Great Blog write up of a skills day…..

Check out for a write up of a one to one skills day from last week that combined riding at Lee Quarry and in Calderdale. Col enjoyed the day and even reviews the beer we drank at the end of it all.

Pass Storming in the Lakes

I got properly high on a night ride earlier this week in the Lakes. Here’s the Cotic BFe with HammerSchmidt gearbox cranks and Fox 36 Talas forks, that I was riding, sat up on the top of Red Screes. After carrying the bikes for 35 minutes from the Kirkstone Pass we were rewarded with amazing views of the Lakeland fells, over to the Yorkshire Dales and out to sea and all at 7.40pm. We could even see Blackpool Tower.

Here’s Nicola looking for our way down. And it was a good one. 45 minutes of descent with some very tech slabs, switchbacks and rock garden sections as well as some great fast singletrack and rocky track.

Pints in the Golden Rule in Ambleside made it into one of those unforgettable rides, especially as we didn’t ride uphill at all. Instead we used two vehicles in an uplift shuffle. This ride was all about the down. After five weeks work guiding in the Lakes it was great to have a sweet ride with Nicola and Craig my guiding collegues and friends which was a ride just for us.

Back to reality now and planning lots of skills days and group days in Hebden Bridge and up at Lee Quarry.

Nial’s Singular Hummingbird

He’s finally built up the frame that he won at Singlespeed UK 2009. The Hummingbird is the latest frame from Singular Cycles. Nial’s is built as a rigid 69er with 32/18 gearing and we went out in Calderdale today for the first ride.

He says it’s nice and light and it’s the fastest I’ve seen him ride up the climb home from Hebden Bridge.

Conditions are perfect at the moment. Dry and fast in places and nicely sticky in the woods. I’m looking forward to getting some miles on the Hummingbird myself next week. Good job he got a medium 🙂

Check out the Singular site here for all the details on the Hummingbird.

Guiding in the Lakes

I’ve been guiding groups around the Hawkshead area over the last week on the great trails of Grizedale Forest, Claife Heights and the edge of Windermere. Here’s a view up Windermere from the Hawkshead ferry landing. This is also the site of Julie’s ice cream caravan of delights. Julie likes when we bring groups in and shows her appreciation by sending out a free cone 🙂

I’ve mostly been riding the Spooky Horror Taxi, which as you may be able to see has 650b wheels. This bike will be reviewed in the next issue of Singletrack Mountain Bike Magazine. It’s a great riding bike but the lack of available tyres to fit limits it appeal for me. The Pacenti Neo-Moto tyres fitted were not up to Lake District riding, especially in the rain on wet slate!

I tried the 650b wheels on my Ragley Ti and they fit just fine with plenty of clearance around the stays and seat tube. I’ll be sticking with 26″ wheels though, thank you very much, and my current build with Maxxis tyres – 2.4 Ardent on the front and 2.25 Advantage on the rear.

Mavic Goodies

Here’s a treat for you. A nice bum shot of me in my new Mavic Stratos under shorts. Derived from “women’s underwear technology” they are super breathable and have one of the best chamois pads I’ve ever used. Also ideal for starting up conversations in car parks.

And here are my Mavic Switchback shoes. Perfect for everyday riding with a stiff sole that is flexible enough for walking and a grippy tread. The stylish softshell upper gives the shoe the look of a ‘cross trainer’.

I met Michel Lethenet, head of PR at Mavic, recently when he was visiting Singletrack. We went out riding on a couple of days round Hebden Bridge. He’s a good rider and rode everything from the front of the group as well as being up for the craic in the pub afterwards. Michel sent me a box of Mavic gear, their clothing range is really good this year – well designed technical clothing with an All Mountain kind of styling. Click here to check it all out.

Here’s the cheeky little Frenchman showing off his fishnet under shorts. Has a Frenchman ever given you lingerie?