Mangrunt deluxe.

22 03 2015

High pressure, stable weather and a yearning to ride all day long. A twangy lower back muscle after a bit of singlespeed induced hernia-popping climbing action notwithstanding, it was time to grab ‘Maul and run to the hills.

Out through Mugdock, taking in some choice trials that haven’t been dry in months. Pinballing around and loving every second of it.

Then down to business on the West Highland Way: missing the gates, considering my forward progress at Garadbhan.

The back was holding up and the legs were still going round in circles so I could cut north for Aberfoyle, then Callander but I could not think of a fun way back home. So: Mangrunt? Even sans Conic Hill, I had to have a chat with myself and see if I was up for this so early in my spring mileage build-up.

Nothing ventured….

Round the lochs through Queen Elizabeth forest park and then the terrain opens up as you approach the upper portion of Loch Lomond.

Lots of wildlife to be seen.

Some in worse shape than others…

Take the fun trails down the Lochside until Balmaha and ducking in and out of the woods, follow the West Highland way back home.

Seven hours, 75 ish miles. My body reminded me that this building up every year is always a battle, an act of perseverance, but oh, the places you’ll go…

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Bespoked.

7 03 2015

It would seem that Bespoked and the North American Handmade Bike Show are going to join forces. Having attended both shows in years gone by, I am sure this will be a successful venture in terms of sharing media exposure and resources.

I will be attending Bespoked in Bristol (17th to 19th April 15) and I am looking forward to seeing the current state of play in British, European and even some American custom frame builders.

NAHBS’15 is currently happening in Louisville, in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky. The South Western state, currently socked in by deep snow thanks to winter storm ‘Thor’, is not normally associated with custom builders to the best of my knowledge – Justified and Bourbon being it’s chief exports.

I will be looking for coverage in the usual places:

Velocipede Salon
Bikerumor

Face palm

There has been some coverage already:

The Radavist
Gearjunkie
and Flickr here and here

And I am sure Singletrack will have some coverage soon as well:

Singletrackworld

Talking of media, I am sure you will know that Cranked is an upcoming magazine, seemingly filling the void left by Privateer. I know I am very much looking forward to issue 1.





Shimano XTR.

3 03 2015

Over the years, I have used a number of iterations of Shimano’s XTR groupset. It has always blown me away, not just functionally, but also in terms of durability. Recently, I had a brief shot of (davechopoptions) XTR 9000 drivechain. Set up 1×11, it feels smooth, with solid clicks and the ratio spread is wonderful. It will be interesting how the front chainring, with it’s unusual steel/hollow aluminium ring and squared-off tooth profile works in time, but knowing Shimano, it will be awesome. The cranks are *way* prettier in the flesh.

This is an interesting video of the changes made to the derailleur to allow it to track the increased radial range of the ‘Rhythm Step’ cassette (which is a work of art composed of one-of-a-kind carbon carriers and ti rings mixed with more usual steel and aluminium carriers).

Having tried this set up, I find it hard to invest in any more experiments in 1×10 set ups with increased range. We’ll see.