Don't talk of dust and roses
Or should we powder our noses?
Don't live for last year's capers
Give me steel, give me steel, give me pulsars unreal....*
HAIGH HALL GANG. BEFORE IT ALL WENT OFF.
MATTHEW .STILL NOT QUITE GONE OFF.
Sneaky Monday evening ride.Matthew ,my brother ,had asked me to introduce some buddies of his to the never ending delights of mountain biking. No problem.
Haigh plantation in Wigan was the venue.Meet up after tea and play it by ear from there.
Jeff and I rode up from our end and met the guys on the edge of the trees.Matthew was riding the demo GT avalanche that luckily was the perfect size .For his wife.She's about 5' 2". He's closer to 6'2". Hmm . Hey ho.It was OK with the seat up , but he deffo needs a large. His mate Lee was on a fairly brand new , virtually the same GT avalanche. The only difference being cable operated disc brakes Vs the hydraulic ones on the other. Paul , the other lad ,was on a similar ballpark halfords carrera. It has to be said all three of the hardtails here are representative of the lower end of the MTB ladder,but that said ,they are all perfectly ok for 'proper ' mountainbiking.Cheap bikes arent cheap these days.Later on I had a little spin on Paul's Carrera and the handling's spot on. Dead neutral and ideal as a starter bike to build confidence on. Miles better than the stupid old muddy fox Iwas on the other week.Relatively speaking.
We set off up through the treesI'm trying to pick a route that's not too hardcore. There are a few deadly drops in here . So we'll avoid them. It's mostly uphill to the hall anyway.We meander up .The trails are bone dry ,for a change,which is good.The pace is not too frantic ,but still it's doesnt take too long,even with the occasional sneaky double back.I throw in a techy climb,OK ,dry techy climb ,but still fairly tough and these young lads just wallop up it . No sweat.
Must be those dead good cheap beginners bikes ,eh ?
We hang about up near the hall for a bit.Feeding the midges.Still nice and sunny. lovely evening.I should've pointed out to the lads that mountainbiking is usually about being soaked to the skin on the side of Arthurskargilldale in a force 10 gale waiting for the medivac chopper.Ah well.
Mostly downhill from here.Few sneaky ups ,but mostly.Lee said he wasnt quite 'feeling' the bike yet.It's a confidence thing that comes with time.We wind down through the trees,fast at times . I'm trying to slow it down a bit .The lads are doing OK though.A couple of the bits thrown into the mix can catch you out ,but they seem to take it all in their stride.
The drop from the canal is a good example. Climbing up earlier it seems flattish. But coming back the other way it's just off horizontal enough that you dont have to pedal and it's dead easy to get up to a good lick.I love this run. I suppose i know it very well and feel like a sesh. Open up the taps on the Meta and it's away.It's what it's designed for . And more ,obviously. I was sure I'd put some space inbetween myself and the others but when it gets to 2 mins and I'm getting cramp in my shutter finger i feel quite smug. When it gets to 4 mins I start to think " Uh oh ".
Matthews decided to headbutt a tree, a problem i thought he grew out of as a small boy, and Paul has decided that the perfect time to remove his back wheel is mid-air on one of the drop-offs. Ace.This is MTBing.
We meander some more,still heading 'south'.Jeff and I have no lights ( tsk tsk),so we need to blast. Not long now. The classic 'one more drop'. It's going off.
"Come on in .Your tea's ready".
"just one more drop mam."
Kinda my fault. I was leading.Slightly steeper bit than previous.
I shout" NOT TOO FAST.WEIGHT BACK."
You know . The usual.It could've been worse,as they both were without helmets ( TSK TSK TSK ),but ,in a nutshell , Lee grabbed too much front brake. " Trigger happy " He called it.
So the bike stops....
It's a right of passage really.
Shame about the now egg shaped back wheel though. And it was all going so well.Hmm.5 mins from their car. Hope it's not put them off.Like I said. Could've been worse.
I've got to ride home.
Back up the canal.Still not dark.Midges.Feeding swifts.Karma.
I really enjoyed it. Thanks lads.Come again.
* Bowie, Big Brother.