Inspiration is an interesting concept; sometimes it wanders in disguised as an old friend with a new idea, occasionally it is the product of weeks’ of intense rumination, and about once in a lifetime it is a lighting strike of “Good God, The Flux Capacitor, OF COURSE”
I’m currently orbiting a geostationary position in a galaxy full of new ideas; and after a moment of mild epiphany when the trail pixies fired up the adrenalin compressor last weekend, it seemed apposite to try the next thing that came into my head.
Thankfully it wasn’t “go and find a gibbon and see if she puts out” – instead a rather boring go and find some trails and see if they give good vibes, sent me riding from home in the hope of finding something other than field edge rubbish. I’ve tried this before and it’s always been a collision of disappointment and frustration as promising looking mappage is nothing more that hub deep hoof shadow.
So with a low level of expectation and a similar level of light, I struck out with a a map I can’t read and a GPS I don’t really understand. Sat here in the pub a couple of hours later, I reflected on what I’d learned:
1. Footpaths round here are mostly footpaths for a reason.
They’re rubbish field edge slogs on an elevation profile similar to Holland. All the enjoyment one can elicit from receiving a saddle up the Japs eye at one second intervals for approximately ever.
2. Some footpaths aren’t
And they are upgraded to evening bridleways, carefully highlighted and shared only with the other shadowy members of the Creation of Unseen Natural Trails*. We rarely use the four letter acronym as it upsets people.
3. MP3 players rock when you’re riding alone.
Especially when you have a shiny new one that has more memory than you have songs. Okay transferring music to it has sounded the death knell of my elderly PC but as the review goes “when listening to The Throbbing Buttchumpers ‘Sprouts are my muse’ the retroactive bass blends perfectly with a trebly surround bumped acoustically by a deeply pleasing squish fader” it clearly offers something classier than your mate farting Abide With Me.
4. Living somewhere isn’t the same as knowing it.
It’s great to find some bonzer new trails after riding the same ones for over five years especially as some have sufficient cheeky value to promise much fun over the next half decade. There are clearly some very rich people living round here as well with sprawling piles (must be the expense account lunches) marking the end of lost footpaths. I hope they’ve read the Aylesbury expansion plan because they’re about to have 10,000 near neighbours.
5. Riding bikes is just bloody ace.
I was running of light so cut short my exploration at the top of a stingy climb. Reversing direction, it was a delight; some fast switchbacks in the woods then a fantastic trailside up’n’over where a footpath intersected, leading to a flat out brain out rooty gulley finishing in panic stop as cars flashed past on the main road.
It would’ve been about perfect if the player had dished up U2’s Perfect Day or something pumping rock chords from Feeder or Linkin Park. What I actually got was Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes “This is the time of your life”.
Like I said, Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner**
* I stole this joke from Nick Cummins’ about five years ago. I’m assuming he’s forgotten
** I’m not explaining this. If you don’t get the film reference then you’re way cooler than me. If you do /Waves