In a strange turn of events my mother has fallen out of love with the Lake District. Thus has started dragging me to the Yorkshire Dales despite the fact we live in the “gateway to the Lakes”. It’s not so bad really as she also purchased a new book! A guide book in fact, to mountain biking in the Yorkshire Dales. And so the tale goes…
So we set off for a new adventure in new territory. But we didn’t get far, I remembered as we were 15 minutes from home that I had forgotten my helmet. Better there than when we got to Clapham where our ride was set to start. Back we went. That Sunday we were treated to the luxury of time. This isn’t a luxury my mum often allows herself, every second must be filled. So yes we had to return home for my helmet, but we also allowed ourselves time for a snack and a chilled out coffee before hitting the road again.
Our decision making on which route to take pretty much went like this, the first one in the book is marked easy AND is the closest one – ideal! Clapham is about an hour and a bit drive from where we live, which is really just like driving into some parts of the Lakes. I’m incredibly lucky to have grown up with such easy access to two amazingly diverse National Parks.
The route we chose took us through tunnels – very exciting cycling in the dark, over moors, down overgrown walled paths into tiny hamlets and finally back over the hill to Clapham. Well, that was the plan. Naturally being my mum and I we had to get lost at least once if not three times! Getting lost, you see, is all part of the fun. Or it is until the rain is coming down horizontally! Losing our way in the Dales was also a bit more interesting than losing our way in the Lakes where we know every notable landmark.
We finished our ride with 10 minutes to spare before the only cafe in town closed. Mum ran into the cafe to order drinks whilst I was left with the responsibility of packing the car up. A quick half pint for me and a mug of tea for mum later we headed home thoroughly satisfied with our day of adventuring and perhaps a few pearls wiser.
I thought I would share some of the pearls of a beginner mountain biker with you;
- Always take a map and the guide book, because you always you’ll end up lost
- Never leave home without at least 3 snacks per person and a good supply of water. It is obviously essential to keep up that energy and I am very prone to hangriness. That an also when you end up getting lost and cycling many more miles than expected your snacks could be a morale saver!
- First aid kits are nice but the equipment and knowledge of how to change an inner tube is nicer.
- Spare clothes in your pack are definitely worth the extra weight, and should always be stored in something waterproof. Whilst spare clothes in the car are worth their weight in gold. There should always be spare socks and shoes in the car too.
- Never ever under any circumstances ride helmet-less. I know far too many people who would have lost their lives had they not been wearing a helmet, it’s not worth it.
- Last but not least, cafe money is a must! Cake is the main motivator for exercise, is it not?!