Thursday 8th

We seem to be hovering around the 13 to 15 rider mark just now which makes the rides well worth doing. Although it's now become quite a headache to introduce pastures new (literally!) after many years of departing from the same spot and having to stay within a 3 1/2 hour time slot, I did manage to put a new twist on a previous ride this time, and once again Thursday night proved a perfect one for biking.

Good to see Ian Mundy back out again, it's become a bit of a rarity after years of solid regularity but he admiits that as well as domestic interference, he's grown a little lazy lately. I think most of us have been there and felt a bit sluggish!

Target tonight was Almost Plessey Woods (go figure and good luck), but for some strange reason we ended up travelling east instead of north. However, with something of an uplifting pace being set (my fault more than once, sorry) we did in fact manage to get over to Seghill and then into Cramlington by devious means. Probably just as well we did that as it may have levelled up the off-road v tarmac equation by the time we got home. Yes, a fair bit of the black stuff ahd to be covered for corrective p[urposes, the worst on that scary road between Seaton Burn and Northumberlandia, and in the dark which it almost was from the beginning.

We crossed the A1 just south of Stannington and hauled the bikes up a short, steep incline before finding a rideable path behind the tree line, where Ray took the reins as we trolled through the heavy damp grasses with Lucy using her vocal range to alert us to possible danger (Ok, squealing at each skid!). There were only two stops in the next mile and a half or so, the first when we did the dominoe trick on the little muddy chute as we all lacked the speed to climb out the far side. The second was when Lucy emitted another warning signal just before crashing into the adjacent fence, banging her left hand quite hard, but she was soon up and running again without complaint.

We regrouped at a railway line and managed to get everyone over before a tootoo came along quite quickly, and we stopped in the moonlight for more of the Doc's delicious flapjack just up the road from there.

Having used the A1068 to get away from Arcot there was no way I was going to use it to get home, so we headed for the middle of Crammy instead where Colin got us on the right path for our next off-road interlude. At this point I'd like to point out that yes, although Colin and I were riding on the wrong side of roundabouts and the odd road, we did NOT have our lights blasting into oncoming drivers faces, so please copy that habit folks, otherwise one day we'll all go down like skittles after blinding someone.

This is a nice little wood with a short but enjoyable stretch of grassy singletrack following until it dumps you out into one of the housing estates, from where we headed up to Nelson Village with Dan up front taking us to Dudley Lane and the track through the woods, now added to and nicely enhanced by a short but fast and swoopy romp under the trees alongside the stream, where Dan actually took a wrong right turn and got snarled up. See, it's not just me!

That just left the little singletrack out to Moor Farm Roundabout which was pretty claggy and perhaps only going to get worse now that the dry weather has gone. We regrouped before heading through Annitsford and up to Burradon with various bodies departing around the edge of Killingworth. However, for those still in the group that wqasn't the end, as we also took in the Clousden Woods trails (where it was MY turn to hit a dead end!) with Dan again leading out to Forest Hall. We got back to ASDA at about 10:20 pm with 24 miles clocked this time. 

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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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