A Trail Is Born – Making the most of your local terrain

I’m a great believer in making the most of what you’ve got when it comes to mountain biking.  Whether that be in terms of your bike and budget (any bike will do honestly it will), or where you live.

We can’t all live in the Surrey Hills, Scotland, Snowdonia or … Bristish Columbia, but everywhere you go is something you can find to ride.

You can rip up the streets urban style like Sam Pilgrim or you can find a small patch of woodland and just ride it!

Doesn’t have to be steep, gnarly, and long – with just a little bit of imagination you can turn anything into some fun.

This “trail” is only 15-20 seconds long but it has a steep roll in, some loamy turns and a small drop off.

Windhill: Is this bikepark for you?

When I sat down to write this post originally, I was going to debate the different types of  Blues, Reds, Blacks etc at UK bike parks and trail centres (there’s a difference), but then I thought I’d just show you a video.

However, very quickly:

A black run at Bikepark Wales will have large gaps and drops that require speed, technique and commitment.

A black trail at Coed y Brenin, while possibly a bit rocky and gnarly in places, is, IMHO more a measure of fitness.

And finally a black run at Windhill Bike Park, is mostly a hand cut trail that requires a certain level of skill, but doesn’t require masses of speed or large testicles to ride and clear large gaps.

Don’t get me wrong there are some jumps on the black trails at Windhill, but honestly you can roll through most of it.  (I do!)

Just stay clear of the Pro-Line – – – But that hopefully speaks for itself!

So here’s a short video of a bunch of us average riders riding blue, red and black runs at Windhill this weekend – nothing required clearing a gap, and the largest drop is about 2 feet high on all these trails.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get some air or jump some distance (hopefully you can see from my average efforts), it doesn’t mean that top riders can’t enjoy it (cos they do!), it just means that you can ride most of the park at your pace and enjoy it.

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..

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Thanks!

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!

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.

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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