When Ben Smith, friend of the co-op went cycling in the Lake District, he was kind enough to keep a diary for us to see how he got on. In this first instalment he’s tackling Skiddaw and for the second, Helvellyn.
Before you read on, if you think you’d like to take on a Lake District cycling challenge like Ben, it’s best to be prepared with a decent mountain bike. If you’ve got on already, book it in for a quick service to make sure it’s in tip top condition before you set off.
At the base of my first big climb of the week I’m not sure which peak represents the summit – every time I think I’m approaching the top, another peak gradually appears behind it.
Having just left the Peak District a few days ago, even at the halfway point of Skiddaw, I feel I’m higher than I’ve ever been before.
The top half of the ascent was a climb up a loose scree slope but the lure of the summit overrode any concerns I might normally have had on such a precarious trail.
Getting to the top was not so much a bike ride but a scramble carrying something on my back!
I met some walkers at the top who agreed that the upward route I took was quite sketchy so I began my ascent down one of the smoother gradients. However, I feel that I can do a smooth descent anytime I like in my local riding area so I turn round, go back up, and prepare myself for the more challenging route down.
I already feel like I’ve done the mother of all downhills but at this point I’m barely even a quarter of the way down – this is incredible… I pause to let my brakes cool off and look back up at the trail I’ve just ridden – my single piston mini discs are not really up to this!
The forest and the levelling out of the lake view signals a return to the bottom. What and intoxicating experience! My thoughts are already on which summit to tackle tomorrow…
Ben Smith - Lake District - Skiddaw
LAKE DISTRICT CYCLING CHECKLIST:
- As mentioned above, you’ll need a bike capable for uphills and descents. Shop mountain bikes or book yourself a service. And if you don’t think you have it in you to power up those hills all by yourself, add a like power to your pedal and invest in an electric MTB.
- It looks like Ben got amazing weather, but whether it’s raining or sunshine, invest in a few key pieces of clothing to keep you happy and dry. Don’t forget to check out our clothing special offers if you’re after a bargain!
- Fuel up! Pack a few energy treats to keep those legs moving.
- Take some decent pics! Consider a helmet camera so you don’t even need to stop to catch the views!