Surly Bud & Big Fat Larry Tyres

For the Rovaniemi 150 race in Lapland I wanted the biggest tyres I could get hold of. The bigger the tyre the more likely you are to be able to float on top of the snow and get grip. It’s the same principle as with snow shoes. The biggest mothers in the fatbike world are the Surly Bud at 4.8 inches and the Big Fat Larry at 4.5 inches.

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Bud

As Surly say, “when the riding gets weird, the weird go Bud.” I mean, just look at it! It just makes you want to go GNAR.

The Bud is a massive aggressive tyre with some serious knobs all over it. When you ride a fatbike you get used to people CONSTANTLY remarking on the size of your tyres. With the Bud I was doing it myself. They really are as big as you get on motorbikes! There is a strong edge to these tyres and I imagine they would be great on dirt as well as in the snow. RRP for the Bud is £94.99

Big Fat Larry

Big Fat Larry

The Big Fat Larry is a slicker treaded tyre, ideal for helping keep the mother ship rolling without too much drag. It’s also about the biggest thing that will fit inside the frame of my Extenze On One Fatty. There is a Lou, which is the whopping big partner and recommended rear tyre to go with the Bud, but this would not fit. The BFL is a fast roller and ideal for snow or hard packed ground. It is not a tyre for mud. Luckily there was no mud in Lapland. RRP for the Big Fat Larry is £94.99

Riding up the river

Riding up the river

Riding for nearly 100 miles on a bike you want to have absolute confidence in your components. These tyres definitely helped me in the race. Conditions were only 0 to -5 degrees C and as such conditions were very soft and loose. Smaller tyres were failing to float on the snow and were struggling for grip. It was difficult for me, but I could feel the advantage that I had. My rims are ‘only’ 70mm wide and I would have got even better grip with 100mm rims. Seating the tyres on the smaller rims was also a tricky process, but with lots of soapy water and careful inflation it worked out OK. For the conditions I was running around 5 psi front and back.

I came 3rd in the Rovaniemi 150.

More details on the Bud can be found here.

More details on the Big Fat Larry can be found here.

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Alpkit Filo Jacket

You can’t beat snuggling into a down jacket whenever you’re out in the frozen tundra of Lapland or even in a chilly car park in Barnsley. The Filo is a great fitting and super warm goose down jacket that is really light to wear and like all Alpkit products it comes at a bargain price (£120). The fit is superb with a long back and a good fitting hood that you can see out of when you’re cosy inside it. You’re not going to ride a bike in this jacket but it is great to have around for before, in between and after adventures. It’s a magnificent thing to have when you’re camping or just for mooching about in. There are some top features including fleece lined pockets and whopping big baffles that loft up like warm fluffy clouds.

This is cosy

This is cosy

The jacket packs down pretty small and I carried it with me for vivaxa forums the Rovaniemi 150km race up in Finland. I had it there just in case I had a mechanical, got injured or stuck in a blizzard. Luckily non of these things happened, but it gave me confidence to head out into the Arctic night knowing that I’d be OK if things went wrong. As well as wearing it round town I did wear it one night with just a cotton shirt underneath as I went out to watch the Northern Lights. The temperature was about -10 degrees C and I was warm as toast. I met a lovely old man in the park with a beard who gave me a can of beer and we chatted in broken Finn-glish about love, music and the beauty of the Aurora.

As warm as a man in a wolfskin hat

As warm as a man in a wolfskin hat

Filo is available in other colours and in men’s and women’s sizes. More details here on the Alpkit site.

A Week On Mountainbikes

All in one week I’ve experienced the best things about mountain biking. For me it’s about getting out into the woods. It’s about people and places. It’s about being on my own. It makes me breathe, it makes me look and it makes me happy. It also makes me my living and I’m grateful for that.

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Last Saturday I did a race in Lapland on a fat bike in the snow. I spent most of the 150km race on my own, just riding my bike which is something I love and even though it was really hard I cherished the time. I shrank time down to 1 hour chunks. I ate, drank, pedalled and and thought of nothing. I played minimalist tunes in my head in blissful repetition. Outside of this 22 1/2 hours of racing I was with my good pal Brant. We drank expensive beer and carried on the seemingly endless preparations that led up to the race. We lived, tweeted, supped, laughed, pedalled and planned to do it all some more. Oh, and I came home with a trophy for 3rd place.

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Off the rigid fat bike and onto a fire breathing full suspension mountain bike. Away from the rolling lands of Finland and up into the majesty of Lakeland. From the crawling distance to the speed and flow. I went up to the Lake District with a group of good friends. Threading the needle, hitting some corners on a new trail, trying to find a line through the technical rock gardens, as well as trying to find a rideable line through the patches of solid ice. Doing what we’re good at, being on bikes, having a laugh together and enjoying riding about, seeking out the fun of clearpores body system the ride like the hunters chasing after their prey.

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Back home and back to work. I had a great day with 3 dads and their teenage lads leading a skills day for them up at Gisburn Forest. It’s such a great thing to be able to share good times with your kids on an equal level. Seeing the boys of all ages getting nervous over a technical challenge and then sharing the collective buzz as they all rode something they hadn’t dared do before was magnificent. This is a real life definition of awesome. This is much more rad than looking at a famous dude shredding the internet.

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At the weekend I headed off for a ride with my wife, 15 year old son, 8 year old daughter and two of her friends. We had bikes of all wheel sizes, as if that is ever going to make any difference to how people are really going to enjoy riding bikes. We went and rode a great little red grade trail in Phillips Park near Manchester. Watching the girls giggling through the berms, getting scared of the steep slopes and pedalling their little hearts out was a delight. As was seeing my son boosting the jumps and smashing the corners. As was watching my wife enjoying the ride again after a long illness. As was talking to another dad about my prototype bike and how he wants to keep his lad keen on riding bikes so they can have this fun together.

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What a great week on bikes. Next week I fly to the South of France to run a couple of trips. It’s nice to have something to look forward to as well as something to look back on. Cheers.