It would be stretching the limits of language to really describe this as a ride report. “Walk in the snow”, “Dicking about in the snow”, “Cold in the snow” all would be fine but “ride…” hmmm.
Most of last year I had been looking forward to this years snow so that I could make a new snow riding video. I then promptly broke a rib and 5 days later the snow came; how disappointing. So imagine my excitement when I looked out the window with the wide eyed wonder of a child, to see half a foot of snow had settled over night. Not only that but it was actually a planned ride day as well!
We had thought about going to The Long Mynd but as the snow was some what heavier than we had expected, it was decided that a destination closer home was probably a sensible idea. Licky Hills seemed like the perfect location as it was close and I suspected that the snow would keep people away. It can go either way up there though as it’s fairly easy to access and there is a lot of good sledging spots. Fortunately it was the former and was very quiet everywhere accept the visitors center, so we pretty much had the run of the place to ourselves. Handy because when you are fish tailing all over the place and praying for mud for traction (?!?!) you need all the room you can get.
The ride up from the train station was a nightmare, a fun, silly nightmare. There seemed to be a lot of trees down all over the place not least at which on the first climb up to the visitors centre. We hiked most of the way apart from the few false flats and short descents where we tried to pedal but only because we had bikes with us, it wasn’t like it was actually a good idea. My calf’s where burning pretty quickly with the effort of walking in the snow and pushing a bike through it made for slow going. I kept consoling myself that it would all be great training for the hike a bike sections of the End-to-End… in September… it’s funny what one does to keep yourself going. The rest of the ride pretty much followed that template. We would hike to the top of a run and then slide and fish tail back to the bottom. It was more fun that it sounds, honest.
For the last run of the day though we did give something different a go. We slid back to the car and as the access road to the visitors centre had clearly been salted we drove back to the top and made for the back side of the hill that looks down towards Barnt Green Road. This is probably the steepest, least thickly filled with trees section of the Lickys and so suitable for Martin to don his skis. This was a first for Martin to not only get some outdoor skiing done in England but to also go mountain biking on the same day and not only that in the Midlands in the UK! It was also the first time I had raced a skier while I was on a mountain bike.. in fact it was the first time I raced a skier full stop!