Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bike Restoration is not a Crime...

but it should be .
 I just wanted to thank Alan for helping with the project .

I haven't contributed much to this blog , of late . I've just recently been restoring my old Muddy Fox Courier . That's a mountainbike , kids . I thought I'd ' blog ' it . For posterity .
It all came as a bit of a shock really .

I've had the Courier for about 5 , maybe 6 yrs . Time flies . I didn't think it had been that long ' til I thought back . I picked it up off Ebay . I'd been kinda browsing for one for a while . I'd bought one in 1987 , off Alan . It was such a new sport , that I'd mention" Mountain -Biking" to people , and they'd be , all like ...  " Mountain ? Biking ? "
 Seriously . People had never heard the two words together in the same sentence .
We took to it with  gusto . Soaking up every bit of information . Not much in those days . It seems incredible today , but there was no internet . None . There wasn't even a dedicated magazine . It did not come on the telly .
But still , we rode .
Alan had ordered me a courier saying if I wanted one , he'd get one too . We waited soooo long for them to come .

 I'd meet him up near his mum's on the canal , and from there , without any plan as such , we'd ride the local spots . Some would be old BMX jump spots . Or we'd even go to the track. We'd explore the local woods . I'd ridden BMX as a ' street kid ' . Alan was the celebrity racer . But it worked well . I fancied myself as a bit of a trials rider type . I'd done ' freestyle ' . Tricky dicky front wheel spinny stuff . Balance and poise . Ha . It carried over well , descending short steep drops in the Haigh Plantation , or Borsdane Woods , I'd love exploring the limits of control . Weight back . Still the same today .
 I guess Alan still craved the competition from BMX , and we soon ended up doing the odd race . Again , very early days . There just weren't any MTB races . So we did Cyclo-cross .
Insane really . We were at a huge disadvantage , weight wise , and with the fat tyres , but we did it anyway .

So , then we also had a few trips away . I can't remember exactly the order in which we did this , but we went up to the Lakes for a ride , and there was the first ever national champs weekend in Telford . That was good . It was a weekend event , with a ride on the Saturday , and a race on Sunday . I'd been ill in the week , just a bit offside , but despite my mum's protestations , I went anyway .
The Saturday ride was ace . Farther than had been suggested . Probably 30 odd miles around the Wrekin .
I can remember loads of mad bits . An impromptu hill climb . A crazy french guy getting a puncture . The Independent newspaper took our picture and ran a story . ( i'd love to see that ) . Bunny hopping , without toe-clips !!! We were so rad .
 The ride finished in Ironbridge . Kinda going dark . The van was in Telford , like , 7 miles away . No one had told us . So after a big day in the saddle , we rode some more .

And then we couldn't get food .

By now we were riding with Andy , and one or two other guys . Andy had come along , with ' 602 ' , his mate .( 602 was his bike . He had no name )  Andy had done some freestyle BMX also , riding for Alan's Torker Trick team , partnering up with Julian Parkinson . It was all just BMX , but with bigger wheels .
Imagine my horror , when my mum's concerns about my health were correct . I awoke on the Sunday , feeling properly ill , full of spots , and pebble dashing the bog . Not good . It turned out I had measles.
I spent the whole day in the van , partly hallucinating , whilst the others did the race . I vaguely remember waking up at Keele Services on the way home . I was really ill for a good 3 weeks . The illest I'd ever been .

Here . A pic . Lakes ride ( I think this is ' later ' ( '88? ) Alan has a Fisher , and proper shoes ).....

So now I know Andy , too .Around this time , although again , the exact date / time / order eludes me , Myself , Alan and Andy , did a ' big ride ' to the Peak District . Alan's Dad dropped us off in Stockport , and we rode to Edale , stayed over , and then rode home .  A big adventure .
 We did some riding together those first few years , but then two things I suppose . I got married , and we had a baby , and Andy went away to Uni . Either way , we lost touch for a good while . I never stopped riding . Even through the ' Dark Ages ' . Early 90s . At some point in the later 90s , ( '96 / 97  ? ) Andy was out again , and we've been riding ever since . There's a healthy scene nowadays , and with the internet , and all kinds of messaging capability , it's easy for us all to keep in touch . Through Andy I met another group of guys , and it's great . Good friends . Good times .

Courier resprayed yellow already . Must be '88 . Elf hat . Brand new .

Andy . '88 , then . 

In very recent times , it's been maybe less - healthy . Lots of reasons . Some guys have done the baby thing . I know how that is . Life / work / etc . Things get in the way . We had a regular thing going on , with big rides every month . It's all kinda petered out . It is what it is . I'm as guilty as the next man . I got a bit pissed off with loading up the car , driving to ride never appealed , and by degrees , we all just stopped meeting up , except maybe the odd time .
I don't think anyone has totally hung up their spurs , though . A few guys have road bikes now , and do a bit of that . Sportives , and such . Roadbikes are great for just GRABbing and GOing , so make a ton of sense if you only have limited time .
I've been riding with another old BMX er . Tony . I guess we met through Alan , but I remember him as a local BMX celeb'. We've been riding from local mostly , no car , up to Rivington and district . Like I always did . Good challenging rides . Sometimes it's just like it was in the 80s , messing about dropping through the woods . Whatever . It works . I'm often transported through time .

So here we are . So it goes .

Andy phoned me a few months back . Just yacking . He said did I realise it was 25 yrs since that big ride in the Peaks ? Well , I did .
And that we should " do something for it " .
On vintage bikes .

Ooh me 'ead .

I occasionally do this type of thing anyway . Look in this blog archive for ' vintage ride ' for instance . I'll take out that aforementioned Courier , or the Axis , or that Carrera , or ....
My modern bike's , like , 10 yrs old anyway .

So , obviously , I'm up for that.
It was on the back burner of my mind for a while . I thought I'd just grab one off the rack on the day , y'know ? And I would've done , too , BUT , what happened was this ...
 Late one night I was browsing that addictive ' Retrobike' forum . A guy on there had restored a Muddy Fox . Some other guy on there had done his stickers . So , I asked could I have some .
They came , following a transaction , and I skipped to the shed .
The phrase , you cannot polish a turd , springs to mind . Whilst my Courier was perfectly passable , and functionally OK , the stickers were brand new . And looked it .

I realised I would have to , at least , give it a lick of paint . Which I did .
Here is the story of that ....


I'm lending Andy the Carrera . It's a '90 model . ish . Saved from the scrap heap . The bike , that is .
Here .
Andy . Not '88 . 

The 25th anniversary ride is this Saturday . Hopefully there'll be a good turnout . Guys from more recent rides , I've not seen in a while .
Hopefully , we can all get together a bit more often . It's difficult sometimes , and I still get pissed off not riding out of my back gate , but , hey , it's mostly worth it .

Thanks for the memories.


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