The Swede and I

Team Singletrack for the 1st round of this year’s Kona Mash Up will be made up of my little Swedish friend, Mats G. Lund and myself. We went down to last year’s Mash Up and had a great day of riding with friends and racing against the clock. Mats didn’t represent so well at the after race party, as he went to bed, leaving me and our friend Steve to uphold our reputation. The Swede did beat me fair and square in the racing though, so I’m going to have to get some serious training in. I know that he has been going to (ladies) circuits at the gym, but I’ve got my own training plan (more manly) well underway. This event is really recommended.

New Server

This blog is in the process of moving to over the next few days. Hopefully everything will be fine from this moment on, but if there are a few teething problems, please be patient, the trails are lovely and dry out there and need to be ridden.

This is Great Rock

Yesterday the sun was shining and I went riding with Benji and Barney with the aim of getting some photos for the site. Have a look at them on my Flickr site linked over there on the right. Good work Benji.

We hit a couple of spots in the van and then set out from my house to do a classic Calderdale loop, taking in Gorple, Widdop and back home down Duke’s Cut. The trails were pretty dry and the views were amazing.

Had a good meeting last night about guided rides combined with good food and drink. Ideas are also coming together about where I’m going to run the hire bikes from in Hebden Bridge. Details will emerge soon.

I’ve also had a sneak peek at a new Shedfire designed “Ragley” fully built up and it looks brilliant – a real “Calderdale new school bike.” I’m excited about getting the full range of bikes in and being able to offer them for hire in the valley.

21st Century Pass Storming

I’m in the latest issue of Singletrack magazine in a feature which involved a bunch of us carrying our bikes up and then riding them back down Rossett Ghyll, a super technical bridleway pass in the Lake District.

Read Benji’s article and find out how the intrepid have been taking bikes over the big hills in Britain for over a hundred years. It has been remarked upon that I’m doing a pretty good “Cousin It” impersonation in the photo above.

Great, gritty photos from Benji too. What a great day out that was, although I must admit that I was a bit scared at the top, while eating my sandwiches, thinking about the descent. WOOP, BWARRRP, GET IN.

Lee Quarry – Bacup Rocks

Yes it’s quite a long way down if you fall off there. That focused the boys’ minds.

I took Nial and Euan to the built trails at Lee Quarry in Bacup. It’s only half an hour from home and I was surprised at how much fun it is. There’s a short 8km red graded route with black graded options. Everything is made from slabs of rock and you can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to erode in a thousand years. The red route had some nice singletrack and a couple of stiff climbs. The black stuff was rock slab descents, pedally technical contouring and some sweet berms, tabletops, drops, and a couple of well built jumps. It can all be ridden fast and flows well. The jumps are all rollable if you don’t like air and there are chicken lines round everything. Make no mistake it is quite technical and there are non of those annoying features you get at some trail centres that are designed to control your speed. There are also a couple of mind boggling trials areas, a skills area with skinnies and more rock slab problems. Trail building is ongoing and they’ve got a lot of land to play with.

Really good effort by the folk who have built this facility. It’s original and it’s great that we’ve got some man made fun trails near us to compliment our miles of natural riding.

Heard the first Curlews today

I was riding with Barney today showing him some of the hidden gems of the valley. Look at him he’s so tall he has to stoop to fit in the frame. Talking of frames, you could lean his Santa Cruz Heckler against my house and use it as scaffolding. It’s massive. With the seat all the way up the saddle is the same height as my armpit!

Despite it being a drizzly, grey day it was, as is usually the case, just great to be out riding. We saw the first Curlews up on the moor, announcing their return from the coast  with their distinctive and plaintive call. They come up here in the spring to nest in the long grass of the moor tops and stay into the summer to raise their chicks. It’s a real marker of the changing season and a morale booster, like the lengthening hours of daylight.

The Ibis rocked today and I’m getting used to the new bars and liking them a lot.