Cycling UK Oxfordshire organises its own rides and we also highlight some rides run by other local groups.
Even if you are not a Cycling UK member, you will be welcome on any ride that is within your capabilities and we will be happy to match you up with suitable rides. In general, you can ride for free on three rides before deciding whether to join Cycling UK.
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Offroad – novices ride
Sat 11 April 2015 - 10:00am
Off-road rides (2nd Saturdays) re-start with a session aimed at novices or those re-starting after a break.
We’ll start at my house at Steventon with bike set-up and advice, cover a 2-mile ‘instructional loop’ up Steventon Hill and then an optional longer ride of about 10 miles.
4 riders joined me for this on a fine but blustery day, 3 who ride mostly on the road but who had mountain bikes they wanted to use more, and Dave Talboys who is a regular.. We’d had a little shower earlier, just enough to “keep the dust down”.
We started with a few tips on bike setup, and the ‘M check’ to make sure you have no bits about to fall off.
Then it was off for a 2 mile ‘training loop’ in which we covered:
* Hill climbing technique
* How to approach obstacles
* Descending and ‘staying loose’
* Twisty singletrack and ‘looking ahead’
* Mud and roots and ‘just riding across it’
This showed that despite some initial worries, everyone was capable of riding up, down, around corners and over bumps. Excellent!
So we set straight off on a longer 10 mile ride up to the Ridgeway and back. We rode back up the hill and south, using some of the skills just practiced. Then, after Haribo at East GInge it was the big climb (on which we met Allen S out on a longer ride) and enjoying the view at the top. Then along to Scutchamers’ Knob ready to head downwards.
The descent at Harwell gave us a good chance to practice staying loose and riding the bumps. It’s a great descent and there were a good few whoops of joy on the way down!
At the bottom, Dave discovered a flat and so we had a tube changing masterclass. Discussion of tyre pressures led to the discovery that Karen and Roger were running their tyres very hard. To see the effect, we let them down to about 35psi and they were amazed at how their bikes were transformed, suddenly behaving much better over the bumps. This was one of the ‘top tips’ from the day and I wished I’d covered it right at the start (next time I will).
Dave had a second puncture, but we did get back at about lunch time, with everyone enjoying a second run down through Steventon Copse. All 3 new off-roaders had learned a lot and hopefully we’ll see them off the road again and again.