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April showers

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 10/04/2012 08:49am

In true British style the amazing weather that was with us a couple of weeks ago has turned. Right before the bank holiday and we’re back to the more traditional gusty, wet, dry, warm and cold weather bursts- often in the same day…

This sort of weather is a pain in the ass for normal every day things- like going to the pub- as finding the right amount of clothing is tricky. Wearing a t-shirt isn’t enough; a hoody is too much and a waterproof jacket can be a little boil in the bag. So you tend to take all three and end up clammy, or carrying them.

Luckily mountain biking is perfect in these conditions, made more so by the fact only hardened walkers will be out in the hills- most normal people are at home feasting on chocolate and getting on with daytime drinking.

I rode a lot over the weekend, but monday’s ride was the best one- it was bloustery out, and had a light, constant drizzle- my favourite conditions. The drizzle keeps your heat regulated and makes the trails slippy enough to keep you on your toes.

Doddy's Ragley, still loved like the day he got it

Lately I’ve been riding my Norco Shinobi 29er a lot, but took the Ragley out this weekend which made a light go off in my head. I remembered the first ride I had on the bike- it’s incredibly responsive but rerally stable thanks to the long back end, and long, slack front end. It goes like a train, and isn’t slowed down by the rough- but you feel it all. It puts you in touch with the terrain, something that I’d forgotten about. It really puts you in the ride- and I was loving sliding around on the roots, wheel spinning pin-balling my way along some of Bath’s best singletrack.

The Fox Digit- bringing back the fingerless movement...

Generally I don’t like riding with gloves, and when it’s warm enough I’ll only use gloves if it’s wet or if my hands are too sweaty to hold on. I’d completely forgottenĀ  about gloves until I saw Fox had some great mitts in their range- so I ordered a pair and have lived in them ever since. They’re brilliant- enough protection, more feeling, cooler. I’m converted again, and will be on a search to find more great fingerless gloves.

Back on a double crankset

Since I moved house recently and live at the top of a big old hill, I’ve been spinning my 1×10 gearing out on the way to work each morning, so have robbed the double crankset off my Trek and sorted it out.

I don’t really need the lower gear that much locally, but it comes in handy when it’s wet out as wheel spinning is an issue on hardtails. The bigger gear is a god send though, enabling me to keep good pace on the flat and still have extra gears.

One of the best trail shoes out there

I’ve also been riding flat pedals a lot lately, but the wet weather made me drag out an old friend- my Mavic Alpine XL shoes, which have a soft rubber sole, great support and a flap design that keeps the worst of the weather away.

Cool graphics from

The guys over at Fladria sent us some personal graphics for a our bikes, which are really nice quality and remind me of the mid 90′s when everyone had personalised graphics on their bikes. Bring it back- personalising is fun…

SDG's grip is great for wet conditions

Rob reviewed the SDG lock on grips in the latest issue and rated them, although did mention how they’re a little girthier than some other grips out there. For me they’re perfect, and I can’t help but note just how good they are when soaking wet- even with bare hands. The grip is octopus-like and the ridges on the underside increase the purchase even more. If you like your grips ultra grippy, comfortable and faractionally bigger than the norm- check these out. You can find dealers here.

Webbing strap on front of pack

Finally, I’ve been sent a pack by Salomon, who make some excellent kit. This pack is designed around mountain running, and accordingly sits right in the middle of your back, and having a winged design wraps around you really well. The front is linked with chest and waist straps, which are elasticated webbing, this allows the pack to be secured tightly but not constrict you.

So far it’s the comfiest pack I’ve ever tried, by a long way.

Oh, and here’s a little taster of the single track from yesterday. This stretch is slightly down hill and goes for a long time…

Empty trails, and the aroma of wild garlic...




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