Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Snowing
February 27th, 2004

More snow overnight. I woke up this morning and thought I was in Helsinki.

There’s been some rationalisation of the bike collection recently. The M5 is next to go and is currently completely disassembled. There’s something new on it’s way and I’ve calculated how to make the parts going back onto it over two and a half pounds lighter. It’s going to be a sweet race bike.

The first UCI points of the mountain bike season were up for grabs recently with an event held in Cyprus. Most of the big names were there and American Journal, VeloNews has the coverage.

Whilst IMBA-related things seem to have a renewed level of enthusiasm here in the UK, PinkBike has news that in USA, a successful partnership is set to continue:

Subaru of America, Inc . recently renewed its support of the acclaimed Subaru/ IMBA Trail Care Crew through 2006. Launched in 1997, the Subaru/IMBATrail Care Crew program has led more than 1,000 trail projects, trained more than 35,000 people in sustainable trailbuilding techniques and logged half a million miles of coast-to-coast travel in its official Subaru vehicles.

The award-winning program includes two full-time, professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trailbuilding Schools, meeting with government officials and land managers, and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve mountain biking opportunities.

What’s IMBA? Well this poster has the answer.

Cars and Bikes
February 25th, 2004

This month has gone quickly and the discussion about this years big races has been growing. Entry forms for Sleepless in the Saddle are already out. Now it just a case of deciding what to do and who with.

Cars, love them or hate them they’re everywhere. There are a few of those ridiculous Chevrolet built Hummer’s around Manchester, which just goes to show there are some people with bottomless wallets. Even that Clarkson (who has been in trouble recently) didn’t like them. He and I’m sure a few others will be amused by this tongue-in-cheek website

Cars are also probably the reason behind these statistics published by the Sustrans as part of their latest copy of the National Cycle Network Map. Part of the problem of course is changing the attitude of the majority about bike use…

stats

There’s some interesting stuff coming out for the new season. New shoes from Italian footwear specialists DMT and Lance has a new weapon to help him in his campaign for this years Tour Yellow jersey, a new purpose built Trek TT bike. There are more photos on the Trek Bikes site. Any money on those wheels actually being used in Le Tour?

In a follow up to a report I posted up a few weeks ago, Bikebiz reports that the world doesn’t seem to have gone completely mad just yet:

Shanghai back-pedals on bike ban threat

Police chiefs in the bicycle-dense Chinese city had been planning to lever bikes off the streets in order to fit in more cars but the Shanghai city government has now said it has no plans to limit cycling and is, in fact, planning to build cycle routes. But is this a ploy to ghettoise cyclists in the run-up to the World Expo, due to take place in Shanghai in 2010?

According to the Shanghai Daily News, Wu Jiang, deputy director of Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau said “The bicycle is still a premier transport tool in the city.”

Shanghai has a bicycle population of 9 million and rising, but increasing prosperity in China is leading to an ever growing appetite for privately-owned motorcars. If Western cities are designed around the automobile, then so should Chinese cities, goes some official thinking.

In December last year, Shanghai police chiefs mooted plans for banning cyclists in downtown areas and on major arterial roads. Law-breaking cyclists were to also face tougher fines. To date there has bee no ban and Shanghai’s cyclusts continue to flout traffic laws with impunity.

Karrimor Goes Under
February 23rd, 2004

No riding this weekend. I wish I’d gone, but I didn’t. I did however buy the latest Mountain Bike Action. I know it has loads of adverts, but I reckon there aren’t many others who offer the same format of magazine and I really appreciate the race orientated nature of a lot of the articles.

On top of photos from the US trade shows, this month includes a privateers account of a season racing an S-Works Epic, an inside look at Filip Meirhaeghe’s race bike, a review of the Anniversary Edition Stumpjumper FSR (so a few Specialized’s then) and the new Foes 7″ Trail bike amongst others. There’s more on the website.

Oh yeah and Paola Pezzo will be mounting her comeback campaign aboard an S-Works, she’s on the Specialized Squad for 2004. See the full listings here. I bet Gary Fisher is a bit gutted.

Karrimor’s shop in Manchester closed this weekend and we had a lot of customers carrying bags full of bargain buys. The full story on what happened is shown below and is from Bikebiz:

Karrimor sold within 24 hours of going into receivership

The Lancashire outdoor pursuits equipment supplier, spawned from a bicycle shop, has had a troubled recent past and has now been sold to Lonsdale Sports, the boxing suppliers retailer. Seven of Karrimor’s retail outlets are part of the acquisition. Corporate rescue and recovery firm Begbies Traynor had been working with Karrimor two weeks before it went into receivership and was able to secure a sale quickly. Pentland, owner of the Berghaus and Brasher brands, was one of the potential buyers of Karrimor.

Karrimor is based in Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire. The company has 250 employees; 60 based at its HQ and the remaining staff located at its retail outlets dotted around the UK.

The seven retail outlets which are part of the Lonsdale acquisition are based in Clayton-le-Moors, Manchester, Cambridge, Brighton, Nottingham, London St Pauls, and London Wardour Street.

Begbies Traynor is seeking a buyer or buyers for the remaining 20 shops.

Karrimor was founded in 1946 by Charles and Mary Parsons. They hand-sewed cotton-duck pannier bags from the upstairs of their Lancashire cycle shop.

In March 2003, Karrimor acquired some of the YHA Adventure Shops, the retail group that went into administration in March. 15 of the 16 YHA Adventure Shops had store-in-store bicycle outlets called The Bike Chain.

A trip to Leeds resulted in some of Pitman’s tunes being played in the shop today. To quote Robert King: ‘The kids on the streets have a new kind of music hero to look up to. Fed up with ya ‘bling, bling’ So-Solid Crew the time has come for MC Pitman! Coalville’s answer to Mike Skinner’s ‘The Streets’. Kids are already racing down to hardwear shops to get hard hats to emulater ‘MC Pitman’.

Police forces up and down the country have welcomed this unlikely Pop artist to. A spokeman for the Police force said “Before, the kidz would carry guns when they was into So-Solid Crew and now with MC Pitman the most dangerous thing there most likely to carry is a torch!”‘ Check it out.

On a closing note the Singletrack Archive is now updated with Issue 13’s contents.

Racers Discuss
February 21st, 2004

Ryder Hesjedal reckons that “Miguel Martinez and Filip Meirhaeghe will be strong, and Roland Green will be hungry after a down year. Of course, there are all sorts of young riders to watch. I’m just really happy that I can go into the race as a contender. It wasn’t so long ago that I used to look up to all those guys…I really believe I can win the Olympics.”

Canadian rider Roland Green is looking for a big comeback this season and most of the American sites have run a story about it in some shape or form and Steve Peat has just married another rider. Read more.

Carbon has been making something of a comeback recently. Seems last years trade shows were dominated by the black stuff and you can now get pretty much every component made from it. Whilst I have to admit that I have always been sceptical of the use in some applications (like this new stem from Specialized), these new wheels from Reynolds, the Stratus DV carbon road wheels look fast standing still. How much? Well if you have to ask…

Andy Cotgreave has some nice photos from his riding around New Zealand and what ever happened to bikeresource.com? Didn’t last long did it?

Karting
February 19th, 2004

Last night I had my first experience of getting sideways to the accompaniment of squealing tyres and burning rubber. Thirty-eight like-minded lunatics descended on Daytona go-karting in Trafford Park and carnage ensued. I made it through the heats and the semis to the final only to be put into the wall on the fourth lap of the final from second place by one of my colleagues from work…

Great fun and I think the general consensus is to do it again soon, I’m not sure how much cross-over there is in terms of handling and reaction skills between two wheels and four, but I’m still buzzing off the petrol fumes.

Riding in Switzerland’s Valais region: ‘By the end of our trip we had descended nearly 80,000′ – with some days over 14,000′ – and slept and drank wine in high alpine chalets overlooking towns and peaks for as far as the eye could see. By day seven, it became hard to recall all of the previous rides’. Read the story and see the pictures over at NSMB.

Importers of fine steel, Sorted Cycles, have a new front page up replacing the excellent and much discussed bikespotting page. Check it out here.

I’m not convinced by Santa Cruz, but they’re extremely popular bikes. Daevh’s Bullitt though is a nice looking bike that’s been well spec’d up

And finally there is a public service announcement from the JonWIII over at his website, debating the organisational level of University Cycling Clubs and the Pope’s cock. Read more

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides