Before delving into the research-proper, I should like to thank Andy Rixon of www.bikepresents.com for his work in support and logistics of the exercise. Without him this valuable research would not have come to pass.
On the weekend of ninth and tenth of October, 2010, the research party proceeded to Welchland equipped with two fine examples: one cross-country variant, and a newer, ‘all-mountain’ variant. Welchland was chosen for its terrain and inhabitants, who are in their normal state closely tied to the unmentionable (they however, like their more Northern cousins, can be stoked into a fit of hunger by the mention of coal).
Assumed scenario one: the party is proceeding through countryside, when the party is forced to detour from the safe ‘fire roads’ into more hazardous terrain when headed off by at least one cluster of unmentionables.
Immediately an error on the part of the equipment choice was obvious: regardless of the physical width of the tyre, the well-appointed rider must have deployed a significantly grippy model, exhibiting large, fiercesome chunks of rubber to bite soil and felled unmentionable alike. With my very wide, but easily clogged tire, I was repeatedly hampered in my attempts to escape the simulated horde, and on several occasions forced to dismount my metal steed to safely traverse obstacles. (It is important to remember that any piece of broken skin becomes a potential infection site, and all care must be taken to avoid such follies.) An example of such terrain can be seen below, in the form of a swooping descent over stone into a banked corner.
Having identified this problem, the next was glaringly apparent: even a very fit, skilled day-to-day rider lacks the skills requisite for propelling and controlling such a vehicle. Specific training is required to allow for safe passage through the terrain: an innate ability to continuously scan the trail ahead, noting rocks of a size to be rolled over, or ridden around, and for the latter, ensuring that the pedals are at the appropriate height to avoid contact (thus slowing forward progress and possibly forcing the rider into dismount). Equally, a skilled rider who lacks fitness will be hampered and possibly consumed by the horde.
It is noted that the conveyance selected should not be used in a situation of dire need unless there are no other possible options for escape and evasion.