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Cannock Chase 1st Time Any Advice

loltorideloltoride Posts: 460
Hi all I am collecting my new bike next Friday and the dealer (Certini Birmingham) has advised nearest decent trail is Cannock Chase, I have never been before but from the website (youtube) looks great. I just wanted to know if you have any advice or local routes, the ride will be totally about getting used to bike and maybe some small setup. I have been on a hard tail for a long time so will be a big change going FS.
So Far!


  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,900
    If you've ridden off road on a hardtail you should be fine with most of it.
    If you start from the main visitor centre at Birches Valley, there's a nasty pointy rocky qualifier section at the start which I suggest you have a look at first before trying it. You can walk over it or ride around if you really don't fancy having a go (it takes practice) but it will be easier on a FS than a HT.
    Follow the Dog is pretty easy, the Monkey Trail is an extra loop halfway around FTG and is quite hilly and a bit more technical. There's a couple of tricky descents so look where you're going and stop before you go down them if you're not sure. There's also a set of steps you need to go down and a main road to cross.

    The blue route is OK but it's mostly fire road. Good for a long ride though and if you get to the far end you can follow the path to the Wimpy hut in Milford.

    I've no idea whether the cafe/bike shop/toilets etc. will be open at the moment.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,900
    There are also some DH trails at Stile Cop, but I've never tried those.
  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 460
    Thanks Thistle not ready for the Downhill yet but will most probably start from the visitor centre any idea how long the trails are I could not find any info funny enough.
    So Far!
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,417
    If you start on Follow The Dog, near the carparks, marked as a red trail. Then about half way around you will come to a small clearing in the forest with a big sign to the right of the clearing. Keep on going to stay on Follow The Dog and do about 7 miles in total. To do The Monkey, go left. The Monkey eventually rejoins the Dog after about 7 miles a little further on past that sign. Total from carpark and back is just over 14 miles.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 6,900
    loltoride said:

    Thanks Thistle not ready for the Downhill yet but will most probably start from the visitor centre any idea how long the trails are I could not find any info funny enough.

    Here you go. There's a map on there as well, although it says there are currently some sections closed with diversions:
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,428
    Follow the dog is pretty tame, but fun. If you’re not massively confident in either you abilities or new bike I’d stick with the dog and save the monkey for next time. 3 laps of the dog is a decent ride. Most of the trail closures are on the monkey too at the moment, there’s only one (albeit my favourite) section of the dog closed.

    I wouldn’t bother with the Blue route, it’s just a longer shared use path like the green, no singletrack, lots of walkers and it’s 2 way. Nice for a pleasant ride but not a good test of a new bike.

    It’s really well signed round, I doubt you could get lost, but If you go at the weekend just follow one of the other 1000s of bikes going round, it’s very popular.

    The monkey is a bit more technical than the dog, apart from the black sections on the monkey which are a big step up. It’s a lot hillier though, so it depends on your fitness. If you’re only coming from Birmingham though there’s no reason not to save it and come again, it’s only down the road. I live on the edge of the chase and you can see the city centre from the end of my road.
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  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 460
    Thanks all cant wait - I am not to sure how many times I will go to Birmingham but usually try and ride close to where ever I collect new bike from. I have heard loads about Cannock Chase but never had the chance to go so next Friday will be the best being by myself. I will try and get there for 11.30am well I will be outside dealers at 10am sharp.
    So Far!
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,417
    loltoride said:

    .......... I will try and get there for 11.30am well I will be outside dealers at 10am sharp.

    I can see that you are gagging to get out there on your new bike and I can't blame you one bit! But take the time to get the bike set up for you and not the dealer's idea of what is right for you.

    Consider the following:

    # Bed the brakes in. If you don't do this your brakes will never be good until you take corrective action, which will take longer than bedding them in from the start!
    # Brake and shifter lever position (along the bar and also around the bar).
    # Brake lever reach position so that you can not only reach them with your index finger, but don't crush your first finger when braking.
    # Saddle position, not just height but fore/aft.
    # Suspension %sag (you have bought a shock pump haven't you?)
    # Rebound damping settings. Start a third away from fast and adjust from there.
    # Compression damping settings. Start half way and adjust from there.
    # Tyre pressures front and rear, they do not need to be the same. From my early experience and from observing and interacting with other riders, tyre pressure is that last big thing that riders can do to improve their ride for free, but never actually do it!

    I have been presented with a bike that was declared as ready to ride and it was a total abortion. One tyre at 43psi, the other at 17psi. Fork and shock at 20% sag apart from each other, rebound and compression damping setting so far apart, fork to shock, that I suspected sabotage! Levers hanging down almost vertically from the bar that I found them difficult to operate. I suspected that the technician who handed that bike over was not happy in his work! I was about to make a £3k buying decision, so you think he would have tried a bit harder. Maybe he was working his notice after being given the push; that would explain it. :(
  • loltorideloltoride Posts: 460
    Good Morning All just wanted to thank everyone for there advice and help, spent an hour yesterday whilst on the way home from dealers. This place is amazing I will certainly be going back there, I was riding a new bike so that not fun as was just getting a feel and yes bedded in brakes prior.
    So Far!
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,453
    Glad you enjoyed it.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
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