Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bike Chain Link Cufflinks

I got these made as a sample, I reckon they would retail about £19, modelled on my Sachs PC91 chain of yesteryear with even the hollow pin detail. The finish is satin rhodium, silver plate wears off and will draw black splodges on a white shirt.

Taking orders for early spring, if anyone is interested let me know.

Bike Chain Link Cufflinks

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Help! I think I need another bike

I went out for a couple of hours last night on the local, now very muddy trails. Half way around my Cotic Hemlock was totally plastered in mud and must have weighed about 45lbs. Should I
a) just think about changing the tyres as this is where most of the extra weight will have attached?
b) join the singlespeed (or light hardtail) craze? or,
c) stop complaining and struggle on with the Cotic.

If (b), please provide suggestions...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

FtD + MT = FAB

After the clock change I didn't feel too bad getting up early on a Sunday morning to meet Roger and Ryan at Cannock to explore the new Monkey Trail (MT).

Uphilla has recently raved about the new MT that splits from Follow the Dog (FtD) but were weren't expecting the FtD to have changed.  But it seems that the trail fairies have been busy everywhere and reinforced the existing sections with huge boulders - kinda like the opening section of Coed y Brenin. 

After a couple of miles on FtD you slip over the busy railway line and road and find the new MT section is much steeper, nicely technical yet flowing.  Unfortunately our young warrior found this too much and once he'd lost the energy to grumble we bailed and took the sign posted short cut back to Birches Valley.

We were pleasantly surprised to find little/no water on the trail after the recent rain. I wonder how long that'll last...

The young'un got a bit more practice riding off-road and the old'uns got to blow away some cob webs.

Cannock has lifted it's game and the trails are a definite improvement providing some decent Welsh/Scottish style riding.  We're looking forward to a return visit so we can enjoy the rest of the trail fairies work :p

Posse; Farqui (5Spot), Roger (FSR), Ryan (teeny iron horse)
Weather; Overcast, slightly misty with a cool breeze
Mechanicals; None

Monday, October 11, 2010

ROMAN CHALLENGE - Hackleton, Northants

It is hard to believe that it has taken so long to get round to doing this ride, but finally this year I got sorted and put entries in for myself, Friend Chris and Dangerous.
The event is organised by Hackleton W.I. to raise funds for the Village and offers a variety of routes to suit families and fitter cyclists. This year there was a new Maximus option which took a tour of MK giving a total of 42 miles.
We had loosely agreed to do at least the 32 mile option and arrived at Hackleton Village hall just after 8am. Everyone must have had a good breakfast because we decided to go for the longest option! It was clear from the start that this is a very well organised event and we were all given detailed maps to complement the excellent way marking.
The riding is a mixture of road and bridleways, most quite easy going, but before long we did come across a ploughed field – David gave it go and did well, others walked it! The MK route was not marked out specially, but followed much of the Millennium trail around the city – most of it very green and pleasant, (and flat).
We did go a bit wrong toward the end of the MK tour, but quickly picked up the route again and headed back North. Talk of a pub stop had started, but we thankfully came upon the second W.I. refreshment stop with squash and biscuits to keep us going. Once through Salcey Forest and nearly home a quick pint was fitted in and then back to the village hall for a superb WI ploughman’s lunch!
The weather was a key factor for our experience, but I would recommend this event for a late Summer day out. Chris set us a quick pace and I guess the relatively flat landscape made this achievable – if it had been muddy the story would have been very different.

Posse: Uphilla; Chris: Dahnhilla.

Weather: Dry, Sunny at times, some wind.

Mechanicals: None.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Sleepless in the Saddle 2010

After saying "never again" in 2008 (when I was forced to walk the course), somebody revealed my work email address to a certain somebody else which led to me being asked if I'd step up and join Team Cake. I'm still having trouble coming to terms with what made me decide to do it again...

The weekend approached and once again I felt I'd not done enough training; finding the time to fit it in with everything else just seems impossible. Fortunately I went to France with a good level of fitness, and came away with an even better level thanks to the amount of riding we did and the lack of binge drinking...

I headed out on my first lap and predictably got caught up in traffic on the singletrack sections. As frustrating as it was, it was useful for getting a feel of the trail and picking the lines for the next lap. Since 2008 they managed to route the course so it incorporated much more singletrack, with only the odd open grassy section. This did mean passing opportunities weren't as numerous as in previous years but allowed for some creativity and 4X style manoeuvres.

It's difficult to remember through the haze specifics of each lap but I really found myself getting into the racing spirit, pushing myself hard on climbs to overtake riders I could see would hold me up in singletrack, even though I just wanted to slog it out (climbing has never been my strong point). The loud click of my Pro 2 freehub proved useful in announcing my speeding presence, moving riders out of the way but for the more stubborn rider, I actually didn't feel bad at all about making it clear I WAS coming past on their right/left. It's a race, after all?! We decided to do double laps during the night to allow a bigger gap between your laps, giving you opportunity to get "some" sleep, and I struggled a little with the endurance but managed to keep going and put in some respectable times, despite a toilet stop in the first and a search for the lost baton in the second. The lap following the double (my 6th) was the hardest, having managed to get some sleep I found myself wanting to stay asleep and had to really force myself to get up in the cold, damp morning conditions. The 7th came easy, though; I'm sure the knowledge of it being my last went some way in spurring me on!

I only managed to crash on my last lap, going down twice in corners where my Larsons suffered from lack of side knobbles and tiredness prevented me from correcting the slide. Thankfully, with only superficial wounds I was able to shake myself down and carry on to finish in a good time.

I'm ashamed to say I learned the benefits of lycra and feel the need for some serious gnar on a gnar DH course to offset the extreme jeyness of wearing lycra without any baggies on top.

Overall, I had a top weekend. Though it isn't my first XC race, it's the first time I've actually gotten competitive at an XC race and during one lap I caught myself thinking I wouldn't mind doing more of this... The course was excellent, the organisation and facilities were excellent and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Not the lack of sleep part but the racing part, that's a hoot. I think our 29 laps is a good achievement and everyone got on well and raced hard, thanks team (Rich, Alex, and Stu!). Thanks also to Simon for lending me his Hope light; it proved invaluable as a headlight as well as giving light generally when my bar mounted one gave out some time during my second night laps.

Mechanicals The X0 performed flawlessly and worked extremely well under load, getting me out of a few tight spots when I hadn't shifted before a climb/slow section, but I suffered skipping in the little ring at the back, thanks to not readjusting the limiter screws after changing wheels. Otherwise, the bike ran smoothly, with a couple of pressure tweaks needed here and there in tyres and suspension.


Rob Crayton's Photo 2 (possibly lap 6?)

Sunday Morning


Running Start

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mountain Bike Cufflinks

I've been asked a few times and at last I've managed to get some bike cufflinks. See PoshCuffs.

These are proper mountain bike design, find them here.

Discount is available on application to me in The Chequers, Streatley (Friday Night Club) but you might have to buy me beer first.

We have some silver ones too but they are a bit 'roadie', I'll keep a look out for more proper bike styles.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Alps - The Second Week

Given the lack of posts you probably all assumed I was only out for one week...

Not so!

On day 7 we went to Chatel to tick off a number of the black trails that run around the edge. All was going well in the morning, I cleared a northshore gap, a big rock slab drop and made it down some very steep, rooty trails with minimal dabbing.

Whilst we were sitting at the bottom (Pierre Longues lift), enjoying our 3Euro cokes, the clouds rolled in and we jumped on the lift to get onto that rickety shit old lift that takes you from the middle of the bike park to the top. Unfortantely, we were too late. As we were queuing for the aforementioned shit lift (I'm sure you know which one it is) it was struck by lighting, with the jolt arching all the way to the bottom, putting the lift out of action. In any case, the worst alpine storm I've witnessed in my 4 years of being there was underway so there was no way they'd open it up again. After huddling around the back of the control room, the storm seemed to ease and we decided to face the inevitable and walk up and out of the valley, take the fireroad down to Lindarets, the road to Montriond and then back up to Morzine. All was going well until the storm returned with renewed vigour, showering us with marble sized hailstones and striking sometimes only feet away. Walking up the ski run, both of us were convinced that at any second we'd be struck by lightening and it'd be game over.

Obviously, we survived that part but you could say the next bit was like coming out of the frying pan, straight into the fire. We road down the ski run come VTT route down to Lindarets (a big, rocky, loose fireroad like route), figuring this would be easiest given the conditions. Not quite. The sheer quantity of rainfall was wrecking havoc with the landscape and causing landslides. The torrent on one part was so strong that we couldn't walk across with our bikes without the water snatching the bikes or our legs from underneath us. Fortunately we found a route around and made it safely down to Lindarets, where we were faced with flooded roads down to Montriond.

The next day, we took a day off riding DH as all our kit was still soaked through and headed up to Nyon to do a little trail we found in 2006. Later on we headed up to the top of Super Morzine to watch the end of the Tour stage ending in Avoriaz. The procession of sponsors was a great spectacle as always but it was a shame not have seen them descending. Though credit where credit is due, I wouldn't want to ride up that road from Morzine to Avoiraz!

During week 2 we explored Super Morzine and found some incredible trails to the left of the Zores lift. In previous years we've always been busy riding off to the Swiss National, Chatel, Morgins and many other places but we found such a plethora of excellent riding in Morzine we found it difficult to justify the trip out. But on Wednesday we took the car over to Morgins to settle a score with the black graded "Freeride" trail there. Warming up on the "Blue" and "Red" graded trails, it soon became apparent that the Swiss don't get grading the same as the French. Sections of the blue were easily as hard as black trails and France, and the red had some particularly nasty steep corners which claimed a few victims that day (but where fun when you got them right).

After a spot of lunch we headed down the black trail with limited success, I crashed on a rooty shoot early on and we then lost the rest of the trail and somehow ended up back on the red. Our second and third attempts were far more successful, however and we both managed to clean the entire trail without a dab.

I managed to get the "berm jump" in Les Gets and on Friday we finished off riding the trails around the edge in Chatel. Damage from the trail had wrecked the trail in places and it was crazy to see the aftermath of the landslides and the sheer quantity of material shifted during that storm.
On Saturday we finished off the holiday by having a go on the "Fantasticable" in Chatel (that zip wire that sends you across the valley). With lift passes it was discounted to 20something euros and was totally worth it.

Parts Broken/Worn Out During the Two Weeks
-My Marzocchi 888 forks (went from getting 8" of travel to about 4" of super harsh travel which did not improve - Replacement Rockshox Boxxers were acquired).
-3 sets of brake pads - a pad spring was also randomly eaten by my brake
-2 Maxxis Supertacky Highrollers
-Bearings in my Cranks (Race Face Atlas FR)
-All the pivot bearings on my Iron Horse
-Headset on my Iron Horse
-The Meta is now creaking from the headtube area. I suspect it has a few rides left in it at best - seeing as it wont have been heat treated these frames are extremely weak.

Final Word
This year we decided to just go alone, instead of in a big group as we have done in previous years. I missed the social aspect to a certain extent but we got so much more riding done... even despite being a bit slack some mornings and not getting out until mid morning.

It also allowed us to just go off randomly - like up to the Nyon Waterfall to have some waterfall cooled beers, round to Lake Montriond for a quick walk along the most extreme path I've ever walked and then up to Avoriaz one night during a storm to get a better view.

Glad to be back now, but a lot of unpacking/bike fixing to be done!

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Alps - Day 7

Not much to report today, we spent the morning fettling bikes and then headed up Pleney again late afternoon to find some more steep bits off the side of the main drag.

With fixed bikes, we intend to head to Chatel tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Alps - Day 6

Alex had agreed earlier this week to show some local (to Cannock) whippets (on of the guys is currently doing very well in expert category) down some of the steep off piste stuff off Pleney so we met at theirs and headed up for a warm up run.

We took them down 'yeah boi' but we didn't get further than a few yards before we all piled up after Alex took a poor line round the first corner!

We spent the rest of the day exploring off the Pleney, including one run which started off with the craziest rock garden chute we've ever ridden. We think this was either 'step up' or 'step down' and it spits you out onto the road that leads from Les Gets to Morzine.

Posse: Alex (Socom), Dave (Iron Horse Sunday)
Mechanicals: Alex suffered from some brake issues.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Alps - Day 5

We had hoped to take the xc bikes out and take a trip up to the top of Nyon to ride a trail we first rode back in 2006. However, as somebody had locked their bike to Alex's xc bike, this plan was abandoned and we headed over to Les Gets for a chilled one after my crash yesterday and to give out aching bodies a breather.

We spent the morning riding the new bike park up there which features jumps and flowy, bermed trails. Alex hit a jump

I felt sick after lunch so we took the road back down to Morzine. We'll be heading over to Sherpa for the BBQ later to top off a nice chilled out day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Les Gets

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Alps - Day 4

Day 4 of our holiday saw us head over to Switzerland for a bit of action on the Swiss National course.

We headed up the Super Morzine lift and headed along the fireroad towards a rocky trail that drops you into Lindarets. On our way we spotted what I guess was a bunch of school kids heading down a trail we opted out of on Day 2 in case it got a bit wild. After a gentle start it turned into a fairly rocky trail, leaving me feeling sorry for the kids on their hire bikes with fear in their eyes.

It smoothed out however, and turned into a nice flowy trail. This smoothness was short lived when we took a wrong turn that definitely couldn't have been part of the trail; it was one of the most knarly rock gardens I'd ever ridden, with the added hazard of low lying tree branches (think neck level). I felt sure I'd end up on the floor in some painfully horrific crash,but it was too late, I was committed. I made it to the bottom with only a little dab after a blow from a branch.

We made it down to Lindarets without further incident and headed up to the top of Avoriaz. From here, we found and awesome flowy (but rutted) trail I railed all the way to the bottom of the Mossettes lift. After taking this lift up to the top, we were greater by chilling winds and clouds meaning visibility was low.

Standing at the top of the Swiss National, we couldn't even see the first corner, only 50 yards away:

Undeterred, we set off with the cloud soon clearing.
The Swiss National throws you in at the deep end with steep switchbacks with certain death if you manage to go over the top - thank goodness there is catch netting!

It maintains its steepness all the way to the bottom, with a point, shoot and hope rock garden, some big jumps that egg you on into trouble and heavily breaking bump infested berms to keep you on your toes. We headed up the other side to hit a track called. 'shorty' (due to its length) which started out smooth, fast and flowy, but soon turned to a mess of breaking bumps.

From here we headed back up the mossettes lift and down towards 'rutsville'. On our way, we stumbled across a large unmelted glacia. We figured it'd be fun to attempt to ride across it but promptly failed. I don't think I've had wheel spin at such a low speed; if my back wheel wasn't spinning uselessly in soft ice, the front wheel washed out in the same, soft ice. Still, it was laugh.

After a short lunch stop, we headed down rutsville, back up to Avoriaz and down the road towards Morzine. On the way we headed down 'Run of The Mill', a track our host at Rider's Retreat in 2008 had a hand in building and kindly showed us. A steep track running down the side of a shear drop.

After making it to the bottom, we headed back to the Rider's Retreat for a quick breather and I headed back up alone for a few runs of Pleney, hoping to catch the other lodgers, but after 30 mins of sunbathing at the bottom, I headed up and set off. I quickly caught up with some riders that wouldn't pull over so I tool one of the sneaky offshoots to overtake them and headed up to the old rooty section of pleney (it was the line in 2006 but the high berms were added in 2007). Another steep section, with a series of root drops a couple of feet deep. I got a bit excited through here and let go of the brakes, feeling totally on it. My bravery was soon rewarded by being bucked off the bike and onto my back facing down my trail. Fortunately, no bones broken, and no skin broken, I only suffered from bashed knees which are already seizing up! A fun run and a good reminder I am only mortal!

Posse: Alex (Socom), Dave (Iron Horse Sunday)
Mechanicals: none - some rattles from the previous day cured by fettling last night and Alex spent a bit of time fettling his forks. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Monday, July 05, 2010

The Alps - Day 3

After a good ride yesterday on the 'little bikes', we headed up Pleney on the 'big bikes'.

Given the changes we've seen year to year, we figured we'd take it easy first run down as it's been 2 years since we last rode here. I soon found myself forgetting this idea and just letting go of the brakes.

Last time I was out here, I was on my C'dale Judge, and despite it being typically well made Cannodale a utilising a great suspension system, I could never get on with it. It just felt too big, cumbersome and didn't fit me at all. This time however, I'm out with my new Iron Horse Sunday and I couldn't love it more. Whereas before I was lagging behind Alex I found myself pulling ahead and going faster and faster.

My bubble burst a bit when Alex lead us down some off piste trail off Le Pleney aptly named 'up your arse'. Mainly because this is where your back tyre ends up! I had a complete crisis of confidence down here, and after a few falls/fails, I struggled to get back on in the steep conditions and came back to the chalet to collect my thoughts.

After some lunch and cup of tea, one of the other guys in the chalet came out with us and we did another run of le pleney to sort our heads out and head down crepery, a steep trail down a gully with plenty of roots, rocks and tight turns to keep you amused! Next we headed up and road another off piste trail, named 'yeah boy!' after I discovered that the cause of the creaking was a result of the bolts having fallen out of my direct mount stem!!! After tightening the remaining bolts we headed off down yeah boy, which features tr steepest chute I've ever ridden. I managed to clean it this time, increasing my success to fail ratio and made it most of the way down without any dabs. We somehow missed the turn for the second section and instead rejoined crepery, after which our new riding companion left to check on his girlfriend who'd stacked it earlier.

Feeling confident again, we decided to have another bash at up your arse. We made it most of the way down, only crashing twice each, making it to the bottom without serious injury.

Another ace day with the added bonus of if being dry.

Posse: Alex (Intense Socom), David (Iron Horse Sunday) and joined later by Matt (Lapierre DH 920).
Mechanicals: Alex started the day without much of a front brake and found loose pinch bolts on his shimano cranks. I found a missing and a loose bolt on my direct mount stem (the stem bolts directly to the top crown on my triple clamp forks), leaving them held on by the stem top cap and a prayer!

Plans for this evening are to eat a good steak and chill in the hot tub.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Alps Day 2

Having heard the Mountain Style event was on in Chatel today, we pulled the xc bikes out and headed on over.

Sitting on the lift I suddenly felt a bit exposed without a full face helmet, full body armour and a downhill bike. I thought to myself "what am I doing? This is France! I need my big bike!". From the top of Super Morzine we headed down a rocky trail down into Les Lindarets, and I soon stopped worrying about the lack of protection and just got on with riding and loved it. The tracks were a lot rougher, but nothing my fettled Marzocchi 55s couldn't handle and the Meta simply felt awesome. Eventually we made it over to the Mountain Style event were the competitors were still practicing. I don have any photos on the phone as I didn't want to risk breaking it but suffice to say they were going big. We watched by the the top were there was an insane 2 tier wooden drop. Only a few riders took this line and boy did they go big. The riders kept the crowds entertained with tricks, including backflips and 360s off drops.

The clouds rolled in and we jumped on the lift out if chatel before the lift closed. We headed down a new track from the top and found ourself deep in steep, breaking bump infested berms all the way down. Down here I forgot about the 100mm travel (which I later found was mostly locked out) and played catch up with some downhillers. We arrived at the bottom to find the lift up to Avoriaz closed because of the storm, so we had no other option but to head through the crazy goat village of Lindarets and down the road into Montriond, past the lake and overtaking several cars in the process!

Overall it was an awesome day. Some awesome trails, some awesome freeriding from the pros and it was great to be out on the xc bikes. No heavy bikes to lift on and off lifts and total freedom of being able to pedal instead of pushing or blowing out of your arse trying to pedal a dh bike.

No mechanicals and only 1 crash when Alex took a dh bike only line.

Day 1: awesome, time for a beer I think.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Alps - Day 1

Day 1

After leaving 3 hours later than planned, we eventually reached the QE II bridge at 6pm and powered or way onto Dover 10 minutes later. Panic set in as we hit more traffic on the M20, but using the influence of the BMW, we arrived with just minutes to spare.

Over the most expensive breaded chicken and chips, we poured over a map, deciding our toll free route, with the aim of saving money. Sometime after 10pm (uk time), the Norfolkline ferry docked and we were off, driving on the wrong side of the road and going round roundabouts the wrong way.

20 minutes later, I realised we were heading up the A16 instead of down the A25. I quickly found an alternative "shortcut" which worked, but also revealed the crashy ride of Alex's BMW 3 series coupe... Leaving us begging for more motorway. Some time and guesswork owing to a poor map later, we found ourselves on the right road! One thing I will say about the signs in Belgium is that they are shit. Appear 50yards before you whizzed past it cursing and uttering profanities...

After a short stop, we set off again at 2:30 refreshed and ready to face the road ahead. We peeled off the toll road after Nancy and took N roads from there onwards. The first stretch was a completely straight road, providing Alex with plenty of opportunity to exercise his right foot, overtaking everything in the way. The road took us through some lovely little picturesque old French villages, and then spat us into a rival to the best driving road...

Some switchbacks, a Maccy D's and some more vague navigation from the crap later, we arrived in Morzine at 4:40. We were greeted with thunderstorms and feared a repeat of 2007 when it rained the whole two weeks but our host assured us it would pass. An epic journey with some epic roads. It was a fun trip but a bit of a mission without being to swap divers.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Thursday, June 03, 2010

MALVERN HILLS - another sneaky day off:)

Living in Northamptonshire it is always a joy to find somewhere decent to ride off road that is not a major trek. We have Woburn, Cannock and the Chilterns, but it was not until recently I had thought about the Malvern Hills.
Once again it was Singletrack Forum that provided the route - a kind local posted a tracklog file. After our day off to ride the new Cannock loop some weeks ago we had been pondering another break from routine. It was not until the last minute that we opted for Malvern and despite a late start we were parked and ready to roll by the middle of the day.
The Malvern Hills are just south of Worcester and are a high, thin ridge standing in what is otherwise a flat landscape. Our start point was Great Malvern and one the attractions of this area is that you are never far from a pub or Café :-) The area is riddled with paths and bridleways and even on this weekday there were plenty of people out walking.
Initially my GPS let us down and "dangerous" was very patient while I tried to find the initial upwards climb - in the end I gave up and turned to the map for guidance. It was not too long before we were enjoying the first of many stunning views before heading off down some very sweet natural singletrack. Navigation was tricky at times, particularly with such a narrow area and so many choices, but I think we stuck fairly close to the downloaded route. Conditions were very dry and hot, so the surface was lose in places. Some of the climbs were severe and the odd bit of walking was needed.
Despite the temptation we had resisted stopping to refuel until Wynds Point - where there is a choice of pub or café. It is possible to pick up the return route here, but we carried on exploring South along Millennium Hill. The character changed at the Southern extreme with more woodland and the first 'wetness' we had found - there was also a stunning pool in the hillside used by locals for swimming. Must admit I thought we had done the route the wrong way round at this stage because the return leg was a very steep slog on foot that would have been 'fun' the other way round - but when I checked later we were on track.
Our legs were getting quite tired by now, so it was a relief to see that much of the return leg appeared to be at a lower level - this included a brilliant switchback descent where I found the use of rear brake was needed.
With the end not far away the GPS pointed us to a narrow hillside climb, the temptation was to give this a miss as the map showed an easy bridleway route back to the car park. We foolishly went for the climb and soon regretted the choice as it became a steep 'mountain goat' switchback track then an even narrower adverse camber singletrack climb where I decided to examine the hillside undergrowth more closely :-( . Needless to say it was great to get back to the car and reflect on what had been an epic ride on some fabulous trails. Certainly need to go back and explore some more...
As a last minute decision my choice of bike was the Duster - it was the best choice for the climbs without doubt, but worked well overall with no loss of comfort.
Posse: Uphilla: Charge Duster ti. Daahnhilla: Solid hardtail
Mechanicals: None (Well DD found a lose cassette at the end of the day)
Weather: Hot and Sunny

Monday, May 31, 2010

Brechfa - Gorlech - Dragons Breath

As sw.Wales is such a long way from home I decided that I'd make the effort, get my sorry butt outta bed bright and early on our last day at Nonni Barn, hit the Brechfa's red graded Gorlech trail and be back before breaky.  A great plan being back by 9.30am would mean getting up at 5am - gulp.  Ah well never mind, off to sleep I dropped.

Tick, tock, 5.15am and I'm wide awake - WTH!  I lay there and pondered a while before slipping from under the cover and to peep outside, the weather looked favourable so I figured WTH and saddled up.

The drive over the moor was a mix of clear skies and low sun into really thick "dragons breath" that made spotting the sheep and ponies tricky.  Popping out the top it was reminiscent of The Smoky Mountains, awesome.  20 minutes in the V-dub had me at the Abergorlech trail head with a couple of sleeping MTB campers for company.

The initial fireroad crank soon turns to a lovely steady singletrack rise that creeped up through the mist into the cool morning sunlight.  A warm up has NEVER been soooo INSPIRING.  It's not long before the climb ducks into the woodland and eventually you find the swoopy trail edging you into a middle ring crank, that's still climbing (just).  Oh my, now I'm smokin' and pop into a fab section of swoopiness that definitely make the climbing worth the effort.

Towards the end the red grading starts to glow purple as a trail steepens and switches back down the hillside.  There are a few techy bits to keep you on your toes and some of the descents egg you on into some serious speed.  Interestingly I found that the more speed you carry (if you dare) then the more sense the curves and "yumps" make.  They flooooooow brilliantly - well done to the trail pixies.

The views up top are far reaching and with the lifting mist I had to stop several times to gawp.  A couple of hours of fun later and I'm rolling past the still closed tent and start packing up.  A quick drive back over the moor to find that I'm back at base camp, a quick shower and I still have 10 minutes before another slap up breaky from Rosemary / Jim - you're the best.

Yeah the ride has a fair amount of fireroad climbs (most do) but some of the sweetest buff singletrack that you'll find upon this isle.  Sure Brechfa's trails are long way west but they're well worth the effort, I lurve it.

Alas no pic's, the camera got left back at the Magic Kingdom.

Posse: Farqui (5Spot) aka "Billy No Mates" that get up quite that early
Mechanicals: none
Weather: cool, clear and sunny
Injuries: none (note to self: must try harder)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brechfa - Derwen - rash

Last Sunday I showed Roger and his lad (noobie alert, aged 11) around Brechfa's gentle green/blue graded route, the Derwen.  After a hearty Nonni Barn breakfast we drove over the moor and took in some breath taking views before plunging into the valley and to the busy trail head.  While the gals ambled off for a gentle woodland walk our small posse cranked up the fireroad and Ryan soon began to wonder if all this effort would be worth it - after all, his guides had already been labelled "bike freaks" - charming little chap ;)

Eventually the trail swings into the woods with some more gentle climbing that cleverly undulates and doesn't feel as bad as a continually upward fireroad stomp.  The tracks are wide and well scrubbed in with loose slate at the edges, so our little charmer was eased in gently soon started to smile.  Kids are such fast learners and without any fuss we soon completed the short green loop.

Taking a breather at the green/blue intersection the noobie was keen to push on with the slightly harder blue rather than head back on the easy green - what a trooper.  Unfortunately the blue winds it's way upwards on a steeper gradient than the little chap could handle but he did a sterling job, digging in and winching his way upwards wherever he could.

At the top some well deserved snacks were gulped down and the energy lift soon had our legs cranking into the woods for some big time downhill action.  The gradient was again a little steeper and more challenging but it didn't phase our v-braked buddy and even the switchbacks didn't slow him down too much.

Riding from the front I didn't get an opportunity to directly see his progress but I figured that he wasn't too far back so seemed to be doing well.  His pah meanwhile kept an eye on the youngerster who only needed a gentle reminder now and again.

The final few sections are a swoop fest of corner after corner and 'yump' after 'yump' - brilliant they are and we were soon back at the trailhead to meet the rest of our adventurers.  We then hit the new Drop Off cafe bus (operators formerly ran Afan's excellent Drop Off cafe) and I can see why the trail head was so busy.  Their munchies and coffee are as good as ever :)

Food is a great motivator and before packing up the bikes we decided to pop back up the fireroad and re-ride the very last section again.  With pah up front our lickle 'borrower' didn't need any encouragement to dart off downhill while I kept a close watch behind.  I don't thnk it'll be long before this little chap is going to be giving us 'old timers' a run for their money 'cos he's non too shoddy behind the bars.  Ripping between the trees (aka Star Wars 'speeders') it didn't take long before we rolled past the bus roof top and into the last few turns.

Then someone hit the slow-mo we turned into the last few gentle switchbacks our noobie opted to shoulder a tree on the exit which sloooowly lofted him off his rig and into a superman dive down the trail.  At one point I was sure he'd beat dad to the fnish but alas gravity was stronger - the gravel bit into his left side and to top it off the bike landed on top of him!  Ouch.  Now pinned to the ground he needed assistance to unravel limbs from bike and considering how painful gravel rash can be he did well to stop yellin' as soon as he did.  With no serious injuries he was soon showing off his busted knee.  Oh and Ryan, next time you decide to drop-it can you pick a spot out of sight of your mum!

Well done Ryan, you're now officially one of the 'bike freaks', complete with scars :p

Appologies for no pic's, I forgot my camera.

Posse: Roger (Spesh FSR), Ryan (24" wheeled iron horse), Farqui (5Spot)
Mechanicals: None
Weather: sunny with a light cool breeze
Injuries: Ryan shoulder a tree - ouch, gravel rash - double ouch

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ride Sierra Nevada - Spain


I’m sure that most of you will remember last year's circular email proposing a trip to Spain for MTB and sun! Well, eventually I managed to gather a total of 3 riders (Chas Willy & me) and here is the full report following a long weekend's riding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – Andalucía

Following lots of Internet searching, blog browsing and personal recommendations I decided to organise a guided 4 day long weekend of riding with from May 13th – 17th. Flights to Spain incl. bike carriage were organized independently and ridesierranevada provided onward transport to location, accommodation, breakfast & lunch supplies, and guided routes to suit the groups needs….total price per person incl was around £420.00. is run by Shaun Allen and Csilla. It’s a family run business located in Monachil which a small town located at around 2500 feet in the Sierra Nevada range. Shaun and Csilla run the business together on a daily basis and they provide a very personable and extremely friendly service. Their approach is very relaxed and helped to set the tone for a great holiday. Running a MTB guiding service in a fantastic mountain location is very much part of their life style choice and it was always very refreshing to finish a days ride at the local bar, sharing a beer and tapas and unwinding in the afternoon sun.

For the three of us it was our first time MTBing in Spain and between us we had little idea of what to expect. Our riding was split over 4 days with the routes determined by Shaun and targeted to give us a broad range of obstacles and challenges.

It was a very early start to travel day with the flight to Malaga with easyJet leaving at 6am - bikes had been packed late the night before so sleep was in short supply. Shaun met us at the airport on arrival and after a stop for coffee on the way up (that was to become a common theme for Shaun) we were up in Monachil by just after lunch. The bags were dropped off at our comfortable accommodation (we had a pool!!) and went up to the village to get our bearings. About 15mins later, we were in the bar for the first of a number of rounds of beer and tapas - another common theme of the trip. Although slightly squiffy, we managed to put the bikes together later in the afternoon with no (significant) parts left over which was comforting.

Day 1. Initial uplift was provided by Shaun. This enabled us to ascend around 1000 ft without peddling. Thereafter we were entirely reliant on our own steam and as expected we had to use pedal power to accent a further 1000ft. It’s all good quality fire road and within an hour we were ready to discover what was on offer in the downhill stakes…..

It’s at this point we discovered the true meaning of natural MTB single track…..frankly it was a shock for all of us. The shear variety and variation within each descent was mind boggling especially for MTBers used to groomed UK red routes. We were constantly faced with obstacles, line/approach choices, gradient variations, changing subsoil…… much to take in. As a result we found our riding technique severely challenged. Some sections we coped with well, others we struggled on, some to be honest were beyond our capability. It became very evident that natural trails constantly change in severity and nature of technical challenge. The first half day incorporated rocks, tree lined single track, very steep rocky switchbacks, short sections of rock/bolder gardens, loose stone single track and so on…all of us fell at least twice in the morning and we were slightly concerned that Shaun said this was probably one of the easier descents...

Following lunch (Shaun’s hand made gourmet quality sandwich) we faced a shorter but tougher climb to the next ridge line. However, we were rewarded with a flowing trail centre style descent through wooded forest back to Monachil. We all enjoyed this section immensely. It was fast, fun and a good confidence boost for the rides to come. Needless to say, we ended the ride in the bar...

Day 2. Unfortunately Rob awoke on day 2 with ‘Deli belly’ and had to miss the ride…… Willy and Chas set out with Matti (a German trainee guide) direct from Monachil for a ride around and then actually in, Grenada. This was a totally different day which started on lower single track through the woods which was less rocky that the day before but just as steep in places. A quick skirt around the outer edge of Grenada and then away from the city up a steep and techy climb which had us all walking for some of the time. We reached a plateau and then down some very steep rocky switchback sections to a roughly flat (well up and down) section around the edge of a hill which opened up to views of Grenada and the Alambra Palace. We actually went through the palace itself and ended going down narrow stepped alleys from the palace to the new part of the city below. This was really fun and gave us a feel for "urban" riding though without all the reminded me of the "Italian Job" and the Minis with us popping out onto roads with curious glances from pedestrians and drivers alike.

At the bottom (yes, after another bar stop) we were picked up by Csilla and driven back to Monachil where Rob had staged a bit of a recovery which enabled us to go to the "Socialist Hunters Bar" (still not sure whether they hunted socialists though) for more beer and Tapas.

Day 3. Chas decided to take a well earned rest, Paul (officially a ‘mountain goat’) as usual was fit a rearing to go. I’d recovered enough to hold my breakfast down but was feeling a little sorry for myself! To add another dynamic, Shaun decided to combined us with another group of lads (7 in total) who had traveled from the midlands. A fine bunch of guys, blessed with a good sense of humor and a broad range of riding skills. Once again we were provided with uplift and initially rode great single track with lots of small rocks and boulders to provide a challenge. After working our way into the valley and across a river, we proceeded to climb for around 1 hour on double track and then push a final ascent on tough single track to an impressive summit with fantastic views. I must point out that ‘mountain goat Paul’ nearly rode to the top of the single track and Shaun powered up…RESPECT!

The descent from the top was simply fantastic. As usual combining a multitude of technical challenges some of which were exhilarating, others beyond my capability. However, almost without exception we all loved the ride. There really is something special about descending from the top of a 5000 feet summit! By now the weather had improved so it was back to our place for a swim and a few beers before going to the other group's place for dinner prepared by a local paraglider!

Day 4. The final day. By consensus we chose an easier ride in terms of tech down hill. Uplift to a higher altitude, lots of climbing but for the first half of the day the decents were on high level double track, dusty, loose, but generally straightforward. The upside was plenty of time to enjoy the stunning views for the last time! The afternoon provided a few more challenges. More dry riverbeds (by now my nemesis!), some rocky sections and drop offs (which I was now riding with so much more confidence) and finally the sweet single track descent back to the village that we had all enjoyed so much on the first day. Great way to finish!!


Chas, rob (R2) and Paul (Willy) + guest appearances from the Midlands crew:
Midge, Gareth (Taf), Martin, Chris, Gav, Al , James

Rigs: R2 & Chas Canyon XC, Willy – Cotic Hemlock (just right for the terrain!)

Mechanicals: Surprisingly few! R2 x2 pinch flats & displaced Oro lever piston after fall (fixed). Willy got chainsuck in the first 50m on the first day.

Injuries: Lots of loose stone bruises to shins, bramble scratches to shins for all. R2 removed skin from forearm after repeated tumbles in dry river bed!! Willey, bruised hand after fall.

Falls: Too numerous to mention but Rob's fall over handle bars into a Rosemary bush on day three and Chas's low speed Les style "lie down" into a grassy dell on day 2 were memorable.

Midlands crew: Al face planting a large rock on day 1 resulting in serious bruising and 3 stitches to face!, Midge missing a narrow bridge at speed on day 4, falling 4 metres with bike. Amazingly, just minor scratches!!

Memorable events: R2 eating river bed dust after numerous falls (I’m going back to crack it!). Willy breezing up all climbs and riding extremely well through varying terrain and tech challenges (envy!). Chas, making it through after some tough climbs and scary downhill moments.
Shaun…..making it all look Sooooo easy on a hardtail!!!!

Weather: Day 1, snow in the air at 4000 feet. Day 2 – 4 fabulous sunshine and blue skies

Final Comment:

Highly recommend Shaun, Csilla and
Fitness and good basic tech skills will ensure maximum enjoyment and safety
Your riding WILL improve
You WON’T forget the experience!

Thanks to Rob for setting it all up!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How appropriate...

What a crackin' card - brilliant

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cannock- The Monkey Trail

Indulgent, I know, but Dangerous and I decided to have a sneaky weekday trip to sample the recently opened extension to 'Follow the Dog' at Cannock.
Rain had just set in as we loaded up, but we thought this might not be such a bad thing with the surface at Cannock. However, by the time we reached Birches Valley all was dry.
Interesting to see how popular this site is on a weekday, there were plenty of other riders about.
Along with building the new section, Chase Trails has also tweaked the 'Follow the Dog', so even this felt unfamiliar in places. A new steep switchback section takes you down to the railway/road crossing to 'Monkey' - we watched others carefully picking their way down and I must admit being 'challenged' by a stepped hairpin!
Across the road is like another world, quite different in character and with hints of Welsh and Scottish trail centres. A steep switchback climb gets your legs warmed up - we would have cleared this had it not been for a lack of grip and resulting wheel spin. The new trails are brilliant and very much 'Red' graded. Fast, twisty singletrack with the odd rocky surprise thrown in. Lots of potential for being airborne if you are feeling brave! It just got better and better. One section has some optional 'Black' rock gardens - David cleared these - I stayed on the red. Climbs are not too taxing and at the highest point there was a viewpoint and picnic spot for a welcome rest.
The 'new' section is fast swoopy with lots of 'berms' - brilliant!
Back across the road a familiar long 'fire road' climb joins the old trail and leads past the Marquis Drive centre. The original fast downhill trail is closed and after another road crossing you join a new final section which maintains the new standard - fast and testing singletrack, the end of one section is a sheer drop of at least 2', a very nasty surprise for me. Then you are into a fast 'jumpy' section with some very big 'table tops' and 'doubles' - all can be rolled.
A definite thumbs up. Sadly I really felt 'off form' for much of the ride - It is quite a while since I rode the 5-Spot and for some reason I did not feel at all right on it. It felt big after the Duster and the lose surface meant quite a few 'moments' with the front wheel drifting off line :-( I really want to go back and try it all again with the hardtail - interested to know whether it will work better or if it was just a 'Bad day at the office'.
As we sat enjoying a post ride coffee at the Birches Valley Cage we spotted a Porsche Cayman pull in the car park with a bike rack on the back - now we have seen it all!
Posse: Dahnhilla; Commencal. Uphilla: Turner
Weather: Very cool, but dry.
Mechanicals: None

Thursday, May 06, 2010

NANT YR ARIAN - May 2nd 2010

Last year Chas and I visited Nant Yr Arian for the first time. We rode the Summit trail which is a very enjoyable Red graded trail but completed the ride quite quickly and were left feeling that it was somehow too short. Nant Yr Arian is located in mid Wales around an hours drive from Aberystwyth on the coast. It is a very rural and quirt part of Wales and last years family holiday was such a success that we decided to repeat the holiday on the same weekend this year.

This time around we resolved to ride the longest route on offer, the Syfydrin Trail. Its Black graded, 35Km long with over 3000ft accent and encompassed the Summit trail that we rode last year. The trail route map contained the following description:

"We almost don’t want to tell you about Syfydrin because it’s the wild, desolate, lonely beauty of the far loops of this route that create its magic. A unique mix of technical singletrack and ethereal emptiness, this genuine mountain route is one to savour, but certainly not one to underestimate."

I'd say that the above description could not be more accurate. The ride starts from the car park and the initial trail sections are classic trail centre single track..tristy berms and switchbacks...I really great start to the ride. However, its not long before the trail breaks off and using some short road sections quickly develops into remote double track. At first its uphill, then as it plateaued we were subjected to very wet (knee deep puddles!....all I could think of was my bottom bracket and suspension sealed bearings being washed out!) . Finally, it descends. It remains double track but the decent in places is rocky and moderately severe. It's certainly the most technical challenging section of the route and I found it enjoyable but a handful in places. As a result about 50 yards from the bottom I found myself travelling too fast, taking the wrong line and on wet slippery rock drop offs.....WIPEOUT. I'm now the proud owner of a very big black and purple bruised arse!! A bit shacken up...I resolved to ride on in hope that the pain would subside.

Not long after this section the ride began a gradual but long accent across wild open countryside and on route back to the shelter of woodland and the Summit trail. This isolated section of the ride was fantastic. I real feeling of wilderness and towards the top of the climb fantastic views of the sea and Welsh coastline (I wasn't expecting that!). On a wet and windy day, I can imagine that this section of the ride would be quite gruelling. Fortunately, just like last year...we had great weather!

Once back in the forest we picked up the Summit trail and set about making the most of the single track sections. However, the best of these (towards the end of the ride) are interrupted by a climb referred to as 'the log burner'. It's around 3 miles continuous uphill and I was very pleased when it was finally over and I could enjoy the last two single track woodland sections back to the car park.

Great ride. I will ride again and would recommend.

To add to the feeling of wilderness....we arrived at Nant Yr Arian on a Bank Holiday Sunday. We rode a great trail and for 3 1/2 hours only saw 5 other riders!!

Trail: Syfydrin - Nant Yr Arian

Riders: Chas, R2

Rigs: 2x canyon's

Mechanicals: none

Incidents: R2 Wipeout....ouch

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicksands XC

Although Chicksands is not that far from home I had never visited. It is known for its jump areas, 4X tracks and various other ways of doing serious damage to yourself :-)
A trip to Bedford left me with some time to kill and a look at the map found a bridelway route down to the woods, fairly easy going, but on a bright spring day it was good to be rolling on dry trails.
The Chicksands website says that the XC trail is in a poor state, but actually it was not that bad compared with the churned up bridleways we often ride.
Red and yellow arrows painted on trees guide you round and in such a compact area it is easy to find a few variations. Although surrounding countryside is flat, the terrain here has some steep, if short, climbs - in fact when I came to the first 'up' I thought the arrows must be pointing me the wrong way! This was my first proper 'off-road' outing on the Duster and the phrase 'climbs like a goat' came to mind - I would not previously have though I could clear such slopes on a bike.
Not worth a long journey, but well worth a visit if you are in the area. Also fun to try the 4X track and other stuff if you are feeling brave. There is a charge of £5, this is supposed to apply in the week now too.
Posse: Uphilla. - Charge Duster
Weather: Bright and sunny
Mechanicals: None

Monday, April 19, 2010

HONC - 100KM 11th April 2010

Hell Of The North Cotswolds 100km

It's been over a week now but I reckon a ride of this magnitute deserves a blog. 

I completed a 50 mile charity ride last year with relative ease, and during a discussion about the various endurance events throughout the year, I foolishly questioned how hard can it be? It's only another 12 miles?

How it is is something I found out, the hard and painful way, as the day crept  up on me before I had chance to get fit...  

The route starts of in Winchcombe, were a school playing field became a giant carpark and the scene of the mass start. A complete contrast to XC races I've taken part in before, everyone patiently filed out onto the road. I guess with another 50 or 100 km ahead, nobody's is in any hurry... The 'ride on the left' rule kinda went out the window, though. 

The route takes you through picturesc villages down country lanes, rutted bridleways and rocky tracks. I'd describe the route as 'relentless'. The combination of hard climbs and rutted off road sections sapped the life out of you and at 60km, I began to feel faint and completely bottomed out. 

From then on in, I was running on empty, carrying on through sheer stubbornness and the stuffing of lucozade gels down my throat.

The final climb took you up an open, grassy hill which was just the final straw - especially when it promised a downhill only to climb again! 

The weather was perfect and conditions were mostly dry with only the odd puddle. The bike performed well, but further fettling of the rebas as they lacked sensitivity to anything less than a large rut or boulder. 

Respect should also be given to Alex, who completed the ride with me, but on a singlespeed!!!

It was a great day and I'm proud to be able to say I've done it but, I won't be attempting it again without any significant volume of training. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dangerous Dave Returns!

Since the crash that killed the Gemini frame, I’ve suffered from a severe lack of confidence in anything that involves getting my wheels off the ground. Sure I’ll pop a little hop or jump over a root or log jump on an XC loop but as soon as the full face goes on, my entire mindset changes and I spend my entire time thinking “what if?” even before hitting things I’ve mastered previously.

A lot of this was down to me and my Judge being utterly incompatible, no matter how hard I tried it just felt wrong… however, I now have a new DH frame (blog to follow in due course when it’s finished!) which has put the fun back into riding and in addition increased my confidence…

To help with this I’ve been paying some visits to Chicksands on a Sunday morning with some mates. This Sunday was my second visit so far, and I am happy to report that the Dangerous Dave of old is resurfacing! Racing down the dual I found myself enjoying the air time and pushing harder and harder to clear jumps or go higher rather than shying away and s****ing myself. There’s still a good way to go and I hope I can get there before I head out to France this year but I’m starting to remember I can jump and drop off things without concussing myself and as a result I’m starting to enjoy riding again rather than kicking myself for being such a wus!
This Sunday I was also lucky enough to get a good shot of me “styling” it up over one of the jumps on the dual!

Conditions were good with some slush on parts from the recent rain fall but overall, both the dual and 4x track were running nice and fast.

It’s also been the first time I’ve ridden the Meta since the last time it came out on a Knobblies ride, it had been decommissioned to bring the Chameleon back from retirement for Afan. Eagle eyed viewers will note the absence of the Pikes; those that were with me at Afan will remember me spending the entire time cursing them and on returning home I looked into converting them to coil and getting the PUSH rebound damper fitted. Given the cost involved and that the coil kit is incompatible with the UTURN Air chassis, I binned this idea, deciding not to polish a turd and plumped for some Marz 55 customised with RC3 and air cartridges. I must say it was a good decision, although the weight is up the performance gains are massive and that big 35mm stanchion chassis makes light work of badly landed jumps and rock sections.

Precious Metal - Duster Ti

It has been a while since I indulged my addiction to bike building, but when I spotted a Charge Duster Ti frame on Singletrack Classifieds some weeks back it all kicked off again!
The long cold winter had made me think about rationalising my choice of bikes. The 5-Spot is now refined to the point I am completely happy with it for the rougher stuff. The other bike that I use most is the S-Works hardtail, but with only 80mm of travel I had been thinking of a longer travel hardtail. The Duster is about the same weight as the S-Works, but a more comfortable ride in theory.
Although I did carry over some bits from other bikes, the classifieds provided some quality bits to add to match my 'niche' frame - you will notice a red theme, (not sure what came over me here). Brakes are Avid Elixir, shifters SRAM X-9 with matching front mech and X-0 rear. Cranks came from On-One sale -FSA MegaExo Carbon 170mm. I did a deal with a guy on Ebay for the Fox F100RL forks. Wheels are Bontranger Rhythm tubeless ready off a Trek - came new with tyres, but I have added a pair of Racing Ralphs.

The 'build' did stretch out over more weeks than I had hoped and provided one or two challenges - the biggest puzzle was that the rear mech mounting fouled the chain as the hanger is quite thin and I ended up making a washer to solve this conflict.
Last Friday it all came together and I was able to get out for the first ride. The geometry and set-up is very different to the S-Works, which is now really set up as a road bike, so it felt like much harder work in places. I think the 2.25 tyres may be a bit OTT, but do offer a good ride. Trying a Fizik Gobi saddle again and this feel good, but realised that the seatpost is slipping down, which partially explained why it felt like hard work at times.
Sunday saw a longer ride with some nice off road sections - pleased to say that it felt very comfy and agile, so feel I am getting used to it. I had tried and given up on SRAM shifters before, but this time I am completely sold they work perfectly and I love the space-saver mounts on the Avids. Some will remember that i had 170mm cranks once before, (without knowing it), hopefully I wont regret this choice...certainly smaller tyres might just make it all a bit easier on the legs.
It will be sad to see the Specialized hardtail go, it has been with me a long time now and has covered more miles than any other bike, but hopefully the Duster will serve just as well and be a bit more versatile.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Harelstone Firs - Spring is here!!

If you live in Northamptonshire and enjoy Mountain Biking it is going to hard to find anything exciting locally. Harlestone Firs is one of the only places where you can find anything vaguely like singletrack. It has been used for off-road riding for years - though you have to share it with dog walkers, horse riders and (illegal) dirt-bikes.
Dahnhilla has been suggesting we have a look at his local patch again as some new bits of singletrack have appeared - mysterious trail fairies inhabit these woods ;-)
It was great to be out on the 5-Spot again, the sun was shining and the trails were relatively dry. We enjoyed some tight and twisty sections through the trees that reminded me a bit of Cannock and then cranked along some wide paths until my local guide dived off into the trees again.
Quite a compact area, but worth a couple of circuits and some exploring - if you look at the map you will see that a longer ride could be made up from bridleways that lead away from the woods. For those that way inclined there are some jumps amongst the trees too. Watch out for the ants in the summer !
Thanks Dahnhilla, a great kick start to 2010 trail riding and now I am keen to get some more miles in before long.
Posse: dahnhilla; SC Chameleon; uphilla: Turner
Weather: Clear and Sunny, but cold
Mechanicals: None.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


It's been a wet, cold and snowy winter in the Chilterns and for the first year in many, by mid December I'd lost the will to continually churn mud on my local trails! When it did final freeze and firm up, it was quickly followed by snow and ice. As a result, I abandoned the trail and headed for the shed! Here is the result

Project 1) Wifees Bike: I wanted her frame for 'project 3' and as a consequence had to find a low cost frame or leave my wife without a bike....I chose the first option.. I took a flyer on a 'BeOne' frame from CRC for £95.00. It's Aluminium, very light weight, surprisingly well finished for the money and most importantly, she thinks it looks good! I've had a little ride and although its too small for me, it rides really well.

Project 2) Cotic Soul: Umm..I've been wittering on about getting one of these for ages. In the end I had to wait for Cotic's first delivery of 2010 frames and I was lucky enough to get the last orange frame before they sold out. The rest of the parts are reasonably high spec and have been assembled over the last year from a variety of places incl, ebay and repaired/upgraded parts.
Guess I will have to report back on how it rides. Watch this space.....

Project 3) Retro: I resurrected my original 1998 Specialized Rockhopper and even managed to find the original steel fork. I decided to build a 'cross bike', something to handle gravel tracks and country roads. I need to get some miles in while I wait for Spring!! Oh, I hope I don't get excommunicated from the blog for posting a bike with road tyres fitted! It does look 'kind of cool'...........

Still in the shed.....stripping down the Canyon's rear suspension and replacing seized bearings!! I'll post a few pictures of the reapir when I'm done!