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!

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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

QECP MTB – Queen Elizabeth Country Park – First Ride Review

Much has been said of late about the new sections of trail at the QECP so we thought we’d pay it a visit.

So 6 of us made the 80 mile journey to QECP yesterday frankly not expecting too much.

Blue trails are the unsung heroes of mountain biking. They are the gateways into the sport, acting as a hook for new riders and giving younger riders their first taste of riding off-road in a safe environment. The mistake a lot of riders make is believing blue trails are just for beginners, bypassing them for harder red or black trails. There’s plenty of fun to be had on a well built blue trail even for experienced riders. It’s good to see there are plenty of other people who think the same and that the blue trail at Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) has been voted TOTY.
Read more at https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/trail-of-the-year-377618#Vrdu31PMUjAoowcE.99

We’d heard of the MBR Award for the Blue trail which sounded fun, but we had also heard that the Red trail was very very sketchy in the wet. Well as you’ll see from the video, we are obviously pretty hardcore here in Wiltshire – or just used to the sticky mud!

In my opinion you can ride both trails in all conditions, but the Blue will definitely hold up better in the wet.

Ashton Court MTB Trails – Review

If you follow my Youtube Channel you will have seen this video last weekend and know that I paid a visit (with a few mates) to Ashton Court in Bristol for a revisit – been about 5 years since I was there last!

Now before we get stuck in, the trails are in a city, so there is a distinct lack of elevation and serious gravity fed fun.

Its not a hot destination for mountain bikers wishing to “shred the gnar” or if you are in search of real technical challenges (though the Super Nova Red section was particularly scary in the wet!). However, if you live in the South West and have a few hours to spare its well worth a visit.

Firstly parking is only £1.20 for the whole day – I know this is probably not high on the  your check list when visiting a trail centre but if you live in south Wales for instance, now that the Severn Bridge Tolls have been removed its a very cheap trip – and I think you should consider it.

Whats here?

Only about 7 miles in total of way marked trails. Mostly “flat” and cross country  by nature but the constant undulation will give you a proper work out.  The Bristol Bikefest is a much missed event and tested riders endurance on multiple laps up until a few years ago.

These are made up of 2 main trails at Ashton Court and in the neighbouring Leigh Woods.  Leigh Woods was less fun, but there are some off piste trails there that are worth exploring in the drier weather.

Mostly you have twisty single track, with a mix of rocky and natural (muddy) surfaces.

And don’t forget the undulation – which basically translates as you will be pedalling most of the way around.

Red Sections here bear absolutely no resemblance to “Reds” at Bike Park Wales or even the Forest of Dean.  In a nutshell, its a pretty easy and non challenging environment on the whole. However…..

Don’t dismiss it

Recently there have been some developments and new trail sections have had some work done to provide flow and jumpable features that the trail had previously lacked.

There are a few sections (as you will see in my video) that are worth lapping and sessions in these short spots can help novice riders learn some skills and provide a fun playground for even the most advanced riders.

So go and give it a visit, put a few hours aside and session the new bits (you’ll know them when you find them) and if you don’t enjoy yourself you haven’t tried hard enough.

Links

Here’s a great downloadable map of the trails including the ones in Leigh Woods and 50 Acre Woods  :

https://betterbybike.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/BD10784-Mountain-Bike-Trails-leaflet-WEB.pdf

For info on bike hire and skills coaching at the trails contact Pedal Progression  :

https://www.pedalprogression.com/about/

Louri Frame Strap Review

It was really nice to meet Sian and Thomas at the Cycle Show last week and to get a look at the many products that Cyclorise distribute in the UK.  Getting a close up look at the Louri frame strap and getting my own in a bike colour matching orange was a bonus.

The strap allows you to attach some essentials to your bike for races or when you want to travel a little lighter. Its really useful and easy to use – watch my video for the full low down.

The Louri strap costs £18.99 for the frame version and £17.99 for the saddle mount version.

Finally – the pronunciation – its looo-reee  as in

not lahow-rey ?  as in

For more information visit the Cyclorise and/or the Louri websites.