Monthly Archives: January 2013

SHAFF 2013 – March 1st-3rd

Matt Heason who organizes SHAFF seems to have finally realised that bike films are radderer than climbing films. This year they’ve added on a 3rd bike session with 12 bike films in total on over the weekend. There’s all the other usual SHAFF shenanigans on as well and inevitably the weather will be Shite that weekend, so you might as well watch films and stay dry.

I can personally recommend the documentary about Shaun Palmer, The Miserable Champion, which we watch at our winter get together.  There’s not a huge amount of biking in but theres lots of excess and Peaty basically calls him a Bellend…


Lacon De Catalonia
Spanish free rider Andreu Lacondeguy hones his skills on his 13 metre high run in at his training compound near Barcelona. As the Norwegian film-makers Antimedia put it: “we had a blast with a week of dirt, cameras, drones, motocross and mountain bikes”. Check out more of Andreu’s amazing talent in ‘Where the Trail Ends’.

For one day every year the Italian Singlespeed Mafia transform the grounds of an abandoned 16th century villa in the Po Valley into the world’s most stylish cyclocross course.  Bellissimo!
Ride Positive: A Mountainbike Manifesto
German film-maker Tom Malecha’s call to arms is a short reminder to all the people who ride bikes to ride their bikes.   (PS We’re particularly proud to show Tom Malecha’s latest film as last year he won our Petzl ShAFF Shorts video competition with his innovative film ‘BI.KE – A Symmetric Vehicle’)

Silvia – Winter Trails With Matt Hunter
Canadian big mountain free rider Matt Hunter gets creative with a power drill in his shed to go and shred his local trails on studded tyres in the snow. Possibly the coolest night ride ever? (PS Before you get any ideas they got tyre studding expertise from GP Moto!)
Road Bike Party
UK trials bike legend Martyn Ashton takes the £10k carbon road bike used by Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins to win the Tour de France for a ride with a difference.  Some of the toughest stunts you’ll ever see pulled on a carbon road bike and amazingly only one puncture during filming.
Sea of Rock
An adventure 40 years in the making.  In 1972 two Austrians decided to try the first ever mountain biking on a military bike stolen from their grandfathers.  Last summer Tom Oehler and Harald Philipp took on the challenge of Austria’s Mont Sommerstein (2308m) on the gnarly limestone with massive holes and crocodile sharp teeth. 8 days and 12 flat tyres later it was, as they put it, “Not your average day at the beach”.
Strength in Numbers
In the follow-up to their hit ‘Follow Me’ Anthill Films’ stated mission was to “explore the shared experiences that connect us all as mountain bikers”.  From the pros on the World Cup Circuit to kids on dirt jumps to the novice mountain bikers of Nepal, the film celebrates that taste of freedom you got the first time you rode your bike without stabilisers.  Featuring British athletes Gee and Rachel Atherton, Tracy Mosely and Sheffield’s finest, Steve Peat.


Line of Sight – festival edit

Cycle couriers have just two 2 rules – 1) no fixed gears and 2) no brakes.  Legendary racer Lucas Brunelle travels the world filming ‘Alleycat’ races between the world’s best urban cyclists from the vantage point of his own bike with his 10lb custom-built head bracketed to his helmet.  In ‘Line of Sight’ he teams up with Benny Zenga who turns the camera back on Lucas.

Janapar – Love on a Bike
Isn’t there more to life than this? 23-year-old Tom Allen escapes the rat race to search for the answer by cycling 12,000 miles round the world.  His dream’s thrown into turmoil when he falls in love and has to choose between settling down or continuing his adventure.  Will he choose romance or the road?

Note – we’re delighted that Tom will be doing a Q&A after Friday night’s showing of Janapar. 


Where the Trail Ends
Their most ambitious mountain-biking yet – freeriders Darren Berrecloth, Cameron Zink, Kurtis Sorge, James Doerfling and Andreu Lacondeguy and co are on a three year mission to discover unridden terrain.  Filmed in Argentina, China, Nepal, British Columbia and Utah, the crew used the most advanced filmmaking and sound equipment ever used in the outdoor adventure sport genre with jet boats, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft providing a variety of unique perspectives for the audience.


Shaun Palmer – Miserable Champion (Ski & Board 2)

7 times world champion, 6 XGames Golds, 38 elite victories and 117 career podiums in SEVEN different sports. A shocking portrait of Shaun Palmer, the notorious bad boy of extreme sports who’s partied as hard as he’s trained.  Featuring Sheffield mountain bike legend Steve Peat.

Pour Vous Servir (Ski & Board 2)

Not your average ski/board movie.  “Pour Vous Servir” (translation – ‘At Your Service’) takes the spirit of freestyle and goes lateral, then does a 360.  Only the French could come up with Fight Club for ski bums and a naked cycling drag race.

Ski Boys (Adrenaline Films & Young Adventurers 2)
Presented as found footage, the ‘Ski Boys’ film reels show ‘Deek’ and his friends on their family farms in the summer of 1971 documenting their everyday adventures on Super 8 Film.  Their homemade inventions – including 8ft toboggans fitted with roller-skate wheels, a flying squirrel suit and the ‘road’ ski – epitomise the ‘Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead?’ spirit.

Red Bull Kluge (Adrenaline Films & Young Adventurers 2)

Stunt mountain biker Danny MacAskill and an eclectic mix of his Red Bull pals including hurdler Lolo Jones, skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and golfer Rickie Fowler bike, skate, run, put, fly and drive through this Wallace and Gromit meets mousetrap style athlete powered machine that’s been one of this year’s viral classics.

Cardboard Bike (Teen Screen)

Three engineers told him it couldn’t be done but using principles of Japanese origami Izhar Gafni hopes he’s proved them wrong.  His recyclable cardboard bike weighs 9kg and costs just £5 to make.


And because variety’s the spice of life (and perhaps not all your family and friends are cyclists!) there’s a whole host of other adventure sports films, talks and lectures as well as four family-friendly Young Adventurers and two new Teen Screen showings.  Don’t forget the Showroom Cinema has a comfy bar/cafe with live music where you can relax in between screenings.  We’ll also have a MyOutdoorsUK photo exhibition and Single Shot photo competition and our second hand kit sale.  And on Friday night the one and only Niall Grimes will be hosting the ShAFF Adventure Quiz.

Winter Dual Round 6 – Snowy Berms

Baybutt captures the mood

Winter Dual Round 6 – Snowy Berms

First off… watch this great edit done by Baybutt, it’ll sum up the nights activities much better than my waffle.

Round 6 was planned to be held up at Farmer Jacks field on the amazing cow patted berms. Massive thanks to him for letting us play! That was before the snow came… again. In the days leading up to last Tuesday there were many texts and phone calls checking on conditions and accessibility. It all just adds to the excitement. On the day, the roads were clear but the farm yard and the berms were under a few inches of neige. Peaty was out early shovelling off the first few corners to make sure they were running ok and Josh Lewis had run a quad over them a couple of days before. JoBo helped with the final few corners later in the afternoon after he’d played cash in the attic at Steve’s.

Baybutt captures the mood

When I arrived the Genny and bulding lights were getting set up and Jack already had a massive fire going to keep us warm. All the makings of a royal nights racing. Once the rest of the lights were set up to illuminate the lower turns practice started in earnest. Despite the snow the course was actually pretty grippy once you could distinguish between snow berm and dirt berm. That track is so much fun with a couple of very challenging corners.

With 23 riders signed up racing got underway at 8 and straight in to the big guns, Will Swinden vs Chay Granby. Chay is currently trying to chase down Timmy at the top of the table and is feeling the pressure. He managed to fend of Mini Swinny… but only just! Team ‘This is Peaty’  also faced off in the first with Steve deliberating whether Joe could use the points more than him. He decided not and smashed him. Craig Evans was on fire from the off and carrying more speed out of the first right hander than anyone else by far, absolutely amazing to watch.

The Winter Racing Scene: Photo – James Irwin, Bike Garage

As our lovely timing ladies had decided to take the night off I was down at the finish line being ably assisted by a lovely cast of drop outs. First of Chris Pearson joined me and we developed the ‘rocking out’ technique for stop watch synchronisation. After being put out in the first round Baybutt and Joe Spivey also came to help out and we danced about, took the piss and jumped out of the way of crashing racers getting squirly on the finish table top. Tom England rounded out the evenings timing crew, many thanks to you all. That poor, poor whistle.

The 2nd round put an end to Chay’s points dream as Dave Camus showed him who was boss. Craig Evans also broke the 15 second mark for the first time while racing Tom Duncan who ended up over a berm. The Quarters saw Timmy out classed for once by Craig, amazing, and Loose Dog also showed me how it was done but at least he gave me a smile doing it. This setup a Peat, Evans Semi which was much hyped and anticipated. Craig had been putting down consistently faster times all night, could old school rise to the challenge? They both felt the pressure and had sloppy and slow first runs but Craig was ever so slightly ahead. In the other semi Chris Pearson showed his skills and kept his cool dispatching Loose dog who had another massive off in his second run. The same happened to Craig in his second run, misjudging the flat left and giving the win to Peaty.  This was almost as humiliating as loosing his car keys and having to call his mum to rescue him. Steve went on take the win although only on time as Chris won the second leg and Craig had to make do with 3rd.


One thing that struck me again about Dual was that the racing is actually only a sideshow to the main event. Socialising. There’s so much chat and banter going on all night that a lot of the runs actually go almost unwatched. With there being a lot of snow about of course there was the obligatory snow ball fight, epic by any proportions. Naturally this also spilled over to the racing and the last few rounds of racing had added flying obstacles. Brilliant.

This leaves the top of table pretty tight but Timmy is looking pretty unassailable at this stage. Can Chay pull his Socks up and catch him up or will Chris overtake him before he gets chance? Until the next time…

Flats Vs Clips: Help collect the evidence


The benefits and drawbacks of flats and clipped pedals are a much discussed issue within mountain biking. The Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University are undertaking a research project to compare the pedalling technique and the power output of flat and clipped pedal in an attempt to bring some further evidence to the argument.

We are currently recruiting participants for the study who are regular racers at either Elite or Expert level in downhill or Enduro. The participants need to be available in Sheffield for the testing over two days on either the 25th and 27th Feb or the 4th and 6th March where they will be required to undertake a multistage sprint test on an ergometer. This will be in the form of five 5 second maximal sprints with a rest period in between each sprint. An introduction to the equipment and procedure will be given on the first day of testing.

Data will be obtained from the output of the Ergometer which gives power output and pedal force measurements for the duration of the test. A camera system will also be used to track the lower limbs throughout each rotation. To aid the tracking of the hip, knee and ankle small markers will be placed on the joints. All equipment will be provided by the University including pedals and shoes. Subjects will need to bring in their own bikes to enable setup of the ergometer.

If you are available on the dates in Sheffield and would like to be part of the study please contact Tom Duncan directly on


MTB Specific coaching in Sheffield

MTB Specific coaching in Sheffield

Coaching is a funny one. Why are riders happy to pay hundreds of pounds on shiny new bits for their bike but reticent to pay tens of pounds to learn how to actually ride it better. The investment in learning is much more rewarding and will last a lot longer than the new component or bike that you just must have. From a beginner learning the basics to a pinner breaking bad habits: swallowing your pride, investing in yourself and not your wheels will make you a much better rider.

John Paul Jones of Aline Coaching has spent the last few months developing a set of coaching courses which will be delivered around the trails of Sheffield over February and March. Grenoside, Parkwood Springs and Bolehills will all be used as venues for the courses on either a Saturday or Sunday.

John is a highly trained and qualified coach with years of experience in the Whistler Bike park. Bringing back what he’s learnt to his homeland he’s able to help every rider improve their riding whatever level, from beginner to expert. Practising what I preach, I’m personally currently receiving some tuition and couldn’t be happier.

All the details of the Courses are available over on Alines website but I’ve copied over a summary of the next batch with dates and locations.

Do yourself a favour, get booked on and improve your riding forever.

Level 1:   Limited experience on a bike. You can control bike speed and direction on paved surfaces, but have little or no experience riding off-road terrain.
Beginner 1 (10th of Feb Grenoside)

Level 2: Experience of riding off road on various terrain surfaces and mellow gradients.
Beginner 1 (10th Feb Grenoside)
Beginner 2 (16th and 17th Feb Grenoside)

Level 3: Ridden offroad for at least 1 year at various locations in the UK, comfortable on most blues and maybe some blacks.
Beginner 1 (10th Feb Grenoside)
Beginner 2 (16th and 17th Feb Grenoside)
Intermediate 1 (24th February morning Bolehill BMX track, afternoon Grenoside)

Level 4: Comfortable on steep and rough terrain but struggle on flow trails with berms and jumps.
Intermediate 1 (24th February, morning Bolehill, afternoon Grenoside)
Intermediate 2 (3rd of March morning Parkwood Springs, afternoon Grenoside) Security on steep ground (10th of March Grenoside)

Level 5:  Can ride steep technical terrain, you are comfortable with jumping and drops but you can improve technique for speed. Can hit and clean the jumps at most trail centres (backside, table-size drops are no problem).
Intermediate 2 (3rd of March, morning Parkwood Springs and Grenoside afternoon)
Security on steep ground(10th of March Grenoside).

The Baybutt files – X marks the spot

The Baybutt files – X marks the spot


Baybutt Smashing out the smiles at the Laps. Photo: Henry Norman

So as you may have read, our mate and Pro ‘Tog, Rich Baybutt accompanied JoBo to have their cyclocross cherries taken together. Baybutt shared his experiences with me which made me giggle… Rich takes up the tale.

It was as epic as you can imagine. So fun – so much effort! We giggled the whole way round the practice lap. The jelly babies on top of a cheese sandwich before didn’t help but as long as I kept riding, I didn’t vom. Joe’s brakes packed up 2nd lap and neither of us used more than 4 gears the whole race. You could have drowned in the puddles. Like the worst Glastonbury you’ve ever seen. I would say like the Somme but it was no way near as serious as that; although I couldn’t have ridden any harder even if people were shooting at me.

Joe had a wobble in the woods and I had an tumble on a slippery log on the last lap but otherwise we stayed upright. The tyres work really well but then again it might be because you are moving so slowly. Project “don’t finish last” was a success.

We were stood in the van afterwards, shivering, soaking, half naked, trying to get our frozen fingers do do up shoelaces without covering everything in mud, thinking “people actually move to Belgium specifically for this!?” You need it in your life at some point – it makes all kinds of other riding seem easier!


Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Sticking with the age old tradition, the last dual before Christmas was a festive affair. This consists of everyone togged up Santa outfits and all the prizes being wrapped up secret santa style. Its adds to the fun and gets us in the festive mood. This year we outdid ourselves and everyone made a real effort including our lady timers, Steph and LJ who were sporting red dresses and LJ even had matching lingerie. Amazing. Thanks as ever to both of them for keeping us on track and timing us.

Ho Ho Ho – A great sackful of Santas. Photo – John Horscroft.

I set out a slightly different course on our familiar hillside with the corners and the big traverse working the other way round. The first set of double lefts into a big right around trees got slick quick but not as much as the traverse. If you lost speed here, you were screwed as it meant a slightly uphill pedal. The remainder of the corners were fast, loose and close to your competitor, especially the last few tight ones. Great fun.

The Lovely LJ Showing off her Christmas goods. Furry Muff. Photo – John Horscroft

The Christmas spesh has also brought a few dual stalwarts out of the wardrobe which was great to see. First off I got a massive man hug from our own James Swinden who’d forgone Pilates in favour of getting sideways in the loam again. Also showing his winter Hobo Chic look for the first time this season was Stephen Peater of Ecclesfield. It was great to have them both back and in the same Santa suits they rocked last year. As well as Cheg’s, Steve brought along his mate Turtle who hadn’t raced our dual before, but more about him later. Henry Norman was also back racing for the first time this season and especially in the festive spirit as his wife Helen is expecting their first child! Congratulations to you both! (Just hope it misses the ginger gene…).

Timmy and Swinny Facing off – Not trying at all. Photo – John Horscroft

We had 28 entries overall which tested the new bye system (which means my comprehension of it). It worked out well though as the Pearsons turned up after eight with Joe Spivey in tow. As punishment they got no practise at all but unfortunately Chay didn’t get the bye he’s been promised. The first round saw a few interesting match ups as ever. JoBo got drawn again Swinny but had an epic fail in the second leg and didn’t put up a fight. Henry was paired up again Jake Monk and unfortunately failed to beat a child, something I hope he continues with into fatherhood. I was drawn against the ever quick Will Swinden. He fell badly in the second leg on the big right hander leaving me with a clear lead. Unfortunately I panicked, froze and still managed to lose. Gutted. In the second round Chegs and Swinny faced off first and it was a close one with Swinny only winning by half a second. Peaty came up against Will who resoundingly took him apart on both legs and 5 seconds overall, maybe it was the increased drag from the beard? Then came the Pearsons. They’d had a few rides down the sides of the track to figure out where it went but no actual practise. Tim had the easier draw and showed Joe Spivy who it was done. Chris was up against Chay who’d been practising for an hour and is rapid anyway. It was very close but Chris took the win in both legs and went through to the quarters. The Quarters were all tight, non more so than the brothers Pearson however Turtle, in his first dual outing, was smashing his way through the field. Watching him ride was an education, he was cornering on drifty loam like no one else, bike right over but still in control, feet up and peddling. I was impressed. The semis saw him face up again Swinny who managed to get a half second vitory and move on to the big final. Timmy brought a halt to Will’s progress and also moved through to the Big final, where Swinden senior beat him enough in the first leg to make up for a second leg loss. First time back this season and he takes the win. That boy can’t half ride a bike (and gives the best man hugs).

Get on board the Santa Train. Photo: John Horscroft

Once the poles and the lights were packed away it was on to the prize giving. With all the prizes wrapped up it made for an exciting selection process. The first few were shown off but it soon descended in to a blur of flying paper. As Turtle picked up his prize for 3rd place a definite grumble was heard from that side of the ring of people. He stepped back in to the ring, head bowed and admitted shamefully that he’d been running spikes. Swifter than the USADA with Lance he was stripped of his prize and his crys of not knowing the rules fell on deaf ears. Spikes are banned to keep things even and this was a very good demonstration of why. Tsk tsk Turtle.

Rhubard. Photo – John Horscroft

The Controversial Turtle using his unfair advantage to challenge the mighty Swinny. Photo – John Horscroft

After the 4th round the top of the Gnar points table is already hotting up. The best 7 out of the 10 rounds will decided the winner but at the moment Timmy is comfortably sitting at the top, with Chay 14 points behind in 2nd and Will Swinden sitting in 3rd.


X marks the spot.

X marks the spot.

In this case, if X is a spot, then it’s a long-lasting, ugly, painful bugger.

If we have any regulars to this wee site, you’d know it’s been mainly Nick holding down the fort this year, (and doing a bluddy good job) whilst I’ve been swanning off round the world/trying to concentrate on running on a new business. This, has resulted in two things… A lack of posts on this here site and a lack of any actual bicycle riding.

So coming into this winter, things began to get quieter and like many, it was time to catch up on things, whether that’s family, friends or a new lego set, the off-season is a blank canvas at the moment. We all know that it can be a time to have our own little ‘Rocky’ moment and fill ourselves with ideas and plans about how we’re going to get mega fit for ‘next season’. I’m not gonna lie, come end of November, I was feeling pretty grim and un-fit, so plans began to form… After a quick encounter (at the Climbing Works) with local Olympian and old school mate Annie Last, I somehow ended up promising to attend a Cyclocross race, out near her home in Great Longstone.


There’s a few things that come to my mind straight away, replicated through the images below:

Now I think you’ll agree, none of those 4 things above, look like a laugh.

But come December 29th, full of Turkey, Beer and anger from visiting family, me and Rich Baybutt, another one of those media types who swans off all over the place, lined up bar to bar, at the SRAM NDCXL Round 12, Thornbridge Hall.

Turning up, we had no idea what to bring, where to go or what to do. There was a lot of folk looking pretty serious, going full bore on wet rollers, with crazy soft tyres (apparently your not meant to have 60psi for X, who’d have known!) all looking ready for war. Walking down to the ‘track’, I imagined we’d be seeing a mix of woods, tarmac and surfaced trails, but I was wrong, very wrong. Thick, wet ,muddy grass straights, 15 feet wide, were taped in up and down the field,  interspersed with 180 switchbacks, all on a completely flat gradient. It looked like the worlds shittest go Kart Track and to say It looked grim, would be an under-statement… Thoughts of  ‘making up time on the downhill sections’, went well out the window and smashed one over the road.

But even after realising our fate, we were both still relatively psyched… Operations ‘don’t finish last’ and ‘beat the gompers on mountain bikes’ was put in place from the off and we JUST about achieved it. To keep things short, as we are talking about riding road bikes round fields after all … It was fun. Yep, in some weird twisted way, kind of like when you listen to Taylor Swift driving by yourself, it just felt right. Being knee deep in mud, with 100+ lycra clad men in December ended up being not too bad ya know. 50 minutes of pain went by pretty quick and during that time, you got to see the top boys come past you like they were on tarmac, pushing that big ring whilst your sat in the granny straining away. Local lad and MTB legend, Nick Craig, races a lot of X and boy can he corner on it… There’s grip somewhere on those tyres. He kind of got stuck in the tape though at one point when he pushed it a bit too far, after flying past me on the inside…. but none the less ended up 2nd, good work chap.

After it was all over, freezing our bollocks off and wanting to puke the morning diet of jelly babys and gatorade back up, it was a surreal moment, as we stood in a sleepy estate getting changed out the back of a van. ‘People actually move to Belgium to do this?’ was the main concern.

Next round’s on the 19th in Ashbourne. Get on it. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts from a first timer, good luck :


– Be fit

– Enjoy gruelling slog fests in mud

– Make sure your brakes are working prior to starting

– Let some air out of your tyres.

– Pass as many on the first lap as you can, find a rhythm!



– Forget to make sure your brakes are working

– Eat too many Jelly Babys and Gatorade for breakfast beforehand

– Have a bottle-cage on your bike

– Use a Mountain Bike.







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