Mountain Bike Shenanigans

What Tyres For…
August 30th, 2006

My old club, the Guernsey Velo are in the middle of moving over to a new website. It’s looking good. It puzzles me that riders are clearly heading over to the UK to race (some even to Manchester), but none get in touch. That puzzles me a bit. Maybe I need to return to the island and see if I’m still able to mix it with the mountain bikers in their races.

Not a day after I popped into Harry’s and hear that Ben has not only found work in a bike shop again, but is living in a tent, I get this:

From: Ben
Subject: Yo, Yo, Yo!
Howdy folks,

Hows it going? Hope this finds you all ok. Thought it was about time to let you all know what I’m up to. I dont get much access to the internet at the moment, so i’m making the most of it while I can. Well, I’m still living up in scotland, not at my folks house anymore though.

Got my self a job in a bike shop again, Up at Bothy Bikes in Aviemore. It was a very short notice thing, went in and asked for a job – they said yes and that was that. Moved up about five days later. Didn’t quite have time to find accomodation though, so went armed with all my camping stuff. Now, all the campsites were full when i got there – so I’ve kinda started camping out with a few guys from the shop. They’ve started a little campsite of there own, randomly in a field (right to roam act!), and I was invited along. After looking for a few rooms etc, I decided (and was told) that I was gonna stay at the campsite! Hell its free rent, no bills and good craic too. So to cut a long story short I’m living in a tent in a field in Aviemore. Bliss.

So if your ever up that way give us a bell. I’ve just come back from lets gets too. A weeks mountain biking. It was dope, although it rained heavily at first, so super muddy. But it dried up and we had the best time, going over to switzerland and all over the place. Some pictures will appear soon. My rear wheel kinda died and i missed a days riding which was gutting, but I get trade price again now so its all good. Bikes are expensive though, my rear shock blew up just before going out so that needed replaced too! Now my vans too rusty to fix up for its mot so I need a new one of those too. AArgghh. Just as i was saving money. Ahh well, thats the way it goes. Gotta laugh really, It could be worse.

Anyhoo, I’ll stop waffling. Hope your all good and hope to catch up soon. As i said I have no internet so if you reply I may take a while to get back. If you’d rather, drop me a line or text. Look after yourselves.


Sounds like mr Davies has been up to some antics trashing his Demo. I hope he gets some photos up on that website of his at some point.

Now we’re doing the Cape Epic, certain people are trying to convince me to do a Bike Safari. Now hang on. When you do a proper safari you’re in a rufty tufty 4×4 with men with guns. I’m not sure riding through a game park on a mountain bike offers quite the same level of protection – I’m sure one of the riders in the photos on that website has a rifle strapped to his Camelbak. I’ll have a Beretta with hollowpoint ammo in a shoulder holster before I’m doing that thank you very much. It at least raises the question “What tyres for outrunning Cheetahs?”

The North Face of Grizedale
August 28th, 2006

I was a bit slow to get going this morning, largely due to yesterday’s antics, but in the end I drove up to the Lake District and rode some waymarked man made trails. If yesterday was proper mounatin biking I don’t know if today was pseudoriding or what, but the route sponsored by The North Face in Grizedale Forest was reasonably entertaining. It reminds me a bit of Dalbeattie, in that there’s not that much climbing, but the Singletrack flows nicely and it all seems to be over before you know it.

It my first ride in the Lakes despite all these years in the north and I swear that I’m going to return to the Lakes before the year is out for another ride. The North Face trail was taken at a solid pace. There were loads of wooden boardwalk sections thrown in too. Although I was expecting these, there turned out to be a lot more than I had anticipated – which made it even better. Not many photos but a few in the gallery.

View from the Kirkstone Pass

With a shorter ride than expected there was plenty of time for a nice drive on the way back. I’d heard a lot about the Kirkstone Pass so I thought that I’d take a look. It turned out to produce a route that delivered the long way home. It was a stunning drive and was nice until I ended up stuck in traffic on the Motorway for about an hour.

I was sorting through some photos of things the other day and I have realised that I never posted up these two snippets from the US trip last month. The Americans seem determined to deny BSE and therefore are risking a massive population health risk if the link to vCJD is as solid as it appears. This report about turning a blind eye is from USA Today.This should need no explanation.

Floyd Landis

Proper Mountain Biking™
August 27th, 2006

If Proper Mountain Biking™ involves getting a map and planning a ride from scratch and then going out, finding the trails and following them, then it’s my favourite kind of riding. The excitement lies in trying to follow trails that look so clear and distinct on the map, but in reality turn out to be vague and hard to place. Is it this path or that one? It’ll be a right bugger if I ride down this hill the wrong way and then have to ride back up…

Based on this assumption todays ride was was proper riding. The start point was Dunsop Bridge, tucked away in the stunning venue of the Forest of Bowland. There is a slight irony in the name because the Forest isn’t actually a forest, but does have a shed load of big steep hills and lots of valleys and moorland. Bowland was formerly called “Bolland” – a name for which there are various interpretations – a derivation of the Norse ‘Bu’ (cattle) or Celtic ‘booa’ a cow, signifying cowland. The word “Forest” is derived from the latin “foris” meaning an extensive wood or tract of open country.

Taking in the View

After rolling out of the village Tyrrell and I spent about an hour looking for the first trail. This involved riding up and down the road on the same hill several times. Which was nice (in a “bloody hell this hill is steep” and “not a-bloody-gain” kind of way). In the end it turned out we had ridden too far up a hill we didn’t need to ride up chasing some dude on a road bike. Not only had we ridden too far up, we’d crested it and ridden all the way down the other side. We rode back to the summit three times before we finally worked out that we had misread the map…

Of course once we made it onto the trail it was a great day out. Half way around we stopped at a pub for lunch – a Trans Cambrian classic combination of Aberdeen Angus Lasagne and local Golden Trough beer. The afternoon brought the best riding of the day, but it came with a price. As we started the homeward section the riding took us through a small woodland, wherein the trail dropped down to a ford crossing.

The run in and exit of the ford and the stream bed over which the water was flowing was all concrete. As you might imagine it being in a woodland it had several years of rotten leaves breaking down on it and as a consequence was slippery as a very slippery thing. I was carrying far too much speed into it and it was like hitting black ice. One minute I’m upright and the next I’m sliding down to the river. Christ that hurt. New forks scuffed, dented pride a few laughs for Tyrrell, but no real damage done. Post ride assessment revealed a big bruise on the left hip with accompanying road rash and a bruised elbow. What an ace day out. Proper Mountain Biking rules. The photos are in the photo section.

Updated: August 2020 fixing broken links

Titanium Deluxe
August 24th, 2006

Build No. 4

Now with 2007 Fox F32 100RLCs and Gold Marta SLs
More photos in the bikes section

A German Killed My…
August 23rd, 2006

In the latest issue of Outcast Chipps made a comment that the organised racing experience and numbers at the SSWC04 in Berlin hadn’t really been to his personal liking. Now because I’m crap, I didn’t go to Berlin so I can’t comment on what it was like, but Phaty can ‘cos he was one of the organisers and while he respects Chipps’ right to an opinion on things singlespeedy and bikes in general, he’s clearly got a message to tell the world. Check out the Phatblog (and more importantly this Patriot 66. Where’s mine? And no, I don’t want a Rolhoff on it). Back to the point. To call it spew and lies is a bit over the top. It’s just an opinion. It’s like me saying I think that the Solitude Cycles website is a bit shit. Take it with a pinch of salt, ignore it or whinge about it.

Pratting about with the details, such as who heads WADA and how he conducts himself, and whether someone at a lab has a friend at a newspaper is rearranging the deckchairs on the Belgrano. After Conquerer has fired the torpedoes.”

John Stevenson is ace. Read more about his take on what I think consider the ridiculous Landis petition. The bikebiz intro to the petition sets the scene for the discussion that followed. It’s a proper singletrackworld thread with a real discussion. About bikes too. And with big words, proper sentances and thought out arguments and positions.

I bookmarked a few other sites recently. I’m not 100% sure of the reasons that this spoof conversation between Dave Turner and Tony Ellsworth was created, but it paints a fairly clear picture of some ‘issues’. the disclaimer on the site is also worth reading:

These articles are PARODIES (PAIR-O-DEEZ for our Maine visitors), please do not take the articles with anything more than a grain of salt. If an article is taken seriously, and we find out about it, we will beat you about the head and shoulders with a headset press. Also be aware that cranksets are not passed easily, and we don’t mean tossed or thrown… we mean PASSED.

Epic Journeys on bikes probably don’t get much bigger than ridding from England to China and back again. Edward Genochio on 2wheels is blogging it across the world. It’s interesting reading and there’s a fairly eclectic mix of photos too. Recent posts have included:

The hot news is:
1. It’s hot.
2. I’m in Lvov (aka Lviv), Ukraine, where it is hot.
3. It’s hot.Apologies for lack of blog since China. Will make up for it one day, I promise.

Hot news from Kazakhstan
Chaps, I’m in Uralsk. Edward

Shymkent. Hot. Cycling. 14,288 km since Shanghai. Hope you enjoy the new minimalist blogging style. Edward

I apologise for the absence of any photos in the previous post. Here is some clover, which made a nice soft bed for the night on the way to Almaty.

Day 271 – Clock-watching in Khorgos
In 14 hours time they will let me over the border, inshallah. Yesterday I haggled with the borderfolk for a long time. It really wouldn’t be such a bad thing to let an honest man into Kazakhstan 2 days before his visa officially starts, would it? “You must wait here”, said the borderman. “Khorgos (Huoerguosi, the Chinese call it) is a lovely place. Time will fly here”.

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