So I managed to get the big tires onto the bike for a ride over at Malvern last night. A couple of nights before me and The KG had fixed up his front derailler, and got a little drunk on Aussie beer in the process, and he was keen to get out to see what would occur. It seems the benefits of shifting improves his riding experience no end. Who'd have thought it?
We parked below British Camp and set off in search of a mysterious gatehouse and a path that leads downhill to Gullet quarry. This becomes a bridleway and does in fact go downhill. After a few experimental leaps of navigation we found our selves riding through the woods on the west side of the hills above the deer park. We were probably riding where we shouldn't have. Nonetheless it was a decent run out with a few thrills and few spills.
At the top of Midsummer Hill we took a small path down a pretty steep descent that was blocked halfway with a fallen tree. The KG had a moment where it looked as if his mid-nineties V brakes would kill him, on terrain that was nigh beyond dabbing, but he came out on the Castlemorton to Hereford road cut through like a young Steve Peat.
We stopped off at the quarry lake-side and cleaned the steeds, as they were gonna be squeezed back into the boot of his Ford, much to the amusement of some bar-b-cue-ing casuals. It was refreshing to wade into the man-made lake and clean off the clay. When my man used a clump of grass as an impromptu Squee-gee I knew we were on form and in Gear.
The ride back up to Clutters Cave and over the reservoir was punctuated with half a bar of work, rest and play for morale and a fast ride in the gathering dusk - beautiful scenery as the light tinged the vague haze with pink over the valley of the River Severn..
"I love being on high ground in the evening, there is always such an air of peace about. The mornings can be special too, but then there is a more expectant air, a fragile stillness that is soon to dissolve into the bustle of a full day. The evening hills have the promise of a yet deeper peace."
Mike Cudahy - 'Wild Trails to Far Horizons', pg. 17. Italics mine.