Surrey Hills mountain bike ride; the 40lb tyre and an injured hiker.

Mud, mud and more mud. Do you want mud with that?

Bit of an odd ride today. Solo, didn't plan on much; Headley Heath for a coffee, then a ride back. My children had a martial arts test at 1pm, so I was time constrained, just three hours to spare. To an extent the pictures tell pretty much all of the story....

Almost at zero degrees C when I set off, there was a little ice but nothing to get too excited about. I crashed through it, making crunching sounds, which was great fun. Until I hit a deeper one and it went into my shoe. I made pitiful wincing sounds then.

All was plain sailing until Headley Heath, where for the first time in 18 months I planned to stop at the mobile tea shop. Luckily it was closed. Saved me a few quid that.

I did, however, whilst eating my apple, make use of my latest purchase from Decathlon. This is one of those packable down jackets. 200g and it fits into my pack. Just keeps the chill off on the odd stop. A great buy for £30. Obviously in this colour scheme it is acceptable for us un-colour co-ordinated mountain bikers to wear off-road.

The road down the Hermitage was closed for vehicles. It had subsided apparently. Is a bike a motor car? Nope, so down I went, expecting carnage. What I found was mud where the 4x4 twonks had churned it all up. Nothing against 4x4 vehicles, or using them off-road for fun. Just that whoever went down here last, really cut the trail up. Any need for that? Now the council will grade what was one of the more technical downhills or climbs in this bit of Surrey.

Once at the bottom though, and looking back up The Hermitage and Colley Hill, well what a lovely scene. Really stunning in a Surrey kind of way; my photograph does not do it justice. From here there's a trail that runs along the bottom of the hill, off along to the right. I could see around 20 hikers using it, and they were calling out to each other too watch it. Figured I'd get in front of them and ride up the hill to the left, picking up the top trail and home.

Nope, got to the trail head at the same time; ten hikers one side, ten or so the other. They told me that the bit they'd just done was awful and I should avoid it at all costs. Fair enough; it's a footpath and I'd had no intention of doing so. However I recognise a gauntlet being thrown down! This was further encouraged when one of them showed me his cut up face, which was dripping with blood.

I'm not being brave; generally you can ride what cannot be walked. This proved to be the case, and I did. The penalty was the 40lb front tyre as shown below. Boy was it muddy; our lovely chalk mud. This was hard to push along. There was no grip anyway, so that aspect was not lost.

And do you notice the images of other cyclists? Nope, didn't see any either, not in three hours. No horse riders either, just loads of dog walkers and a single chain of 25 or so hikers. Oh and some cross country runners. Is it me, or are they a funny lot? Surely if you hate doing something as much as they appear to, then stop doing it. I said "hello" to one woman, but she so looked like a witch I couldn't help but make cackling noises straight after. Kept me amused, and do you know what? That's all that counts.