It's Sunday. I have 3 hours to spare. What to do? Aha! Go on an old skool 6 hour bike ride.

Yes, today we did a 6 hour bike ride just for the fun of it.

PP came out again. He's been out four times already this week. That's mad keen, especially as he left me in charge of route choice today. No idea why, but I went old skool, doing a ride of yesteryear, one I've always enjoyed. It's a long one though.
  • Up to Gatton and under the M25.
  • Head off to George Best's house, then on to Mogodor.
  • Past the stables - no jodhpurs unfortunately. I love jodhpurs. Dirty, dirty man.
  • Cut back to the A217 near ASDA, then off to Headley Heath.
  • Circuit of Headley and on to Box Hill via China Pig.
  • Box Hill climb.
  • Do the Pyramids climb at Headley.
  • North Downs Way home, descent the Chalk Path.
  • Climb back up to do the Reigate Descent.

That's almost five hours saddle time. A big ride really, especially for April's mud.

That rain.

Wife went out for a run, got back saying it was wet but warm. Right, so tentatively the rain gear came out and was worn for all of a mile before it got jacked. Unfortunately I had to stick with the wet weather shorts, which were horribly sweaty all ride. It rained all of the ride, but we didn't really notice. However it did make short work of the trails, turning them to poo.


For some reason post ride I was picking Hawthorn thorns out of my right hand. Suspect that cheeky trail over Banstead was the cause, especially when PP let a bush fly back into my face.

Beginners' luck runs out.

PP has had it easy until now. Beginners luck that it has been dry and he's been able to ride anywhere without incident. Wet today, and the Hawthorn has been cut back. He managed two punctures and a third deflation. Rather oddly his rear mech spun unnoticed through 360 degrees, and it took some time to notice why things were so slack.

He also fell off twice on China Pig, which admittedly was riding like a pig today; all slushy surface mud. I think the falls didn't dampen his enthusiasm at all, but did hint that "Hey! This riding thing can hurt" which slowed him down a bit. Not sure he noticed this effect, but his riding was different post fall. Less gung ho!, more slight caution.

Stephen Spielberg, Duel.

It's like that film, Duel. No matter what I do, where I take him, there he is, grinning away, mashing those pedals. Nothing seems to stop him and he never moans. Quite frankly he scares me. I imagine that come the day he beats me up a climb, he'll kill me dead, bury me on the spot, and do an annual dance on my shallow, stinky grave.

He did look at my bike of choice and ask what it was. I'd been out on the Gary Fisher Tassajara last night, so it seemed prudent to use it today. It was still covered in mud, so why not?

But it's not full suspension! True but around these parts just about any bike will do. The trails here in East Surrey are still the same ones that I started riding in the 1990's on a hybrid Peugeot. That bike did every single trail we did today; 700c road tyres and cantilever brakes.

My Tassajara is old skool.
  • 100mm stem.
  • 90mm front suspension.
  • Narrow Fulcrum Red Metal wheels.
  • Maxxis Aspen rear tyre, Racing Ralph front.

It's a git in the mud, that's for sure, all rear wheel steer, yet way faster than any right it has to be. I'd say on this bike I'm faster just about everywhere on these trails than any other bike I own. One of those bikes is an Orange 5. The Tassajara is like the original Orange Clockwork; a do it all hardtail that sucks it up, always asking for more. I should know; I started proper on a 1995 Clockwork, a bike still in the stable.

Box Hill climb.

He'd never done this, and I'd been hinting we should fort some time. I don't relish the thing myself, but it's there to be done so let's do it. It's long been a timed climb, a test of ones own fitness. Start of the year do it in over ten minutes, how fast by summers' end?

Figured PP would do a twelve minute climb. Quite frankly his first attempt, at ten minutes, was a shocker. What a git! He'll shave two minutes off that easily once he's risen to the challenge. Where will that leave me?

Six hours out.

That's a long day in the saddle, and possibly 90% of the trails between Reigate and Box Hill covered in one hit. We only really missed out the golf course and The Impossible Climb up the Hermitage. PP seems to want to know it all, and know it now. This kind of trail harvesting isn't sustainable; he'll burn out sooner rather than later.

It was a great day out though, even if unusually long.