9 cyclists met at the Grizedale Visitor Centre in glorious sunshine. Some brought their own bikes and some hired mountain bikes – Patience on a standard hard-tail, Len on a “gravel bike” (drop bars and fat tyres) and Nick, fancied a power-assisted bike. Linda was trying out Gordon’s daughter’s mountain bike and Gordon, Myles and Nigel rode their own mountain steeds. Ruth and Pete preferred their usual road bikes.
We started with most of us having a brew in the sunshine outside the café, having already endured close on an hour in the car to get to the start. We set off to ride the Green Trail which keeps to well-surfaced forest roads. Although conditions under-wheel were good there was quite a lot of ascent soon after the start as we climbed over the ridge to cycle with occasional glimpses of beautiful Coniston Water and village. The “Old Man” and his cronies were coyly hiding in the mist to start off, but as the day warmed up the summits came into view, making all that climbing well worth it.
Some of the more adventurous in the group diverted off at several points to try the Red Mountain Bike trail, which conveniently shares part of the Green route. The Red route was single track and included some boulders, steps, lots of puddles and exposed slopes. The roller coaster sections were greatly enjoyed but nobody was keen to ride on top of the boulders, but kept to the gravel at the side.
Six of the nine stopped for a picnic at lunchtime, with the other 3 patronising the café at the centre. This was the first time this year that it felt warm enough to enjoy an outdoor picnic. After meeting together again at the Visitor Centre everyone agreed that they had really enjoyed the route and there was enthusiasm for another mountain biking session, maybe at Gisburn Forest at some point.
Len, Patience and Nigel were game for a bit more in the afternoon, so cycled the Purple and Blue trails. We paused to watch some people on the high level zip wires, part of the “Go Ape” adrenaline-boosting activities and wondered if this might be another possible activity for the Wednesday Tasters?
There was a bit of chaos at the car park at the end as the “super-efficient Park with Ease” car number plate recognition system for paying to park was not working and dozens of people were milling around the machines trying to make them work. We were able to pay online once we got home, but it certainly wasn’t “pay with ease”!!
Look out for our next Wednesday Taster, which will be tennis and bowls at the Tennis Club on Lune Street, Lancaster, just off the Quay, on Wednesday 25th April from 2pm. Contact Patience if interested.