Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Busy bee.

Less blog posts usually means ive been doing more stuff. I have. Been pondering: i want to muck around with bigger/lower pressure tyres. To this end, i have ordered a 29er uma rim from speedway cycles, alaska. This, built onto a currently unused dt 240 i have sitting around (i know, i know) will allow an experiment in low pressure. How low? word is <20psi is possible in the dirt with the bead glued. We'll see.

Why? well, doing shenandoah again is the primary reason. The ti fork i recently received is beautiful. To look at and to ride. There is plenty of steering accuracy, with a subtle give afforded, i think primarily, to the crown arrangement. There is a little more offset than the pace to, to sharpen the steering a touch. Darren crisp has hit the nail squarely on the head with this one, and if anyone is looking for a forgiving, well made, light and beautiful rigid fork, id heartily recommend him. He is an artisan. But with shenandoah, the search is on for even more comfort. Indeed, i even mooted a bike frame for a suspension fork, or down tuning a reba or fox to 50mm travel to work with the non-suspension corrected geometry.

Once i get the wheel built ill decide.

What else~? riding...where? not telling. I reckon the trails im riding on at the moment are particularly sensitive to increased use. So, either you are reading this and know where i am riding, or you arent living anywhere near, or maybe you are reading this on a random. Whichever, all i can say is steep, slidey, tight trees and quick moves. Nice.

Leave has been organised from work and so far, bristol 12 and the worlds, and shenadoah are all on the cards. Kirroughtree is probable, and Chris and myself have some unfinished business to attend to in Knoydart. Then in may biff and myself are hitting the picos de europa in northern spain for some bikepacking/refuge stuff. Maps procured, and all i need is some time to look at them and start the mind wandering.

Also im in bike lust mode. As part of poking around at snow rims, i found this...9:zero:7. Built by merlin. snow bike and can be run with 29er fats too. Imagine....

Cooking. Trying a few new things. Pasta with italian wine, spicy sausage, venison and rosemary today in a tomato based sauce. Good. The other day i made a peach and southern comfort sticky goo, which i splooched over smokey, griddled meat and with a warming salsa boracho it was super. Along with this, rice, with cilantro, red pepper, green onions, peas and pineaple which had been griddled in kahlua. This is part of my january assault on veggies and carbos. I have a winter coat i need to lose.

Im also going to be doing another sports science project with esteemed andy cathcart. This time aerobic versus anaerobic sprints. Sir Chris hoy had better watch out, im comin'.

In the odd "i was looking back at you to see you looking back at me to see me looking back at you" files....we have this from arctic glass blogger and ghost trails author jill homer....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As ever, weather, darkness and hard riding for 24 hours. Enojoyable riding initially with the trails highly improved and team singletrack/savalas running around 5th for the first 14 hours. Then we discovered a healthy stash of beer, and so slipped out of the top 50 by the end. Still, we proved fixed riding in snow is not only possible, but good fun. Photos to follow.

Anja and Shaggy won their solo races. Epic, no other word. Both of them rode determined, intelligent races and in the end were out of sight of their competitors.

The new fork arrived for the tIF today, courtesy of artisan darren crisp. Check his work, it is beautiful in person.

I shall report fully, but it feels stiff and light.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Singlespeed world championships, 09: Durango.

Oh yeah.

Oh yeah, baby!

Oooooooooooooooooh Y e a h !


Monday, January 12, 2009


First big ride of the year and it wasn't exactly 'planned'. I dallied on google earth this morning, as im trying to find a way out to mugdock area, without using the road. I got pretty close today, though at times i felt i was (or maybe actually i *was*) in peoples back gardens. Still, no one threw a golf ball at me - at least one that got close...

I eventually found my way onto the Allander Walkway. This trail is a nice singletrack that runs along side the high flowing Allander river. To go to mugdock, you have to follow it towards source, which i did before jumping onto the west highland way and out trough Milngavie. I then headed out to the park proper, before taking a north towards the campsies, over the Dumbrock Moor.

It was here that Adrian, Mr Chops and myself rode the other night. At one point the trail goes down a series of 3 steps, the last being the biggest. As it was raining, at night and there was a steepish drop to the right, i decided against riding it (fixed...) Adrian seemed keen enough to ride it that we had a small coming together. He managed to get up on his front wheel, burl around, and sort of side swipe me as i stood like a buffoon at the top of the drop. Needless to say we went down in a heap. Bruises were handed round and we limped off to take the dyke road.

I decided today that i was going to ride it. Hey, it wasnt raining eh? So i came into it cautiously, aligning my pedals, and .... stalled. Nuts.

And again. This time i rolled the bugger, with only a near cataclysmic release of adrenalin. Up the dyke road, and then onto the singletrack section that climbs back from the corner of the woods towards the WHW. Then i saw a wee glimmer of a trail. I followed it and lo' and behold found another area with some nice rooty/rocky steep and slidey track, including one drop im going to have to go balls out for.

Anyway, tidying things up i spent a little while wandering around on what i can only assume are poachers trails, before finally making it back onto the WHW and into mugdock again. Thence back to the Allander water path which i decided to follow to its conclusion.

Interestingly enough, although the path is in disrepair, it is good riding. But then, at the last, just as i was about to duck under the bridge into Dawsholm park, the path stopped. Seems someone decided that when they built their new house, the path was just so much to be ignored. Large baskets full of stone dumped into the river, acting as a wall behind which the foundations could be laid. I had no choice other than to go back (not so easy given the dimming light, and the lack of knowledge as to my exact whereabouts) or to climb up, and into the property. At that point i only new that it was a building, not a house. Turns out its for sale, with 24 hour security, and a big electric gate. Welp, i was reduced to shimmying up the fence, and dropping my bike over. Calories were depleted despite a late in the day mule bar, and i needed to get home and eat.

Up the road, through the Vet school singletrack and back.

A good ride and 5 hours of pain on the fixed. Not one dropped chain, and only 1 crash. Woop!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


So after footering around to try and find a way to get the chainline sorted, i looked up old friend 63xc. Matt chester may not be flavour of the month, but he describes very nicely how to measure chainline. You need vernier gauge and a good ruler. ideally mm measurements.

Taker vernier gauge and measure diameter of seat tube. Half it. This is A.
Measure distance from middle of tooth on chainring to edge of seat tube. This is B.
Add A and B.

Then with ruler measure distance from inside of drop out to middle of cog at rear. This is C.
When measuring, measure with all bolts/creaks tight as they would be riding.

If you are using a 135 hub spacing, then the number to note is half this, or 67.5mm. Adjust for hub width as required.

C+A+B should equal 67.5 or as close as dammit.

So as there is limited movement with a screw on rear cog laterally, you are down to adjusting the B number for chainline. If you use a tomicog or london fixie cog then you can alter both.

Russian salad.

I like cooking. Last night i marinated lamb chops in red wine vinegar, hot smoked paprika, garlic and thyme. Then with a little russian salad: peas, capers, waxy small potatoes, tarragon, parsley, red onion sliced fine, and a dressing made of 0% and redwine vinegar and a little mayonaise. Recommendo...

Monday, January 05, 2009

I will kill yaaww monstah...

Where have i been? Ardnamurchan mostly, with several trips to edinburgh to see family and friends. I guess now the festive season is over, and its time to get a routine back. However, heres a summary:

Crimbo: top food, pub quiz game and merry families.
Hogmanay: Facadale, ardnamurchan for some remote scottish scenery and some drinking with friends. Good kite flying too...
Back in Weeg: having put 650b wheel together, there was a brief delay until it could be put to use.

Headed out to local trails and everything seems good. Better than with the 26", though traction not quite as good with the neo moto as with the maxxis DH tyre, i guess thats to be expected. Wheel built nice btw, the sun equalizer rim (27mm wide, 510g or so) seems nice. the weld was a bit uneven, otherwise probably my fastest wheel build ever.

Ride-wise, the bigger wheel steepens things up and overcomes what i have concluded is the effects of the width of the front endomorph coupled with the pneumatic trail (ie caused by the tyre being low pressure)

Ace fun. I also seem to have got better at riding fixed off road, the trick is a little rear hop to try and get the cranks in the right place. Concentrate, and you can make anything thats not huge...really...

What else? apart from sighing and shaking my head at the situation in gaza, i missed the tod cross, which i would have liked to have been at. Sounds like chipps did a grand job. Photos on flickr, linked through my contacts if you want to footer about.

Got some good scrambling in, and some pretty hairy little climbs in ardnamurchan. I had taken my rock shoes, and with the traction on the superb rock you can get pretty high and cornered before you realise. The ice could be skethcy too. Prolly just need to man up a little.

Anyone know any good mustahce wax?

Also, toddle over to sswc 2009 get yer crayons out too. Im number 33...