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Posts by Eleven G

How To Tidy Cabling

Cabling your bike cleanly

A little while back, my good lady wife’s bike was in need of a spring clean so I took the opportunity to finally cover something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – cables. But this is not so much a ‘how to setup and tune your brakes and gears’ and more like ‘how to keep…

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F U C I

Didn’t I already write a bit on what I thought of the crotchety old men of the UCI and bicycle design?

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The Schlumpf

It’s every rider’s little dirty secret. I’m sure it’s the same theory for all activities, but for cycling deep in the back of every cyclist’s mind they secretly like to think themselves as being ‘hardmen’. Some just think it, others are quite overt about it but either way it lingers there, simmering under the surface.…

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The Hype Cycle

I’m allergic to production bikes. Ok, that’s not strictly true, but I will generally avoid most production machines – usually based an irrational dislike of the brand, a less irrational dislike of the available colourschemes, ill-suited geometry or a combination of the above. Recently, on the hunt for a new project, I had a (rather…

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Bikes are boring

I bet that title caught your attention!? Let me expand on that. Bicycle ‘design’ is boring and I mean both in terms of visual appeal and in terms of design and designing. It’s funny when you think about it but somehow, in the world of bicycles, we seem to have ended up with a never…

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What Type of Cyclist Are You?

At the London round of the Rollapaluza National Series during the week a conversation got my cogs whirring… Nick Hussey, Damien Breen (of that most excellent In The Saddle blog) and myself were talking – it was like a mini bloggers convention (although not ‘mini’ in that any of us are particularly short I might…

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Bike Fit

Bike fitters can help you, don’t get me wrong – just be mindful that there needs to be much more consideration of the broader picture.

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Chubby On The Trail

Road riding is what I do, but coming from an MTB background means I’ve always had one eye on a return to the dirt – except each time I investigate beyond “what else could I get for the price of that second hand bike in the classifieds” I get scared off. Last time I looked…

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Point of Difference

Different to be different, or different for a reason – either way, why? Or, perhaps more to the point, why not? In recent times, Parlee have released two new bikes – one is their ESX ‘aero’ frame, the other is their Altum (which also comes in a slighter heavier ‘R’ variant). The ESX is Parlee’s…

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Rare Surprise

It seems to me that ‘innovation’ is a term that is used loosely in the bike industry to describe a marketing opportunity to drive sales.

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Data Overload.

I had a new lust… a gleaming new Polar ‘device’ that is due out, the V650. A long time fan of Polar, as their HR kit is some of the best going, so the idea of bundling that with a good GPS and barometric elevation tracker was too good to be true. Bliss! Then I…

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Road discs – an alternate view

I like disc brakes. I NEVER liked rim brakes. EVER. So when I heard that road bikes were finally stepping into the modern age and slowly adopting discs, I did a little jig; only a little one but one none the less. If there’s one thing that being so heavily into mountain bikes for so…

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Pigeon-holing

There’s a number of bikes of a particular format that I’ve always had a level of intrigue over. Many (most, even) of them get good reviews, lots get ridden by the pros at the Spring Classics and a number of them have some really nice features about them, as well as being well suited to…

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40 Minutes

This time I was determined to get out into the dirt. The last time I came down, it rained and frankly, a wet 4 degrees C is below my ‘enjoyment’ level, regardless of how good the trail. This time though there was no excuse, 2 days off summer officially starting, it was warm. Of course…

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Listening too intently?

Be it weight, technology, gear count or (*yawn*) disc brakes on road bikes, I can’t help thinking too many of us are listening too intently.

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Clip!!!

Dear Cyclist Waiting At The Junction… Yes, you – and no doubt you at numerous points along any given ride, be it on a commute or a bunch paceline – do yourself, and all other road users, a favour… Before I go on, let me just remind and reiterate fact that I am a cyclist…

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Road Raging

Lately there has been a lot of hoopla about the supposed war going on between ‘cyclists’ and drivers…

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Breakup letter

After a good long time it’s just not working out any more and not to make you upset, it’s not me; it’s you.

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To Retail or not to retail…

Where I live, there has been and continues to be much hoo-har, beating of chests and gnashing of teeth from bricks and mortar retailers bemoaning the flat retail sector and the loss of sales to online operations. Every second day there’s some retail group or another having  good go about online retailers stealing their business,…

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Bike Snobs

This is something that’s been sitting with me for some time now. Riding in Sydney of late has made me ponder it further, as the rate of bike snobbery seems to be on the rise, and when I say bike snobbery, I don’t strictly mean a snobbery associated with the physical bike but more of…

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Old Skool Warbirds

Long time readers might remember a long buried section on twosix for oldskool bikes called Warbirds. This was essentially an area for glorifying old bikes that were still on the trail. The intent, although never realised, was to actually seek out and glorify those old warbirds that were still alive and kicking. Well, riding around…

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The cost of weight loss

Stop reading right here if you are a 130 pound stick shaped whippet, as the ONLY way you’ll get lighter on the bike is to spend lots of money! If though you are like the 90% or riders out there, fitting riding in between jobs, family and everything else, I have a question for you…

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I’m going back to heavy

Right, back on the mountain bike after too long. Seriously, city living and family guff can all but kill the best intentioned mountain biker. That and the fact that riding on the road is just so damned easy to do in comparison. As shameful as it sounds, I rolled my own ‘pièce de résistance’ (so…

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Advertising?

I just got the latest digital copy of a mtb mag in my inbox today, so, as one does, I rushed over to have a read. Nice deal this digital delivery thing and I save a tree… or a leaf. I find it interesting after all these years, that there’s still stuff to write about…

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Cross it up

The idea was simple – I wanted something I could do with no equipment to start, took no more than half an hour and did the whole body…

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Not Bog Standard – Rich Reposts…

Two week’s ago, G lamented on the merits of going ‘Bog Standard’ – or, perhaps more to the point, why taking the complete groupset approach on an MTB often yields a more reliable, maintenance-free machine.  Whilst the same can be – and often is – true on the road scene, there are a few exceptions.…

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The Bog Standard

Put up your hand if you remember what it was like to ride a mountain bike in the early to mid 90’s. Remember all those must have, lust worthy boutique parts? While the road scene was still stuck with what they were being served up by Campy, Shimano and the tail end of Suntour, the…

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Leave It Alone!

Fiddling.  It’s what you do best.  You know you shouldn’t but you just can’t help it, can you? “I could just try…” “What if I just…” “I reckon if…” Well, Rich, it’s time to stop. For ages now there’s been a constant stream of saddle changes, stem swaps, wheel choice ‘dilemmas’ (they’re not dilemmas at…

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That Place

I think it’s one of those things that every one who’s ever ridden a mountain bike has

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The Brand

How it started was one of those strange stories, perhaps best left for another post about how the internet works. What happened though was I found myself working in the bike industry (in a way I had not before, just to clarify) and for one of the great names in the annals of Mountain Bike…

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Knog Blinder

I hate bike lights. Don’t get me wrong, they serve their purpose; they’re just such ugly things that stick out, stand proud, have mounts that look crap if you leave them on the bike or are fiddly to put on and take off if you don’t leave them on the bike. It’s exactly why I’m…

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Brake Pad Toe-In

Perhaps a slightly random subject to focus on, but it’s one I’ve been asked about a lot – or rather, as much as anything is one which is answered with a blank expression when mentioned. What’s brake pad ‘toe-in’? It’s when the front of the brake pad touches the wheel rim before the rear. Why…

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Wrapping bar tape – a guide

There are heaps of videos on YouTube about wrapping bar tape, but I thought I’d add my tuppence with this photo sequence of how I wrap mine – including doing the ‘figure of eight’ wrap (I can’t actually remember how to wrap without doing that anymore!). So, here goes… Firstly, my method involves wrapping the…

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Wheel of Wonder

I recently happened across the opportunity to buy some of the cycling industry’s very best components – Chris King hubs – at a price that could not be ignored. But what format to get, and what do with them? Should I buy 24-hole road and build them into something bling and carbon, something more practical…

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Chain Cleaning & Lubing

Sticking with the recent theme on cleaning (and leap-frogging the planned article on polishing due to bad planning on my part), this week I’m going to focus on cleaning and lubing your chain. How often you clean your chain really depends on how much and how regularly you ride, and what kind of riding you…

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Pedal Kinesiology – Some Thoughts

For years as cyclists we’ve been constantly badgered about how smooth our pedal stroke should be, about how we should ‘pedal in circles’ and pull up through the pedal stroke as well as push down. But should we really? Where’s the proof?

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Brakes As Objets d’Art

When it comes to road bikes I developed a slightly unhealthy obsession with brakes pretty much from the start.  But I don’t mean from a ‘weight weenie’ perspective you understand – it was simply as an interesting component that’s nice to look at.  Objet d’art for my bike, if you will. It started with my…

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EE Vs M5 – Long Term Brake Test

And so the Bike Tart’s posh brake fetish continues… Now that the EE Brakes have been on the Cannondale for a couple of months I thought it would be a good time for a longer term review. Like the Reynolds wheel review it seemed like a good idea to use my experience of them to…

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Bike Fitting

Kind of an ‘Ask The Bike Tart’ and a Tuesday Tune-Up all rolled into one this week (and delayed a week due to the migraine that knocked me flat last week!). An important subject too: Bike fitting. Luis asked me this: “You’ve mentioned several times the importance of proper bike fit. Do you have any…

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Headset Adjustment

It’s the bane of any sensitive cyclist, and often the first thing to go wrong on a poorly maintained bike – get your headset adjustment wrong or don’t keep an eye on it and you could be looking at an expensive repair bill, or worse, a written off frame. So what’s the secret? In short,…

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FYHMT

‘hardmen’ of cycling, when bikes were made of pipe, gear selection was hard or harder and the concept of a sports drink was having a beer on the fly.

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Can’t Help But Be Intrigued…

…about how road bikes and hydraulic systems will develop through 2012. There’s been lots of banding about of the word ‘hydraulic’ in road circles of late – something which I flatly refused to believe would happen, right up until the mention of the possibility that SRAM’s new Red group might feature hydraulic shifting. It doesn’t…

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An Indexing Trick

I wasn’t going to do anything on gear indexing because it’s a subject that’s frankly covered perfectly well over on Park Tool. However, I do have one neat little trick that I use when cabling up a rear derailleur, and that might prove useful to some of you… So, start as you should when setting…

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ProFeet Insoles Review

Custom fitted insoles in cycling shoes was always something I couldn’t get my head around – I mean, your cycling shoes have nice, stiff soles and that’s all you need to transfer the power from your legs through the pedals, right? So out of curiosity as much as anything, I decided to get some insoles…

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Review – Edge Bars and Roubaix Tape

On Saturday I managed to get in my first ride on my Look with the new Edge bars and Specialized Roubaix bar tape mounted – these were the bars I’d originally planned to put on my Baum when it arrives, but got cold feet when I considered the fact that I’d never used this shape…

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Mavic Freehub Switch

Perhaps a bit random, but it’s something I needed to work out for myself due to probably having to use a ‘loan’ (Wendy’s) set of wheels when I initially switch to Campag (when I eventually find a second bike that fits) so I thought I’d check it out, photograph it and share it here. Besides,…

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Review: Knog Blinder 4V

I’m a fussy bugger. Oh, wait, you know that. Anyway, it means I fuss over the silliest of things. Lights are one of these things – they serve such an important function, yet they’re all so ugly, bulbous and obvious. Or at least they were. Knog answered my prayers already, but now they’ve done an…

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The Placebo Effect

I was chatting to a fellow bike nut on Saturday about a few things – something came up which has been on my mind for a while… Ever marvelled at how good that shiny new {insert shiny new component of choice} of yours is? Wondered how you ever lived without it? Claimed how you’ll “never…

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Glue that tub!

So with the ‘Finishing Touches’ series over and done with it’s time for the Tuesday Tune-Up to turn to the real hands-on stuff… This week: Gluing tubular tyres. Before I start, my apologies for the lack of images here – I don’t currently have any rims that need gluing so I’ve not been able to…

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Clean your bike!

A bit of a Tuesday Tune-Up cheat this week I’m afraid – this entry is based on one I’ve used twice before! Still, it’s been a while and it serves as a useful precursor to next weeks’ entry on getting some showroom shine to your bike shed. So, after a grim wet and dirty ride…

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Soft… not all are created equal

Several years ago, at the start of the whole Mountain Cycle thing, I was introduced to a line of cranks that for all intents and purposes were the goods. At the time we were in the market for a crank spec and I was assured that these cranks had been ridden in-house at MC for…

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Winter Treads

Yes, that’s treads, not threads – this ain’t no fashion blog, and you’d all look stupid having me advise you on what to wear this winter… *ahem*, where was I?… Winter tyres – what are the options then, now that we’re heading for that time of year? Here’s my take… It will surprise… well, probably…

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Review: Knog Blinder

On the back of my Blinder and Blinder 4V reviews, Knog were kind enough to send me their latest offering – the Blinder 1 – to me to receive the same treatment. This is quite a timely review as most places are slipping – not so quietly it would appear – into the late autumn…

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Made In China and brand positioning

I recently read a blog post from a company regarding ‘Made in China’. Usually such posts come about as a statement responding to people’s reactions, good or bad, to what you are doing. I’ve done them myself over the years, so I can sniff one out when I see it. Well written and equally well…

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A Campag Epiphany?

Last night I had the pleasure of working with Campag for the first time in quite a long time. It was my first tete-a-tete with both Super Record and with 11-speed too. It was also my first time properly working in close quarters on a Colnago, but that’s another story… I say it was a…

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Lightweights Vs Cosmic Carbone SLRs

The legendary ‘weight weenie’ stalwart Vs it’s slightly overweight, significantly cheaper but no less good-looking counterpart. A fair comparison? No. But it’s not so much a ‘comparison’ as an understanding of what each wheel offers. First up, the Mavic ‘heavyweights’… Dear god these things make a great noise when you wind them up! Once you…

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Bike Cleaning

A bit of a Tuesday Tune-Up cheat this week I’m afraid – this entry is based on one I’ve used twice before! Still, it’s been a while and it serves as a useful precursor to next weeks’ entry on getting some showroom shine to your bike shed. So, after a grim wet and dirty ride…

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Interbike 2011

Ah yes, I’ve recovered enough to blurb about the thing that was the 2011 Interbike. So, what was that all about….? Vegas. I arrived and it was raining. Go figure. The streets were flooded and it’s still a shit hole. After the first visit, where the gloss and insanity last just long enough for it…

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Wheels: ‘Aero Vs Light’ – Does It *Really* Matter?

I was strolling along with Wendy, boring her to tears with stories about how I get blown about on my bike when it’s windy and wondering what it must be like for lighter guys on deep section wheels and how super light wheels feel for bigger riders. It got me thinking about the whole ‘aero…

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Specialized S3 Helmet – First Ride Report

So, we arrive in Australia and I commence riding. Little did I know but the helmet I wear – a Giro Aeon – is not approved for use here. Bugger. Now, I could just carry on regardless. After all, stories of being asked to change helmets at races have been known, but it’ll be a…

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TRP 970SL Brake review

I’ve been riding these brakes for a little while now – certainly long enough to know how they work, feel and generally perform. About time I told you a bit about them then… I’ll admit, there’s always been ‘something’ about TRP brakes which has put me off – I won’t say I can’t pin-point it,…

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Made In…

This is a piece I wrote for the Mountaincycle.com blog when it was still… well alive. “Incrementally I don’t know what it would cost you to fab the frames stateside, but I’d be willing to buck up for it. I would no more buy a Browning shotgun made in Japan, a Llama pistol made in…

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The State of affairs… part 2

After what has been a totally manic week, which sees your truly coming down with a case of ‘cabin fever’, after what seems to be the week of endless rain, Friday night is finally here and there’s nothing on the tube but the wedding stuff. Looking down at the floor, the magazine lying discarded reminds…

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The State of Affairs… part 1

Just off the plane back from the 2011 Sea Otter and there was plenty of things to ponder, after being on the front lines for 4 days. As most know, I went over there on official business, doing the Mountain Cycle thing for the 4 days. It was a big event for us as a…

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POC Sports mtb gloves: Review

‘Back ion the day’, read close to 10 years ago now, we used to be the distributors for Scary Fast Racing’s glove. Gloves, if you knew them, were some of the best on the market. To this day actually, I think that SFR ‘Spyder’ glove is still one of the best lightweight gloves ever made.…

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Off into the wild

One could sit back and ponder just what the hell was all that about but near a year and a half of work came to a sudden and abrupt head a little over a week ago in Taipei, as the new Mountain Cycle line was finally revealed. It’s been interesting since then… It stared with…

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Things that Make you Go…..Mmmmmmm.

Every now and then on the trail I see something and think Mmmmmmmmm. The mind starts ticking and inspiration flows. I thought I had to share the latest installment. Its been a while since I have been near a DH bike, unless of course walking past the neglected DH bike inthe garage consitutes being near…

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Wait! The MTB weight conundrum…

The prototype bike came off the line, ended up in a box and was in my hands within a day. A few days later I was out riding on it, working out all the little things that needed correction – hardly anything. A few days prior there was much stressing, after the frame was weighed…

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Too Hot to Ride, Do Some Trail Work.

Maybe not the best advice to be honest, but that’s just what 10 foolish members of the Glenrock Trail Alliance did today. As temperatures went up and over the 40 degree mark and some poor souls took part in an adventure race around us (whats the fun in adventure on a day like this?), we…

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Mavic R-SYS SLR Exalith Review

Anyone who’s read a Bike Crit-ique of mine on a bike that has a aluminium rims with a silver brake track is probably used to seeing a comment about how ugly I find that look on a bike. Until recently the only way around that has been to either run a carbon wheel, which isn’t…

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The Wrap

I started this journey because I had lost my motivation to ride and I wasn’t getting out and enjoying cycling. My weight was rising and my fitness was plummeting.

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The temptation

I was reading the Ed’s intro in the latest issue of Bikemag. It basically went like this: Boy discovers riding. Riding was fun. Boy becomes serious and then pro but when he turned pro, it became work… and not fun. Boy, now Man lost interest in riding. Fun was gone. Man stopped riding. Recently, with…

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Wider is better, yes it is.

When it’s wider, it just feels better. Got your attention you dirty minded folk, haven’t I? So just what am I on about? Wide bars on your bike, most notably your mountain bike. You see, like many ‘old sKool’ riders out there (ie. been riding since some point in the 80’s), I grew up with…

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The Karel Factor

When we first kicked off the VVC at Awaba, I remember meeting an very enthusiastic chap and his (poor?) better half. The chap stood out because he had an enthusiasm that was hard to define and when you consider he took the train up and rode to the event, only to then ride 12 hours…

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Not until the fundamental changes…

I was reading the other day on some mountain bike forum that such and such a bike looks like some other brand’s bike. It’s not the first time this has come up and it’s not going to be the last. What it signifies though is that ‘that’ particular avenue has gone as far as it…

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An accidental victory.

I really didn’t mean to, I had no expectation of doing so, and I still don’t quite believe that I did. But a few weeks ago, I went and won the solo part of the 12 hour Day Night Thriller race in Taupo, New Zealand. This was my last warm-up race before the big scary…

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Reflections…

I was looking through old ‘draft posts’ that I had stared in the WordPress database and found the below bit. I am not sure when I wrote it but is must have been around 2007 or so. It’s interesting reading this little time capsule now, some 3.5 years on from when I sat down and…

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Interbike, come and… gone

Yep, it was a week of compacted madness. Personally, it meant that I climbed on board a plane, one of those new BIG ones with two full decks, and flew up to LA on the Tuesday, drove to Vegas, and then on the Friday, drove out and flew back. Not my fave way to spend…

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Pro Cycling – Why Bother?

Bit of an odd article title for someone who’s obsessed with cycling isn’t it? Maybe, but when someone who – in theory – shouldn’t even be racing utterly dominates a Grand Tour and then continues his season expecting (or at least being expected) to dominate the very next Grand Tour and biggest event on the…

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