Time for a gentle MTB ride close to home today. Wet start to the day so set off with waterproof shorts and rain jacket and typically enough the sun was soon out and baking me steadily!
The first section of the ride was easy enough, passing the Whitecliff furnace on the way into Coleford for a quick stop off at the ATM in case I decided to extend the ride and want a coffee break pit stop later on.
Then it was a gentle climb up to the Angus Buchanan recreation ground, heading in the direction of the Scowles hamlet. Partway along the wooded path I decided to veer off through a gate which led me, following a path, around the edges of a field next to Coleford United F.C.’s ground before arriving at Scowles Road.
Crossing over onto the path the skirts around the edges of Stowfield Quarry I soon found myself on an unfamiliar path. This usually leads to one of two things – either the discovery of a new route to ride through the terrain or a route that quickly becomes unrideable.
Typically enough, today would be the latter and I found myself having to climb across some beautiful rocks in Dingle Wood before arriving next to the entrance to the quarry.
From there it was a climb back up through the woods until I reached the entrance road off the Staunton Road (A4136), following a nice wide track now through Blake’s Wood down to the edges of Staunton itself. There it was onto a path that gradually took me down towards Bond’s Wood, gathering plenty of bramble scratches to my shins and calves along the way.
In Bond’s Wood I picked up a MTB route through the wood. Not one of the official routes in the Forest, but one of the many off-grid ones, this was going great until I suddenly hit a steep twisty descent and made the mistake of stopping to look down it. Fatal mistake, as I then bottled it and got back onto the main pathway rather than carrying on down the track. Next time!!
Then it was along the bottom edges of the quarry and into the village of Newland where I passed the wonderful “Cathedral of the Forest”, All Saints Church which is very imposing and dates back to the early 1200s.
Today was also a chance to try out my new helmet, a Bell Super 2R with detachable chin guard – making it in theory the perfect compromise between everyday cross-country helmet and extra protection for more demanding downhill terrain. The chin guard attaches by three simple ski-boot style clasps, making it quick and easy to put on or take off while you’re out and about and the chin guard stows in a backpack easily enough.
I wore it without the chin guard today and can say that the fit was perfect and I felt much more reassured with the extra protection afforded by the increased coverage at the back of the head that I didn’t have on my previous helmet. There is an integral camera mounting too, so that may be something to think about for the future. In the meantime I’m confident that this helmet will prove to be a worthwhile investment…