Friday, 23 November 2012


It's a dangerous thing - when you start poaching things off other bikes. Half disassembled bikes lose more stuff and fully working bikes become half disassembled. I need to start a white board with what needs what...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Out on a jaunt.

Just out on a photoshoot in the Yorkshire hills. I think it's nearly time to work out some Yorkshire based map-crossing rides. I seem rather down on off road mileage this year.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Bag shopping

Two new bags! 
On a whim I ordered a new seat pack. My old one that made it across the Pyrenees didn't survive the Hebden floods, so I got on to Porcelain Rocket and ordered one. With such a vast selection of fabrics available, I went for digital camo. And then I ordered another one up! This time in chrome. The idea is to have the chrome one for the new Seven and the camo one for the soon-to-be-revamped Fargo. That way Beate and I can get ourselves lost in the woods together and call it holidaying... 

Chrome Porcelain Rocket from Canada

Identical bag, but in digital camo. Nice!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

It is done...

That's it! No more new bikes in the pipeline, and I've just finished building the last of the three new ones I've acquired this year (!). There's the green Santa Cruz Nickel MTB that I have as a long term trail bike, there's the aforementioned Kinesis 'Green Pee' disc 'cross bike and now this, the Seven Sola SL Monster Cross/Adventure Bike...

So what am I going to do with them? Well, the Nickel is a great all-round 120mm trail bike, which is ideal for the riding I do in the Valley, night rides and Saturday morning socials (when I'm actually home that is...) The Kinesis will be my on/off road training bike and used for super tech 'cross races like the Three Peaks Cyclocross and those horrible mud slogs in the winter. I still have my Ibis Hakkal├╝gi which'll get pulled out for nicer conditions and summer racing.
Finally, we come to the Seven. It's been built up for a 'dream bikes' article in the next issue and it's pretty much a Ti version of my venerable Salsa Fargo - the bike which faithfully got me the length of the Pyrenees a couple of times. This is set up with 2x10 gearing and a rigid fork, but with room for proper 2in knobblies. I want to use it for those three day 'let's ride to the pub - in a different county' rides, for those longer, exploratory 'what's down that trail?' rides and perhaps I need to plan a proper big trip to make the most of it. I'm not sure if I can actually afford it yet. I've already had to pay £473 in customs charges and that's without knowing how much Seven will charge me for it. If I send it back in the next three months, then I can get a refund from the taxman for the import duties, so I'd better get on with it.

Along the way, I'll also be testing a few bits and pieces on all the bikes and I'll blog the results here:

  • Shimano Ultegra Di2 - I have this setup on the Kinesis and want to see how this group works for proper 'cross racing. And, if Shimano decide to go all electric with mountain bike groups in the future (something I honestly don't know at the moment) then it'll be good to have put some off road time on to an electric gruppo. 
  • Drop bar disc converters - I have a TRP Parabox on the Kinesis and a Hope Technology V-Twin on the Seven. I reckon few people will have had the chance to try both back to back, so stay tuned. They're both pretty interesting takes. And obviously if I can get a SRAM Red hydro setup too...
  • Niner 15mm fork. It's a bolt-thru, 29er rigid fork. Should be great to see how it works off road.
And there's a bunch of other test stuff, like a Concor Protek saddle, Reynolds carbon clinchers and Hope Hoops with Stan's Crest rims, so stay tuned...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Can we ride now?

I've been doing a lot of bike getting recently, what with the Green Pee disc Kinesis cross bike and now the Seven Monster Cross bike which should be ready to ride this week.

And ride is what I really should do. I don't have any more excuses now. Should be fun.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Hitting the Brakes

Or hitting the north rather. It's that bike race again. Two hours of cross racing through abrasive mud. Should be fun. Last year I destroyed £40 worth of brake pads on the Ibis. This year I fancy discs - though I have a new bike on order, it won't arrive in time I don't reckon, so I might have to get the Fargo prepped for action. It's a little too chunky for the job, but at least the brakes will work!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The 'other' cross training...

Well, tonight I had some great steak, accompanied by a lovely wine (and an equally lovely girlfriend who cooked the steak...) and we watched the Belgian national CX champs. I reckon that that counts as 'cross training and, when I get round to doing the Ronde van Vlaanderen in April, or whenever it is, I won't regret not having gone out for a hard, hilly four hours instead. Oh, no, not at all... :-)

Thursday, 5 January 2012

It's 2012 already!

So much for planning on updating the blog more... It's already three months later.

So, in brief... I've not ridden as much as I wanted. What's new, eh? But I have high hopes for 2012 and I've entered a few events that will hopefully scare me into getting back into shape. I've done a few 'cross races, which are always great fun - and, ironically, a Kinesis disc 'cross bike, the likes of which I admired in my last post, is on its way to me. I now just need to build it up and get out and ride it!

My annual go at cyclocross race organising went well, with 270 racers turning up to slog through the wettest conditions I've had in four years. Great vid here from Benji here:

Now that the 'cross season is starting to taper off, it's time to rekindle a love of the mountain bike, which has been rather lacking in recent months. It's far more tempting to get out on the 'cross bike or the mud guarded up Fargo than faff around with all the mountain bike gubbins, but I'll get there. In the end...

Monday, 3 October 2011

Shows over for the year...

Well, that's the (NEC) Cycle Show over for another year - and it brings to a close my show and race obligations for the year. So far I've been to Core Bike, Ice Bike, the Sea Otter, Mayhem, summer Icebike, Sleepless, Press Camp, Scott Week, Eurobike, Interbike and the Cycle Show, not to mention a bunch of press launches and the like. I've got one more press trip to go, that's going to see Pearl Izumi in about three weeks and then that's definitely it...

I don't want to whinge, but it's going to be really nice to actually ride bikes this winter! Things should be reasonably quiet for the rest of the year - with only this next issue and one more to do before New Year. Hopefully I can get some good rides in between now and the show season starting again...

Jamie gamely spent his birthday weekend manning the Singletrack stand at the show this weekend.
I did spend the Cycle Show looking/lusting at disc brake 'cross bikes. This Kinesis looks pretty good to me. After nearly pulling my fingers off trying to hold on at the Three Peaks, I'd like a little more power - perhaps not at good old Yorkshire League races, but for big events like the Peaks (and Hit the North, which ruined a pair of rims and pads with its gritty mud) then a disc bike is looking appealing...

Right, I'd best get on and finish writing the bike test!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Time for another go...

I'm going to try to add a few more posts to this blog, seeing as I've not done so for a year or more... It's been fun trying to find out just how to log back into it as my original Yahoo account turned into a Gmail account and now my computer wants to use that for my Singletrack mail...

Anyway... I'm back and this is for random ramblings that won't appear on STW... My first thought is for the 3Peaks 'cross that I just did. It's five years since the last one, given the usual clash with Interbike. This year though, the dates had changed and I managed to ride it. I won't say 'race' though as I really wasn't prepared for it. My training consisted of a month of trade shows and very, very little riding. As it turned out, I should have tried simply to walk up some steep hills instead, seeing as that's what you spend the majority of your time doing.

I did make it round though, without punctures (100psi kids, it's the only way...) but I'm still walking a little funny from several leg cramps, and my hands are still suffering from hanging onto the brakes so much. I reckon there's something to be said for 'cross bikes with discs. Although you don't need the ultimate stopping power of discs, being able to slow down without needing 20lbs of pressure on the levers would be a real boon.

Anyway, it's 'cross season now, I'm not ready for it and I'm going to miss several great rounds due to work, but I'm looking forward to the ones I can make. I might even have to venture further afield to find some non-Yorkshire rounds...