Riding bikes is something I've done for a long time. And something in intend to carry on doing. I'm lucky enough to have all the trails of Calderdale on my doorstep and despite travelling the UK with my bike, I'm always glad to be back home. On 'my' trails.

Camper Vans, Bacon Butties & Daft Bints

Last minute decision to shoot across to Cae Gwyn Farm on Saturday night and spend a night in the van before a hot lap of the Beast at Coed-y-Brenin today. Good night’s kip, bacon and egg sarnie at the cafe and then a great ride around the Beast. Really is one of my favourite trail centres despite the leg killing climbs. Lap done and back in the van for the drive home, dodging the blonde in the Suzuki Alto on the M56 who was quite happily driving along reading a book!

The Phoenix…

2 years since the last update. Bloody hell. Hopefully should become a little more regular again now. So whats happened in the last 2 years since the last update? Well, my trusty Santa Cruz Blur 4X has gone and been replaced by an Orange Five. I’ve done a few races. I’ve discovered Strava. And I’ve ridden some new places and am in the process of building some new trails. More soon. Promise…

Nowt to do with Calderdale riding but makes me itch to get out there and ride…

Less Chat, More Pics

Unfortunately that’ll have to wait til next time as I’ve got no pictures to show you but do have a lot of words to share. Going back to last weekend, Ed, Martin and I had a play around Hebden for a few hours which was great - its been too long since I’ve dragged myself across there and out of my little South Halifax bubble. Did Kebab St, Birthday X (which was knackered from the ‘summer’ we’ve had) and then up Jack Bridge and some of the funky stuff along there like the Zig Zags, bottom of Slack Tracks and Beechnuts followed by cake and banana milkshake. Ace.

Then yesterday saw me in York with a few hours free so up to Dalby I went with the aim of putting in a quick lap. Mid 20’s heat and packed trails didn’t bode well for my attempt at a 2 hour lap of the red but I still rolled into the visitor centre 2h 20m after I’d set off despite traffic, heat and taking a few of the fun World Cup options. Ace ride - Dalby is getting a real nice feel about it now. Smooth, rough, bordering on overgrown and some funky little tech sections to catch you out if you stop concentrating. Its not for everyone but for a proper stretch of the legs its reet good.

Going North

So yesterday, in an effort to tame the foul mood I was in I jumped on the singlespeed and headed through town with the intention on going up to Beacon Hill, across to Elland Woods etc. And ended up going out past the ski slope! Hadn’t ridden the ‘secret’ valley for ages, possibly not since 2010 so headed up towards Queensbury and then back down the valley, taking in some excellent cheeky stuff in the woods and then an equally good bridleway back towards Stump Cross. This is where things got even better though as I took a likely looking trail which turned into a belter. Definitely giving that a go again and looking on OL21, it looks like its easy to approach from elsewhere and extend it further. Pics coming soon!

Classic Weekender Twenty Twelve

With the 2012 ‘summer’ weather playing havoc with events like Mountain Mayhem this year, I must admit I was a bit reluctant with a day to go before the Weekender when I was standing in a field near Skipton being drenched whilst holding a dead chick waiting for an Eagle Owl to land on my arm and rip the chick to bits.

But, Saturday dawned a bright one and so Ed and I loaded up the car and headed to Lee Quarry for a weekend of racing. I say racing, the best thing (for me) about the Weekender is the atmosphere and more a feeling of having a day playing with your mates. Serious doesn’t really seem to feature at any point, from the catching rubber ducks with a fishing net whilst riding one handed over a skinny to being heckled by the marshalls at every opportunity!

After a bit (too little in hindsight!) of practise on the downhill and the trials, we lined up for the trials stuff. 5 mandatory obstacles (4 passed) and 2 optional ones (stupidly attempted and failed) for me put me in a pretty foul mood. Perfect for the downhill which was next where my mood didn’t improve when I ‘forgot’ to pedal much and didn’t check the course properly so took pretty much every slow line there was. Anyway…

(Excellent) photo by Adam

Night time meant huddling around a BBQ before conceeding it was bloody freezing and retiring to my sleeping back to get a good nights sleep ready for the cross-country on Sunday.

Another bright day and I lined up on the start line of the cross-country, 2 minutes behind Craig and 1 minute behind Ed, fully prepared to be brutally ripped apart by everyone. But after the first biblically horrific climb/push I settled down and started reeling in people, eventually winning the ‘mates race’ and finishing 57th out of 139 riders which, considering my hugely shit starting position I was pretty pleased with.

A superb event, well run, great people and great facilities. See you next year…

Can’t Wait For The Winter…

…at least when the ground freezes it makes for pretty good riding. This 3 months of rain is starting to get on my tits though. But, trying to keep up with my Wednesday night rides I nipped out last night on the singlespeed and did a quick 13 miles. A mix of lethal we cobbles and deep mud on Norland gave way to a great washed out descent down to Triangle and then a very pleasant pootle back home toying with some roadies… Week to go til the Singletrack Classic Weekender. Can’t wait!

Calderdale sunsets. Possibly the best sunsets in the world. Great ride tonight and was mainly dry apart from the actual torrent flowing down fireworks!

Calderdale sunsets. Possibly the best sunsets in the world. Great ride tonight and was mainly dry apart from the actual torrent flowing down fireworks!

Mid week morning riding… Could be worse!

Mid week morning riding… Could be worse!

The Dalby Jubilee

Thanks Queenie. A nice extra day off and despite the weather that we had the day either side, Tuesday was warm, sunny and dry. So off to Dalby went me and Ross and did a nice mix of the red route, the World Cup course, the old black and old red. Lovely. The old trails there are still holding up really well. Don’t look as if they get much use - just enough to stop the undergrowth from reclaiming them but they’re well worth searching out. Oh, and did the lot (20 miles in all) on the singlespeed including passing a guy with a full facer on, being a pussy by the side of a drop. Glad we got that ride in as the weather since has been nothing short of biblical…

Stingray! Stingray! D-d-der-der-der-der…

This weather doesn’t just make good lounging in the sun weather… turns out dusty, hot, sun drenched trails are nice to ride too! Friday night rolled around and after a quick turnaround, met up with Martin and Ross at Langsett to ride Cut Gate up and down. It really is a nice technical climb up there - all climbs should be like that. But its the down we go for. It was getting on for 8pm when we headed down so it was dead which meant it could be hit top to bottom at full whack. Brilliant. Beautiful views, dry trails and friends. Perfect start to the weekend.

Then more riding on Sunday. Me and Ed had a (very) leisurely pootle from mine. Did the new trail I found off to the side of Stairway To Death which was pretty good but nettle hell. Not a good ride to chose not to bother with gloves. Then up and around Norland, down a superb feeling Terrible Turns etc - just soo fast! And ended it all with some stuff in North Dean which also resulted in me falling into a stream on my arse. Ace.

Reason to love riding in Calderdale #63267

Reason to love riding in Calderdale #63267

Pastures New

A totally new experience for me this weekend… Riding around the hills above Bingley. And what a ride! Cheeky in the extreme, slow and steep super tech stuff in the first half of the ride in the trees followed by tucking about in the sunshine on the moors afterwards. Final descent of the day was mind blowingly good. Open woodland singletrack with the odd rock drop chucked in followed by just about every trail feature you can think off in the trees. Wide, flat, back wheel out corners? Yep. Slower steep corners? Yep. High speed sections, slow tech sections, steep bits, drop offs, roots and rocks. It had it all. Mint.

The Sun!

Yes, the sun has returned to the valley after an absence of over a month! So, taking up the offer of a few hours pass, I went for a play. Just the usual Copley/Norland stuff but found a couple of new trails where I’d never have expected to find trails and even took a short video. Think I need a proper video camera: https://vimeo.com/42052369

Enjoy the weather everyone!

5 minutes after leaving the house… Welcome to the weekend!

5 minutes after leaving the house… Welcome to the weekend!