It was such a lovely day, I didn't go for a ride this weekend.

Too nice to ride?

Not at all. The weather here in the southern half of the UK is fantastic right now. Warm but not hot. I've pretty much been on my bike most days over the past week and I'm starting to bore myself with it!

Why the title then? Simples; I've been riding but as the song says, I've been riding the road to nowhere. Really, I've been out most days but I've gone absolutely nowhere really.

Let me explain.

PP is getting in my head. He's playing mind games with me, and I appreciate that oddly enough. He's pushing me places that I don't care for. You see PP is slightly mad. He likes air time and looks for it everywhere. I've been riding for years with two wheels on the ground, and not a single rider who has been out with me has challenged that assumption. All without fail have been cross country, let's go to a cafe riders.

Not PP. I've shown him around, and he's gone out for rides on his own afterwards. During these solo jaunts he's gone off piste looking for stuff, and invariably finds it.

All those boring double wide trails on top of Reigate and Colley Hill? The trails where there's nothing to do? Never has been? Yup, he's found several three foot drops on those. It's slightly unnerving to ride with him, only to dart off the trail slightly to watch him do this stuff with ease.

Unnerving? Why?

Because he's only been riding off-road for 6 months, that's why. He's still a bit huffy on the climbs, yet he's never failed one, always winches himself up. Show him an eight minute climb, the first time he does it, it's a twelve minute climb. Two weeks' later, go for a ride with him, and you find he's been hitting that climb every time he's been out. It's now an eight minute climb for him too.

Show him stuff, he'll do it first time. Then he'll move the game on.

I've been off-road now for over twenty years. I'm set in my ways. A bikes' wheels' should stay firmly on the ground.

Don't ride with him often.

And this is the problem. PP works odd shift patterns. PP likes to do stuff on his own until he can do it not to your or my standards, but until he is happy with what he's doing. Hence he's not a regular rider in terms of being out every Sunday. He'll be out early mornings during the week.

So when we do go out together, I've no idea where he's pushed the envelope to this particular month. He also assumes that just perhaps I may have grown some balls and be doing what he does naturally. It is this conflict of skills and mindset that messes with my head.

You go out with him, boring bit of link trail. Been that way for ever, always will be. Just get the miles in, do the trail as fast as possible.

Except he's off the trail. He's on a mud bank jumping off it. He's manualing down a dip. He's on top of a building rolling off the side.

He falls off, a lot. Usually see him dripping with blood.

What am I doing about it then?

Not riding that's what. I've been avoiding cross country, avoiding going places.

I've not, however, been avoiding riding my bike. Instead of going on long rides, I've been down the industrial estate, or chasing down little jumps here and there. Trying to do manuals, trying to learn drops, trying to learn jumps.

I'm nowhere near where PP is, nowhere. Can't touch his mental fortitude. He's still inside my head, still messing with me.

Yet now I'm learning to manual, learning to jump, and doing the odd drop here and now. I'm nowhere good, nowhere average. My biggest drop is around 40cm, which I can do consistently. I'm also at the point now where I know the difference between clearing a drop through momentum or doing it via a manual. Instead of barreling into drops all the time, thanks to hours on the industrial estate I can now manual relatively slowly off an axle high drop.

Thanks to PP.

So PP now has me riding in industrial estates. I'm oddly happy about this. It's actually kind of fun this jumping mallarck. I'm still rubbish, but at least now I've got an idea where to go with it all.

Sunday morning cross country.

Sunday I'm out solo. Off up the hill, played around a bit, decided to go off on a spin.

Only bumped into PP. Git, had blood dripping from his arm and knee. Proper cuts and grazes. He's been at it again! Doing more extreme stuff.

He's messing with my head again isn't he?

So instead of a ride I chased some silly stuff down, did a tour of the hills. Didn't go anywhere, just played. Tried to do that thing where you ride at tree roots and your suspension bounces you up and over.


Reality being sometimes up and over, sometimes clattery.

And do you know what?

Cross country is hard, right? Playing on the estate, not going anywhere, that's easy!

It isn't though. It's all acceleration, hard landings, do it again and again and again. Think you've got good core strength? Try doing nothing but manuals into drops for two hours.

So I've been nowhere but have done loads!