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TOPIC: Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014

Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1150

  • Mr Incredulous
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The sun shone bright and the day was as good as you'll ever get in December. The car park was a little sparse on arrival but eventually a gang of Kaff, Madge, Richie, The Legend, Keith, Big Ben, Neil and Myself were joined by new rider Ben who I'd met on one of my recent courses..

Steve was out on his cross bike, we had six on hardtails and two on FS bikes. Due to the conditions, at some point in the day we were all probably on the wrong one but in the end we made pretty good progress around the forest doing about 16 miles in all on trails that were as slick in places as I've ever experienced.

The Bridge of Si's was almost under water and riding up to it in front it took quite an effort of will to force myself to hit the ramp. Hoping it was still intact under the mossy soup that had formed across the dip It was actually as good as ever and the the most difficult bit was actually negotiating the roots on the exit which were super slippery. Neil came closest to a damp foot. We crossed Earls Path and rode the downhill to the clearing. The top section was more sideways than straight but the only way to get down the roots at the bottom was to point the bike downhill, pedal hard and really hang on At the bottom Keith was questioning our collective sanity - of course The Legend took it all in his stride.

The downhill from Golding's Hill to Indian Summer was as slippery as I've ever known it. Just before the big tree at the start of the stream I made the mistake of glancing back to check on the rest of the group and that was that, I was having an unexpected lay down. After re-grouping at the bottom we climbed up through the ferns and then made our way onto the climb up to Jacks Hill which was where group discipline broke down for the first time.

As anyone who has been out in the forest recently knows there are very little in the way of defined trails at the moment and in lots of places it really is a matter of making it up as you go along. I know my way around but plotting the route, trying to pick the best lines and managing to ride my bike are about as much as my multi-tasking skills will allow so being on the front you really do need some help down the line to know if we've lost someone. Enough said.

Big Ben was, to say the least, having a bit of a bad day. His work phone (he was on call) kept ringing and as best as he was able, he had to try to answer it. After getting a stick stuck in his rear mech he also had some issues with his gears and these two things combined on a couple of occasions to see him and new rider Ben detached from the group. On the way up to Jacks Hill I managed to back track and find them but having crossed onto The Ridges and wound our way through the ferns and some big boggy pools to Five Logs, I was a bit surprised to be without them again and nobody else seemed to know when they'd gone missing. I went off in search but this time the break was to prove permanent and we only got back together at Bradley's. This was a real shame as new rider Ben had come a long way and they both missed some of the best trails of the day.

As usual Five Logs took a few prisoners but Richie somehow managed to ride the diagonal. We made our way back to Jacks Hill and in a tight group made a fairly speedy bash at Secret Squirrel which was surprisingly dry in places. From Broadstrood we headed for The Boggy Valley and then, after crossing ENR, up to Wake Valley Ponds and the almost mandatory ride over The Double Logs and the trails down to lunch.

The Ben's were there, I made our apologies and we had a chat about their disappearance before they both headed back to the car park. The rest of us grabbed a quick lunch and then headed for Andy's. All went well until we hit Mikey's double log ride. Richie. Keith and I all made it over safely but next in line was Neil and as he came over his bike did the classic stoppie and, almost in slow motion, he was pitched over the bars, coming down straight on his head from quite a height. It didn't look good and the three of us on the safe side all took a sharp breath. Neil is a tough cookie though and he was soon, maybe a bit too soon, up on his feet.

After giving him a moment we carried on downhill to the stream where The Legend slipped past us and then showed us a clean pair of heals as we headed through the bends towards the bridleway. I tried following his line but it was just impossible, those skinny tyres work so well and he's not bad on the bike either!

As we headed south on the bridleway at the bottom of Lippet's, Kaff decided to get all 'woman power' on us, insisting we ride only single track back to base. "So, do all you girls want to ride back on the bridle?". We knew not to argue so made our way on skinny trails back to No Name Corner and then to The Graveyard for the customary Last Five Minutes trails back to the car park.

After a much needed de-clag of the bikes we met up again with Big Ben for the debrief where we were also joined by Paul The Lock who'd been out scumming. Landlord John gave us our list for the beer selection for the party on Saturday and we were fairly unanimous in our choice of a nice golden ale from the Wychwood brewery which we remembered from a recent tasting.

Have a good week and hope to see you on Saturday, one way or another.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1152

  • uggski
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Great report as usual. :)
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1154

  • TommyTank
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Great report Miles, I felt like I was actually there, slopping around in the mud
I can't believe scummers are allowed on this site!
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Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1156

  • marc
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Sounds like a good one. Thanks for the write up :)
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1162

  • Kaff
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Nice one Miles. I was so exhausted after I couldn't sit still. Next time let's come back on the bridles!
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Re:Saturday Forest Ride - 13/12/2014 5 years 7 months ago #1163

  • Barry
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I did and I am still too knackered toobe
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Ride Info


The rides always start from Chingford Plaines car park (see map below) which is opposite Chingford Golf Course and 5 minutes walk from Chingford Overground Station.

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Be bike ready at the meeting point at least 15 mins before ride start time. Pedals turning at 11am every Saturday morning or 7pm most Wednesday evenings

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Saturday: medium/fast pace, distance approx. 18-25+ miles, duration approx. 4-5 hours. Wednesday evenings: fast sprint, distance approx. 10-15+ miles, duration 2-3 hours.

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The forest is full of hazards that can bring an end to your ride, so bring a mini pump, spare tube and multi-tool so we can all spend more time pedalling.

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It's simple NO helmet, NO ride. Other than that you can wear whatever keeps you warm, dry and happy. But, be warned some days the forest can be extremely muddy.

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Under 35?

No problem, we have regular riders who are 25 years young and some who are 50+. As long as you can keep up you are more than welcome to join us.

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M25, Junction 26 (Loughton & Waltham Abbey). From roundabouts, follow signs for Loughton A121 & Epping B1393 for 1.3 miles. Take 4th exit at Wake Arms roundabout for Woodford A104 for 2.8 miles. Turn right onto Rangers Road A1069, follow for 1 mile past the Royal Forest Hotel and down the hill. Take the first right onto Bury Road, continue for 200m and turn into the car park (see map below).

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MBRO35 (Mountain Bike Riders Over 35) are a social group of riders, not a club. As you may have guessed we are mostly over 35 years of age although some that ride are younger so don't let that put you off.

The group ride on a Saturday morning at 11am in Epping Forest which is to the North East of London. A lot of us have lived around and cycled in the forest for a good number of years and we are lucky to have some regular riders who know their way around the miles of singletrack very well. We ride all year round and usually get a pretty good turn out in all but the foulest weather. We are a sociable group and the emphasis is on enjoyment rather than speed or the mileage travelled. Having said that, the rides can be fairly quick at times and whilst we welcome riders of all abilities you will need a good level of fitness in order to keep up as well as a mechanically sound mountain bike. We ride mostly on the forest singletrack, the narrowness of the trails and exposed tree roots make for some challenging technical riding.

In addition to the regular Saturday rides we also do forest night rides on a Wednesday evening at 7pm as well as occasional away days or weekends. If you prefer your wheels on firmer ground, there is also a strong road contingent within the group that often rides out into the Essex and Hertfordshire countryside on a Saturday or Sunday. The road rides usually leave earlier in the day and head out via High Beech for trips of anything up to 70 miles. Most local rides are followed by a debrief in The Station House pub in Chingford where thanks to a very amiable Landlady we have a place to wash the bikes and store them in safety while we have a few beers and discuss the events of the day. You can also read about some of our most recent rides in the Ride Reports section on the forum.

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