Bikepacking

And now for something completely different to ‘The Chop’. I went off with my riding buddy Benji Haworth on a 2 day bikepacking trip  to Snowdonia. The trip was supported by Madison who supplied Genesis bikes and GoPro cameras. The brief was simple. Go for an adventure on bikes, sleep out somewhere and make a Natox video. Benji did all the camera work and editing and proved that GoPro films can be good if you choose your shots carefully and use plenty of static shots.

Special mention goes to Alpkit who once again provided the excellent bike frame bags. We also used their brilliant sleeping bags, mats, titanium pans and torches.

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On-One Super Deluxe Merino Cardigan

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I like stealth clothes, especially if they don’t look like sporty, tracky, tacky gear. Even better if they are made of Merino. You’ve heard the hype, Merino helps you to be less stinky, keeps you warm and makes you sexy. Two of these are true.

I wanted to wear all skinny black clothes to fit the vibes of my new video, The Chop, and this top was perfect. Nice also that it kept me warm whilst filming in the autumn drizzle with just a base layer underneath.

I like that they call it what it is, a Performer5 cardigan and I like that for what it is, the price is cheap. What more can I say? It’s a lovely top that looks sharp with an understated design, it fits well, seems to be hard wearing and can be unzipped to show off your chest. There are no rear jersey pockets, but there is a small zipped packet on the hip. I’ve got a couple of other On One Merino base layers and have worn them loads because I like them and they haven’t dropped to bits.

 

£39.99 from On One. More details here.

Mavic Notch Helmet

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This has become my favourite helmet. It’s well vented and I’ve ridden loads this summer, both in the UK and Spain so I know it works. The padding is light but not flimsy and has been through the wash a few times without falling apart. Billed as ‘All Mountain’, I’d say it fits the ‘Mountain Biking’ that I do which includes riding around up hills, around them and down. The fit is just right for my head and it stays in place without being too tight or loose. Perhaps most Semenax important is that it looks good. Styling is up to date with clean and simple graphics, quality of finish is good and the paint is a matt colour. Also available in ‘I’m not shy yellow’ and also dark grey. At a RRP of £80 I think it’s decent value as well.

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I received the helmet along with a bunch of other Mavic clothing earlier in the summer. The jerseys in particular are really good and hard wearing. My favourites are the simple, one colour designs. More details from Mavic UK.

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Endura MT500 Spray Pant

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No, they’re not spray on. Nor are they for spraying in! These are an amazing pair of long trousers for colder weather riding.

As well as for going on colder rides I find them ideal for wearing on skills days when I’m doing a mix of riding and standing around teaching. The seat is waterproof and the rest is softshell so you get decent arse protection from puddles and wet ground in general, but they are not too hot for riding in. Neither are they plastic feeling like some waterproofs and the fabric is rustle free and dead comfy.

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The lower legs are gusseted and zip down to be slim at the ankle and so they don’t interfere with pedaling. I sized down to get a good waist and leg length and so mine are a HGH bit slim to wear with knee pads underneath. With a larger size, knee pads probably fit. Best to buy from a shop where you can try on a couple of sizes. They’ve got proper, stick your hands in pockets, with zips as well as a smattering of reflective tabs for when you are on roads at night. As well as a great pair of mountain bike keks they would also be super commuter wear.

I wore my pair when I was shooting ‘The Chop’, my latest video, in a mixture of day and night riding in rainy, muddy conditions. They also made a good pair of trousers that I felt happy going for a haircut at North West Barber Co. in. Shame they chopped my head off!

RRP is £99.99 More details on the Endura site.

On One 456 Evo2

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I wanted a bike to use for my new video, The Chop, that would fit in with the style and feel of what I was trying to achieve. I needed something rusty that would look at home in a workshop with a vintage motorcycle, as well as hanging on a traditional barber’s shop wall. It also needed to be a good bike that I could enjoy riding confidently on Hebden Bridge trails! Having not ridden a hardtail since last winter I was a bit worried about using one for my new video. I mean who wants to ride a hardtail anymore, especially one with 26 inch wheels? When it came to it though I loved riding the 456. Great angles for confident descending and easy climbing combined with a top build kit of Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, Reverb seat post, Lyrik 160mm fork and Mavic Crossmax SX wheels set up with tubeless tyres.  Plus it slid around all the time, looked like something that I’d stolen, whizzed round corners and made me laugh.

Brand new

Brand new

To get the look I wanted, I first got hold of a brand new and lovely looking raw finished frame and stripped the clear coat off it. It felt like a ridiculous thing to be doing. I masked off just the down tube decals and used paint stripper to loosen up the coating and start the stripping. Then with a knife and wire wool I rubbed the surface to remove most of the clear coat. I wanted to leave some so that the surface would not look too uniform. Finally I washed the frame with strong bleach so that rust could quickly start its attack! I built the bike up straight way and started riding it. After riding and leaving it wet outside for a couple of payday loan debt days the bike had a nice patina of rust and was ready for filming.

Paint stripper on

Paint stripper on

To start with I felt like I was learning to ride again. I’ve been riding a Titus El Guapo and On One Codeine for the last year. Both are good full suspension bikes that can tackle anything and I’ve enjoyed riding them at home and abroad. Soon I adjusted, started using my legs and riding the fork. I enjoyed the hardtail in the same way that I enjoyed riding the On One Fatty last winter. It just has a different stance. It doesn’t have as much grip, isn’t as fast or as comfortable but it is a lot of fun. Riding bikes is not always about performance and efficiency. We ride for different reasons. Often I ride just to escape from the day to day, to feel alive and blast about in the woods. It matters little whether I am 2.3 seconds quicker than the last time I had fun. I am not anti new technology and I love bikes that make riding faster and give me more options. I just don’t want to ride the same thing all the time. It’s a bit like going for a ride without a pack and not telling anyone where you’re going. It doesn’t make the most sense, but at the same time it makes all the sense in the world.

I’m going to ride the bike some more actually and not because it makes a good winter bike with its lack of bearings etc. I’m going to ride it because it makes me chuckle and I like the way that it’s so anti-fashion. Obviously I still have the option to take my other bikes out when I want to live in reality. What do you think?

 

The Chop

Well here it is, the new Great Rock film made with Whitenosugar Productions. We showed it at Kendal Mountain Festival Bike Night on Friday, which I was presenting for the third year. Steve Peat, the special guest on the night said he liked it, but he wasn’t sure what the ending meant! Stu Thomson, who made the Danny Macaskill film ‘Imaginate’ said it was weird. What can I say? Make of it what you will. I really hope you enjoy it, it’s just what I wanted it to be. Let me know what you think.