What fun evening rides are.

Usual Wednesday post-school madness with the kids - both off to self defence at 17:15. Now when we started this is was just to give the kids a bit of confidence. That was when our daughter was 6, and we did an hour now and then when we felt like it. But gradually, as these things do, it took over. They're a bit of a rod for your own back in a way. Brilliant thing to do, but because your kids end up silly fit, they need to do the activity. Slack off and they end up climbing the walls at home. But if you don't slack off, they rush up through the ranks and so need additional lessons to keep on top of it all. Anyway, thanks to their next belt being black they had a two hour lesson last night and what do you do as a parent? Sure I could join in, but that'd be another £90 a month gone. Hang around? Nah. So what I do now is go for a ride up into the hills whilst they kick each other. Doesn't sound right does it somehow?

Last night was no different; drop them off at 17:15, I'm off road less than fifteen minutes later doing my silly drop down a vertical sandstone bluff. Not bad is it? Trails to myself, can pretty much do as I please. Although saying that a bloomin' badger ran out in front of me on Reigate Hill, and over near Headley I had a deer for company. Plus you get the odd bat. Of course my rides now are all solo affairs; ride partners come and go, this time going off to the fashionable road scene where I stick to mountain bikes. And three quarters of my spins out happen after 7pm, so I've gone all feral and it's difficult to find people willing to adhere to such schedules. Although saying that I did spot OK off on a parallel path quite late on. He's very much of the same mould; we do what we like to do without regard to fashion, and if that means going out after the kids have gone to bed, or getting up at 6am to get a spin in, then so be it.

Got to the top of the hill, bit of rain in the air but my mood was cheered by somebody playing blues guitar and singing out the back of a van in the car park. He'd never sell many records but for that was still a very good player and it was a nice thing to witness. From there I just played with the trails, with no destination in mind. It all had to be local as pickup was at 7pm, which sounds like a recipe for a poor ride doesn't it? In reality you can get a lot of riding done in that time, and it is always nice to focus local once every now and then. Kind of re-imprints the local trail map in my head. Indeed I quite enjoyed myself, and once again surprised myself in finding another 100m or so of link path that I'd discounted as boring and so have never ridden in twenty years. You see? Keep it local you find stuff.

It was also nice to see so many people out and about on the trails using lights. One big group of cyclists at the Bell prompted me to send a text to my wife to see if she was free to collect our children. She was, so I headed off to the Sportsman for a cheeky pint. Now this involved a bit of road work so I stopped to put my rear flasher on. Well I would have if it was still there. The bugger must have dropped off mid ride as I definitely put it on as I left home. So now I'm three or four miles from home, in the semi-dark, with some road work to do and no rear light, yet the time to have a pint or two of ale? Ho hum, no pint for me then and I ended up being at home just past 19:00 hours so could have collected my children anyway. Coming down Reigate Hill was fast. Silly fast really, and faster than I do during the day. The left hand corner was really ragged and made me think that perhaps I should slow down a tad. Naturally I didn't and blasted down the last bit faster than I've ever done. Once the adrenaline kicks in...... Helped of course that I was on the Orange 5.

Got home, drip, drip, drip came the rain. Opened the front door to my house, Whoooosh! came the rain. That was lucky as I'd not taken a waterproof.

What a cracking ride and I was glad I'd done it. Boy child in trouble at school, so wife all moody. My ride was a cracker; so I put wife in front of the telly, made boy some scones for tea and read him a story at bedtime. You see? A ride soothes all ills in life.