Monthly Archives: December 2009

My Marin East Peak MTB.

No pedal today, so I thought I’d do a “My bike” feature. Today it’s my Marin East Peak full suspension MTB. This will be a short lived feature I think, as I’ve already done my commuter and I have only 2 bikes in my stable! Hmm, what can I sell?

It’s looking a bit dirty here as this pic was taken on my first off road ride since I’ve been back pedalling.

It is equipped with Rock Shox forks, definately a bit primitive now as they are about 10 years old, just like the rest of the bike. But they do the job. I had to upgrade the rear shock when I had the bike to cope with a MTBer who was slightly heavier than the norm.

It is fitted with pretty much all round XT groupset, although the Avid V brakes do a job as well as their Shimano equivalents. I have never ridden on disc brakes so I can’t comment on if I’ll be doing a conversion a bit down the road.

The wheels are Mavic rims, the best for doing trailside puncture repairs in my opinion. Wifey’s bike has Ritchey rims and they are a bastard to change a tyre on. You always end up puncturing the tube when levering the tyres back on. Very irritating!

A closer inspection of the bike reveals a bit of its history. Which if memory serves goes something like this. I had an Orange P7 as the aquatic photo from  a day or 2 ago shows. I then part chopped it for a Specialized full suspension bike. Does anyone remember the box frame multi link rear suspension bike? No? Anyway it was one of those. It rode fabulously well during the summer, but unfortunately it was not built for an English Winter. Everything siezed on the rear suspension and it became awful, even with intensive maintenance. It had to go. Wayne at my local bike shop had his own Marin East Peak frame that he was due to build up into a bike but he didn’t really fancy it too much. He was after a play bike really not a trail bike and he always commented on how much he liked my Specialized. I think you can see where I’m going with this. The deal was done, a straight swap was made after Wayne transferred all the bits from my Specialized to the Marin. Hence the Specialized Crank, stem and hubs on my Marin.

The only other bit worth a mention is the Brooks saddle. We all need a comfy Bum!

It rides really well, what I would say about it is that you don’t notice the suspension, even when grinding your way uphill. But you do notice how much it is helping if you ride the same trail on a rigid. That seems the best type of suspension to me.

I thought I’d finish with my Muvi helmet set up. I think the day before it went into stand by mode because it was pretty quiet apart from my panting that is!

You can just see the self tappers and velcro strap from the sports pack. I hope I’ve got it sorted to do more than 24 minutes now!

Looking at the met I might be up for an off road pedal tomorrow, I’m looking at a few bridleways over Clent. Although the commuter need a bloody good clean after yesterday’s ride. So that will be on the agenda for today.

As we have the “Spawn of Satan” we won’t be doing anything tonight so It just leaves me to wish you all a very happy new year. Safe miles everyone! And keep going, next year we can all only get better with more poundage shed!


Colder than a cold thing who’s sat in an especially cold deep freeze…

Well, how cold am I? A rhetorical question, suffice it to say I’m tad chilly. Today I decided to forgo my usual off road trip as the snow was pretty deep and frozen to boot. So out with my commuter and I went on a round the lanes jaunt.

My route took me over to Wythall, around Weatheroak Hill, back through Wast Hills and returning via the Barnt Green Reservoir route. All in all I was out for 1 hour 23 minutes for 17 miles. Again not too fast but the head wind was biting, the thawing lanes were flooded and there was sheet ice everywhere. Watery Lane at Weatheroak especially living up to its name as I ploughed through it hub deep for about a mile. Nice.

But the main thing is I got out there and did a pedal. It would have been so easy to use any amount of conditions/work/home jobs and other stuff as excuses not to go. But even though I’m sat here shivering before my shower I’m feeling very chuffed with myself. I know from bitter experience that if I miss one pedal, I’ll miss two, then before you know it I’ve stopped…Again. Not this time though.

I didn’t use the Muvi as the rain/sleet was pretty nasty and I haven’t yet worked out how to use its skin from the sports pack in its cradle. I’ll try the usual squaddie cling film trick next time though.

Wifey has just put a nice steaming cup of coffee in front of me so I’ll bugger off and have a drink of it.

Back to work…

So, here I am back at work (from home though) so I can’t moan too much. The met is looking particularly bad for Birmingham according to the Beeb website so pedalling tomorrow looks a bit dodgy.

My Marin is due some new brake blocks as its stopping power was well down during the Lickey downhill yesterday so a trip into Rubery Cycles today looks on the cards. I might do that when I pick my daughter up from her mate’s house, she was at a sleepover last night, so she’ll be bloody moody when I get her! As is traditional I believe they stay up all night chatting and talking about boys and make up. She’ll probably go straight to bed.

I hope the snow misses us so I can do a pedal tomorrow. I’ll also spend some time today looking at the ever so comprehensive Muvi instructions to see if I’ve missed something obvious with its settings.

A Muvi mishap…

A bit of a mystery with the Muvi that I’ll talk about later. Surprisingly after the alcohol excesses of last night I awoke feeling pretty well, far better than I deserved in all fairness. I hope my mukka and his Missus are feeling as well as me!

So I got sorted and did a 12 mile off road pedal around the Lickey’s. The Waseley’s would have been a nightmare after the frost we had last night. The climb up to Beacon Hill is an absolute ball breaker and I was bollocksed when I finally got up there, absolutely hanging. Anyway, as you can see on the film it ends just after the touristy commentary I attempted. The Muvi stopped recording after only 24 minutes. I have no clue as to why. Any suggestions from the Muvi experts out there?

The rest of the ride was ok, I pedalled across the Lickey’s to the visitor’s centre and took the down hill bridleway to Barnt Green and then through Barnt Green to the reservoir. It was really perishing cold though, my feet were ice blocks at the end. I was out an hour and a quarter for 12 miles. I plan to go out again on Wednesday. Looking at the tracks I might do a towpath blast on my commuter for that trip. The off roading is very difficult at the moment due to ice and mud.

The Marin was then cleaned and lubed and put to bed. I then got all of the meat off the Turkey and I’m making a huge pot of stock with the carcass. Loads of stock veg went in along with garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. It should make some fantastic soup. Wifey is a homemade soup expert. They’re delicious!

Anyway, I hope the video is worth a watch.

Thought I’d leave you with these photos, it was October the 15th 2000. Me and my mate Wilksee  on my last MTB ride in Snowdonia by my folks place. As you can see the path was a tad damp. I was on my Orange P7 too! Great bike. 



Planning on a bit of head tomorrow morning…

Only a flying visit today as my mukka and his Missus are due a visit today so I expect to be a bit fragile tomorrow as he always brings a ruck of ale with him. And it would be rude not to help him drink it! Hopefully a pedal will kill or cure me in the morning. So, a quick tidy of the house, lay the grub out, nail the Spawn of Satan to the floor, then job done!

My first attempt at video with the Muvi…

I hope you can forgive the naff editing and the panting on the sound track, I was knackered and there were a load of bloody hard climbs!

I used the Microsoft Windows Movie Maker, it seems simple enough even for a dummy like me. No doubt practice makes perfect. The most difficult thing was cutting 90 minutes worth of footage down to 10 minutes. But the end result was probably the best moments from the ride, I did leave out all of the excruciatingly slow and difficult climbs though. The video does give the impression that there’s a lot of tarmac. Not true, but as they say, the effect is all in the cut!

May I be the first to wish you all a Happy Easter!

A good day yesterday I hope yours was too. Christmas came and went with its usual speed and the Chapman Christmas Dinner went down pretty well. Indeed Mum in Law wolfed her dinner down with indecent haste!

I had my Muvi Camera with the sports pack and I spent a happy half an hour fixing it to my helmet. In the end I used a couple of self tappers to fix it to my peak and used a velcro strap as an extra bit of security. I then tested the camera for a minute or two and it seemed to do the job. The software was loaded onto my laptop and I downloaded the first bit of test footage. Question, does it take an absolute age to download the footage for everyone else? It does on my system. Is there a way to see the camera as a disc drive in “My Computer” so I can just do copy and paste like I do on my digital camera?

I managed to get my gears on my commuter sorted, amazingly enough they didn’t need any adjustments with the new shifters on at all. I went through the entire range of gears on all 3 chainrings and it worked beautifully. I was gobsmacked, no indexing or anything else needed.

I got out this morning on my Marin for an off road ride and bloody hell was it hard work! The roads were very icy and the tracks when they weren’t like ice rink rinks were a quagmire. I got lost twice trying to remember my way around my old haunts from 10 years back and I had a puncture. I was out for an hour and a half for 8 miles! Not my greatest ride ever, but I was knackered when I got back. I had my Muvi on all the time so I need to get my head around video editing/Youtube etc. All advice gratefully recieved as I’m totally new to it. Advice on software especially needed.

So, back to downloading my videos, have a good rest of Boxing Day folks.