Last night I enjoyed my second trip out with the Manchester Mountain Bikers, this time on a ‘night ride’, my main reason for getting together with this club.
A ride that lasts from 6.30 to 8.30 pm would more correctly be described as an ‘evening ride’, but it was dark, so who cares. It was also fine, after another ‘mizzly’ day, and thankfully (whilst Liverpool were thrashing City in the rain in central Manchester) all we got by way of precipitation on this ride was a little very light drizzle.
Roman Lakes being closed, we started from Arkwright Road in Marple, taking care not to damage a pristine hedge, and soon after 6.30 I headed off with Walc, today’s leader, pictured above, Keith who I’d met before, and Steve, Adam, Richard, Austin and Poley, down the rutted lane towards Roman Lakes, then up the steep, rough lane to emerge at the golf course in Mellor.
This was the steepest part of the outing, which although ridable in its entirety somehow did seem to be mainly uphill. Luckily Keith was ‘sweeping’ on this ascent, and arrived at the top carrying my rear mudguard and a foot protector that I’d lost without noticing. Thanks Keith. The other foot protector came off (my trail shoes turn out to be two bulky for these protectors, normally worn with trainers) and the mudguard was re-attached, though I spent the rest of the evening nervous about losing it again.
We were soon off again along the pleasant single-track to Brook Bottom and (sadly) past the Fox Inn. Around here we lost Poley, allegedly due to a light failure, but I think he just fancied a drink. We then turned left to complete an interesting circuit via a fudge brownie break and Mellor Moor, with fine views of the lights of the surrounding towns, before regaining the single-track leading back down to the Fox Inn, which again we ignored, this time in favour of a steep but enjoyable descent to Strines Station on another track that hadn’t previously seen the wheels of one of my bikes.
Then it was easily back to the start via the lower track past Roman Lakes, chatting with Keith about bike trips to the Alps and Pyrenees.
I think Walc had intended to ascend back up to go around the golf course and down to Roman Lakes by a more sporting route, but it seems that he missed the turn. I was quite happy with the short figure of eight circuit.
My new lights worked very well, and there was hardly any speed sacrifice due to the darkness, but a minor gear problem meant that I stayed in a low gear throughout the ride in a bid not to get covered in oil, so I tended to bring up the rear, being naturally the slowest on steep ascents and descents as well. Sorry, folks, if I kept you waiting.
Here’s the approximate route – about 14 km, with 350 metres ascent, taking just over 2 hours.
My Garmin Gadget produced the following data:
As noted above, we returned extremely muddy. So when I got home I dumped my track suit straight into a sink to wash off the worst of the mud. Oops, my camera was still in the pocket. It drowned. It will now sit in a bowl of rice for a few days in a (probably futile) bid to resuscitate it. The memory card was undamaged, though, and at least it wasn’t my new camera…
All in all a very pleasant little excursion, despite the camera mishap.