With the rains we have had over the past couple of weeks there was very little chance of anything other than mud on the trails. Yesterday was a family ride over the local heath. For the wife it was her first return to the heath for nearly 18 months, for our son it was his first visit (on a bike).
I had opted for a simple figure of 8 loop around the heath avoiding the worst of the hills and leaving the biggest puddle (read lake) till near the end of the ride so if anybody got it wrong and got soaked at least we would be heading home.
Being as the heath is only about a mile up the road from home we opted to ride up there, there only one section of main road to negotiate and riding along there was done on the pavement, all the rest was side roads.
Once on the heath we started with an easy fire road ride before turning off onto a tyre track rutted trail. This is where we had our first faller, dear son being a little nervous and finding him self on the hump between the (deep) tyre tracks wobbled and fell over the handle bars, fortunately only his pride was hurt.
After descenting the hill we soon found the mud as we rode through a stream running down a narrow trail. We were soon onto another fire road and heading up to out next bit of single track. Here dear son quite happily took off like a rocket, near the end of the trail I had to shout to him to mind the drop near the gate (there quite a few gates on the heath) fortunately he saw the ramp section and went down that (the other side is two steps).
The next section I did not expect either the wife or the son to ride and I was not wrong. The first bit is a little downhill slope on loose loamy soil with a small bank at the bottom to go over then a 90 degree left into heavy muddy soil before turn 90 degree right, a short straight and then up a short very sharp slope. To be honest I have yet to get up the slope. I rode down and around and stopped half way up the slope and pushed the last few steps to the top as normal. I got a shout from dear son to give him a hand with pushing his bike up the slope. When I got to the slope the wife appeared riding her bike towards the foot of the slope having climbed back on the bike after the muddy soil section, seeing dear son stuck at the bottom of the slope she applied her brakes and stopped only to find that she had stopped on the centre section of the path and could not put her feet down, cue the wife falling sideways into the undergrowth. I decided to pull dear sons bike up the hill first before rescuing the wife from the undergrowth.
The next main section was the clay pit, basically it is a small pond that overflows across the path and runs off into the woods, unfortunately where it overflows is all clay, I know the easiest route through and I cleared it without a problem. My wife and son decide they are going to walk across (to save falling off, it smells foul). Dear son promptly try to walk through the middle of the clay with his foot disappearing into the clay to above his ankle boots, the wife walks through with no problems.
Next there is short descent then the big puddle, I told the pair of them where to ride, I then showed them where to ride around the edge (in the middle we are talking axle deep). Dear son sets off and with a lot of shouts of encouragement from me gets around the edge ok and joins me on the other side. Unfortunately the wife set off at the same time and right behind dear son and found herself cycling into the middle of the puddle to avoid running into the back of him, she managed to make it to high ground in the middle having drowned her feet but still had the second bit to go, after a few words of encouragement (you can stay there if you want but we are going, sort of thing) she eventually cleared the puddle with very we feet.
The rest of the ride was fairly straight forward before picking up the fire road and heading for home.
I did my normal Sunday Throop Loop ride this morning, for one reason or another I have not ridden it for a couple of weeks so I was not sure what various section of the ride was going to be like, to be honest it was not as muddies as I had expected.
There was nothing exciting to report apart from three minor events. First I was confronted with 4 young bulls on a very narrow path, fortunately they were close to where they got onto the path so I managed to shoo them back up the path and into there field. Secondly I fell off, front wheel dug in in some loose sand and I fell onto the handlebars before exciting the bike side ways and finally my saddle nearly fell off. It seems as though when I dismantled everything the other week I did not do the saddle clamps up tight enough. With the noise it was making I got to the point where I had already made a note to look at the saddle when I got back home. I had stopped to open a gate and as I pulled my bike round to get back on the bike, I grabbed the saddle and it moved all over the place stopped. I removed the seat post and tighten everything up again.
My afternoon consisted of cleaning the bike and putting a new felt roof on the shed, the temporary repair I did and couple of weeks ago came off sometime in the weeks and inside the shed was soaking. So I got some felt from B&Q yesterday and this afternoon I could be found sitting on our shed roof. At least that another job out the way.