Welcome fellow Mountain Biker to a Bristol and South West based blog containing local routes, rides and reviews. Brought to you by locals to the area with additional publishings from further afoot. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Back again


Well I'm back.
Hello!!!
Lets first fill in the two and a half year gap and what's been happening shall we? No cocking around. And of course apologise for the pause. Sorry.Ok. Well the last post I did was of my nomad finally being built up. It was a lovely bike and I had many a fantastic time on it. Low down on that to come.
But after a while I fancied something a little lighter with 5" of bounce instead. Something more "UK friendly" as people say. I found it in the shape and form of a La Pierre zesty 314. The base model of their long travel range. 14 standing for 140mm of travel. They also do a 16 range. No prizes for guessing how much travel they have. The new ride is nimble and light and can go pretty much anywhere and do anything I demand it to. Truely awesome bike.
Of course I have treated it to some upgrades. This is it pictured below. My silver bullet. More pics to come.
Over the last few years I have been on many travels to many trails, some in the south and some in Wales. This was to be the year that I traveled further to explore Britain and find some sweet treasures. But life kinda got in the way and turned my world upside down and shook it until many things fell out and off. If I can be bothered I may try to use my memory to have
a few flashbacks now and then and dig up some pics of some rides that were done. Which may gain some interest and inspire others to ride there. I also will be testing some stuff out for you free of charge. Clothes and componentry and the like. Things like Hope hoops, howies long way home shorts, endura Strike waterproof gloves. Five Ten impacts.Monster energy drink to name a few. May even chuck in a few maintance tips to. Heck. Should you have any problems with your bike feel free to ask my advice in the comments box and I will do my upmost to help you out with your woe's.
Off to Dartmoor this week with some chums and some killer trail info from Ade at howies. Who looked half asleep when he was drawing sketches for me, as he and his staff have just opened up the howies store on Queen's road in Bristol. After a lot of hard work and late nights. Go check out their new shop and check back here soon......


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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nomad is go......






Meet Mabel
(Custom Santa Cruz Nomad)












Check out my new steed. More pics and a full spec and review coming soon. Only had her a short while so far and I'm loving her.






Aireal DH 135 x 12 Rear Symetech Hub


Long term test.....the Aireal DH 135 x 12 Rear Symetech Hub on Mavic 729 (Hub supplied by Aireal Australia and the Wheel built by Topshelf Components). Hub alone £140.00


Product Information:








Heavy duty Symetech® or Conventional rear hub available in 12mm, 10mm bolt-up and skewer style hub (must be set up by the factory or distributor only).


Fully CNC machined from 7075 Aerospace grade alloy.


62mm spoke hole PCD- 72mm flange Dia.


P5 grade Enduro bearings used through out.


30point engagement free wheel made buy us at AirealCNC.


machined logo.



















Are you sitting comfortably? Then we shall begin. Right here folks we have an one of Aireals newest hubs. Built completely by the boys down under to an amazing high CNC standard and quality level. The guys kindly sent me one over to test out and once it was built with the ever skill full hands of Kevin at Topshelf Components, That is what I did. Upon laying my eyes on the hub for the first time, the first thing to strike me was it's design.....by how close together the flanges were and how tiny it looked. But it's first impressions to me were pleasing because I liked it straight away. And built into a wheel it is a very pretty hub indeed. As the spokes are symetrical on each side. So when you look down the wheel there is an equal distance between the free hub body side and the disc mount side. Everything about it just ticked all the boxes. The finish is superb, it's light and the built quality through CNC machining is second to none. I love the swooping curves and the abrupt flange stops. The laser etching. If you are a fan of machined metal yourself....you will love Aireal's handy work.


Fitting a cassette their own made stainless steel free hub body is as easy as any other hub I have tried. Once on you naturally spin the cassette and listen to the ratchet and paws inside. Beautiful. I cannot tell you that once I had fitted the wheel with the cassette and tube and tyre...just how excited I was to get it on the back of my steed and give it a spin. Everything went according to plan. Fitted in the dropouts perfectly. And there was no sign of play at this early stage....even after transport. I had to take a step back and have a gloat at it. Mmmnnnn. I got mine in Gold because I was running with the Black/Gold theme on my Colier and it suited and finished off my build completely. Gold hub....black spokes...and a black rim. SEXY and very light, even with a 9 spd cassette.


Straight off the wheel ran true and smoothly as I took it for a good two mile run in. The engagement was faultless and quick and the noise of the free hub sang quality to me whilst also being quiet. Unlike a Hope hub (click overload) or a Chris King (being followed by a rather large Hornet).


I have ran now this hub/wheel on the back of my bike for almost a year now. And I am impressed. It has probably done about five hundred miles and I haven't had to touch it. Apart from the occasional clean. Which by the way is easy with the amount of space you have on the disc mount side to get you fingers in there with a cloth. Always been a tricky bit to get at that without taking the wheel off of you bike and maybe taking the disc off too. Living in England as I do it has had it's fair share of mud and elements chucked at it which it's seals and bearings have shrugged off. I have led it off of big drops, jumps and it has been right behind me on many hard and foolish crashes. Yet there is no play in the axle. No change in it's appearance or smoothness. Kevin your wheel building is the bollocks mate. Beautiful and certainly robust. No dings, buckles or ovalization in the slightest. Good work fella. You have done it again guys.
Honestly peeps if you fancy an alternative to the norm and you want quality dependable...fit and forget components look no further than the other side of the globe. I once again give you Aireal Australia. And their UK distributors Topshelf Components. Bravo chaps. I have just built up a new bike. My new Santa Cruz Nomad. Extra suspension and with a quality wheel like that. Extra confidence on the big stuff. I am totally confident that it will last me a couple of years yet. Peace.


















You will find links to Aireal and Topshelf in the links section below.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Be back soon folks.....

....just waiting for the sun to come out again. There has been some good riding in the freakishly warm month of April this year. Managed to testride a Rocky Mountain Sayer and also a Marin Quake which I was suprised by. So I shall cast my opinion on those beasts in time. Thinking my next investment will be a sexy and versitile Santa cruz Nomad...but what colour? In the meantime have a look at Aireals new website/blog and components. http://www.airealaustralia.com/ Shall be reviewing the SymeTech Rear Hub the guys sent me over to test. At long last I hear them say. http://www.topshelfcomponents.com/products/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=51F3968563&rnd=7790382&rrc=N&affl=&cip=62.31.59.182&act=&aff=&pg=prod&ref=xc_rear_symmetech&cat=aireal_hubs_cat&catstr=HOME:aireal_ref_sting:aireal_hubs_cat

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New year eh...................

.............and already I'm slacking. My fitness is down. Along with my imune system. To colds in one month. A new personal record. Been out a couple of times and really enjoyed the mud. Have a new rider amongst.....well..me really, Matt Sharp. A close freind of my flatmate. Very much into his motorbikes, but he fancied something without an engine. Got himself a bargain of a kitted out specialized enduro the bugger. He's taking to the sport very well. Should be some more news along soon as the riding, the weather and myself heat up.

Also a review of a new rear hub from the guys at Aireal.

Watch this space.

Earthed 4 trailer

earthed 4 trailer

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I myself am a huge fan of DIRT magazine and Alex Rankins work. So I will be eager to catch this when it comes out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Product Review: Hope mono 6 rear brake.




Hope mono 6 rear brake.

Again this is another component that I have been using for some time now. And if I must be completely honest. I've got to say that there must be something wrong with it. Nearly everything I have tested has had it's little niggles or flaws. Exept this brake so far. It's fantastic. It consists of a nicely machined classic mini lever, linked to a intergrated master cyclinder reservoir with a split clamp to fit it to your handlebar.
A one piece caliper, nicely machined a from solid billet of aluminium. Keeping it strong and light. Intergrated into the design of the caliper are 6 phenolic pistons.(Phenolic resin can include any of various synthetic thermosetting resins, obtained by the reaction of phenols with simple aldehydes and used to make molded products, including pool and snooker balls, and as coatings and adhesives). Phenolic is used in this case as it is one of the best insulating materials, to stopping heat transfer from the pads into the fluid. Steel braided hose is used between the resevoir and the caliper. And to top it off a two part floating disc, with an aluminium centre and hardened stainless steel braking area helps reduce weight and handles extremes in temperature on long descents. Looks damn cool to.
Right that's the waffle out of the way. Down to the opinion. Give that these days there are international standards to disc mounts (and brackets out there to help with fitting) and a handlebar is pretty much just a tube. Any disc brake is simple to fit. The hardest part sometimes being guiding the hose around the parts of your bike, so as not to snag. I found fitting this brake easy, with the braided hose being a bit of a pain in that it can be picky about which direction it wants to go. Like a length of chain. That aside. The split clamp makes fitting the lever to the bar a doddle. The floating rotor (or the floater as I call it) is as hard to fit as a small square peg in a big round hole. Once fitted, it will of course need a slight tweek to get the disc running central to the pads. Helped all the more if your disc mounts on your drop-outs are faced (removed of paint). Apart from that. That's it, your off to enjoy slowing down. And boy do they. As you'd expect from the look of them, they would stop on a dime and give you change. Well they do. Some say too well. I say it's all down to tyre choice and condition. From using this brake with a slightly worn knobbly to a new knobbly the changes are very noticible. To lock the wheel is no mean task. Just pull the lever. And it does take a little while to get used to the power of these compared to single pot calipers. Adjustments are easily made with a little grub screw on the lever, to tow-in or out the pads. Which changes the levers biting point and how the lever feels (slack-solid). With a good tyre on the back and this brake the results are stunning. As with a slightly worn (6 months or so) tyre I found it would lock up to easily and made the sensitivity of the lever unpredictable after performing a slowing pull on it. This would cause to end to drift on loose soil and in the wet. But since using a better tyre, the traction it produces with the combined strength of the brake, makes it top notch for rear wheel controlability.
The pads are durable too. I have yet to change them in 10 or so months of long descents and wet riding. In the wet they are as good as they are in the dry.
Finished of in a nice shiney black and silver for the lever/resevoir and black and gold for the caliper. They grace the ends of any bike. And coming in all rotor sizes and patterns they are hugely adaptable. A trusty and hard working brake.
Hope also carry and sell all spare parts for their brakes seperately. So should something go wrong. Take the damaged or worn part out and pop the new one in.
Spare levers and pots can also be bought in all of hope's many colours.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Product Review: e.thirteen DRS chaindevice w/bashring and woodman spiky pedals



Will be testing these as soon as my foot heals. Landed hard, one foot out with my heel on a stone whilst attempting a tabletop x-up.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Product (long term test) review:Shimano MX-30 pedals.



I decided on these pedals for the simple facts that they have sealed bearings, were reasonably light and the price tag wasn't to heavy. I have used different pedals in the past including the DMR V8's which I found had too big a hole in the cage design. And after a few hours riding it made my feet sore. So these seemed ideal. No big holes but still pleanty of clearance for crud.
These have been on my bike from new for over a year and a half with, I'm delighted to say no problems. Sure the pins are going to get full up with dirt, but that's why God invented sewing pins. And they will fallout and the allen key hole will get knocked out of shape. But rest assured Shimano give you a spare sachet of pins included in the price. Once you have them set up, they grip like a newly born child.
The bearing quality is fluid. And once broken in they continue to be. Give em' a flick with your foot and they will spin about 3-5 times. Not to little not too much. And I haven't done a thing with them. Haven't been so kind to give them any grease or even a glance. This is what fit and forget is all about.
The overall design of the pedals is second to none. They have slight futuristic twist on normal flats with their straight lines and bold angles, not to mention the light gunmetal finish.

Now, in all of my reviews I appear to rave on about how good the products are, this could be down to the fact that I do my research before buying something and I am always wanting good quality durable components. So I buy them and review them. Like I say these pedals have been the point of contact between myself and the drivetrain for over a year and a half, with not problems. Until today though. When doing a downhill section I overcooked it coming into a berm after a jump and went down. And thinking about it now the non-drive side pedal must have hit the tree on the berm. I didn't notice anything strange until I tried to do the run again moments later. When it was quite obvious that the axle was bent. Which was a bit dissapointing. But we all know this can happen from time to time. We fall off, the bike sometimes gets broken too. These pedals have had some abuse over time from rocks, roots, stumps e.t.c. and have carried on.
The amount of damage suffered to the axle though was minimal. The pedal would still revolve and I managed to get home safely. A closer look at work when I take the pedal apart will tell the whole story and I may be able to straighten it. But for now I belive that they are still amazing and I'm convinced that if they weren't as strong as they actually are my foot would be in some pain right now.
If you are looking for a light, strong and durable, fit and forget pedal set, that wont break the bank and last a good long while before you ever need think about replacing them. Then I give you the MX-30's.
9.8/10

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Haldon at tic!

Popped down to Exeter recently to see my good friend Chris Angell. Not only to check out his new surroundings and dwellings but also I heard whiff that there was some fun to be had in a forest nearby. I'll leave all of the social stuff out because it ain't any of your buisness and because that isn't why your here.
I recieved a text from Mr A no long after he had moved there, saying that he had checked out the local trail and that I will like it. Being a good friend I trust him. So off i went. From Bristol at around 80mph (casual) it took about an hour. Upon arrival the sky was a bit crap. But with some bacon butties and good coffee inside us we got geared up and fought through the Exeter traffic to Haldon forest.




Which is between the legs of the M5, near the ass. http://uk8.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?client=public&X=290000&Y=80000&width=700&height=400&gride=&gridn=&srec=0&coordsys=gb&db=&addr1=&addr2=&addr3=&pc=&advanced=&local=&localinfosel=&kw=&inmap=&table=&ovtype=&keepicon=&zm=0&scale=100000&out.x=4&out.y=8

By the time we arrived at the start point it was a bit misty with rain. But nevertheless I didn't come all this way with my bike to not ride. Angell took me on a warm up lap round the forests family trail. A gravely path that twists and turns close to the road and then dissapears into the woods. Quite flat and fast in places, with a couple of downs. This run finished at the Hub in Haldon forest, where the main car park and facilities are. Not bothered with that yet we went back to the car. I changed my shoes and we headed off to the red run. Which is a step up from the family trail. A bit more technical, especially in the wet. Angell leaded the way with me with my full-face on bringing up the rear. Almost from the word go you have to have your game face on. As again some of the trail was gravel, which made it easy to wash out. I still hadn't quite woken up yet and as slick as some of the tree roots were, I was a bit worried. But loving it. As Angell wasn't in the distance I expected he felt the same. As I carried on the route was varied and technical at times. Which ment alot of moving around on the bike. My bike isn't light, and after a rough week at work I was already feeling burnt. We stopped at the end of the first section and I caught my breath and stretched whilst munching on some banana and water. Not before long we were off again up a hill on a fire road to rejoin the trail. I led the way for a few minuites, in aid to wake up a bit. But at sign of the first rise Angell zipped past me. We next approached a downhill section which if I remember rightly was a little off-camber and loose soil. It was a little tricky to ride and I found myself staying off course once or twice. After a couple of minuites we had arrived at the freeride section. I'd seen and read about this from the haldon freeride website and couldn't wait to take a look.

http://www.haldonfreeride.org/index.php

The northshore roll-in looked rather slick so we avoided that, but we had a quick play on some of the jumps before heading to the other side of the road where Angell said there was some more fun to be had. After a slight orientation check we found it and headed in..................................

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There and back again. A hubbits tale.


A trusty build.

Aireal switch 2 20mm front hub on Mavic 729 disc rim


The Aireal Australia hub is an interesting one. It is produced in a small machine shop in the depths of Australia by some dude called Mick. I first heard word of their quality on the MBUK website pages and after doing some research I decided that I wanted one to grace my nex Fox forks. The hub is machined from 7075 T651 which is used to make gun parts and some car bodies don't you know. For starters the bearing quality is fantastic. The hub runs smoothly and quietly for ages. It comes as a 20mm hub with a Q/R convertor which can be changed from one to the other in seconds. Quality wise they are sexy as. They way the flange slopes into the hub body is smooth, finished off with smart cnc engraving for the logo.

Weight isn't too bad either at an estimated 346 grams (with Q/R convertor I believe) and the anodising finish is spot on (available in Black, Blue, Gold, Orange and Silver). Been running this hub for a month or so now with no problems apart from the fact that I want one for the rear cos their so good. They have lots of nice components and widgets at
http://www.airealindustries.com. Cheers to Mick, a fine CNC craftsman . And all the peeps down under at Aireal.










It together or intertwined with the Mavic 729 disc rim is a superb combo.
As the rim is DH/FR specific you can throw it at anything and it will stay true and round. Given a qualified and skilled wheelbuilder built it well. It comes in glossy black or grey (CD) with the option of 32/36 holes as does the hub. For more info look at http://www.topshelfcomponents.com which is where I ordered mine from. The guys there are very friendly and helpful. Or http://www.mavic.com. The pictures of the hubs are from Topshelf.

Good work.




Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Time off

The summer this year has been fantastic so far with only a little rain. Taken three days off of work this week to do some relaxing and riding. Just come back from Still woods where I managed to clear some doubles which have been bugging me for a while. With steep stubby kickers and 8-10 ft gaps. Almost binned it on one of them and headed towards some trees. Luckily I managed to save it. A very nice morning (always is when you don't have to work) altogether. Got over a few demons and a big smile on my face. Saw some bloke who turned up with some mates, who had just built up a 2004 Orange patriot frame with some rather nice parts on it. In a lovely white colour, fox 36 RC'2, fox DHX 5.0 2007 and other gems. It looked very nice to ride.

Going to pay Keynsham BMX track a visit tomorrow. Want to try to get more height and control on my jumps, and maybe add a touch of style.


Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pleased to say.........

...........that I have my forks back. Mojo were quick and kind for doing them. Thanks all at Mojo. More than I can say for their courier CityLink. Could have had my forks for a ride last weekend if they hadn't cocked up the delivery. Delivered a wrong parcel to my workplace late on friday afternoon. Came back to collect it on monday. Forks hadn't arrived on monday. Rang Mojo on tuesday. Very helpful to find out what happened. "Forks are in Cardif will be delivered tomorrow (wednesday)". I ring CityLink in cardif. "WHERE ARE MY FORKS!" at a depot in Bristol. Pop out from work to go litrally round the corner to the depot to find my forks. They can't find them, "what does your parcel look like sir", eventually they find them and I'm reunited. What a pollava.
Been out for a few rides on the Downs, which is Bristol's Hyde park. Which has many bumps and jumps. And also a ride early this morning locally round parts of Ashton court (Ashton Court festival permiting) , 50 acre woods and Leigh woods with me old mucka Angell and his mate Andy Marshall. We had a pleasent jaunt with lots of flowing sections, off-camber slopes, rock gardens, technical tight and twisty trails and dusty routes.
Angell is now the proud father of some lovely Fox vanilla R130's. After banging on about getting some new shox for ages he finally got some. And a good choice too.
Anyone for some of the best awesome dry riding conditions in the U.k. ever...........................

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Forks off

Took my forks over to mojo last week to get em fixed. Cheers to the peeps over there. Always helpful and friendly and the forks will be with me this monday. Can't wait. Visited the DH track at Cwmcarn too and twisted my knee walking back down it. It is so good though, the track, not my knee.
Also twisted my other knee at work and friday.
And banged by finger hard whilst playing catch with one of those howling throw toys when out with some mates for a bbq yesterday.
What next?
Appears to be that when I get my bike fixed that I'm going to be in not no physical state to ride it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

One of those days, my poor forks

I'll keep it brief peeps. Awoke friday morn. Knackered from riding to and from work and working my ass of and riding jumps until it got nearly dark on thursday. Got myself together and climbed in my car. Reached over to the glove box and snap........the opener handle thing snaps off. Leaving me with no sunglasses or music and thinking to myself. Mmnnnnnnnn, gonna be one of those days EH!. Get to work and head off in the van with my workmate to do a hard days work. Which was put off due to some other dudes not completing their work in time for us to start ours. Spend £100 on car tax, wait around and head back to the yard trying to get out of mental first gear. Which happens when I get stuck into a bit of fabrication. But I can feel myself flagging cos of the previous days adventures. So I finish at 3 and head home. Looking forward to spending some time in North Devon with some chums and a days ride on Exmoor. Now if I could only get that new chain to stop slipping. I'd be alot happier. The cassette is what 6 weeks old and barely worn. Jockey wheels are fine. Must be my big ring. Looks a little worn. I have a little tweak with the bike to see what I can do with my experience, (a couple of years) to no avail and much confusion. I know I'll ask my LBS and see what they say. "It does look a bit worn.....yep a couple of the teeth are a bit pointy" fine I'll have a new chairing please, no need to fit it, I'll do it at home. Right this will sort the bastard out. Fiddle, fiddle ring fitted. Slip clunk YOU C*#t. At this point I'm a little wound up, tres hot and tired. To add to my grief my rear mech had lost all of its tension, leaving me with a slack chain. Can really I be arsed. If I can't trust my bike and I'm tired what's the point. I text my mate to say that it's off for me at the weekend, whilst kipping for a few mins he texts back to say. "Get stuffed and sort it out, go on come". Being the guy who wont go down with a fight I sprung out of bed, put my shoes on and went in my car to my folks place where I knew I had an Sram X-9 rear mech which I could rape. With that in the bag I set off back to the flat and made it about 10 meters. Out of fuel. On the way to the garage no less. I endure a hot walk of only about 10 mins each way with spending a fiver on a green vessel for the fuel which I will never have to use again. Can this get any worse. A quick diversion to Waitrose buys me a pizza and some beer for much needed fuel. Back at the flat I rob the parts off of the X-7 that I need and fit them to the better of the two mechs, the X-9. Still no joy (mental strike one, right two more and that's it), right, old chain (which snapped on me a week ago which doesn't slip but is too short) with some links from the new one. At this point I have been home from work for about 6 hours, running around trying to sort out my damn bike, on a very hot day no less. With the chain length correct and powerlink snapped together. I take her out for another spin, putting some force onto the drivetrain again as before when it slipped. No chainslip. Gears work fine. ALL IS GOOD. So I ring Mr Angell "mate it is all fixed and working fine, I'm coming tomorrow blah blah blah blah blah, UMM...................I'm not coming". "WHAT, why?". My forks are snapped. SPEECHLESS. "What , where" . "On the lowers, where the two allen keys bots are, both sides".
So I stared at a wall after that for about an hour, drinking my beer, thinking why did I even bother trying and how the hell have my forks broke. And I didn't go in the end. That was my Day on friday the 30th of july. May such luck never grace me again. There's only so much a biker/mechanic can take.

Fox have kindly told me that the will replace the lower legs of my forks under warranty this once, out of the kindness of Bob Fox's heart.

Just a short ramble one this time folks.

Angell I will post the vids of you on the Mendips as soon as I can get them off my now bust camera.

Think you had a worse day than mine, reply with a comment and let it all out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Still summer

Been riding over in Still woods again this summer and WOW. If you are a mountainbiker and haven't ridden or even seen Still, then you haven't lived. In the archive of the Blog there are a couple of posts with pics generally summing up what it is like in there. But due to the clear weather recently and the routes becoming better it makes for some fantastic riding/watching. Some of the guys in there do some big gaps. Very impressive. Good place to hang out with other riderss and practice some new things (dirt jumps, drops and descents). Pics as soon as I've moved into my new abode properly.

Until

Sorry whoever for the lack of posts on my Blog. You may be pleased to hear that I have long since healed form falling off up on the Mendips. But I have not yet gone back to face my demon. Still trying to get the confidence back. This brings me on to a short topic which I have just come up with. Isn't it nice to have a companion to ride with. Not only can they save your behind when you come a cropper on the trail. By picking you up or phoning for the blood wagon. But they are also the humour and a confidence boost. Also they can spot things which you may be doing wrong when sessioning an area of a route (too fast, too slow, lean back more e.t.c). And you can pat each other on the back when it all comes together. Plus have a witness to the great feat. On that note I think it is time to join an organised club with which I can join other riders and be part of a collective. Because I'm getting a bit bored of going out there by myself and having nobody to talk to and to encourage and have a laugh with. If anybody knows of any good ones or just fancies hooking up for a ride sometime. Please comment below or drop me an e-mail.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Free games.

Totally unrelated to the blog but I found this fun. So until I post again. Enjoy.
Bow Man 2

Friday, April 21, 2006

Eye's bigger than the drop




Hello. As you may notice from my last couple of posts, I am stepping up my riding slightly. Mostly by trying some drops and jumps. I'm a firm believer in learning to crawl before you can walk, so my natural reaction to trying drops and jumps is to start off small. Well I did and then I got a little to over my head. Or not. You see a couple of weeks back I went up to the Mendip's and found a DH track in the forest which sported a couple of jumps and drops which I chickened out on. After being confident about that little berm drop in Leigh Woods I was anxious to get back up there and give them a go. So I went back on Bank Holiday monday and tried my best. A little worried but that's part of the fun isn't it. There's a few jump/drops around the upper section of the course that I thought I'd warm up on which were good fun. Being confident in myself (cos it helps) I blasted down to the drops at the bottom. The first is a little technical with a slight flat gap which when cleared chucks a loose berm straight at you. Not quite ready for that yet. A little further down where they have cleared all of the tree's is another. This is a group of logs with compacted mud on top which have been built up on a slope creating a drop of just over an estimated 2ft (accurate reading coming soon). With the berm's in the bag and the approach speed sorted I went for it and to my suprise landed smooth and carried on.





















After resting at the bottom and being delighted with completing what one week ago I was scared of I climbed back to the top, taking some other rider's which I met along the accent with me, to show them the route. The ride down was fine, missing the drop with the gap again but riding over the last drop and landing sucessfully again. The guys were impressed iwth the trail as much as I was when I first came to ride it. Then followed the usual bike chitchat. Upon looking at this guy Larry's Specialized I noticed that there was some play in the headest and somewhere in the rear. I tried to sort out the headset and made it have less play but he had the wrong combo of spacers to make it work properly. On inspecting the rear, which I thought would be the normal rear wheel, it was actually the rear suspension linkage which was loose. It was a diferent design linkage to mine but had the same size bolt to tighten to secure the shock into the spacers. So I got out my allen key and turned it carefully ever so slightly and snap. Broke it. And broke the news to Larry and his mate's. Whopps. Felt bit silly. But in all honesty and he agreed (with no hard feelings and total relief that it hadn't snapped whilst riding it), that one, it shouldn't have been loose. Two, that because it was it had done some damage to the bolt which caused it to snap when I tightened it. Gave them all an excuse to go to the pub early apparently. So off they went. Larry on foot. Sorry Larry.
Right on, with the show. NEXT. There is another drop on another DH trail which I was scared silly of so let's go have a look I thought. The drop itself is located between two tree's and again is made of logs and mud. This one has a run in which must be done corectly to achieve a sucessfull drop. I didn't bother to do the whole run just the part up to the drop. So you start by coming out of a berm along a lenght of flat and right into a raised berm section then left out of the berm and down to the drop's lip. Make a wish and hope it comes true.

Made an approach twice and chickened out slightly and found myself walking back up to do it again, asking myself "why are you walking back up, your going to try again aren't you". But the other part of my is in deep concentration. I head off. Along the flat, fine. Up into the berm, steady and good speed (think "don't forget to keep your weight back"). Down to the lip, good line and focused. Shit I'm doing it. Wait I'm on the front wheel, lean back. I MADE IT, just, good old forks. Right lets do it again "are you crazy" a voice tell's me. "sssssshhhhhhhhhh". Flat good. Berm good. Focused. Over the lip. Perfect landing. KISS MY FACE. I made it. Sat down in glee and disbelief had a fag and went home.

Fastforward to wednesday and Mr Ben Wood is visiting Bristol so I booked a day off to show him some of the local trails. With only an afternoon to do this after some bike prep. and slow starting I thought a warm up on the Mendips would be nice. We did the first DH trail and once again I managed the bottom drop. It was drizzling a little and the ground was moist, but not to slippery. So next I thought I'd take him over and show him the drop that I managed two days earlier. Upon seeing it again and for my lust of doing drops and because my bike feet fantastic going over them it was time again to do the drop. Ben would stay near the drop and watch. I went to get a good run up. Syked myself up a bit and headed off. Slightly misty goggled. Flat, good speed and fine. Raised section and corner, ok. I can see the lip. All feels fine if a little slow but, off we go then. What happened next was just a blur. A painful blur. As I had forgotton one mental thought. "KEEP YOUR WEIGHT BACK". Ben says that the nose of the bike dipped and the bike dug itself with the handlebar into the ground. I was thrown off of it and rolled down the slope after landing on my left hand side. Smashing the helmet cam mount off of my full facer and my back into a pile of dead logs and wood. I can remember pain and rolling down the hill and more pain and then uncertain pain. As I thought I had fractured or worse, broken my left arm. Next uncomfortableness as I was told to stay still and lye down by Ben. However I wanted to move off of the now broken clump of dead logs. After a few minutes of getting the image straight and going through the dizzy stage I was able to walk. BALLS. I thought as this was only ment to be a warm up for the day. And YOU FOOL for doing it straight away and not remembering to tell yourself to lean back. Oh well. Not to phased by the whole thing and I will master it again some time soon. As for the rest of the day. Ben and I went back to the car, I managed to ride back on my sore arm. But no more riding for the day. Should have filmed it. So it's time out for now as my arm heals (stops hurting), but I'm itching to go back. Cheers for being there Ben and your advice is duely noted. Next time I promise to show you more and not fall off unless you are indeed cursed (see posting in achives Thwack Bash).

Can't stress this enough. Wear body armour (shin and knee, elbow and forearm and most of all a helmet, especially full-face) if you are going to try anything like this. Better to be safe than sorry. Glad I did.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

So............2

Day I went back after doing a quick few runs at a greasy Still Woods, where a guy called Rusty on a Kona Stab Supreme was going large and kicking the crap out of the trail, snapped his Fox 40's (forks), Suprised me cos' I didn't think that they could be broken. Quite a feat. Hope he gets them replace before the race next weekend.

From the picnic table and using the berm drop I did my quickest run yet I believe.
Here I have video evidence.



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And some photo's of the drop. I know it isn't much of a drop but to come out of a berm and launch off of a drop, fly a couple of feet straight into a 45 degree slope of loose leaves and dirt and twigs kicking the back into a slide, slamming into the trail below and trying not to loose any speed is just alot of fun to me.