Last Sunday I led a “slow paced” ride in the Surrey Hills, specifically aimed at those who perhaps only ride with the club during the week and never join us on our away days. This was also an opportunity for those who had gone into hibernation over Christmas to emerge from the sofa and get back on the bike.
The Surrey Hills are one of my favourite places to ride and subsequently I’m up there with others from the club most weekends. If it wasn’t for the local trail fairies, the Surrey Hills would just be a network of fire roads in some pretty stunning countryside. Fortunately, since the early days of mountain biking the locals have been gradually building up a forever-expanding and forever-evolving web of trails in the woodland and heathland between the fire roads.
These trail fairies really know what they are doing. Some of their trails make professionally constructed trail centre trails look amateur. Unlike a trail centre, where you’re tied into riding a fixed loop, in the Surrey Hills you are free to mix and match your own succession of trails. This does however mean you really need to know where you’re going to make the most of it.
So to give those who have never been to the Surrey Hills a chance to be shown around, without fear of holding us regulars up, I arranged this all-inclusive ride where the pace would be restrained. We had a turnout of 19 riders and a dog, impressive!
I’d been up the day before to assess the conditions on the trails I had short-listed to ride. I picked out a loop which avoided the worst of the winter slop. I was also able to scout out some super-secret dry trails. For a few minutes we could all sample a piece of singletrack paradise. A sandy pine forest without a hint of moisture in the ground. We all grinned as we threaded together a fast succession of dry twists and turns between the pine trees, loose sand was thrown into the air on every turn. Bliss!