Mountain Bike Shenanigans

On 5
April 30th, 2004

Tomorrow morning I am being interviewed live on Radio 5 regarding the new legislation on bicycle bells that comes into effect from the 1st May. I am beginning to regret saying I’d do it, but as we’re off up to Glentress after work at least there is a highlight to the day.

Girly gear here. Probably in the wrong shades of pink and baby blue and probably guaranteed to result in the comment: Is this all you’ve got? T’is true. You just can’t win.

I am always interested in people who bodge stuff together. I have no idea if this is a thing of interest to anyone else, but there is some trailer shonkiness here.

Oh and get hot and sweaty more often. It’s good for you.

From: Bikebiz
Subject: Get breathless and sweaty five times a week, urges top doc

Couch potatoes beware, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has today published a report urging Brits to shed pounds not by signing up for costly gym membership but adding physical activity into their everyday lives. In other words? Hoover vigorously, walk to the newsagents, cycle to school.

Sir Liam has released a report on physical activity and health, At Least Five A Week. Smoking and unhealthy diet have long been established as major causal factors for chronic disease but the report says that inactive living is equally important. Sir Liam Donaldson said:

“People need to stay active over the whole of their lives if they are to stave off the threat of obesity and killer diseases like cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer.

“We are moving less than our parents and grandparents. This is a major risk factor for the nation’s health. We need to combat the ‘couch potato’ culture, and this means building moderate everyday physical activity into our lives.

“It is not about spending hours and hours in the gym, but it is about finding ways to build activities into our daily lives.”

For general health benefit, adults should achieve a total of at least 30 minutes a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity, on five or more days of the week.

This report will be considered by Ministers when they draw up the forthcoming White Paper on Public Health, following the public consultation exercise, currently under way.

John Reid, Health Secretary, said:

“This is an excellent report which clearly sets out the importance of a more active lifestyle. The challenge for all of us; Government, business, the voluntary sector and individuals themselves, is how we achieve that.”

Sir Liam said the recommended levels of activity could be achieved either by doing all the daily activity in one session or through shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more.

“For example, an adult may take a daily brisk walk or cycle to work and children could be encouraged to walk to school, in addition to two or three weekly leisure activities such as swimming, football, or gym. All activity can help prevent obesity, so people should make the most of all small opportunities to be active such as using stairs and doing the gardening.”

The report highlights that up to two-thirds of men and three quarters of women don’t take enough physical activity for a health benefit; a quarter of adults and six per cent of 2-20 year olds are obese; and the cost of inactivity – direct costs of treatment and indirect costs caused through sickness absence – is an estimated £8.2bn annually.

Change Makes You Think
April 28th, 2004

Global warming is hard to appreciate until it begins to affect you directly and the fact that sea level is rising probably faster thanks to human action that it would have been doing naturally is just one consequence. Recent research has shown that the rate of rising oceans isn’t a spatially equal process. I found this today. It made me think:

“Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money can not be eaten” Cree Indian Philosophy

After demand for some different local weather forecasting due to a bout of inaccuracy from the beeb, there’s now a few more options.

For those interested in the more extreme side of the sport, there are some nice photos of the Turner/Honda freeride bike over at Pinkbike as well as news that Wayne Goss has won the third annuall Race Face Ultimate Freeride Challenge.

Finally racing in the opening Sea Otter race this year was so dry that some of the pros wer running semi slicks, or totally slicks, or even ‘cross wheels and tyres on their mountain bikes. Pretty mad stuff. Velonews also have an good interview with legendary rider Missy Giove.

Missed Opportunity
April 26th, 2004

Well I missed the best potential day of riding of the year yesterday. Stuck indoors on call (have to respond within 3 minutes) so potential for riding is zero. At least there’s this weekend in Glentress to look forward to.

So whilst not a great option, I spent a bit of time yesterday updating the Singletrack Archive with the latest issue and mused over getting a new Singlespeed. I fancy a Kona Unit, but they’ve sold out of my size for the year. Maybe I should just get some 63mm travel forks for the Saracen? Anyway I have other things to worry about first, like the final payment on a new frame and having to pay for a replacement software key that’s gone awol.

I’ve also rejigged the bikes page. I decided that it was all a bit sad having individual specs for each bike. If it isn’t obvious from the pictures what’s on each bike people will have to ask. It also means that I know longer have to worry about keeping the specs up to date when ever I change a part. Not that I was ever overly bothered about either doing that or keeping up to the minute photos. I think the sexpest has the right idea:

Sexmidget Industries has no product to flog. Sorry about that, have to get your midgets elsewhere. It’s a website that people only read when they’re really fucking bored and waiting for something good to happen. Well; this site is totally devoid of anything entertaining apart from some stuff about riding bikes…

15/04/04 :: Been riding my bike I have. OF course, that’s not what this site is about, so here’s my new magic gallery. It’s got comments and all sorts of magic shit so you can say “oi, you sad cunt, why don’t you stop taking pictures of bikes and go knob some skanky bitches”. Which would be fair really.

Chilly has sent in this link to a site I’d never heard of before: Keen as chips. I don’t know what happened to keen as mustard, maybe chips is the new mustard. Anyway take a look at it. The Rainbow episode has gone down quite well with those that have seen it. Oh and the site doesn’t seem to work with Mozilla based browsers either. Well at least not mine anyway :(

There’s been some fairly interesting news in the cycling world recently including word that Frigo is out of the Giro with a virus, Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme have been threatened with suspension, Simoni is back on track, a Motorist is on trial for the Otxoa accident, that the initial stage of the UK helmet bill has failed, Bruyneel is looking towards life after USPS, the Driver who hit Craig Lewis ignored officials and that Lampre have confirmed signing World Champ Astarloa . See Cyclingnews for more.

Finally – Chris are you back from the US and have you build up the Yeti yet?

Mountain Mayhem on the Horizon
April 24th, 2004

Mountain Mayhem. Two months and counting. Is the team ready? Well Conrad is back from France today. There was a broken back drama, but it wasn’t him. Lets hope a certain person makes a full recovery.

And where’s my new bike? Not here yet that’s for sure. Although some absolutely top draw bling arrived from these good people yesterday. I want to be building it up now and getting out there and riding it in this fine weather. Thursday nights ride in Calderdale was to the setting of a beautiful evening. Cheers to Tim K for organising another fine session and to everyone else for providing beer, scotch and tequila and good company.

Whilst fixed offroad is clearly wrong (I once said that about Singlespeeding, so I wonder how long until I try it?), the website of the damned is rather good. Take a look at 63xc.com.

After massive publicity and internal pressure within the USA, it’s the end of an era for one of the greatest teams of the 1990s. Here’s the full report from Cyclingnews.com:

From: Cyclingnews
Subject: US Postal Service will end sponsorship

The United States Postal Service (USPS) will not renew its sponsorship of the Division I professional team headed by five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The postal service’s contract expires at the end of 2004, but USPS spokesman Gerry McKiernan said in an AP report that the agency has decided to go “in another direction”, possibly with another sports venture.

“Now, it is an interesting time to stop,” Armstrong commented. “I think the team is better than ever. I think that we continue to compete at a top level and win tours and win big races.”

Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s manager and chief executive of the Tailwind Sports, which owns and manages the USPS cycling team, said the team is “committed to keeping our riders and staff in place for years to come and furthering our goals of winning important events like the Tour de France.”

Presenting sponsor Berry Floor has indicated an interest in assuming a title sponsorship role, however the team’s future may depend largely on whether or not Armstrong decides to continue racing beyond this season. At the same time, Armstrong has said himself that he will not ride for any team other than the current USPS structure, making the arrival of a new sponsor to take over current operations critical.

“I think there’ll be two different prices for the team,” Armstrong told Bonnie DeSimone of the Chicago Tribune , referring to the prospects of a transfer to a new sponsor. “Obviously, if the team is still winning the Tour, or if I continue, it’ll be one level, and when I retire, I suspect it’ll drop off to another level.”

The US Postal Service, which has sponsored the team since 1996, has faced increased criticism over the value of the cycling team, estimated to cost the government agency $8 million per year. An internal March 2003 audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) cited an inability to verify revenues attributed the sports sponsorships, while public watchdog groups have repeatedly criticised the expensive contract in light of rising mailing costs and budget shortfalls for the agency.

“The Postal Service needs to consider sponsorships in light of its monopoly status, financial condition, investment returns and core mission,” the internal auditors wrote.

Drugs Bust
April 21st, 2004

In the wake of the recent Kelme debacle, Manzano has just given his first interview outside of the Spanish media with Cyclingnews.com. Meanwhile while Cofidis sit out their own drugs accusations, their two top riders are increasingly linked with moves to other teams. Millar is now rumoured to be favoured by Saeco and world champion Igor Astarloa is alleged to be in discussions about a move to the Lampre team.

I’ve found a few more mountain biking websites recently so here they are. First up is Hcor.net, a freeride downhill based site a bit like NSMB, which currently has some photos from what was on show at the Sea Otter Classic. Then there is ridemonkey.com which seems to be a massive collection of discussion forums for the North American continent, one of which (the lounge) has the subtitle “working hard to get kicked out of corporate intranets.

The London Bicycle Messenger Association is pretty self explanatory. Take a look at their website.

Finally trail access issues seem to be becoming increasingly more important to a lot of riders here in the UK. Unfortunately riders in the USA, have an even worse scenario to face. Tim Blumenthal of IMBA is profiled in this article written for the on-line version of the Outside magazine. It’s long, but in my opinion, well worth the read.

Now I like taking photos whilst I’m out riding, but I only have a fairly basic digital camera, because I know the potential for stacking and wrecking something better is very real. Most digital cameras have a resolution of something in the region of 1-6 mega pixels, so seeing someone that has created a 1 giga pixel image is pretty impressive. Take a look here.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides