Sunday, 30 December 2007
This one is really easy.You dont need any tools,just some of your favourite lube and some tissues.Ahem.
First start with your rear mech in the top position on the largest rear sprocket. I'm assuming you dont have an opposite 'low normal ' setup.If you do, start on the smallest sprocket.The principle is the same.
You now need to release the tension in the cable.Do this by changing gear at the shifter ,but DO NOT TURN THE PEDALS.
As you click down the inner cable becomes slack. You might need to pull on the exposed inner to help it to release .
Now all the tension is released you can unhook the cable outers from the guides in the frame.
Use your imagination for this bit.It will depend how gummy your cables are. Use copious amounts of your fave lube.You can pull the caps off the cable outers to squirt inside the cables a bit.Quickly slide the outers back and forth along the inners and wiping them as you go . If the inners are actually rusty you should replace them,BUT,if you were a mingebag you could maybe clean them with wire wool or something just a bit abrasive.While youre at it,look inside the guides for dried in bits of cack.
If you have disc brakes be careful with spray lube.If it gets on the brake pads it can knacker them.
When you are satisfied that the cables are OK ,lube them up with light bike specific oil,and hook them back in the cable guides.In a classic Haynes manual style ,refitting is a reversal of removal.Take care not to kink the inners as you feed them back in and if you are struggling to get the last one in ,check that the mech/chain hasnt slipped down a cog or two at the back. If it has ,push the mech ,BY HAND, and slot the chain back on the top sprocket.Dont touch the shifter or the pedals until you have all the cables back in the frame guides.When it's all back in ,take up the slack in the inner by changing gear at the shifter,or turning the pedals.
Do the front mech as well. The principle is the same.Start on the top sprocket,dont pedal,change down the gears to the granny ring,unhook the outers etc etc.
Step7.When you have finished bask in the glory of what you have acheived. I celebrated with a nice latte,but you might prefer something else ,maybe a nice cup of 'Earl Grey'.
This is such a quick fix I have even done it mid-ride to cure troublesome shifting.Prevention is the best medicine though ,so do it regularly and definitely after a wet ride.It works equally well on racing bikes too,in fact ,any bike with slotted cable guides,and derailleur gears.
No featured lyrics today,but I was listening to 'Bloc Party' with their obscure references to Brett Easton Ellis.This didnt affect the outcome of the job in anyway and in fact nobody was butchered in a horrific satire on the overbearing wastefulness of the eighties, although the sky did exhibit a certain 'hazy shade of winter'.Haha
Friday, 28 December 2007
Things don't seem the same the past is so plain.
This future is our future this time's not a game.
This time you're sixteen again" *
Llandegla forest.Worth the drive down . Took just over an hour , down the '56,A55,A483,about 8 miles out of Wrexham.Good facilities,bike shop,bacon butties,bog.What more could you need?A suspender belt?
We were fairly lucky with the weather,depending on your point of view.It was certainly a bit damp but not too bad and not as cold as of late.Could've been worse.Maybe if it had been 'nicer' there'd have been standing room only ,so it's six of one..........
A SCWALBE TYRE EARLIER TODAY
I enjoyed the trails.Nothing too mad challenging.Up and down swooping singletrack with some good rolling jumps, nothing you couldnt have just rode over if you prefer your wheels stuck to the floor.The surface is hard packed stone in the usual north wales trail centre manner,and even after all the rain it was OK,well drained ,the odd puddle here and there.There are definitely some good flowing sections where all you really need is a little push off and you're away pumping the rythmn sections and railing the berms.Obviously there are a few uphill sections but nothing too long and arduous,maybe if you went on a stupid singlespeed or big daft DH type rig you'd struggle but there's nothing that'd take you too long to hoof up.
Just over half way round we stopped for a bit of a play on a jumpy section.A bit of a BMX feel to it with a few tabletops ,step up bits ,and a really nice set of whoops ( sorry kids ,doubles ).We rode down it once just taking it as it comes ,quite fast having a go at it all ,and clearing it ,in the zone,flowing,y'know.It was so good we pushed up for another go.The classic"just one more go".Could just as easily all ended in tears. I for one dont like 'over analysing' a trail or jumpy bit.Just get on with it.If you look at it too much ,you end up in the A+E.
ANDY STYLIN' ON STUPID SINGLESPEED
So needless to say we had a right laugh for a half hour or so ,reliving our youth and generally misbehaving without incident ,so I suppose I'm wrong again.While we were there a few gangs of riders came past and we saw one good stack on a baby set,and one very close to over the bars rolling front wheelie on the bigger set.Proper arse twitcher.There's a big disclaimer/warning at the top of that section that warns of riding outside your limits and to not respond to peer pressure.They both rode away to tell the tale but ,yea , they have a point.
GARETH CATCHING THE BREEZE ON BIG DAFT DH TYPE RIG
Who am I kidding ? It's a right laugh,hahah.Keep your weight back and all that......
From here we had maybe an hour or so of XC type singletrack back to the carpark.Again some good fast downhill bits through tight trees that come up fast.Ace.Here an there there was the odd elevated wood sections in a north shore style ,but again nothing too hardcore.It's like mountainbiking in a box,does what it says on the tin.I can see how it could appeal to a wide range of riders,which has to be a good thing.We all like a bit of peak district fillet steak ,medium rare,but every so often a McDonalds is OK.In fact it's more like my favourite pizza guy at Bryn .He's proper Italian,he does these really dead genuine pizzas and lasagne that are really really tasty,but theres no hassle.So it's moutainbiking in a 14" square box,double thick cardboard,still piping hot ,delivered to your door by a guy with a moustache.......
I for one dont like 'over analogising' a trail or jumpy bit..........
Just get on with it.
OK then,back to the car,a brew and a cake with a DVD on the big telly and Racheal Atherton in the queue.Get in there.
And in another hour youre hungry again.Chippy or pizza ,chippy or pizza......
Thursday, 27 December 2007
Been getting ready for tomorrows ride to Llandegla forest.Last week the Meta was acting up a bit.The gears at the back were misbehaving.I put it down to a 'sticky' cable . It's a common 'fault' with mountainbikes. A few manufacturers are getting wise ( UK ones ),but the majority are still running cables that' stop and start' on their way from the shifter to the mech.I'm sure in the barren wastelands of California ,and even Andorra, this isnt too big a problem,but over here where it actually rains and then water saturates the ground creating mud , it is.After a few rides moisture is drawn into the cables which corrodes and causes the cables to stick.Your thumb is strong enough to shift up the cassette and overcome this stickiness,but the spring in the mech that returns it back down the block isnt and you end up in between gears.The cure is a simple one.Run an uninterrupted piece of cable ,inner+outer,all the way from the shifter to the mech and tape/tie wrap it to the frame.Shit cant easily get in .
OK ,so that's todays job.Simply replace the cables on the meta.Hmm.Not dead easy.The SRAM x-9 shifters have a cover on top that is held in place with a silver screwed on retainer,they look like the old x-0s.Upon removal of the cover you have to unhook a( fragile looking )spring and 'fish out' the cable from under a coiled second spring,again a bit like the old x-os. It's abit tricky ,but hard to cock up really,not an impossible job ,but not as easy as some i've done over the years. 'Fish in ' a new inner and put everything back,slide on a new full length bit of outer and clamp up the inner onto the derailleur.Job done.Ace.
Except it isnt.It still doesnt seem to be shifting right.The larger of the two shifter arms,for changing up the cassette,isnt 'snapping' back into it's natural default position after a gearchange.It's not a wasted job but it might not be the cable at all. I'll keep you posted.Everything i've read about SRAM shifters is that theyre mega reliable but thats not to say it couldnt be a rogue.It's not had a knock that I know of.See how it goes tomorrow. TIM
* The cure. In between gears.
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Saturday, 22 December 2007
turkey legs and raw fish eyes,
teenage girls with ketchup too,
get out of my way or i'll eat you.
I like food ,food tastes good." *
This week in no particular order i have been at various times.......
looking after my 80 yr old dad.
visiting my mum in hospital.
Not sleeping enough.
Bringing my mum home from hospital.
Going back to the hospital for the things they forgot to give her.
Getting new shoes for the kids.
Cooking/eating Asda pizza.
Possibly not long enough.
Discharging clouds of noxious gases.
Feeling slightly better ,but weak.
Trying to 'bank' sleep.
Making numerous trips to visit the lavatory
Taking lots of 'imodium'.
Carrying on regardless.
I have a busy life too .And i still find time to ride . But not this week.No pictures either.
* 'I like food' by 'Descendents' -Bonus fat
Saturday, 15 December 2007
Top ride today.V V cold.Crisp and clear ,you know the kind.3 of us made it out of the duvets to brave the arctic wastelands .......OK ,it was nt that cold ,but dont let Andy in shorts fool you,it was that cold I had an extra vest on.
It was a a fairly up/down affair.we parked as usual on the barn rd and headed up to the bottom of the" ice cream run" taking the climb on the right,apparently this is now known as the alternative ice cream run or " a-ICR "in internet chat rooms and such.Well I can tell you in all my weeks of mountainbiking i havent seen any cardigan clad weirdoes ,gazing at their DMs,whirling daffodils around their heads singing "hang the DJ hang the DJ"riding down there,at all.Maybe wednesday is alternative day.
OK ,so ,we're climbing.we get about a half way up ,level with the corkscrew climb,and opposite is a gap in the fence.Now I've not climbed this for a bit,and now i know why.it's a tough un .The ground was baked with the frost , so it was fairly grippy,traction wasnt a problem ,and after some baiting,cheers gaz, i was giving it all I had .Which ,luckily, was just enough.I got to the top ,over the water-bar feeling like an olympian. Eddie the eagle to be exact .I was goosed .We'd only been riding 10 minutes ,so that was it ,right? -2deg.?Hopelessly out of condition?Hmm
Whatever.We had a sit down and chilled( which was easy,considering),took some pics and gazed westward .It was a great view.
GARETH IN STAGED DOWNHILL SHOCK !!
A short push up a flight of steps brings us out at the pigeon tower,from there it's a short hoof to the pike.Relatively speaking.Quite a degree or two cooler up here so we waste even more time by taking some more pics.
ANDY WEARING SHORTS SHOCK !!
I've never seen anything like it though.On the fenceposts ice had formed in mini icicles,and on the grass it had blown in a fantastic way .Different ,not like snow or frost.That had to recorded ,for posterity. It was our duty as mountainbikers.We could poke fun and terrorise red sock wearing walkers later.
KENDAL MINT CAKE HAD EVERYTHING TO LIVE FOR SHOCK !!
Off the back then . Bone dry.Grippy .Mad .Down to the gate.Turn left ,past pike cottage( dog kennels)and over to Wilders Moor.More of the same really,but uphill.Bone dry ,rock hard with the frost ,where it's usually gloopy.Good then.On to the tarmac is another short hoof to the top of the "dog kennel run",so called as it loops back down to pike cottage.This was good and fast as well ,punctuated with deeper swampy bits covered with a deceiving icy crust.Ace.like busting womp rats in beggars canyon.Someone once said.
THE LONG WINDING ROAD SHOCK !!
From the cottage back past the bottom of the pike to the gardens.We dropped in near the toilet block to the left.We only found out later to our horror that it was for downhill bikes.I dont know how we survived.Wearing lycra.
Grotto ,Switchbacks , bombhole .Join now to find out what these mean.......
And back to the car. Buzzing . Not much to report regarding the Commencal Meta but the gears were sticking a bit.Definitely a case for running the cables straight through in one.
*Every day is like sunday , Morrisey.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
This part of the blog is where I'm going to give my opinion on certain bikes,bits of bikes or kit.You may not agree with me ,but I think you will find I am usually right.Feel free to Email me.
Right .First things first. Tyres.I'm mad about tyres me .I tried riding without them .No good.
A few weeks ago when I started riding,the first MTB i ever rode had panaracer tyres.I guess it's like when citroen hook kids into a cheap deal on buying their first car ,free insurance or something,hoping they'll stick with them,y'know? Well , I like panaracer tyres.For days I wouldnt use anything else.I tried other 'premium' brands of tyres( That's where the citroen analogy falls down ),but wasnt always impressed.
In the short time I've been riding I have come to the conclusion that tyres are the single biggest factor in influencing how a bike actually rides.So you stick with what you know.Panaracer.They do a tyre,I believe it's a reissue of an old model ,called the 'smoke'.It's so good I bet the old guys could even have rode down hills without suspension.Imagine that.I wouldnt use anything else ,until a few days ago that is.
Enter the panzer division.-Contimental.
Just for a laugh ,and for the benefit of humanity(how PCs that?),(i would usually say mankind), i bunged some of their treads on.Quite a revelation.I hate to admit it,but theyre alreet.What seems like a good combination to me is to run a big fat one ,say ,the 'Diesel' in a 2.5 up front and on the back wheel a thinner 2.3 'vertical'.(Y/N)
The diesel is good on corners and absorbs bumps whilst being reassuringly weighty to cope with blunt edged hits.I think.The vertical has a (kinda)variation of the classic MX block tread,open ,cleans well and hooks up tenaciously as good as owt.Which means anything.
So,the Commencal meta comes stock from the factory with maxxis 'high rollers',the lightweight expensive ones,that come folded in a box.I'm sure they are a perfectly adequate tyre in some parts of the world,for some riders,for some bikes,but I'm not convinced.I suppose I'm nitpicking,but I did say I'm mad about tyres,and they're not bad tyres ,but theyre not great tyres ,and the meta deserves great tyres.The meta is such a capable bike that the tyres were letting the side down a bit.They were certainly grippy enough,cornered OK,climbed ,braked etc,but as soon as the pace quickened ,wallop,pinchflat.Do old schoolers call them snakebites?I had 3 in 2 weeks,which is above the national avg.They are a light tyre though,so if that's your thing they could be up your alley,maybe I'll switch camps and ride xc in a few weeks and they'll be OK for that.Whilst I've still got both feet firmly in the freeride lite camp(like regular freeride ,but better for you )i thought i'd better get some contis on ,sharpish.Since they've been on ( a month ish)i havent had a puncture ,so ,statistically i'm percentages up.Below are some pictures of tyres being swapped over.It's an easy job.All you need is some spoons.
I dont suppose any of you have any top shelf pics of panaracer smokes? Skinwall ,Oooer.
*LCD Soundsystem,-"losing my edge"
Since thinking about this article,but before actually writing it,which is a form of time-travel, I have now tried anothernother brand/type of tyre.The kenda 'nevegal'.Not the fancy expensive ones ,just regular 'cooking 'versions.They come stock on the GT Avalanche(above/below?),and in treacherous conditions performed great.They felt bulletproof and would probably suit the meta 'character' **,so i'll probably swap em over and give them a whirl just to be objective.where's me spoons?
** I will endeavor to refrain from cockishness such as this,reserving words like 'character' for wine tasting reports.
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
Saturday, 8 December 2007
They stuck me in an institution,
Said it was the only solution,
to give me the needed professional help,
To protect me from the enemy,
Did i say i normally do sundays?it's my anniversary tomorrow ,so i got a special dispensation for a saturday ride.Route was a fairly normal up and over type thing,i.e. up the pike and over the mast.Around 10 or 11 miles from the car park at the barn.If the route was normal though,the ride turned out to be far from it.
We arrived at the carpark around 8.15 expecting a bit of faffing.Chris was right behind us and Dave was already there as he'd ridden over from his place in Egerton.The weather was forecast bad,but what do they know?It was abit chilly/damp,but not Tooo bad .Chris was demo-ing the Commencal meta(how very dare he )which meant i was on the GT Avalanche 2.0.I hadnt ridden that before and it felt a bit funny at first.It's a medium ,which is a bit small for me (I'm 6.0'),but chris looked OK on the Meta.
We set off,post faff,and headed up to the pike via the gardens.We soon warmed up climbing the corkscrew.It's a top secret illegal footpath that is only open to pedestrians ,but luckily they were all in bed.I resisted the urge to take off a layer thinking it would be a few degrees cooler on top and i was right.It was a bit chillier/damper than at the car and i was glad of the extra pair of braces i'd put on.The GT was good.Stiff ,responsive .the usual cliches.A bit light on the front,i'd stick on some bar-ends,but then I'm old school.The climb up to the pike is a good benchmark climb and it felt good.I didnt bother to lock-out the fork just sit and spin.I had a spot of bother with the gears though,which is probably due to a 'sticky 'cable.Clearly a case for 'winterising'.
We all made it up to the pike in one piece ,with Dave clearing his nemesis 1st corner,and admired the view--of my hand at the end of my arm.It was grim.Like winter .And it's only December.A stiff breeze hit me sideways as i popped out from behind the shelter of the pike and i set up for the drop 'off the back'.Time to test the pikes other benchmark.Once again I have to say the GT was good.It certainly didnt feel like a 400 quid bike.The light front end uphill ,disappeared ,to reveal it's downhill character.It really did feel ace.And the tektro discs were ace too.One finger and loads of control,and the tyres,i have to mention the tyres. kenda nevegals.Ace.I've never ridden them before,big steve rates them and i have to agree.Tough treads.In summary,ace.Chris got down to the gate on the meta and exclaimed that he'd hit a big drop that normally would have had him off ,but that the meta saved his life.Well that's a fair endorsement then.
Next bit,Wilders moor to the mast road.Slog.Tyres good .Gears acting up a bit .Got to the mast,weather forecast turns out to be fairly accurate.Sleet in ears+30mph wind ,not good,but perversely enjoyable .Just about.Who am I kidding , I love it. Sainsburys 'taste the difference' cookies performed as well as expected.
The downhill over the back of the mast into Belmont is always a good un and today didnt dissappoint.Gusting from the right nearly had me in the ditch on the left ,but once again the GT played a blinder.It's not that it climbs bad , far from it ,but it goes down so well.it's obviously not as 'easy' as a susser, or as fast i guess,but with 'yer weight back ' it feels rather nice.And the forks had stopped working.Hmm.Ok ,it's a 400 quid bike.Too tough a test?The conditions though were as bad as i've ever seen.Proper proper cold ,wet,and windy,and proper snow now too.It cant have been much more than freezing but with the windchill felt much much colder.Even more perversely though,we all seem to enjoy it , re-grouping at the bottom with big (frozen)grins.
Dave headed off home with an offer of coffee.How bad an idea would that have been?We'd have had to ring for a taxi back over the hill.No rest for the wicked,this is where the tour is won,eh Lance.
We turned right at the Black Dog and headed up ,back over ,heads down into the biting wind,not too far now.A mile or so of tarmac then it's a left onto the belmont rd bridleway back to the pidgeon tower.This was tasty.It can be hard work in this direction at the best of times ,but into a force ten freezing gale it was dead good.I was banking on some shelter from the hill which came about half way round ,providing a bit of respite .Positively tropical.It soon returned though reminding us who's boss. Bloody Michael Fish.
We pulled up at the pidgeon tower to lower our seats for the last real drop of the day,The 'Ice cream run'.I've not been down it for a while but i still had an advantage over danny and Chris as they were trying it for the first time.So I filled them in on the points of note at which point they both mentioned that both their back brakes had ceased to work .Well,what can you do?If you dont use your brakes they last forever you know.The weather didnt seem quite as bad here now,which was good because as usual the ice cream run** is different every time you ride it .The first corner had eroded that much it now requires a 'jump' into it . Brill.It's such a nice downhill though , isnt it ?
OK ,so ,5 mins back to the car,half ass attempt at the wallride in the carpark,hyperthermia,button mushroom,you get the picture.11.00.About 2 and a half hours then.
Good good good.
* punk poetry,Mike Muir,Suicidal Tendencies,'Institutionalized'.
**Answers on a postcard......
UPDATE: I work with the other 3 lads. It's been a few days ,but it's all we're talking about.It's just mad.Another half hour of that and Danny would've been done for.
Dont let that put you off.........
Monday, 3 December 2007
My name is Tim.This is my bit about mountainbiking.
Here you can read about demo mountain bike rides in our local area.
The rides typically take place on sunday mornings ,from around 9.00 through til lunchtime.It's 'real' mountainbiking up on the west-pennines.Without mountains then.
That's the climb up to Rivington Pike*,and that's me, dropping off the back.A typical ride may or may not include a touch of this .The format tends to be laid back . I have been riding mountainbikes for some years up here and I am very fortunate to have a network of great riding buddies,whom I am riding with most weeks.Numbers out on the day vary,but it tends to be a good mix of a half dozen or so.Varied riders.All ages and abilities.The demo idea is really just an extension of what i have already been doing.Obviously we'd prefer to sell bikes,but more than that ,this is about selling the riding ,the lifestyle if you like.There will be no support van or post ride massage,well maybe,it depends who's out,but you can come and try mountainbiking ,as it really is .If you enjoy it and end up buying a bike,that's great,but, rather than getting one and it ending up in the garage next to the kite surfer,you know you have somewhere to ride the thing.
If you already have a bike that is collecting dust ,dust it off and get back on .Dont worry if it's not the latest colour with platinum tipped disc brakes,if it's a proper** mountainbike ,it'll be fine.Just tighten the bits that need tightening,there was this time ,see, when a wheel , like , er ,fell off.....
Dont worry too much about your fitness , or lack of,as I said it tends to be laid back/social .Rides are tailored to suit on a whim and may include bacon.Just bring yourself ,if you have riding kit ,bring that ,a helmet is pretty essential,but trackies and trainers are OK.Check the weather,I ride no matter what.(I just know i'll be reminded of that).Use your noggin.
We'll be putting future rides up here so please check back to see how it's going on.We've already had a few and they've gone good.
If you'd like to know more ring us in the shop, 01942 826598,we can let you know what's going on and what bikes are available to try.Or email us on mailto:email@example.com
Write DEMO in big letters on the header so it wont slip through the net.
* Rivington Pike is on the west pennine moors in between Wigan and Bolton . Google it .We meet on the road up to the hall barn ,near Horwich.It's about 10 mins off the M61.
**A "proper" bike . This is tricky.generally speaking if it came from a supermarket or out of a high street catalogue it wont be up to much.The age doesnt matter,or whether or not it has suspension etc,but it needs to be working properly.Decent branded MTBs are getting cheaper and cheaper,but if youre not sure give us a call and we'll sort something out.If you used to ride get back out there .you know it makes sense.
Already ride?You can come too.