Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Capitalist Running Dog

I've always sort of meant to run a marathon, so when Salomon offered me a free spot at Kielder, I said, yeah, why not. Which means I'm trying to reach my legs to run again instead of going round and round in circles.

The theory is that I have some semblance of cardio vascular fitness from riding bikes a lot so all I have to do is teach my legs to run again. In theory. But of course, you use different muscles for running. Which always makes me laugh. Are there people out there with two sets of leg muscles that I don't have?

It's always seemed to me that you actually use the same muscles, but differently. In particular, running downhill uses the quads eccentrically, or something like that, anyway, they have to do that braking, cushioning thing, which doesn't happen on bikes. And then, of course, there's the impact. On every stride.

All of which seems to mean that running uphill is fine and actually quite comfortable, a bit like climbing out of the saddle. And running on the flat isn't too bad. But steep downhills are horrid.

I'm not sure what to do about that except run and run a bit more and trust my legs to deal with it in time, like that have in the past. And ultimately, I just want to get round. I don't care about running a good time, just finishing in one piece.

Oh well. It could be worse. I could be doing it in those stoopid barefoot shoes...

Monday, 22 August 2011


Looked like this. Peaceful, beautiful, no cars.

This'll be why.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Access All Feckin' Areas? Feck right off.

I like the current rights of way legislation as they relate to mountain biking. The mountain bike press love to make a ridiculously complex meal out of it, endless articles by experts and instant experts advocating wider access for bikes, same laws as Scotland, same rights as walkers and so on.

They need to get a grip. It's simple, really simple. The current rights of way legislation in England and Wales is comical. It's based on random historic accident and has nothing to do with suitability for purpose. Tracks which are sustainable for all-weather bike use are classified as footpaths, trails which run over delicate, friable peat or rare psychedelic lichens can easily be designated as bridleways. It's rubbish.

But here's the thing. Here in the real world where we actually ride, you can ride footpaths as long as you use a certain amount of discretion and, increasingly, even if you don't. Some of the best riding on this side of the Peak is technically illegal - I use the phrase 'illegal', but some magazine egghead will have different, more complicated take on it, so let's just say, it's on footpaths - and it's ridden a fair bit.

Meanwhile, the popular main routes in the Peak, the ones which are repeatedly reproduced by mtb journos and guidebook writers with minor tweaks so they can claim to be 'original' are over-run by mountain bike tourists - slow, fat, talentless weekend wannabes who buy the book or magazine and ride the routes.

Yep, the routes in the mags and the guide books. The ones which are strictly legal because they can't afford not to be. Now imagine a world where rights of way are thrown open. Imagine the updated guidebooks, the magazine articles - 'Ride The New Peak - we show you five great unridden trails' etc. Imagine hordes of riders descending on your favourite local trails in all weathers, because the bulk of mountain bike tourists have the environmental sensitivity of a Texan oil baron, and trashing them.

Mincing down the technical stuff, doing that grim-faced 'we're extreme sports people' face they pull for walkers, chewing the feck out the trails.

Stuff that. I like the rights of way legislation just the way it is. The guidebook writers and the mountain bike journos can go on rehashing the same old, same old. The bulk of riders can carry on riding those legal routes. And the rest can stay just the way it is, thanks.

And yes, that may be selfish. Or elitist. Or just plain unfair and wrong. But I really don't care. Thing is, there's nothing to stop you riding those trails right now except lack of initiative and laziness.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


From the nice people at Keep Pedalling in Manchester. All skinny steel Tange tubes and disc compatability and purple-sheened silver metallicness and crossiness and... well, it's just very nice. Big thanks to Rich and Shona, without whom I'd never known it existed.


... a Double Cross DC if you were wondering.