Mountain Bike Shenanigans

June 30th, 2016

Hamsterley by the Mast

Throughout the English-speaking world ‘gnat’ is usually reserved for small, biting flies, allied to mosquitoes but most of the groups for which British entomologists have used the word do not bite. Note that the only groups of British Diptera which ‘bite’ (and only female flies do so) are species of Culicidae (mosquitoes), Scatopsidae (blackflies), ceratopogonidae (biting-midges), Tabanidae (horseflies) and Muscidae (houseflies and allies). In some parts of the world Ceratopogonidae are called ‘no-see-ums’ because females are small, do not whine like mosquitoes, and attack en masse, producing a large number of suppurating spots.

Little buggers got me good tonight at Hamsterley Forest. Gnats. Millions of ’em.

June 5th, 2016

This week I rode the road bike for the first time in a year. Felt good to get out on something fast but the handling takes a bit of getting used to.

Titanium Crown Jewel - New tyres

After a bit of a shake down over a few days riding, I fitted some new tyres as the Schwalbe Ultimos that came on the Ksyriums had started to crack. After that I decided it was time for new tread and to move up to 25mm. Not sure there is any advantage in the bigger size – 2mm isn’t a lot.

Not a good sign

The jury is out on the Mavic Yksion replacements

Week 2
May 6th, 2016

Bled the brakes over the weekend, front is bang on but the rear is still holding some air and needs bleeding for a third time. Realised once I arrived back in the North East I’d left my biking shoes at home, so ended up riding all week in trainers. Fortunately I hadn’t taken the trail pedals off yet so it wasn’t too bad. Feeling a bit better on the bike this week, last week was a wake up call.

Back on it
April 27th, 2016

Started riding again, commuting to work initially with plans to do some variations over the summer to take in some of the County Durham trails. The Ti Deluxe is being ridden again for the first time in years. Week one was interesting as both brakes needed bleeding and until the kit arrived to do it, I was on rapid brake pumping to get any speed reduction.

The trails in the photo below are less than a minute from my office. The local riding is superb as are the views:



Decided it was time for some new kit. Since moving back to SPDs from Crank Bros I have been a set down, so the XTR trail pedals will be going back on the Singlespeed and I’ll keep the Ti Deluxe more XCey. My Specialised BG Pro shoes have a few holes in now and little rubber sole left. New Specialized use the crappy nylon lacing system I hate and since I have been impressed with my Mavic road shoes, the new disco slippers are French too.


I have been thinking of some new shades for a while and seeing as the lenses of my Pro M Frames are now pretty wrecked, I thought I’d go back to Racing Jackets for a bit. The next generation are new to me. The Prizm lens are pretty good in the woods.


It’s not mine, it’s my dads
February 2nd, 2016

In terms of rubbish excuses they don’t get much worse than trying to blame your dad for getting busted for cheating in cycling. That is exactly what Belgian rider Femke van den Driessche has done which is a bit of a shocker. Full story at the BBC. To me the rubbish lie is almost worse than the relevation that UCI commissaires found a motor found in her cyclocross bike. The rumours have been there for years, but it’s now apparent that rider aids are definitely in use and the sport has another area to police and try and catch the cheats… .

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides