Tim was someone I knew. Actually… I didn’t know him at all. I followed him on Twitter. I read “his” blog at The North Race. I’d never met the guy, never had a real life conversation.
But, I saw that he was thinking of getting a disc-braked CX bike, and fancied a Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6. As a fellow Leeds resident, and owner of said bike, I offered to lend Tim my pride and joy, and show him around some of the local trails.
We met on a Wednesday evening – on one of those perfect late summer days. It was warm, but not oppressive, and I knew the trails would be in beautiful condition. Now, it is a bit of a cliche, and sometimes proved wrong, but I stand by the truism that the vast majority of people who ride bikes are Good People. Tim absolutely falls into this category. Very friendly, personable, and he was enthused at the opportunity to try a different kind of riding to his usual road-based and fixed gear activities.
We headed out from my house, and span and chatted our way up to the first section of singletrack. I could hear Tim giggling, whooping and generally extolling the pleasures of off-road riding just behind me, as I re-familiarised myself with the stopping properties of rim brakes (they don’t work quite as well as discs, in case you were wondering)…
Much of the ride continued like this, as we wiggled along swooping, buff singletrack, to be spat out onto roads and field edges. There are times where I am at risk of taking what I have for granted. The urban/rural cross over trails on the north edge of Leeds are not the Highlands. But, on their day they are wonderful. Seeing them with the fresh eyes of someone who has very rarely ridden off road, and lives just a couple of miles away in the city centre reminded me how lucky I am, and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for my local riding.
We continued as the sun got lower, nature putting on a perfect slideshow backdrop for our couple of hours of escapism from the city… I led us through shadowy woods and dingy ginnels and snickets, trying to eke out the very last sections of off road before we arrived back at the start. Or not quite the start, but the pub round the corner for a pint or three… for rehydration purposes, and more enthusiastic bike talk.
Tim was sold on the Pro 6 (lets face it – it wasn’t a hard sell. Great bike, in perfect conditions!) and will hopefully be picking one up in the near future. He seemed to enjoy the ride too: http://thenorthrace.co.uk/2013/09/crossing-over/