Mountain Bike Shenanigans

August 28th, 2005

Sure enough at 3.30am on Saturday morning some barking mad Scottish folk fueled by the products of the finest distilleries in the land left an incomprehensible answer phone message telling me what a great evening I was missing. Wish I could have been there it sounded like a good time was had by all up in the hills above Glentress.

Planning for the inaugural (in association with transalp is now progressing nicely. The countdown has started to next July when the lucky few will be escaping from the UK to head out to some of the best big mountain riding in Europe, to cross borders, pass over cols and drink cold beers at the end of dusty alpine days. I’m looking forward to it.

News in the world of bikes includes the fact that Bontrager is going to produce some carbon rimmed mountain bike disc wheels following on in the footsteps of the likes of HED and ZIPP. Quite how they’ll hold up to boulder fields remains to be seen… Meanwhile SRAM is getting geared up to hit the road market.

More graffiti with a message here.

How illegal is it to vandalize a wall if the wall itself has been deemed unlawful by the International Court of Justice?

The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin wall and will eventually run for over 700km – the distance from London to Zurich.

The International Court of Justice last year ruled the wall and its associated regime is illegal. It essentially turns Palestine into the worlds largest open-air prison. It also makes it the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.

JMC Remembered
August 26th, 2005

_ August 2001 _ August 2005 _

spot the difference

There been quite a lot happening recently in Europe. in the alpine regions there’s been torrential rain, which has transformed areas that are usually safely enjoying 35 degree heat into dangerous and waterlogged places. In the thick of it all the Swiss correspondent has some photos and a rather good insight into the character of certain individuals:

From: Suzi
Subject: Remind you of Manchester?

I can imagine you and Chris being this stubborn somehow :-)

It's just a big puddle really...

More photos here

Swiss television has shown pictures of bridges that have collapsed, huge chunks of caved-in motorway, farms swept away by mudslides and people being evacuated by boat through normally busy city streets. Electricity was cut off and drinking water contaminated in several parts of the country and many villages were isolated as roads were swept away and railways stopped their services.

Meanwhile Portugal is being toasted by wildfires that are burning out of control and are decimating a country which despite normally having some of the highest average annual temperatures in Europe does not maintain any contingency plan for dealing with fires. Firefighting aircraft from France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy have all joined the efforts against the fires this week in answer to a call to help. Quite why Portugal does not maintain a fleet of water-carrying planes isn’t stated, but things aren’t looking good.

Meanwhile in the North:

From: MacPuppy
Subject: Groof woof yip gruff awooooooooooo !!!!

roughly translated : no I don’t fecking know when I’m going yet but the window of opporchancity to sneak in a last bivvi is closing as StuN will be sloping off to find some fruity trails in Sept and I might have been shipped out to the land of smellee cheez an onions by the time he returns. Ghostdog is also being exported – to the land of burning cottages so his time in the glorious North (no that’s the proper North) is also fading fast. Callum vanished without trace ages ago …. will he make it out to play ???

So a cunning plan has hatched – contraflow bivvi this friday night at Glentress.

Meet at the bottom car-park around 8pm … beyond that who knows but I’m thinking of stashing the bivvi gear in a car at the buzzards, riding light for the contraflow and then rendezvous’ing (note my command of the new tounge already) with buzzards before sloping off into the deep tree’s with our phones/hipflasks/cake – usual script.

Roll down to the hub in the morning for a full-on hubba bubba breakfast.

Who’s in and who’s satelliting ????

who have I missed ????

Mentalists. I of course have opted out of such lunacy (well this time anyway), but am fully expecting a whiskey fueled phone call in the middle of the night if they can get any reception. A bit more notice next time guys?

The singlespeed worlds have happened. Find out how the big event in Penn State went down over at Singletrack.

Finally read this and remember Jason McRoy. I’ve updated my page here.

Wee Ben
August 18th, 2005

First up an email from Ben:

Thats it all done. Finally got some stuff on the blogspot page. All of my canada 2004 photo’s, check it out and leave a comment if you want!

Looks great to me. Must admit I’m tempted, but I would definitely need some peer pressure to commit to some of that riding though! My efforts at the Ewok Village at Glentress have not convinced me of my North Shoreness.

It’s quite clear that Ned Overend doesn’t know how to retire, which for mountain biking is a good thing because he’s a bit of a character. Inaugural World Champion, he quit in 1996 at the age of 41, then joined the fledgling XTERRA off-road triathlon circuit and scooped up a couple of their World Championships before retiring again in 2003. Steve Medcroft catches up with Ned to talk about life at 50 for Cyclingnews.

Another Mountain Bike legend Keith Bontrager has had a bit of a shocker in his attempt to conquer the seven day long TransAlp Challenge. Read Keith’s accounts here, unfortunately it didn’t all go quite to plan…

Now Stateside the Leadville 100 has just taken place and for the first time in a long time I’ve been over to check out what Big Jonny has to say about things. thought he’d be back for revenge and sure enough revenge was involved, but the Gringos got the better of Big Juan’s bodily defences and almost finished him off. He has an epic write up of his race over at DC and the Gnome has more over at Onespeeder

No Singlespeed Worlds Trip for Me
August 16th, 2005

On the day that they have announced a rise in alcohol related deaths it seems only fitting to say something about bikes and booze…

Cycling on steep mountain trails will beat you up and wear you down. Through a long day of such activity, there is no better medicine than water to keep the athlete’s body functioning at its optimum level. Yet, wine has its rightful place in the realm of trail-riding… More at Dirtrag

Three weeks to go and I’m moving house. Reality is starting to take hold. It’s not going to be pretty! There are various implications, not least having to move several years of accumulated deliveries from Amazon. Fortunately however the new flat is well equipped with book cases. I wonder if I will find any hidden trails?

So over the last few months I’ve been a little bit busy on the website front and not content to be doing it all day at work, I’ve been roped into doing a bit of extra coding. The result went live last week and is the Independent Fabrication on-line store. Check it out here.

Not going to make it to Pennsylvania and to be honest I’m a bit disappointed…

Bikeage ’05
Prime the pump for the SSWC’05

As promised, there will be a loosely organized, unrelated-to-the-official-event, low-key, pre-SSWC05 ride/beer drinking event for those coming through, and/or living in and around Philadelphia. Even if you don’t plan on attending the big event, come out and join us in Philly.

Bikeage ’05 will meet on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (you know…where Rocky ran up the steps in all his steroid-induced glory) at 2:00 pm on Friday, August 19th. From the Art Museum steps, we’ll head to the local trails for a rally-style ride and a sampling of some of the Keystone State’s finest beer. Afterwards, the festivities will continue at Tattooed Mom’s [530 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, ph# (215) 238-9880)], a bike-friendly watering hole on the much over-hyped South Street. That’s right…more beer (and food) at one of the finest establishments on the “hippest street in town.”

The folks at Tattooed Mom’s will be offering us one-geared folks a $3 Yards ESA special, as well as 50 cents off of any food and drink. If that’s not enough to get you to the bar, we’ll also have some fabulous door prizes…even for the Canadians.

After that, you’re on your own. We’re doing this event early in the day to allow you (us) enough time to head out to State College on Friday night. Aren’t we thoughtful? It’s only about a three and a half hour drive from Philly, but we encourage you to stick around Philly until Saturday morning if you’re out sampling the sauce on Friday.

If you do stick around on Friday night, we suggest checking out a cool punk rock show with Del Cielo / True If Destroyed / Belaghost at Space 1026 (1026 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA) put on by the ultra-righteous R5 Productions. See here for more info

There’s been a spate of tagging wars going on recently and the walk into work is a fairly interesting gallery at the moment. Check some more urban artwork here.

This is a great website for people looking for new fonts for making stuff. Why has it taken so long to find larabiefonts?

Bike Bits
August 7th, 2005

A while ago I linked posted something about Spinner forks. These are the lightest suspension forks on the market at the moment with a titanium, scandium and magnesium construction that ways little and costs a lot. There’s now a Spinner USA website up here so you can check out the Aeris forks in a bit more detail. From what I gather Spinner have been making forks for a certain big manufacturer for a few years (take a look and see if you can work out who, it’ll probably only take one look at the all mountain Echo and you’ll see the resemblance with another popular fork). Spinner’s previous own brand kit, In-Sync, has never been much to write home about, other than the fact it seemed to replace RST as the OEM fork of choice on sub £500 bikes.

Now this is a great website: – What an original and simple idea and it serves a real and useful function, especially for those hard to get parts. As Matt Biskup, the genius behind the company suggests:

Please shop by the pictures, not the data. If you don’t see your bike on this list and would like our help locating a derailleur hanger for you, please email us at: and we’ll try to locate one for you.

One way to really help us is to email a digital photo or two of your derailleur hanger and/or the dropout of the frame if that’s all you have. If you can’t do digital photos, simply place the derailleur hanger on a regular photocopier and fax the copy to (678) 530-1052 with your name on it and bike info.

We have located hangers for Look, Litespeed, HM and many other brands that aren’t up on the site yet with this method. Our intent is to make this site the single point for cyclists to find derailleur hangers on the web.

The parts on offer are professionally engineered and are stronger than one that came from the original manufacturer and therefore can take a bigger hit than a standard hanger. If like me you have a penchant for wrecking hangers these bad boys may be just the ticket.

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