Way back in the early 90′s I purchased a my first Mountain Bike whilst working in Germany. An obsession grew and for a number of years I spent the majority of my free time riding, maintaining and wondering which bit I was going to upgrade next. This obsession went on for a good few years before circumstances see my Mountain Biking obsession fall by the wayside and disappear into history.
Move on a few years and I purchased a MTB to ride to and from work, which wasn’t too successful but did have fit’s and starts. As my life has come to a major junction and no longer being ‘forced’ to go out and do some exercise and enthused by the recent successes in British Cycling, my 9yr (possibly!) old Gary Fisher Marlin has been dusted off, serviced and given new boot’s to take to the trails.
A couple of years ago a work MTB day out for a 30Km trek around the Purbeck Hills, highlighted to me that maybe a little bit rusty but the fun was still there, so for the last few months I have gradually been getting out more and more on the bike and last week started doing some routes from an excellent guide book called Mountain Bike Guide Dorset by Collin Dennis.
The first gentle outing around Kingston Lacy and Badbury rings saw a straightforward track turned into a technical descent after erosion from farm vehicles and the recent heavy rain. This was later followed by a slow puncture on a long fast downhill section, which after gently coming to a halt at the bottom saw me practice my puncture fixing on the trail.
The second route was to be a gentle warm up around Bere Regis and Wareham Forest that went fairly well despite the almost sub zero temperatures, that saw me promptly purchase some neoprene overshoes (frozen feet is not funny )
After a couple of warmers in the bank I set off on a 30km ride (well it was by the time I had finished) taking in Cannock Chase West, starting in Pimperne across the bridleways of Dorset to Farnham and back. The Guide Book said it could be a bit muddy by Pimperne Wood, which in all honesty it was, after a fight with a bramble bush, trying to avoid the ruts, the mud built up on the brakes (still using old fashioned callipers) and the front derailleur so much so that it actually brought the bike to a resounding HALT :O It then took some manual mud clearing to get going again. After a few more miles and stopping to negotiate a farmers rope barriers across a track (much to the disgust of a local horse rider) it happened again, in fact I had to stop several times to carry out mud clearing duties. This phenomenon also introduced a new experience of having no traction, the mud a couple of times built up on the tyres, clogged up the tread so essentially became mud tyres riding on mud, I may as well have been ice skating
Despite these little niggles, (after all we have had a little rain) and dropping the bike on a slippery corner, an enjoyable fun outing around the Dorset Countryside was completed. I look forward to some more in future (after I have cleaned the bike!)