No, not a confrontation between trail users but a way of riding. We can all follow the usual path, the routes that are well trodden and loved. loved for a reason of course because they give the best bang for your buck if your time is limited, it’s why trail centres are so popular. you can disengage your brain and concentrate on going as fast as possible without fear of getting to somewhere miles away from your start point with no hope of finding your way back before the emergency services are called by a concerned loved one.
But, where’s the fun in that?, where is the risk? us big rufty tufty mountainbikers are self sufficient, able to pinpoint the exact spot we are standing on at all times by using our inate sense of direction…..ok then a map!….hmm maybe not,well by looking at the Garmin screen and knowing you are within 30 metres of the flashing blue icon then.
so with this in mind Dan and i took the less well travelled path at the Wyre forest, riding up interesting routes to see where they started and how near trails we already knew they were so we could link them up. yes there was a lot of climbing trails that would have been far more fun to ride down but as they saying goes, no pain no gain. and it paid off, clocked at almost 2 miles we found a sinuewy undulating singletrack ride that had us grinning and pinning with a stereotypical high five at the finish. one of the best in the forest, quite off camber in places but very flowing.
an early tea stop followed while we planned our return to the car route and keeping to the spirit of the ride so far we planned to have no plan and follow our front wheel going in the opposite direction to the norm. yes, we did pass the same tree a few times in an everlasting circle of deja-vu but its quite hard to get lost in a forest that sits as an island in a sea of pasture land and urbanity and we eventually got back on track.
following well loved trails is easy but that popularity has it’s negative side and as the picture shows sometimes leads to conflict. i’m unsure if there was an accident on this particular trail, it does after all end in a big drop, i hope that’s not the case and also that someone dropping in from it didn’t hit another forest user. over use of trails is never good and people used to flying round trail centres thinking that a public area used by walkers and horses is exactly the same and not being respectful to other people in the forest is a recipe for disaster and limited access for all users in the future.
as it turned out, we saw maybe 3 other mtbers and met very friendly walkers and horse riders and we gave way at the appropriate times and we given right of way by others too, just as it should be.
so the lesson is, get lost, smile and be respectful.