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Guest blog: Talking a good ride

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 12/04/2013 10:17am

Everyone knows somebody who talks a good ride, says Neil Cain.

You know the sort – the flabby guy on the expensive rig that advised Steve Wade on bike design, maybe helped build some famous trails or even worked as a guide, taking TV celebs out of their comfort zone in warmer climes. I’m sure you’ve met them while out riding and smile as they bluster about times gone, recounting exaggerated tales of mountains, maidens and derring-do, before wobbling off into the sunset.Well, not only am I beginning to have sympathy with those that talk a good ride, I fear I may be joining them.

The classic ‘get home’ toothpaste tube tyre bodge

Let me explain. A while back I moved house, and went from having Aston Hill a few hundred metres from my doorstep to needing to drive for 30 minutes to get to a decent trail. This move – supposedly a stop-gap – has now lasted over a year.

With the move came the tap issue: we don’t have one outside – who builds a house without an outside tap these days? I have a Dirtworker, but after a cold muddy ride in our permafrost spring and a 30-minute drive each way, trailing mud through the house to fill a water tank in the kitchen sink does question the validity of the whole exercise (not to mention my other half’s patience).

Currently I work away from home a lot of the time and, until recently, was commuting from my weekday residence to work by bike (15 busy road miles each way). Then, in December, the roads became skidpans in sub-zero temperatures; at the time of writing temperatures are still struggling to get above freezing, and I haven’t commuted by bike this year.

Then there’s actual mountain biking, which has been strictly a weekend thing. Awful winter aside, two of my last three precious rides have been cut short by slashed tyre sidewalls within three miles of leaving the car.

Somewhere in Spain. Steve Wade, Ben Shepherd, BBC camera crew and famous trails all just out of shot

So I’m feeling a little hard done by, a little flabby and am definitely not ‘requiring’ trails or making the most of winter as I have previously promised. Talking a good ride is actually sounding pretty good here – it’s the next best thing to actually getting out.

Still, before I totally succumb, there is a light glimmering on the horizon. We should finally move next month to somewhere with riding within riding distance, an outside tap and even a garage: I’m genuinely looking forward to it. Summer and dry trails are theoretically just round the corner.

The light looks brighter!

Then, assuming all goes well, I become a father in June…

Nice to meet you. Yeah, I know – I’m not riding so well today. But did you know that I previously worked as a bike guide? While in Spain I even took Ben Shepherd out and was on the BBC’s ‘Holiday’ programme…


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