Tag Archives: Viewranger

Freeminers’ Trail

On Wednesday afternoon it was time for another ride accompanied by my faithful trail buddy. This time I parked at Pedalabikeaway with the intention of doing another circuit of the Verderers’ Trail. However, it was not to be.

Heading Up The Fire Road
Heading Up The Fire Road

We set off from the car park and had only gone a couple of hundred yards into our journey I realised that although I’d set my usual smartphone apps running I had not managed to start my GoPro recording properly. A quick stop on the fire road to rectify that and we were off again.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

Branching off the fire road and onto the bumpy rocky trail leading to where we last joined the Verderers’ I decided to follow the dog’s lead and turned onto the Freeminers’ Trail, following the red arrow waymarker number 81. A mixed-weather day, it had been sunny and hot during the morning, only to sleet as we left home to go riding. For this reason, although it was only a very light rain by the time we were underway, both my four-legged friend and I had our rain coats on.

Rock Garden
Rock Garden

I soon discovered how much more demanding this level of trail is compared to the blue route that I’m more used to. Although this first section of the trail was essentially a kind of zig zag slowly up the side of the hill, with the odd rock garden thrown in for fun, the surface being far more rooty and bumpy than the Verderers’ made it much harder on my ageing knees!

Back Down The Hill
Back Down The Hill

The track itself was also noticeably narrower in many places, the singletrack proving pretty challenging especially on hillsides where the roots threatened to see my rear wheel slide off the edge every now and then! After a while we were heading finally back down the hillside but this was a false dawn as soon the trail got even steeper going uphill than before.

Waymarker 86
Waymarker 86

Eventually we reached the higher elevation fire road at waymarker 85 before almost immediately turning back down the side of hill at waymarker 86. This lead the pair of us back down to the level that we had started at and, indeed, we were soon back onto the bumpy rocky path that we’d been on prior to joining the Freeminers’.

Verderers' Trail
Verderers’ Trail

We then turned onto the Verderers’ at waymarker 42. With this trail and this particular section being more familiar we were both able to pick up some speed. OK, I was able to – the dog had been coming back to find out what had happened to me quite frequently whilst tackling the uphill Freeminers’ section earlier!

Waymarker 90
Waymarker 90

Back out onto the fire road I was intending to resume the Verderers’ and follow it all the way back to Pedalabikeaway. So it was that we turned back onto the Verderers’ but after the first couple of bends the dog had other ideas again and I followed her detour which took us – possibly heading in wrong direction (?) – to a skills section on the Freeminers’ waymarked 90 at which point we did a quick about-turn and, having skipped past the jumps (I wimped out!) then emerged back onto fire road and, deciding to stick with it, crossed over to waymarker 91.

Strava Map
Strava Map

I later realised in retrospect that we’d clearly taken the wrong turning and almost certainly went in the wrong direction as some minutes later we emerged to find waymarker 117 pointing back down the track that we had just exited. Oops! Not to worry, we carried on across the path to waymarker 106 to traverse another tricky hillside, once again slipping on the narrow rooty track with knees grumbling and dog wondering what was taking so long.

Strava Stats
Strava Stats

It was on this section that I realised that somehow the quick release on my front wheel had come undone so it was a good job that I didn’t have the fitness to go faster as may I have lost the wheel and come something of a cropper!

Jump Ahead
Jump Ahead

Once on the other side of hill we followed the red arrow to uphill to the next section of the trail waymarked 111 going down the hill in the general direction, I thought, of New Road. This pretty quickly became a faster moving section for me, much to the obvious delight of my buddy. Back onto the fire road and then section 114 with more downhill meaning another quick-moving section challenging me, at times, to stay on the bike with numerous jumps and the roots along the rather narrow single track threatening to derail me.

Waymarker 117 (Again!)
Waymarker 117 (Again!)

I was then surprised to find myself arriving back at the waymarker numbered 117. We followed this section back almost as far as the fire road that we’d been at earlier and then took correct route, which was once again very rooty but thankfully a noticeably wider section of the trail.

North Shore Approaching
North Shore Approaching

We were soon through sections 92 and 93 with some nice rock garden segments (and a possible wrong turn again?) before arriving at the gradual ascent up to north shore section that we had first attempted a few weeks ago which then took us across the wooden bridge and a rock garden before coming back out onto the fire road.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

Finally we were on the last section of the Freeminers’, leading around behind the Vallets Wood Highways Depot and Pedalabikeaway’s hire building to the car park and for some much needed refreshment and a cool down outside the café, since the earlier rain had given way to hot sunshine once more!

ViewRanger Map & Stats
ViewRanger Map & Stats

I thought about calling this blog post “Freeminers’ Trail Remixed”, as we’d seemingly done various sections in the wrong order and some of them in reverse. However, in truth if the route was to be compared to a record it would not resemble a 12″ remix so much as a shortened 7″ edit played at 33⅓ rpm! I think I need to stick to the Verderers’ and unmarked trails of the same difficulty until I’m and bit fitter and more confident in my ability in the saddle until attempting the Freeminers’ again. Still, it was certainly an adventure!

Endomondo Map
Endomondo Map

The app stats were closer to each other than normal for this ride, oddly enough. Endomondo had 7.09 miles taking a total time of 88 minutes. Strava, by comparison gave 7.00 miles in 88 minutes and lastly ViewRanger came in with 6.58 miles taking 88 minutes. So all three of the times match this time, but with up to half a mile difference in distance covered. Hey ho!…

Endomondo Stats
Endomondo Stats

Verderers’ Trail

Well, as hoped I managed to get number two son to join me and the dog for a blast around the Verderers’ Trail in the Forest on what turned out to be a lovely sunny morning today.

Strava Map
Strava Map

Rather than start at the beginning of the trail down at Pedalabikeaway, we decided to start a little over half way round the course and end back in the same place. So it was that we parked in the lay-by at Edge End and put the wheels and saddles back on our bikes before heading off down the fire road and joining the Verderers’ at the first opportunity.

Strava Stats
Strava Stats

As usual the dog set the pace and the humans struggled to keep up. The benefit of that, for the dog, is that it gives her plenty of opportunities to shoot of the track into the woods and investigate if she spies something that takes her fancy and get back onto the trail without getting remotely left behind!

Once we hit the final descent section of the trail it’s fair to say that I, for one, could really feel the vibrations of the rocky surfaces travelling up through my arms, so although that section was a real blast it was something of a relief to arrive at the café for a breather. Typically, the four-legged member of the group elected to tackle the red option on that final section , presumably just to prove that she can!

Setting Off For Part Two Of Our Trek
Setting Off For Part Two Of Our Trek

A coffee and pasty (me), an orange Tango and pasty (number two son) and water plus two dog biscuits (guess who) later, we headed up through the overflow car park to complete the Verderers’, only then realising that I’d forgotten that the trail actually started behind the hire store and we’d missed the first few hundred yards.

ViewRanger Map & Stats
ViewRanger Map & Stats

I was to discover, once we were back home and I’d uploaded the files from the GoPro that I had somehow managed to take just two still photos of the section from the car all the way down to Pedalabikeway – both of which were useless – and only managed to video record the second stage of our journey from Pedalabikeaway back up to Edge End, hence there are no images from the first section. Not only that but somehow I’d only managed to actually get ViewRanger recording from Pedalabikeaway too. Goodness knows how I managed to do that!

Do You Mind? I'm Having A Bath Here!
Do You Mind? I’m Having A Bath Here!

After the long bumpy rocky trail up from the car park we turned onto the trail proper and were soon tackling the ups and downs and turns that it had to throw at us. The dog took it all in her stride and even managed to fit in an impromptu bath in a nice muddy puddle just before we hit the fire road again!

There's Another Dog Up There!
There’s Another Dog Up There!

Once we got to the zig zag sections (I wonder if they have a proper name?) that climb the hillsides the dog spotted another canine trail buddy high above us and tried to catch up to say hello, by shooting straight up the side of the hill and then rocketing back down to join us again.

Number Two Son Takes A Shortcut
Number Two Son Takes A Shortcut

The zig zag sections are something of an endurance test and number two son found it an ask too much, and resorted to a short cut from about half way up straight to the top of the descent that leads down to Ropehouse Ditch. Fair enough really, as it was only the second time he’d been on a bike in the past couple of years so isn’t exactly match fit.

The Dog Tries To Overtake
The Dog Tries To Overtake

He then took over the lead position for said descent, with the dog hard on his heels (as in her nose almost touching his back tyre!) and desperately looking for a way past, but try as she might she couldn’t quite find a suitable space to overtake without the risk of getting ending up under his wheels.

Number Two Son Getting A Bit Too High On A Berm
Number Two Son Getting A Bit Too High On A Berm

A little further on number two son nearly flew over the side of a berm causing me to brake sharply and almost end up off the track myself! On we soldiered, with the dog and I re-taking the lead, and before we knew it we were climbing towards the A4136 at Worrall Hill.

Two Trail Buddies Meet...
Two Trail Buddies Meet…

As we approached yet another zig zag section the dog spotted the trail buddy she’d seen earlier and went to say hello whilst number two son and I conferred over what route to take next. He chose to take the most direct route to the corner nearest Worrall Hill, whilst I tackled the zig zag (as did the dog) and met him at the corner.

Tired? Me? Not A Chance!
Tired? Me? Not A Chance!

Then we were both back onto the Verderers’ Trail as it began to snake it’s way finally back towards Edge End. At this point number two son was clearly rather tired and I was beginning to wonder if I’d pushed myself a little too hard. The dog, meanwhile, continued to zoom around corners like there was no tomorrow!

Back Towards Edge End
Back Towards Edge End

Finally we were making our way back up the fire road to the lay by and the car. Stats-wise today’s figures were 7.59 miles in 80 minutes (Endomondo) and 7.6 miles in 103 minutes (of which 59 were moving minutes) (Strava). I think we can safely ignore the 4.31 miles in 76 minutes (ViewRanger) as it only recorded the second part of the trek. I wonder why, considering they were both started and finished within seconds of each other, there is a 23 minute difference between the other two though?…

Endomondo Map & Stats
Endomondo Map & Stats

Newland To Redbrook Loop

Sunday saw number three son and I head out again on our bikes with the dog for another ride, this time choosing a completely different starting point and route from the recent rides that the dog has come on.

Endomondo Map & Stats
Endomondo Map & Stats

Inspired by a route map included in the April 2016 issue of MBUK magazine – which has a sixteen mile route beginning and ending in the village of Redbrook alongside the river Wye – I decided to take part of it but start near the top of the valley and end back there rather than starting and ending down at the bottom.

Darn... It Got Away!
Darn… It Got Away!

So it was that we made our starting point the edge of Newland village where we set off down Laundry Lane. We had only travelled a few feet when the four-legged one managed to flush out a bird that had been hiding in the greenery on the verge at the side of the road!

The First Uphill
The First Uphill

Carrying on past the bottom of Savage Hill we then encountered the first uphill section, heading up onto the very top of the valley, which quickly became a little too rocky and wet for the humans in our party to tackle with ease!

Heading Down Towards Redbrook
Heading Down Towards Redbrook

Having eventually reached the top and decided which of the various possible routes to take down, we carried on down the main track which would lead us all the way down to the primary school in Redbrook. Although it started off dry and rocky there were some places where the track would prove to be rather muddy in places where some pretty big tyres had left their tracks.

Puddles Here He Comes!
Puddles Here He Comes!

Naturally, as some of the muddy puddles in these tracks could be pretty deep the sensible thing to do was to skirt around the edges of them. At least that’s what I thought. Number three son seemed to think that heading straight into them and hoping for the best was a better plan!

Redbrook
Redbrook

Once we reached Redbrook itself it was necessary to put the dog back on her lead as we needed to push our bikes alongside the main road for a few hundred yards until we got to Coach Road where she could be set free again and we almost doubled back on ourselves to start a fairly gentle ascent before levelling off and passing Bigwell Fly Fishery on our left.

What Has She Spotted?
What Has She Spotted?

It was along this section that the dog suddenly spotted something off to the side of the track that took her interest and started jumping up on her back legs every few yards for a minute or so. Once past whatever it was that so caught her attention we were soon passing Glyn Farm and then the small lake just past the impressive Grade II listed farmhouse itself.

Sheep Ahoy
Sheep Ahoy

We stopped for a quick snack at the bridge just after the lake before setting back off on the next section of our journey which would take us across open land following the path of the Valley Brook back around in the direction of Newland. At this point I needed to once more put the dog on her lead, as there were sheep roaming free, meaning that I was now riding one-handed and leading her with my other hand, which was a first!

Back On Laundry Lane
Back On Laundry Lane

Once past the gamekeeper’s house were back onto Laundry Lane and the home straight to where we’d started nealry 100 minutes earlier. The weather had gradually improved and we’d warmed up nicely during the ride so two sweaty humans and a panting dog finally came to a halt having travelled a little over five miles in total.

Strava Map & Stats
Strava Map & Stats

For those interested in the stats – if indeed anyone is – Endomondo’s tally was 5.7 miles in 99 minutes. Strava went for 5.3 miles in 97 minutes (of which we were apparently moving for 67 minutes). ViewRanger, meanwhile, claimed 5.24 miles in a total time of 98 minutes.

Next weekend I’m hoping to hit the Verderers’ Trail together with the dog and number two son. Watch this space…

ViewRanger Map & Stats
ViewRanger Map & Stats

Broadwell To Pedalabikeaway Loop III : En Masse

Last Thursday it was time for another trip out onto the forest paths with the dog – but this time with the rest of the family joining in – that’s my wife, our daughter and numbers two and three sons.

Heading Towards Broadwell
Heading Towards Broadwell

As has become the custom lately, we parked the cars (two needed for five bikes, five people and one dog!) up the road from the Oak Quarry council tip. Front wheels and saddles reattached to everyone’s bikes, I again set the three apps going on my phone (Endomondo, ViewRanger and Strava) and set the GoPro camera to record, and then off we all set.

Number Three Son About To Take A Dive...
Number Three Son About To Take A Dive…

We headed up into the woods towards Broadwell before skirting the edge of the woods past the entrance to Worcester Lodge, stopping to tighten saddles for both sons, before getting onto the unofficial yellow arrow marked MTB trail that I used on the first “Broadwell To Pedalabikeaway Loop”. It was on the last section of this trail, a few hundred feet prior to the end, that number three son decided to throw himself off his bike into the mud for the first time! Having picked himself and his bike up, and allowing for the girls to catch up we emerged onto the fire road high above the track from Pedalabikeaway to Speech House Road.

Strava Map
Strava Map

Turning left, we soon had to decide whether to take the gentle hillside descent to the back of the cycle centre that the dog and I had used on our last trip or to carry on around the fire road for a while and join onto the final section of the Verderers’ Trail instead.

Speeding Along The Fire Road
Speeding Along The Fire Road

Vote taken, all surprisingly opting for the Verderers’, off we set along the fire road, with the dog and I picking up a bit of speed for a while at just over 18 miles per hour before slowing again to let the rest catch up!

Strava Stats
Strava Stats

Once we reached the entrance to the final section of said trail, however, with the daughter complaining that her knees were hurting we had a re-think and decided that it would perhaps make more sense to continue on the fire road around to the Launchpad which would be less demanding than the Verderers’ (number two son wanted to do the Verderers’ regardless, so I promised that I would return with him to do that another day – although he doesn’t fancy any of the uphill sections (!) and who knows if he’ll be able to drag himself away from his computer games for a second trip out anytime soon?!).

The Dog Sets The Pace For Sons Numbers Two And Three
The Dog Sets The Pace For Sons Numbers Two And Three

Well, so much for that plan. Upon arrival at the Launchpad the younger female decided that she couldn’t possibly go down it and wanted to find yet another alternative route. Following much encouragement and persuasion (and muttered moans from number two son) she agreed to give it a go. The boys would go first, followed by my good lady, then our daughter with me bringing up the rear in case anything happened to her.

Watch Out - Approaching Massive Ramp!
Watch Out – Approaching Massive Ramp!

Well, if it’s possible to go any slower on a gravity downhill route I would be surprised! As the first small ramps came along it was apparent that – although the instructions are not to pedal on this track to avoid going too fast – she would need to pedal to reach the summit of the ramp!

Catching Up To My Better Half
Catching Up To My Better Half

I stopped for a while to let her get some way ahead before setting off again and catching back up with her in a matter of seconds. My wife was soon in view, at the bottom of the steepest descent on the trail which our daughter would later claim to have been her favourite part!

Final Stage Of The Launchpad
Final Stage Of The Launchpad

Once I had caught up with her and the slow-moving-one had joined the pair of us it was decided that they would both exit the Launchpad and carry on down to Pedalabikeaway via the path that runs roughly alongside the Launchpad. That allowed me to finally get going and catch up with the boys at the dog at the bottom of the trail.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

Number two son then elected to follow a little of the Freeminers’ Trail at the back of the cycle centre, closely followed by the four-legged runner, then me and finally number three son. The girls headed straight to the overflow car park and around to the café that way.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

Number two peeled off as soon as the girls and the car park came into view, leaving the dog and I to finish the final section of the Freeminers’ – with her clearing rock gardens and rooty areas with far more speed and style than I managed to!

Oops, someone's missing!...
Oops, someone’s missing!…

Arriving at the other end of the car park and heading to the café it quickly became apparent that son number three hadn’t, as I thought, followed number two and the girls and was still back on the trail somewhere! A quick retracing of steps (again accompanied by the dog) found said son in the area that the Freeminers’ and the car park met exclaiming that he didn’t like the trail – not because it was too hard or anything, but because he’d got left behind. Oops!

ViewRanger Maps
ViewRanger Maps

All back together, I stopped the apps from recording and then we obtained refreshments from the café and sat in the breeze to consume them. Oddly enough the Strava app can only have paused, whereas Endomondo and ViewRanger stopped, leading to having just one map and set of stats for Strava and two each for the others. Anyway, I digress… The kids then headed over the wooden bridge across New Road to the mini skills section whilst my good lady and I finished our coffees and tried to figure out the best way back to the cars, or at least the way with the least potential for problems for any of our party!

Heading Towards Speech House Road
Heading Towards Speech House Road

Rested and refreshed we set off for the return journey. Aware that the others were even less in shape than I was in terms of cycling, the decision was made not to use the fire roads to travel back to Broadwell, but instead to head off in the direction of the track to Speech House Road instead.

The Dog Leads The Way Up The Side Of The Hill
The Dog Leads The Way Up The Side Of The Hill

Then we had to push the bikes up the path running up the side of the hill, eventually emerging on the fire road near where we’d joined it originally on the journey down. In my case that meant pushing my bike up and then going back and relieving first our daughter and the son number three of their bikes and pushing them up as well. To be fair, as is the case with cheaper kids bikes, their bikes are both noticeably heavier than my own is!

The End Is In Sight!
The End Is In Sight!

Then it was the simple matter of following the fire road around the corner and up the incline to the stacks of logs before passing the back of the council rubbish tip and arriving – hooray! – back at the cars. Dog deposited into the car, I removed saddles and front wheels once more before loading the bikes back into the cars for the journey home.

ViewRanger Stats
ViewRanger Stats

And so to the stats, for what they’re worth. Endomondo gave a total of 7 miles with a duration of 107 minutes, ViewRanger claimed 6.23 miles in a total time of 106 minutes and Strava recorded 10.7 km (6.65 miles) in a total moving time of 69 minutes (135 minutes total time). Since we got back I’ve managed to figure out how to adjust my Strava app so that in future it should record distance in miles rather than kilometres, which will make future data comparisons more readily apparent. Still no idea which is the most accurate though!

Endomondo Maps
Endomondo Maps

One thing was immediately obvious, however. Despite the various complaints of physical aches and pains and inter-sibling needling that can make family outings such fun(!), the children can be proud of what they managed to achieve after such a long time since they were last in the saddle. Cycling is also a very difficult thing for my wife due to her health issues but she gave everything that she has (and more) to make the outing as successful as possible. The downside of that being that she was in even more pain than usual for the next few days. I’m hoping that I can get the kids (or one or two of them at least) to come out with me and the dog more often, as I’m positive that they would all benefit physically and mentally from the exercise of outdoor activity…

Endomondo Stats
Endomondo Stats

Broadwell To Pedalabikeaway Loop II

With enough time having elapsed since our last outing for my legs to recover and, more importantly, for the dog’s feet to have a rest, yesterday the pair of us ventured out again for another ride in the forest.

And We're Off...
And We’re Off…

Once more I parked the car up the road from the Oak Quarry council tip. This time I set three apps going on my phone (Endomondo, Viewranger and adding Strava for the first time) and made sure that I had set the GoPro camera to record video rather than still photos.

Fire Road Approaching...
Fire Road Approaching…

We headed up into the woods, arcing past the entrance to Worcester Lodge, following much the same route as last week. Then, having skirted the edges of the lodges, we headed right back down towards the fire road that runs from the back of the aforementioned rubbish tip. Crossing said fire road we carried onto another unofficial MTB route until meeting back with the fire road once more.

Descending Gradually...
Descending Gradually…

At this point my companion was eager to shoot down across the fire road and down the side of the hill. However, with conditions muddier than last week due to rain over the past few days, and because I was trying to take it a bit easier for her sake, as well as mine, we travelled along the fire road for a bit until we took a less gravity-inducing descent that eventually brought us out near the bottom of the various downhill paths at the back of the Pedalabikeaway complex.

Sunshine At Last
Sunshine At Last

There we stopped to take on water and catch our breath a little, before heading gradually uphill until reaching an early section of the Verderers’ Trail. The sun was now out, which was welcome after the somewhat overcast journey thus far.

Verderers' Trail
Verderers’ Trail

We then laboured our way along some sections of the Verderers’ Trail – well, I laboured, the dog ran quickly trying to catch the riders up ahead and having to keep coming back to find out where I was and exactly why I was taking so long!!

A Muddy Track Somewhere In The Forest
A Muddy Track Somewhere In The Forest

Having missed out a sizeable chunk of the Verderers’ by taking a shortcut and taking another water break for the dog, we rejoined the trail until we got to near the fire road that heads up to Edge End. As the next section of the trail is quite stony I decided to head towards Edge End briefly, before turning back into the forest on a lesser-used and increasingly muddy path. It meant that we would both be in need of a bath by the time we got home but at least it was easier going on the dog’s feet!

Towards Broadwell...
Towards Broadwell…

We slowly worked our way from there towards Broadwell again, keeping off the fire roads and rocky paths as much as possible and arrived back at the car a little over an hour after we’d set off, with me suddenly and inexplicably suffering with a massive sneezing fit!

Endomondo Map
Endomondo Map

One thing I realised, reviewing the GoPro footage later, was that the chest harness that I have been using tends to show more of the view immediately in front of the bike and not as much of the more distant view as I would have liked.

ViewRanger Map
ViewRanger Map

The camera was as angled upwards as possible, so maybe I just don’t sit tall enough when riding? I think next time I will use the handlebar mount that I have instead and see what results I get from that.

Strava Map
Strava Map

I mentioned last week the differing data I had got from the two apps that I used then. So how did they, and the latest addition Strava, fare on this outing? Well, as you can see there is practically no difference in terms of the maps produced by all of the apps.

ViewRanger Stats
ViewRanger Stats

It’s in the actual numbers that the differences become apparent once more. Looking simply at distance and duration, Endomondo gave 6.60 miles travelled in 67 minutes. By comparison, ViewRanger claimed 6.32 miles in 67 minutes. Much closer to each other than on the previous ride, oddly enough.

Strava Stats
Strava Stats

Strava stated a distance of 10.6km which equates to 6.58 miles (I must figure out how to change the app to show miles!) and a moving time of 59 minutes. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that we stopped for 7 or 8 minutes during the journey for water etc., but then it shows an elapsed time of 87 minutes, 20 minutes more than the other two apps! Which is accurate? I have no idea how to judge that really, maybe take an average of the three readings and settle for that? Hmm. Never mind, it’s the experience rather than the numbers that count and though we didn’t travel as far today (deliberately) it was still a blast – though I got the distinct impression that the dog would have liked to do much more!…

Endomondo Stats
Endomondo Stats

Broadwell To Pedalabikeaway Loop

Yesterday I took my riding buddy – our dog – with me for a long overdue ride in the forest.

And We're Off... One Very Enthusiastic Dog!
And We’re Off… One Very Enthusiastic Dog!

Having parked the car up the road from the Oak Quarry council rubbish depot I spent a few minutes getting the bike ready, setting two apps going on my phone (my usual Endomondo and trying Viewranger for the first time) and setting the GoPro camera recording and then we were off, much to my four-legged companion’s obvious excitement!

The Entrance To Worcester Lodge
The Entrance To Worcester Lodge

We headed left into the woods, making an arc along the edge of Broadwell, past the back of the houses, and under cover of trees towards the entrance to Worcester Lodge, following some helpful yellow arrows on the occasional tree here and there.

Following The Yellow Arrows
Following The Yellow Arrows

Then, having skirted the edges of the lodges, we passed between another couple of marked trees which took us onto what I presume to be an unofficial MTB track leading to the fire road that runs from the back of the aforementioned rubbish tip.

Descent Approaching Fast...
Descent Approaching Fast…

So far I had been firmly in second place behind the dog who was rocketing along and seemed to know without looking whether I was speeding up or slowing down and also which path to take whenever we got to any kind of junction. Arriving at the fire road we plunged straight on across it and onto a downhill section that lead, zig-zag style, down to near the local trail centre at Pedalabikeaway.

Oops...
Oops…

I had walked up the track from the bottom during a walk with the dog the previous day and thought it seemed not to be too much of a stretch for me, skill-wise. Well, the long absence from the saddle shone through brightly as I followed the dog hurtling down the side of the hill and suddenly found myself sliding sideways along the ground! Not quite as simple a task as I had hoped, clearly.

Thanks Mr. Chain!
Thanks Mr. Chain!

Having got up and dusted myself down, whilst the dog watched somewhat impatiently, we set off again only to be derailed once more within a few hundred yards when my chain decided it was time to leap off the chain ring and give me another brief breather!

Towards Speech House Road
Towards Speech House Road

Soon, however, we made it down to a track that runs between the centre at Pedalabikeaway and Speech House Road and, not wanting to head down to the café just yet, decided to ride in the direction of Speech House Road before making a left turn towards a fire road that runs from New Road and then, having reached said fire road, going off-road again.

The Skills Area
The Skills Area

Having navigated our way up through what may possibly be an old disused quarry yard we reached the skills area just before the car park at Pedalabikeaway, had a quick blast round that and then it was time for a rest at the café.

Where Is Everyone?
Where Is Everyone?

Despite the lovely weather, things were very quiet so we were rather spoilt for choice in terms of tables and benches. A nice mug of coffee and a Nakd bar for me, and water and treats for the dog who sat sunning herself on the bench next to me, no doubt wondering why I wasn’t sharing my bar with her.

Off We Go Again
Off We Go Again

Refreshed, we set of through the car park and headed onto the fire road towards the various official bike tracks. Passing a wooden bridge section of the Freeminers’ Trail we had a go at the North Shore section before getting back onto the fire road towards Sallowvalets Enclosure.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

It was at this point that the GoPro decided to turn itself off. Confused, as we’d only been on the move for around an hour, I had a look and realised that the SD card was full. At the time I presumed that I had neglected to delete old videos from the camera.

Freeminers' Trail
Freeminers’ Trail

When I got home later, however, I discovered that I had somehow managed to set the thing to take still photographs instead of recording video. As a result I had around five thousand photos of our trip up to that point. Don’t want to make that mistake again!

Viewranger Map
Viewranger Map

A little further on we joined onto the Verderers’ Trail and travelled along that for quite some time until we got back onto the fire roads by the Beechenhurst Trail. We stayed on the fire road then as it gradually took us back to the car via the back of the rubbish tip, crossing our earlier path.

Endomondo Map
Endomondo Map

Reviewing the data from the two apps later on, once we’d returned home, I noticed that there were some distinct differences. Endomondo claimed that we’d travelled for 9.44 miles in 93 minutes, whilst Viewranger stated 8.97 miles in 101 minutes. I have no idea why this should be, since both apps were started and stopped within a few seconds of each other – and both maps look pretty similar to me!

Viewranger Stats
Viewranger Stats

Regardless, I know that both the dog and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was hard going at times, being currently somewhat out of shape, and there were certainly times when I had to use lower gears that I would normally expect to and also times when the leg muscles were really burning!

When I did pick up some speed, however, with the stats suggesting 25 miles per hour being the peak, I was amazed to find that at no point did the dog get left behind. She kept pace next to me at those times, and was ahead for the vast majority of the ride – excellent work! Looking forward to the next ride now…

Endomondo Stats
Endomondo Stats