04/05/08: Yorkshire smells of garlic

On the Bank Holiday weekend, we sallied forth to Mr Toast’s homeland of North Yorkshire. Whilst in the region, we decided to visit Dalby. Well, it would be rude not to.

I should point out that Dalby and I don’t have a very happy history. We went there last year, and I hired a bike from Purple Mountain. The bike, a Kona Fire Mountain (I think), was pretty poorly maintained with a fork that just would not move, and the blue trail was fairly dull – pretty similar to the green trails around Cannock Chase, except for the tricky zig zagging ascent at the start.

Well, I was determined that I’d approach it with an open mind. Being realistic, I knew that there was no way I could do the full red, which clocks in at about 24 miles. Mr Toast however, was itching to give it a go and put his Commencal Meta 5.5 (henceforth known as ‘The Grasshopper’) through its paces. The cunning plan was that I’d do the most of the blue route, and a small part of the red route at the end. So, as we reached the top of the zig zagging hill, we went our separate ways – Mr Toast down the scary steps of the red, and me up the gentle uphill of the blue.

The first niggle that I had was that as I came to a junction, there were no signs as to which way the blue route went. There was a downhill fire road to the left, and two uphill paths – a fire road and something a little rockier – to the right. I took the rockier one, thinking it would be more interesting. It wasn’t really, it wasn’t particularly interesting – just a long, steep uphill, leading to more fire road.

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I stuck at it, eventually picking up some blue arrows at various points. Most of the ride was pleasant enough, but fire roads…meh. The long, straight uphill sections were a pain in the arse (well, the knees), and so dull. But there were some very bizarre sections, where I’d find a blue arrow pointing down a very steep hill – far steeper than anything I’ve tried at Cannock Chase, even on Follow the Dog. Fortunately, they were fairly suitable for noobs – there were no roots or rocks to contend with, it was just a matter of getting the weight back and steering!

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These were by far the most fun parts of the ride…but sadly there was only two of them, lasting 3 minutes in total, tops. 🙁

I’m still not sure if I actually did the blue route – the markers I were following were a white circle with a squat blue arrow on, but at one point I came to a sign next to one of the markers saying ‘If you are following the blue route, you have taken a wrong turn’! Makes me wonder if the signs I followed were just generic bridleway markers. At one point I followed them up a steep hill…then up another steep hill…then up a steep uphill road…and then there was a t-junction with no signs at all. On the plus side, doing the 20 minutes uphill journey in reverse in less than 5 minutes was fun!

I should probably learn to read a map, or something.

I never actually went on the red, as I was worried about getting lost, and also about the capability of the bike I had hired, again from Purple Mountain. It was an upgrade from last year (this one was a Kona Blast Deluxe), but the fork was still very, very stiff. The perils of riding a standard ‘man’s’ bike with a cheap not-really-very-adjustable fork, I suppose. It’s a shame, because otherwise the bike was a good fit.

The Kona Blast

I did ask about hiring a full suspension (a Kona King Kikapu), but alas, the smallest they did was a 16″, which was a bit too long for me. 🙁 I think it was a good job I didn’t attempt the Dalby red though, as Mr Toast said that parts of it were very tough – even on the Grasshopper! Given that I still pootle around Follow the Dog at a rather sedate pace, I should probably get my skills (and fitness) up before I try Dalby.

Ride: Dalby

Trail: Dalby….blue. I think…

Highlights: Some awesome views and the sense of exploring, some exciting steep downhill bits of trail

Bad bits: Dreary, dreary fire roads, and a general lack of signage for the Blue route. Oh, and the café running out of milk.

Post ride food snaffled: Chocolate chip cookie

Good dogs seen: Some charmingly elegant spaniels, and a trio of Cairne terriers (each one a different colour).

1 thought on “04/05/08: Yorkshire smells of garlic

  1. Really a comment about the 2008 Kona Blast Deluxe. You are right about the fork, The Dart 2 is a stiff and sluggish fork. But the bike is a rugged little thing. You can pick the 2008 version up now really cheap. Allowing you to spend alot of money on a new fork and rims set.

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