Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Computer Down
November 30th, 2003

It’s been an interesting few days. On one hand there has been catastrophic computer failure at work and on the other someone very special is back from Mauritius. In between there has been bad luck, good luck and broken bike bits.

I’ve been working on the singletrack information bureau for a while now and it is now pretty much finished in it’s revised and now css-based format. There are a few little finishing touches to add here and there and I’m still not 100% happy with the bike or product tests index, but I’m not sure I can think of a simple and effective way to format these. I’ve tried to cut down on the use of graphics and move away from the use of tables. Any feedback or bright ideas will be welcome.

The first of the Manchester Revolution track sessions took place this weekend. Larry Hickmott talks to Cofidis rider Davis Miller over on the British Cycling website. There is also an interview with arguably the UK’s newest hope for international success in cross country mountain biking, Liam Killeen.

Getting published in the world of biking is no easy task as a few have found out. The general view is that several editors have killed a lot of enthusiasm. Whilst people may not necessarily expect to get work accepted, some form of response is always good. Even a thanks, but no thanks.

It motivates people to keep writing, even if a lot of the time, that writing is for the love of it rather than in the hope of getting published. For writers in this position, whether or not people stumble across these ramblings and empathise with documented experiences isn’t important.

November 28th, 2003

The world of motor bikes have been using wavy disc disc rotors for a long time and then we started seeing them on bikes. Now disc brake parts manufacturer, Galfer who have registered an exclusive patent to the design, are looking to legally challenge those that have been using their design without licence. This is there statement:

From: Galfer USA
Subject: Wave rotor patent info

This is a press release from Galfer performance brakes bicycle division. Please contact me with any questions.

Galfer is the original and current patent holders for European patent #99500110.4 and United States patent #6386340 which covers non-round (wave style) disc brake rotors. As of this writing, Magura is the only officially licensed user of this patented technology. No other company is legally using to use this patented technology. Currently, there are several companies who are presenting this technology, images, and trade names of Galfer rotors as their own. They have received neither our permission nor our authorization to do so. At this time we are preparing legal action to defend our patents, images and trade names.
Galfer’s patented wave rotors allow the user to run at significantly cooler braking temperatures while providing superior self-cleaning properties and lighter weights over round rotors.

Andy Schwartz
Bicycle Division Manager
Galfer USA

Now this isn’t a masterpiece of literary skill and it raises a few points. My point was that until Galfer release results showing that ” wave rotors allow the user to run at significantly cooler braking temperatures while providing superior self-cleaning properties and lighter weights over round rotors” there will be a degree of skepticism regarding those claims.

Those interested in this matter are more likely to be convinced by what they are reporting if Galfer engineers were to publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal so their work can be analysed by those best positioned to judge the legitimacy of their claims and the accuracy and design of the dyno-testing methodology. Given that there has been over ten years of research and development, there should surely be ample content for an article of this type.There are more thoughts here.

Andy Cotgreave is making his way around New Zealand on a bike, this is his frequently updated photo gallery. It seems that loads of people are doing New Zealand at the moment, which via Top Gear logic, would make it really uncool. I think I’ll wait for a bit before hitting the southern hemisphere.

Bikespotting: Choose life. Choose a bike. Choose a ride. Choose…(you get the idea). Check out arguably one of the best bits of advertising in a while over at the Sorted Cycles website.

Flecko’s Madness is probably the best Flash game in the world ever (or should that be so far?), if you can get to grips with the unique controls.

November 26th, 2003

There are a few new wallpapers available following Sunday’s little adventure. Check them out here.

Steve Peat is not only one of the World’s best mountain bike gravity pilots, but it seems he’s a real life action hero too. This story reports him imposing some justice on the mean streets of America.

Mountain biking has taken me to some of the most scenic corners of Britain, it has given me views that only the minority will glimpse. If I think about it hard enough the essence of my mountain biking is that which surrounds me whilst I’m doing it. Be that companionship, scenery, weather conditions or the lack of a certain problem that’s been weighing me down…

Dave Barter has been writing quite a bit recently, I think he’s looking for a column in one of the bike mags, you can check his work out over at his site, phased. I reckon if he can sustain the quality of the writing he’s been producing he’s likely to find something pretty soon. Good luck to him.

There is a suspension company that will service your Marzocchi forks and sort you out with a rather clever rear shock, check out Stendec, the Romic shock importers. They even do a product testing service, so you can try out a shock before you buy it via this on-line service.

Invitation II
November 25th, 2003

Photos from this weekend’s Peaks Epic – Invitation II “The Revenge”, are still up on the site here. Today starts off eith an e-mail from a French colleague who is quite amused by current events over here. I don’t know what George Orwell would have made of this but it sounds very much like something out of 1984:

From: Gilles
Subject: Big “Labour” Brother is Watching

Concerning the complete absence of privacy in telecommunications (your phone calls, emails and web surfing) in the UK, I wanted to let you know that on 13th November 2003, the Labour literally forced the House of Lords to approve what they call the “Snoopers’ Charter”.

“A series of regulations (Statutory Instruments) recently laid before the UK Parliament intends to create a legal basis for comprehensive surveillance of communications. The regulations will allow an extensive list of public authorities access to records of individuals’ telephone and Internet usage. This communications data” — phone numbers and e-mail addresses contacted, web sites visited, locations of mobile phones, etc — will be available to government without any judicial oversight. Not only does government want access to this information, but it also intends to oblige companies to keep personal data just in case it may be useful.”

To read how this happened, and how the Liberal Democrats and Tories tried to defend your rights to privacy, you can read this:

“Until 2pm today it appeared that the government’s proposals to place every UK email and phone account under surveillance was doomed. Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Cross Bench peers had vowed to oppose them …”

I thought it might be useful to know that every single phone call you pass and every single email you write will soon be stored by your Provider (O2, BT and … ISD?) for an *unlimited* period of time, and will be accessible to many UK *and foreign* governmental agencies.

This British government is really good isn’t it? I mean just look at all the great things it’s done for us…okay that’s a pretty short list.

On a more light-hearted note:

From: Rebecca
Subject: Peter Kay One Liners

I saw six men kicking and punching the mother-in-law. My neighbour said ‘Are you going to help?’ I said ‘No, Six should be enough.”

I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with ‘Guess’ on it. I said, ‘Thyroid problem?’

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that The Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.

I’ve often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.

I was doing some decorating, so I got out my step-ladder. I don’t get on with my real ladder.

My Dad used to say ‘always fight fire with fire’, which is probably why he got thrown out of the fire brigade.

If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

Politicians are wonderful people as long as they stay away from things they don’t understand, such as working for a living

That reminds me of this weekend’s riding for some inexplicable reason. Getting onto more Bike related matters, another Freewheel Store is closing, a far cry from the time they held stores in nearly all of the biggest Cities and Towns in the country.

From: Jed
Subject: Freewheel

Freewheel has been in business in Prince of Wales Road since 1990 but will close when the Magic City arcade moves into the bike shop’s premises from its current location on the opposite side of the road.

Yarmouth Pleasure Beach proprietor Albert Jones, who owns Magic City and the premises occupied by Freewheel, was granted planning permission by Norwich City Council on Thursday to convert the bike shop into “an amusement arcade which would include an area with pool tables”.

Freewheel’s owner, who has another bicycle shop in Reading, Berkshire, was prepared to close the Norwich branch as it was approaching the end of its lease. There are currently no plans to reopen the store elsewhere in Norwich.

Maybe it didn’t have a lot going for it, but I think I’ll miss it in a way and I’m sure I won’t be the only person who will. Road trip anyone?

Martinez Returns
November 24th, 2003

Photos from the Peaks Epic – Invitation II “The Revenge”, which happened yesterday are now up on the site here. Thanks to Rick Sykes for organising it and everyone else who was there, it was a classic Peak District ride.

Next year’s Mountain Bike World Cup scene could be a bit more lively now following news that French star Miguel Martinez is returning to off-road competition. This is from Cyclingnews:

France’s Olympic mountain bike champion Miguel Martinez has put a definitive end to his career as a road racer. The 28 year old Martinez explained in an interview in Saturday’s l’Equipe that he gave road racing a chance for two seasons, but has decided to devote himself to his first love, mountain biking. The 2004 Olympics in Athens remain his number one goal. Martinez rode for Mapei-Quick.Step in 2002, followed by a season with the Phonak Hearing Systems this year.

Martinez underlined his preference for an individual riding style, which he felt was not available in the peloton on the road. After a season of learning the ropes with Mapei, the expectations for results at Phonak were not matched by the freedom to ride his own races.

“I found myself in a situation that I didn’t like,” Martinez said. “I was only capable of being a simple teammate. I would have liked to have had my own card to play, to test myself on my own terrain, the mountains.”

Martinez is honest about his abilities on the road, and at the same time reveals that he was “born to win”, and victory was something he never achieved on the tarmac, something he desperately misses.

“Above all, the feeling of a victory, of raising my arms and sensing the excitement of the crowd,” he said. “In two years on the road, I never felt that pleasure… In fact, I think there are too many constraints on the road for a rider like me.”

Martinez’s only regret is not having fulfilled his goal of winning the king of the mountains prize in the Tour de France. His 2002 Tour will remain his only ride at the Grande Boucle, as Phonak was not selected for the 2003 race.

Moving ahead, Martinez is dabbling in cyclo-cross this winter, but with no serious ambitions. He will focus on the 2004 Olympics, and even hopes to remain competitive until the 2008 games in China. Martinez will not likely remain in Phonak colours as he heads back off road.

“I asked Phonak if my riding the mountain bike season in their jersey would interest them, and the answer was a timid yes,” he explained. “So, I went looking elsewhere, to Commençal Oxbow. My decision was made: I’d never go back to the road.”

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