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TOPIC: Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014

Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #124

  • Mr Incredulous
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For those of you who can remember that long ago, it was actually quite a nice day on Saturday. The sun came out, the sky was blue and Him up there gave us a whole day without turning on the holy sprinkler. Blessed we were, blessed indeed.

As we gather in the car park, Hannah shows of her new low batties and Hawkeye sits grinning on the saddle of his road bike. You can grin like that when you are safe in the knowledge that your ballerina legs and ultra-snug micro shorts are going nowhere near where us poor souls are about to venture. He is a very chipper kind of chap who loves his biking as much as anyone I know so we’ll move on and not mention his ballerina legs or ultra-snug micro shorts again.

The MBRO35 strap line on the jersey says "The Social Way To Ride". Madge, Kaff, Hannah, TT, Jeroen, Ron, Little Ben and I needed very little in the way of encouragement to take that to a new level. A pub lunch was already on the agenda and there was even a reluctance to leave the sanctuary of the tarmac but after a bit of chat and a bit of fettling we eventually waved goodbye to Hawkeye and via the Bury Road bridleway headed toward the forest. We passed at least three separate opportunities to actually venture in but eventually, after a quick about turn, we rode a surprisingly dry trail west towards Sewardstonebury, emerging on the bridle next to the golf course. For the next hour, with Kaff showing some previously well hidden navigational talents, we looped around making the most of the lack of swamp but not really going anywhere. Eventually though it was time to head north and that only means one thing - moist!

In an attempt to get over to Fairmead Road without a snorkel and speedos we crossed the green space that sits at the bottom of the hill up to Bradleys. TT requested a dry line but it wasn’t to be. Axle deep we made our way across to the ENR crossing point. Si rang and we agreed a rendezvous at Strawberry Ponds. Getting up there proved a bit of a task but we met up and headed off for the reverse (more difficult) crossing of The Bridge of Si’s.

I’m not sure how you think but I have a theory that if you are going to lead then that generally means going first. This selfless(!) train of thought has caused me no end of trouble over the years. I’ve fallen off, over or into every obstacle in this and a few other forests in my attempt to show the group that things are doable and I’m not getting any younger.

Anyway, up the front again, I’m approaching the bridge and I’m beginning to think better of my decision as the middle of the bridge appears, from my relatively low vantage point, to be under water. I’m not sure what made me speed up and keep going (probably having my nephew right on my back wheel) but I did and with a lot of laughing we do both make it over safely. I’m sure though that if I’d slowed down I’d have probably taken us both into the pond. Mad John always used to say speed was your friend and he knew about that kind of stuff. Si and Hannah follow us over and there was then a bit of rambling from Madge and Kaff before TT almost made it a memorable day of it for us all – I still can’t believe that nobody has actually fallen in.

We ride the downhill to Loughton Brook. I say downhill, if you can call a trail you have to pedal hard to get to the bottom of a downhill then that’s what it was. We are on our way to our lunch stop at The Gardeners. The uphill on the singletrack was impassable so it was onto the climb up the road we went. Allowing a proper lunch stop was a real moment of weakness but it was very nice to sit in the sunshine with a view over The O2 and Docklands.

Although it was apparently necessary to keep a stiff upper lip, we have a good laugh featuring Hannah’s evening of naked book reading, Madge and her new running career, Thunderbirds, Fembots and Ron shivering like a sh****ng dog!

Back on the bikes we rode through an absolute quagmire to Golding’s Hill Ponds. Kaff squeals were her best squeals of the day and Jeroen claims that his two pint lunch causes him a couple of spills but nobody is surprised to see a few falls given what we’ve just ridden through. We make our way to Broadstrood car park where Ron decides to call it a day and leaves us just before we ride Secret Squirrel. This trail is one of the most resilient to mud in the whole forest but again it’s a real slog until we make it to the high point at The Wake Arms.

We re-group at Jacks Hill car park and head onto The Ridges (in for a penny). Quite how the ridge manages to stay so full of water I’m not sure but it is legendary for its wheel sized pot holes and doesn’t disappoint. With Si leading and lot’s more squealing we make our way back to the crossing of ENR after pedalling through some axle deep edge to edge swamp.

At Golden Naked Ladies we come across a big fallen tree blocking the trail. No problem, there is always another way and in finding it I go over the bars and land in a stinking bog! Sympathy abounds from my fellow riders as they do their best to give me a very wide berth. From The Woodcutters we ride back to Wake Valley Pond and over what is left of The Double Logs before heading back up to High Beech.

Si leaves us for a kiddies party and the rest of us decide it is Bradley’s tea and cake time. The route via Wellington Hill and The Church trails is a real test of bike handling skills - I think we all fail.

As I sit with TT at Bradleys discussing his winter spd boots I notice that the soles of both of my shoes are almost hanging off. As good an excuse as I’ve ever had, I decide to head straight back to the pub and unsurprisingly I’m joined by everyone else. We get to the car park, filthy dirty, soaked and cold to spy the still grinning Hawkeye packing his clean bike into his car.

After a very thorough hose down we make it to the warmth of the debrief with The Mods, Glenn, Richie, Omar and Tamara already in-situ. The beer flows and the beige is mopped up. Omar tries to convince us that he really needs to buy a Canyon FS frame that’s too big for him and we have a few more beers and agree with him – what the hell!

TT makes the call and is last seen trying to get himself, his bike and all his kit into Ann’s Smart car. Another routine Saturday. Thanks to Little Ben for the lift home after my mysterious pub puncture!

Don’t forget, next Saturday we are going to head to Thetford where Hawkeye will show us his baggies!

It’ll be a good day so try to make it.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #127

  • Madge
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The lack of rain wasn't the only blessing, witnessing Miles's dive over the handlebars was a treat to crown all treats! Twas a splendid day, I think we'll all agree, although Kaff might have something to say the cheese.
Off with their heads!
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #130

  • Kaff
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Was a splendid day indeed, although I was a bit miffed to miss my sausage and egg but at least I got my jam doughnut before the day was out.

Was a bit of a killer. I was pretty done in Saturday night.

Glad Miles' famous ride reports are back.

ps why do I have to do the capture thingy every time I want to post?
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #131

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Kaff wrote:
ps why do I have to do the capture thingy every time I want to post?

It's only for your first 3 posts Kaff, then the shackles are off and you'll not see it again. Same for everyone, to prevent new users spamming the site.
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #133

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Ok cheers Dangerous. I did another post too coz I didin't think the first one worked so I might be repeating myself a bit.

Sorry if I do.
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #134

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Kaff wrote:
Ok cheers Dangerous. I did another post too coz I didin't think the first one worked so I might be repeating myself a bit.

Sorry if I do.
No problem, you've made 3 posts now so you won't see the captcha again.

Tip: When you make a post there's always a status message above the menu on the forum that tells you if you're post was successful after you've clicked submit.
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #135

Definitely a bit wobbly on the bike after two pints of Doom :whistle:
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Epping Forest Ride - Saturday 1st March 2014 3 years 7 months ago #140

  • Mr Incredulous
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Madge wrote:
The lack of rain wasn't the only blessing, witnessing Miles's dive over the handlebars was a treat to crown all treats! Twas a splendid day, I think we'll all agree, although Kaff might have something to say the cheese.

Anything to keep you entertained.
Never cease to be amazed!
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Ride Info

Place

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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Time

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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Ability

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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Tools

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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Essential

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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Directions

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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About

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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