It’s extremely rare that I ride my mountain bike on consecutive days but I rode both yesterday and today. I have occasionally used my bike and pedal powered boat in this way, though, so it isn’t exactly unprecedented. Yesterday I was expecting it to rain today, so even though I’d been invited out for a ride a week ago I hadn’t thought we’d ride. The weather wasn’t nearly as bad as the forecast so at 2pm I set of to meet Jonny at White Coppice with the intention of riding Brinscall Woods. Jonny has bought an electrically assisted E bike so I was never going to be able to keep up on the climbs and many of the more level trails but Jonny was happy to moderate his pace.
I chose the route because I know the area very well so we set off towards the woods and used the steeper climb. I’ve fitted a new rear tyre which I reviewed favourably yesterday. It performed very well on corners and gives excellent grip for climbing but it is very heavy. It also has much chunkier tread blocks than its predecessor so for these 2 reasons I wasn’t sure that it would be as easy to climb. We rode 2 circuits of the woods and analysing the data provided by the app. Strava I can tell that my concerns were unfounded. I climbed a damp gritty and stony ascent in good times without putting in any more effort than I normally would. Yes, it had started raining but stopped at the right time for us to decide on a ride up the moor to take in a superb downhill.
The descent was slippery but the chunky treads dug in well for braking and cornering. Jonny had much less advantage over me on the descents from electrical assistance and is much less experienced at trail riding than I am so he dropped a good way behind me on the drop. It was a similar story along the undulating top edge of the woods and I’d also had to help him get the very heavy bike over a couple of gates and stiles. Alone it would have been a struggle.
I stopped a few times on the main descent to ensure that we didn’t lose each other. There was plenty of slippery mud on the surface and rocks and roots were also treacherous. I still had a good time on an excellent trail and so we decided to climb to the top of the woods again for another go. I found the grip in muddy conditions from my new Vittoria Mota rear tyre to be about as good as I’ve ever experienced. After the second descent we rode back to White Coppice and then carried on along a very wet route towards Healey Nab. Here the tyre dragged very badly in the inch deep slop and I wondered if this was the down side of an otherwise great tyre. I don’t have any Strava data to compare my previous tyre so it may have been that the feeling of dragging was a consequence of the wet trail and not the tyre, I have no way of knowing.
We rode back over Healey Nab with its purpose built trails and I got the feeling that this more gentle and predictable type of trail might have suited Jonny better than when we’d battled down a more tricky descent in Brinscall Woods. It was a good ride but wasn’t nearly enough to encourage me to buy an E bike. Jonny had also experienced a small problem riding back from the woods on level ground. His assistance was inconsistent and the problem turned out to be the magnetic sensor on the rear wheel. It had been pushed along the spoke away from the detector presumably by an errant twig or rock during the downhill segment. It was easily remedied.