Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pedal, dammit

Why are bike messengers so cool?

enjoy the clips... especially the fixie hop between the busses


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Strathpuffer approaches

Very soon there will be a gathering of the clans. Strathpuffer approaches. It will be cold, dark and brutal. The soloists really do deserve all the usual comments of "yer bonkers...".

Will we look back and wonder at our stupidity? or will the glow of achievement replace the agony of the temporal quickly enough to make it an annual hit?

Watch this space...

A Christmas story

Well, I spent a few days at my folks house over Christmas. Mostly relaxing and yapping.

I also flicked through some of my old mtb magazines. Old mountain bike action and mountain bike international and such like. Some cool old bikes and articles, always good to look at again. There really was a golden age during the nineties.

Just to prove Zap hasn't lost his edge I saw this pic on mtbr (I think) ... hardcore, I think you'll agree?

Second flight

Seems as though Mountain Goat are to be rekindled. See

Pinched from another...

Check out

Can you say fast?


Seeing as I have retired from cycling for the Yule-time, alternative forms of exercise have been utilised. Firstly I went climbing for the first time in, oooh, 18 months maybe?

My mum and my niece who is 5 came too. My niece has never climbed, my mum climbed back in the day with a group called the Yorkshire Gritstones.

Needless to say we all had a top time, even my niece (Elisabeth, a.k.a 'trouble') who (I suspect) scared herself a little by getting up so high on her first climb.

Next to come: gliding.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

For your diary


How to open a Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Vampira (a.k.a. Maila Nurmi) Born on 21st Dec 1921

Seen somewhere...

Useful addition

Deepest, darkest. Today is the shortest day. It would be fun to be night riding, but it ain't going to happen. After a week or two of feeling a little run down, I have a bug and the sensible thing is to lay low for a while.

So we are going to have a homage to the dark things in life, with a little associated irreverence.

Enjoy the winter

Monday, December 19, 2005

Missing in action

Some more words about tyres. Changed out the WTB Exiwolfs for the Continental Vapor ProTection today. Conti list them as 790 grams which I suspect (for once) is overstating the case. Speedgoat get them at 590 grams which the hairy-hand scale would agree with.

How do they feel? F A S T. Very. Joyfully responsive. Good grip, even on wet roots. Tend to let go on small wet stones and when in hard fast off-camber cornering situations. But it is very predictable indeed. Rolling resistance seems almost non existent. Clean while rotating well, too. Bad sides? Well, they are very narrow and small in terms of casing. This drops wheel overall diameter and shock absorption. They may well lead to more pinch flats, but we'll see. Wrists can take a little battering.

Overall? LOVE them. To bits. Are they better than IRC Mythos II? Jury is out. They may be. But they are not as big.

They are staying put for winter though.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Strange places


Who likes Mike Mignola? yup, me too. Seems there is or will be a new Hellboy book (Strange Places'), and a new B.P.R.D comic ('Dead') out soon.

Can't wait

Seasonally affected

And again. And again. Waking in the dark. Closing my eyes in the dark.

A veil has drifted across the world and I am detached.

Feed the dark heart.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Capital offence

So Tookie Williams is dead. If you don't know more about the self proclaimed founding member of the Crips gang from L.A then a quick Wikipedia search will do it.

There has been a media frenzy around this execution like few others, as the rich and famous have joined the voices raised to ask for clemency in his case. Citing work for children (refuting the glamour of gang banging) and the effort to negotiate a truce between the Bloods and the Crips and other gangs in 1992 as signaling redemption.

Was he guilty? Perhaps. If not of the 4 murders he was found guilty of, then certainly he would have perpetrated some crime as a gang leader. Was he a fall guy? Maybe.

Should he die for his crimes?

The answer to this question is quite clearly no.

Any reasonable human being, from Desmond Tutu to former Crip Snoop Dog, know this to be so.

How can a civilised Western super-power even claim to be such when people are still killed by the state in the name of Justice? How can an individual working for the state live their life after setting the drip to deliver pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride to stop the criminal's breathing and heart?

I don't know. It disgusts me.

Stanley Williams is not the only man on death row.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Meaty, beaty

Tyred out

Here come my thoughts on perhaps the most heralded tyre since the Nanoraptor got the 29incher machine rolling.

The Exiwolf, from WTB, is the supposedly the biggest and most rough-and-tumble 29incher tyre available. It is designed to be robust, offer a lot of grip in a lot of different situations and roll relatively well. The trade off for this is weight.

Oddly the WTB site claims something around 630g for the tyre, but this is nowhere near the real weight. We are talking more like 850g plus. This is not only a blatant mis-representation of the weight, it is incredibly noticeable on both hefting the wheel, hefting the bike and whilst riding.

Good points: it grips; it rolls well, it has a confidence inspiring, robust feel to it - all as advertised then. In addition the weight lends the spinning wheel huge gyroscopic stability.
Bad points: it is heavy; it seems to slow steering down and is somewhat imprecise in wet mud.

So overall? The traction really is good, but the trade off is the high weight. This seems to negate any benefit the traction affords a rider, as the average speed s/he can ride at is reduced due to the larger rotational weight. Consider that rotating weight is oft quoted as being the equivalent of 4x the actual static weight. At 200g per wheel over my current favorite tyre (IRC Mythos), this is an enormous anchor.

Rider seeks tyre: heavy rider, with suspension on her 29incher, who doesn't mind going slow and likes rocks, drops and roots.

Monday, December 05, 2005

More knickers


Seems this is the name for long shorts/three-quarters...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let it bleed

Grapefruit for breakfast

Woke up and had a big yellow acid fruit for breakfast and a lot of coffee. Kick start. Want to ride, badly. Far. Fast.

It has been too long. I need to race, to compete. Unleash the demons and pour aggression into the cranks, into the ground. Let my soul fly and taste blood in the back of my throat, tear, grind. Hurt.

But recently I have been lazy, fat and slow.

So breakfast is grapefruit. And coffee. And desire.

Soon, I'll ride. Soon, I'll race again.

My wife

THE WHO - My Wife Lyrics

My life's
in jeopardy
Murdered in cold blood is what I'm gonna be
I ain't been home since Friday night
And now my wife is coming after me

Give me police protection
Gonna buy a gun so
I can look after number one...

...All I did was have a bit too much to drink
And I picked the wrong precinct
Got picked up by the law
And now I ain't got time to think

Ha. Good song...

MY wife this morning said something beautiful and scary - all rolled into one. As her phone went off in the dark, and the wee square screen lit up I yelped "there is a square of bright white light". The reply: "maybe it's heaven".


Good fridge

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Answers on a ... blog site please

I did a quick review of the singlespeed orientated blog sites on bikeblogs. Seems the colour of choice is black.


Thoughts, please...

Bike blogs?

Living vicariously?

Here you go:

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


:::Too much coffee?:::

My parents gave me a Dualit coffee grinder for my birthday. As a coffee lover, especially one who has been persevering with a non-hopper grinder and its associated 'variable grind', I'm certain you can imagine the size of my smile. Just as Ewan McGregor says in 'Black Hawk Down', "it's all in the grind".

So much is, eh?

So - after several days of use, how is it? F A N T A S T I C. I cannot explain the magnitude of the benefit to a cup of joe from having the highest quality beans, well ground, heated just so in the water, then filtered into a pleasing shaped cup.

It really is the most important fluid of the day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The space between

Managed to get out for the first ride in a long while today. A fairly well known route, but a shade different due to the cold.

The cold got into my blood, into my bones. It took an hour to warm up despite some of the best fabric man has conceived and some fairly brisk pedaling.

The mountains of the Highlands were white and pristine in the distance, the glow of the pink sky as the sun set acted as a back light to my thoughts.

Feeling slow, in more ways than one. Feeling content, despite the pace, in more ways than one.

The future, despite everything can still be bright.

The future's all yours, you lousy bicycle!

Its been a week on holiday for trina and myself. We stomped around London, in the name of shopping, eating and drinking. The air was black, the sushi fresh, the coffee strong and the apartment beautiful.

Particular memories? 'Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang' which we saw at the cinema (we haven't been in I-don't-know-how-long) was fantastic and funny.

We ate at Moro for my birthday. This Moorish restaurant by Sam and Sam Clark was every bit as special as their cook book.

We caught up with our friend Nonni and heard tales of her trip to Africa.

We relaxed some. Good stuff.

But as a certain rogue would say... it's time to get back in the saddle:

[Before riding the bicycle]
Etta Place: Do you know what you're doing?
Butch Cassidy: Theoretically.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Independence. The word can conjure up quite a mojo eh? I have a lot of time for IF ever since I practically tore a pint glass from LLoyd's hands in Minneapolis (um, sorry!) after deliberating over his extreme speed on a singlespeed cross bike. So, as payback I reckon they are going to get some of my $ soon...

If you need a dose of bike-loveliness, visit

I *know* Marty will appreciate this: forget the c14


Just in case.


Back and def-o the smack.

you know where to go...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


What you see below is a custom Strong Frames ti mtb. It has discs and 700c road wheel compatibility. That-there is nearly what is about to happen to my Seven singlespeed. Differences? I just received some Paul cantilever brake levers through the post, which with the moto-bmx brakes will allow use of 700c wheels with 26" v brake placement...Neat, eh?



As you can see, another picture of a gracefuly curved ti frame 29er has appeared on the blog. This is not just some form of voyeurism. I am sort of planning a new bike. It will be ti and 29 inch wheels and that is just about all I know for sure. Most probably it will have disc brakes, which will most probably be Avid BB7 so I can service easily (I stress the I...) and I can use the Paul component's Brake levers I dearly love. See for some f i n e parts...

The one thing I can guarantee is it will not utilise the Mary bars from On One...Not my thing at all...

"So why do you need another bike?"(says the Devil, as he reclines languidly on my shoulder). That one does need some thought doesn't it... I think the 'need' can be replaced by 'want' and then it all starts to become clear. I like to think of it as a journey. I may never reach the end of it, but one ought to gather as much experience as one can along the way. If I arrive, I'll know it...

Talking of which..Someone once said (and it may have been Aldous Huxley, or it may not) :
"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you."


Attraction to curves

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Areas of interest

I am a bike rider not least. Apart from being a husband, the other major area of my life is being a doctor. Within that, my interests are somewhat divided. Drug addiction, teaching new GP's, mild anxiety/depression and peoples' own health ideas.

Nevertheless, I maintain an interest in physiology as well. Lets go to Merriam Webster - physiology; def'n: a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved.


I managed to go out for a ride today. I have been planning it for a while due to my lack of saddle time recently. The aim, take the 29er with cross tyres and do a mixed route: road and off-road. Make it long. The forecast was good, but the reality wasn't. Rain and a cold westerly. Always adds a soupcon of difficulty to a known route.

One of the things that has led to some contemplation over the last few years is the effect of endurance riding on the mood. I have not been known to be entirely 100% when it comes to this area, which, I suspect, is a reason for my focus. When one commits to a ride that will test the stamina and staying power there is an initial 'tough guy' sensation, followed rapidly by uncertainty and self doubt. Then, as the ride unfolds, one tends to progress to a state of familiarity - as long as you have put in the practice.

Distance unwinds and there is a variance. Depending on how things are going environmentally and physically, one can either feel indomitable or desperate. Eventually, of course, there is the oblivion provided by countless everlasting effort. A unique focus on a single task blended with overcoming exhaustion.

And so it was today. Fairly significant cold ( there was snow on them there hills) always multiplies the difficulties and a six hour route with a fairly significant stress on the way led to a less than perfect beginning.

However, everything unfolded pretty much as above. The difference lies in the fact that it is a while since I have done any similar level of damage. I ended up hypothermic to the degree of constant yawning and numb completely to the wrist and ankle with slowed responses. Thrown into sharp relief, the odd feelings of elation and gratification on finishing and surviving merely act as a entree for the depression that will undoubtedly follow. It always does. There is no particular reason, just a sense of loss.

Slowly and surely, a sense of satisfaction that is profound and many textured will set in and I will no doubt bore those who tend to listen to me about the details of the ride, the mud, and how it was like porridge. The hum of the cross tyres, the swans and the ducks on the flooded river sides. The field of highland coos near Invertrossachs.

The conundrum remains: do you actually enjoy these rides? or is it simply a form of addiction to the idea and the endorphins?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On not riding

Here we go again. The monsoon season has struck and the riding has reduced to a mere trickle like some sort of cosmic compensation. Too many tasks to do, too tired and too damn wet outside. The trails are pulverised (I think, I have only ridden 3.5 hours in the last 4 weeks so what would I know), the fitness is draining out of my legs as blood from a broken heart.

It is too early to look forward to the reincarnation of spring. Too early for commiseration, or understanding. I must simply try and get my teeth in to the protracted cross season and pray my shriveled, desperate carcass survives.

What does your soul look like?

Soul for sale...

In basically good shape. Could do with some renovation due the odd frayed edge. Admittedly, a little beaten up, scratched and worn. Rides well occasionally - but can be heavy on fuel. Prone to frequent breakdowns and requires tender loving care from a good mechanic in order to keep running. Has been known to be trouble free for significant portions of time and one can only hope those good times will roll again ...

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I am not usually a list maker, but occasionally I find it is necessary. Usually, this occurs when I have to navigate piles of junk, paper and rubbish in the flat. Often this is accompanied by a vague nagging feeling at the back of my mind.

So I have created a list. It is pretty long and I will never finish all the tasks in one go, but it may keep me straight... you never know.

So now all I need to do is prioritise - never my favorite task.

Cover me, I'm going in...

On a brighter note, I'd recommend picking up some Jack Johnson if you have not already, and also some G Love and Special Sauce. Then, my friend Chipps introduced me to this one, go get Niz Lope's album. It is just dreamy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

One from my man

Chris - who has wandered with me for so very long now and has been both inspiration and salve - sent me this:

One for your blog: dunno why, but I like it.

***Thought of the Moment:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

-Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)***

I know what he is saying (Carl, not Chris).

Monday, October 31, 2005

More grey bike

Black Sheep cycles created this titanium cruiser frame design 29er and displayed it at Interbike (you may have spotted it in an earlier post). Its pretty neat I think...I especially like the ti fork...hmmmmmmm.

In other news, someone is organising a 24 hour event, in Scotland. In january. Strathpeffer.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is going to hurt.

First 'cross race of the season for me yesterday. Went quite well, despite horrific conditions. Good to see Chris Young etc still going fast-as, despite advancing years...there is hope yet.

Back to the prison in my head. More soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thought for the day

I just got up. At the last moment, before tearing myself from my kipsack, I listened to 'Thought for the Day' on Radio 4. An author (I can't remember his name) was talking about discernment. You know, everybody is focused on Bird Flu, a theoretical 'Pandemic' (to be honest if I ever hear that word again I may go all 'Falling Down') whilst so many children are dying from AIDS in the time it takes you to read this that you cannot even count 'em.

So he talks about balance of fears. His theory is that we are all so overwhelmed with fear, fear of this, fear of that, that we have a hard time discerning how to respond. 79,00 die in an earthquake and it barely registers on the news compared to a not even perfect storm in the USA.

Don't get me wrong. All suffering is a tragedy, but we need to keep our perspective and in so doing try to keep sane. We are, I suspect, becoming fear-saturated - it is almost hard to know when to care.

Those that know me might realise why this hit such a nerve for me. Fear-saturation is something that I feel is very important to recognise and make efforts to defuse.

In the words of the legendary HST, OK for now...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005


You would be forgiven for thinking that I only really ever think about bikes and racing. My other interests are pretty varied and include - pirates...

so: for future reference, in case you missed it this year:

arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, matey!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Well needless to say, there is the embryo of a bike project underway. So far all I will commit to is Ti, 29 inch wheels and probably s&s couplings. Thereafter, we'll about a year.



If grey is my favorite colour (*it is*) then why the black?

Well, sometimes I feel darker than grey.

Car got a service today, it was well deserved. It has ferried me safely and quickly around the country to various shin-digs and events and this keeps it purring like the pussy cat I know it is...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Stoorey Brae

Went for a wee ride up a hill where I used to live today. It is where I cut my teeth, so to speak. In a mountain bike way, anyways.

The trails consist mostly of steep ups and steep downs. Roots. Rocks and loam. Incidentally, having ridden on several continents and on many trails, this surface type remains my favorite.

What was interesting was how tricky some of the drops were. *R e a l l y* steep in some cases and technical to boot. Suffice to say, within 5 minutes I had crashed and was trying not to slide down a 45 degree slope and over a small cliff. That will be Big Red as we used to call it.

Expect more on this in the Outcast...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Shaka sign

Following a conversation some months ago we were wondering over the origins of the Shaka sign...(borrowed from wikipedia)...
Shaka sign is a hand signal commonly associated with Hawaii.
The sign is made by extending the thumb and little finger, generally of the right hand, then waving as a greeting or acknowledgement.
Shaka sign began to appear in the 1930s or 1940s, in honor of Hamana Kalili, a respected leader in the town of Lā‘ie, on the northern shore of Oahu. Kalili, who lost the first three fingers of his right hand, often conducted services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The unusual appearance of his hand was imitated by local children, who would fold over the index, middle and ring fingers of their hand and say "right on," one of Kalili's common phrases. The sign and phrase spread across Oahu, and eventually all of the Hawaiian islands.
Kalili provided the fishing nets used for the early hukilau celebrations which eventually led to the founding of the Polynesian Cultural Center, and which were the inspiration for the "Hukilau Song," made famous by Arthur Godfrey.
Eventually known as the shaka sign, this gesture has become a traditional form of greeting between Hawaiians and also those who have attended or been associated with the Brigham Young University of Hawaii, which is located in Laie.


Moots Rohloff bike

sliding drops - Paragon Machine Works

mo' Jones

Jeff Jones

Black Sheep

if bikes

Industry Nine wheels


After spending the last few days perusing the internet since Interbike was on in Vegas, I decided to mention a few things I like the look of. All are unfondled and unknown quality, though in several cases you can guess how they are likely to perform.

These pictures have been swiped variously from, and people who post on them. If anyone wants me to post a 'ta for letting me borrow' bit, drop me a line.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

D e a d G u y

When we were in State College, we were pointed in the direction of Rogue Brewery beers, especially the Dead Guy Ale. Check their website for tasting notes, but imagine my surprise to find it in a local supermarket...

No riding this week. Too much stuff to do around the house, and too much precipitation. Sheesh... Not the best prep for cross eh?

Coming soon - interbike thoughts gleaned from other peoples sites.

In the meantime check for some SSWC 05 pics, good ones...Just in time for the pompous, presumptuous, rumour idiots to start up again...

You Rogue

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I got a new moby/cell phone at the week end. I was in Edinburgh visiting my folks, had some good food, got beaten up by my niece. All good.

The phone. I think I have worked out what my favorite thing about it is. It is a Samsung, and the charger is shaped... *exactly* like Slave 1, Boba Fett's space ship in Star Wars.


Monday, September 26, 2005


After the Aviemore race I have been thinking. Adding up costs for this race led to a bit of a one sided equation. Race entry was £18 and £6 for a day race membership. I crashed pretty hard on one of the rocky downhill sections whilst trying to force a gap and dinged my front brake lever pretty badly. I suspect the perch will snap as a result, so one right hand Paul Components brake lever £50 is added. Then I managed to rip my shorts. Pretty nice Pearl Izumi ones too. So add yet another £75. Hmm, lookingking good eh? Somehow I also managed to lose my helmet. As a replacement I now have a Giro pneumo. £80 thankyou very much.

Racing a doesn'toesnt have F1 costs but it ain't all that far away eh?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Old Man

Just back from Aviemore. A long day driving, but it was worth it. Today was the Scottish XC series race at Badaguish ( say BAH-dooish) which is where the Telly Savalas Players' put on the SSEC in 2004. The course rocks, and I had to go despite the driving and packing logistics...

I'm glad I did. It was a beautiful sunny day and the ride to the race course was worth it in itself. Met up with Marty and Susan who were in super form and then kicked off the race. After the first climb I managed to squeeze into something like sixth spot, due to the biggish gear I run on my singlespeed. I then found I could gap people fairly easily on the technical trails and managed to pop up to third by the middle of lap two.

By the end of lap three I held the lead and was able to put some hurt on the guy in second, with the guy in third drifting back slightly, the only issue was the longish fireroad drag back to the finish area. The question was: could I put enough time between myself and him to stop him clicking up a gear or 2 and zipping past in the last 100m. The lap went ok. I took a header and have an elbow the size of a lime, and then smacked a tree pretty good. Alas although I forced a gap, I couldn't find enough to stop him reeling me in and then popping by to leave me in second. All power to him really, it is a race after all.

Was thinking of the other boys today as they were all at the 3 peaks...Now that is a toughee. No doubt a report will come.

Off to have a wee beer and order a new helmet. As I rode back to the car it must have fallen from my ruck sack and from there - who knows. Two hours of searching showed up nothing.

As a side note. Rothiemurchas Estate was as beatific as ever. A truly amazing place.

Golden Fleece

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Last Merida 100km race

The last Merida 100km race for the season was this week end. It was very tough, with nearly 3000m of steep climbing and a profusion of technical riding interspersed with tricky, slippery muddy singletracks and some road sections. All in all, a worthy season final. Infact I think it was the toughest of them all this year.

I was doing pretty well until the last quarter of the race when the ascent total and the moderate/high gear I use combined to leave me suffering. Being awoken at 5am by ducks did little to help, but the physical challenge was the main factor.

I raced in Kenwood colours- gold - the last before john's shop Kenwood Cyclery closed this July. I was proud to be flying the flag and I will post a pic or two when they become available.

A few problems on returning home left me with 2 nights of very little sleep again, and to be honest I'm feeling lived in. It will be a week of early nights I hope to try and catch up and get on my game again. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On being a hermit

Today I bumped into Kevin. We get on well, and have done for many years now. Kevin manages a bar in Glasgow. A bar I would class as the best bar in Glasgow. Or would have. See, as Kevin remarked, he has not seen me in a year, maybe more. Now I have been a bit of a hermit recently. Not through asceticism, more through necessity.

But can it really be a year? Or more?

Yup. See, he had *both* his sons with him. The younger was born the day before the last time we talked.

Time flies when you are having fun, but it simply disappears when you are not.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


I smiled after reading Hunter S Thompson's alleged suicide note published in Rolling Stone magazine:

"No More Games. No More bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun -- for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax -- This won't hurt."

4.30 am

There is are many reasons for getting up at 4.30 am. Recently, I have done it a lot. A while ago I was racing a solo 24 hr race, so I had not even gone to bed. However, it reminded me of years past, trying to tear myself out of a warm sleeping bag to go ride a lap or 2 at the witching hour and then smile as dawn began to break.

Then last Friday the reason was just generalised insomnia. Worries and stresses floating around the mind and making it impossible to fall back to sleep.

This weekend just gone we took some time out to visit our very good friends Pauline, Mike and baby Maya. Needless to say, Maya found reason to do a little screaming in the middle of the night.

It is an odd time, when your soul is laid bare and primeval instincts react to any fears or concerns you have. Nevertheless, it can also be a time of great peace and reaffirmation of the benefit of looking forward with the dawn.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

We now take a break from our regular broadcast...

Hmmm, I've learnt some things about the internet and about our computer. This is the first day for over a week that our computer has stayed connected to the internet. The most important thing I have learned is that I don't know very much about either. Hmm indeed.

Just finished reading Dougal Haston's book "In High Places" which traces his climbing career from railway embankment to Everest. A good read with some odd shifts in style and pace, presumably due to the different predicaments noted. Next up, David Breashears...

Well, hopefully more soon-ish if the connection holds. Off to see our friends and their wee one Maya at the week end-its been a while since I was up in the Cairngorm so it should be a good week end.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Jeff Jones

I was lucky enough to have a brief time to speak to Jeff Jones and a brief ride of his latest incarnation of titanium rolling art. There has been a lot of chat on the forums with regard the beauty and geometry (and admittedly the price) of his bikes. Here are my thoughts.

The bike in question is a new design based on ultra low standover, ultra flexible in vertical plane and using extending chainstays to tension the chain. The seat angle is fairly lax as is the head angle, with a longer rake on that amazing truss fork. This keeps trail sorted. The chainstays are very short, comparable to 26 inch wheel length. All this gives a super agile bike, adept at lofting the front wheel over obstacles but retaining stability at speed. It's certainly a good way to butter the bread but requires a 'fuselage' approach with a lot of proprietary bits and bobs.

The ride: Admittedly this was a flip-flopped test, but I was left with the very certain impression I would like to try the bike for much longer over much rougher terrain. It handles like a bike. A good bike. The frame is super sweet and stiff to pedal but the amount of travel (if we can call it thus) is *amazing*. It really utilises the metal properties of Ti.

Construction: Top notch, beautiful welds, supreme attention to detail. Certainly as nice as my Seven, but a whole bunch more work involved. You really have to see it to appreciate how much work this thing took to construct.

Overall: Waiting list~? eep. In terms of aesthetics I love the swoopiness. I think I prefer a less pronounced version (see pic below) but then you wouldn't get the insane bump eating flex.

Jeff himself: A great geezer. Very knowledgeable and quite clearly in this for the love of it. A top notch rider too as you may glean if you spend any time on his website or reading others' thoughts.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back in the saddle

Back from the U S of A. What a trip...

Started by driving through the near endless Forrest from Newark Airport to State college, stopping off at various wee places (including the Straub brewery - fantastic beer). Then took part in the random happenings and general lovely/reckless bike race that was the singlespeed worlds. Hooked up with great old friends and made lots of new ones. More on this episode later.

then to New York. A very pleasant time with visits to the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. The latter had such a sobering air. An atmosphere of loss, community, courage and optimisim which seems to have pulled the inhabitants of New York closer together. Really real, and really emotional.

Back out on the niner today after rolling around on my 26 inch wheel bike while USA side. 4 hours to get the legs working after the plane-crush acting as early prep for the Ruthin round of the Merida 100km race in 3 weeks.

All good. Will be returning to some of these items in more depth shortly. Soon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Next stop, east coast USA

Welp, avoiding Heathrow is a boon as we jet off to Newark manana. The first leg of our trip to State College, PA for the singlespeed worlds. Hopefully will have a chance to update, meanwhile take 'er easy. Adios amigos for a short time...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Morning coffee

  • Is there anything like that first cup of coffee in the morning? Recently I have tried to make a point of sitting and savoring my first cup of coffee of the morning. Rich, dark, hot and stimulating. Sounds like a design for life. It certainly beats drinking a steaming mug on the fly whilst trying to focus on numerous unimportant tasks. I find it sets a good tempo for the day. Coffee and bicycles seem to go hand in hand, and I hope where ever you are, you have the opportunity to enjoy a good cup of Joe today. I so often dream of camping high in the mountains, climbing out of my tent and brewing up as the sun begins to evaporate the dew. Bliss.

Monday, August 08, 2005

What is it about....

Sloping top tubes? just lovely...