Wolverhampton to Manchester

Updated: Apr 24

This morning we got up early and had a nice big fry up in our medieval themed hotel on the edge of Wolverhampton. We had a quick google of the Cannock Chase area while we had WIFI so we weren't completely clueless as to how to get there. Worryingly the first thing that came up was a report about the Cannock Chase murders that happened in the 60s... not information about mountain bike rental. Regardless, after breakfast we packed up all the kit and set off to take on the famous mountain bike trails on the Chase.

We only got slightly lost on the way and managed to find the rental center about an hour later than expected. The next challenge came when the bike rental clerk requested ID with proof of address and a deposit for the bikes. Ian only had his passport which had his previous address in Hong Kong on it and I only had my driving license with my London address. Neither of these were the same as the address on the booking form which the rental people were not happy about. They said we could show them a bank statement of the address on the form, however as neither of us have our smartphones this was impossible. This was one of several things that has happened to us over the past few days that has shown how it is becoming harder and harder to do anything without a smartphone! A frightening concept if you ask us. However, it also spurred us on to keep using brick phones so that not owning a smartphone doesn't become a complete anomaly.

After some pleading, the bike rental man allowed us to change the address on the form to the one on my driving license and we were off. Neither and or I have much mountain biking experience and we had a very shaky start but after a couple of hours on the trails everything started to feel more natural and we really started enjoying ourselves. The feeling of racing down the steep hills and round the banked corners was exhilarating and very addictive. We tried the difficult (red) slopes and managed surprisingly well but I got a cocky and tried a hard (black) one and got put in my place. Once we had completely knackered ourselves we took the bikes back, had a coffee break and headed to Manchester.

We only got lost for about another two hours as we attempted to find Ian's uncle Ken's house where we were stopping for the night. We attempted to find the right road using only a map of the UK, the general public, and our instincts. However, after all of these failed we resorted to calling Ken who kindly stayed on the phone as he directed us about half an hour down the road from where we thought we were supposed to be. Oh well, we got there in the end.

We are now both lying in bed waiting for the last of the footage to transfer to our external hard drives before we can finally fall asleep and wake up ready for another day.

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