Its traditional for the local trail riders to want to escape into the countryside during the Christmas holidays and this year was no exception. Last year we had snowfall which made it all the more interesting but its been relatively mild this year so far. We met at Prudhoe to realise the usual fuel stop was closed due to the bank holiday but there was another garage open nearby thankfully. We did the usual lanes around Slaley noting that the obstructed right of way which we’ve had long standing issues with and I mentioned in a previous post is finally being opened up on the correct route!
Before long I noticed the last man behind me had disappeared so I turned back to find his chain had snapped (at the split link). I was starting to assist in the repairs when it was pointed out my number plate was half hanging off. Some rearranging of some bolts had it reattached in a different way and others had the a replacement split link fitted at the expense of a pair of my pliers by that time.
We came across a shooting party who were not pleased to see us and thought we shouldn’t be there. They were shooting from a public highway (illegal) and standing around with loaded guns on a highway (illegal) but it wasn’t worth risking a discussion with them.
I seemed to be having trouble on anything muddy with the bike sliding all over. At one point I started off down a deeply rutted trail and found the bike weaving all over. It got bad enough that I ended up stopping abruptly when the wheel ran into the side of the rut, hard. Its amazing what goes through your mind and how quickly it can think through things at a time like this. Upon consideration of the situation, I quickly realised there was only air on my right hand side and that was the direction the bike was going to fall over in. Rather than try and catch the bike when my leg did find ground (and likely break something), I evidently decided that escape was the best option so I dived off the bike. I rolled in the air, hitting the ground rolling on my shoulder, and right side. Something told me I had too much momentum to try and stop. I was probably remembering the motorcycle track day rider briefings where they warn you about trying to get up too early after falling off a bike at speed (wait for 2 seconds *after* you think you’ve stopped as you likely haven’t). The consequences of not waiting are described as “breaking off your sticky out bits”. I therefore let myself make another revolution at which point my speed was sufficiently reduced and I somehow made a relatively graceful transition to a standing position at which point I was laughing. The group stopped behind me gave my gymnastics top scores. The body armour did its job and I didn’t really feel any of it. The bike was fine having really just been laid on its side.
We wound our way over trails I’m starting to know quite well heading down the south side of the Tyne and ended up at Twice Brewed for lunch. Its great to see some of the interesting places we get to on the trails although its frustrating not being able to sample the beer! We headed back along the north bank and did some trails I’ve not been on for a while, probably not since I first joined the TRF. By this time is was starting to get dark and it was time to head home. It was good to be reminded of some of those lanes and there was at least one I never remember having ridden on before so it was an interesting day out.