Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Computer/Internet problems have delayed a report on the 14th May ride, but just having returned from a weekend in Ludlow I am going to have another try!

14th May 2006 - Well I asked for it!

I just love Shropshire and have had the chance to ride and walk in the area around Ludlow several times in the past, but realised that some local knowledge would be needed to get the best out of it. So, my request for help on STW forum was answered by local, Ben, who was very keen to show people around.

We met up on Sunday 14th, Ben, (the raceface), Nigel, (slownige), Carla, Ddave and myself. Weather forecast was for thunder storms, but we remained optimistic and were rewarded by a warm, dry day, though the trails were quite slippery in places from earlier rain. It was a busy day in the forest with a Horse riding event and an uplift day for the Downhill track in Bringewood.

It was clear from the start that Ddave an myself were at a big disadvantage on the fitness front, our companions had done xc racing, enduros etc. in this area and went up the hills like mountain goats, but they were very kind to us and waited for us to catch our breath from time to time.

Natural trails are far less predictable than man-made, and in places some bits were beyond my skills, also hard to find and littered with debris from the winter. There was also quite a bit of fire road climbing – one took around 20 minutes, but the views were superb despite less than perfect visibility. Some big hills here! Well big enough for me!

We skirted around the Mortimer Forest only covering a small selection of the trails on offer there and then headed over the road to Bringewood where the downhill courses are, there is also an old xc trail there, but all had been changed by forestry work and the going was quite tricky in places. We dipped into one downhill track for a short section and had to pick the way very carefully, some big roots and deep ruts/bomb holes.

It was a good ride and good to have such an enthusiastic guide, Ben is keen to do another ride and perhaps cover some other trails, so watch out on STW Forum if you are interested.

Mechanical/Offs: I had a couple of ‘moments’, felt like an amateur at times. Ddave had added another chain wheel to cope with the hills and had some problems with the gears as a result, resulting in a very painful contact with the bars at one point.

This area is clearly well used by mountain bikers and cries out for some proper trail development. Ben suggests that the local Pearce Cycles are talking to the Forestry Commision about this, (Pearce were involved with trails at Hopton Wood and have developed the local downhill courses).

Photo's here and here, with the listed route in Tracklogs format here and a family friendly route here.

Over the last weekend I had a little time to explore some flatter terrain that Ben had pointed out. Ludlow makes a great destination for an all family holiday with cycling of all sorts. The hills are quite severe, but I remember picking up some routes from the local Wheely Wonderful Cycling that avoided most hils and took insome fabulous contryside. This time I worked out my own route out of the town which could take in part of the Bringwood area or return by road, all would be suitable for most abilities. The ride was helped by good weather, but the countryside was so peaceful, it was a real tonic.


Farqui said...

Sounds like you had a good time, albeit with some tough riding and well 'ard guides. I trust that DDave's slip only brought tears to his eyes (bad enough) and nothing more serious...

I'll defo have to make the effort to get up that way and see what all the fuss is about for myself.

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