Archive for January, 2007

Alternative Cwm Carn

Well, the trips are filling up nicely. Our new Sach Pass has received loads of interest, with some nice comments about the photos. Spiti is almost full, and Manali-Leh has a few places still. So, if you’re mulling things over, please get in touch soon.

This weekend, we met up with Trystan, who was over from the US to talk business with his boss at bicycle’s ‘haute couturier’ Rapha. As well as being the American arm of the operation, Trystan’s a font of cycling knowledge, and is currently building his own frames too. I’m on the list (-: We’ll get him on a trip to India someday – the last time we toured together was through Laos, Vietnam, China and Tibet, when I was riding back home through Asia.

As he’d lived in the UK before the dawn of the ‘trail centre‘, we headed over to Wales. With an Indepedent Fab ti road bike in the stable, Trystan shamefully hadn’t been mtb’ing for some time. So we thought it best to put him on a steel singlespeed. Make it fully rigid. Add freaky 29er wheels. Start the day off with a monster climb at Cwm Carn. And throw in an extra loop we’d recently worked out, to offer a natural flavour to the ride too.

As usual, the car park was heaving with shiny bikes of all shapes and sizes. We saw Simon, who’d just ridden a lap on his rather lovely Robin Mather 29er/tourer – I forgot to snap a pic, so hopefully he’ll send me one I can post. Conditions were perfect, so we quickly sunk our bicycle teeth (nay tyres) into the first round of fiddly singletrack climbs. Then we branched off for the bonus loop, which involved a) some double track and b) lots of extra up bits. Two things I knew that would upset Pete. But luckily he seemed content raving about his ridiculously bleached Giant Anthem 0. It flatters my riding, he commented, ever the humble, modest one. No Pete, you flatter the bike. High Five!


Here we are, enjoying the fine Welsh air. Continue reading ‘Alternative Cwm Carn’


Hijacking Billboards

Managed to get out to the woods today. I was worried it would still be pretty gloopy but luckily I bumped into Merida Mike and Tracy, who know them like the back of their hand. Ducking down one tight alleyway of singletrack after another, it proved to be a surprisingly mud free ride – I’ll never remember all those cheeky little cut-throughs but at least it will get me out exploring again.


On the way, I spotted this bit of inventive billboard hijacking.

dscf0530.jpg Continue reading ‘Hijacking Billboards’

The Art of Procrastination.


I admit it. I’m guilty of procrastination. Pottering around the house. Changing a set of handlebars. Even tidying. Or typing away on this blog instead of knucking down to work. See? I’m doing it right now.

So it was with some interest that I came across this close-to-the-bone post on Tasty Research.

I rather like the factual way it’s explained; it makes it sound less lazy:

“Why do people procrastinate? This is an effect psychologists attribute to “hyperbolic time discounting”: the immediate rewards are disproportionally more compelling than the greater delayed costs. In other words, procrastination itself is the reward. ”


“I often hear of graduate students postponing their research to do other things: play Tetris, read comments on Slashdot or write a blog. We defer doing something “more important” to do something else and feel guilty and pleased at the same time. How sweet is it not to do work? Apparently, sweet enough to abate the heavy and bitter costs of procrastinating. Late fines and extra work for missing a deadline seem distant when you can chat online for another 20 minutes right now. ”

I’ve often tried the *self imposed deadline* approach. Of course, the challenge is to trick your mind into thinking it’s real… Is going out for a ride procrastinating? Luckily, no. Riding is always a good thing, a way to both clear your head and tune your muscles. Restore the balance.

Anyway, enough of this. Procrastinating by writing a post on procrastination! Whatever next…

2007: the inaugural ride


Happy New Year!

Cara and I celebrated New Year’s eve in the luxury of the dripping van, in an empty, windswept car park tucked in a cleft in the Brecon Beacons. Yup, we sure know how to ring in 2007 in style (-:

But we were lucky enough to have some rather lovely bikes with us, as we were out testing for an upcoming Cycling Plus expedition bike review. We’d worked out a nice *shake-down* test loop, with a blend of forest tracks, an old roman road, potholed backroads, smooth tarmac and some stone-strewn trails. Throw in hail, snow, wind and rain, and you’ve got yourself perfect adventure touring conditions!




Following the Taff Trail. After the hail, came the driving rain. After the driving rain, came the snow…

Manali-Leh talk this Feb

Dave joined us for the self-supported Manali-Leh trip last summer and if you’re quick enough, you might pick up one of the last few tickets for his talk about the ride.

It’s on Friday 9 February 2007, starting at 7.15pm, in Chester – you can ring Dave for more details on 01244 681625.

Oh yes, the clue is in the title: “Cycling the Himalaya – Tales of the Extreme.”


The man himself, in a more relaxed moment…


And in action…

Please check out our main website for details on our bike trips to the Indian Himalayas.

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