Club MTB Ride - Feb 2015

Report by Andy Whitaker

Marshalswick: A small but dedicated group of five gathered for some off-road action on local trails north of St Albans. The 21 mile route was picked to avoid the worst of the muck, but inevitably for February it was a fairly filthy outing.  Up Jersey Lane and through Sandridge we picked up the main bridleway through Heartwood Forest, though the descent halfway along was taken at a careful pace to avoid the participants of a hedge-laying competition and their tools! At Harpenden Common we turned right down Mud Lane, which of course lived-up to its name. Nomansland is always a pleasure to ride, it's well-drained soils giving some welcome respite from the clag. Down Dyke Lane and on up to the Ayot Greenway, we headed east before a stop to get some video footage of young Jim, who needed proof of his off-road endeavours for his GCSE PE coursework. After a few circuits of climbing and descending greasy banks we continued east for a final filming stop to capture some step descents. A tarmac interlude delivered us towards Ayot St Lawrence and some twisty singletrack fun, before mudplugging our way back southward to Waterend Lane. Knowing the likely state of Bunyan Gulley we stuck to the tarmac for the ascent to Coleman Green, with some back-lane spinning and woodland blasts delivering us back to the outskirts of St Albans.

It's always tempting to look toward Summer warmth and dry trails, but there's a lot of fun and satisfaction to be had from riding off-road through the winter. Definitely a great way to build bike handling skills and the soft ground requires constant effort, making for a good work-out.