Wednesday, 19 March 2008


"Give 'em the boot,you know I'm a radical,
Give ,em the boot,the roots ,the reggae on my stereo " *

Went out last night .( Tues ) Cheeky midweek thing. Me, Jeff ,+ Gareth.I went on the Fisher HiFi.Before i get all 'bloggy' I'm gonna bang on a bit about the bike. It's bloody superb.Maybe I'm the right demograph and all that ,I dunno ,but it just feels right .To me.Dead tight ,incisive . I think a bigger set of tyres ,you know the ones,would maybe 'dampen the XC side of its nature,but I really think that could put it up there with the bigger hitters out there . OK ,it's not going to show a clean pair of heels to a VP 10 ,say,but ,dare I say it ,it'd be up there with the meta. Last nights ride was 'very XC' ,and basically dry,so it was in its element,and I'm stretching metaphors here but whilst there are differences in the Fisher and the Commencal they do both get the job done. It's just that the Meta feels like big old axe that could smash it's way through the undergrowth if you wanted it to ,whereas the Fisher is more like a surgeons scalpel . Making precise cuts ,efficiently carving it's way across the trail.The similarity between the two is that they both seem to have a bottomless pit of travel ,the faster they get ,the more they swallow it up.It's back to the old adage , theyre both great bikes and depending on the type of ride one could perform 'better' than the other.
As Gareth once said,"How many bikes do you need?
However many you already have , + 1 ".
In my case ,+ 2.

OK ,the ride . Jeff and Gareth both came here ,8.00. It was already , i thought , quite cold . Jeff ,being a geordie was complaining of hot flushes. We set out through the estate and in ,literally 3 mins we're in the surrounding countryside. A lift over a gate and we're climbing through the farmland towards the 'Turpin'. It's a local lump type thing. It's already dark ,with sporadic nearly full moon , as we climb for a few minutes on a narrow farm doubletrack,warming up nicely. Its a blast downhill on the swoopy trail ,riding in our lights ,to the back edge of Garswood near Seneley Green.I've only ever been around here in daylight ,with the kids in tow.Amy ,who's 6 ,stacked here last summer . She drama queened it a bit ,but hey , you gots to learn. Anyway ,we're flying. Theres no defined edge to the trail ,and jeffs local knowledge pays dividends as Gareth and I are in the field picking cauli's. Or was it broccoli?
20+ mins or so and we arrive at Carr Mill Dam. Again with Jeff on point ,it's a blast , around the lake for a few laps ,with an excursion on some sweet singletracks through the woods.I had a minor 'moment ' as my lights flicked off. They've been on the blink . Jeff has loaned me a lamp so that by a process of elimination i can determine which bit is knacked . They'd been OK ,and now are fully on again,so I figured I couldve just knocked them. Or something. We have a min looking over to the bridge engineering works . Being in the building game I can appreciate a nice scaffold,but anyway. It's cold when you stop . Jeff's quite literally steaming.He looks like the ready brek advert.
We head back ,another half lap of the lake and then we're on the farmtrail again . Bit more of the same with a few tricky bits where the land rover has left it's mark.The moons peeping out . Good job really ,as my lights are out again. I'm not imagining it. I switch my light off ,and turn on Jeffs. It's the same dance. Intermittent offery.It doesnt spoil the fun . In a way ,it makes it.
We get over to the blue hills.It's a smallish lump of slag left over from the local steak and kidney mines.At this point we could have gone 'directly' home. It's only 10 or 15 mins back. My lights are proper on the blink, we've done 10 mile ( i guess)it's pitch black ,albeit with sporadic moonlight .....So let's have a play round here then go over to Billinge woods. Ace.It's kinda on the way.

Billinge ,you might know ,has a beacon on top of Billinge Hill. The highest point in Merseyside , BTW . Billinge village is already quite high up but we still have quite a yomp to get up to the top.A short climb on singletrack opening up to whoop down to a small cutting.Lights off ,mid descent. Brill. The cutting comes up quick and I fluff it getting out the other side . It was quite tricky with a steppy slab thing ,but I just happened to stall in the big ring . Honest. Gareth ,on his singlespeed cant use that excuse. I dont know what was wrong with him . It must have taken 5 or 6 repeated attempts before he cleaned it.
Now the climb kicks in proper . Not too bad ,especially with the adrenaline effect of nightriding to help. It's better than Red Bull.We crest near the top,Billinge Hill and the beacon still a bit above and behind us. It's a lovely view. In the distance I can see the chipboard factory chimney I was working at the other day all the way over in Kirkby. Up a bit more and the view opens out in front of us. Pit stop. Gareth cracks out the whiskey and penguin biscuits as the moon comes out from behind the clouds.Turn the lights off for a minute.
We're still not at the top . Not too far now .The last steep bit ,a few more cranks.The view from up here is fantastic. 360 deg'. I've just googled it. It's 179m at the summit.

We take it all in for a few minutes ,but it's not warm enough to be hanging about and Jeff's got one more thing to show us. We drop down off the lump into blubell woods.I used to spend a lot of time up on Billinge Hill as a kid.My mum always called the nearby woods ,'bluebell woods'. So that's what I'm having. Anyway, we drop down under the trees. To my horror a bunch of vandals have built dirt jumps in the woods ,senselessly stamping over the beautiful periwinkle blue flora of my innocent youth,and chopping up fallen tree limbs to use as foundations for their sick fun.I may have to return here in daylight to assess this situation further.With a DH bike .

We check out the jumps ,working our way down and out of the woods.Superman seatgrabs are out of the question as it's past 10 o'clock and the 'one more jump' law applies.A short spin on the road ,light blinking ,blinking light ,into Billinge ,turn left and a fast spin down to Garswood and home.
All in all a top top ride. A place on my doorstep I've not been to in years and a good bit of fun to boot.
Hot Chocolate /Jaffa cakes. Perfect.
Bit more next week I think.

* Rancid.' Out come the Wolves ' ,Ska/punk. (Skunk?)Two tone ,black /white ,light /dark ,on - off . Intermittent.

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