Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Shiny Bike Bits
January 29th, 2009

This little beauty turned up in the post during the week. It gives Chris King a good run for its money in terms of quality. It features very nice machining and is very lightweight. I like the design as it seems very well thought out, even coming with a special fitting tool to protect the bearings from a press.

With a super low stack height it will give just over an extra 10mm of steerer height on the bike this is going to be fitted on to – saving the need to buy a new steerer assembly. I think that it’ll also slacken increase the head tube by just enough too.

Mud Skills
January 27th, 2009

Rode out on Sunday and decided to practice some mud skills on the greasy clay based mud around the reservoirs in Debdale Park. It was incredibly wet and muddy as expected and of course the inevitable puncture occurred at the worst possible moment when the bike was at its most filthy. Up near the Golf and Sailing Club House, the piece of land that used to have a makeshift motocross course on it with some little jumps bits of singletrack and enough stuff to keep you interested for about 20 minutes has been It’s been torn up and it looks like the golf club are building an extra hole on the land. Bit of a bummer really.

Weekend Double
January 20th, 2009

Rode both days this weekend. A reverse loop of the river run on Saturday and a trip up and down the Longdendale Trail on Sunday, clocking up about 35 miles between the two. Nice easy riding, great weather and better than expected trail conditions. Ended up reading about the Lights in follow up to the ride – I’d never heard of them before.

Woodhead Chapel

Wee Ben has been in touch – he’s living it up in New Zealand and getting some great riding in during the summer weather conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. Check out his photos in his blog.

Back to Normal
January 14th, 2009

This week has involved some surreal commuting and it’s only the second time I’ve ridden to and from work. Last night I was commuting home and some fella on a white mountain bike with a lot of seat post showing comes buzzing past. No problem with this except he’s dressed completely in black and has no lights. Or a helmet. Well maybe he doesn’t need a helmet because I’ve already calculated that this guy is a bit of a tool, a fact that he confirms shortly later by weaving between as many vehicles as possible both at speed and stationary.

As I rock up at a set of lights another rider is already stopped, but our friend has already launched himself through the red lights, having to swerve deep into the left hand turn of the junction to get through the traffic already hurtling through it. The other rider said what I was thinking: Wanker. The lights changed and we both set off, I decided the riding seen could lead to some spectacular carnage, so upped the pace to reel him in. I over took him with some white line riding, only to lose the advantage as he road up the pavement to undercut some stationary traffic. My parting call of “get some lights dickhead” as he turned off the main road at least seemed to be acknowledged, as he responded with a bewildered over shoulder look.

Tonight the excitement was the driver of a silver Merc estate who, as I was doing some centre line riding past stationary traffic seemed to purposefully move further over to try and block my overtaking. What a loser. Didn’t work either, but did mean I had to ride on the wrong side of the road to get past. That wasn’t so bad though as the carnage that the sound of an ambulance causes as it approaches from behind. Quite why people still don’t know how to react to these still amazes me. It would be nice if they were a bit more thorough in their checking of mirrors as they scatter themselves to make way.

2009 Begins
January 5th, 2009

First ride of the year today and it was into work, which isn’t very exciting to be honest. Other things have taken priority over the last few days and despite some loosely made plans, nothing materialised on the riding front. The commute was one of those winter rides where you have to be careful of what’s happening under the tyres. The roads were a combination of snow, ice, water and dry patches at varying points along the journey. Once or twice the rear wheel lost grip completely under acceleration, other times it was twitching under braking, but perhaps miraculously I made it into work without any serious drama.

Riding home was much the same. It was cold just getting changed back into riding gear and that was indoors. That kind of cold that penetrates through thick wool socks from standing around on a cold floor. Then as soon as I was outside the air was so cold and dry it just seemed to suck the warmth out of your lungs. Riding along meant cold air penetrating any body parts not insulated and windproofed. I think I’m going to have to dig out the winter neck warmer so I can pull it up over my chin and nose. It’s getting properly cold now!

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides