Sunday, 18 March 2012

An eventful Kielder ride

Friday and after me nearly forgetting to put the bikes on the roof of the car we were heading up the motorway towards Kielder for Ali to demo the Superfly100. We got there and managed to get into the hostel to find we had an en-suite room.

Morning came a little soon and I felt like I could do with more sleep but it was up and time for a huge breakfast before heading out on the bikes. We adjusted the saddle height for Ali got the camelbak's out and noticed that Ali's water pouch appeared to be leaking. Assuming we hadn't screwed the top in right she went to sort it out and refill it. Only she found a number of holes. So my water pouch into her bag and a bottle on my bike.

We headed out along the Lakeland Way. It wasn't long before we were climbing up the singletrack on the Lonesome Pine trail, after a little diversion round one of the pieces of art that I had mistook for the trail. We stopped to feed Ali and I asked her what distance her Garmin said, no Garmin. We assumed she had dropped it when removing her waterproof at the bottom on the hill (it was attached to her camelbak). I offered to go and get it but with a few midges in the air Ali didn't fancy sitting and waiting so came with me. A fireroad dropped us back down but there was no sign of the Garmin, until I noticed it still attached to the Rucksac, oops.

We climbed back up the fireroad and headed on up to the Bloody Bush trail. Over some boardwalk and I hear a skid. Shouting back at Ali I asked if she was ok, yes comes the answer so I carry on. After a while I stop, no sign so I get the camera out, still no sign. Just as I was thinking of heading back a bleeding Ali turns up. Turns out she had crashed but since she didn't think she had broken anything had said yes she was fine....

Continuing I noticed her rear tyre looked a little soft. I put some air in but no it must be a slow puncture time for a new tube. This should have been easy only the bike has a maxle, QR undone but I couldn't work out how to get the wheel off. The front was easy it unscrewed but I couldn't work out the rear. Ali at this point thought we were stuck, but fortunately I carry patches. Tube out we found the tiny hole, patched it, tube back in tyre and pumped up. Sorted.

We crossed the border in sunshine and started descending to Newcastleton. Hitting the blue singletrack we were both smiling although Ali was looking tired. We had been planning a lap of the red and then dropping down to go to the Copshaw Kitchen but with all the mishaps time was a little later so we went straight for afternoon tea.

Feeling very stuffed after all the food we headed back up the hills to the Newcastleton trails. Ali's front mech was rubbing and I was happy to sucessfully fettle and stop that. My attempt at changing the air pressure in her forks to better suit her was less efffective.

We rode the first couple of sections of the red before joining the border trail and then following diversion signs, unfortunately this meant we missed the border stane where we needed to turn and head back over to England. Fortunately the OS maps on my Garmin800 turned out to be very useful at getting us back on track. Ali was struggling now, not only was this her longest mountain bike ride of the year (mine too) it was her longest ride by a long way. So lots of haribo and some pacing to stop her little bits of fast followed by dying got her back to the border.

We waved at the tree she had decided to befriend last time before heading back into Kielder. Here it started hailing??? Waterproofs on and we were descending, not for long though. Back on the red trails we climbed back up before starting the final descents. On the first bit of singletrack I put my sunglasses back on and set out like I was at Newcastleton, once off the trail I managed to save, the second time I met a tree! Sunglasses off it was a little easier to see and I went a bit slower as my skills and the trail demanded.

We got back to the hostel while it was still light, just, having ridden 45miles with over 1500m of climbing.
Nice day and one very tired Ali.


  1. Sounds Like a lovely ride Amy and well done Ali! That's a long way on mtbs.
    Would you say there's more than 1 day riding at kielder? We've never been before.

  2. We love kielder, there is lots of riding there and with Newcastleton also nearby it is easy to fill a few days. Depends how far you want to ride?