Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Top Tip…
September 30th, 2008

…don’t put your iPod Shuffle through the washing machine in the pocket of your riding shorts. It’s drying out now, but I reckon that it’s 50/50 as to whether it’ll live to ride another day.

Hey Jacob…
September 28th, 2008

it’s been a long time!

I’ve decided that todays ride could have gone in a number of directions. I could have taken the cross bike out. I could have changed the tyres on the singlespeed and taken that, but the most appealling prospect was taking the Remedy out again and letting it rip. The time spent between getting up and setting off to ride was extended a little by having to change tyres from the downhill numbers it’s been wearing recently to some lighter weight treads. As I was ground uphill later I was glad I’d bothered.

From Glossop I had the intent of heading over Chunal and dropping into Hayfield, but a huge traffic tailback saw me take an alternate route via Charlesworth and the Monk’s Road. Thick pea soup fog on the tops meant that the early part of the ride out of Hayfield was a bit overcast. The white shooting cabins at the top of Middle Moor which are usually the point of reference for the turn down to White Brow were hidden in the gloom, so as I nailed it downhill I was hoping it was the right trail.

Snake Path

Turned out it was the right trail, and after hacking up and over Kinder and contouring around some cheeky bits, it was a hack uphill to reach Edale Cross from where it was time to hit Jacob’s Ladder. This is one of my favourite descents, now with a new added roll in and funnel chute at the top… I ran out of disc pads half way down, so just had to go even faster and try not to crash. After the down, there’s always an up, in this case Chapel Gate, which now has ruts 4 to 5 feet deep where the rain has washed away the trail.

The group of five trail bike riders who blitzed passed me on the lower flat sections were soon rediscovered pinned under their bikes, in the process of falling off them, revving the nuts off the engines (but going nowhere) or pushing, dragging and manhandling their bikes. It could be described as messy, but with all the heavy breathing, burning rubber and hot air, it could quite equally be called gay.

I’ve decided that the vast majority of trail bike riders are rubbish. When they come to anything remotely technical and they might as well be wearing pink ballarina slippers and a tutu for all the poncing about going nowhere fast that follows. So they can’t ride up technical climbs, can’t ride down technical descents, about the only time they’re quicker than a mountain bike is when the trails so wide and smooth that they might as well be on the road, which, it seems to me, means they’re missing the entire point of having something with big brakes, a powerful motor and masses of suspension travel…

September 26th, 2008

This morning I decided I would forego the pleasure of riding a bike which sounds like it’s about to spew it’s bearings all over the side of the road in a black oily mess. The days choice for the bike to work was the ‘cross bike, which by all reasoning should be a sound choice with it’s sporty position and gayer wheels. Pumped the knobblies up so they were as firm a firm thing and headed off. Almost immediately I notice the stems not quite straight and the saddles a bit lower that I like it, but there’s no point stopping to adjust them now.

Second set of traffic lights on the way to work and some one tries to kill me. Never one to wait in traffic and having ridden the same road to work for the last four years I know the light sequence inside out. When you know the timings you can be off the line from the lights as soon as they change, which was exactly what I did this morning. This would have been fine except for the stupid cow in the small green car that jumped the red lights coming from my left and then turned right across the junction…

I think it’s only the fact that I was concentrating on looking out for numpties, that I was centre line riding and I’d gunned it from the line that I didn’t end up through her windscreen with several thousands pounds of bespoke and beautiful bike acting as a ground anchor between the tarmac and the front of her car. Having spotted her special move coming at me, I stomped the pedals and swerved and she just missed me. After that, nearly mowing down a still hungover student staggering down the cycle path using the railings for upright stability seemed pretty run of the mill.

September 25th, 2008

Just so you know, that godawful noise as I pass you is not my knees about to explode, it’s my commuter bike. I have destroyed another Truvativ bottom bracket. This isn’t a good thing – this one’s only six months old. I’d love to claim that it was the result of my raw, explosive sprinting power and brute strength, but the sad truth is that it’s probably my frame whih needs the bottom bracket cups facing. The entire drivechain needs replacing, so I think that there’s going to be some TLC spent on the bike before it heads into winter…

A few months ago I was contacted by some guys interested in beasting themselves over the Cape Epic route. They’ve been keeping a blog of their preparations. Check it out here. I’d hoped to be riding there again, but it’s not going to happy this year and as there’s so many other great places in the world to ride, I think I’m going to focus on looking for a new international challenge.

Out of the Coed
September 13th, 2008

Went to Coed Llandegla today to get a proper riding fix in. Predictably the drive out to Wales today was in Glorious sunshine, but as soon as I reached the trailhead, the weather turned and I ended up getting wet. I managed to forget my lid on the way there, so took this as a sign that it was time for a new one (i’d only been thinking this on Wednesday as I left work). The Xen must be about six years old now, the padding is falling apart and the Roc Loc’s held on with Zip ties. The Alps was its last outing as it has now been replaced by a rather sharp Fox Flux.

Coed Llandegla

Despite spending a good deal of the ride wishing I had the waterproofing properties of a seal, it was great to do some riding. I rode the masts loop that Neil and Lardy had shown me, branching off from the main Llandegla loop comprising of the red run with all the black sections. The Remedy was great on the jumps, but you know that you’ve really got to pump the bike through the jump sections of the Black run to get the most out of it and keep off the brakes. Probably one of my best runs yet today.

By the end I was feeling the weight of the Alpine downhill tyres and their super tackiness and not having had enough to eat. I’ll be taking Neil’s advice and putting some lighter tyres on for winter trails riding from now on. After some grub at the visitors centre, it was back in the car to drive home and the sun comes out again and it’s a glorious evening. Typical.

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