The extending lead for dogs is a reasonable idea tribute ride to Box Hill.

AD* turned up for the ride in a happy frame of mind, but soon the ragged edges started to show through. "It's all so boringly pointless isn't it? You're 40, got lovely kids, a mortgage at the dying end of its life, and can boss people about at work. Saturday you go bike shopping or take the kids to badminton. X-Factor or some other gash on the telly of an evening with a beer or two, chatting happily to the wife. Sunday Muddy Ground takes you on yet another boring spin to Box Hill, and he's getting that little bit faster each week, yet I'm festering. What's the point?"

Oh dear. Mid-life crisis developing or work being that bit too exciting? We've all been there, done that. Well apart from the mid-life bit; that seems to have passed me by or I've not gotten there yet. Poor old AD did seem to be on a bit of a downer towards the end of the ride, and in attempts at getting away from the usual Headley Heath based rides suggesting outlandish plans for riding away from it all, literally. Coast to coast, across Surrey, North or South Downs in entirety kind of thing. Dunno, but those kind of challenges don't always inspire me, they really don't. I did one years ago; 300+ miles in three days around the fens of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. You end up at 297 miles on day three preparing to ride a big circle around town just to do the last few miles to make the hundred for the day. To this day I can remember the madness of it all, cycling for cycling's sake.

The thing I did enjoy doing was the London to Brighton, or to Shoreham and back on the Down's Link in one day - easy one that if you start and finish at Horsham, no worse than a normal ride. I've even ridden to Brighton and back for work, and from London down to Crawley and back a few times. All bigish rides with a point; essentially a beer on the beach for lunch. I'm very tempted by the Oast to Coast; here to Hastings via Tonbridge. May buy some maps. There'd be a point to that as we have friends there; fish and chips on the beach followed by a pint with family and friends? Tempted, tempted.

So, back to my narrative. Naturally once aware of this negative attitude of AD's I took the piss endlessly, and pointed out the negative aspects of all his "boost me up" ideas. You have to, don't you? Even if most of them were quite good. I'll not tell him that though. Let him fester then re-hash and re-introduce them as my ideas in a lame Local Government style.

Enough of this wallowing in somebody else's self-pity, how was the ride Muddy? Well for one it wasn't. OK we've had some rain of late, but there wasn't much mud about and semi-slick tyres were the order of the day. We found enough mud to make us look hard-core "hitting the gnar" as the West Surrey boys have it, at Box Hill with the roadies ensemble, but really the trails were bone dry. Not dusty, but dry enough to make one wary of the top tube on gravel uphills. I only had one nads-meeting-metal incident, which isn't so bad is it? I've got kids already.

You already know where we went, so I'll not go into huge detail. Reigate to Box Hill is about as standard as it gets around here**. But, for me at least, it was fun. Same old same old, true, but if you up the speed a bit, attack the hills a bit more, or challenge yourself to do that nasty mid-fall sand stone drop off en route, then things brighten up. Same trails but if you go a tad faster all of a sudden that gravel corner becomes something of a heart rate lifter as the front and rear wash out instead of just bouncing around. That lump of concrete there? Taken a bit faster it becomes a jump. That sandstone lip? The frightening looking thing that means freefalling a foot mid-slope? Taken a bit faster it's just a bit of sandstone, something to bottom out your suspension. The chalk path? Bugger that! I'm not doing that faster.....

I do realise that Mountain Bikers can lack sartorial elegance, but come on! I took this image of the roadies at Box Hill. Some stunning bikes, but also some equally stunning twats. The guy in the blue rompa-suit for a start. Why did his mother let him leave home like that? No way is he married. 100% certain he lives at home with mum. Probably has a Spaniel and reads the Top Gear Richard Hammond articles for fashion tips. And this guy in red? Does he think this look is cool? It isn't is it? BMC make gorgeous bikes but this guy is a poor advert for them. He looks a right mess. Eye bleach! Where do they get this shit from? Whoever sells this crap must really be laughing: "Hey Fausto. Remember that shit we got where the factory put in the wrong colour codes? You know, that frikkin' blue and black rompa suit thing we should have burnt? Some fat arsed banker from Surrey bought it with his mom. Yeah! Paid full price and everything. No kiddin man."

Sorry, but come on roadies. Buy a Gok Wan book, look in a mirror, do anything but wear some of this stuff. No wonder you have to go around in tribes. Oh and no kidding, but one had an outfit on that was so sheer that it left no need of any imagination to see what his physical anatonomy was underneath. Doubt very much if he knew he'd been riding around Surrey showing his arse crack and nads to the world.

Even AD started to mention the oddities here, and he normally leaves well alone. One guy was wearing cut off denim shorts with trainers yet full on race gear otherwise; another sunglasses with a headlamp burning brightly. There's just no sense of style in the cycling world right now is there? Best just stick to black on black then eh?

To balance things out, and to stop picking on the easy targets, although for the life of me I can't see what's wrong with that... AD had a chat with a guy who mentioned he'd use his mountain bike but it was still fitted with studded winter tyres. Sorry? Where do you live, thinking some emigre from Alaska. "Epsom" came the happy reply. Epsom? That's a place known for being snowbound ten months of the year, fair play. Actually it isn't. It never, ever gets snow bound. Sure you may have a bit of trouble getting the 100 metres from house to main road, ploughing through up to 5cm of soft snow once or twice a year, but studded tyres? In Epsom?

Right, now we've balanced the Roadie | Mountain Biker twat equation.....

Of course today I gave myself no option but to speed***. Took the long, long Gary Fisher Tassajara out, the one with semi-slick tyres on, my eBay bitsa that I constructed a few years ago. It's a racing bike really, so eggs you on the whole time. "Go faster you wuss!" it shouts. "You call that fast? Big girl's blouse, get a move on!" It's a bike that can only be ridden in the dry when you're not suffering an hangover. Ride it when off form and you feel a heal, a waste of time jerk. I don't ride it very often, I can't face it or the humiliation. The Tassajara is quite possibly to me what I am to AD. The nasty that you keep around just to make everything else seem nicer. Mention a little weakness, a little off-form behaviour and the nasty git pounces, ripping in to you. AD should ditch me like I should sell that bike, but sometimes wallowing self-pity needs a bit of a kick in the balls doesn't it?

But by heck some of the dog walkers are miserablists aren't they? One up on Colley Hill stands out. Dog off the lead, her some way behind exercising her fat arse. We slow for said dog, she waddles up to catch hold of it, all out of breath and flustered. After all, it's her dog out of control so her responsibility. We're polite and have slowed to under walking pace, given wide berth, gone over and into the muddy bit. She gave us a look similar to a North Korean political leader spotting a McDonald's. Man what is it with these people? If walking the dog is such a chore, then why not just kill it for the meat and stop at home watching t.v. and eat more crisps fatty? Life would be better for us all then. She wasn't the only one; all seem pretty grumpy these days. And don't get me started on the idiots with dogs on 300m leads......

Well why not. My blog, my soap box, my big gob.....

What goes through their tiny, tiny minds at the pet shop? "Hey I can't control my yapping little dog, but look! A product just for me. A 300m lead with camouflaged cord so that nobody can see it until it is too late. It even says on the package that it's for fuckwits who have no control over their yapping shit machines. That's me! I'm a miserable fuckwit and I have no idea how to control a dog. It even comes with some free baggies so that I can hang yappers stinky poo from handy trees. Oh look a warning: bags of dog shit must be placed at child head height or where a playing child will come into contact with it. Otherwise feel free to use poo bags and extenda lead where it will cause the most disruption and distress to other trail users."

Luckily use of those extending lead machines identifies the user to me as being a person no different mentally to those youths who insist on wearing their jeans around their knees. They've just got more money is all. See an extending lead, you see an idiot. Guaranteed.

Oops. Sorry, back to mountain biking.

Must say that I was pleasantly surprised that today was dry and against all odds. On my ride into the woods last night it started to rain at about 8pm, and seemed to continue well into the night. Waking up to dryness was very nice indeed, especially as I'd fixed a puncture, oiled the chain and lubed the mechs on a slick tyred bike that has no mudguards. Lady luck was with me today.

*Also known as Tony Robinson of Time Team fame. Can be seen in the woods looking for headstones of dead pets.

**I was going to map the ride using sat nav data, but didn't actually turn my device on properly. Twonk.

***All relative of course. I'm a 50 year old office worker who eats pies. Any normal cyclist would run rings around me.