It was supposed to be cycling on the green trail, the family friendly route for people of all abilities, nice, flat, unassuming, gentle cycling among the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside of Sherwood Forest amongst the green Sherwood Pines on the hottest day of the year. Quite how we ended up on the red advanced trai for extreme mountain bikers l I do not know, but I do blame the heat.

A trip to Sherwood Pines near to Clipstone where, many, many years ago, I came from. I used to know this area, used to cycle the roads around this area but Sherwood Pines is new to me, with graded dedicated mountain biking trails that we just had to try. I’ve not been on a mountain bike since god knows when, Sam probably even longer. Quite why the seats are designed like razor blades, perhaps I’ve just got a massive bum that it caused the mother of all wedgies that I managed to complain about all the way round.

The last time I went mountain biking was in the hills of Pennsylvania with the RAF and haven’t touched a bike since. It’s been so long since being on a bike that we might have needed stabilisers but the thing about riding  bike is that it’s just like riding a bike. I was scoffing at the idea of doing a family route for beginners, instantly forgetting the stones I have put on and nearly 20 years later of inactivity.

It’s gentle enough for the 30 seconds and then until you accidentally make a turn onto the red advanced trail and get lost. This is not how it was supposed to go. With the sun blazing down on us, we just needed Nottinghamshire’s most well know hooded outlaw to pop along and rob us of our dignity although Robin Hood is clearly the car park machine at Sherwood Pines.

Thankfully the section of the red route, the Kitchener trail,  we are on is not technically difficult and we do manage to get back on to the green route just as we are about to venture onto the trails marked as Death Valley, Viking Trail and Western Front with both the number and address of a the local A&E hospital on signs, presumably if you manage to bake in the sun, argue with the Nordic neighbours at Thynghowe or stumble into one of the old WW1 training trenches.

We huff and puff our way round, I look like a clown on a comedy bike unable to maintain a straight line for for any great length. We’ve definitely taken a wrong turn and gone far further that the original trail but that’s OK, we’ve both enjoyed our time out today, despite the strenuous extra miles. We’ve been thinking about getting bikes anyway, this just confirms it.


Nick Cook. Amateur astronomer, space, history, nerd, extreme dog walker, cat slave, severe tinnitus sufferer. 13.7 billion years in the making - not that much better for it.

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