June 20, 2016
Bike Doctor Ladies Let Loose in North Wales!
Well it’s finally here, 6 Bike Doctor Ladies are on route to North Wales for a weekend of fun and fantastic biking. We’ve managed to arrange transport, accommodation and routes for the weekend, and we find an awesome pub in the village of Trawsfynydd so we’re already on to a winner!
We’re staying in the Llys Ednowain hostel, which is brilliant. It’s clean, tidy and cosy. It’s above the heritage centre. We were tempted to re-enact “A Night in the Museum” but they closed this section off to us! They must have heard about the Bike Doctor before!!! We also tried to recruit a new BD member in Trawsfynydd (Hedd Wyn), but he proved to be a bit too old and static to get on a bike – and he didn’t smile for the camera (so also to manly to join our group)!
We arrive at Llandegla on Saturday morning keen and eager to go biking. Unfortunately we’re faced with our first mechanical challenge of the weekend. First we can’t get the wheel on Vikki’s bike as the calliper is too far out, and then the brake spring decides to break, so it’s time for some new pads and a bit of ‘superwoman’ fettling! We manage to get the old pads out (with the help of Pete via the good old mobile phone), unfortunately we can’t get the new pads in and being clever ladies, we can’t remember which way round they go so we’re worried about breaking it. Luckily the nice bike mechanic at One Planet Adventure spends about 15 minutes fixing the brakes (while we all watch – no pressure!) and doesn’t charge us – awesome service or what (although not as good as the Bike Doctor)! They also fix Marie’s bike, whose brakes have decided to stick on the journey up…. Hmm, was it planned to avoid biking ‘this scary s**t’!!.
When we’re ready for the off we have a play in the skills area so everyone can have a go at nailing the drop offs and table tops, and then we hit the trails. One group does the green trail while the others tackle the blue. We’re all having a blast and practising our skills when we have a snapped chain. No problem, we get out the quick link, re-thread the chain, snap it in place and whoop, we’re off again – yes you can never have enough chain links! Basher and Keith would be proud!!! Unfortunately we’ve missed one tiny bit when re-threading the chain so it jumps off and gets stuck in the frame. Although we manage to free it, we’re not strong enough to undo the quick link, so it’s a freewheel down the hill back to the bike shop! At least while they’re fixing it we can go shopping and have some lunch – like true ladies who lunch!!
After lunch Vikki and Marie tackled the blue trail, with ‘Jesus Christ’ who seemed to be Marie’s new best friend – Hmm doesn’t sound female to me, while the rest of us hit the red. Marie was heard to scream ‘that is some scary s**t’ as she rode the rocky dip – but she rode it like a true pro (with their eyes closed) and improved her confidence and skill level massively over the weekend. Vikki was also seen smiling at the top of the climb – so we knew she really enjoyed it! We all enjoyed the red, even the ‘Double Steep climb’, which always creeps up on you. We did take a slight wrong turn towards the end of the trail… in my defence the trail always used to go that way – typical for them to change it - although the new bit was fun and it gave us a chance to creep up on Olwen who seemed to go the right way! I did also warn everyone about the last steep bit, after the upsies and downsies, although it did seem a bit longer than the 20 pedal strokes I’d suggested – oops!!!
We found a lovely pub in Trawsfynydd (The Cross Foxes), who have an offer on, 2 meals for £12, just what we needed. The food (and beer) goes down well, as it’s always good to have a few beers after a bike ride and we have a lovely evening, chewing the fat about the days fun. We all sleep well in the hostel, although Angela does have a little conversation in the night, with whoever is listening – I think this was me as I was awake. Perhaps we could still re-enact the night in the museum after all ;-)
Sunday brings us Coed Y Brenin, as we’re a sociable bunch we decide to all ride the blue trail together, while playing hunt the Minotaur for that all important perfect picture – yep, girls just want to have fun!! Olwen lead us down the blue trail like a natural, and even remembers where each Minotaur is located (even the hidden ones)! We took lots of photos although we couldn’t find the perfect place to do a BD head stand, so we put this one off for another adventure. We did research the trails the night before, to make sure everyone was happy with the plans, although Marie’s comment made us smile “so we’re going up Uncle Fester’s bottom and all that poo”. (Yes, I’ve added the polite version!)
The trail gives people a chance to practice their skills and have a play. Everyone did really well with no crashes, so it was back to the café for a bit of light refreshment before heading out for more fun. Some of us did the Red Fox trail next, which was a step up from yesterday’s trails. And it was great to see people push themselves and improve. Karen flew across the Ponderosa rocky section and down Dream Time like superwoman, she also flew down the rocky slab and through the water splash like it wasn’t there – like a true pro!
We did have another slight mechanical with another jammed chain but being true mechanical pro’s we sorted it (twice) and carried on. Everyone improved their skill level riding the red trail, we flew down some of the sections like superheroes on a mission to save the world, although we were really more focussed on having a shower and some lunch as we were all tired and famished from 2 days of biking.
We all had a play in the skills area afterwards, practising our manual lifts (using the hips, not the arms –the ladies way!). Angela did manage to crash into the only rock on the trail heading over there, which gave us a giggle and the chance for another photo! Angela did then nail some of the harder sections of the skills area, which was awesome. The day was rounded off with another great lunch, and for some… a cheeky after cycle beer, by the way of Purple Moose Brewery Ysgawen Elderflower Ale –probably the only time I wish I wasn’t driving, as boy it tasted good!!
I have to say it was a fantastic weekend, we all pushed, encouraged and supported each other to try new things. Some commented that they would never have attempted certain things if they’d been on their own. We had lots of giggles and belly laughs and got to know each other over a few beers and a blinking good meal. Definitely looking forward to the next Bike Doctor Ladies Adventure!!!