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Old 28th Jun 2011, 23:42   #2001
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Old 4th Jul 2011, 05:32   #2002
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Some nice rides being posted lately - keep it up!

This has been one heck of a month for me on two wheels, let me tell you! I've put more miles on the black-top in a single month than my sister has on her motorcycle since she bought it (which was only two years ago admittedly). The month started off as a whole on a rather bad foot due to some rather bad damage to my right wrist the month prior, only barely healing for the first of many events.

First though, lets explore my injury and see where I went wrong. It was as good a day as any we've had this year, given the amount of rain we've had, and with me being on a bicycle I enjoyed quite a lot, feeling rather more in control of it than most of the other two-wheeled adventures in my stable, meant that at no point did I think of putting caution ahead of just enjoying being on two wheels once more. That would have been a poor decision on my part just on it's own, but to compound my lax attitude on this day was my riding companion: a friend I've ridden with for just over a year now on a very regular basis that has demonstrated time and again contemptible behaviour towards fellow pathway users, and utter ignorance as to other users of the road, nearly getting himself killed on multiple occasions - scraping by on only the slightest of margins.

Being this the case, and with me being the much more powerful rider, the ride consisted of my sitting behind him - following his pace so as not to instantly drop him without noticing or expending any real amount of effort - watching as he constantly cuts people up, passes on turns without any indication towards his presence beforehand, and being a complete menace on the pathway whilst listening to him belittle everybody from minorities to women, staying aloft on his own sense of self-satisfaction at the sickening amount of success he's had thus far financially. All rather usual, unfortunately. Onto the meat of it all: one particular stretch of multi-use pathway snaked it's way through a large area of densely packed trees with dense undergrowth, disallowing any chance of seeing oncoming traffic from around a bend. It was this particular stretch that my friend decided he wanted to pass a group of three fellow cyclists that were quite a bit slower in pace than what we were setting. As it happens, we came about the group at the apex of a very tight left bend with the other cyclists dutifully sitting in the right-hand lane, single file. Without any hesitation we sprint to pass them unaware of the approaching cyclists from the opposite direction, squarely in our path.

One can quite easily see how this lead to a spot of bother. My friend jumped on his brakes and swerved to our left, right to the very edge of the pathway, after which was nothing more than gravel, turning into grass, trees and shrubbery. Instantly I was faced with a choice, and I remember making it very distinctly, of either putting on the stoppers and keeping myself stable and on the pathway, but upsetting my friend (who, incidentally, wasn't wearing a helmet) and potentially causing him to come off onto the other cyclists, or attempt an emergency "endo" style stop, hopefully either controlling it on the gravel, or potentially ditching over the bars, throwing my bike as far into the trees as I could. Knowing the poor skill-set of my friend, his lack of helmet, and the potential to send him into other cyclists, I grabbed as much brake as I could, unfortunately coming off and over the bars, over-bending my wrist in the process. I don't mean to sound as if I made some great sacrifice and am therefore a good human, but more than I took responsibility onto myself in an attempt to not injure anybody else, just as I would hope anybody else would do in the same situation. I'd already made one poor decision - in following my friend the way I did - so I wasn't about to make another.

The pain in my wrist was so bad I couldn't ride for nearly three weeks, required assistance at work, and had to relearn my personal grooming habits from a left-handed perspective. It was quite an upset all in all, which had a profound impact on my life, especially coming into the most active month of riding I would do all year! Thankfully though it healed just in time for my two-wheeled euphoria to kick into overdrive.

First was the "Ride the Road Tour" hosted by a local bicycle advocacy group promoting and lobbying for better cycling infrastructure in an attempt to get more people within the city out of their car and onto their bike.


Imagine riding along with a large group of fellow cyclists as the police (on motor cycles) race along beside you, sirens blasting, to close off street after street, waving you through red lights whilst they yell at motorists to stay where they are, giving the cyclists free reign over some of the busiest thoroughfares in the downtown section of a large, busy city! It's quite a difference given that I ride a lot of these roads on a daily bases with vehicles going by at full clip. Experiencing them emptied just for the purpose of a group of cyclists was a feeling I wouldn't mind experiencing again.

More fun was had at the start of the day when I showed up at one of the pre-ride "spokes", which started at various bike shops around the city, which wound their way into the core where the ride proper would begin. The particular shop that I started the "spoke" ride from wasn't one that I worked for, but I still showed up dressed in full kit courtesy of my shop, which was well branded as such. The employees, and even some of the customers, gave me quite the stare down, particularly when I started talking with the father of the owner of the store. We had a right laugh, which I don't doubt the audience I'd gathered by this point wasn't too impressed with. All in fun though, right?

A week or so later, nearly thousand or so kilometres on, and it's the start of the MS Bike Tour (as I've previously advertised within this very thread, asking for donations). Two days, one hundred eighty eight kilometres. Typically this event is quite wet, but this year truly took the cake with the added fun of massive winds, super heavy rain, and cold temperatures. What made it all the more fun was our choice of bikes: fixed gear. I've done similar rides fixed before, but not for two days straight. Buggered my left knee right up for the following week after.


This picture says it all, really. Except for about a half hour span, this was the story for the entire first days worth of riding. Did this tour with the same friend that I was riding with when I injured my wrist, and I can assure you that we were both miserable by the time we got to the end-point on that first day. A shower and some warm food did the job though, getting us ready for the day ahead.


Me on the left, friend on the right. Thankfully though, this is the story of the second day: warmth, sun, and fun. Other than a very quick bit of rain and hail mid-way through the afternoon, we couldn't have asked for a nicer ride out in the prairies.

Another couple weeks and it's time for the Ride to Conquer Cancer: two hundred ten kilometres in two days. This one was made all the more fun by the nearly twenty pounds of extra equipment I was required to carry for the duration of the ride because I was a volunteer for it; a ride-along mechanic. However, the fun all got started on the night before, straight after work. For this ride there was three of us volunteering for this particular role, with two of us not owning a car, and being an entire length of the city away from the start line of the race, so we decided as a group that it would be a good idea to start the morning of the ride from the persons house that lived the closest (just twelve kilometres away from the start line). Regrettably the team-mate I was riding down there with and I were ill-equipped for what had initially promised to be a quick, hour and a half jaunt into the deep south of the city. Our misfortune was brought on by complacency in exploration at the expensive of time, and lack of being up to date with current pathway status.

Typically there is a quite well maintained, quaint pathway along the river that one can take which goes within close proximity of our destination, and this is the path we had decided to utilize. Regretibly, only once we spent a bit of time in the saddle did we realise that the pathway for a good distance was closed due to construction, with the detour sending us catastrophically off course (would've nearly doubled the distance that route typically requires), or required crossing a busy train yard. Neither of these options appealed to us, so a decision was made to try and go "around" the blockage. I say this term cautiously, as what we actually did was turn right about, and head in exactly the wrong direction for most of the width of the city, eventually following a more familiar pathway (to us) into the south. In total what should have taken us an hour and a half took nearly five hours, covering nearly one hundred kilometres, straight after working an eight hour shift, just before doing a big ride. Needless to say we were a bit tired once we got home on the Sunday!


This is the bike I ended up doing all this on. The entirety of the trunk bag is filled with heavy tools, tubes, lubricants, and other various supplies. The handlebar bag had most of my personal gear in it - camera, rain coat, keys, money, that sort of thing. Bento box (little thing behind my stem) had home-made snack bars courtesy of one of my team mates. What you don't see are the two large panniers that I had to ride with the night before this, which were filled with all the gear I needed to camp overnight at the mid-way point, as they were transported by truck for the ride - thankfully. The Titec H-Bar was added to this bike just before the ride, and I don't think I'll ever use another bar for touring again. It's so damn comfortable!


Pulling into the second pit-stop on the first day. Other than a slight bit of rain on the second morning, this is how the entire ride went: wonderfully warm, sunny, and smiles all around. There isn't anything quite like being on the road in the middle of thousands of other cyclists and looking ahead of you, unable to see the start of the pack, and behind you unable to see the end. For a dedicated cyclist it is a truly wonderful, breathtaking sight.

All in we ended up repairing about a dozen flat tyres, helped innumerable people with gearing, seat hight, and other minor issues, lubricated a few noisy bits, and helped more than a few people dig deep enough to get up some of the worst of the hills. Despite having a terrible cold for the whole weekend, I loved every last little second of it, and would happily do it again.

So that's my month in a nutshell. There were quite a few other memorable rides, but these four were the biggest of them, so I've focused just them for brevity (though I feel as I may have struggled a bit on that point). Still to come this year will be a 29er and a Pugsley added to by ever-growing stable, and quite a few S24O rides (Sub-24hour Overnight bike camping trip) that are in the process of being planned amongst a group of regulars I ride with. I've also done quite a bit with my Tricross, but will save that for another post.

Happy trails!
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Old 4th Jul 2011, 10:40   #2003
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enjoyed reading that! epic post
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 09:31   #2004
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Anyone up for Channock Chase DH this weekend, can pick up one guy between Notts/Mansfield and channock.

Need to still bed in my new disks and pads so i may kill my self a bit.... so need someone to call 999 for me
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 11:14   #2005
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I'd love to, but my foot is still acting up a bit.

Oh, and I found out that my brakes are still knackered.


A while ago, about a month or two, the reservoir was leaking, so I took it to a local bike shop who said they could sort it for me. Pressed the lever the other day, and fluid came spurting out the reservoir. So it looks as though I paid £25 for nothing.
Going to try and sort them out myself now I think.
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 11:27   #2006
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Going to try and sort them out myself now I think.
By them do you mean your brakes or the poor bike mechanics?
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 11:45   #2007
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Had my bike serviced, so now both front and back brakes work, however since the service, the front brakes seem to have far less stopping power than before (they were the only brakes that worked before, back brakes had no pads in)
Also squeaks under heavy braking, not nice
Brake levers also have far less movement, I think this is because they refilled them or whatever/ (using avid juicy 3s, my first disk brakes), will they settle or whatever?
And I'd take you up on your offer Otis if I was still in Loughborough, at home in Essex now though sadly
Definitely making a monthly trip or something to cannock when I head back though
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 11:54   #2008
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Here's my bike! That's the shape that I found it in, getting repaired now and should be done by the middle of this week. This should be a fun summer
That's... weird I kinda like it though.

It almost looks back to front.
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 11:59   #2009
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By them do you mean your brakes or the poor bike mechanics?
sod the mechanics.
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 14:52   #2010
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Malvolio

Hey Malvolio, well done on the "Ride to Conquer Cancer"
Any one watching the Tour de France, who do you think will win?, personally I hope it will be Cadel Evans as he deserves to win it one year, but if it is not him I want it to Bradley Wiggins cus he's English.
Also im on the look for a new touring bike as my last one got stolen, any sugestion for around £500-600.
Thank you.
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Old 6th Jul 2011, 20:15   #2011
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Originally Posted by samkiller42 View Post
Just picked up my new ride, which i've bought under Cycle Scheme:
Specialized Hardrock Pro Disk

snip

Taken today, after i took off the crazy number of Health & Safety stickers (Probably why it cost so much)
It's soo smooth compared to my 4 year old Hardrock Disk.

Sam
Wow that looks great, I've been looking at Hardrocks recently and am tempted to get a Mountain Bike under my work's cycle scheme. So far I've had my eye on the 2011 Disc version but what's the difference between that and the Sport Disc and Pro Disc (other than price)?

Sorry, bit of a mountain bike n00b here
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Old 7th Jul 2011, 00:39   #2012
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Hi Juppun, I'm not overly clued up on bikes in all honesty, but the difference in models is the standard kit basically, so the difference between a Hardrock Disk, and a Hardrock Disk Pro will be better brakes, better suspension, better gears etc. Also, you are buying a lot of warning stickers, that counts for something.

Cheers,

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Old 7th Jul 2011, 11:08   #2013
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Anyone up for Channock Chase DH this weekend, can pick up one guy between Notts/Mansfield and channock.

Need to still bed in my new disks and pads so i may kill my self a bit.... so need someone to call 999 for me
Sorry, racing the WDMBA round at Mountain Ash this weekend
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Old 7th Jul 2011, 12:03   #2014
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Snip
That was an epic post that I admit took me a couple of sittings to digest. My buddy and I are planning a long weekend in the highlands only about 150 miles all off road (hopefully) with bivvy gear and I'm fairly sure it'll kill us.
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Old 7th Jul 2011, 14:47   #2015
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Sounds fantastic Steveo! Just be sure to keep your carb intake up during the ride and I'm sure you'll do just fine.

On that note: I'm off to do another fun long ride this weekend with a friend. We're going to load up our touring bikes on Sunday after work, ride until we no longer can see where we're going, throw a tent up, fish and ride all day Monday, then return Tuesday. Should be proper fun!
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Old 8th Jul 2011, 21:32   #2016
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Just picked up a Cannondale Trail SL2, going to give it a good shakedown at Swinley Forest over the weekend
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Old 10th Jul 2011, 01:58   #2017
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So had a wikid day out Downhilling today at sunny Channock Chase trails.
Short vid and some photo's from today dont forget to use HD








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Old 10th Jul 2011, 02:13   #2018
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Nice post above

I'm just in the process of getting involved in the bit-tech community properly, so here I am. Between SC2 and BFBC2 I like a bit of road biking I have a Boardman comp. If there's anyone in the Milton Keynes area (UK) that wants to ride hit me up. Or ask about my bike, if you're in the market for a roadie.
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Old 10th Jul 2011, 03:17   #2019
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thats miles away from me dude, and i only do DH really
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Old 10th Jul 2011, 12:57   #2020
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Cannock has certainly changed since the last time I went.

Those ferns were below ankle height from what I can remember.

I'm wanting to get over there and try out the new runs, but other stuff keeps getting in the way, or I end up with some stupid injury.
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