Monday, 3 October 2011
There's a reason I love mountain biking. The sheer joy of riding somewhere you've never been before and discovering new places. Talking to my uncles last week on my birthday, they mentioned a good route to take. Inspired by recent issues of MBUK magazine urging us to make the most of the remaining sunlight after work, I decided to find out just exactly what it was they had been talking about. The best thing about this is it's on the route I take to work, or at least the turn off for it is. Don't get too excited; it's not an exotic destination. It's just Spennymoor woods! As Rebecca is working a late shift tonight, I had no rush to get back home so I thought whilst the weather is good (or at least half decent) before the winter takes hold, I'd go for it. See where I end up. When I eventually found the right path to take, it was great. Single track through the trees, roots to hop over, autumnal coloured leaves falling down and covering the path made it a visual delight. The bike was rolling pretty fast and the adrenaline was building as every unknown corner came faster into view. The good thing about doing stuff like this is not knowing where you're going. It makes it an adventure! I came to a fork in the path, just after very narrowly avoiding hitting a little busted stone bridge. The left went up; the right down. So I went down - descending is much more fun right?! Something didn't feel right on the way down and a quick glance at the front tyre made it obvious - I had a puncture. So now I started to feel a bit nervous. A puncture already, don't know where I am, have I got all the right equipment to fix it? Turns out I had remembered to pack all the tools and a spare tube back into my larger pack for the weekly commute. Being able to repair the bike on the trail is a satisfying feeling. When the wheel was sorted and bike upright, I set off again, twisting and turning and gaining speed until I came to the River Wear. There was a fork again: left was the way I wanted to go but I could see a group of youths on the riverbank with a fire burning. That made me feel uneasy, so I went right. The trail here was quite technical, twisty and about 10-12 feet up off the river. Some sections were precariously close to the edge - I didn't fancy rolling off there in to the river. I'd have definitely frightened the massive swan feeding in the middle of the river. It was huge, at first glance I thought it was a pedalo! (Not really, just a joke). Eventually I came to a path which was made from bricks(!) and was quite the chore getting up to the top. By now I had absolutely no idea where I was, and was thankful of my lights as the dark was coming pretty fast. At the top of the odd-brick road there was a village I've never seen before at all. Turns out this was Tudhoe Village and at last I found my bearings. Shame that after about an hour of riding I was back at work! Still, at least I knew the way back form here along the lines. Tired form an early start and full day at work, really hungry, the thoughts of a tasty banana and a hot shower powered my legs home. It really is exciting to just head off and find new places to ride.I've been on some that were just awful and a waste of time, but it's safe to say I'll be heading back to Spenny Woods for some more exploring! Here's the map.