I am not by any stretch of the imagination a mountain biker. I do own a mountain bike, a hardtail built up from a second-hand Genesis Ti frame and some mid-range Shimano bits, but it’s normally shod with tyres more suited to tarmac than to mud. Riding a mountain bike from can sometimes be pleasant change from riding a road bike. A bit like getting out of a Ferrari and onto a tractor I imagine, although I’ve never owned either. There’s a soft and comfortable feeling to it, a sofa on wheels. Today, we made our second visit to the cycling centre in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. It is a superb place to cycle with all the family (in my case my wife and 9 year-old twins, Harry and Matilda) and there are routes catering for riders of every standard, from casual to verging on lunatic.
We took the 20km family route of largely dry and undemanding trails with the occasional small diversion over humps and dips so that the kids can let off steam. Back at the start there’s a smart cafe, bike shop and workshop, and even somewhere to hose off your bike.