The sun brings out the crowds… and mud.

Logo just visible, transmission completely covered but working and tyres clean.
Logo just visible, transmission completely covered but working and tyres clean.

I have warned countless times over the last 10 years not to ride on melted trails…… Yesterday I did. I could not start until late. So, still wanting to take it easy and enjoying my renewed passion for mountain biking, I opted for the trails and not the roads. It was an easy decision as I knew that by 11am there would be too many cars about. The mild overnight frost was already melting so I had to draw on extensive trail knowledge and some luck to find a passable route. It wasn’t too bad as the melted layer of clay was just enough to make you dirty and slide but not to halt progress or jam up the transmission, in fact a real surprise was the relatively mud free passage through the Michelgrove Park bit of Patching Wood.

The sun was warm and everything could have been good apart from the crowds. I usually leave at the crack of dawn and hardly see a walker or motorists but yesterday was awful; to the point of queuing in places; such were the numbers of people enjoying the mud, the sun and the holiday spirit. I have never witnessed so many people on the Downs.

As I am used to the peace and quiet of the Downs at dawn I had to stop myself from feeling snobby and annoyed that my private play ground was overrun by Sunday walkers. It is a testament to how wonderful the South Downs National Park is that for most of the time and avoiding car parks we can enjoy the wonder of this open space in total solitude oblivious to the huge numbers of people living nearby. There are advantages to wet horrible days!

Here’s the ride. Not hard and I am still doing the mountain bike social thing of waiting at the top of each climb or bottom of each descent to regroup and have a natter. However, now 2015 is looming those rides will stop and it’ll be back to flat out everywhere: no stops! I am still amazed at the way the Scott Scale 900 SL that we built just sails up and over anything. A full review is begging. It did take three buckets to clean it rather than the usual two but I’m not going to hose this bike, it’s too precious.



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