Monday, 29 April 2013


Trying to decide what to ride at weekend, I remembered snowdon ban was almost upon us and the webcam the very top was covered in cloud but it looked free of snow, awesome, choice made. Si drove us up, started a little later than we wanted (8:45ish) and there was a worrying amount of white on the hills, oh dear have we made a big mistake? Climbed up the zigzags ok and pushed up to maesgwm, was a bit boggy and my knee gave me gyp but we got on to the top and flew down the other side, nice and fast and hoppable water bars, nice. Rode/pushed over to the hebron station and onto llanberis path, oooh busy. Got climbing and was going well, felt strong, wasn't cleaning everything obviously but was making good progress. Few sheeple meandering about the trail oblivious to our approach but nothing to worry about. Got to the pitched section picked up my bike, singing along to myself like a loon, started seeing walkers heading down, a few "morning"s and "nice day for it", what a bunch of grumps! Loads of walkers blanking us, those on the way up we passed seemed more the usual cheery sorts but lotsa people blanking us.

Got to clogwyn and had a quick rest then started the hard bit, snow started almost as soon as we went through the tunnel, a light covering that made walking in bike shoes hard work, got riding again after a while but plenty of slippy snow and a bit of ice, oh dear, not good for the run down. Got near the top and broke onto the trainline and took that to the top which was heaving. Quick trip to the top then back down sharpish. Snow wasn't bad, mostly cleared by all the traffic, very busy tho. Kept stopping at the entrance to tricky/narrow sections walkers were coming up, wait for them, people behind would see us waiting (a section we could clear in a few seconds) and carry on anyway, yeah thanks, wait a bit longer for some kindly souls to wave us through. One section we approached 4 people stopped having a chat, they look up and see us and start to move, nice one, I set off get into the section, slow speed thrutchy stuff, and see a lady hasn't moved, still stood in the middle of the trail, oh dear. So I brake and come to a halt infront of her with my front wheel at the bottom of a step, back wheel at the top, nowhere to put my foot so I fall over sideways, slowly and messily. She started swearing, felt like saying "calm down I've stopped, I'm just concentrating on not hurting myself here" she was not a happy bunny, didn't think it was worth arguing the point. Back onto trail some nicer walkers urging us on and 1 guy saying "I'd normally be on my bike, good going" cheered us up. Over the train line and onto rangers, snow was a little slippery to start but soon petered out and it got all loose and interesting. Saying Hi to everyone I passed, trying to radiate good will and bonhomie, a few grumps here too but I was having too much fun to care too much. There were a few bits where I wasn't 100% confident of clearing but made it ok and I refused a couple of the stepped sections lower down. Was feeling pretty funky after the steep stuff, ripped along the level bit then into the bottom section and whoosh, clear trails so speed increased, flew down, (no walkers near any of the gates I noted) Got to the final zig zags just 1 group of walkers with traffic cone hats, waited for Si so we could pass them at the same time (see being chilled and patient) and then after we'd passed flew down. Kept speed up to clear a water bar then realised I had about 5' to brake before the 180 corner and only 3' behind that a dry stone wall to punish erros, oops, got round ok on the next one same setup, water bar/corner/wall got on the brakes a bit early and managed to lock the front wheel in mid air and skidded it on landing, woah! Got to the bottom absolutely buzzing. Great ride despite the grumps, 4hours not bad going, 30mins down the rangers, Si recorded it on a go pro so I've had a look and relived it, brilliant. Will see if he edits/publishes it.

Monday, 22 April 2013


Been a while, not a whole lot to report tho. Me and Si did a night ride with the rollers a couple weeks ago, met at the wilton arms up to the quarry tops, down and around smithills, up barrow bridge, up burnt edge then down to holden's farm. Onto winter hill down the shooting hut path and over to lowey's secret singletrack. Was going dark by this point so on with the lights, we all got down to the corner. I've never actually seen anyone ride this corner before so was weird to see several of the lights ahead just ride up to it and straight down, impressive. It's been a while so I was a bit tense but made it down unscathed. Pint and a chat afterwards, new combo of old trails, nice.

Last weekend I drove me and johnny up to the lakes, Si caught us on the motorway so we convoyed to grizedale, bit of a hiccup with satnav but we made it there in the middle of a rainstorm, sat in the car, rain drumming on the roof, waiting for one of us to make a move. Eventually saddled up and set off, rain had eased off by then so it was just muggy and wet under tyres. Usual route through the forest onto moor lane, really really good fun down there, very wet so not as quick or sure footed as I'd like but it put a smile on my face. Breasty haw next some quality banter, drop through the woods and a puncture stop so I repeated a bit of it. Up and down slack wood where we all did the rock drop off by the tree, I Went for a closer look while Si and Johnny lined up for it, put my foot up against the rock and slipped off, very slick rock! All safely down so we headed over to near sawrey and climbed up to claife. It jhad brightened right up now and turned into a nice day, result. Colthouse was a good laugh and we rolled into hawkshead where I spyed cake porn mmmm, chocolate strawberry cake and lots of it, me and Si had to split it between us and I still felt a bit queasy climbing past the vicarage. Bit of the north face trail then titties track to finish, good day out, 6hours for 19miles it was a relaxed pace and quite chatty :-)

Another one bites the dust!

Commuting more of the same, ie lots of punctures, due to illness only did 3 last week and got 4 punctures :-( running 60/65 psi now and getting battered and pinged all over the shop, will be worth it if it stops the flats tho. Had to put a new chain on and rotate the ring, don't last long, hmmm will have to have a proper look at belt drive.

Down to earth

Was feeling pretty happy this morning, gorgeous commute, proper chill in the air, mist over the river and clifton pond, gorgeous in the early morning light. Saw a deer on the track and felt pretty special, few minutes later saw 2 more. Awesome. Have a quick look on STW and find out Deejay passed away at weekend. Gutted. Top bloke, only 56, I ****ing hate cancer. RIP Deejay

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The things you see when you open your eyes

That there (I'm pretty sure) is the skeleton of a narrow boat, it's just off the side of a trail on my commute that I've ridden lots of times before. The bare trees and lack of undergrowth with all the cold weather and the daylight commuting (i'll forgive myself for not noticing in the deep dark winter) means this has been there for the spotting for several weeks now. Still took me ages to see it. I didn't even know there used to be a canal down that side of the trail (trail is to the right of pic). I also spotted this as I was climbing back onto the trail

Brickwork behind the grill, concrete roof, and I thought the trail was just a bit of geography, turns out it's just a bit of dirt on top of some of our industrial transport heritage. Well I never.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Get Knotted

After fridays slog I was thinking about hitting a trail centre on monday, hmm maybe not eh? Asked around for snow free routes on stw and Grum offered to show us round Farleton, okay then. Si picked me up and we met Grum and Johnnie near Holme, Grum had forgotten his biking shoes, oops, whilst getting ready a load of swearing form Johnnies car suggested he had somehow managed to forget his shoes aswell, oh dear, trainers on top of spds today then, good job they both had platform jobbies. Was a nice clear day cold wind but nice when you were out of it. Climbing up onto holme park fell the trail was completely free of snow, dry and dusty! eh? Dust? How? Getting to the top we could see cracking views of the lakes all covered in snow, lovely. Across the road and onto a lovely bit of singletrack, a few rock obstacles some twists through woods, bit of traversing and onto a lovely bit of downhill towards Hutton roof, both Grum and Johnnie managed to keep their feet on their pedals and me and Si were taking it easy getting used to riding unfamiliar trails. A quick road climb got us back to Holme park fell, bit of riding around the limestone pavement towards the knott got us to the top of the downhill track. Track was fast and fun, a scalextrix style twisty rutted line on the top section, then it opened out a bit, a few rock steps, twisted and turned it's way down to the woods where there were multiple lines with some jumps and drops thrown in. Grum showed us the big drops at the bottom, the smaller was getting on for 4 feet onto a nice little transition, I backed up for a run in, was a bit out of breath from pedalling back up the trail then when I looked back and saw the other 3 watching and grum with his fone out filming my heart rate shot up, got even more out of breath and started off feeling very nervous indeed. Managed the drop ok with a comedy buzz from the tyre hitting the (today redundant) mudguard at full travel. Whipped off the mudguard and went back for another go, nailed it again even smoother, cool. Then we had a look at the big one, 6 footer with an OK but not quite as easy run in and out, nooooo maybe another time, if this was my local patch and I was regularly hitting the 4foot smoothly and calmly I reckon I'd have a crack at the big one, there's some nice progression here, varying drops with easy run in/out just right for learning on unlike the stepdowns at lee quarry. We rode straight back up for another go, it really was a lovely day, climbing up a looooong steep climb, sun on our backs, views to die for, ace. Another run down a little smoother this time and hit the drop again, whoosh. After that we called it a day as the others wanted to get back, fast ride down to the cars, I flipped the bike upside down and looked for my multi tool to undo the bolt up front wheel....when I remembered I'd not had the multi tool out yet today...which meant, yep the front wheel wasn't bolted in! Eeek! I'd fit the axle by hand then completely forgotten to do up the pinch bolts, so just 5mm of hand tight threaded axle holding my front wheel on! Argh! Like waking with a bad hangover trying to remember the embarrassing things you did last night after getting completely mullered, the flashbacks of the ride came back to me, that steep downhill to hutton roof, the downhill track, the drop, several times! I started to feel a little queasy. I shall try very hard to never ever do that again. A full on sugar rush from a slab of cake and a coke in the car on the way home sorted me out. Cheers to grum for the guiding, only a tiddler but that was the first spring ride!

Drifty - the wrong sort of snow

Friday, all the freeze dried commuting and Tuesday's trip up holcombe moor lulled me into a false sense of security. Lakes ride planned on Monday so figured I'd get the hemlock out and check it still works ok, crud guard won't be needing that! Late start off we go, spin up to barrow bridge trails looking good, steep climb turn the corner at the top and oh....

Hmm 6foot drift and a couple of smaller ones behind it, damn. Clamber over those and got pedalling again through the golf course, on to the cobbles and "what the ****?"

Hmm, it seems the snow really did hit hard in very localised drifts. On we go, up the steep tarmac of Edge lane round the corner at the top and another drift, and more on burnt edge, and more, and more. Pedal push, pedal push, pedal push, yawn. Onto the moors where it got all muddy, should have figured, a degree or two warmer than it has been and the snow is starting to melt, damn. The road looked ok and everything rivi side of it seemed fairly snow free. Upto to two lads and had a decent run down there, hemlock just soaking up the bumps tho predictably the gulley at the bottom was full of snow. Onto wildeswood and I was getting abit disheartened, more snow, lots more mud I was getting absolutely covered in it, I'm ok with it not being T shirt and shorts weather but I was expecting decent trails, grrrr. Onto the ginnel down the backs of the houses, ok to start then more drifts

Yes that is a 4' fence just peaking out of the top of the snow, I was pushing my bike along waving at the people in their houses over the tops of the fence, cursing under my breath. Along to the bottom of school climb, had a look up the trail, it seemed wet but snow free, ok then. Set off climbing round the slight bend and drift ahoy, about a dozen of them ranging in size but all unrideable usually about 20 feet apart, grumble grumble, swear swear. More drifts at the site of the old house and another at the start of ICR, but I persevered, had to use the chicken run in places as the main trail was full of snow. Back up through the gardens which was mercifully rideable, up to the pike and down the drops ok, firm trails and no snow, this is a bit more like it. Did the rooty wildeswood trail which was wet but ok then took the tarmac up to the mast, grimly determined to suffer the full horror of the current conditions. As I was riding passed the mast the sun was setting, proper red, looked good, rubbish pic tho

I was going to stay and watch but the sun soon dissappeared behind clouds and the temp was plummeting. San Marino actually turned out to be pretty good, not much snow firm dry grippy trail, kinda saved the ride but bugger me was it cold! I was worried I'd plough straight into the fence at the bottom unable to pull the brakes with my frigid fingers. Pedalled down the road trying to get some life back into my hands but wasn't happening, climbed scout road but with my hands still numb I didn't fancy the quarry so dropped into smithills and went home to clean my filthy bike, first spring ride my arse!

On the plus side first ride out on the wheel that I built stayed true, gotta be happy with that.