The Plan vs The Reality

So the weekend was supposed to involve an all day ride out to Hope in the Peaks and back on Saturday. The purpose of this little sortie was to pick some kit up from 18 Bikes, but then some of the stuff I have been waiting for hadn’t come in, so I decided to call it off and spent the day fitting the new fork on the singlespeed. The weight saving was over two and three quarter pounds, which in bike terms is massive. The Deluxe is just tipping the scales at 22lb now with great big Kenda Tyres on it, so something up to half a pound lighter would be possible just through swapping rubber.

Fitting the forks of course was not trouble free. I’d invested in a Park SG-6 steerer cutting guide because it’s a sound investment for someone like me who seems to change forks every 12 months on one bike or another. The spare hacksaw blades I thought I had of course weren’t where they were supposed to be. After 15 minutes of grafting to get half way through with a blunt blade left from some previous operation, I headed off to B&Q after lunch and bought a new saw and some spare blades. They had rubber mallets on offer too, so I picked one of them up as well.

Once they were on the bike, the wheel wouldn’t go around. It turns out that the cast magnesium dropout fouls the disc rotor bolts and just identifying this as the cause had resulted in them gouging a line through the soft metal of the fork dropout. I don’t think the combination of Chris King disc hubs and Hope rotors and bolts is unusual, but in this case a couple of passes with a file gave enough clearance, so I touched the drop out up with some enamel and I’ll keep an eye on the gap.

Today was plan B, get up early do a big ride out and try and find the start of the Midshires Way in Stockport. Well that didn’t work out either. I did eventually get out around 3pm, washed the bike and headed down to the park to snap a few photos before riding – only to discover the batteries in the camera were completely flat and the spare set was at home. Ride home and get them or ride on? Light is still scarce this time of year, so I rode and ended up clocking in 18 miles and finding some signposts to the Midshires Way near Junction 27 of the M60. I still need to explore more in that direction. Reddish Vale is only 25 minutes via the Fallowfield Loop Line, so exploring more should be easier via this route.

The trails had in general dried out a lot, but the council have stuck in a load of trail barriers along the disused railway line above Brinnington Park which is a pain, because they’re just too narrow to fit bars through. I decided to finally find North West Mountain Bikes in Cheadle. It’s been on my places to find for ages and I now know exactly where it is in all it’s graffiti’d glory. The ride back along the Mersey wasn’t the mudfest I’d imagined, in fact bumping into two sullen police cyclists who were pushing through a particularly sandy section near Northenden showed that the trails were in places really dry.

My knee was twinging a bit today. Not sure why. It was worse off road than on road. I’ll have to keen an eye on it. Very jealous of Simon et al. who headed up to the Lakes. My mind just wasn’t focused on it, but of course I wish I’d gone now – it looks like they had a great time. I’m jealous of them all.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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