Friday, 12 November 2010

Wet Welsh Windy Night

Winters here, lights are strapped on ready for some urban night riding. Jonathan brought his camera and flash out and his new proto bike lights. We spent some time smashing into this leafy flower bed corner and playing with lighting options. Here are a few of the results.




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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Autumn Chilling

It has been a bit quiet up on here recently so I though about time for an update. Following the end of the race season and the rapidly closing in evenings I have been making the most of the local riding here in Swansea. This has involved a whole load of the trail centres with a splattering of Kilvey and Clyne on the side. Kilvey is riding really well, there are now 3 full, official DH tracks on the hill. I am really enjoying the new track which is a nice tech affair tracking tightly through the trees at a relatively slow pace making for a decent length overall run. The original trail is still a super fun, rapid run. I sometimes forget what a great bike the BFe is when the trail gets faster and more challenging as I have pretty much spent the whole year on small XC tyres. Sticking some large bouncy rubbers on her and pointing her down a proper DH trail feels beautifully natural, balanced and puts a massive grin on my face.

Clyne is all change at the moment, they have had a decent chunk of funding to link together the network of home built trails and make something more all weather and loopable. Rowan Sorrel and his crew have been involved, Moos trails has had a boost and the old dirt jumps are being rebuilt and targeted towards the beginner rider with some safe tabletop lines. This should see Clyne becoming a top quality local facility right in the heart of Swansea. Unfortunately a slight hiccup in the funding has put some the development on hold temporarily but I understand the project will be kicked off again at the start of the next financial year.

Afan 4X track has seen some action with a University club day both last weekend and one planned for the weekend coming. The club now has an elite 4X rider, Pete Warner and with a local track it seems a few more people are getting inspired to give it a go. Last weekend was good fun, we were playing with race lines. The massive open, rough corners give so many options and open up some decent battles as all lines are compromised. Cut inside get ahead and aim to block or go wide carry speed and dart through on the next straight. I think the track will produce some top class racing. In places it still needs some love but I think with more people getting up there the track will ride itself in.



The RoadRat is getting daily action. It really is a solid, setup and forget bike. I am loving the simplicity, the Alfine hub works a treat and all bar a change of brake pads the bike really has required no attention. I have just equipped it with a set of the Hope dual LED lights with the intent of also using them on the BFe for some night rides. I am still a little uncertain about these lights, I have ridden halogen lights in the past and the spread of the beam made a lot of sense. These seem a little too focused for a sole handlebar mounted light but they are yet to be properly tested out on the trail so I will reserve judgement. Build quality is absolutely top notch and they come in a very nice compact, lightweight unit. Burn time is good and they make a great head torch but I think there are a few niggles that are amplified by the price tag which sets expectations high. Expect more to come on this topic with some head to head tests out in the woods as the winter progresses.

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