Cam MTB - the Cambridge Mountain Bikers' Forum

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  • Wear a helmet. Despite recent advances in medical science, brains still cannot be mended nor replaced.
  • Wear gloves or mitts. Hands often hit the ground first. Cuts and grazes invite infection and a hospital visit.
  • Wear eye protection, it only takes a twig or thorn to lose an eye. Crud catchers are a good idea in mucky weather.
  • When downhilling, for your own protection, allow plenty of space behind the rider in front.
  • Bring a bare minimum emergency tool kit and a spare inner tube.
  • Breakdowns are a bore. Plan not to have any by ensuring your bike is in perfect working order.
  • Punctures are also tedious. You can minimise them by fitting latex tubes, slime tubes or running tubeless tyres.

Photo: CAMMTB rides have restarted with social distancing - bring a beer and or join us for our virtual pub sessions afterwards.

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Continuation of the mass debate

Good ride last night - thanks Uncle Tom for a good route. Nice not to hurt myself on Fleam Dyke!

I thought it was a useful and healthy discussion in the pub continuing on from Richard's post about ride behaviour and the subsequent forum discussion. Almost exactly two years ago, we had almost exactly the same soul-searching forum discussion, that time started off by Paul D. For those not around then, or with a memory like a sieve like me, or with a historical bent, here it is.

The pretty emphatic conclusion from the 9 of us in the pub last night (a fair cross-section) was that we are one group, not many, and that we should be able to be 'all things to all men" (and women, obviously!). TinMan, your comment looks clearly out of alignment with most people's thoughts.

Rick's point about how intimidating a group can be, even to an established member, is a good one - not many of us are good at admitting to what might feel like, or be seen as, a sign of weakness. It's not always that easy to say that you're so shagged you can hardly draw breath - we've all been there.

A suggestion made two years ago was that there should be a leader and a designated sweeper, both of whom know the route and can communicate with each other. It works well when it happens. Pat and Richard are both very good and diligent at filling the sweeper role. More of us should do so occasionally to share out 'the load' - and it's still riding out with your mates, right?

Another suggestion that's been made in the past is that new riders get a 'buddy' for at least their first ride. That could work well.

Something discussed last night was how many 'new' riders we have (people who have first come out in the last couple of years and are still coming out) compared with how many have 'tried us out'. I think the conclusion was that it's very few. Maybe this doesn't matter? Most of us last night thought that actually, it did - it's good to meet new, like-minded people.

More importantly, inevitably, people leave the group for a variety of reasons - for instance, sadly we're likely to gradually lose Paul D as he drifts off to join the Jocks. As this happens, the group gets smaller, and soon we'll have no-one to go out to play with - unless we encourage new recruits...

With all the two penn'orths, we'll soon have - oooh, about 20p.


Re: Continuation of the mass debate

very well put Dom.

as it stands at the moment ther is a lot of fun to be had with racing at the front, but, as you say if people move away and are not replaced the fun will end!

so anything and everything that can be done to not only promote new riders coming out but also coming out more than ONCE should be encoraged.

you may find this supprising but even I struggled for the first 3 or 4 rides back after i fractured my elbow! i just didn't have the pace or stamina.....6 weeks was all it took to be off the boil, i can only imagine how hard it has been for some who are not frequent flyers, if you pardon the punn!

if you don't ride long distances on a regular basis it is easy to get swept allong for the first hour but then your body lets you down and the pain and nausea sets in, the world is ending and all the ditches look the same. you are lost and alone and struggling. you may only be 1 mile from civilization but you may as well be in the middle of the outback, no food no water and no hope of rescue.

Bowsey and myself fall into the category of what does not kill you makes you stronger, and in our cases determined to do better next time....or as soon as we can, but that is not everyone. A lot of people do not enjoy being put in to a world of hurt, then being left to fend for your self, which is how it feels at the back watching the lights disappear in the distance.

on a ride where it is only regulars, who are up for it, have a thrash/epic or both, i'm up for that! if there are new riders, infrequent riders, or injured people, take it a bit easier on them and ask how they are from time to time, you may be supprised how their view of things differ from yours.

finaly as a sweeper i have a fair idea on where we are heading and where we turn, but sometimes the route is a little different to normal, i hold my hand up and say names on a map mean nothing to me, i just know where i am now and where i'm probably going next. i'f im buddying up with someone it is helpfull if we use the normal regroup points not every other point, and also stop AT the junction, not 20M, 30M, or 200M after you turned off the track, when you feel crap you get tunnel vision, you see the trail 2M infront of the wheel and nothing else, you can easily miss the turn.

just a little consideration is all i ask please, by all means move up to make room as people arive but not so much as you can't be seen, or at least keep a front light shining back at the turn, it can make all the difference.

there you go Dom, another 2p in the pot. i was only intendind to post the first 4 words of this so apologies Pastey for all the smelling pistakes.

Re: Continuation of the mass debate

yer.... and don't forget skids are for kids !!

Re: Continuation of the mass debate

Lol. That's me. Just a big kid at heart.

Re: Continuation of the mass debate

Hey Big Kid,

I think that you'll find that it's Pasty, not Pastey.

Well said both. And Duncan about the skids.


Re: Continuation of the mass debate

Your welcome pastey.

Recipe for Jam

4 lbs (1.8 kg) plums
1 pint (575 ml) water
4 lbs (1.8 kg) sugar
Wash and wipe the plums. Cut in halves.
Put into a pan with the water and simmer gently until the fruit is soft.
Test for pectin.
Add the sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until the jam sets when tested, removing the stones as they rise to the top.
Remove the scum.
Pot and seal while still hot.
Makes around 6 lbs (2.7 kg) of jam.

Seeing as I'm riding with the WI I thought I'd drop this in here.

But joking apart there is a serious point here. As one of the quicker riders, I'm actually considering no longer coming out because, not wishing to be too blunt, it's not a workout if we have to stop every five minutes for a rest. I'm not saying make it a torture fest but there does have to be some standard that we ride to and that, I'm sorry to say, shouldn't be whatever pace the slowest rider happens to ride. If you can't (within reason) keep up perhaps it's for the slower riders to go away and train themselves up to a reasonable standard.

I recognise that this goes somewhat against the grain of sympathetic responses, but like everyone else I am entitled to an opinion. Perhaps the fact that I seem to be the only one saying it suggests that it should be me that goes elsewhere in search of like minded riders. If anyone does fancy a ride at a decent (not stupid) pace with fewer breaks then drop me a note.



Re: Recipe for Jam

You should not blame us slower riders for no longer been allowed out

Re: Recipe for Jam - or sod the slow riders

Andrew - the problem is deciding what counts as a 'decent (not stupid) pace'. A very subjective speed. There have been times when weak riders have exasperated the group and/or been gently shooed away. As far as I can tell though, this argument started up (again) when perfectly respectable riders were having a miserable time.

As for training yourself up to a reasonable standard - sure. Forgo the postride beer, go out on Sunday mornings with CCC, do evening TTs over the summer, turbotrain every other day, never get ill, never get injured and we'll all be flying (we might also be roadies but that's another issue). Sadly real life isn't always so kind and more and more often, I find myself more crawling than flying.

What's kept me coming back to CamMTB for the best part of a decade is the social aspect of the rides. If the rides routinely speed up to the point where the regular pack gets pared down to a small number of very able riders then what I've always seen as the ethos of CamMTB will be lost. And that would be a shame in my opinion.


Re: Recipe for Jam and Scones

I like the jam idea, and thought I could contribute with my mother's recipe for scones. If we all do more baking between rides, the faster riders might get heavier and slower, with slower riders offering their baked fare to particularly skinny riders during the rides. Clearly Bowes falls into the fast but not particualrly skinny category and would have to bring his own. Everyones a winner and we could have a prize at Christmas for best scone in class.


225g/2 cups self raising flour
55g/½ stick cold butter
1 level tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
150 ml/¼ pint milk
1 egg beaten with a little milk

Heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6
Grease and flour a baking sheet.
Sieve the flour into a roomy baking bowl then add the butter, baking powder and salt. Quickly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the center and using a dinner knife, stir in enough milk to make a soft, pliable dough.
Turn the mixture on to a floured board and knead very lightly until just smooth then lightly roll out to 2cm / 3/4" thick.
Cut rounds with a 7.5cm/3" cutter or cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
Place on the baking tray and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Bake near the top of the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
Cool on a wire rack before eating.
Serve with butter, or lashings of jam and cream.

More from the W.I. handbook...

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Sing up ladies!!!

BTW, I think if anyone's only out for a training ride, they may be missing the point somewhat...
Get a coach and do it properly. I'll look out for you at the Olympics...

Re: More from the W.I. handbook...

Hear hear Paul D and Mark T.
Your recipes are making me hungry though.
I WILL be out soon (slowly, and you buggers had better wait)