Past Ride

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Sat Apr 11th 2015
Saturday Morning Novices Off-road Ride 2*
Robin Tucker
Start Time:
10:00 am
Start Location:
97 The Causeway, Steventon OX13 6SJ
The first of our monthly off-road rides for those who like their rides bumpy and (sometimes) muddy. This one will be a special introductory ride for novices to off-roading or those wishing to ease themselves gently into it.

The ride will be in 3 parts:
1. Start at my house at Steventon with bike set-up and advice.
2. A 2-mile ‘instructional loop’ up Steventon Hill and back down (1* except a short hard hill).
3. A longer ride of about 10 miles with options to go up to the Ridgeway (2*), which will take about an hour-and-a-half.

The terrain will be bumpy and probably muddy in places, so a mountain-bike in good condition and with knobbly tyres is recommended.

Other Off-road rides will be on the second Saturday of each month at 10am from various locations including the Chilterns. They will be about 20 miles mostly off-road and aim to finish in time for a late lunch (whether together or heading for home).
4 riders out for this on a fine but blustery day, 3 who ride mostly on the road but who had mountain bikes they wanted to use more, and Dave Talboys who is a regular.. We'd had a little shower earlier, just enough to "keep the dust down".

We started with a few tips on bike setup, and the 'M check' to make sure you have no bits about to fall off.

Then it was off for a 2 mile 'training loop' in which we covered:
* Hill climbing technique
* How to approach obstacles
* Descending and 'staying loose'
* Twisty singletrack and 'looking ahead'
* Mud and roots and 'just riding across it'
This showed that despite some initial worries, everyone was capable of riding up, down, around corners and over bumps. Excellent!

So we set straight off on a longer 10 mile ride up to the Ridgeway and back. We rode back up the hill and south, using some of the skills just practiced. Then, after Haribo at East GInge it was the big climb (on which we met Allen S out on a longer ride) and enjoying the view at the top. Then along to Scutchamers' Knob ready to head downwards.

The descent at Harwell gave us a good chance to practice staying loose and riding the bumps. It's a great descent and there were a good few whoops of joy on the way down!

At the bottom, Dave discovered a flat and so we had a tube changing masterclass. Discussion of tyre pressures led to the discovery that Karen and Roger were running their tyres very hard. To see the effect, we let them down to about 35psi and they were amazed at how their bikes were transformed, suddenly behaving much better over the bumps. This was one of the 'top tips' from the day and I wished I'd covered it right at the start (next time I will).

Dave had a second puncture, but we did get back at about lunch time, with everyone enjoying a second run down through Steventon Copse. All 3 new off-roaders had learned a lot and hopefully we'll see them off the road again and again.
19.31 km (12.00 mi)
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Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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