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 two: the party has recently finished a picnic, having cycled to the top of a sizeable hill. Having been made aware of the unmentionable Welch threat in the area, one is prepared with at the least upper-body armour and a helmet that covers the entire head. Having neatly packed away the picnic things, the party leaves the area with no residual presence. Upon stepping off for the return trip, the party is split and forced from the fire road into a descent down goat tracks and the like.
Several E&E scenarios were conducted: the first, in which a ‘red’ rated goat track was used initially to bypass the mass of the horde, then a return to fire road for the rest of the descent. Secondly, throwing caution to the winds, and descending purely by fire road, relying solely on the call of gravity for a safe return. Finally, descent by a track more resembling that of a boar, than a goat.
In the first run, the red track was found to be excessively dangerous by members of the party, with at least half being forced to dismount and pick their way down to the fire road on foot. There is also the possibility that an unmentionable may stand, stuck in the middle of the track and become an unavoidable obstacle, providing a collision that would almost certainly result in an infection. This course of escape can only be suggested in the direst of circumstances.
Predictably, the second run was the easiest: with top speeds in excess of thirty miles an hour, the horde could easily be out-run, as long as there is a large enough gap in the horde obscuring the fire road for individuals of the party to pass through.
Surprisingly, the boar track provided the best combination. Speed was maintained throughout the descent, over terrain that would be incredibly difficult for an unmentionable to pass (loose rocks would most likely tip them to the valley, and an uneven camber could see them slide).
One of the researchers can be seen demonstrating a poor last-ditch attempt when cornered by a horde. In his defence, he is well armoured to defend himself, at least physically.