Monthly Archives: June 2011
Student life is tough… naaaat!
This is my second post of the day. After two days of digging a new track, one night at Corporation, two days riding and all with a touch of man flu I thought I deserved a day off from anything bike related.
So I’m going to talk about riding bikes…
I finished my uni exams just over a week ago so I’m pretty free until lectures start again in September. I’ve had quite a bit more free time so I this is what I’ve been up to:
Night ride to Mam Tor – Aim: ride to Mam Tor and arrive in time to see the sunrise.
Riding at Blackamoor. This has been pretty standard over the last couple of weeks.
And to end. This is what I was listening to at the point of posting:
It’s fair to say that when you like riding bikes you like to ride nice bikes. This usually means spending lots of money…
The cost of having such an expensive whip caught up with me so I was forced to make the tough decision and downgrade from my 224 Evo with a Cane Creek shock, Boxxer Team fork, Saint brakes, etc. Gutted!
So, the search was on for something 2nd hand that was fairly cheap but durable enough to stand up to the beating I would unleash upon it. Straight away I looked at frames which have less travel but still a relatively slack head angle, the popular Specialized Pitch sprung to mind. There’s a reason these bikes are so common: good angles; nice looks; light weight; and durable. But… you’re still looking at spending £400 for one in an okay condition. This doesn’t sound like much to some but I knew I could go cheaper still.
After searching on the numerous internet forums (*vomit*) and ebay I still couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Until, Duncan Philpott discovered an almighty bargain on ebay at 1am on a Sunday morning, a Banshee Rune anodised black with a DHX Air 5.0 shock in mint condition for £275. I couldn’t say no!
A few weeks later and I’m well on the way to getting grips with how it handles. When deciding on the kind of bike I wanted I knew it had to have between 140 and 160mm of travel. The Rune has 150mm of travel, perfect! For me, the sensation of riding a bike isn’t about overall speed, it’s about being as close to crashing as possible whilst still maintaining control and pushing the limits of grip. The Orange was a nice bike to ride but I don’t yet have the balls or skill to ride it on the “edge”. Another reason for having a bike with less travel is to have something easier to pedal allowing me to access trails which I would otherwise have to be driven to (not that I would ever say no to a lift…).
So, am I enjoying my time on the Banshee?
Hell yeah! However, there are still a few changes I would like to make to enhance my experience even more. First of all, the DHX Air shock isn’t great. I need to run it at quite a high pressure to prevent it from bottoming out quite so much, however, this reduces the amount of sag. Also, I often blow through the travel on my quite shagged pikes (if you’ve seen them you’ll know how bad they are) so this combination on the steeper stuff can make the head angle pretty terrifying. Solution: Get a coil shock and a better, longer fork! Once that is done I’m pretty sure this bike will fly down a hill with ease. And I cannot wait.
On a side note: I thought it would be a good idea (let me know if you think otherwise) if I posted a youtube clip of either the song I’m listening to when it comes to publishing an article, a song I like at the moment or just something funny at the end of my posts…
Can’t go wrong with a bit of Del Boy.
It was a hot and humid Tuesday that greeted the twenty racers taking on the double headed hill climbing monster of round 6 of Le Series de Spring. We rendezvoused on Clough Lane and went through the usual ritual of registration and chucking money and random prizes in piles. This fortnight’s donation bought two races for the price of one, a time trial and a technical hill climb testing both fitness and bike skills. First off was the time trail, up what used to be affectionately known as ‘The Rocky Bastard’ before Sheffield’s Highways and byways boneheads decided to make it in to yet another 2 metre wide perfectly manicured, accessible to all but satisfying none, right of way (see Ride Sheffield for more info on the struggle against the insanity). It’s been part of my local loop for as long as I’ve been riding mountain bikes and before being sanitised was a real technical challenge. As it is now, it’s a short steep climb which peters out in to three flattish corners before rejoining the road, the perfect setting for the first half of the race.
We set off in number order at 30 second intervals up the hill. Marian was kind enough to start us off and Si Garrard was good enough clock the times at the top of the hill. I was first off and miss judged the length of the hill holding back a bit too much, leaving too much in the tank. As I rolled back down the hill to go and setup the second half of the evening I was greeted by many a grimacing face, most of them swearing at me and telling what I wanker I was for thinking this one up. They love it really. With only half a minute between racers and an average time of just under 3 minutes there was lots of overtaking going on which confused the timings slightly but we got them ironed out eventually. Swinny blasted his way to the win narrowly beating Martin Baker as the both got in under the two minute mark. Dave James’ commuting legs and lycra fetish brought him an impressive third place with a 2:11. We had four new riders join the racing for the first time for this one and hopefully they haven’t been too put off. Marco and the Monk Twins all competed well and I may have to consider adding some youngster categories to give them a fighting chance. Race done, it was a ride back down the valley to the steep bit.
|Position||race #||Name||1st run||2nd Run||Best||Points|
I picked a quiet spot in Bingham Park and set up a series of gates meandering up the hill taking in various obstacles along the way. A bit more like a trials course than a hill climb really but all rideable, riders got points for every set of posts they got their front wheel though. Dave James and Si Bowns got the awards for chumps of the night, they both managed to completely miss the first gate. The first real obstacle came at gate two with a long set of slippery roots to be reckoned with and tape to stay within. Lots of riders pushed the limits of the tape only to fall foul when trying to get past the next post. The next gate surrounded a nasty rock step but it had just enough of a run up to make it rollable. However, with most folks in granny there were many legs spinning out. Following the step came a steep and loose loam covered bank at a point where most riders who’d made it this far were out of breath. Matt Hunt made it here twice but his big wheels couldn’t quite gain the traction needed. Then at the top of a testing climbing came a couple of tight corners with a short downhill section to mix things up. This was the downfall of Henry Norman who just under estimated the under growth. Rob Jolley was one of only two riders to complete the course on his first run ploughing through most of the obstacles like they were birds in Corp. The Pearson Bro’s used their trials skills to back hop their way to the top in impressive style, Chris doing it twice, Tim needing a second attempt. Victor of the first leg, Swinny, and current series leader also made it to the top on his second go after a poor first attempt getting to only gate 3.
|Spring Series – Round 6 – Hill Climb|
|Overall||Race #||Name||Time||Tech||Total||Series Points|
Making up the scoring system on the spot, the winner of the first leg was awarded 16 points with second place gaining 15 and so on. The same applied for the second leg but points were awarded equally to any riders reaching the same gate. The total of the two then gave the race winner. This would have been easy enough had it not been for the infestation of midges biting at every exposed bit of flesh. Thankfully everyone was patient enough and the prize giving went without riot.
So to the series standings. Swinny is still way out out in front but Timmy has pulled ahead of his brother and is now in equal second place with me. Martin Baker continues his climb up the table nudging ahead of Chris Pearson. Jody takes over as the current Ladies champion putting quite a lead in to Katie Hallam.
|Spring Series Standings|
|Position||Name||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Round 5||Round 6||Total|
Its amazing that we’ve had over 60 riders having taken part in the series but I’ve decided its about time to draw a line under spring and to roll on summer. We will have two more races in this series, the next one will be Cycle Speedway, the following race will be a classic Peaks XC route heading out from 18 bikes. More details will follow and calculations of series points to see who can still clinch the win??
Gee Milner and Jack Reading smashing it.
Somehow muckynutz seems to have skipped our radar, but luckilly Shane got in touch last week to let us know about this awesome, new little company coming straight out of Sheffield. At first it seemed like the usual bits n bobs you’d find in any store, until we realised it’s all made in the UK!! Which you don’t see very much anymore….
Muckynutz is a small outfit, mostly famous for the Bender fender which you may have seen on such pro’s bikes like Mark Weir. These turned out to be a bit of a global hit, coming in at 16g and retail for £7.98.
They also sent over this little life saver which allows you to be able to ride out of those ‘middle of nowhere, basted my mech hanger’s snapped’ situations.For £7.50 it could really help you out if you were miles from home, especially in the Alps on those summer breaks.
They have an ever expanding line, with rotors and ti bolts recently added, so keep an eye out on MuckyNutz, for more quality,Made in UK bike products.
Full review of the bender fender coming up soon…..