Mountain Bike Shenanigans

New Rubber
February 24th, 2009

It’s been a long time since any of my bikes have been shod with Wilderness Trail Bikes rubber (probably when Velociraptors were considered the ‘in’ tyres), but since the Nevegal death, I’ve decided to try a different combo on the Singlespeed for a while…

Tyres

Weirwolf upfront and a Motoraptor for the back. Lets see how they cope with what’s left of winter and the approaching spring…

Transfer Day
February 22nd, 2009

Saturday afternoon in Zermatt is a quiet time to be at the top of the highest ski run in Europe…

Snowboarding

The Day after Friday 13th…
February 15th, 2009

Friday 13th was fairly uneventful, but the following day was something different. The plan was to head up to Grizedale to introduce a friend to some trail centre riding. On loading the car up its noticed that the rear tyre on their bike was all split and cracked – Hmm didn’t notice that when cleaning it. So we stopped off at Wilf’s in Staveley on the way up for a late lunch and picked up a new tyre in Wheelbase.

By the time we arrived at Grizedale it was gone 2.30pm. The pay and display rates are currently £2 for 2 hours or £4 for all day. We had just over £2 in lose change, so decided to buy the ‘2hrs will be just enough’ ticket just before leaving the carpark. By the time the normal preride getting changed and ready faffage had been complimented with a tyre change and then a inner tube change in the same wheel due to a sticky valve leaking air, it’s nearer 3pm when we start riding.

Anyway off we go. The trails are easy going in comparison to some centres so I think it’s a good introduction to singletrack with some technical bits and boardwalk sections. Still I come around one corner to find my fellow rider tangled up in their bike to the side of the trail. Not enough momentum to get over a step up and they’d crashed out. No damage other than some dented confidence and we’re soon back on the route.

Progress was fairly slow, but steady riding around in the snow covered fireroads. Coming out of a singletrack section near the most northerly part of the loop a graunching noise from my rear wheel makes me think that the rear disc pads have picked up some grit. Feather the brake lever a bit and try and get it to clear as I climb up the hill and about 5 seconds later there is a rifle shot as the rear tyre explodes.

Another Kenda Nevegal that’s ripped through the sidewall just above the bead. Oh well no problems, I’ve been in this situation and done the repair before. Camelbak opened up to get the tools and food out. A wrapper from a bar will form an adequate tyre boot. So with the tyre off I set about putting some air into a new tube to give it some shape for fitting. About four strokes into pumping the tyre up, the shaft of the pump snaps off the piston. Bugger. My Mountain Morph’s been all over the world with me, but it’s just died in the Lakes.

So it’s 4.30pm. Light is fading fast. We’re in the middle of a forest in the Lakes. We’ve just realised that neither of us remembered to buy a car parking ticket from the Pay and Display, we’ve one bike between us, the other has a tyre with a hole in it and no means of pumping it up.

Just as I’m calculating the best way off the mountain, a horse rider turn up with a mountain biker riding along side. I do a Tinker Juarez and ask if he has a pump I can borrow and it’s with some relief that he says “yes”. We have some banter with our Irish rescuer who also donates a Park tyre boot and with the aid of some duct tape wrapped around the tyre and rim in the damaged section the bike is back in action. We part ways and trying to keep as little weight on the rear wheel as possible we make it into Moor Top carpark and begin the final and best sections of the North Face Trail back down to the Grizedale Visitors centre.

The fields are becoming misty, the light is disappearing and it’s with a woop woop that we make it back to the car to find that we’re escaped getting a parking ticket. Great day out…

New Headset Follow Up
February 13th, 2009

Finally organised things enough to fit the new headset that had arrived at the end of last month. As planned it had the desired effect of releasing around an extra 10mm of stack height.

Midweek Escape
February 12th, 2009

Wednesday off was a luxury this week and an opportunity to squeeze some extra riding in. I was hoping to get to Llandegla but the place is shut due to too much snow, so a local route was opted for. The Compstall Loop I’ve ridden before was chosen.

It was relatively mild in the City, but as the Peak District was neared and height gained the temperature plummeted and there was still plenty of snow on the ground up on the tops. Brake pad destroying conditions and some tripoding necessary to get safely down some of the descents that had been buried in drifting snow. It was great to be out though!

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides