunday's ride

Sunday morning, bright and clear… I decide to take the MUni up into Debyshire. I drive up to Black Rocks, Cromford, and set off along the High Peak Trail - an old railway trackbed converted into a cycling and walking route.

A short distance up the trail is My Own Personal Everest (MOPE). This is a long 1:7 (14%) incline with a surface which varies from compacted mud and grit to loose gravel to rough bedrock. When it was a railway, the waggons had to be hauled up on a cable pulkled by a massive static engine at the top. My best ever effort was to ride up MOPE in 3 stages, on a 24 with 150s. Today, I’m on the 26 x 2.3 with 150s.

How do you assess the difficulty of a ride when describing it to others? It’s so subjective. There are so many variables. Let’s put it this way: a few days ago, I did well over 2 hours and well over 20 miles on the Coker without a dismount or UPD. I don’t lack stamina, determination, technique or concentration. However, I doubt I will ever climb MOPE without a stop - unless I “cheat” and do it on a 20 with 150s.

I set up MOPE with vigour and enthusiasm… with hindsight, far too much of both. By about a third of the way, I’m breathing so deeply that the trees keep swaying towards me, and old people have to cling to their hats to stop them being ripped from their heads and drawn into my tortured lungs.

I get flustered on one of the uneven sections and UPD. I take the opportunity to regain my composure. This is the most technically demanding section, so I’m still in with a chance of doing the hill “in two”.

Yeah, right! And the Pope never goes to church. After a third of the rest of the way, I’m so out of breath that I step off the unicycle and throw myself onto the verge in despair. It takes me a long time to recover.

Part way up the hill, I meet a pair of volunteers who are doing minor repairs to the trail. One steps across in front of me with his spade and says, “I’ll just move this stone for you.” He flicks the tiniest of pebbles out of my way. I thank him.

“How far are you going?” He asks.
“To the top,” I respond, through gritted teeth.

Another UPD only fifty metres later, and this time, it takes me a couple of attempts to remount. Wherever I try, there’s always a difficult bit (e.g. a discarded match stick) just too close for me to get my rhythm going in time.

And then another UPD and two or three failed mounts. I’m overtaken by a couple of elderly pedestrians.

Eventually, and with no feeling of achievement at all, I make it to the top.

To put this into context: the first two or three times I attempted this hill, I turned back around half way up. This current attempt was probably my second best on the 26. Perhaps cruising up it (I exaggerate!) on the 24 has given me inflated expectations.

Anyway, there’s a small shop at the top, and I purchase Lucozade and a Snickers (the Bar formerly known as Marathon). It takes me a good 20 minutes to get myself back into a state fit to ride. My hands are trembling and I feel like I’ve been fencing all day with no food. As a former bicyclist, I’ve experienced the “Dreaded Knock”, also known as “The Bonk” (before that meant something else!) and this is something different. It’s like I’ve started digesting all next week’s meals, only to find I haven’t eaten them yet.

Eventually, I remount and turn to ride back down the hill. The first few yards of my ride take me past the cycle hire shed, where whole families are getting ready to set of on mountain bike odysseys, still in that stage of excited anticipation before the grim reality of differing expectations, sulky children, and uncomfortable seats sets in.

One witty hirer remarks, “Look… he hired that at half price!”

As I reach the top of the hill, ready to descend, I see the notice that warns cyclists not to ride down the steep incline. I may well have pointed out before in this forum that INclines go UP, and DEclines happen after you hit 40.

I make the whole descent in one. It takes a certain amount of care, but it’s not too demanding. I then turn off towards the quarry, the scene of my chin splitting UPD of a few months ago. Will I have the courage to attempt the same obstacle? Or the sense to refrain? Both possibilities are left hanging because there is a huge family nearby having a picnic, and I really don’t want to spend the next few minutes being the subject of loud and ironic commentary from the males in the group.

I ride back to the car park, feeling a little disconsolate. The ride up MOPE has taken it out of me physically. There’s not an awful lot nearby that I can play on, and there are far too many people about - who would have thought it on a Bank Holiday weekend? Don’t they have a coast to go to?

I decide to ride off into the woods a bit. The first stage takes me past a small flat grassy area where a group of people are playing in a slightly bored fashion with remote controlled cars. “Whizzz!” go the cars. Then they go, “Whizzz!” This is followed shortly by a “Whizzz!” This seems to be all that they do. One of the men tries to make it marginally more interesting by aiming his R/C toy at me and playing chicken. I’m tempted to run over the bloomin’ thing, but I restrain myself.

So, off into the woods, where I ride a challenging packed mud incline, weaving between or riding over a few roots and the odd stone. Soon I get to a bit that’s too hard to ride, and I get off and push. I generally head up hill, half planning to ride the descent. I come to a slightly flatter smoother bit, remount and ride until I UPD for no good reason. Morale is getting low. I sit down for a while and listen to the birdsong and watch a rabbit. I decide the time has come to turn back, mentally and physically burned out.

I ride most of the way back with only a couple of UPDs on the tricky sections. Only 3.76 miles covered - some of that walked - and I’m more beaten than I was after my 22 miler on Tuesday. Am I getting unfit, or did I just bite off more than I could chew? We’ll see.

Re: Sunday’s ride

On Mon, 3 May 2004 14:50:29 -0500, “Mikefule” wrote:

>How do you assess the difficulty of a ride when describing it to others?
>It’s so subjective.

One objective fact would help: how long is YOPE?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Clearly a system of 1/14 and 1/16 is not decimal - Mikefule on the English weight system

Re: Re: Sunday’s ride

Never measured it. It’s signposted as a nominal 1:7 (14%) and I guess it’s around 1/2 mile (0.8 km) long.

Mike, ironically enough you weren’t the only one wheeler out around Black Rocks this weekend. Myself, James and Roland (all Derby Juggling Club folks) were out and about in the same region on Monday afternoon. Small world, eh?
We discussed parking at the bottom of the incline and having a go at your ‘Everest’, but as we only had a couple of hours we thought that a play in the woods around Black Rocks themselves would be more fun (and less likely to cause us to black out).
There are some great sections through the woods around the rocks and we rode up (and, I must admit, trudged on occasion) through these before making it up to the trig point and then descending, via some quite technical sections, back to the High Peak Trail. On a personal note, despite not nearly being able to ride everything, I was able to ride the majority of the route which pleased me no end (not quite up there with James or Roland yet, but maybe one day…).
A good day out, but a shame we didn’t bump into you - we’ve yet to meet another uni rider on our trips and it will be good when we do, if only to confirm that we’re not alone!
We did encounter quite a few Bank Holiday folks bumbling about as well and were struck with how some seemed to confuse a unicycle with a hearing aid - or at least that was the only conclusion we could come to when said people stand around twenty feet away and chat in very loud voices about how “they must be right idiots” or “what a stupid thing to do” or “he can’t ride it properly” while you are trying to re-mount after UPD’ing on the flattest, smoothest section of the trail. Ho-hum.

Anyway, I hope we meet on the trails soon,

Ha! The unicycle as a hearing aid!

My tersest exchange ever, when riding:

Man to child: “Look at that silly man. He’s a silly man isn’t he.”
Me to man: “Maybe, but I’m not deaf.”

And if you’re going to be riding on my pathc, don’t go and blow my cover by telling everyone how easy MOPE is. I’m 41 you know. Show some respec’! :wink:

And talking of other unicyclists: someone out there owes me a pint of beer. My incredibly boring manager came up to me today for a talk (he’s lonely) and said, “I thought of you yesterday…” (beats the time when he told me he’d had a bloomin’ dream about me! :astonished: ). He’d seen another unicyclist, somewhere near Bestwood Park in Nottingham.

From the description (adult male, cycle helmet, backpack…) sounded suspiciously like Gary “Unicus”.

My boss is soooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. Someone out there owes me a pint. No, make that a brewery. :angry:

If it was monday that may well have been me. Ask him if the unicycle was orange if you want to be definate. I’m going there again sometime, it was quite good fun. Probably not for a while though, what with thse pesky exams that I really should have been revising for while I was throwing myself down hills on one wheel. Ah well, I’ll get my priorities sorted some time, but Ive got too many other things going on to do that now.


It’s really nice to read a detailed account of someone’s ride for a change, don’t mind the tech questions, but it’s great to sit back and just read a little story once in a while! I don’t hink there are enough of them. I think Mikefule must be responsible for some of the best little unicycle anecdotes on the forum- hope it becomes a more regualar feature! :slight_smile:

Good writing!

I look for mikefule’s accounts and always enjoy reading them!

I too will be 41 in less than two weeks, and can sympathize with your worries about physical conditioning. Think of it this way though; if you’ve made it this far, you’re on a roll!

Hmmm. We’ll take that one with a pinch of salt. The absence of an apostrophe gives us no clue as to whether the author is a monotheist or polytheist, so we have no data on which to base a rebuttal.

Lol! I was thinking the same thing!

I have no proper training in my native language, but I did rank as a “grammar god” in the just conversation quiz a couple weeks back, so the way I (as a grammar god), see it is:

If I were going to refer to a day belonging to a single god, I would use the wording “BECOZ ITS GODS DAY”. If I wanted to refer to a day owned by multiple gods, I would say “BECOZ ITS THE GODS DAY”. Since the latter was used, I feel secure in saying that the author is a polytheist, but there’s more to consider.

The author also used the phrase “YOU BLOODY HERETIC”. While I’m sure the phrase is used elsewhere in the world, that use of the adjective “bloody” is mainly seen in British English. Therefore, I feel it is safe to assume that the author is a British Polytheist. Unfortunately, this gives way to further assumption…

The only Polytheistic British religion that I am aware of is the Druids. Making me believe that the author must be a druid. However, to the best of my knowledge, the druids are all dead. Ergo, the author must be deceased.

The poster declared the existence of multiple dieties, and as he is presumably posting from the afterlife, one has to believe that he is in a position to know the truth. In another thread, Mikefule hinted that he might not exist in the way we expected. He might not even be alive.

As someone who has read Mikefule’s posts religiously for quite some time, I think that the answer is this - Mikefule is a diety, and he is making his posts from the afterlife (presumably because he loves us). One of the implecations of this is that the deceased poster mentioned at the start of this post was unaware that, as a god, Sunday was Mikefule’s day, and it was perfectly acceptable for him to go riding.

Blasphemically yours,

Saturday is the sabbath GOD’s holy day which is the 7th day of the week. It referse to work not a relaxing uni ride. But we do selabrate it on sunday, me and this kid at my church are trying to figure it out why its not on sunday, I guess I’ll do a little research.

Not me. My uni’s are awaiting spares from Roger, cranks for my 20" and I’m adding a brake to my MUni.

Back riding soon though, we’ll have to arange a ride for Nott’s/Derby riders now there’s a few.

Cheers, Gary

Re: Sunday’s ride

Lovely analysis Rob.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Clearly a system of 1/14 and 1/16 is not decimal - Mikefule on the English weight system

My word, will these coincidences never cease? Not only another one-wheeler out on the Black Rock trails, but but one who’s called Gary as well.
Bless my soul, you could have knocked me down with a feather etc.

Gary (not Unicus Gary, but another one)