Sunday, December 25, 2011

When the going gets weird…

A few days ago there was another fresh snow fall to the west coast of Scotland. That led me to commit to a course of action. Riding a normal bike in slushy, waterlogged or snow covered woods is ok once or twice but loses its appeal. Several years ago, I took my Kelly RoShamBo and mounted a jones/vicious fat fork and Paul Whub/uma drilled 50mm front rim with endomorph. Initially my thinkering led me to believe that a 26” rear wheel (with a maxis minion tyre) would balance out the geometry (the fork is 5mm shorter and has more offset than the RoShamBo was designed for, and the endo on a 50mm rim has about ½” less radius than the 29er wheel it replaced. Those frames already have a steepish head angle and I didn’t want to pitch myself too far forward - hence dropping the rear with the smaller wheel.. Of course due to the rim brake frame, that meant going either front brake only, or fixed. Fixed it was. Cue loads of fun. The front wheel had precious little lateral grip in the mud and snow, but careening about pinballing off rocks etc was great fun. Before too long, the low bottom bracket and super relaxed (floppy!) handling made me try a 650b rear wheel. Helped by the excellent Neo Moto tyre, it worked really well. The sun ringle 27mm wide rim was just enough despite pretty low quality material and construction. The bike even survived a strathpuffer…amongst other things.Eventually, the bike was pulled apart to lend things to other projects.

But it is time.

This iteration is going to be a bit different. Surly nate. Is there *anything* else? Maybe the Husker Du’s when they arrive? But meantime flotation and grip will be paramount. Again, the rear will be 650b, but I’m going to lace up a velocity p35. It is the widest rear rim I can find and with a dh tube, should allow me to run stupid low pressures mitigating the imbalance between the nate up front and the skinny rear.

Fixed or front brake only? Saint Franken mech or singlespeed? To be decided….

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So it seems when you have a post that is save as a draft, when you go to publish it, it slots in when you started it, not when you finished it...hmm! if you want, scroll down for that one.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Backed up.

Written on December 14th 2011.

Yesterday I picked up my 20kg and my 24kg kettlebells and spent 15 minutes swinging and pressing. Then I got out the rollers and saddled up the road bike and punted out 15 minutes or so at a pretty high intensity. At least it felt like a pretty high intensity.

Today, I can feel it. Feel the pain in the stabilising muscles and in the hamstrings. That tells me I’m way out of shape. It’s not OK, but it’s ok. There are reasons I haven’t been exercising at my usual levels. I may never be able to again. All in all, I need to change the way I 'do' exercise. What remains is the fact that I feel better when I do a certain level and intensity of physical work. I am committed to the act and the results of training.

I was reflecting on the fact that for 2012 I have no goals. In an idle moment I was thinking of trying to enter the Trans Provence. Following that race this year was a thrill. With one thing and another, I couldn’t fit it in, and felt a tinge of disappointment about that as a couple of friends have had their entries confirmed. Not only would I like to do the thing, i'd like to do it with them. But, you know, I’ve been pretty lucky. Or maybe luck isn’t the right word – I’ve been pretty committed to riding in some amazing places over the years. No reason for that to change.

What really struck home was the number of places I have been that have featured in videos that are doing the rounds at the moment: Rossland, BC, Rotorua, NZ and even our own Ben A’an right here in Scotland. Yeah, it’s been ok. Just in case you have missed any, here are those videos.

House of the Big Wheel Part 2: Hei Hei and King Kahuna from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

Trail Notes - Official Trailer from Cadre Productions on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ever decreasing circles...

Illness: 3 of us.
Hard work: here, and there.
Time is of the essence and in short supply. It's not a sob story or a saga. Just reality.

The snow came. For a short time it gave me sanctuary.

In the night, before sleep i am reading of cold, far off places. Kiss or kill: by Mark Twight, and now End of the Earth by Peter Mathiessen. All to soon, if Daisy doesnt wake us convulsing with vomit in the dark hours, the hours that should be occupied purely by dreams, the weak sun fights to break night's hold on the land.

Hope is born anew.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sublimity and ridiculousness.

At the risk of turning this blog from a cycling-centric monologue into a D.I.Y how-to, the last 24 hours has been all about cast iron and what NOT to do with it.

When we moved house, one of the primary features of the living space was a cast iron spiral staircase. Now, if you were thinking "Oooo! there just isn't enough cast iron stair in my life" at any point, let me counsel you to stop and think once more. Because when you conclude that your decision lacked clarity, and you want to move the beast out of your house, lets just say it takes a fair old bit of elbow grease. Yet again, i owe my dad big time for the efforts.

Then of course once you have done this, stir in a generous portion of your just-well daughter vomiting her guts up 'til midnight. Stir and take it all down the hatch without a scratch.

I should add, i HATE the smell of vomit. I doubly hate the smell of vomit as it is soaking though my clothes. The poor, wee lamb - i could cry for her...i really could.

Ok: other stuff.

New Black Keys album soon.
New The Roots album soon.

The P Phone has ended her incarceration. She went outside for the first time in ~6 weeks yesterday. Her new porthole into the outside wall is perhaps a little snug fitting, but i'm sure its just her winter coat, right?

Talking of which...