Just because road bikes have the word “road” in their name, I don’t think it means you must only use them on the road. I certainly don’t. Taking my langster for a ride along the local byways and bridleways, is a pure and simple pleasure for the long summer evenings, but I admit, come the winter, apart from an occasional spin around Grafham Water, it sticks firmly to the roads. Until today.
As a homage to the early season Classics, Tim, one of my St Neots club mates, has hit upon the fantastic idea of running a mixed terrain ride in April. I think it is also an excuse to watch Paris-Roubaix and drink beer (guilt free) afterwards. Knowing the off road sectors around my local patch well, I’ve volunteered to put together a route. I reasoned that if, in December, the off road sections are passable on my single speed Langster, equipped with Conti GP 4 seasons tyres, there shouldn’t be any problems for road and cross bikes in late April. So, first thing this morning under a grey dawn, rimmed red to the east, I flicked on my lights, released some pressure from my tubes and set off to recce the tarmac, gravel and mud.
I mostly stuck to the roads and ways around Kimbolton, but one which will definitely feature is the byway Sandye Lane, running from Tilbrook to Swineshead. It’s a beautiful mixed stretch of grass and hard surface, running alongside woods and fields. The only company I saw were a couple of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and Fieldfares flying along the woody margins. It is also about 4.5km long so likely to be the longest contiguous off road sector on the final ride.