Mountain Bike Shenanigans

2005 Review
December 29th, 2005

Last update for the year and there has been a cracking day of riding yesterday around the beautiful winter landscape of Calderdale. It ranged from beautiful golden sunshine through to falling snow and was as cold as it looked and the Singlespeed ruled. Photos are up here.

Here are a few things that have come to light over the last few days. First up the notion of racing a train between stops takes on a different note if you factor in that it’s underground and you have to get to the surface before you can get to your bike and get on it, race downhill to get to the next station and then get back down to the platform and on to the train. Oh and there’s only 55 seconds to do it. Check this out.

The Chronic of Narnia rap was one of the funniest things I’ve seen out of America for a long time – well that said I watched team America last night which was hilarious so there is hope for the George Bush led country yet. As has been said, after that sketch how can anyone take gangsta rap seriously?

Where’s the Muc Off?
December 24th, 2005

Just cleaned the Deluxe for the first time. Several weeks of commuting made up a bit of filth, but an truly fantastic Tuesday night ride in Calderdale really meant that a full clean up was in order. This may have been very appropriate timing as I’ve just realised I never put any sort of chainstay protector on and I’ve been lucky not to have scratched and chipped the frame to bits.

A classic nightride taking in legendary trails like Stanny’s Drop and Gibson Mill Up and Downer also seems to have proved a few things. The Stadiums are passed their best. It’s time for some battery recovery techniques and I’ve just ordered some of these bad boys as a replacement setup. Not quite the ‘jesus, that’s bright’ power but plenty (twice the burn time) of fantastic white light and a whole host of recommendations from people riding them. Less is more and that’s certainly true of the weight – I’m looking at a 2lb weight saving. New lights mean that the CX Worlds trip is off which is a bit of a bugger, I was hoping to catch up with Nige.

The recent ride has also shown that it’s not quite bike enough for the Calderdale trails in it’s current guise. A quick release seatpost clamp and some more appropriate tyres are in order. That means either some Big Earl’s or Blue Groove and Nevegal combo are likely in the near future too. Need to have a bit of a play with the forks too. They’re too quick on compression at the moment and need a bit for air in the spring to give them a bit more range. Other than that it’s a sweet ride.

Here’s a couple of top links. MBUK was the first mountain bike magazine I ever bought and I’ve still got that 1991 Christmas Special. These days a lot of people only buy MBUK for the legendary Jo Burt cartoon Mint Sauce. When I did a massive clear out a few years ago, I cut out all the old mint sauce cartoons, but now it seems that there was no need as Jo has teamed up to launch a dedicated website: this is why. So now you can read all the cartoons and consider the sanity of a cartoon based around animals riding mountain bikes. The artwork is as beautiful as always.

Not everyone’s taste so here are links to the photos of two friends from the local area whose photos have an international audience. Dan Barham has the contents picture in the latest edition of Dirt Rag and his shots have really been developing over the last few months. As an alternative here’s a link to Steve Makin’s Flickr photos. Steve’s black and white shots really are timeless and I think he’s a great eye for good composition and contrast. Steve’s shots have featured in many mountain bike publications including Singletrack.

Finally, we all know that Christmas can be a stressful time and that silly arguments are likely. It may be worth noting however that falling out over telephones may invariably lead to trouble.

Driving isn’t an Art Form
December 19th, 2005

So after successfully building and maintaining the IF online shop, the Boston team approached me with another little project for them. Well I’m not sure that partially redesigning the homepage of their site can be described as a little job, but I had a bit of fun doing the work and the results seem to have been quite popular so far. Here’s the new look. The old version is lurking here.

UCI Cyclocross World Championships are just across the water in Holland. After the fantastic results from the IF team at the recent US Nationals, Mo Bruno-Roy will be bringing her Ti Planet Cross over for some racing action on 28-29 January in Zeddam, Netherlands. It’s about 90 miles from Rotterdam and I reckon that’s ridable…

This commuting business is a dangerous thing when you start thinking about the people driving cars. I remember seeing a guy write off a brand new 5 series BMW getting the back out under lift-off, losing it, spinning and hitting the underpass of the A11 at the Thickthorn roundabout a few years ago when I was riding in to work in Norwich and all I can say is it was only the side airbags that let him get out and walk away from that one. This one is however much scarier.

From: Jed
Subject: Crunch

Witnessed an interesting bit of driving the other night. Going home down Newmarket Rd I was near the kitchen place/Spread Eagle pub when an oncoming car 70 yds ahead moved into my lane. I thought he may have been doing some dodgy move (like ignoring keep left bollard) to turn into the school. But no, he drove straight into the streetlamp that was by then just 50 yards in front. Hit it square on and knocked the light out. First on the scene and there was a very confused/dazed looking lad in the driving seat. Don’t know why he did it – either blacked out or fell asleep – but he’d only driven in from Wym and he was stone cold sober. A bit close for comfort that – you expect an oncoming car to avoid you but if the driver is not there then the potential is for us to depart.

That’s a fairly scary account. Keep lookin’ out for those crazy drivers.

South America Anyone?
December 10th, 2005

So Peru has stirred some interest and it turns out there is a way to get some riding in South America and benfit some others. The 2006 Peru cycling challenge takes riders from Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, across remote altiplano, through amazing Andean villages, and past incredible snow-capped mountains, to Machu Picchu – the fabled ‘Lost City of the Incas. Check out the ride website. It looks really good with a great Itinerary, awesome countryside and a bit of money raising for charity.

Not happy with just improving the shop interface, teh team at The Cycle Jersey have started the process of adding some new and interesting, hard to get products from the world of cycling and beyond, including NATO specced adventure racing kit boxes…

Love America or not this is ace.

Finally it looks like the ProTour is about to end. According to the organisers of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España have pulled out of the series with immediate effect. The organisers announced that they are also withdrawing the eight other races organised by them, namely Paris Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy. More here.

December 4th, 2005

“The 10 km descent took us two hours and was a big mix of smooth dirt singletrack, wide grassy runways hemmed in by ancient stone walls, rocky technical sections with water ditches and stone staircases”. Sounds like a real hardship doesn’t it? Check out Grady Semmens’ account of riding over 170 km in Peru and taking in more than 9,000 metres of (mostly) downhill riding in six days over at

Take one made Polish mountain biker, give him a mad mission like riding across three deserts and having to be entirely self sufficient and give him a camera and a load of other survival gear and leave him to get on with it. Oh, and don’t forget the Surly Pugsley.

If you’ve got to go, you gotta go big. So said Bender. Well he’s been living up to that motto ever since, but has now unfortunately had a nasty off as sensationalised over at MBUK. What really happened is described in more journalistic etyle here.

From: Katie
Subject: Chain letter from Billy Connolly

Hello, my name is William and I suffer from guilt for not forwarding 50 billion f**king chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send them on, a poor six year old girl in Queensland with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her to a traveling freak show. And, do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give you and everyone to whom you send “his” email, $1000?

How stupid are we?

Ooooh, looky here! If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I’ll get laid by a model I just happen to run into the next day!” What a bunch of bulls**t.

Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my house and sodomize me in my sleep for not continuing a chain letter that was started by St Peter in 5AD and brought to this country by midget pilgrim stowaways on the Endeavour.

F*ck ’em.

If you’re going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing. I’ve seen all the “send this to 10 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being” forwards about 90 times.

I don’t f*cking care.

Show a little intelligence and think about what you’re actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are, it’s our own unpopularity. The point being? If you get some chain letter that’s threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it’s funny, send it on.

Don’t piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to the arse of a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he’ll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know, or otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

Have a nice day.

PS: Send me 15 bucks and Then F*ck Off

Finally after seeing these photos from Lucy and Phil at Bike Verbier I have decided that this snow biking mullarky really does have to be done…

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