28 February 2015

Saturday spent mostly in the man cave - tinkering

Just been paid so it was time for a trip to Morrisons at Chester Le Street to restock the kitchen cupboards, fridge & freezer with some goodies!
After spending nearly £140 on food/drink shopping it was time for a treat so we headed down to the Tasty Tucker opposite the market place, couple of doors down from Cycle World. I found it a month ago by accident when we called in past Cycle World. After sampling some of their pies and cakes it will be a once a month treat when we go to Chester Le Street. Today we bought chicken curry, steak & ale, minted lamb and beef & black pudding pies. Her in doors got a massive cream / strawberry fruit scone thing.
Back home unload the shopping and into the man cave to catch up on some tinkering. Main job of the day was to sort out our winter boots. I have been after a new pair of mtb winter boots for a couple of years but failed twice with 45nrth fasterkatt's so decided to stick with what has never failed yet, Northwave's. I fancied the Extreme winter gtx version but Westy's did not have my size and only selling off larger sizes. The ones I am currently using are 10 years old now and still going strong. I bought Angus a pair of Artic Celsius gtx last year for his crimbo and he has never complained of cold feet but said they were getting a little tight for him now. So I decided to use his old ones (which just fit me, alittle on the large size but ok with thick winter socks) and he has ended up with a new pair of larger Artic commuter gtx boots. I know things have gone up in price over the years but I paid £70 for mine 10 years ago and the rrp is now £170. I shopped around and I got the them for less than £92 inc p&p, now that is some saving. More on the boots in a few weeks in my Fresh Goods Sunday.
In the end we fitted new Ritchey V5 cleats to both boots, did not take long and the cleat bolts came out with ease from my old ones, good old copper slip!
Then it was onto the Krampgease, its had a slow rear puncture for a couple of weeks but I could not be arsed to strip it down and just kept pumping it up. Well I finally sorted it, one tiny thorn end which was snapped off. Tube patched and ready to go again.
Then it was on to the wifes Merdia commuter bike, she was complaining it was not moving up on to outer chainring on the front. I checked the gears and rear mech hanger has been bent so straightened that out and adjusted both front & rear mechs.

Another little item which turned up this week was a lower headset bearing for my Cannondale SuperX. After the last couple of rides the lower bearing has been a little stiff/rough. I have replaced it twice before and always pack it with plenty of grease but they don't seem to last long. Its the same bearing HDL004 on my Cannondale Super six hi mod road bike and I have only replaced that one once and the bike is an older model but then it dose not get as wet and muddy like the Super X. I emailed Qwerty Cycles as there website said sold out to see when they were going to get more stock in. The next day I got an email from Racheal saying they would strip a headset down just for the bearing and how many would I like. I used the code STW10 for 10% discount and you get free p&p and it was here the next day. You could not ask for any better service than that. I have never had any hassle every time I have ordered from Qwerty and will use them again for hard to get hold of dale parts. Here is a link to the bearing
I will replace it when it get too rough/stiff, probably get another good couple of rides out of it first.

27 February 2015

Some Friday fun on the Krampgrease over at the forest

The sun was shinning, well most of the time and it is Friday so time to spin a few miles in. Todays ride was a trip out for my Krampgrease to Hamsterley Forest for a change. I was in the area today visiting sites so made the most of it. The mud and trails have not improved any since the last time I was there, if anything they are even more trashed. I got that bored of riding single track that needs re topping I took to the fire roads for some climbing training and get some miles in. I did most of the black on the way out, then some fire roads to the very top crossroads / quarry, followed by the red down to the grove.  From the Grove onto the forest drive to join along the grove link back to the visitors centre. The Maxxis Chronicles were struggling in the wet mud but if you kept it rolling along they were not too bad on most of the trails. As I have said the sun was out which thawed the frost from the fire roads making them real soft and sloppy hard work with a strong headwind my legs were getting a good old work out. Did not see many other cyclists apart from two and four walkers.
Update - angus has just showed me some photos that marky m took from the forest today, i didnt see him but i did follow one set of tyre tracks right out the back and thought someone is keen ! I also seen  dave mc heading through hmsterley village with his bike on the back as well, small world.
Below are a few pics from ride, enjoy as the weekend is nearly here.
looks like they still have a problem with petrol powered idiots

talk about trail erosion

er think the young'uns have took the wrong turn

this is when you need front suspension!

Straight on through the gap - unmarked single track trail - knee deep in mud

I turned right and took the proper trail, straight up is a complete mud bath/push

rooty wall trail

full of massive deep cold puddles

canny climb this one

and more to go

all new surface to some of the fire roads

finally at the top crossroads

and down I go

left over from some keen enduro boyo

grove link back to the start

just how I feel some days

and back to the start

26 February 2015

First ride this week and the week is nearly over :-{

This is the first time I have had to chance to turn a wheel. Its been totally manic at work and busy when I get back home = no spare time for riding. Had some canny mixed weather as well, not too worry as I managed to squeeze a quick out & back blast along the old line to Bishop. It was overcast and blowing a near gale heading out but by the time I nearly got to Bishop the sun was shinning and a tail wind back for the return leg. The line was wet/muddy in places with the overnight rain and early morning showers but other sections were fast & dry. As for the temperature it was nearly 9 degrees at 6am in the van but had dropped to 4 degrees when I set off on the bike. It felt warmer on the return leg with the sun out and the wind on my back, I even broke a sweat and had to pull my zip down on my jacket!!  Fingers crossed I might even squeeze another ride in tomorrow before the weekend. Below are a couple of snaps from today, more soon -
just on the outskirts of Willington

turning point at Bishop, didn't even have time for a sit down & drink

someone has been having a good clear out of the woods at Willington

nearly back to the start and the sun is shinning

22 February 2015

Fresh Goods Sunday - Bibia Spatlap Touring Mudflap

I have been after a replacement mudflap for my front mudguard on my Eastway ST1.0. The one i originally fitted tore and was binned. I was after something more stronger/longer lasting and a quick search on ebay i came across this Bibia flap which was just over a fiver inc the p&p. Its not the lightest of things but is made from thick flexible rubber. I drilled out the rivet holding the old black plastic trim on the bottom of the guard to remove it. I did intend to just bend the two strap sections around the profile of the existing mud guard but it did not get a strong enough hold for me so i decided to bolt it on instead. Once fitted i just cut the two staps off and its working a treat keeping the spray from the bottom of the down tube/bb area and offering more protection to my feet.

Sunday morning local offroad ride on the CX bikes

No ride yesterday, too busy sorting thinks out and catching up with jobs around the house etc. Shame as it was lovely and sunny day for the most but a cool wind. Today Angus wanted to go out on the CX bikes for a change but we wanted to get back before the rain/strong winds were due around midday. We and the bikes were ready so we set off just before 8am to a frosty start. The sunrise only lasted a few minutes then it clouded over and that was it for the whole ride. We headed over to Baxters Woods the back way to pick up the old line then straight up to Consett. The track was frozen solid so nice easy/fast going but cold. Once through Langley Park we had a light shower and it was minus -2 degrees! Once through Lanchester another rider tagged on the back of us for a chat all the way up to the coal truck junction. He was heading for Parkhead cafĂ© with his son joining in the ride at Delves Lane. The bloke was 70 years old and fit as a lop on an old Halfords Carrera special! Once at the Consett junction we said goodbye as we turned right and headed straight down to Birtley. It was a fast section of line as there is only one proper off road section left now through Beamish woods. The kids must have had a good week off as I have never seen so many smashed glass bottles and the dogs must have been having a party as well as there was piles of dog muck on many sections. All part of the fun of cycling I suppose! Once at Birtley is was a quick drink/photo break then to decide which way to go from there. I was up for going down to Cox Green then home from there but Angus said his legs were tired so we headed into Chester Le Street then along the riverside and out onto the cycle lane alongside the A167 back to Pity Me / Framwellgate Moor. From here Angus went home and I did another couple of short laps before getting back in, all in just under 39 miles and only 1500ft climbed. My feet and body was cold by now and was pleased to get back, the skies were getting darker and within half an hour we had sleet showers. More soon and a few photos below from todays ride, all the best.
Plenty Lakeland mud in my cleats

Less than 1/4 of a mile and we are off road

and on our way to Baxters Farm

To pick up the old line to Consett

crossed under & over many old bridges en route

This is on the opposite side of Malton Picnic Area, second car park?

just outside Lanchester

opposite the park

Angus inside leg never stops growing, saddle up again

Consett junction

new bench top

check out the straps to try and stop the kids nicking it

the coal truck

highest point of todays ride

this is next to Jolly Drovers side car park

nearly at Birtley

Birtley junction, I wanted to straight on

but daft lad was heading for Chester Le Street

around the Riverside and back home