Friday, 8 September 2017

Gravel riding into the past

So this new gravel riding thing. The latest buzz word from the cycle industry, or is it? well maybe the industry has jumped on the bandwagon in the same way they jumped on the Fatbike popularity wave. In the end the industry need to sell bikes to survive so you can'tr blame them for going for every niche currently hip with the pedalarty. and lets face it producing a bike with clearance for 35mm+ tyres is a lot easier and involves fewer new standards than a 170/190mm rear end fat bike frame.
So an all new discipline in cycling, not as sharp handling as a CX bike and more crotch clearance than a CX bike as there's probably going to be less shouldering going on. throw in some rack mounts and mudguard eyelets and a bit more tyre clearance then the UCi ruling 33mm and Bobs your uncle. But is it new?
I've built a sort of gravel bike, in essence to me a gravel bike has 35mm plus tyres and a non twitchy head angle so i've put 35mm tyres which cost me £3.99 each on a rigid forked steel hard tail MTB. it's not got a drop bar or a dopper post, it does though have a wiggly moustache like carnegies bar which i've had lying around for a while. 
I've ridden it on tarmac, ashpalt, gravel, mud and sand and even though there's not much in the way of knobbles on the rubber it's been a real hoot. a massive difference from my fat bikes 4" tyres and it's taken me a while to adjust. thing is though my body has used muscle memory because it feels just like riding a MTB from the late 80's/early 90's. super sketchy on descents, that slightly out of control underpant filling teeter totter sketchiness that leaves you grinning when you realise you're going to get away with that off camber corner that a modern MTB has rendered boring and run of the mill and i've used finesse for once to eek out the maximum amount of traction from the skinny tyre whist avoiding pinch flats. it's been like going back to MTB school and i love it. the only good thing is that disc brakes are so much better than rim brakes so when things do get lairy there's a chance you can survive!
So i guess it proves there is nothing new in cycling, just rehashing of old ideas but for once it's worth it. I urge any one, those veterans who were there at the beginning of "ATB" (because i think All terrain Bicycle is a very good description of gravel bikes) to those who have only ever ridden a trail MTB it will make a difference to your riding, even if it's to appreciate your 160mm, dropper post endowed trail weapon more. but be carefull you might get to like riding on the edge and travelling back in time
ride 63
10 miles
total 1378

Thursday, 7 September 2017

paying my respects

all in all it hasn't been a bad summer, the weather has been good at times and i've managed to stay injury free so i thought i'd pop up to see the God of the woods to thank him for the last few months and ask if there's any chance we could have a cold crisp but dry Autumn. he remained impassive, but then he always does. he generally comes through for me though. and i've given him some leeway to produce some snow in winter too, so that should placate him. fingers crossed no one upests him in the meantime.
ride 63
10 miles
total 1378

Sunday, 3 September 2017

locked up, deflated and injured

late braking on a dusty turn, two wheel difting into the fence, new tyre deflated over night but help up well over this ride, lacerated arm from whipping through brambles in search of breakfast with a NT Nazi
overall a top ride!
ride 62
22 miles
total 1368


nice to just brush the bike clean for once
ride 60
14 miles
total 1324


hard, hot, rooty, 85% singletrack, insect bikes, good company and beer
ride 59
24 miles
total 1310

lumpy gravel

well that had a lot more climbing than i was expecting, Bewdley to Bridgnorth via back roads, forest paths, cycle paths and field edges. definately not road bike territory, the Grav-brid was necessary. managed to avoid the rain too and encounter steam trains. the climb up from Arley wasn't as bad as i expected but i was glad we'd parked in Bewdley and didn't have the extras 20 miles to ride home.
ride 58
46 miles
total 1286


just a quicky testing out the bike for a longer ride thats planned
ride 57
22 miles
total 1240

no shows

illy no mates ride tonight after work, I thought 2 days would have been enough notice for the others but ended up on my own. to be honest it was probably better. no waiting for others to finish work, i could start when i wanted and go where i wanted and stay out for as long or as little as i wanted. I think solo riding is the future
ride 61
22 miles
total 1346

Sunday, 20 August 2017

dinner date

liyyle jaunt guiding some locals onto the canal then split off down the grand union for a lunch date in Warwick
ride 56
29 miles
total 1218

Pivot 24-12

Pivot 24:12 report,
I have to say my laps were horrific, but at the same time it was the best riding experience I've had in all the endurance races I've done. I had gear issues like so many others and i lost count of how many riders & spectators how helped or offered help. There were no egos out on the course, everyone was in it together & supporting one another, i felt euphoric at the end of my stint & the sense of achievement at surviving was emmense. Martyn Salt and his team must be under so much pressure when conditions are like this but of course nothing they can do about the weather.
Great weekend despite everything.
Big thanks to Judy & Roy for the hospitality & it was great to make new friends in Martijn & Jolien.
Thanks to Bruce for the essential mudhuggers, Graham for the amazing Henderson frame & Kevin for my forks, that upside down design meant no clogging issues thst many others faced.
Now for coffee and the long drive home

ride 55
9 miles
total 1189