Thursday 7th

There's nowt like a bit of off-road if you're on a mountain bike.

We have very few mountains within striking distance of our Thursday night rides, the highest one being my street at 75 feet above sea level, so to avoid over-stressing our leg muscles before warming up properly we set off in the opposite direction.

Mark R had come to ASDA in his car tonight, an extremely rare occurence as he normally rides from his Kingston Park home a good few miles to the north west. However he was delivering a toy for me that couldn't be carried on two wheels, so to thank him for that I set off in the general direction of his home. Tee hee.

This made the Clousden singletrack our first tract of dirt after crossing the railway line and traversing Forest Hall, and that was enthusiastically attacked with, as is becoming customary, Ian A2 slicing at my back wheel all the way through. I cut it short deliberatey to avoid any further pain. We regrouped at Killy Village where I discovered Mike had turned back with an aggravated knee problem, so that saw us back to 18 riders, pretty decent with one of those unpredictable nights ahead, weather-wise. Once again though Thursday night proved almost perfect as it has consistently for ten years or so as the cool start conditions were soon converted into sweaty shirt ones.

We ran the gauntlet of the traffic through the road works at Killingworth Centre and hit the earth again at Camperdown to cross the East Coast line and follow Ian A over to Sandy Lane. Next up Justin's romp through Gosforth Park and a good few tests for the crew trying to stay the pace through the twists and over the lumps.

We exited at the Hotel and headed for the almost cut-off by the latest Great Park housing development copse at Hazlerigg, leaving it by the back door and regrouping in the field just beyond it where Martin's month-old Boardman susser rattled itself to bits, most or all of the rear end bearings being loose, as well as there being little or no pressure in the forks or shock! Good old Halfords. Further investigations just half a mile further on into the Havannah trees revealed a serious amount of sideways squish in the bottom bracket which seemed to be allowing the whole frame to bend while the pressure was on. It was here that Martin decided it was time to take it back!

We had the usual play around in the trees before heading out the far side to the pond for our bait stop with several opinions on the state of the dodgy Boardman, and yet another superb culinary creation by Lucy in the form of sticky toffee something or other. I don't like it, which is why she made it, but it tasted great!

We played around a little more on the home side of the pond, with the slightest trace of a trail being leapt upon before escaping down across Brunton Lane and getting pretty close to Mark's house as threatened before returning eastward through the top of the Great Park estate. Back down on the Great North Road, Alan left us for home while the rest of us headed back up for a second slice of the Gosy Park cherry. Entering at the hotel car park we swooped off the lip, flew over Tim's Bridge and turned sharp left, where unfortunately Ian' A's eagerness not to let me break away led to his own front wheel doing just that, dumping him down hard onto the gravel path. He shrugged it off but it must have been a really heavy landing. Worst of all that meant I flew up that climb thinking they were all over me but there was no-one within 50 metres, so that raised the poor old ticker rate for no good reason!

I think Justin may have departed shortly after, if not with Alan, because I found myself up fron with Mark R my new escort as we tackled another few circulations of the top end before leaving the hole in the wall on Sandy Lane and jumping back in at the gate. There's no peace through the Golf Course section once the speed picks up, all manic wheel-to-wheel action and although I got to the bridge still up front I was easily overhauled at the next firebreak when missing the crossover point by a few metres.

So that was that, only the awful Great Lime Road to retreat along, and for that I was accompanied by Craig, taking pity on my dilapidated physical state with ASDA reached by the quick folk at 10:10 pm and the Cave by me at 10:17. 20.5 miles clocked this time with a half decent mix of quick, slow, rough and smooth sections covered. Thanks for the company once again folks.

footnote* I'm pleased to say Martin got an exchange bike from Halfords so not a bad result.

terrystrace7thmay 

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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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