Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Dark and White Winter MBO Round 4- Matlock

3rd Place in Category A- I'm Starting to Enjoy MTB Orienteering

I love riding around Matlock. It's a sensible ride out from Nottingham and the roads nearby offer a great gateway into the Peak District National Park. I couldn't honestly count the number of times I've ridden up the Via Gellia over the years although I've only briefly explored the trails nearby so when it was announced that the final round of Dark and White's Winter Mountain Bike Orienteering series was to be based from the town I was pretty happy to have a little bit of area knowledge.

Why Did My Bike Look Dirtier Than Everyone Else?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Tenn Waterproof PU Cycling Overshoes Review for MTB and Road Riding

Riding through winter puts some heavy demands on kit. Normal cycling shoes are great for the summer months and generally designed to be light and airy which is a real drawback when the thermometer is reading a few degrees above zero and no matter how many pairs I opt for I still start to get numb feet.

Over the years I've worn countless different cycling overshoes but tend to find that the one thing that often tends wear out first is the zip. I've had zips damage on me within a few rides of using an overshoe so will often choose a simpler product with a velcro closure system like the Tenn waterproof PU overshoes I recently purchased for a pretty low price of £8.99 plus £1.99 postage. This is around half the price I would usually expect to pay for a mainstream manufacturers product but I thought I'd take a gamble. Tenn Outdoors have been around for a good number of years so I think they should have some knowledge and expertise.

Tenn Waterproof PU Cycling Overshoes

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Santa Cruz Tallboy CC Demo Ride at 18 Bikes Hope

Having recently become increasingly interested in mountain biking the logical progression is to owning a full suspension mountain bike. In honesty there's a huge variety of what's on offer on the marketplace so it makes sense to get a feeling for just what I want before making any big decisions.

When we heard 18 Bikes at Hope in the Peak District were doing a Santa Cruz Demo Day last weekend  it sounded like a great opportunity to try something new.

The Santa Cruz Tallboy at 18 Bikes Hope

As someone who's been a road rider for years and genuinely likes those long winter mileage sessions exploring I suppose the logical progression for me is either going to be into either cross country racing or the longer distances of mtb marathon events. That draws me away from the current Enduro trend and more towards a bike with a sensible amount of travel. Nino Schurters World Championship winning Scott features 120 mm of travel at the rear so something with similar makes sense. Though having never ridden a full suspension bike before one of the big questions was just whether it would make a difference.

Monday, 30 January 2017

DMT WM1 Nix Winter Mountain Bike Shoe Review

Winter is a great time of the year for cycling. The worst bit is the extra needs it puts onto your kit just to be able to ride. Sometimes your regular stuff can still be used, within reason but when winter strikes it's often your extremities that get hit hard with the cold. That's where winter cycling shoes can provide some assistance. In summer you're looking for ventilation, whereas winter requires a further layer of protection from the elements.

High visibility DMT Nix WM1 Winter MTB Shoes

Having recently taken the plunge and ordered a pair of winter mountain bike shoes it seemed fair to share my findings. One of the first pair of real high end road cycling shoes I owned were a pair of DMT Ultimax's. Regularly seen in the professional peloton they lasted four years of heavy abuse whilst road racing and were only retired after I broke the ratchet system in a racing incident.

DMT shoes always look fast. The company seem pretty selective with the Pro riders they sponsor. a degree of exclusivity seems to work for them with Elia Viviani their current poster rider. Although in the past they've worked with my all time god- Super Mario Cipollini, Phillipe Gilbert and MTB racer Periklis Ilias.

For Winter riding I treated myself to a pair of DMT Nix Winter MTB shoes although the same model is advertised on the DMT website as the DMT WM1 for £75.

The styling is as classy as DMT has ever been with a double Boa (TM) fastening system which will suit those numb hands for easier tightening. I have quite narrow feet and whilst the dials will go pretty tight the front of the foot is a shade on the wide side for me. It's not really an issue for general riding but if I was going to use the shoes for say cyclocross racing I would ideally want a shoe that fits tighter around my feet.

Being in stealth black they're not going to conflict with your bike or kit choices and they look a very nice piece of kit for the £75 I paid. Out on rides I've had a number of envious comments whilst out on the roads so the styling seems to be very agreeable. They're arguably the best looking winter cycling shoe I've seen and available in both MTB and road cycling versions.

If you're a commuter looking for a winter cycling shoe the DMT Nix / WM1 could be ideal. They feature a broad range of reflective features. With the detailing of the DMT logo to the side being highly reflective along with the front and rear straps designed for ease of entry. If you're looking for shoes to help you be seen on those evening rides the Nix could well be what you're after,

Aside from the wide forefoot my main gripe is the rigidity of the sole. It feels rather flexible. So flexible that they'd actually be a consideration for cyclocross events where I know there's going to be some running. They're not designed as a high performance racing shoe but I might have expected a little more rigidity.

I also would have liked to have seen a little more aggressive tread pattern to the sole. There's the option of fitting studs up front however in thick glutinous mud if you spin out on a climb you need something to really dig into the ground to help you power your way upwards.

The DMT Nix is a great looking shoe although I think more a spring- autumn shoe than full on winter. I have a tendancy to wear them with overshoes for extra warmth of late although temperatures have been very close to freezing and below. I'd rather have toasty feet in the Peak District 30 miles from home than be in pain from more than just the climbing.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Bestwood Country Park- Inaugural Parkrun Photos

Janaury 28th 2017 saw the inaugural Parkrun event at Bestwood Country Park. With Jem running I decided it would be a great opportunity to take the camera down for some photos. Here's a selection of the images from the event.

If you would like a copy of the original file please drop me a line. You're welcome to use the images for non commercial purposes as long you put a link back to the source please.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Dark and White Winter Mountain Bike Orienteering Round 2- Great Longstone

This Sunday saw the most recent round of the 4 event Dark and White Winter Mountain Bike Orienteering series at Great Longstone a few miles north of the Peak District honeypot of Bakewell. The Headquarters were the impressive Thornbridge Outdoor Centre.

After the previous round at Chapel-en-le-Frith I was really looking forward to the event, particularly after really enjoying the previous round, it had taken me out of my comfort zone and equated to a solid training session towards next years goals whilst keeping me mentally fresh.

I'd even considered doing a Midlands league event down near Northampton between Christmas and New Year however waking up on Boxing Day with an excruciating pain in my ribs, as well as the subsequent inability to sit up straight whilst in bed or sit in comfort riding a bike meant I've needed a couple of weeks downtime to allow the body to heal. I've only just been able to test comfort levels on a spin bike at the gym this last week so the latest round of the Dark and White MBO series was always going to be a test in itself.

Riding up to Thornbridge Outdoors you're hit smack on with the grandeur that would have once bestowed the site.

The entrance to Thornbridge Outdoors with the Radon

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Mucky Nutz Bender Fender MTB Front Mudguard Review

 Living within the heart of lowland Sherwood Forest it can be a bit of a mud-fest locally throughout the winter months and in honesty summer can be a bit gloopy too. There's some fantastic riding on our doorstep but a degree of protection is required to keep you and the bike running smoothly.

Mucky Nutz Bender Fender MTB Mudguard

We recently picked up a Mucky Nutz Bender Fender for Jemma's MTB in a fitting cerise colour. It's as close to her beloved purple as we could find and features the clean lines that are aesthetically pleasing to me too. I see too many mtb mudguards plastered with appalling graphics that seems to match their owners abilities to spend money without thinking about clashes in colourschemes.