Anway, barring iffy Star Wars titles we had a fine and dandy ride, sans Dandy, over to Leith Hill in the sun. Well, fine, dandy with a few mechanicals….
We had 10 riders turn up in total. Joining me was Nick who had travelled from Whitechapel to see what we had to offer, JamesS, Kev, JR, RichieRich, DaveW, Karl, Elliot and Jem. JR had mentioned a Leith Hill ride so with no stronger route we headed off without him as he breached his own lateness record (well that’s unlikely really he can be pretty late).
Admiral’s Track was full of water again but we mainly managed to avoid it by using the banks and were soon at the top of Ranmore….without JamesS. Kev went back and found him with an unfortunate “the valve core came out with the cap” incident. I later remedied this by stripping the tread of the plastic valve cap by over tightening. Thank heavens he hadn’t blinged his Trek with anodised caps! That was mechanical No1.
Prior to the fix we had the Landrover descent (Photoset on Flickr, link at end of post) and then we were soon over towards the Rookery climb. Here mechanical No2 reared it’s head as my SS dropped it’s chain. Not feeling like dealing with it there I trudged up to the top of the climb where I noticed a chainring bolt was missing.Here I amazed the collection by opening my magical pouch of spares a pulling out a spare one! Then I realized how lose all the bolts were and how deformed the spider had become. After a few moments work and a bit of brute force I managed to install the missing bolt and get the others done up tightly. A quick adjustment of the dropouts and an even chain tension was achieved. I won’t live that one down quickly.
We climbs Wolverns Lane and took “Marky Mark’s” alternative route to the Tower which we by passed, much to Karl’s surprise and horror, and followed DW for a run through Windy Willows. This is an excellent complex of trails and includes some of my favourite sections on Leith Hill. It was a tad muddy but nothing too bad. Karl managed to get a little over enthusiastic at one point but no damage done! We then slogged back up to the Tower for tea.
Once refreshments had been enjoyed we followed the New Summer Lightening extention back home. I’m getting better at flowing the berms and overall I think it’s an OK trail, not great, in fact some of the sections are just dull and sanitised compared to what it has replaced but that’s progress, as they say. Mechanical No3 happened just before the Cricket pitch.
Kev exited without any drive and he clearly had a broken mech hanger. Quite badly broken and in three pieces there was no way that was going to get him home. Out came Dave’s magic box again and I decide that a Spearfish (pre-2014 model natch) might just get him home. So after a bit of faffy (as Matt is fond of saying) we got rolling again with strict instructions (which he ignored) to Kev to go easy on the gear change! Karl showed Nick the Deliverance detour and Nick soon followed while the rest of us tackled the roots.
From here it was relative plain sailing as we cruised the rest of Summer Lightening and onwards towards Low Med and Dearly Beloved for our route back home. One other meeting of note was the couple on the home made MTB Tandem. A Raleigh front end with a Giant rear end to give rear suspension. 24″ wheels, phat tyres and 225mm rotors. It seemed to go OK!
About 25 miles in the end and a great way to spend a Sunday morning.