Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Roxy and the Nettles

I know what you're thinking and no, this is not the name of a brilliant new band I've discovered. Roxy is the newest addition to family Egg and she's a mountain bike. I've been enjoying cycling so much recently that I thought it was time I faced my demons and got back out doing some off-roading.
I should explain to anybody who has only recently come into my life that me and mountain bikes haven't always gotten on so well. The last time I started to get anywhere near fit and skilled was in Greece in 2007, where we would go out two or three times a week in the early morning. Gradually the routes got longer and harder until one fateful day, on a route named "The Magic Roundabout" I had a bit of an accident. A high-speed, downhill accident. There's a photo here:!/photo.php?pid=64530&op=71&o=global&view=global&subj=502863463&id=502863463&ref=pf
So, naturally I've been a bit tentative about getting starting again. But, in the name of fitness and exercise variation, I decided it was time.
Pedals were on, pump attached, spare tubes, tyre levers and a bike tool thingy. Sorted, I wasn't taking any risks. I arranged to meet Michael after work. Now, Michael is someone I met in a spinning class. Lovely chap, bit cheeky but mostly harmless. We've been out road biking a number of times and he is absolutely top-notch when it comes to local knowledge and knowing where to go route-wise.
We set off and within ten minutes we were heading up a seriously overgrown track. Overgrown with all the stuff you don't want it to be overgrown with i.e brambles and nettles. A few little scratches and stings and I was feeling alive, this is what off-roading is all about!
As the path got a little steeper I was playing with the gears and dropped down to the little one (the granny gear, as Michael calls it), but instead of dropping down the chain just came off. I was at a standstill, cleated in and I toppled over.. into.. you guessed it: brambles and nettles! Super. Good grief did it sting.
Still, the pride was still mostly in tact so I picked up and carried on. Another little bit steeper so I went to try again. Once more, the chain came off. And no, I didn't learn from the first time, over I went. This time into what felt like a much more vicious set of nettles, they even went for the face.
I started to get a bit grumpy, mostly from the red, lumpy stinging nastiness but also because I realised that Roxy wasn't quite right either. Michael got me out as I laid there, still clipped in and looking like an eejit. We agreed I would just stay in the middle gear and then it would all be fine.
So we carried on, and despite the fact on side of my body was pulsing with pain, it was ok! We got through one narrow track that scared me a bit, purely because if I fell the same way it would have been into barbed wire and then we started out on an altogether nicer, wider and clearer track.
Aaaaand, I got a flat. I got a flat and a serious case of the grumps. It as a good thing I had brought the spares, Michael, I must say, was a tyre changing guru and managed to stay cheerful through my girly, ranty "I want to go home" bit. I really was ready to give up, especially as I now looked like I had some sort of lepracy.
Reluctantly I got back on the bike and we went on up the hill. Then, believe it or not, it started to get good! We headed down some fun, windy, overgrown stuff and I managed to stop a couple of times without falling over. As I got a bit of confidence back I started goig a little faster and then I managed to hit a hidden tree stump and go over again, but it was a soft landing and I was straight up and back on it.
The rest of the ride was absolutely marvellous. I did come off one more time but that was totally Michael's fault because he stopped right in front of me on some gravel so I'm not taking any responsibilty for that one.
I got back stung to buggery, scratched to bits, with aching legs and feeling completely exhilerated! Roxy needs to go in to have her gear changing adjustment mechanical bit sorted (one day I will learn what I'm talking about) and then hopefully we'll have a long and happy future of trail ahead of us. And I will learn to uncleat quickly instead of falling over.


  1. *giggles*
    *horrified memories*
    I can just picture you kinda stopping and toppling over, very comical in my head.
    also, well done to Michael for his guruness and for remaining upbeat!

  2. hahaha, oh dear Egg.. maybe this is just God's way of telling you to stay clear of mountain biking. You still doing it or has Roxy firmly tucked away in the garden shed? xxxjess (of the parry variety)