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!

Advertisements

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.

Tried and Tested – Peatys Sealant, Valves and Rim Tape

Peaty's Products - Tubeless Sealant
Peaty’s Products – Tubeless Sealant

My local trails are littered with black thorns and since “going tubeless” around 3 years ago I haven’t look back. I have been using what was up until this weekend the industry standard and the team at Peatys wanted to put a stop to it so sent me a complete set up to install and review.

I’ve been sitting on these goodies from Peatys for a few weeks now, waiting for my new bike to arrive and being a tubeless convert for a number of years, I wasn’t going to risk a ride without these installed.

Peaty's Products - Fitted
Peaty’s Products – Fitted

The quality of the product and the now instantly recognisable branding is the first thing that stands out. The rim tape is strong and sticky, the sealant glistens in the sun and the valves are a sight to behold when standing erect and proud from your rim. (Make your own jokes up, if I missed any.)

I installed the tape on my Marin San Quentin 3 stock wheels,  with tubeless compatible 29mm rims. Applying the Rim Job was a pretty standard task especially as these are new wheels, so there was no grime or anything that required cleaning first. So starting a few inches past the valve hole, go once around and over lap by the same few inches.

Peaty's Products - Rim Tape and Valve - Details
Peaty’s Products – Rim Tape and Valve – Details

The tape is super sticky but you can lift it and straighten as you go if you go off line a little – which I did plenty as the spoke holes are off centered in the rim and my fingers kept assuming they were in the middle. Doh!

The 30mm wide tape is perfect for these 29mm rims and a roll comes in 9 meters which should be enough to do 4 wheels.

The 40mm tall Tubeless Valves are really solid and look really cool with the little Peatys logo on them – even on the inside!

My Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres seated quite easily and after a bit of a spillage I successfully managed to squeeze the required amount of Tubeless Sealant in the tyres.

Using my trusty Airshot and Topeak Joe Blow track pump, the tyres pinged into place with ease.

Peaty's Products - Rim Tape, Sealant and Valves
Peaty’s Products – Rim Tape, Sealant and Valves

One 25km ride and an over night standing later and the tyres are still inflated so I would say that’s a job well done.  I’ll do an update after a few weeks/months to see how the sealant is holding up.

Thanks again to Peatys Products for sending me these to install/test.

Peatys Products also include lube and bike cleaning foam and are available in many stores or online.

Is one of these your LBS ?   https://peatys.co.uk/stockists

 

NEW – SRAM AXS – My Opinion

I have to admit it – I absolutely love it and I want it all and I want it now!

The simplicity of the installation, its got an app, its lighter and the action is smooth and fast.  Its customisable, its clean, there are no cables – its exciting stuff!

I need this in my life – its amazing!

But – damage the mech, crash and break the shifter, and you are screwed!

You can no longer pop to you LBS and buy a new shifter or mech and get back out on your bike. Within the Shimano or SRAM ranges you can typically mix and match and therefore buy whatever is on the shelf in your LBS – now you have to pick up an AXS component that is probably not going to be available on every high street or at a bike shop at a trail head.

Forget to charge your battery after the last few rides or think it should be ok for one more and boom you are an hour behind your mates.

Oh wait a minute – the seat post is £700 and the group set is £2000 you say?!

Forget it!

This is aimed at pro racers or those with WAY to much spare cash (who’s got that these days?)…

So, nice tech (REALLY nice tech), nice features on GMBN  (PAID PROMOTIONS I notice), but its like watching supercars on Top Gear – I won’t be buying one anytime soon…