Friday, 31 October 2014

More Route News we approach the weekend the story of Rushup Edge rumbles on, with Singletrack having got fairly inconclusive answers from Derbyshire County Council and an interesting idea of a nationwide pressure group for mountain bikers to link up the excellent local work done by many groups. That idea came from iBikeRide, and would represent a real opportunity to provide a united front across the country that might help to combat the increasing work to “repair” tracks that are in no need of work and removing the feel of the countryside which people travel for and rely on for those mountain bike feelings of big adventure.

On the subject of routes, you may have noticed that I have updated the map of rides on the page here to include a mapped out route in each case. Taking this further into a usable ride guide will have to wait for a further project, but hopefully you agree with me that it’s an improvement and might inspire you to get out on a bike and enjoy the same rides I have. As ever I welcome suggestions and contributions.

As it's Halloween enjoy this film from Manon Carpenter and Kayley Ashworth:


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Riding High

Without wanting to jinx it there has been delightful weather for commuting to work considering it’s October. Warm weather and (in my case) a tail wind to blow me home.

This makes me want to go riding more, although possibly not s close to the edge as Filip Polc’s winning urban downhill run here:


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Route Stories

Hello, welcome back.

While I’ve been gone there was news in the form of the announcement of the Tour de France route for next year. It looks to be a broadly French affair, with a minimum of time trialling. Given the shape of the course there are already questions around whether Chris Froome will ride this one, relying as he does on steady climbing with solid time trialling to cement his racing, the same token would put Wiggins out of the running as well and it may be a route set up for one of the new guard of French riders, or a climber in the shape of Quintana or Kwiatkowski perhaps.

In other news on routes there has been ongoing concern over work on bridleways in the Peak District where trails have been unsympathetically surfaced in a way that not only ruins the feel of the track, but also utterly destroys the fun of the riding and from there threatens to remove the reason for mountain bikers to visit and spend money. This has reached something of a head this week where work has happened on the iconic trail on Rushup Edge. This is one of my favourites and makes me glad I rode it in both directions in the summer if that’s the last time it’ll be ridden as it was.

Mountain bikers are up in arms on the Singletrack World forum with good reason and have organised a peaceful picnic protest which took place yesterday. But other outdoor groups are equally upset, with the possible exception of horse riders alone, who seem to possibly be behind the pressure on Derbyshire CC to do the work.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this as it seems that Derbyshire CC have not engaged with requests for answers from Singletrack, and are not responding to a brilliant amount of pressure and comments on the DCC Facebook page.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Late Night Repairs

Yesterday I learned some very important lessons. The plan was to swap the crankset on my commuter bike. After a bit of an exchange with the excellent customer service people at chain reaction cycles I had a new Alivio crankset, with a new Hollowtech II bottom bracket to fit.

The idea was to replace the old crankset which was looking and feeling a bit tired and broken.

It was one of those jobs that would have to go all in one go, especially as I needed the chainring bolts to fit the new crankset when I broke it down to just one chainring. This no-turning-back situation was confirmed as the plastic spacer for the old bottom bracket snapped and had to be hacksawed gently out. If this didn’t work I was pretty stuck now.

The real issue here was possibly the four pints I had drunk before starting this job, but apart from bleeding a little it went surprisingly well while I concentrated.

With everything off the bike I checked the internet and started to fit the newer style bottom bracket. This all went swimmingly and the cranks flew on as well. I had carefully placed the pedals the right way round as they came off the bike, but this would turn out to be a fatal error. Here was where the drunk part of the night kicked in.

It turned out I had turned the bike round several times and lost track of the right side for each one. I determinedly started to fit them, struggling to get them started, I eventually force one into the thread before realising that I had entirely cross-threaded it. I swore a lot and had a sit down. Then looked at the actual pedals to see which was which. I forced the cross-threaded one out and fitted it correctly, then tried the other one. Having slightly ruined the thread I found it couldn’t go in and I screwed it as far as I could before drunkenly resigning myself to having ruined it and hoping I could get it to work to ride at least to ride to work.

In the end the internet came to the rescue again as a forum suggested screwing the pedal into the wrong side of the crank to recut the thread.

Amazingly this worked and at only 1am the bike was back together and ready to ride. I'd only cut one hand, nearly ruined one crank arm and dropped the bike on my head once.

So there we have it. Form all the lessons the most important one might be to not engage in major bike surgery when drunk. Still, all’s well that ends well.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Just a quick summary today which can be universally known as a day of optimists as first of all Jon Tiernan-Locke is keen to return to professional cycling as soon as his 2-year doping ban is served. Now, he still argues that the abnormal results were due to a drinking binge, while other people point to his vastly different results while with Team Sky (when presumably he was clean to comply with their strict rules) compared to his performance before joining the team.

I guess I would be surprised to see him back at the level he looked like he was going to achieve.

In South American news a student has made another attempt at an unstealable bike, with a concept that splits the frame and uses it to lock to a fixed object.

I know this is a good idea and that it would make the bike hard to steal but these ideas never seem to gain much traction over traditional bikes that don’t come apart. Let’s see if we hear anything more about it at all?