Monday, 30 August 2010

learning to ride part 2

Today is my birthday. I am getting old. 33 to be exact. Which means I am to old to be mislead. I dont want to be lied to and I defiantly dont require any bubble wrap. I am learning to ride a bike and I am not a child! (occasional tantrums excluded)

I have been learning to ride a mtb today. I realize that it takes patience, determination, fitness and skill to do this.

I am determined! After a few spins of the blue at Whinlatter and the green at Mabie I took one of Great Rocks mtb skills courses at Gisburn. I then had a lovely crash on the red at Keilder and still I get on the bike, attacking the reds (with a bit of caution)

I have a bit of skill. Great Rock has helped me with that

I have much better fitness levels then at the beginning of the year

But for fucks sake I am old! Patience is not something I have allot of time for! So what I want is fucking trails that I can ride! Ones that dont have me cursing and crying and left feeling like Im never gonna get there!

So I do my research. Look for trail centres that offer a little of everything, Some Blue and some red.

This time Hutty and I chose Ae. Hutty being the experienced and fittest rider I know (not really my equal level for riding but fun to hang out with) the reason for choosing Ae was that it had a blue and a red. A red that stated on the website was (quote) "The trail is also suitable for less experienced riders if ridden with more caution and less speed – all the jumps and drop-offs can be rolled except for one, which can be ridden around. Be aware though that some of the big berms are intimidating to the inexperienced and the trail surface is very rough in places."

My fucking ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trail was not fucking ridable! It was one of those trails that laughs at those who are less experienced, as if its saying, "come innocent one and follow me, I promise it wont hurt a bit" It hurt my pride! (probably would hurt more if I would have tried to ride it)

Ok so the first section of uphill wasn't so bad (for an uphill) I made it without dying, although I did feel a wee sick at one point but im thinking that was probably because I just ate. I had a few pedal slips and one or two foot downs but other then that, it was ok.

The beginning section of the first decent was quite decent, smooth surface, a few bumps, could have been a bit faster but it was nice and fun and I was really enjoying myself. Then they changed the fucking surface. WHY!!!!???? why do they have to mess with things that are pleasurable, do they really think people need huge fucking rocks? Who the fuck designs these bloody things anyways? Oh yes Its fucking great having to get off and walk my bike! If I wanted to walk I would have worn walking boots and left the bike at home.!

So 40% of the trail finally complete and after feeling rather guilty for making Hutty wait for me I packed it in. Took the escape route and made Hutty finish the red. On the way back to the car I joined the blue.

Ok so now Im gonna have a bit of a rant about Blue trails. Winlatter and Kirroughtree got them right. A brilliant bit of riding for those who aren't quite ready for fuck off giant rocks but need somewhere to develop the confidence and skill to ride reds easier and without as much fear.

But for fucks sake! Blue should not mean climb up and up and up a fire road for 6km then ride down a bit of singletrack easy enough for my 6 year old niece to ride. The worst about the Blue at Ae was the decent was on a bit of fire road knee deep in loose gravel. So not only did you sink and wobble and spin out you had to go so slow down the bloody hill so you didn't get sucked in to the sea of little rocks! How fun is that???

So why bother with a blue? All that this feels like is that some bastard who has been riding for years has decided that he (I am assuming he under the basis that a she would never be this retarded) dosnt really want new people to learn how to ride a bike. And dosnt want to share the reds with anybody that cant already ride at his skill level.

I want to learn how to ride a bike. It shouldnt be this hard. So what I need is some co-operation please. All you egotistical males who are designing trails keep this in mind.

I WANT TO RIDE MY BIKE NOT FUCKING WALK IT! I am not yet that confident to fly down a red and in order to develop the skills and confidence I need blues that are one step down from a red. Not equal to a green. It would also be nice if you kept some flow to your trails. Have a whole section of smooth fast turns and burms and bumps and fast ups and downs. Dont have half of the section like that then suddenly change direction. Leave that for another section. And have chicken runs around big drops and boulders on reds, therefore if one is not sure of how to take that boulder without going over their handlebars, they can keep riding their bike.

The whole reason for these trails is to get people out on their bikes, not to scare them into the garage.

So, I am learning how to ride a bike. Its more difficult then I thought.


  1. what a load of old crap- surely the point of learning is to fall off, fail, be unable to ascend the climb or roll that drop off!
    I'm a trailbuilder (Volunteer!) who takes great pride in our work and welcomes CONSTRUCTIVE feedback, not the whinging of some unfit, unskilled newbie blaming the trails!
    Ae, Kirroughtree, whinlatter etc are fantastic trails, Kirroughtree in my opinion is the best in the UK and are for EXPERIENCED riders - read the warnings next time!

  2. Squarepants. There's no problem with the reds, some are harder than others like the ones in Scotland. The trouble is the blues at almost all these trail ctrs are pathetic, 10 mile of forest fire road doesn't make a good blue. So to improve skills one has to try the reds. Yes we can read the signs and do fall off learning. Some get back on and try harder but others say fuck it cause it's all targeted at one skull level. Most money used on trail building is either forestry money or grants so should be spent to cater for every skill level.

  3. Oh I love a good rant. Mind, I've never offroaded and It'll be a while before I can afford to too but I didn't realise any of this stuff.