Viva la Quickie!
Posted: 20th October 2009 | Words: Richard Truman | Image: Phil Ingham
Free time is a valuable and rare thing. But given a nugget of an hour what can you do? Get not much sleep. Watch two episodes of an awful soap. Make lasagne, if you're quick. Feel the buzz of great riding in your legs, wonder at big hills and bigger skies, get the heart racing and adrenalin pumping? No, that surely is exclusively the stuff of epic days out.
Or maybe it can be done. I think it can and I think I've got the knack. Given an hour of rare freedom I pulled a great ride out of the bag in 40 minutes and, in the process, feel like I've discovered my own secret kingdom of glittering and shiny riding.
It came about like this on a glorious sunny Sunday: kids away with aunt and not due back until lunchtime; wife fast asleep; a towering list of DIY to-dos; and the itch to get out for a ride that only a true addict can know.
Before you could say ‘mow the lawn' my kit was on, helmet buckled and feet clipped in. Opening the garage door to the morning's bright light felt like dawn itself. With a hop down the road, a skip through the gunnel and a hip-jump out by the pub I was free.
The first long nasty climb was short and sweet. Even the loose-bit-where-you-sometimes-lose-the-back-wheel was a breeze. At the top, of the hill, more freedom fighters. But clearly freedom fighters with time. And cake. A hello and a quick glance of Manchester's flatlands is all there was time for before heading off again.
Hang on, I'd forgotten about this bit. Right at the top of the hill, before you hit the long jumpy woopy downhill to the reservoir there's some tight, wiggly, bermed singletrack. Not even time to wonder if it gets any better than this. Just smash the pedals, pump the berms and look back - just to see if anyone is keeping up, going faster or, God no, enjoying this as much as me.
Singletrack becomes the long jumpy woopy downill, which becomes the track by the reservoir, which rapidly becomes the next climb. Sunshine, sheep, a raging stream, a dog, an owner, a family out for what looks suspiciously like a pre-lunch walk: it must be time to head home. A blast down the road, a hip-jump by the pub, a skip down the gunnel, a hop up the road and home.
I love big rides and big days out as much as you, but the feeling of a ride stolen in 40 minutes is a truly special one. Now I've found this secret riding kingdom I'm sharing it with you. It's a gift. Use it wisely.