This started at Bad Ass Bikes in Burrington Combe where I discussed new options and was eventually impressed by the service (the summary here was 26” is dead and 29” is the thing for 120mm travel and below while 650b will cover longer travel bikes). With plenty to think about and after a very nice complement on the bike I was riding I hit Blackdown straight up the Link Lane from the carpark.
The thing about this bit of the Mendips is the range of mud you'll encounter. Much of this was liberally sprayed on the bike mixing the red clay of the south end with the dark mud of the top and the gritty sandstone of the other end of the hill. The ride itself was a standard loop, with the steep climbs of the area and the flowing downhills, fire road grinds and cheeky downhills, as well as rocky pinball bounces and muddy slogs out of quick valleys. It was punctuated by an overly upset lost older lady who I advised the best way back then rode off in the other direction hoping she'd be ok but satisfied that she didn't need to call the police and needn't be as worried about the fading light considering there was a good couple of hours of daylight left.
With a later group of teenagers blocking the trail at the top of a sharp hill who got a good mud splashing for their failure to get off the path in any sort of time, it was a incident filled blast, but no less fun for it.
The next day was a day off the bike hanging with my godson and his family but that meant being led to Bristol's M-Shed museum where, in amongst the history and the very popular bus to play on, were bicycles, reflecting part of Bristol's manufacturing past. I took some quick pics while I kept half an eye on toddlers.
After this it was time to complete the motorway triangle with an overlong time on the M4 to get home through weather that discouraged more riding.