Surrey Hills MTB


Devils Punchbowl

20 to 30 minute Hike-a-Bike

So I’m still obsessing about Mont Jovet. It’s getting a bit worrisome to be honest. We are under 3 months from our Les Arcs trip and I simply keep thinking about the phrase “20-30 minute Hike-a-Bike” described on The Inside Line site…

The phrase fills me with a certain amount of dread for two specific reasons:

  1. Many moons ago on the first TFIT Morzine trip a certain Greg LB took us on a “slight trail detour”. That would be a slight trail detour that was straight up (and I mean straight vertically up) the side of a valley in Switzerland. We all made it to the top (and the ride down was simply epic) but Oh my God it nearly killed me.
  2. The ability of anyone who rides a MTB to underestimate the obstacles ahead for the benefit of those who are unaware. You know, it’s the phrases like “Oh it’s all downhill to the pub from here” or “Yeah, just a short easy climb”… only for the horrible truth to be revealed in a bucket full of sweat and usually excessive swearing.

So in preparation for this and because I needed to spend some time fettling my Scout’s suspension I’ve spent quite a lot of this weekend out on my bike including a cheeky old-skool ride up to the PB with Mark T and Bob M.

As we were pushing up a particularly vertiginous climb to the top of the bowl I was talking to Bob about bike carrying (i.e. the 20-30 minute Hike-a-Bike) and he was wondering if there is such a thing as an MTB shoulder strap to make a climb not only hands free but also slightly easier than slinging your steed over your shoulder.

So this morning a quick Googleisation revealed the answer is basically no (unless anyone can enlighten me otherwise?) which I am very surprised about to be honest. I found a bucket load of advice on bodging straps and backpack mounts but none that really came up with an answer. I did however find this extremely enthusiastic video from Dan Milner on Epic TV giving sage advice on hauling your rig the right way. Maybe it’s just a bit of well placed padding with some good technique then? We’ll see.

I also took out the GoPro as it was such a glorious weekend and while filming down Flat out Fun managed to capture me completely stuffing up a corner and eating some dirt. Best thing about a GoPro sometimes is seeing how appalling your line choice and body/bike position is (guilty) just before you hit the floor!

So as penance I thought I’d share this “how not to ride a corner” snippet. What a tool!


Re-visiting the tree of doom

Lovely weekend wasn’t it? With the weather warm and sunny and a couple of opportunities for lengthier rides I was out the door like a rocket propelled ferret on speed.

You’ve gotta love a Bank Holiday weekend.

So for “lengthier ride #2” I did a reverse up to the Punchbowl, encountering a Matt W on Hankley who was basically doing the same as me but the proper way round and it’s cracking to see his fingers progressing nicely (37 days and counting).

After bidding Matt farewell I span up Patrick’s Passage (tee hee hee) and while climbing I realised I hadn’t come this way since “Treemaggedon”. So with that in mind I thought it only right and proper I provide you with a review of the ‘massive trail obstacle’ that cost me a new helmet.

Yep, it is still an utter mystery how I hit the tree…

A Super Bell (end) review

Great TFIT last night at the cold and frosty but DRY Punchbowl. The trails have definitely benefited from the lack of rain over the last week or so – long may it continue. The dry trails also contributed to the rash of PB’s that were attained, especially Matt W who caned it down “Oompa Loompa” and got a PB on “Marbles”, a third on “Punchbowl East Ridge Descent”  and a 2nd on “Highfield Lane BOAT”! The only downside being his enthusiasms bust a bearing on his Bandit – if only he was building up another bike….

Anyway, two other notable events from last night – twas a birthday ride for Steve F and Tim W and James G has given up on his Poc full facer and acquired a Bell Super 2R MIPS (to the detriment of Evans who need to teach their staff a bit more about product variety methinks). I do love the Bell which was possibly my best purchase of last year. They are light, comfortable and provide excellent coverage of your melon, including temples and the back of the head.


However, Evans Cycles loss is James’ gain and that makes another Bell making it’s way to Morzine later this year.

It also marks James’ first (brief) product review:

The Bell Super 2R fits well and feels safe! … More importantly it has a cracking name which we all can benefit from and has a number of colour ways … Purple however is not one of them … Shame!

James, you are a walking Viz magazine…


So I try to teach my kids to have a balanced and reasonable appreciation of others. Understand that other people do their thing and you should respect that (to a degree) and it’s fair that they should respect that you like to do your thing.

Great. Points for Parenting. General karma in the Universe +1. Awesome

However yesterday I decided to ride up to the Punchbowl and do Baby Zeds before Storm Imogen did her worst, which was all good and groovy if a little soggy. Then I found the “4×4” carnage that is the green lane at the top of the bowl. Now, as I mentioned above, I subscribe to live and let live. I accept that other people like to use the countryside and that is the way it is. I’m polite when I ride. I slow down for “ramblers”, walkers and horses and generally try to not be a total tossbag when I’m on the trail.

But the Green Laners. Total and utter selfish bastards.

It’s not that I mind people green laning – I mean why shouldn’t they? They are not breaking the law and everyone should be able to do their hobby. What I DO mind is that the total and utter carnage they leave behind. The trail just at the top of Marbles is completely impassable. In February! So if you are walking or riding a bike (and if the damage continues riding a horse for that matter) you now have to deviate off the track and walk / ride off path. Causing the trail to widen and generally pissing off the wardens.

The “positive parent” in me is not sure what the answer is.

However, the MTBer in me says Snipers.

Yes, definitely snipers.



Golden Valley in the dry

Good ride last night. Me, Mark, Matt, Malcolm and Andy grunted up to the PB and flew down the other side on Golden Valley then down Marbles to Thursley again.

Major conclusions of the evening:

  1. Should have taken the GoPro – following Matt and Mark down Marbles to Thursley was awesome – mostly due to close proximity!
  2. Really need to get the feckin’ tubes out of my tyres
  3. Marbles is just nasty.
  4. Andy “no-likey-the-Marbles”
  5. Andy, Malcolm and Matt are up for a Morzine 2016 trip
  6. Walkers Pickled Onion crisps are still awesome (despite the Three Horseshoes ordering them by mistake)
  7. We need to MTFU and visit the Donkey again at some point in the near future – just for sensible pint drinking….

Off for a couple of weeks – see you in August

Back at the Bowl

Good ride last night, just me, Steve and Mark flying the flag up to the Punchbowl and down the back way into Thursley as we’ve slipped into the holiday season.

Overriding conclusions last night were:

  1. Fat tyres are not mandatory in the French Alps if its dry and hard-packed like it was in Morzine
  2. Walkers Pickled Onion crisps are really, REALLY lovely and we need more of them
  3. The Three Horseshoes is back on the pub list – excellent beer (but not too many)
  4. Mark needs to get rid of his Alpine tyres “toute de suite”
  5. Steve has successfully ‘beasted’ me and Mark, just Dave and Matt to go
  6. I am going to the French Alps next year, irrespective of anyone else, I’m going
  7. I have no idea just when the hell I’m going to get round to dealing with the video but I will try as soon as possible

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