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The Filthy Lucre Tour
Trail bikes at Drumbeg
28th Mar 2006
Trail biking

So I had a go at trail biking with the other unemployed Raes - Dad (retired) and Keith (studying). Was all rather good fun, though a bit more tiring than the other sorts of motorbiking I tried. I couldn't believe how light these bikes were - just 70 or 80kg - mine weights at least 200kg and it's not even a big bike. If you've only ridden largeish road bikes, it's very strange to realise the front wheel is slithering out from underneath you, but that you can remedy the whole situation just by poking out a foot and steadying everything back up again. Much more like riding a bicycle than riding a motorbike, I thought.

We did about two hours worth of it, which was plenty for me. Once you've got stuck once, the back wheel turns into a sort of wheel-o-mud and the only way you can clean it off again is to get out of the muddy stuff and drive through some water, or some heather or rocks. That's all well and good, but when the muddy stuff is the next 100m uphill, all you can do (as far as I can see) is get off and push the damned thing at the same time as giving it a few revs. 80kg it might only have been, but somehow it was made worse by the fact that my father tended to have just zoomed up to the top of whatever slithery muck it was, and would be sitting there waiting for me to finish pushing the bike up before he whizzed off up the next mud-river.

Great fun though, and I think it would be a valuable education for anyone who rides a road bike. Unlike the car, I think most of us road-only bikers would have to admit that we haven't much of an idea of where the edge of traction really is, and what happens once you go past it. Here you get to experiment a bit with that, without the risk of damaging the bike or yourself very much.

And speaking of that, I managed to have two offs, which I think meant I was trying. The first one happened as I followed dad across a damp patch about a foot wide - he whooshed across it in his usual style, and as I went into it I very gently touched the brakes. Which seems isn't the done thing. The front wheel went into what turned out not to be a damp patch at all, but the remnants of one bored highlander's attempt to find Australasia. The front wheel vanished completely, the bike stopped, I leapt energetically over the handlebars into a bog and the bike fell over. My second off came just at the end as dad and Keith drove effortlessly down a muddy track to head back to the road, and I headed behind them looking I'm sure like I'd been doing this sort of thing all my life. Until the front wheel hit went into a rut, the bike went left and I continued straight on at a not inconsiderable pace. I bounced a couple of times on my arm (ow), once on my shin (ow ow) and then came to rest when my head (wearing a helmet, thank christ) hit a rather large rock. Apart from the (borrowed) bike steering not exactly straight, we both seemed fine. According to the telemetry data from my Garmin 305 Forerunner thing (will post a link if I manage to create something online) I was doing about 20mph, and my heart rate hit 180. Not sure how useful that knowledge is, but there you are.

Next: Letting down the pikies
Previous: Caravan collected

Diary Photos
28th Mar 2006
Trail bikes at Drumbeg

Trail bikes at Drumbeg

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