Thursday 9th

Well, after stuffing up the previous Thursday night, missing our Tyne Tunnel Bike Bus trip by a mere two minutes, TK made no mistake this time! Thirteen of us left ASDA pretty close to 7:00 pm for once and headed downstream from Holystone roundabout, taking in the Building Society secret trail and the Steam Railway Jump Spot before cruising down the waggonway and then clattering along the Ballast Blast singletrack into East Howdon. As we rounded the curve outside the Tunnel there was no sign of the bus. "What time is it?" queried the Ride Leader painfully, expecting the worst again. "7.42" came the reply. Made it with three minutes to go, apparently. No sign of the bus though, but almost on the stroke of 7:45 as timetabled, here it was rumbling up the road, the old silver heap with a 16 bike rack hanging off the back.

Relief.

We bundled the bikes onto the thing and herded ourselves onto the bus. Dan Wharrier was last aboard having made sure the bikes were securely affixed to our novel transport.

Next stop the Dark Side, or Jarrow as it's commonly known. We unloaded our bodies and bikes and TK led off in the wrong direction, solely for the sake of a dive down the adjacent steepish grass verge. ???

All easy pedalling for the next few miles as we toured along the riverside into Hebburn where Terry began poking the Trek's front wheel into various imaginary gaps in the greenery only to back out of most, until finally he managed to string a few under-tree tracks together followed by the one or three hardened bikers who didn't mind a bit of phyical abuse and abrasion. The whole bunch finally joined in as the space opened up, only for it to reveal the old road, absolutely covered in broken glass. We were very careful crossing that area behind brave Arthur before finally dropping to the riverside and relative safety.

There were no more stops between here and the new section of riverside path just short of the South Shore Road where we stopped when Peter noticed we were a man down! Sure nough Simon had vanished, although no-one heard any distress calls. It emerged much later that there weren't any, as Simon had stopped to use his phone and lost track of us, a mutual mistake! However, it did cost Dan and Terry well over a mile of backtracking as they retraced their steps in a vain search. They rejoined the others to continue on through the industrial estate to cross the Millenium Bridge and turn east for home.

We couldn't ride past the grassy slope beneath St Ann's Church without laying down the challenge to our latest recruits, so we all shot across the Quayside hitting the incline as hard as we could. Mark Sweeting was tonight's victor with half a yard over Terry, before some nutter (Daniel!) decided it would be fun to ride down the whole thing. Can't remember anyone else ever wanting to do this or why they would, but we followed like mountain goats, heaving our bikes up to the top of the slope. Dan was first down well in control, surprisingly, and was followed by the rest of us with just a few scares as the bikes bottomed out on reaching the dip at the foot. Deryck, in particular, came closest to wiping his well-digested dinner all over his rear tyre, such was the speed at which his Lapierre arrived there. We heard the buzz!

As time was getting on nicely now we motored straight up through Byker to Heaton Park with just the one singletrack flurry from the gates down into the Vale, then we hit the Coast Road at Armstrong Bridge to cruise home, most of us via the Rising Sun's main drag from Hadrian Lodge, arriving back at ASDA around 10:35 pm.

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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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