It’s a 12km ride to my dad’s house. It takes 20 minutes in a car, 30 minutes by bike. He’s having a barbeque, it’s his birthday. I have a hangover. Not a huge one, but enough to make me feel like staying on the sofa. I certainly don’t feel like riding. But a ride down would allow me to eat more. It would stop me from topping up the hangover because I’d have to ride back. Which bike though? If I add a loop towards Swansea Bay I’ll be into Clyne woods, with its waymarked mountain bike trails. It is warm and dusty today. An evening of mountain biking sounds tempting, but I’d have to negotiate 12km of dual carriageway and main roads on the way down, spinning out the 2×10 on my hardtail, negotiating with impatient Sunday drivers.
Let’s take the ‘cross bike.
Thirty minutes later I’m there. Several hours, many sausages and a single glass of champagne later…I’m BBQ’d out. Time to hit the road again.
If I ever question why I have a ‘cross bike, this is it.
Instead of returning the way I came, I divert across the sea-marsh road, and head onto the cycle path through the aforementioned Clyne woods. However, instead of sticking to the tarmac path, I turn off, onto a gradually climbing bridleway. Dry, dusty and verdant, it delivers me part of the way up a hill, and I turn onto another trail, this time a little more footpathy, a little steeper again.
Sausage-bound as I am, I’m not aiming for a Strava time today. Maybe a Starva segment would be more appropriate? (I do apologise!) I pop out onto the main Gower road, at the top of the hill. Given more time, I could head out onto the peninsula and visit the bays and cliffs, or maybe turn onto another bridleway taking me across the golf course and down to the bay. But with the sun making its last parade through the low hills, it seems that a prudent drop down the road would be sensible. After imprudently hitting my top speed of the day, I re-join the cycle path and spin the pedals for the last few traffic-free miles with only one more short diversion onto dirt.
On a road bike I would have had no option other than to stay on tarmac for the whole journey. I would almost certainly have stuck to the cycle-path and ridden straight home. That’s just a journey. Worse, it’s just a journey to get rid of calories. By diverting off, I found myself in sylvan glades and concentrating on man-handling the bike through streams and around muddy, rooty sections. That’s much more fun. That’s an adventure. Ok, humour me, a mini-adventure.
Strava recorded me using around 1200 calories during the day’s riding. Judging by how many calories there are in your average pork sausage, I need to get back on my bike.
Eat sausages, ride ‘cross bikes!