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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 106 > EXMOOR EXHILARATION

EXMOOR EXHILARATION

BARNEY AND HIS PALS EMBARK ON A JOURNEY TO FIND THE FUTURE CLASSIC WOODED SINGLETRACK IN DEEPEST, DARKEST EXMOOR. EVEN IN AN AREA YOU KNOW WELL, THERE ARE OFTEN NEW TREASURES TO BE FOUND…

Good rides always start with a journey. It doesn’t have to involve geography, though. There’s a transition from sleepy somnambulance on foot, through somnambulance on a bike, all the way up to wideeyed epinephrine-fuelled mania. Every ride is transformative in a sense; even rides which retread familiar ground can be a force for change. Weather, time of day, mental state: all affect what we bring into a ride, and they all affect what we get out of it – whether it’s catharsis, exuberance or merely a nasty rash. It’s all good (well, apart from the rash).

Exmoor, Not Less.

For me, Exmoor is all about many different journeys all rolled into one. There’s the arduous physical one, now I’m a resident of Yorkshire. There’s the necessity of hooking up with old friends who still live in the area, to ride it. Exmoor even had a role to play in my transition many years ago from single to married man.

So yes, I’ve had a soft spot for Exmoor for years. Before I discovered it, I’d long assumed it was simply like the Quantocks, only more so, and, given that as a Bristol resident the ’tocks were nearer, why bother? Actually, I was sort of right – Exmoor does feel like the Quantocks’ bigger brother. There’s a large expanse of gently undulating moorland on the tops (gentle, that is, until you have to ride it), which drops into crinkly combes, gaining in steepness, and each one blessed with a wide variety of slopes, technicality and vegetation.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure – Long Mynd: Barney goes in search of long singletrack descents too good to miss. International Adventure – Ecuador: Cass Gilbert goes bikepacking – stunning photography and adventure results. International Adventure – Los Angeles: Chipps seeks out that which is not concrete in the City of Angels. Crash Gallery – A fond look at some crash photos inspired by this issue’s cover. Classic Ride – Exmoor: Barney finds that steep hills and merciless gorse can hide a treasure trove of West Country singletrack. Grouptest: Trail SPD shoes are tested by the team. But do they pass the ‘pub’ test? Bike Test – The Second Coming: We test three second iterations of bikes from Orange, Santa Cruz and Singular. Is it a case of improvement through evolution, or a film sequel style flop? Grinder: A bucketful of shiny components, lovingly mixed with some springtime grit and exuberant riding before judgement. UK Adventure – Orienteering: Chipps tests out his map reading skills in the Dark Peak. Magic in the Margins of the Day: A change in circumstances leads Doug McDonald to discover the joy of dusk and and dawn riding.
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