A Sort of Newsletter

IMG_6624.jpg

I thought I’d put a kind of update blog post out ahead of the weekend, covering a few different subjects of what I’m upto…

Bikes

It certainly has been a long wet Winter and I have to admit I’ve done far less riding than I should have.  I have wimped out on a few bike park visits (they aren’t as much fun in the driving rain or mud) and my local trails have become unrideable at times. So I’ve done more miles on my cyclocross bikes than I thought I would. Keeping the legs spinning but away from the  mud as much as possible.

My DJ has not seen the light of day for about 6 months!  I had so many plans to visit so many pump tracks but it just didn’t happen. This weekend I must – especially if I am to justify buying new forks for it!

My full suspension bike has been kept safe and clean (see the wimping out above) and my trusty hardtail has bore the brunt of the winter mud and elements.

Come on spring / summer I need you now more than ever!

Travel

I am a little bit ashamed of my lack of adventure the last few months. Putting the bike in the car to drive for a few hours only to get just as muddy and cold and wet as I can from home hasn’t been very appealing. The lack of a roof rack on my company car has probably been a slight barrier to this too as it is certainly better to stick a muddy bike on the roof rather than in the car that I do not technically own. New car coming next week and I will be getting a rack for it (and the Summer is coming!) so things should change in that department.

I have a trip planned next week (before I get a rack unfortunately) but I am so looking forward to it. Expect photos and videos on my return of a weekend riding with Tom Hutton MTB Guiding and the Dales Bike Centre.

Talking of Guiding

Talking of guiding, I finally put my British Cycling Leadership Award into action and set up a “business venture” doing some local rides. MTB Guide Wiltshire has so far run 3 rides (Jan, Feb and March) and I’ve brought a few riders out from hibernation, had a couple travel more than an hour to ride with me from Hampshire, and helped a few new comers to the sport get an introduction.

review2

Including a booking on my 4th ride this coming weekend, I have now had 4 return customers.  The photo for this blog post was taken last Sunday when a hardy group of 6 came out for a tough mudder of a ride, 2 were returning customers, and 3 traveled by car for more than an hour to ride with me!

review

Showing some locals that there’s plenty of good riding in our little corner of Wiltshire and earning a bit of cash to keep the bikes maintained is very fulfilling. I’m making new contacts and friends, while networking and being “paid” to ride my bike – that’s the dream, the Holy Grail isn’t it?

My first ride outside of Wiltshire comes up in May and so far around 20 people are taking an interest in being guided around the amazing landscape near Blaenavon and Big Pit.

Tickets are on sale for the Ponds, The Pit and The Punchbowl now, and until 1st May they are reduced from £20 to £15 per person.

You can follow my guiding activities on Facebook or Instagram.

And finally…

No, that’s just about it..  Oh and if you’ve a story to share or subject to rant about please get in touch, I am very happy and eager to let some other voices be heard on my little blog…

Tim(FromWales)

 

Winter is here

Tim Selfie
Hello!

I’ve had a self induced few weeks off the bike while doing a mini challenge and some intense training for a half marathon that I completed last week.  Yes, I ran 13.1 miles on the road in just under 1 hour 59 minutes.  I may be a little hooked on the idea of doing more of this, but more on that another day. For now though…

It’s on!

Yes its on, the heating is on. Winter is here! I have caved and let her put the central heating on (but I will be checking the thermostat everyday) and as every bike ride is likely to include a mud bath, its nice to know I can come home to a warm house and a hot shower!

Its the season to “make the most of it”. Getting out on those cold and damp days, rather than when its chucking it down with rain, and get out and do some “Winter miles” for those “Summer smiles”.

IMG_5740.jpg
Winter miles they say…

The trails on my doorstep are muddy from about mid November through to March.  We pray for the frost and stick to the ones with rocks, roots and less clay content. There is no winter/mud tyre that can cope with clay!

This limits  our options so its time to get some longer rides in. So I got my Winter Season off to a good start on Sunday with about 35 miles of pedaling.

IMG_5745.jpg
Mud bath

It was just me on Sunday; though I did make plans to meet a few others from MB Swindon for a coffee stop in Marlborough. However that didn’t happen due to the other group of riders having some mechanicals and running over an hour late.

So I did what I like to do and rode, explored, made it up as I went along and stopped to take a few photos.

I had my own “mechanical” that involved forgetting my keys and the rest of the family had gone out. Luckily like a good Boy Scout (I was never in the Scouts), I was prepared.

I was wet and beginning to get cold, so armed only with the contactless paying capabilities of my iPhone I somehow found sustenance and warmth by way of a visit to my local Costa for a cup of tea and cheese toastie. I changed my wet socks, broke out my spare gloves too…  I survived Bear Grylls eat your heart out!

IMG_5756.jpg

 

Not a very exciting blog post, but with so many photos taken on Sunday I had to write something and share them…

IMG_5734.jpg
Coffee Stop #1 of the Day. Greggs in Marlborough
IMG_5732.jpg
Obligatory Instagram photo

 

IMG_5747.jpg
Here’s some of that mud I mentioned
IMG_5748.jpg
Somewhere under there is a crank and chain ring
IMG_5749.jpg
That’s nice!

Plans for 2017

youtube-screen-shot
YouTube Channel

Its almost the end of 2016 and its been a strange one for many reasons personally and professionally and its time to set some goals for 2017.

I have many plans and ideas (all revolving around bikes of course) and one of them is to try and turn my blogging into vlogging.

You may have noticed a few video posts today via social media and if you have seen any of those videos you see that I am making some YouTube friendly changes to them such as removing copyrighted music.

I don’t know how its going to pan out and I may even start up a whole new channel but this is just your warning ‘cos you may tune in one day to see my face on here talking some utter rubbish about something that you know more about than I do..

Just a heads up!

See you soon…

Been Away For Too Long

I’ve been away for too long… I love this song and this band, I first heard Soundgarden some time around 20 years ago with the video for “Black Hole Sun” was freaking everyone out! I didn’t really like them if I’m honest – but this last 2 years or so I have grown to appreciate the dark and often strangely timed grunge guitar sounds of Kim Thayil and the whiny vocals of Chris Cornell.

Anyway, this musical treat is my way of saying “sorry” for not posting for a while and I promise to do better!

I have started a new job, the search for which and subsequent departure from my previous job has taken up some of my spare time. We have had Christmas and New Year and some pretty rubbish weather so I haven’t been out on my bike as much as I hoped I would.

But hopefully we are back on track, both here for the occasional rant and photograph and over on The Gear Factor for product reviews and often more sensible mountain bike comments.

So don’t go away cos I’ll be back soon with some more blog content and my 2014 plans.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Happy New Year readers, subscribers, followers, fellow bloggers and those of you that accidentally stumbled upon this blog…

This has been an awesome year of blogging and writing and I hope to do much more in 2014. Here’s a quick view of my highlights and favorite moments from 2013:

1st January – So it began. Decided on New Years that I was going write a blog in 2013; having dabbled with a blog about Playstation 3 games and also tried a photo blog, it was time to start something I could get into properly. https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/happy-new-year/

Obviously it was going to be mainly focused on mountain biking, and I was going to try and write something everyday – this lasted until around August! From then the blog sort of continued but the frequency dropped.

21st January – A snow video. I took out the GoPro Hero 3 properly for the first time yesterday and made a video. Lots of fun, but the Hero 3 poor battery life started to annoy.

14th February – I wrote a post that changed my blogging forever! https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/faffing-is-it-more-than-just-a-waste-of-time/

23rd February – The Bronze Age Epic. A massive ride with MBSwindon covering a little over 32 miles on my hard tail. This was my first big ride with SPD pedals and it resulted in a twinge in my right knee. This put me off a little but if have persisted, but not yet put the SPD pedals on my full sus bike.  https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/bronze-age-epic/

17th March – Wales one the 6 nations again… https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/what-do-points-make/

MudTrek
22nd March – Mudtrek. I had heard a lot about Mudtrek and was looking forward to my weekend on Wales.  It was a tough ride and I was not fit enough prepared enough for the epic ride on Saturday. https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/mudtrek-mb-swindon-ride/

31st March – My post about “faffing” made it to MBR Magazine and I became a published mountain bike author! How on earth did that happen??

5th April – Published again, this time on bikemagic.com https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/have-you-been-bitten/

8th April – Another video from my local trails. I had a lot of fun editing and storyboarding this one. https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/i-made-a-rock-video/

20th May – Made another video – I like doing this you know!

Bella Where Did you Go?
Bella Where Did you Go?

21st May – a sad day as it was the last day we ever saw Bella. Still miss her loads today. https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/lost/

June saw me go on an initially apprehensive trip to Bike Village in France. I had no doubts about my riding ability but my fitness and ability to ride and climb for 6 days was seriously questionable.

https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/?s=bike+village

In the end it was the best week of riding I could have imagined with memories and experiences that transformed my riding and outlook on riding forever.

http://thegearfactor.com/2013/11/21/bike-village/

Bike Village
Bike Village

June was a busy month as I also got my second article published in MBR https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/a-bridleway-too-far/, and led my first club ride for MB Swindon https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/ride-report-a-ride-around-tims-house/

26 July – Strava got its little hooks in me and encouraged me to ride places I never rode before. https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/completed-my-search-for-dirt/

In August I went on a family holiday to the Spanish island of Mallorca and my wife gave me a morning off to ride a hire a bike! https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/the-great-escape/ and guess what? I made a little video…

From here on the blog frequency died off though there was I organised another MB Swindon club ride in September – https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/olivers-twists-photos-with-mb-swindon/ and got me some MagicShine lights (I am working on that video) https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/oh-oh-oh-its-magicshine/

In October I had an awesome weekend of meeting up with old friends (drinking and eating too much) but squeezing in some great bike rides in South Wales – https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-ponds-the-pit-and-the-punch-bowl-part-i/ , including a recce ride for a future MB Swindon ride https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-ponds-the-pit-and-the-punch-bowl-part-ii/

I also kicked off my second web site project – http://thegearfactor.com/

In November I pulled my finger out and set up a Facebook group to try and get some local riders together for regular group rides in my town – https://timfromwales.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/calne-mtb/

December was very thin in terms of blog posts as I started to focus more on http://thegearfactor.com/ – This site will still run and will be my personal stuff – I hope you have enjoyed reading the occasional post and will continue to follow me in 2014.

Happy New Year, Tim (FromWales)

snow-slide-soft.jpg