Crab Apples, Conkers and Corking Sunshine!

23 10 2011


By a complete freak of jamminess, our late summer holiday ended up coinciding with what turned out to be the UK’s summer.  Yes, we’re talking the heatwave that surprised us all during the week of 26th September!

fruits of the season




Caravan, bikes, knitting – I know! – Singletrack mags loaded, we headed out on a roadtrip to Henley, Oxfordshire.  The entire purpose of the holiday being to ride trails in The Chiltern Hills.


We’d briefly ridden some of their lush woodliness 10 years or so ago when we completed The Ridgeway, which we re-christened ‘The Ruttway’ (trademark).  The Ridgeway is the UK’s longest byway and that means quite a bit of motorised traffic who, as it turned out, make a damn good job of churning up the trail and adding great rafts of rutts = many a cloutted pedal and comical offs without warning over 102 miles!


But, when we hit The Chilterns area the trail started to return to bridleways and we started to smile again.  We always wanted to return to the area to see what else was tucked away in those wooded hills: we were not disappointed.


After 4 days chillaxing and resting ‘dicky knee’ (trademark) we found our first ride of four in the Venture Graphics trail guide book and ventured out on a blue graded ride with not much expectation of it delivering a great deal.  It was a rehab ride for me but, what it lacked in technicality and altitude, it made up for in pure loveliness of a singletrack nature.


glorious singletrack ahead

19kms of isolated woodland, streaming sunshine, no trail damage, just white arrows painted on trees denoting which way to go.  We were very happy explorers.  Each piece of woodland was punctuated by a short bit of quiet road, soon after which you’re jettisoned back into another bit of woodland and more sinewy singletrack.  Happy days.


Lisa keep up the domestic chores, despite being in the woods

Four rides later we couldn’t believe how lucky we were.  We’d packed our bags with clothes for every season and ended up in short sleeves and shorts for the entire week, almost running out of summer gear.  When was the last time we’d put our waterproofs away without a worry of being caught out by a downpour?


Like kids we scrumped and ate apples on most rides, but the image and smell that will remain with us is sweet crab apple as they crunched underwheel as we rode around, they were everywhere.  As were conkers;  many of which became impromtu ‘it weren’t me guvnor’ missles, as we threw them at each other at our regular map reading intervals.  I did tell you about all the arrows on trees, this meant the ride book came out quite a bit as there were so many  trail options.  One particular instruction being:  turn left at the tree with the 3 white arrows on it, look out for wheel buried in the ground!  Unbelievably, the wheel was there!


well they did warn you

Crab apples, conkers and corking sunshine.  We have great memories of The Chilterns and would definitely recommend the area if you want a lovely holiday riding your bike, in a beautiful area with miles of singletrack, not too many miles from home and barely a soul around to share them with.  Pure bliss.


Lisa & Rick






6 responses

25 10 2011

is that there one o’ those new fandangled fold-away boards from ikos or argea

25 10 2011

nice irowing bord

25 10 2011

That was my version of ‘extreme’ ironing…do an internet search on the subject you’ll be amazed there they end up with new-fangled girlie gadgets 🙂

25 10 2011

now now, girlie gadgets…….hoorah innuendo bingo

26 10 2011

Which uppy-downy seatpost is that, Lisa?
Nice ironing, BTW.

27 10 2011

crank brothers uppy downy seat post – rick has the one without the remote because he’s well ‘ard; I have the one with the remote because, well because I am worth the extra investmentlol !

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