I finally went mountain biking today. Headed out to Swinley Forest with some guys I met through the London MTB mailing list.
It felt just like home - riding with like minded cycling idiots, crashing in to trees, going over the bars, being extremely cold (well - that was a bit different to home). Veronica will be pleased to know that yes, I did draw blood, but only a little.
I managed to score a lift with a guy who lives conveniently close - just a few blocks away. As with pretty much all decent nearby mountain biking, it is about an hour by car from the city. Public transport should be doable with a short link ride.
Unfortunately I left the camera on the charger, but will definitely go back out there and get some photos.
The trails were... interesting. I guess somewhat similar to Canberra - loamy forest type riding. Plenty of flowing singletrail, switchbacks, smooth trails mostly but with the occasional rooty section. Not any real hills (which suited me fine - not enough riding lately!), and not very technical (which also suited me fine - still getting used to the new bike, and it has no suspension). Body is a bit battered and sore, mostly due to lack of riding, but it felt great to get out there for some proper riding.
I think Loz and I are going to ride out to Richmond tomorrow and loop around Richmond park. Hopefully we will get some distance in - we really need to do some longer rides before the winter scares us off completely. Speaking of winter, I think my clothes are going to be completely inadequate - both normal clothes and cycling clothes. I'm going to have to start taking note of what other people are wearing.