Having only ever joined Brighton MTB on weekend rides I thought it was about time I made the effort to get out on one of their weekday evening rides. I decided to join their Thursday night ride as it was billed as a more relaxed pace and not being the quickest on climbs this suited me fine.
There was a good-sized group of us ready for the sunny 7pm off and to my surprise the ride leader headed off in a completely different direction than I had expected, as Stanmer Park being my local, regular riding spot I tend to have a set route for accessing the trails and for me one of the things i most appreciate when joining a group ride is that you can discover new ways of riding in an area that is well-known to you.
The ride was sociable enough to allow conversation at times but not annoyingly stopy, starty as some large group rides can be.
I am drawn to group rides for several reasons the obvious one being that you can meet like minded people in a relaxed setting but another bonus I’ve found is the improvement in fitness that can be gained from riding with people who are quicker than you. Even on this slower paced ride I found myself pushing that little bit harder than I would if out on my own or with my regular riding buddies.
We spent a good 2 hours zipping about the singletrack and stopped to eye up a couple of the more challenging features which only the braver riders took on and as the light fell I found I lost my confidence a little on the narrow trails as I didn’t have any lights but they are next on my wish list of bike kit so hopefully next time i join a night ride I’ll be prepared.
So whether you’re new to mountain biking or a seasoned pro i’d say that joining a group ride like this, whether just once in a while or every week, can bring unexpected pleasures.