Sunday, 7 February 2010


"One can have a dream , baby,
Two can make the dream so real..."

Good spin today . Myself and Jeff .
I sent a TXT round yesterday announcing the usual rendezvous at 0830 , up Rivington on the Barn Rd .
The almost total lack of replies changed my mind a little bit . Jeff had said he'd pick me up , but seeing as there was nobody to meet , and we didnt have any particular time to adhere to , I suggested riding up . We could go at our own pace , see how far we got , and when we'd had enough , turn round and head back . Old school . Kinda how it used to be before the invention of car-biking.
Car-biking is a modern off shoot of mountainbiking , a bit like uplift assisted downhill mountainbiking ,and it's popularity is growing in direct correlation with the UK population's BMI.

So , Jeff gets to ours around 0800. Already the spanners are out . I'm on my mid-school Gary Fisher Big Sur . I've not been on it for a while and I think the cables have settled in or something , but I couldnt easily get the granny gear , and the big ring was not having it at all . A quick fettle and we were off . That was the faffing out of the way , and it performed without incident for the rest of the ride .

Jeff is on his new- ish Orange Five . We dont sell them , so I wont tell you about it's robust , industrial simplicity . It's a sorted bit of kit , but you should definitely not buy one . Opt instead for a custom built American 5" er , say , a Turner ,(Available now to demo ) or if you prefer ' off the peg ' as I do , you cant knock the Cannondale RZ 140 .

I havent taken any pictures today . No particular reason , apart from it being a little damp / cold early on . Later on I just couldnt be arsed . Here , a picture of an old bike instead...

We headed up through Wigan on the canal to Haigh , nipped into the woods ,not climbing as far as the hall , then back on the canal to Adlington . Out of Adlington into Rivington , then up to the Pigeon Tower and the Pike . Off the back , and then down the boneshaker ( Roynton rd ) to the back of the school in Horwich . Hoofed it to Aspull , and then dropped through Haigh Plantation again to pick up the canal , and home the same .

Here , the canal .....

Good ride , some good ups , a few tough climbs , and some good drops .
I particularly enjoyed bombing down the boneshaker . There's a gate about a quarter way in , that was fortunately open , so no loss of momentum . It's one of my classic downhills that I would do regularly in years past , but havent for a while . It's the kind of fast , wide trail that on a full susser might be seen as a bit tame . It's perfect then for a hardtail .
I know I can bang on all day about the simple joy of an uncomplicated old MTB , but I realise it's not for everybody . There's a place too for the modern bikes . They've without doubt come on leaps and bounds in the last few years , in how they work , how little they now weigh , and how much performance they can bring to the trail for less money , relatively , than ever .

But , I , me , myself , and all my other split personalities get something from my old bikes that you cant buy . An actual ' nostalgia trip ' .
I also realise that I'm a bit weird . If I had more money I could be labelled ' eccentric ' , I suppose , but I prefer being a normal regular working class nutter.
See , in a way , it's exactly like it used to be . Mostly I took up MTBing because I just love riding bikes . But , secretly , it was good to be part of a select little club that other people , ordinary people , didnt get .
Ergo .
Vintage sit up and beg .
dayglo legwarmers .
Polystyrene mushroom helmet .
So , I'm bombing down the boneshaker , and I'm 17 again . You cant buy that . Well , you can, on Ebay , but it takes quite a bit of effort trawling through the detrius. It's better to just keep all your old crap.
The Fisher is'nt exactly old though . It has modern-ish things . Like brakes . Theyre of the ' V' type , so work OK , and it has forks of the suspension type .

" Cold gravel " , I hear you cry .
Compared to the Axis I was on last week , it rides like a Bentley.

I didnt mention this to Jeff , but I had a little moment on the second half of the descent . I was probably going what can only be described as too fast .
A water channel crossing the path turned into a jump , which in turn , turned into a bit of a ' dead sailor ' . On an old ( ish ) bike , at over 20 MPH ( feels like 50 ) , it definitely gets the arsehole winking . I thought I was going down , but didnt .
That's the kind of thing I'm looking for . All the thrills , but leave the spills . Hey , I'm 41 now . It's shaping up to be a classic year.
Here , Map thingy .