Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Drop Some Words
May 31st, 2005

The Singletrack Archive is now up to date once again. I don’t like doing the entries for new issues until I’ve read the mag and let it get to those readers at the far flung corners of the world where it takes a little bit of time to travel. And just as I finish doing that I get emailed details of whats in the next issue:

In a concerted effort to make it look like we planned it all along, we’ve decided to make no.22 our ‘Scottish Issue’. As well as having  lots of lovely pics of the place there are several features regarding riding in Scotchland. We have one article that attempts to interpret and explain the new access laws and our regular ‘Routes’ pages contain a bunch of corking rides based around the Aviemore area.

And the Singlespeed World Championships are drawing nearer too:

Hey everyone! This is just a quick reminder to let you know that registration for SSWC05 in State College, PA (USA) opens tomorrow, June 1st…Wednesday…at 5:00 pm (East Coast Time).

As you might recall, registration is limited to 400 people. And there’s nearly 2000 people wanting to register….So don’t delay.

Here’s the page you need to visit in order to register on Wednesday (June 1st; 5:00 pm). And, as always, keep an eye on the news page for all the latest info.

Thanks!

Single Speed World Championship 2005
State College, Pennsylvania USA
8/20-21/2005

Dave Barter has had a rejig of things over at phased and this is naked singlespeeding and fixed riding. Thank god Jed and Paul don’t have digital cameras. Oh no! They do! The mind boggles, will we see them gracing the interweb with only a top tube or carefully positioned waterbottle to hide their dignity?

Now I missed this when it came out a while back but I think this is pretty cool. Quattro is definitely cool.

All About Sue
May 29th, 2005

Sue Savege from over at Bike-Fax sent me some info about a new book that’s just come out about trails in Snowdonia. I’m a big fan of North Wales and I think it has a lot to offer to riders in terms of trails, great facilities and friendly people and stunning scenery. In all it’s just about perfecto, especially when the weather is Scorchio! Scorchio! Scorchio!

“GETTING THE BIKE-FAX” the NEW mountain biking guide for Snowdonia. Sweet single track, gut busting loops and unbelievable downhill routes are all on offer in ‘The best mountain bike trails in Snowdonia’ which provides 25 of the area’s gems in a bright, neat and easy to use format. An interactive CD of the book also means readers can download routes and access bonus trail guides and with Bike-Fax waterproof paper print them off and use again and again……

Local mountain bikers Sue Savege, Paul Barbier and Dafydd Davis have taken note of the IMBA (the International Mountain Biking Association) who recently declared.. the mountain biking centers in Wales “offer some of the best new trails in the world.” They have ridden the mountains of Snowdonia forwards and backwards to put together this inspiring selection.

Chapters cover classics like Betws y Coed and the Gwydyr forest plus the Marin trail as well as Coed y Brenin and southern Snowdonia. There are routes for Llanberis and Beddgelert plus even Conwy Mountain and the coast. The guide gives a choice from hundreds of kilometers of thrilling handbuilt singletrack to mouth watering traditional rides across mountain and moor. Put all of them together with a good selection of local amenities, it gives the perfect purchase for a weekend’s riding in Snowdonia. Produced by Bikefax and available at www.bike-fax.com

Another Sue, Sue Heywood, is a big name on the Mountain Bike scene for her racing palmeres offroad. She’s currently with Trek/VW and there’s an interview with her up at Cyclingnews.com.
Saturday’s bike shop discussion involved a bit of talk about SRAMs Blackbox stuff. I think if you’re into offroad it has the same sort of kudos associated with it that Campagnolo Record has on road bikes.

You don’t see much of it, it’s alluring in a carbon kind of way, difficult to get hold off, expensive and works, but differently to Shimano. So there’s a definite appeal with Blackbox kit, but many people will be pursuaded to buy blackbox stuff because of the extensive list of riders that are prototyping and developing it in the field. An impressive list and some impressive brakes too.

About a Sheep
May 26th, 2005

Sue Savege from over at Bike-Fax sent me some info about a new book that’s just come out about trails in Snowdonia. I’m a big fan of North Wales and I think it has a lot to offer to riders in terms of trails, great facilities and friendly people and stunning scenery. In all it’s just about perfecto, especially when the weather is Scorchio! Scorchio! Scorchio!

“GETTING THE BIKE-FAX” the NEW mountain biking guide for Snowdonia. Sweet single track, gut busting loops and unbelievable downhill routes are all on offer in ‘The best mountain bike trails in Snowdonia’ which provides 25 of the area’s gems in a bright, neat and easy to use format. An interactive CD of the book also means readers can download routes and access bonus trail guides and with Bike-Fax waterproof paper print them off and use again and again……

Local mountain bikers Sue Savege, Paul Barbier and Dafydd Davis have taken note of the IMBA (the International Mountain Biking Association) who recently declared.. the mountain biking centers in Wales “offer some of the best new trails in the world.” They have ridden the mountains of Snowdonia forwards and backwards to put together this inspiring selection.

Chapters cover classics like Betws y Coed and the Gwydyr forest plus the Marin trail as well as Coed y Brenin and southern Snowdonia. There are routes for Llanberis and Beddgelert plus even Conwy Mountain and the coast. The guide gives a choice from hundreds of kilometers of thrilling handbuilt singletrack to mouth watering traditional rides across mountain and moor. Put all of them together with a good selection of local amenities, it gives the perfect purchase for a weekend’s riding in Snowdonia. Produced by Bikefax and available at www.bike-fax.com

Another Sue, Sue Heywood, is a big name on the Mountain Bike scene for her racing palmeres offroad. She’s currently with Trek/VW and there’s an interview with her up at Cyclingnews.com.
Saturday’s bike shop discussion involved a bit of talk about SRAMs Blackbox stuff. I think if you’re into offroad it has the same sort of kudos associated with it that Campagnolo Record has on road bikes.

You don’t see much of it, it’s alluring in a carbon kind of way, difficult to get hold off, expensive and works, but differently to Shimano. So there’s a definite appeal with Blackbox kit, but many people will be pursuaded to buy blackbox stuff because of the extensive list of riders that are prototyping and developing it in the field. An impressive list and some impressive brakes too.

Back from Afan
May 23rd, 2005

This year seems to be going so quick that I don’t seem to be able to keep track of things very well. Sometimes just sitting down and typing this thing helps keep stuff in perspective. There’s definitely a lack of riding and too much time in front of computers going on, but it’s been heading that way for the last few years and these days it’s what pays the bills and finances expensive hobbies.

So one of the outcomes of the Afan weekend was the realisation of the fact that the Crossmax XLs I bought several years ago, thinking back it was at least three years ago, have finally started to show their age. The freehub is one the way out and it sounds like a demonic cross between a Chris King and an old Hope Ti Glide, with the volume turned up to max and the added twist of you don’t know when it’s going to engage or be really noisy.

Specialized Enduro ExpertI don’t supposed being run as a singlespeed set of wheels for several months helped much, but they’ve been so good I’m getting all the parts and I’m going to keep ’em running longer. Thing with disc specific wheels is that apart from stone chips and dings there isn’t that much that can wear them out. Once serviced they’ll be running on the new full susser, photos of which are now up on the site.

Now I put my hand up and say that since I stopped riding on the road, my interest in road bikes has diminished, which may explain why the new road bike project is probably nearing two and a bit years and is not really much nearer completion. When it IS finished I do hope it will look better than this, which has to be one of the most cluttered bikes I’ve seen in a while. The cranks and big E A S T O N lettering on the wheels doesn’t help.

I suspect that one of the reasons I haven’t written much about road bikes is that until the spring classics are pretty much in full swing and the action starts the world of road bikes for the occasionally interested observer is in fact fairly dull. Only once the big races start, then the previews of the new kit coming out begins and so the news actually becomes worth reading. Now the fact that Chris King have aided the current fashion for pink by introducing a new anodising colour isn’t exactly news (and to be honest I think Independent Fabrication and Eric Roman started the trend with his famous singlespeed), but now everyone seems to be getting in on the game or at least slowly catching on. Possibly more interesting is reading on cyclingnews about flaky carbon fibre and that Mavic are to re-release the Helium wheelset.

The Giro has been fairly interesting this year and it will be good to see what happens in the closing stages. There certainly seems to be less predictability in the big Italian race than there does in Le Tour. On the final road-related note, there’s a great interview with Eddy Merckx on the web and I’m sure if mountain biking had been around in his day, he’d have probably had a go at that too.

Forge used to make nice mountain bike bits and bobs, like thumbshifter mounts that converted bar end road shiters into proper thumbies. They stopped doing bike bits a few years ago now and have decided to concentrate on where the money is: motorsport parts and accessories.

Roofless
May 19th, 2005

Updating seems to have gone out of the window recently which really is pretty slack on my behalf, but the good news is that a large part of the reasoning for this is bike related. A new full susser has been procured and tested on arguably some of the finest trails in the UK. A weekend of riding, drinking and chilling in Afan Forest Park, south Wales was the ideal venue for taking a new Enduro. Ironically most of the people I was riding with were actually on singlespeeds so I spent most of the time wondering if I’d brought the right bike, especially on the long uphills.

It’s the first stable platform bike I’ve owned and it does climb and ride like a hardtail and a much lighter bike than 30lb, 6″ travel freeride bike it is. On the down’s it comes into it’s own and really flies. There’s probably a good degree of scope for adjusting the shock mount by swapping it out to alter the angles, because as stock it’s a fairly slack headtube and consequently a bit slow to turn in on some singletrack, but you do get plenty of stability on the downhills.

As well as playing with bikes, there has been playing with the house (currently roofless) and the new car, as well as work. All in all it’s been busy. Photos and more stuff next week.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides