Funny as it may sound, I don’t usually enjoy riding my bike off road on the weekends! The riding aspect I love, however it is the public attention that I get that makes me wish I had left it until the middle of the week.
On Saturday was a case in point. I decided to leave early to set off to work. I thought a dirt trail detour was in order, so I picked a couple of shorter routes that would take me in the general direction that I needed to go and all would be well before evensong.
However, no sooner had I hit the dirt and was progressing quite nicely along that I came into contact with lots of walkers and runners coming in the opposite direction. Now, of course this isn’t a problem as they were quite friendly and didn’t seem to mind too much that I was heading straight for them. However I was getting lots of strange looks and many were kind enough to step off the route slightly so that I could squeeze through.
Luckily nobody threw rotten fruit or rocks at me as I went through but I did get the hint of a hiss or two…and what made it worse was that I sympathised with them. Now, I wasn’t riding in an unruly fashion…indeed I was polite and lost count the number of times I offered salutations, but I did get the feeling that I was impeding their progress and impacting on their day.
I suppose a lot of the trails that I ride may be construed as with ambiguous rights. I often pick routes that have some kind of supposed access or farm track…but I often head off on a trail or into the woods and just see where I end up. Of course, I’m not saying that this is the correct way of doing things, but I simply enjoy riding these amazing trails and especially when I’m not offending anyone or doing any damage.
I like the fact that I can be in an area and I am the only one there. It’s peaceful, breathtaking and tranquillising too. Hence why I usually ride at times when other people might not be present, such as in the early hours of the morning or during weekdays when children are at school and adults are at work.
It’s a preference that has served me well and I like the notion that I could ride anywhere and get the full enjoyment of the ride but it’s as if I was never there. I operate incognito, like a ghost that rides the valley or the spectre that climbs to the top of ridges. It is good to be anonymous and when people do not know I’ve been there, then there is little to be concerned about either.
Just the same as my choice of route during the months from late autumn to spring. I tend to stick to official public access routes because I do not what to churn up the tracks over winter as it ruins it for other users and the snowball effect will make it worse the next time I really want to ride a particular trail.
However, whilst I was rarely alone on my travels this weekend, it was still an amazing ride with more stunning scenery too. Eventually I was able to get off the trail with the trail runners that ran in the opposite direction and encountered only a few mountain bikers too until I reached the end of the trail.
I’m sure this won’t be the last time I ride the trails at the weekend and that I encounter the hordes of leisure seekers, but as long as they stay friendly and I can pass on by without much fuss, then all shall be well in the world.
Now onto the next expedition!