Queenstown, Ben Lomond, Injuries and Boredom….

“Was I bored? No, I wasn’t fuckin’ bored. I’m never bored. That’s the trouble with everybody – you’re all so bored. You’ve had nature explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the living body explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the universe explained to you and you’re bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn’t matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it’s new as long as it’s new as long as it flashes and fuckin’ bleeps in forty fuckin’ different colors. So whatever else you can say about me, I’m not fuckin’ bored.” – Johnny, Naked, 1993.

I am sure that there is a relationship between boredom and psyche, when riding becomes boring we stop riding, we lose our psyche…..but is it really boring? Perhaps we lose our psyche because we have failed to apply ourselves, and failed to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about why we do the things we do? Personally speaking I can’t remember the last time I was bored riding a bike when I made a choice to ride not out of obligation but because I desired to do so…..this desire keeps me refreshed, keeps me psyched.

Me on Ben Lomond ridge. Photo: Sven Martin

We are so lucky in Sheffield; in fact, any place we can ride our bike out of choice is very lucky…..I cherish having that in my life as much as other fundamental things; the roof over my head and the beautiful woman I love to wake up with each morning. I wonder how it is even possible to become bored of riding when so many possibilities have yet to be reached, there is always something new to learn: the way the bike feels round a turn, the way in which you finally see ‘the line’, the way you realise you don’t actually have to brake for that section. Our brain is intrinsic to our body….inseparable, and as human beings we are capable of conceptual thought, we can apply those thoughts, we can envisage and project ourselves into the future….maybe this is this is all it takes in order to get the psyche back?

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Episode 4. This Is Sheffield.

Episode 4. This Is Sheffield.

Chunk: I just saw the most amazing thing in my entire life!

[vimeo w=500]

Mouth: First you gotta do the truffle shuffle.

In recent times the riding in Sheffield has really been going ‘off’. We have access issues being raised and solved with Ride Sheffield, the Winter Dual Series, University of Sheffield students organising races, the Urban Extremist race, Steve Peat and of course

This is the latest episode

We are by no means wanting to be Lifecycles or Follow Me, but desire to document places we ride around  Sheffield ….we have some secret places and others not so. We shouldn’t take what we have for granted, they’re aren’t many places in the UK that offer such a variety of riding so close to the urban doorstep: steep and loamy, rocky and straight, tight and twisty, remote and lung busting. We are in an auspicious time to say the least.

The candor of myself, Bowman, Stokes, Nick, Jack, and Swinny is that we all take our riding seriously, but only if smiling, laughing, feeling and having fun a part of being ‘serious’. For this short film we built a track that differed from the usual finds at ‘Wharny’, something faster, wider and more open….the track is named ‘Truffle Shuffle’.

Hopefully short films like this one will help galvanise an already burgeoning scene, maybe one day we will have a summer race series, a track maintenance crew, no user issues in the Peak District and a fully participatory scene where it’s not ‘downhill riders’ and ‘xc’ers’…’s just riders without division….

Truffle Shuffle is open for business.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Truffle Shuffle is complete.

Hopefully everything it intends to be will be fulfilled, i.e. It’s a rate good track. Enjoy.

For those uninitiated to it’s location find the top of NEMBA just along the top fireroad North of ‘Fast Track’ and that’s where it begins….other tracks in the immediate area that are worth riding are NEMBA, Salmon/Alexander Super Trout and Dogs Bollox.

If there’s  anything that can be improved on/added etc I’d be keen to hear, so please leave comments…..

Truffle Shuffle – W.I.P at Wharny

New track at Wharny…..still work in progress, but this is a record of what’s been down so far:

A friend of mine once said a poignant sentence a few years ago which has stuck with me since, it was ‘enjoy the difficulty’. I ride bikes because in difficult terrain as it gives me pleasure, I think most people reading this are of the same ilk, we wouldn’t buy ourselves a modern mountain bike capable of a plethora of terrain just to ride on a canal path….well, I did say most.

The local riding around Sheffield offers this very attribute, the riding tends to be more of a technical nature where linking lines, hitting points on a track – such as an apex or a catch-berm – and speed checking are such attributes. That is the difficulty to be endured.

The hard part when building for me is maintaining flow, if it doesn’t flow it’s not enjoyable. End of. Tracks can be easy but without flow they are dull. Hard tracks with such qualities as a steep inline, committing features and harsh rock gardens still have to flow, well at least for me they do. The kind of ‘stop-starty- riding that is generated from poorly built tracks is something that we should all aim to put an end to, and I’ll be honest, I’d rather listen to the conversation beween two fixie riders than ride a track without flow.

I’ve ridden around Sheffield for at least 16 years, what we ride has changed vastly, and even more so in the last few years, bikes are worlds apart than when Greg Herbold cut the course in 1990, therefore we expect more from the humble push iron. We can ride faster into corners, we can brake later for hitting a particular rut at a particular speed in order for it to catch, we can ride the line we wanted as the forks don’t flex down the off-camber we are aiming to rail. The feeling of hitting a section of a track where it just feels ‘right’ is one of the reasons why I ride.

What does any of the above have to do with digging a track? To get it ‘right’, a saying we have in in the UK is ‘difficult difficult lemon difficult’- see the film ‘In the Loop’ for further reference. I am not content with just ‘making do’ with my efforts with a spade…..riding a difficult track well is the same as building a difficult track, it should tax your brain, it should make you think, it should make you enjoy the difficulty.

My aim for ‘Truffle Shuffle’ is too get the flow right. I am also hoping it will get other riders into looking at being creative with their lines….your riding is an expression…’s your own art.

Gap/flyer over existing NEMBA track

Truffle Shuffle

Righthander into minitature Val Di Sole

A bench worthy of a patio and summer garden parties

Double-drop from start

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