27 April 2010

Satmap Active10

Satmap active10 GPS unit
Just received one of these through the post by Special Delivery this morning from the UK distributors. They were after feedback about the unit from a mountain biker's point of view. I've only had a quick look so far as I'm waiting for a map-card to show up. First impressions in no particular order:

  • Replaceable screen covers
  • Easy to plot routes on the unit
  • ...which allows it to be used without a PC
  • Personally I like the button control as opposed to touch screen
  • OS mapping
  • Really solid bike mount
  • Decent carry case
  • Appears to have good battery life, will report more fully later on
  • so far, not much except the buttons need a firm press

13 April 2010

Singletrack World » Dig For a Pig

Singletrack World » Dig For a Pig

Click the link for info on winning a Ragley Blue Pig in exchange for some trail maintenance with SingletrAction

 Find out more about SingletrAction and other upcoming dig days on their site.

8 April 2010

English coast to coast trip

coast2coastJust a quick post to let you know about the latest trip on offer. The English off-road c2c is a one of those 'must do' trips for mountain bikers, but there are a good few routes you could use. You won't find this exact route in the guide-books; the trails have been carefully chosen to replace some that have been dulled down with trails that give you the MTBers grin!

The trip is fully supported meaning you'll only only need to carry provisions for the day's riding (do I hear cries of cake, Haribo & chocolate?)

It's possible to do the route in 3 days, but we're taking 5, as we reckon real mountain biking is as much about enjoying the trails & the surroundings as eating up the miles. You'll need to be OK with about 35 miles per day, mostly off-road. The route goes west to east, from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay, and accommodation along the way will be a combination of B&Bs, pubs and better quality bunkhouses. You'll only need to find your own evening meals

More details here - chasingtrails.com

Cyclist No.1

Cyclist No.1 logoCyclist No.1 is a new not-for-profit cycling website that's already taking off in a big way

Gary Lake is the editor & designer. His career in digital media shows up in the high standard of the site. There's already a strong team of regular contributors including Phil Saxena the world-class trail builder, Rob Lee who's a top UK endurance racer and lately, me as the MTB Technique contributor

There'll be a short bio up there in the next few days, but the 1st in a series of articles is already up. It's on the basics of braking. More will follow at aprox 1 per month(ish) depending on how busy life is

You can also find Cyclist No1 on Facebook and twitter

7 April 2010

Chasing Trails on Bikeradar

Rider on Trek MTBLook out for a Bikeradar article in the next month or so by Ruth Schofield on a 1:1 day's skills coaching with Chasing Trails. Ruth is doing a series from a beginner's point of view where the final aim is to ride Snowdon later in the year. When Ruth arrived at Dalby for the day, she'd missed a course elsewhere due to the snow a few weeks ago. So far she's completed a maintenance course and a basic beginner's intro to mountain biking. The 1:1 with Chasing Trails gave her the chance for a relaxed but comprehensive day where there was no need to feel either held back or moving at too fast a pace in terms of skill level. I don't think Ruth will mind me saying that she's a bit of a perfectionist & was quite hard on herself if she didn't get everything dialled 1st time! Never the less, she was prepared to admit that she'd made great progress during the day & even rode a section of black on the world cup circuit (several times!) The Bikeradar write up will likely focus on drop offs & obstacles, but we had time to cover much more from basics like braking to more advanced stuff like berms. I'll post a link once the article is live, but in the mean time, the previous ones can be found here:

Beginner's guide to mountain biking, part 1

Beginner's guide to mountain biking, part 2

Beginner's guide to mountain biking, part 3

4 April 2010

Welsh Cakes

Welsh CakesI took a supply on a 7stanes trip the other week & they were liked by all. So here’s the recipe

Click the link for a pdf or right click & 'save target as' if you want to save a copy

As with all cakes, best eaten warm!

Not sure where they rate as energy food for fitness freaks, but they’re an awesome post ride snack, and for riding breaks, all food is good, especially cake!

1 April 2010

Ghetto tubeless...

I tweeted a more compact version of these instructions the other day after fitting some new tyres using the ghetto tubeless method. Thought I'd put it in order, add a bit more info, & post it up here for reference

I prefer this method to the kits that come with a rimstrip, some widths of rim don't fit the rimstrips too well. Also, this method costs about half the price of the packaged kits

So, if you fancy going tubeless for less rolling resistance, no pinch flats, more grip & the ability to run lower pressures, here's some easy to follow instructions:
  1. Check the net for good/bad tyre/rim combos, but I've found Maxxis on EN321's to work well, also Continentals. Kenda's don't like it so much. Some tyre/rim combos are just too loose fitting & some tyres have extremely porous side-walls. Maxxis seem to be built really nicely
  2. Fit a rim tape, as it will protect the rim strip you will make from damage by the spoke holes (I use a couple of layers of insulation tape, remember to cut a hole for the valve)
  3. Next, fit a 24" (or smaller) Schrader tube onto the rim, with no tyre on yet. Blow it up a little bit just to make it easy to centre it on the rim. It needs to be one with a removable core (most are)
  4. Now cut the tube with sharp scissors down the centre so it opens up & turns into a (very wide at the moment) rim strip
  5. Clean off the chalky stuff with a damp cloth, then wipe dry. Fit the tyre using washing up liquid on the bead to make life easy
  6. Remove the valve core using one of the little tools, (cheap to buy). This is so that inflation in the next step can be done as fast as possible, and you'll need the core out to get the sealant in
  7. inflate to 60psi as fast as possible to seat the bead. If it's not working, make sure the beads are outside the valve hole. You'll likely need a track pump. Some people use a CO2 cartridge or take it to a garage & use the airline, although some airlines these days seem to be slower than a track pump
  8. You might need to mess about a bit to get the tyre beads seated well so it inflates...
  9. Carefully remove the pump, if you can let the air out slowish that's better. Don't put the wheel down as it might move the tyre
  10. Now put some latex sealant through the valve hole into the tyre, using a plastic bottle with a narrow nozzle, or a small funnel. Valve needs to be at the bottom, obviously...
  11. Use about 150-200ml, or whatever the brand of sealant recommends. Refit the valve core & inflate to 60psi again. Sealant might leak a bit but as long as it's not pouring out just hold wheel flat & swish the sealant around until the leaks stop. Turn over to do both sides. If it's leaking really bad then something's moved and you'll need to make sure the tyre's re-seated again
  12. When it's sorted, carefully trim off the excess rim strip. I used a sharp knife with the flat of the blade against the tyre so I couldn't cut the sidewall. Just be careful & follow the usual rules with sharp blades. If you're an uncoordinated type, probably get some else to do this! A blunt blade is asking for trouble as the rubber will be awkward to cut
  13. To be on the safe side leave it at 60psi for a good few hours (24hrs if you can spare it) before adjusting to riding pressure. You should be able to use lower pressure than before, as pinch flats will be no more! How much lower depends on your set-up. Some tyres/rims will be a tighter fit & the tyres less likely to roll of the rim at low pressure
  14. Ride!
Brands of sealant include Joe's No Flats, No Tubes (Stan's), Effetto Caffe Latex & Bontrager Super Juice