Cat seen in the dark at Stanmer

Sundown at Stanmer

Last night was my first ride out with the Brighton MTB group. Rayment’s cycles had recommended them as a friendly bunch who might be a good troop of regular riders to head out with.

I’ve been riding for a couple months and in that time have got to know various bits and pieces of Stanmer park but was nervous about riding at night, I was also apprehensive about shelling out £300 on a set of lights that might do little but guide the ambulance crew to my battered and bleeding body.

Brighton MTB’s Ronnie recommended Freedom bikes as the joint to go to hire a light, (£10 refundable of the cost of a purchase of lights).

So set with lights, bike and plenty of padding I headed out. And it was awesome. It was brilliant. More fun than a pyjama party with Girls Aloud AND the cast of St Trinians and one of the best rides I’ve had.

We travelled on a million and one trails* the majority of which I’d never tried before, (and those I had were totally different by torchlight). The pace was perfect and the points at which my little legs got tired someone was happy enough to hang back and make sure I got the most out of my ride, (the technical instruction and the friendly push to the top of a particularly steep climb were a surprising and very welcome bonus).

I was encouraged into trying things that I might not have done so before but on the occasional spot where I wasn’t feeling quite as brave was assured that next time round/in the daylight I’d be hitting them in no time at all and stood back to enjoy the spectacle of the more experienced riders making it over.

Compared to other group rides I’ve been on the Brighton MTB group suits me to a t. It’s friendly approachable, sociable and pushes my riding without being intimidating about my lack of technical inability. The testosterone fuelled climbing for the sake of climbing, riding at a ridiculous pace, being pushed to the point of exhaustion, super competitive approach really isn’t their thing. It’s clear that everyone rides because they enjoy it and they want other people to enjoy it as much as they do. The patient, friendly, encouraging and informative approach ensures that for all involved at any level that happens.

So my two hour ‘introductory ride’ lasted almost four and I returned home a little battered, slightly bruised and bloody but grinning like Kerry Katona in a kebab house.

Much like my dazzling ‘Exposure Toro’ rental torch Brighton MTB has given those long winter nights a much, much brighter outlook. Thanks chaps!


*this is not strictly true but we covered a lot of ground


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