Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Throwback Thursday
August 31st, 2013

Chipps Chippendale the editor at Singletrack dropped me an email recently to say that my old Trans Cambrian feature made it to Throwback Thursday on their site. I hope you enjoy seeing it again.

Following the ride that Paul, Tyrrell and I undertook, Chipps did a feature on the same route a couple of years later. It’s a British classic.

Jodphur Cafe
August 14th, 2013

This week’s Tuesday afternoon adventure was to the Jodphur Cafe in Reddish Vale. It’s always been a welcoming place for muddy mountain bikers and thankfully they don’t seem to mind small children either. Even if they do make a terrific mess eating muffins. Turns out that next door to the cafe is a farm where you can take under 3s for free which meant a nice bonus treat for the boys. Most climbing of any ride with the trailer so far, but survived okay. Not likely to get a ride in next Tuesday which was my last scheduled afternoon off.

See the Hills
August 7th, 2013

Picked the boys up from Nursery again on Tuesday Lunchtime and headed straight out on another adventure. We took the Fallowfield loop line to the eastern most limit, which is the edge of Debdale Park. Turns out the bit of land that used to have a few dirt jumps on it is now part of the golf course and the old industrial site next to it is now being turned into a housing estate.

The Boys

The View

So having got quite close to the Audenshaw reservoirs and the M60 we doubled back and headed off in searhc of ice cream. Suitably equipped with icy treats we stopped by the reservoir to spot ducks before heading off home. Good jaunt and a few more miles logged on the Singlespeed towing the trailer.

The trailer is looking a bit battle scarred. This come from being squeezed, dragged and scraped through various trail barriers. The canopy is also looking a bit dogged. The who thing did a full barrel roll and back onto the wheels whilst unladed one day last week on the nursery run. Took a right hander corner and next thing I knew it had gone. Not sure if it caught an edge of a pot hole but it rolled nonetheless.

The Damage

I’m going to try and get some kevlar fabric and sew it on.

Seeing Red
August 2nd, 2013

Day off yesterday, so headed out on the road bike. I was immediately reminded that the pawls on the Mavic Helium freehub are bolloxed and I need to order some new ones from the hub doctor. Nonetheless in general motoring around it was fine. I am also having to come to terms with the fact that I cannot just big ring it everywhere and I will occasionally need to use the front mech.

The results of doing so were interesting – the acceleration once you put the hammer down on the Ti Crown Jewel is insane. I think the super stiff cranks and BB setup just equate to immediate power transfer and coupled with the right gearing the bike accelerates like stink. When you’re slightly lifting the front wheel when gunning it then you know something is going on. Those SRAM Red levers shift so sweetly down the block too.

The ride itself was rather intense. The conditions when I left seemed to be cool and overcast and within 15 minutes became sunny and then incredibly humid. This on the whole was okay as long as you kept moving, but once you stopped then it was a hot and sweaty affair. Worst was being stuck in insane amounts of traffic for a mid-week ride outside of rush hour and then getting stopped at every single set of red lights. I kid you not it was like I was a bloody red light magnet yesterday.

Red lights

At the top of the climb out of Woodley into Hyde I felt like my brain was boiling. At least getting on the down hills provided some relief. Short on water I headed home sooner than planned, but I am at least getting some mojo back. A combination of more biking, a bit of running at a kettlebells class once a week is seeing an improvement in my general fitness and clearly I’ve lost some weight as shorts that wouldn’t fit before do now. Still someway to go to get back into a decent level of form, but those Peak District hills are calling.

Singletrack plus extra track
July 30th, 2013

As the in laws are on holiday for a month I’ve booked off Tuesday afternoons to look after the boys. So today at 1pm I scooped them up from nursery and bundled them into the trailer. It was adventure time.

Suitably armed with children’s snacks, spare nappy and baby wipes we were off. The downside to being lax on the riding front is that I have just discovered my Camelbak bladder has been stewing for the last god knows how long in the muddy Camelbak from my last ride. It is far from usable. I think it had water in it, but can’t be sure. It may now have aquatic life in it.

So my MULE was not sloshing with water but it did have other trail essentials and some water bottles. We were going off roading. Hooked up on the Fallowfield loop line, made a beeline to Chorlton and then took Hawthorn Lane down to the Mersey.

No way through...

The bloody kissing gates and horse step boxes were a nightmare. I manages to get the bike and trailer through one kissing gate after 5 minutes contorting bikes and then gave up. It was quicker to decouple and do it that way. I also did haul it up and over through a few of the horse step boxes, but that was only a recipe for breakage.

From there the TPT took us to Chorlton Water Park where after ice creams we had a pleasant, but bumpy ride up to Northenden before turning North for the ride home. That ribbon of occasional smooth single track is ok on a bike, but he wide track of the trailer meant a less smooth journey for the boys. I don’t think we’ll try that again.


We were home via a trip to the park to play on the swings after 2 hours riding and 16 miles hauling. My knees ache and I’m knackered but it was good to get out. Now I have a week to plan the next route…

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