Tuesday, 1 September 2009



"Take me out tonight ,
where there's music and there's people ,
and they're young and alive " *

First outing with the Scott demo bikes .
Night ride . Meeting at the Bob Smithy Pub ,on the road to Bolton out of Horwich.
Jeff has kindly loaned me his night riding lights ,thanks Jeff. I’m meeting Rick and a bunch of his mates for their regular Wed night MTB ride. We’re setting out from what is for me the other side of the hill ,but heading over towards my regular trails . Should be a few surprises,it's not my home ,it's their home .
Some guys are keenly waiting when I arrive in the team van , loaded with bikes ,and few more arrive a bit later on .About 10 of us in total . I’m struggling with all the names ,so this is the bit where I text Rick to fill in the blanks.

If you are one of our legion of fans who waits with baited breath for each and every blog post ,you will have missed this bit ,as Rick has only texted me the following day ,but via the magic of web ,I have inserted names,thus...
Big Trev, Ian , XC Whippet John , DH Lawrence , Simon , Mike the hat, Graham, and Dickie.I think there was one or two more ,Rick ?

Speaking to Rick earlier on ,he was convinced the bikes would be out of the van and away ,Tommy Cooper style. Leaving at 7 ,a 2 hr ride ,back to the pub for 9 o’clock. ,i.e. no lights req’d . Hmm. After 45 mins of faffing ,setting rear shocks and fitting pedals etc ,what can I say ? Thanks again Jeff . Lights definitely req’d.
Being the altruistic kind of guy that I am ,I’m slumming it on the £3k+,lime green Cannondale. All the Scott bikes are taken. First impressions from the guys are good . Hoofing it up the road before we turn off onto the moors ,everyone seems pleased with them . Good then.
We take ,for me ,an unfamiliar climb . Starting fairly innocuously ,it turns a bit nasty . Luckily I’m slumming it on the not unfamiliar Rize .Don’t feel bad for me . At the trailhead ,properly warmed up now on a balmy evening, we regroup ,and evaluate. It’s early days ,but everyone seems pretty stoked on them . Guys are talking about not getting on with the Shimano after their Sram kit ,and obvious peripheral tyre talk abounds. Groupset choice is a funny thing . Same as tyres . Personally I prefer Shimano, I also prefer to have tyres . I’ve experienced some ,shall we say , less than perfect results with Sram kit . High end stuff too . Maybe it wasn’t set up correctly ,I don’t know ,but you have to base your opinions on something concrete . It’s not Catholicism. This gang seem to prefer Sram kit ,but luckily aren’t raving mad Groupset Fundamentalists ,and are prepared to accept the differences ,and move on ,in a kind of quasi mutual Groupset harmony.Shimano is a superior system. I believe it as a matter of faith. How can they hear me say those words ,and still they dont believe me ? And if they dont believe me now ,will they ever believe me ?

On more familiar trails now we head across Walker Fold towards the bottom of Smithills ,and the ‘Two Lads’, a local geological ‘lump’. Before we get there ,however , the Groupset tension is almost irrevocably shattered. Stay tuned.
Ian , a fairly ‘well built gentleman’ finishes the climb portaging his bike, the Scott Spark . It transpires the rear hub freewheel arrangement has completely failed, giving him no forward drive. This could tip the balance of mutual acceptance ,but luckily ,ironically even ,the rear hub is DT SWISS . Which of course ,luckily and ironically can only be neutral. Phew. Ian takes it most sportingly , run/walks up the Two Lads ,and freewheels the downhill to the Dog Kennels and then heads back with Graham for an early bath.
At this point it doesn’t look very good for the Scott ,but something daft like a busted freewheel is virtually impossible to predict. Still ill , I wonder ,could life ever be sane again?
So we carry on . Around the back of the Pike ,and down the Ice Cream Run, getting darkish now. Going good . The energy of a night ride is hard to beat . My dusk vision is terrible ,which gives a certain added buzz to things. The young lad is buzzing too , XC whippet style on the Scale. Youth is wasted on the young .How we laughed as he jumped off the path on to Sheep House Lane ,at an angle ,and decked it on the slippy steel of the cattle grid. Not as much as the late night roadie whose path he crossed at high speed though. That was close.
We head around the trees and the waters edge ,Return of the Jedi stylee ,on narrow trails , more darkish now. More buzzing. Mosquitoes ,probably.
Some climbs to tick off on the return leg . The concrete climb up to Wilderswood is a good one . Lungs tight in the moist night air . My only weakness ,well ,never mind, never mind. At the top the general consensus is that the Scotts are pretty good, doing all that is asked ,and maybe a bit more . “Efficient “ ,and “ direct “ are words that may have been used ,along with “ possible future maintenance issues “.The Genius ,that seems to be well received ,is certainly a little ‘techno’ looking with a 400psi rear shock . I suppose that that is how it is these days with multi pivot suspension bikes ,and if you’re in the market ,it goes with the territory. I have been assured that the rear shock can be serviced very quickly ,by Scott ,competitively priced, within a week turnaround .
And so ,on and up ,and away. For one night at least the relative merits of one God or another can be put aside.
Momentarily ,it seems ,we are ensconced within the pub discussing club T-shirts. I wondered why they should want to assimilate so ,but then a strange fear gripped me and I just couldnt ask.
Good night ,good lads ,good crack.
We are all ,of course ,just riding bikes.

*Pint O' Smiths. there is a light that never goes out. Thanks Jeff.


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