Monday 5 July 2010

The Rewards of Giving

Last Friday evening I went for a gentle ride on my own. It was a refreshing experience as I normally push myself hard when riding solo. This particular ride was different as I was marking up a course for the Reigate Trail Break event the next day. Placing the orange signs and tape at the junctions was an opportunity for me to give something back to the cycling world. It’s so easy to ride a marked up route without thinking of the folk who position and remove the signs before and after the event. Enjoying the tranquillity of the North Downs on a summers evening was such a contrast to the congested M25 where I was sat an hour previously. It’s not all about fast training rides, sometimes we forget the pleasure of just taking it easy.

The next morning was quite different. Rising early, I met up with the Trail Break guys then headed off to check the route. The trails were dry and dusty where I wasted no time in following the orange markers. Unfortunately after just a few hours of putting out the signs, some markers had been removed whilst others were turned to point towards footpaths. This is very petty and dangerous, as in one case riders were directed into a cemetery. Despite stopping to correct the signs, I managed a personal best time for the 23 mile ride. This was possibly a combination of the fast trails, the gentle warm up the previous evening and the knowledge that I only had to do 23 miles.

Working with Trail Break in designing the route and marking it up was a real pleasure. I tried to include all the best bits of the North Downs that I could link together whilst fitting in with their ride distances. Judging from some of the comments afterwards from the riders, they were surprised at how much the North Downs had to offer. Welcome to my back yard!