Outside Bridges YHA
Getting ready for the day's ride on Saturday 1 February 2003. Jon (in the yellow jacket) seems to have brought an inappropriately small bicycle.
The sun shines on us as we climb a green lane to the north of Bridges. Even the odd patch of snow on the ground doesn't give a clue to the epic struggle through snow and ice we had crossing the Long Mynd by car the previous evening.
Bart stopped to pump up his rear tyre while we all admired the view across to Wales in the distance.
Little Jonny loves playing in the snow!
Another snowball fight
The novelty of snow never wears off to us mountain bikers. Here, Bart scores a direct hit on Jon as we climb the Portway on to the top of the Long Mynd.
Carding Mill Valley
The sides of the Long Mynd are notched by lots of these steep-sided valleys, many of which have bridleways in the bottoms of them. This one is Carding Mill Valley, also very popular with tourists. You can just make out Church Stretton in the distance.
Howard in Minton Batch
Minton Batch is another of the Long Mynd's valleys, and it has a couple of miles of really first-rate singletrack in it, swooping around above a burbling brook.
Bart in Minton Batch
The burbling brook in the bottom of the batch seemed to have some magnetic attraction to Bart's front wheel which sent him crashing off the side of the bridleway and into a heap a few metres below. Eventually the mirth subsided enough for him to climb out again!
Trust me, I'm a Doctor
Alex pauses for breath half way down Minton Batch, hotly pursued by Howard.
Lower down the valley you can see how much height we've lost: we started on that hill in the background.
Adam and Some Rocks
Adam's getting the hang of coaxing my old bike down the singletrack.
Climbing the Mynd
We went up this ridiculously steep grassy bridleway back on to the top of the Mynd, entering the forest at its southern end. It was just about rideable but very hard work. The view was well worth it, though.
Crossing the Runway
It's not often you come across signs on a public highway which warn you to look out for planes landing, but this one did. It's on the bridleway which crosses the Long Mynd Gliding Club We fairly hurried across because the airfield was busy. Note to self: must try hang gliding some time.
And Down Again
As the sun started to go down so did we. Steeply off the side of the Long Mynd back into the valley of the River East Onny.
Blue Remembered Hills
The winter sun looked so nice over the quintessentially English Shropshire landscape that it deserved a shot of its own.
Who needs a hosepipe? Jon demonstrates how it's done using the river at the back of the Youth Hostel.
Outside Bridges YHA on Sunday morning. Jon's bike is the right size now.
Stopped for elevenses on the Stiperstones. These rocks are visible for miles around, and provided us with shelter from the ferocious westerly wind which had threatened to blow us off our bikes.
Stiperstones Looking North
Another view of those stones, this time showing the landscape in the background. You can just make out Eastridge forest on the right, where we're going next.
Descending Towards Eastridge
On the rocky bridleway heading north, Adam discovers the advantages of a full suspension bike.
Downhill in Eastridge Forest
Eastridge Forest contains various purpose-built mountain bike trails as well as lots of interesting places to ride through the trees, many of them very steep and challenging. Here Howard is learning how to deal with the loose surface.