Dusting off my Mountain Bike.
Nine years soon to be ten, the bank of Mum and Dad paid for a half decent bike for my 30th birthday. Ten years on I shall be withdrawing again to purchase a shed to keep all my bikes in (I know how to spend their money). Having a bike let me escape into the woods and trails around Darnley Dams (it’s a park now, Dams to Darnley County Park).
I eventually went further to explore offroad tracks. First was a short cycle over to Pollok Park. Trying out my skills on their little colour code trails. Green was super easy, Blue pretty easy. The Red had a couple of good bits, but after a few loops, it became easy and within half an hour you were done messing about in the woods. I needed more!
Carren Valley became my next playground for the bike, I loved the last section of jumps, flight path I think it was called. Eventually found myself driving to Glentress a few times a week and riding Spooky Wood trail most of the day (the old hub in the forest with its huge slices of cake and great coffee, made it hard to get back on the bike once you descend the full trail).
Recently I have just got my bike back after foolishly rehoming it to a friend. Glad to get it back and it shall be staying with me now. It’s a burnt Orange Saracen Mantra 2. It weighs more than my car, but with plenty of gears, this should help ease the pain of the heavy frame and fat tyres.
If you have read the blog, you will know I race Cyclocross. For training rides, I head up to the Kilpatrick Hills. My cross bikes are both singlespeed; this is brutal on my legs going up the hundreds of meters of grass and muddy hills on recent rides. I decided to dust of the Mantra and take to the hills to see how the MTB compares to riding the same loops on a cross bike.
I don’t know if it was my lack of bike riding recently or the extra weight and tyre width, but as I climbed the road leading to the hills I was breathing from places I shouldn’t have been breathing from! This is me only getting to the foot of the Kilpatrick Hills, the offroad tracks up to Jaw reservoir was hard going. Harder than the cross bike when it had gears. There are some great trails for a cross bike around the top the hills, so with some suspension on the front, this ride should be even better.
It was, hitting rocky drops not think about, letting the bike ride the ruts and relaxing in the bike as I went was refreshing. The wider tyres were excellent for riding over the boggy stuff. I would normally get off and get my socks wet while carrying the bike over the boggy stuff as it normally grinds to a halt with the CX tyres. The triple rings at the front came in very handy when things went skywards. Rather than run/walk the hills with the cross bike on my shoulder I worked my way down the gears until spinning was not winning and I was faster walking.
The best bits came as I got to Greenside Reservoir, there is steep and rocky track dropping you from the brow of the hill down to the banks of the reservoir. I used to have to jump off and pick my bike up and walk my way down, as a puncture on the jagged rock edges was guaranteed. Not today though! Arse hanging off the back of the saddle, I ride the rocks to the bottom. Next thing to put a huge smile on your face was a great gravel road, power onto the pedals and get the speed up, I am blasting back down to the main road then down to the house.