Coast 2 Coast

This weekend I’m off up north to ride the C2C cycle route – Whitehaven on the west coast to Tynemouth on the east coast. It’s about 150 miles and should take three days. This is my second time doing the route, although unlike last time we’re camping along the way and carrying all our gear on the bikes – tent, sleeping bags, stove, food, the lot. Fingers crossed for dry weather.

Updates along the way on Twitter (if I get mobile signal and the iPhone stays awake for that long) and more info and pictures on here next week I’d imagine.

Singlespeed


More bike news. I’ve had an old ’98 Specialized S-Works frame hanging in the garage for a while, along with a massive box of random bits and pieces, some old Rockshox, pedals, odd cranks and so on. On closer inspection, it turns out I pretty much had enough old parts to build the S-Works into a complete bike.

Minus the gears.

I can’t read a mountain bike magazine or website these days without coming across someone banging on about how great singlespeed bikes are and how it’s liberated them from the bloat of the modern mountain bike. Lightweight, low maintenance, cheap to run and fun to ride. Sounds good to me – Colin Chapman would be proud. So a couple of evenings later spent spannering in the garage and I have my first singlespeed bike. The only thing I had to buy was a cheap chain tensioner to take up some slack in the chain which cost about a tenner, otherwise it cost me pretty much nothing.
And the verdict? Brilliant! I went for a group ride at the weekend and had no problems whatsoever keeping up on the climbs. In fact if anything the 32/16 ratio forces you keep up a quicker pace than you might otherwise be riding with 27 gears. The bike is surprisingly light and solid – no chain slap or other rattles – and can be hooned about like a complete hooligan, especially with wide bars. Jumping over roots and other small trail obstacles is effortless and the lack of shifters gives the bars a nice uncluttered feel.
I shouldn’t imagine it’ll see as much action as the FSR or Inbred, but it’s a nice addition to the collection for when you fancy something a bit different.

On One – Inbred

I’ve been quite busy since the last entry here, mainly messing around with bikes in the garage. My trusty GT Zaskar LE of 14 years has now been dismantled and I’ve given the frame to my brother as his S-Works was a bit on the small side. To replace it, I picked up another frame – On One Inbred – to be built up as my commuting bike and hardtail MTB for when I fancy a change from the FSR.

It’s been a while (14 years in fact) since I’ve ridden a steel framed MTB and have gotten used to either the super stiff aluminium Zaskar which climbs well but shakes you to bits over fast rough stuff or the plush FSR which is fast and smooth but a bit of a slog uphill. The Inbred is a revelation! I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination but it seems to climb even quicker than the Zaskar and definitely way smoother over fast rough singletrack. The steeper head angle and low flat bars make for lightning, if not slighty twitchy, steering which is a nice alternative to the relatively slack and bouncy FSR with huge riser bars.

All in all I’m dead chuffed. It’s going to make a no nonsense commuter and an awesome little hardtail MTB for short blasts up the woods. If I can convince myself to do any more XC racing this year after last month’s DNF, it’ll make a great race bike too. And to top it off, I stuck some slicks on it on Sunday and entered my first triathlon, passing several lycra-clad guys on expensive looking road bikes.