Last Thursday was my first time to join in for the ride. I’ve had my bike for a long time and really enjoy the occasional singletrack ride. I discovered the Stanmer Park trails in the summer and have been taking our two young boys, who are just about old enough to ride off road and it’s great hearing them whoop for joy. It was my turn for that last Thursday.
The thing I was looking for was to ride regularly, with other people and to improve my riding. So I ordered some lights and turned up just about on time in the car park, maybe a bit apprehensive but ready to ride.
The first thing that struck me was just how many riders there were, despite it being quite damp, cold and already dark. It was really easy to chat to people and I felt welcome and part of the thing straight away.
So off we went. The climb up to the trails served well as a warm up and the second thing that struck me just how much you can see with a proper night riding light. The atmosphere was superb. Here we were, out in the forest. Lots of little pools of light, trees, darkness, mud, drizzle, trails.
Our ride leader for the evening was Alex and I heard the ride had an enduro flavour. I had to look up what that meant afterwards. The ride was great fun and I learnt lots more about the trails and quite a bit more about technique. There was healthy banter and just enough breaks for me to keep up.
I especially appreciated Ronnie looking after me for quite a bit of the ride, telling me what was coming up and how to tackle it. Massive thanks also to John, Toby and Ryan for hanging back. I wasn’t used to the front end slipping quite as much but I think I tried and succeeded at lots more than I would have otherwise.
Right now, I can’t wait until next week. I’ve been practicing bunny hops on my drive, much to the amusement of my family, the neighbours and, of course, myself. One of the blog posts says if you ride through the winter you’ll end up a better rider by next summer. That works for me, especially if it’s as much fun as it was on my first night.
Thanks everyone for making it that and for a great evening out!
See you soon,