Monday, January 30, 2012


So the sun was shining in the January sky this morning. The RoShamBo was sitting there with that big knobbly tyre on the front. I couldn't say no. Huffed, puffed and schmeared my way around the local woods. Took some video and after passing it through the iMac, here's what i gots....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's back...

My Kelly Ro Sham Bo was my first 29" wheel bike. Over the years it has been pressed into duty in many roles. Most recently it saw time as a fixed gear/fat front bike....then a commuter for a while. Now, the fat front fixed is back...yeah, it looks special....but i'm looking forward to walking those cranks over slimey rocks and letting the Nate do what it looks like it ought to do so very well....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

South Shore bikepark.

A bike park? in Dorset? Mike Davis' blog post explains all...but this needs a bit of internet crowd action...go to it...and yes, thats Mike Davis of Whatmtb and Privateer etc.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


A little while ago, i rode/carried up Ben Lomond, turned tail and dropped down. Despite suffering numerous punctures as i plummeted over the sharp rocky trail i had a great time. It was very clear and sunny at the top and, for the first time, i saw the Ptarmigan Ridge trail in sharp relief. This was a little bit of a surprise because i have been up Ben Lomond quite a number of times - by bike and on foot.

Needless to say, the idea of riding that trail has been worming around in my brain for a while.

Whereas the main trail up the Ben has been worked on in order to be sustainable given the presumably large amount of footfall, the Ptarmigan Ridge trail is 'natural' for the most part. As such, it is way less impervious to Scotland's famed precipitation.

Same old same old: tired, unwell and busy. But just just as the cold, low, cloud cleared on occasion as i ascended the mountain, the will and the opportunity coalesced and i had a window to go for a ride. I like my local trails, but at the moment they are sodden and i'm pretty sure we are doing a fair bit of damage as we ride them. I'm philosophical about would never ride in Scotland if you avoided commiting rubber to trail in bad weather. I also have issues riding the same trails time after time. So i dropped Daisy off at nursery and then loaded the car - it's been a while, so i had to find my 'further afield' kit - and after much delay i headed off to the Ben.

Although it was a bright, clear day at the bottom, as i cleared the first portage section i climbed into cloud. There were myriad, amazing frost patterns on the windswept grass. After the plateau-ish area i was into the second portage: it was here i hit boiler plate ice. It was tricky to get to the top, and lets just say the scramble down to the Ptarmigan Ridge from the summit area was interesting. At one point i slipped and mashed my knee into the fork so hard i thought i might actually be out the game. After a bit of massage and cussing, that saw me cooling rapidly in the biting wind, i knew i needed to get moving. Limping along, a sling to attach me to the bike in case of slips, i came to the point where i could ride.

This trail will not be for everyone. In places i was on the limit of my abilities and was having to display some serious cojones. In other places i needed accept my limitations and get off and walk - and not just for ice. This will be a test piece for sure, but it certainly isn't for everyone.

Of course, i wasn't helped by a contaminated front brake on BA. Seems my hose/banjo crimp joint started leaking and dribbled some oil into the caliper. Needless to say it was noisy and sketchier than it needed to be. Despite the odd light, i got some snaps. Maybe a bit too processed, but i think it gives an you go.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


It's no secret i am a massive fan of jacquie phelan and charlie cunningham and, indeed, wilderness trail bikes in its original incarnation. The mix of environmental awareness, focus on a low impact lifestyle, technical and design acumen and pure functionality was and remain second to none.

Anyway, i found this video...short but well worth a view. At any stage in the history of mtb that bike would be fantastic, given the year of its construction it is nothing short of genius.

Charlie Cunningham - "Racer" from Steve Banks on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

So, you know, just cos...

I have an interest in bicycle related tool chests. A quick search on flickr showed up some rather controversial groups but none i though really relevant. So i started one...bikes and tool chests...enjoy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

Of interest.

(pic is Sean's)

As the water level continues to rise around these parts, thanks to colossal rain fall over the last couple of weeks, off-road riding is little and infrequent. As i mentioned before, plans are afoot to build up something with a bit more float that may allow me to not plough too deep a furrow when i do get out.

Sean and Ricky are taking this to the extreme.

I'd suggest following along....a build thread is on the go on empty beer.

Chili verde.

Have i done this before on here? dunno. If i have, it's worthy of a repeat, because i have refined my method.

First, grab a highball, put 4 ice cubes in there, stick 4 fingers of decent silver tequila a wedge of squidged lime and a few slugs of decent oj. Sup.

Next, wander over to your iMusic station and toggle through 'til you get to Mastodon. Crack the Skye is ideal, i'd recommend Quintessence is a good start.

Ok. Grab your pile of pork. I went for 500+g of pork belly, 2 loin steaks and a fillet (tenderloin). Also a few hundred grams of lardons to start off with. You want 3-4 onions finely chopped and you want to cook all this down in a BIG pan. Olive oil over a pretty fierce heat initially. Of course in an ideal world, this would be done over wood chips on the bbq or in a smoker, but it is a wet winter in Scotland, so we'll make do. Add some liquid smoke if you have it (if you don't, mail order some from Lupe Pinto's now, that goes for chilis too...).

Once this lot is showing signs of being cooked, add about 3 tablespoons (not a typo) of dried oregano, and you want 8 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Yep, thats not a typo either. Add 500ml of good quality (i can't stress this enough) chicken stock.

Cook for a bit. Meanwile, in a frying pan, soften 2 green peppers, that you chopped to smithereens. Hold on! you are supping your teq and oh, right?. Turn the volume up.

You want 3 or 4 poblanos. Tinned will do (...Lupe...) and a small handful of chopped marinated green chill and rajas and then i add 8-10 pickled chopped serrano's.

Then you want 1 or two tablespoons of want it to thicken up, but not become a paste. Go easy and stir.

Cook the bugger for as long as you can but keep on top of the fluid level - i'd err on the sloppy side.

If you were in new mexico, you'd probably get this with tortillas and or beans. Id say go for rice. It should be fiery plus plus plus, mmmm'kay? not for the baby or for newbie chili eaters....aim for endorphins and you won't go wrong. Ok go.

Buying fresh chili's in Glasgow might just have become a little easier....Wholefoods is now open in Giffnock. Check it...'Tthebitttt!' says Daisy...