Sunday, 21 December 2014

Last ride of 2014......roll on 2015!

A selfie of Clive and me on the way along to the shelter belt  descent

 Two guys we met up with at the Howe, one of whom had a most magnificent beard!! Felt quite jealous!

They were game enough to try the river crossing on their cross bikes, unfortunately only the magnificent bearded one made it through successfully!

In fact he was so pleased at his effort that he went back to do it again!

Here he comes, I was hoping for a photo of him coming off in the deepest bit among the rocks!

No, fair play to him, both bike and beard made it through successfully!

Off down to Cardiff to visit family for Xmas, so yesterday Clive and I went for what will be my last ride of 2014, and how my backside must rejoice to hear that as its suffering a bit from the last frantic weeks' efforts to reach the targets I'd set for the year. We met up with a couple of riders on cross bikes up from the Howe who were game enough to try the river crossing on their bikes and let me photograph them in the process. The water was still high-ish but even though I tried my best to telephatically make them fall off for a better picture they made it through relatively unscathed!
That's all for this year, it's been a great year for mountain biking in Scotland with a good, dry, sunny summer, here's hoping 2015 is as good!   

Thursday, 18 December 2014

It's hawthorn hedge cutting season time again, but I've got it sorted this year!

Not very clear to see but there were at least two hefty thorns in Marks front tyre last night.

After a year or two of non stop punctures when hawthorn hedge cutting season gets under way things had to change. So the answer appears to be....go tubeless! The thorns still attack the tyres with the same determination to wreck your riding but they're foiled by the lack of a tube to burst and the fact that the sealant in the tubeless tyre seals the holes instantaneously. Mark had at least two last night and on my return journey home I picked up maybe even more but the tyres are still hard today. Result!!! The fact that I managed to get the sealant for diddley squit makes it even more enjoyable and I've enough in a container to keep me going on tubeless tyres for about another thirty years!!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Winters arrived.....with a bang and a flash of lightning

2 days ago and there's some snow on top of the hills

Today and there's some more and this time it's a bit lower down

It's a wintry scene looking from the top of the shelter belt down to Glencorse Reservoir

Ice spiker conditions on the narrow road up the side of the reservoir

On Tuesday winter arrived in Scotland with a crash, bang, wallop! There were severe gales, heavy snow showers and to cap it all off , thunder and lightning. The east side of the country escaped the worst of the weather though it was still pretty fierce and when I set off to get some photos up the Pentland Hills today just after lunchtime the weather was pretty calm but an hour later there was freezing rain falling, why it wasn't snow, God only knows, because the temperature according to my Garmin was below zero! The Shwalbe  ice spikers came into their own on the packed snow that had been turned to ice in places, without them I'd surely have been off once or twice.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

He's not quite ready for the Strathpuffer yet!

A guy who Clive knows and was talking to at a party a couple of weeks ago, told him he'd entered in a team of four for the Strathpuffer and that he'd like to come out with us some Sunday morning for our Pentland weekend cycle. Well that morning was today and if ever somebody was in no fit shape for the Strathpuffer which is just over a month away it was Scott. Even though we kept the pace deliberately moderate he struggled from the word go and finally admitted defeat at just over 7 miles. Clive decided to escort him home while Baz and I continued on our own ending up with 26.5 miles and over 2100 feet of climbing on the coldest day of the winter so far. We met up with Clive again on the way home and discovered he'd done more miles than us, though not as much climbing, where he'd all been goodness only knows!.No pictures today, conditions were all against it!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Make hay while the sun shines....or at least get out on the bike

Makes a change going down here in daylight

The water's low so there was a bit more stone removal done today to make it easier to cross when it's in full flow.

A sheltered sunny spot to stop for a banana

West Kip was looking good in the winter sun.

The daylight's getting shorter and shorter so every chance there is I'm offski out on the bike to try and get my mileage target for the year. Next weeks weather isn't looking too rosy at the moment with storms forecast for the middle of the week so on a day like today when there was hardly a cloud in the sky it was too good a chance to miss. 27.5 miles over 2000 feet of climbing and a bit of river stone removal into the bargain, that's what I call a good ride! 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Punctures, punctures and more punctures

It's a long walk home with a flat tyre.

Last week I had more mishaps in the puncture sense than I've had in the whole of the year.Starting on Wednesday night with Dougie and Mark, my bikes tyres seemed to find every hidden sharp object that could pierce the rubber and render the sealant inside the tubeless tyres useless. On Sunday the misery continued when I was out with Baz and Clive and the vocabulary of foul language was excercised to the full. I ended up doing a 6.5 mile journey back home with a bit of walking and a bit of sprint biking after blowing up the front tyre about 15 times and managing about 400 yards at the most before it went flat again! There's been a fairish bit of repair work going on to the tyres as they've still got a lot of tread on them and I've discovered that a big hole can be repaired back to tubeless status with a patch vulcanised on the inside and super glue to stick the rubber together on the outside. O rings are easily made with super glue to any size from round lengths of rubber and never break so why not use it on tyres, that's my theory anyway and it seems to work! Clives' bike was given a makeover with a new chain set and bottom bracket, my method of press fit bottom bracket removal wasn't pretty (it involved a hammer and a punch) but it was effective and the bike's running sweet again. Another happy customer with the usual 5 minute guarantee or the extended one which goes to the end of last week. At least one bit on the plus side last week in that I passed the 5k mark in off road miles for the year so now I can relax a bit and it can snow if it wants!