Unusual ride

I was on my Pashley 26" with 150mm cranks, and new to riding off road. I came to the brow of a short but steep hill. I chickened out. I dismounted. Thought about it, remounted… my foot was not quite right on the pedal. I reached the brow of the hill. I had not yet learned to lean the uni backwards on descents. “Logic” told me to keep it upright so my weight was directly over the pedal. I was nervous and uncomfortable with my foot off centre.

The wheel passed the point of no return, I had not learned to pull up on the handle, and as the uni accelerated down the hill, the rising pedal lifted me boddily from the saddle and my head came firmly into contact with a low branch. I ended up flat on my back, laughing and swearing by turns, and the uni ended up at the bottom of the hill without me.

That was a few years ago. I went back today, and blowed if I could find anything worthy of the name of “hill”.

I had spent a happy hour or so cleaning and servicing the uni, checking all the bolts, and replacing the terrible clicky Snafus that came as standard and were never satisfactory.

Now, early on a sweltering evening, I park the car, kit up, mount up and set of slightly uncomfortably. Something is wrong but I can’t quite say what. I UPD for no good reason on a rough bit of grass.

The new pedals are a few mm thinner than the Snafus, and although the difference is slight, I decide I need to drop the seat a gnat’s to compensate.

The seat clamp has been a bit unreliable for a while. However much I tighten it, the seat always twists after a heavy UPD. Now, when I loosen it to drop the seat, I notice it doesn’t seem to be sitting quite right. Further examination shows the metal is torn, and the clamp is about to give up the ghost. (This is the single bolt seat post clamp that came with the KH in about 2005. They now come with a double bolted clamp.)

With no spare available, I decide to continue with the ride but take it steady.

Within a few minutes, I have decided I have no choice but to take it steady - there’s nothing to be unsteady on! At some time in the last five years or so, this area of Mountainous woodland has mysteriously become level, smooth and devoid of contour or challenge. The paths are wide, well surfaced and straight. I remember it as quite exciting. Now it is pleasant but dull. Obviously I must have made some progress even if I did recently get my arse* kicked on beginners’ rides. :wink: (*English “arse” = US “ass”, or possibly “butt”, although over here, one is a donkey and the other is a barrel.)

Then I see a sign to a “bridle path.” Bridle paths are usually wide and easy, because as their name suggests, they are for horses and riders. However, this one seems to be going off in a more interesting direction and I decide to give it a try.

To my surprise, the bridle path is about wide enough for an anorexic one legged horse. To each side there is bracken (ferns) and this grows across the path at about waist height, obscuring my view of the ground. I plod along, a little disappointed that my new pedals don’t seem very grippy, and aware that the seat doesn’t feel quite right. Twice I hit concealed “wheeltraps” and UPD.

Then I come to an impasse: the bridle path has clearly not been used by anything other than a racing snake for months or years, because the bracken and briars (they’re the spiky things) are growing so thickly that they are completely hiding the route, and they are taller than head height. Unfortunately, the only sensible option is to turn back.

So (senselessly;)) I press on, like Stanley, seeking Dr. Livingstone, and after a few metres the path opens up again and I remount. By now, my arms and legs are red with scratches from the briars.

The seat is pointing the wrong way. I stand on the pedals and firmly strike the nose of the saddle with my hand and it turns too far the other way. The clamp has more or less given up on the whole gripping tightly project and has decided it just wants to relax and assume a primnarily decorative role.

I take the easy way back to the car then, on a whim, ride on half a mile into a different section of wood (near Walesby Scout Camp) where there is an area of low sandstone cliffs overlooking a small narrow river.

I strip off my riding gear and wade in, and eventually pluck up the courage to immerse myself fully. The water is less cold than I feared, but shallower than I had hoped. The current is almost exactly as fast as I can swim, so when I set of upstream, I stub my toe three times on the same rock even though I am swimming as fast as I can! I make an extra effort, get a bit further up stream, relax, and a second or two later, the rock claims my toe for a fourth time.

As I am drying and dressing, two young lads appear on the opposite bank, laden with heavy fishing tackle and boxes. One wades across the river with some of the tackle, then returns to his friend who is struggling to pass items down to him.

Over the course of the next few minutes, the lad makes about four trips, and most of the stuff is now on this bank, at the base of the cliffs. His friend nervously wades across, and they begin to discuss how to get the fishing tackle up the cliff. It’s not impossible, but tricky.

As the first lot of fishing tackle makes it to the top, I politely ask them why they had not used the bridge about 300 metres further along the river.:D:D

Mike I hope your seat post gets better,and I would love to get a glimpse of those racing snakes in action especially the rare Irish racing snake.:slight_smile:

Geez it sounds like equipment failure really kicked you in the donkey on this ride! Hopefully a butt of beer was nearby to diminish the pain…:wink:

More classic Mikefule literature! I am never as excited as when I see one of your ride reports, keep em coming!