Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Gouranga
October 29th, 2003

When you’re out and about around the UK, it’s quite possible that you will have seen the word Gouranga plastered on a number of road and motorway bridges. I’ve always wondered what it was all about, as it has always seemed a bit Reeves and Mortimer to me and I’ve always forgotten about it about 30 seconds after reading it.

Anyway today I thought I’d try and get to the bottom of it, but I have to admit defeat and say that after a few searches on Google, I’m no closer to uncovering the truth. It seems that Gouranga is not some engineering company that maintains concrete bridges, which means that it is:

Either a publicity campaign for Grand Theft Auto game, where the award for sucessfully running down an entire group of Krishna followers was known as the ‘Gouranga bonus’.

Or it’s the Hare Krishna’s trying to get everyone to be happy and travel safely.

Either way it’s pretty bizarre, but why did they have to colour it in? Now it’s more noticable and annoying.

Australia’s mountian biking website 26 inches has launched its first magazine issue. It’s a mix of articles available on-line and those that are only available to subscribers via the CD edition. Read more over at the site.

Jim currently has pride of place as the background wallpaper on a certain bike shop computer with this interesting picture, to be honest I think this one is better (or should that be worse?). Now he can be seen taking his Soul out for a spin along with some other people who have bought themselves a new Soul.

This retro-revival thing is getting a bit out of hand

From The Outcast: The Top Ten Ways To Aggravate Bike Shop Mechanics

1. On Friday say, “I need it for the weekend, I’ve got a race.”

2. Call them “dude,” “buddy,” “mate” or whistle to get their attention.

3. Start any sentence with “I was just” and demand a warranty on some broken part.

4. Walk in, ignore them, stick your bike on the stand and start lubing the chain and pumping the tires, claiming you’re “just giving it a once-over and I’ll be out of your way in a moment.”

5. Claim that all bike shop employees are on commission from Shimano when they say you need a new chain and block.

6. Bring in smelly, greasy, delicious food an hour before closing, and don’t offer any to the mechanic who has only had an out-of-date Clif Bar all day.

7. Say “Could you just….”

8. Borrow a tool, break it and return it without a word, hiding it under other tools to gain escape time.

9. Laugh at the poor state of their bike.

10. Go riding with them and expect them to deal with any mechanical. Or turn up unannounced at their house with a buckled wheel and no beer, donuts or salsa.

There’s more over at Bicycle Retailer. I’m off to Norfolk for a few days so there’ll be no updates for a while.

The Lakes
October 27th, 2003

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October in the Lakes: More photos here

Well yesterday it was my birthday and I’m now another year closer to thirty than twenty, which is a little bit disappointing, but I’m sure I’ll get over it. I spent a fantastic weekend up in the Lake District, which made a welcome change to Manchester. I love it up there this time of year. There’s so much colour in the trees, even when it’s raining it’s beautiful.

This is new: kerb clothing. There’s some nice photo’s in there too. Click here for more.

Hope are pushing their new mono brakes at the North American market and who can blame them. The new kit looks stunning and if it wasn’t better than the current line up of Mini’s and M4’s they wouldn’t be bringing out. Guess that means that the new stuff has to be pretty incredible. Anyway Pink Bike have words and pics.

There’s some pretty big changes lurking on the Mountain Bike World Cup Circuit for next year. Mountain Bike Action have the report up on their site. Have to say I can’t see how it’s for the worse. It’s certainly good news for Fort William.

This is for SP who was wanting something worth reading on the Internet today. Lots and lots of expensive bikes and bike bits. All with one thing in common, carbon.

As well as some rather pimpy bike bits and some other fantastic gifts, I’m now in possession of Macromedia’s Studio MX 2004. Now armed with shiny new licenced versions of Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks and Freehand I’m hoping that there’ll be a few more changes to the site in future, once I get to grips with the changes that is.

Oh and the stickers have been ordered and are on their way…

Dirty Tricks?
October 24th, 2003

Details of the 2004 Tour de France route were revealed this week. The mountain time trial finishing in Alpe d’Huez is going to be an awesome stage and one that many riders may not be looking forward to, even at this early stage. There’s the full story here.

I don’t like doing this too often, but this article from Bike Biz is just too good not to share. Now there may or may not be a conspiracy side to this, but either way it just doesn’t seem like Cannondale wanted to get any opposition to there technical findings on the recent QR and disc brake debate. The following article is from Bikebiz:

Mark LaPlant of Cannondale presented a disc-brake/QR/wheel ejection report to the ASTM Bicycle Committee at Interbike Las Vegas. He concluded there was no substance to the ‘Annan theory’ – see BikeBiz passim. In theory, the committee meeting was open to public scrutiny, but the notice publicising the meeting was “intentionally delayed”, says James Annan, responding to an official from the US safety standards commission, CPSC.

Following the worldwide furore over James Annan’s theory that – in certain circumstances – wheels can be be ejected from some disc-brake equipped bikes, the CPSC recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which
was to meet at Interbike should “take this matter under advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination.”

Cannondale engineer Mark LaPlant was asked to supply a report for this meeting.

ASTM Committee meetings are open to the public and interested parties may contact the committee chair to
be included on the agenda. All well and good. But James Annan and Carlton Reid of BikeBiz.com, both of whom have been in correspondence with CPSC officials over the wheel ejection theory, were not informed of the meeting far enough in advance to be able to attend the meeting. Annan was told only when Interbike was already in progress. BikeBiz.com was not contacted at all, despite being at Interbike and able to attend the meeting.

Annan sees significance in the late arrival of the meeting notification.

In an email to the CPSC, he wrote:

I’d always prefer to assume a cock-up rather than a conspiracy but it seems difficult to avoid the conclusion that someone was keen to ensure that I did not find out about the ASTM meeting until it was too late for this information to be of any value.

In any case, I would be most interested in seeing a copy of the report that Mark LaPlant of Cannondale apparently produced for you, demonstrating that a properly fastened QR cannot loosen off. As you must be well aware, this runs contrary to much experimental, theoretical and anecdotal evidence, so it must be a very interesting piece of research. Since his report was presented at the ASTM meeting, open to the public in theory if not in practice, I do not anticipate that he can have any objection to it being placed in the public domain, and look forward to your earliest response.”

BikeBiz.com has contacted Cannondale to see if the company will release the report, I’ll be interested to see if they respond. Tell Cannondale what you think about their schoolboy tactics.

Trail Access
October 22nd, 2003

Well following on from the trail access issues discussed in this Singletrackworld forum thread, MBA has news of plans in the USA to bring in new legislation to tackle those trail users who abuse the system (the full original article is posted here):

Just three weeks after the bill was introduced in Congress, the House Resources Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee held a hearing on a proposal to crack down on people who willfully damage public land.

The bill, HR 3247, is called the Trail Responsibility and Accountability for the Improvement of lands (TRAIL) Act. It would create consistent standards for law enforcement on federal land and substantially increase the penalties on recreational users who willfully cause damage to public land. The fines would be used for rehabilitation, education, and awareness.

At the hearing, Mark Rey, U.S. Agriculture Department undersecretary for natural resources and the environment, and Larry Parkinson, U.S. Interior Department deputy secretary for law enforcement and security, offered support for the goals of the bill and offered to work with the subcommittee on the final language of the bill.

Present land access policies target political foes of the environmental movement, like mountain bikers and off road motorists, and most often result in sweeping land closures that punish all users for the isolated deeds of an outlaw minority. The HR 3247 bill, if used correctly, would penalize only those individuals or groups who choose to misuse public lands and not those who abide by land use regulations.

As fair as the bill’s intentions are worded, the reality is that it will be turned against mountain bikers to enforce the present wave of trail closures near US urban areas.

Stickers
October 20th, 2003

sticker me up

rothar.com bike stickers are overdue and I’m getting quotes for getting some made up. More news as and when they go into production.

Pink Bike sent some goodies over from Canada which arrived today. They’ve got news of a load of videos on their site at the moment, including the eagerly anticipated NSX7 and Fox’s documentary, Emergence. Plenty of North Shore riding there then. There’s also news of Wilderness Trail Bikes’ new kit too, more on the WTB kit here.

T-Mobile, formerly the German Telekom team are going to riding Giantbikes this year. Look out for some rather gaudy pink and black compact carbon bikes in the shops soon. Cycling news have some photos. Have to say those yellow and black ONCE bikes definitely had the better looks.

A little less conversation, a little more action please

I’ve had Hed Kandi’s Deeper CD for a few months now but haven’t listened to it much, because I’ve only just realised that there is a Steve Lawler track on it called Rise ‘In which is a remix of the chilled out Reef song, Mellow. Damn, I haven’t listened to those guys in a long time. They’re blaring out the speakers now though.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides