Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Trail Poaching

Saw loads of people out on bikes on my ride home, nice day for it and my front tyre did seal and held out OK so I took the blinglespeed out for a night ride too. Johnnie's broken himself (or rather his son broke him) so just me and Si last night, we started from Barrow bridge and went in search of lowey's new trail, very nice it was too. Up the golf course then down the road and up walkerfold to holdens farm. Cleats on my shoes which were working fine last week have now died so my right foot was ejecting at crucial points, damn. Unbelievably Si had a spare in his bag so I sat on coal pit road and changed them - top work. Then onto the moors, all singletracky not at all like 99% of the trails round here, north york moors-esque, lovely. Kind of went OTB when front wheel dug into the mud exiting a dip, 1 hand down but didn't end up on my face :-) Proper steep at the end, couldn't ride it all, will have to try again sometime soon. Can't see it being much good after wet weather but good during a dry spell. Up scout road and down the quarry, very interesting especially seeing as how halfway down the last section I realised my forks were still locked out from the road climb - oh yeah thats why I'd stopped using lockout. Was a bit wierd actually, loads of empty parked cars on scout road and we heard voices as we went through the quarry but no sign of anyone, wonder what they were all upto in the dark. We climbed up horrocks fold then couldn't decide on a route and our tired legs were moaning so we went back down, through smithills and then I tricked Si into doing an extra bit, a steep stepped climb up here

View Winter Hill Night in a larger map
Bit of a lungbuster but good practice, I nearly stalled halfway up, had to thrutch forward and get back into a rythmn, Si aced it but didn't look too happy about it :-) back through the park and home.
Another short but fun night ride.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Take a chance on me

Just dropped another couple of hundred grams off the blinglespeed, got rid of the tube in the front wheel, not sure the latex is going to seal the paper thin specialized tyres tho, we'll see...on the ride home. Ride in was ace, first xc commute of the year, lovely. Good one at the weekend too, went to the peaks did cavedale, pin dale, quarry works, up hope brink, hope cross, jaggers clough (where we got stuck behind a big group of sloooow moving gee gees) and back up mam tor. Nice day for it, really should ride there more often, in particular ride a few of my well used routes backward - tho not this one, up cavedale? I don't think so. Stripped my heckler down last night trying to track down an annoying creaking sound from the swingarm/BB area. Swingarm off bearings checked nope, BB stripped nope, BB and cranks replaced nope, everything stripped regreased and put back on creaking gone. Answers on a postcard coz I've no idea what it was.

Friday, 25 March 2011

The blinglespeed is born

Well I finally went for a carbon 456, could have gone for the whippet but I fancied something that could be burly-fied. When trying to decide on a frame I couldn't make my mindup whether to get a straight replacement for the inbred which was the original idea, a long stretched, xc-style of thing, or something a bit more play orientated, short and slack, like my ragley. The 18" 456 (and the cotic soul I also had in mind) is pretty much the same as my ragley so no point getting that so I got a 20". Built it up with parts from my ragley and took it out on the front street. Underwhelmed is the word. Too long for playing silly buggers, felt a bit short for pedalling and it wasn't all that light. Hmm oh dear what have I done. The inbred wasn't about storming down hills and shredding corners, it was just a bike for riding so I decided to get rid of the chunky ragley parts and put bits from my inbred on it, some cranks I polished up

(shiny huh?) I saved about a pound changing the tyres, a new seatpost (carbon to match) and my trusty old flite, another half pound saved so now I just needed a chance to ride it properly. Had the day of yesterday to decorate, by lunchtime with sun streaming through the windows I knew I had to get out riding. Finished the decorating quick and bolted out the door. Riding up the roads it felt ok, lightish and easy to pedal. Got to the first offroad at barrow bridge

steep climb and I'm out of shape but I got up ok, getting used to the feel of the bike, not too short at all. The top tube is massive, the standard bars and even the forks look weedy in comparison.

All the way up to burnt edge, gorgeous day and nice views.

I went and did 2 lads descent, set off and picked up some speed, woah too much speed, back brake isn't working 100%, the rotor got badly pitted on that wet clapham ride, backingplate braking = not good. It's dried out nicely up there but I was still going too fast but made it down. Bike handled well, wildeswood more of the same me going a bit quick but the bike just getting on with it and coping, I like it. I thrutched up Old rake (ouch) and winter hill access road, it was hardwork.

Do I look a little tired? San marino next, I think it's the first time I've ridden it this year, first dry run in a long while anyway. I clipped in let go the brakes and whoosh the bike took off, down here my heckler slowly picks up speed and just doesn't stop accelerating til I chicken out and brake, but this bike feels magnetically drawn to the bottom of hills, it accelerates so quickly - without me pedalling. Proper quick, less punishing than the ragley too. Guess the speed is due to light tyres, lightish wheels and some compliance in the frame. Got to the bottom with a big grin plastered on my face. Brilliant, I really like this bike. Decided to mooch home via longworth clough, never ridden all this before just little bits, saw a guy digging a drainage channel. I've seen him before on san marino doing trail repairs, he's certainly go this trail riding better, by the old works it was a rooty tech fest, he's filled in the roots with stones and ramped some of the boardwalk, less of a challenge but fun and easier to ride it through. Some buff singletrack too

Lovely. As I got to the golf club I was dizzy and weak, this gentle riding easing my way back to fitness is going well eh? A battered oat bar from my pack sorted that, whilst stopped I text lowey for permission to ride his private singletrack, manners cost nothing - well in this case manners cost a 10p text but sod the expense! Back home via hall i'th wood. Everything just rides so much better when it's dry, the trail down the to valley was brilliant. The bike is great the only issue I have it top tube based, it doesn't slope much so A you don't get a lot of clearance and B with a low stem the brake levers can hit it when the bars spin. It's also pretty wide so possible to catch your knees on it if you have a knees in pedal style. Oh and the seatpost slips, I might need some of that carbon grease stuff.
Sunny day, new bike, new trails, great route, fantastic.

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Just about to say goodbye to an old friend, I got my inbred in 2004, as I was building it up the wheel on my commuter imploded, the only other wheel I had was disc only and the commuter didn't have discs so the inbred started out rigid, flat bars, slick tyres, full mudguards, a proper road runner.....and it was ace, low CoG and sorted geometry meant carving round corners and through traffic was superb. After that i fixed it up for xc duties, a nod to lightness with a posh front wheel, road cassette, light tyres, bars, seatpost and saddle but a frame made of scaffold tubes and a coil fork (80mm fox) was never gonna be featherweight, I even tried it rigid and burks canondale FS was still lighter. But it was good, did a lot of local miles, extended commutes, an occasional 3 towers, it was dependable even tho the trails were normally tame. Parts were swapped around, the inbred normally getting the old stuff as I upgraded my full sussers.

In 2007 I decided to give singlespeeding a go and so this became my SSer, a decent stretched position for thrutching up hills and again got me out and about riding when the weather wasn't good enough for a "proper" ride. I put gears back on for hit the north and it was great, I rode everything the first couple of laps then as it got insanely slippy I had a few crashes but I got through it.

and yes that barrier is in the process of falling over and twatting my ankle.

After that it was back to SS duties, taken out in the rain and mud when I didn't wanna ruin my "good" bikes.
I did SSUK in 2009 where it was superb, not as nice as some of the bling niche stuff on display but it got me round quick enough and was faff free. SSEC 2010 was more of the same, solid dependable, puckeringly sketchy down the silly steep stuff but just right for climbs and swoopy singletrack.
It did lots more commuting
Clifton 2
and plenty of dark winter nightrides but now it's quite battered and very bruised, lots of dents and scrapes and while it's still going OK I feel it's time to retire it, the blinglespeed's almost ready and I need to make room for it so it's off to the shed for the inbred....for a time. I want to set it up rigid SS for child portage duties but no room in the house and no ground anchor in the shed so it's moth balled for now. Hope to see it again soon, still the nicest looking frame I've had I reckon, skinny tubes in that pearlescent white, the chunky on-one and stylised inbred graphics, they might be common as muck but for the first few years I had it (before I started meeting strangers off the internet) I was the only person I knew who had one and I loved it. I've owned my heckler for longer and done more exciting things on it but the inbred due to it's versatility has done lots, lots more rides and miles.

I'm a sentimental old eejit.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


Was looking forward to gettiong offroad again, just a short one tho so I drove up to the meet point, just as I got to horwich I realised I hadn't packed a jacket, doh! too late now. Was looking like I'd have to ride in baselayer and my carrier bag emergency showerproof, fortunatley Si had a spare jersey, phew. Perfect conditions, not a bit of wind, clear skies, not too chilly and for the first time in ages a brilliant view from the pike. Took it nice and easy but as I gently spun up hole in't wall I realised that for an unfit person (which I should be classing myself as at the moment) this climb was pretty hardcore - oops. 2lads and wildeswood are almost completely dry, at times I was reaching summer speeds....and then hitting a mud section where I hung on for dear life and tried to stay loose as it all went squirelly, luckily I made it through. School climb I walked/rode/walked/rode and then ICR to finish, loadsa fun and despite both of us pinging off lots of big rocks no punctures yay!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

My chest has slowly been getting better, I did have a splitting headache all day yesterday but woke up this morning clear headed so chanced riding in to work. Took it nice and gentle, road bike, gears, flat route, easy peasy. Hacked up about half a pound of horrible green gunge when I got to work but other than that I feel fine. Short night ride tonight and starting to plan a ride for weekend. Wahey! back in business.

Monday, 14 March 2011

How Much?

Nipped into halfords for some antisieze, you have this small tube at £3.49 or you have a big tub at £7.99 but look a bit closer, the tub is £16 per kilo, the tube is £175 per Kg, bloody hell thats some mark up. Having said that I bought a small tube over 3 years ago and it's only just run out, I imagine this tub will be named as part of my estate in my will, to be handed down to whoever has shown themselves to be the least cackhanded mechanic of the future generation. My dad and his dad where very mechanically minded, I'm hoping it's only skipped a generation with me.

So it's going to be like that is it?

Quite a nice day yesterday wasn't it? Just right for riding, on saturday I'd already decided to downgrade my plans from a big lakes ride to a short blast round rivi, sunday I awoke with a huge bout of coughing, awesome. Charlie's had a cough for a few days now and I had most definitely got it. Walking upstairs had me panting for breath and coughing a lung up. Bugger! OK so scrap the riding, I'll do some painting instead. Getting some stuff from under the stairs I notice a valve on the heating pipe work is leaking, hmm will have to sort that soon. Painting the skirting boards I go to switch off a rad valve and that starts leaking, argh! The day is not going well. Shut everything down, drain the system and off to B&Q for some new valves. Manage to get everything sorted with some advice from Johnnie (cheers) then after re-filling the system one of the stop valves at the boiler starts dripping slightly. Grrrrr, right I'd had enough, a few beers, a soak in a hot bath, some new tunes (kings of leon) and a read of the new singletrack chilled me out and cheered me up. Turns out the drip was just condensation, feeling well rough today tho, got a ride planned next sunday I hope I'm ok for that, I'm looking atleast another week off the bike tho.

Maybe I should run a poll/sweepstake, how many weeks of riding is dave going to miss this year due to illness/injury?

As promised

Samuri's ebook, available at all good bookshops Amazon, well worth a punt.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Just coz I've been resting my knees doesn't mean I've been sat on my arse. Tis the time of year to get all my bikes in tip top useable condition for the riding season. Unfortunately as Johnnie and others have pointed out I'm a bit hamfisted so things didn't exactly run smoothly. Stripped and replaced all seals on my fox shock, been worried about this but was quite easy actually. Replaced bearings in pompino back wheel, no worries. Built a wheel, new rim for my old hope xc hub, got it almost right then broke a nipple. Hmm apparently building wheels with no oil on the spoke threads is a bad move. Ah. Unbuild, replace mangled nips and rebuild, looks OK now, yet to ride. Replaced hub bearings, knocked them all out no probs, replaced freehub bearings with socket and vice easy, knocked the wheel bearings in with hammer and a 20mm socket and then noticed that 1. the socket wasn't quite the right shape, it had slipped and mangled the seals and 2. I had neglected to fit the axle before hammering in the 2nd bearing. Doh. Bearing out axle in bearing in replace seals with old ones spin wheel, sssgrunch sssgrunch, hmm, will do for now but need to replace the bearing that got mullered knocking it in/out/in again. Just fit a headset using a flypress and blocks of wood, having a workshop at work rocks. That's it so far but brakes to be bled, blinglespeed to be built and forks to be serviced.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Even more road rage

Another driver loses it at a cyclist, but on a more positive note police are backing up the cyclist and seem to be taking it seriously AND it's currently the top story on the BBC website. With a bit lot more exposure and backing from the police hopefully this sort of behaviour will (rightly) be stigmatised by joe public. (and hopefully in any future events the passing motorists might say/do something rather than just drive around the incident)