Thursday 16th

"Echo, echo, anyone there?"

A bit of a strange one, this. OK, they're ALL a bit strange, but bear with me...

16 of us met at ASDA for this one, leaving pretty close to 7:10 pm with some late arrivals taking time to get their bikes prep'd. Have to say "Welcome back" to Nathan who rode a few times quite some time ago, tonight bringing his mate Martin K.

It's been a while, quite deliberately, since we did the Riverside run so that was the plan tonight. Why then did the illustrious Ride Leader begin by heading EAST to the A19? Answers on a fiver please. We even took the longest way around Holystone Roundabout before swinging up onto the Silver link trail for some completely unknown reason. Could it be we were heading for another late finish?

The Building Society singletrack proved impassable so we took to the grass to bypass the worst of it before heading into the trees. Unfortunately John got no further than that with his rear shifter flapping around uselessly, so he decided to call it a day and headed straight back to ASDA. One down, fifteen to go!

With Justin out again he made sure TK got no peace as we rattled through the singletrack trying to wiggle past the intruding shrubbery as fast as possible and it was noticeable as the night wore on how quick our new guests were, as indeed have been our other recent additions from the West side although Nathan and Martin are Coasties. These short, sharp blasts are great but some of them are now proving just a few metres too long for this Oldie to maintain full bore to the end. We gathered at the far end before crossing the road and cruising down to the jump spot, although we rode straight through without much of a pause to play.

There's new fencing down here now to protect the Steam Railway for it's 2015 visitor season so we couldn't get back over easily to do the little hill at the A1058 underpass, so after another regroup we coasted down to Howdon and the fast little track to the older end of the railway tracks. There was another very unexpected direction change here once Terry had realised his latest error, now aiming for North Shields instead of Wallsend! However, Colin saw the error of the leader's ways and proceeded to correct that by crossing over to the Tyne Tunnel booth area where he got chased and narrowly avoided being eaten by a big nasty pooch!

Dan had previous around the next section with Terry skirting the trees and being ignored by the others who stuck to flatter ground. Hey, what are chunky tyres for? I think by now they can recognise when he's heading for a dead end and sure enough they were right again this time, so we followed Dan through a hole in the fence which dumped us in the park at Howdon Metro. We were on our way down to the bottom road when TK spotted a feature, so he turned and rode back up the hill to take it in. That proved to be Bad News for Mike who almost glued himself to the daring lamppost planted precariously at the foot of this very fast little drop, and it was a wee while before normal service was resumed and we continued along under the Metro bridge to do the Burnside skinny, again as fast as we could. We were on the way up towards the Hadrian's Way Arch when Dan suggested a new drop back into the Burn so he led Justin down that with the rest of us trying to keep up. Next stop the gates of Richardson Dees Park while Terry pushed up the grassy slope to sample the sledging hill on two wheels, A very undramatic descent followed as the others waited below to see what would go wrong next.

They didn't have long to wait, as his next excursion into the far side of the park left all but seven souls lost somewhere, and although we sent Lee to scout for them he never came back, so there were just six of us left to complete a mystifying ride. This split resulted in the only action possible after a possible sighting had been made of the others travelling north up Station Road towards the Coast Road. While Dan, Nathan and Martin sped on to try and catch the lost bodies it was in vain, no lights being visible on the climb up to the Gym. So Deryck led us through High Farm into the trees in a last ditch attempt at crossing their path, but it didn't happen.

It was barely 9:15 now so in order to at least cover some interesting territory, Terry led around the small but pleasant enough loop above Battle Hill estate, although it had been badly battered by recent wind and there was a fair bit of hike-a-bike over the fallen timber, and Justin was riding literally in the shadows, this time not having any lighting at all! Emerging from there left only one more opportunity for off-roading after Deryck left us for his Wallsend home, but we rode straight past it with the leader at the back!

So, here we were then, back at ASDA at 9:30 pm, with one car and one van still standing where we'd left them but their owners not back yet. Just a minute or so later though, Ian  turned up with the remnants of his party, also deciding on a quick return home after losing us, so not a bad result under the circumstances. After all, I had promised an early finish after last Thursday's "episode"!

terrystrace16thapril 

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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.

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The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!

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