Calnefornia to Snowdonia

Last weekend 7 of us headed from Wiltshire to North Wales for what promised to be a good weekend on the bikes.

Friday, 2 of the gang went straight to Coed y Brenin while the rest of us headed for Cadair Idris and a grueling climb in temperatures just shy of 30C.

It was hot and hard work but the views were staggering and the descent simply brilliant!

This was the second time for me and I was keen to check out a short bridleway on the return leg and its fair to say it didn’t disappoint!

Saturday saw 7 tired campers hit a muggy Penmachno at an agreed later time, that almost back fired on us!  One of the guys had a free hub issue and we didn’t leave any time to get to a bike shop on Saturday evening.

Luckily, we bumped into Tom Hutton (MTB Guiding) at Coed y Brenin who arranged to meet us Sunday morning and loan us a wheel. What a gent!

So Sunday, all of us made our way around the Dyfi Forest, around the Climach-X trail north of Machynlleth where we rode the epic final descent, but not before exploring some of the Welsh Gravity Enduro stages still widely used but not sign posted in the forest.

We had a cracking weekend and I want to get back to the Dyfi Forest ASAP..

Please watch my video and sub to my Youtube channel.

Thanks!

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Over and Over and Over Again

I love everything about mountain biking (apart from the cost, changing standards and that I can’t do it every damn day!)…

I enjoy a long ride in the mountains, uplift days, exploring and a good trail centre.

I like packing a bag, with lunch and a stove and heading out for hours on end, and I love a quick blast up and down my local hill before the sun sets.

I love singletrack, bridleways, hardpacked dirt, rocks, roots, mud, puddles and overgrown byways.

I love learning to jump, doing track stands and sliding down steep gnarly bits of trail.

Yeah mountain biking is great fun and I love everything about it.  Last weekend 2 of us went out for about 4 hours and didn’t go far at all. What we did was we found a steep bank and rode it over and over and over again.

At first we thought it wasn’t possible, then by the end we were satisfied we’d achieved something pretty cool, progressed our riding and moved on to find something else.

Why?

Well this is how you beat it. This is how you learn. This is how you win. But mostly this is how you figure out how to deal with surprise obstacles on a trail and add to your “bag of tricks” and build your confidence when being shown stuff by other riders in new locations.

We don’t have a great deal of elevation where I live so we have to make the most of what we find and often this means sessioning and repeating short bits of trail to tune our skills.

Go and session something this weekend until you nail it!

LUTs, resolution and FPS – Do you care?

Those are not cycling terms, or the names of mountain bike components – they are a whole new set of nerdy things you *have* to learn about if you are going to try and make videos for YouTube.

*Disclaimer – You don’t have to learn about these things at all.  I just like to and there are times when understanding these and MANY other things can improve your videos

Like some people might sketch, paint model planes or read books, editing videos is just a hobby for me. Like taking pictures – its just an extension of my biking hobby.  If I can share it with people or relive a fun day out with some mates then that a bonus.

This might sound like I don’t care if anyone watches my videos – I do, but it doesn’t really matter.

However, making videos for Youtube is not easy. Strapping a GoPro to our chest/helmet and riding down a trail looks pretty dull unless you are riding like Sam Hill, Danny Hart, Rachel Atherton etc..  Filming jumps looks easy unless you are riding massive Rampage sized drops and gaps.

So in order to make your ordinary average riding, watchable to have to spice it up with something.  I try to have some fun, don’t take myself too seriously and lately I’ve been trying to make the videos look a whole lot better.

Your GoPro is a pretty powerful tool with a lot of the functionality of bigger more professional cameras. But in order to get the best from them you need to understand more than just is it pointing in the right direction.

Putting your camera on AUTO will mostly get you OK results and allow you to relive a day out or a ride of some sort.  But to make the image clearer, brighter, sharper etc you need to understand framerates, light temperature, ISO settings.

But I’m not going to try and explain that – go and watch, listen and learn from Ryan (aka The Loam Ranger) over on his YouTube – link below…

Disclaimer 2 – I still have soooo much to learn by the way so I am not suggesting my videos are setting some sort of standard that you should aspire to.  But if you do think they are any good – thats great and Thanks!

 

Have I gone a bit mad?

Yes I spent 10 minutes talking to myself.  Its not unusual to be honest, last week I pretended to get phone calls from “no claim no fee” lines and my boss, while recording a fake phone in show.

All in the name of YouTube and why?  I am no sensation – I don’t have the subscribers or the skills to make it big on “the platform”.  I’m not even sure I’m using YouTube correctly.

I just like having fun…

On a serious note if you fancy making a video with me please get in touch below…

Here’s what I filmed then clipped and cut together to make the top film all in my lunch break.

AllyGuard / First Impressions

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AllyGuard – looks stealthy

There might be a really good reason I haven’t seen an aluminum mudguard on a bike before but I’ve been asked to take a look by the guys at AllyGuard, who are designing some new accessories for your bike out of aluminum.

I have just fitted the black version to my bike so this is a very early first impression.  I’ll check in after a few weeks riding to see how its holding up to some “ahem” Spring weather in the UK!

I will say, it looks very nice on my bike.

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AllyGuard – plenty of clearance

The boost RockShox Revelation fork on my San Quention have plenty of clearance for 2.6 inch Schwalbe tyres and a thicker than normal front fender.

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AllyGuard – black is the new black

The stealthy look against black forks and stanchions is very cool indeed but that is crying our for some orange stickers or paint to match my Marin…  I’ll have to think about that.

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AllyGuard – Protection against rattle and frame rub

The aluminum guard comes with some foam pads to protect against frame rub and rattle. I’m not entirely sure how long these will last, so I will be keeping a close eye and maybe upgrading to 3M tape over the top to keep them in place and waterproof it.

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AllyGuard – Protection against rattle and frame rub

The AllyGuard fits to your fork just like any other front mud guard, but as its made of metal the point where it meets the frame requires some padding. As per above – this is the area I will be keeping a close eye on.

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AllyGuard – Protection against rattle and frame rub

The guard comes with all the pads and cable ties you need and fitting is  doddle as you’d expect.

AllyGuard – safety is definitely our number one priority. The cable ties fitted and spares or specifically chosen in strength to ensure any riding conditions however in the unlikely scenario that the rider were to fall onto the guard with a substantial force the cable ties will break detaching the AllyGuard from the bike dissipating the energy minimising any risk to the rider.

Our guards are made from grade A1050 aluminium, this grade is chosen because of it’s very high ductility. Meaning no matter how deformed the guard gets if at all it can be bent back to shape countless times, although we wouldn’t want you riding around with a guard looking past its best so we would probably just replace it for you.

Being a softer aluminium if the AllyGaurd were ever to contact the stanchions it would not scratch it as the densities between the AllyGuard and the stanchion are so drastically different as the stations are a vary dense hard alloy.

They come in raw/silver and black and are available from AllyGuard’s ebay store – link below.

allyguard1

Follow AllyGuard in Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allyguard/

Buy yours here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AllyGuard-MTB-DH-Aluminium-front-Mudguard-Mountain-bike-accessory-Downhill-/382636044741

allyguard in colour