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Sanny takes on a Lake District pass too many, nearly breaks Mark and makes Nick Craig swear.

Mark sat on the side of the trail, his shoulders hunched, his head dropped. His bike lay discarded on the rocky trail where he had been unceremoniously ejected from it mere seconds earlier. He was, for want of a less polite and more industrial phrase, utterly spent. We were deep into hour nine of what on the map is a mere sixteen-mile loop. Things were not quite going according to plan.

“You know, Mark, even I’m beginning to lose my sense of humour. Sanny’s a ****.” Nick interjected, a big grin on his face as he said it. Truth to tell, worse has been said of me and to me, but for this to be uttered by Nick Craig, the indisputably nicest man in mountain biking, came as a bit of a surprise. Between you and me, I was secretly a little bit proud. That I had reduced him to using language that would make Roger Mellie blush felt oddly satisfying. After all, our previous adventures together had usually found me being on the receiving end of things going wrong, so this made for a pleasant, if unexpected, change. I was feeling good – the sun was out, my legs felt great and I was definitely enjoying myself. For Mark, however, he was experiencing the worst of mountain biking. But what had brought us to this? Just how exactly had I broken Mark and reduced Nick to using common vulgarities? Read on, dear reader, and I shall tell you.

Hold up, lads. I have an idea.

Alps? Pfft. Who needs them?

As a late adopter of pretty much all forms of technology, e-bikes haven’t really featured on my radar. However, curiosity is a difficult mistress to ignore and a brief ride on a friend’s bike up in Aviemore caused my mind to go into overdrive. I wanted a route that would test both machine and rider, one that would potentially demonstrate the relative strengths and limitations of the technology. As luck would have it, I had the perfect route – an off-road version of the Fred Whitton. Think every high pass in the Lakes in just one ride. It was perfect. To my astonishment, I even managed to persuade my good friend Mark of this parish and Nick Craig, Olympian and professional nice guy, to join me.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: There Is No Right Or Wrong. Choose a bike, any bike, and enjoy it. International Adventure: Panning For Trail Gold In Arizona. Huw Oliver finds gold in the ghost towns of Arizona. Classic Ride: Don’t Mynd If I Do. Tom Hutton rides the Long Mynd in search of forgotten corners and new trails. Behind the Scenes: Colour Wheels. Sim Mainey finds out how the next bike fashions are decided. UK Adventure: Cornish Fasties Barney Marsh goes to the edge of the UK and finds a world of overlooked trails. UK Adventure: How To Lose Friends And Alienate People. Sanny reduces the nicest man in mountain biking to rude words. Hope’s Helping Hand. Chipps checks out a bit of innovative thinking from Hope Technology. Bike Test: Overlooked Awesome. Daz Hall checks out three smaller wheeled, shorter travel bikes that you probably should be riding, from Bird, Cotic and Santa Cruz. Column: Jason steps out of his comfort zone. Pete’s Pros: Rock[et] Science Manon Carpenter may not be racing much, but Pete Scullion finds she’s still aiming high. A Day In The Life: Fort William Saskia Dugon goes behind the scenes at this noisiest of World Cup races. MTB Culture: The Quiet Revolution Rich Rothwell argues that GPS technology has opened up a whole new world of mountain biking joy. Last Word Hannah gets to ride somewhere she thought might only be a far-flung fantasy.