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Date: 8th January 2012
Riders: Richard, Rob M, Niall and Adam
LOMAC to Norbury Park
Weather: 10°C

The first MTB ride of the year (although I already have 190 km in the bank thanks to my commuting this week) and I was slightly dubious about riding given the piss-poor weather recently.

But it seems that the strong winds have blown all the moisture out of the trails as they prove to be very dry with only a few soft bits and a few puddles here and there.

It was great to see Niall back for his first weekend ride after breaking his wrist last year although he has been in mid-week training with Terry and Davebus meaning that he's already match-fit.

We hit Stane Street first and after picking our way around a large fallen tree we took the first right before heading down Little Switzerland and the pub steps to bring us out on the A24. Rob and Adam disappeared briefly and a few minutes later we saw a slighlty battered Rob heading down a different route. He had come off on the chalky descent and hit his wrist, elbow and knee but luckily his new line in waterproof socks were still looking as fresh as the day he acquired them in Sainsburys.

After a brief pause for recovery we cross the A24 and head up towards Norbury Park before turning off onto the little ridden 'Wild Garlic' trail so named because it has a distinct whiff from all the wild garlic growing here.

This leads into the Druid's Grove descent which is in excellent condition for this time of year. Along to the end and then left down the road to Westhumble and back across the A24 and the off-road climb up Box Hill (9-39) before a rest stop at the Cafe which is absolutely thick with roadies. Where were they all over the last few weeks when it was a few degrees colder?

Across the top of Box Hill and then down China Pig, another trail which is riding fabulously well for January. We then turn right and climb up along the road before getting onot Headley Heath where we spot Dave and the Muddy moles outside their habitual habitat of the tea-hut on Headley Heath.

Down Secret Singletrack and then along past the MOD fence-line to cross over the M25 bridge and back down to the LOMAC.

A little under 3 hours and 25 km is a good ride plus the 16 km to and from the LOMAC for me.

So that was it, the first ride of the year over and done with. Or so I thought. As I was on a simple descent going alongside NESCOT and the Priest Hill playing fields a football match caught my eye and I was watching some Sunday League action as I veered off-course and hit the low chain-link fence getting thrown off the bike and landing on the tarmac with a clatter. I don't think anything is broken but my left thumb and wrist really hurt. Will have to keep an eye on that for the next few days.

Heres the route map. Click on 'x24' speed and watch us ride!

 

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external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

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7 Stanes riding in Scotland

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 15th January 2012
Riders: Richard, Rob M, Niall, Rich Lonegroover, Leeroy Brown, Felix & Laurent, Tim, Nick, Andy B, Rhys, Hugo, Terry and Adam
Pitch Hill & beyond
Weather: 5°C

The dry trails and sun has bought everyone out of Winter hibernation even if it's still fookin cold with the mercury nudging zero degrees as we set out from the upper car park on Pitch Hill.

There's some old faces and a new face in Hugo who has recently started mountain biking. Whilst this probably wasn't the best initiation as he has a number of tumbles on the steep sketchy trails he's young and has that 'bouncebackability' as Harry Redknap would say.

We head down the Evian trail and I'm at the back of the group when up front Terry somehow manages to go over the bars and land heavily on his wrist. We patch him up but Adam accompanies him back to the car and it turns out that after a trip to A&E (we haven't had one of those for a while) that his wrist is fractured. Get well soon mate and I know you will be back in time for Les Arcs on 30th June.

Whilst sorting Terry out we spot Andy 'Ghostrider' out for a spin on his new ride; a tasty looking On One carbon 456.

Over at the Jelly's Hollow I tackle the line that takes you down and then up the steep sided gulley. I just about get back out the other end although the rest of the group are busy laughing at Rob M who is busy hugging a tree after running out of traction.

I try to shift up on the rear under pressure and something in the lever snaps. Bugger, I don't need that right now. The lever has gone all floppy and leaves me having to ride on stuck in the smallest ring at the back and putting a lot of weight on my hands as I'm pulling heavily on the bars on the climbs. This isn't doing anything for my legs or my left hand which is still a bit tender around the thumb following my stupid crash last week.

I ride like this for about 40 minutes until I realise that the lever is still actually working it just appears that the cable has snapped. Fortunately Niall has a couple of spare gear cables and after a trailside repair I'm back in business.

The sun has warmed us up a bit now and as we reach the heady heights of 5 degrees c a few riders strip off a layer but I'm happy remaining wrapped up in multiple layers plus buff and head band to keep my ears warm.

A few more hills and trails including riding the remodelled Proper Bo (or Holy Trail as I know it) for a second time and we are back in the car park.

There was just time for the group to prove that they are terrible actors when I stuck the camera in each of their faces but that's something that you will have to wait to see until my next video is released.

 

READ MORE:
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Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 22nd January 2012
Riders: Richard, Rob M, Tim, Davebus, Paddy, Mark, Lee D and Adam
LOMAC to Ranmore Common
Weather: 13°C

Another dry week and having stayed overnight Thursday in the wild, wild East (well actually in Billericay) after a birthday party and picking up my latest acquisition in Richmond on Saturday it was nice to get back to a more serene Surrey and hit the trails again.

Talking of birthday's it was Adam's birthday on Friday and his wife Bev and I had cooked up a surprise for him but more of that later.

We follow our usual route to Ranmore Common but just as we pass Polesden Lacey Dave gets a puncture and although the sun is out it's quite isolated up there and we all start to shiver. He is just about finished fixing it when I spot a massive thorn in my front tyre. I should have realised, it's January and time for the annual hedge pruning meaning there's thousands of thorns all over the bridleways.

I decide to ride on but only get a few hundred metres before both my tyres are flat and we spend more time fixing these although at least it is in a more sheltered spot.

Onto Ranmore Common and we are finally away from the hedges and we head over to Abba Zabba and the more technical trails around there. Lee has joined us today and although he's ridden a fair amount he hasn't seen any of the steep stuff over this way. After watching a few of us ride all the trails he follows and cleans them all. Talk about progression on your first ride...

Down to the bridleways that take us near to Westcott and then back up Pilgrim's Way to Ranmore Common for a second time where we see Green Orange Dave out for a solo ride.

(The bugger overtook me twice this week on my cycle commute on Monday and Tuesday morning. But in my defence it was zero degrees and my legs really don't loosen up in those temperatures so I was limping along).

Back to the North Downs and Dave takes us on an alternative route home which has some short steep climbs but avoids all the hedges and we are puncture free all the way back to Ashtead.

This is where I spring the surprise on Adam which is an invite back to his place for beer and pizza and a specially designed t-shirt which is signed by all of us. I'm pretty sure Adam enjoyed the celebration and well done to Bev for having the foresight to organise it all although I will be having words with Adam's parents about ripping off my copyright photo for his birthday card!

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 28th January 2012
Trek 1200 SL maintenance day

Today was was the first time since buying the Trek 1200 SL last weekend that I was able to get out in the garage and assess the state of the bike that I bought at an admittedly bargain price.

I had already clocked the worn headset and bottom bracket last week as I could feel loads of play in both areas but decided to start with a bit of soap and water. The bike wasn't too dirty but washing it again highlighted that the frame it quite badly scuffed and scratched and showing the signs of poor maintenance and a hard commuting life.

After a good wash the first thing to focus on was the bottom bracket. I removed the 105 chainset and gave this a good clean and then focused on the bottom bracket to assess the current state and sure enough one side of the bearings are really notchy and need replacing. Why is it by the way that it's always the non-drive side bearings that go first?

I'm looking on Ribble Cycles site and they have some good prices for 105 bottom brackets so I will buy a whole new BB rather than replacing the bearings using the bearing puller I share with Huey (come to think of it I haven't seen it for a while. Here's hoping that Huey has it...). The chainset teeth are looking fairly worn too but there's a few more miles in them yet before need of replacement.

So I have left that dismantled for the time being and the next thing was for a degrease of the chain and cassette both of which were absolutely black and caked with grease, grime and general road detritus.The cassette was proving a tough one to clean and so I took it off the hub for a thorough clean.

Uh-oh! I thought as the cassette lockring was only on hand tight and I could feel play in the rings and then the largest 7 rings wouldn't come off. Turns out Matt my old buddy has been riding the bike with a loose lockring for a while and the individual rings have bitten into the hub leaving a lovely castellated appearance with sharp ridges (and you don't see the word castellated often enough nowadays).

Not much for it but to file the ridges down and after a thorough clean I replaced the rings and tighten securely. It certainly looks the D.B's now but may prove troublesome if I use it in anger.

Finally it was the turn of the headset and I was hoping I could get away with a service but those tell tale signs of rust coloured stains coming out of the bottom of the headset and heavily pitted cups suggested it was worse than that and it proved to be true. Totally dry loose bearings many of which were missing from the bearing holder mean that this too has been left dismantled. I was considering just replacing the bearings but I think it's going to be easier to replace the whole thing so I popped out the bearing cups using my enforcer tool and I will put in an order for a bottom bracket and headset some time this week as soon as I can figure out what the best replacement for the unbranded aheadset is.

So for the time being having bought a whole bike I am left with a dismantled bike scattered around my garage. But it's on the way to recovery and it's a good job I have two other road bikes to commute on.

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 29th January 2012
Riders: Richard, Rob M, Tim, Paddy, Lee D, Felix, Laurent, Nick, Lee, Steve, Neil, Rich Lonegroover Niall and Adam
Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill

Weather: 8 °C

It's feeling cold again and there's been a bit of rain this week meaning that the trails are quite muddy but it's a large group of 14 riders that meet up at the Holmbury YHA and when we meet Nick at the top of Holmbury Hill 15 minutes later the group swells to 20 riders as we are joined by Howard from Pedal & Spoke (wearing a truly awful pair of socks) and a few of his riding buddies.

We hit the normal trails to take us around Holmbury but with Howard up front the pace is blistering and the group breaks up into a number of groups as everyone tries to hang in there and keep the rider in front in sight.

After riding a load of singletrack we head down Return of the Jedi to take us out to the bottom of Peaslake where Howard and some of the riders pause for a break although David and his nephew Sam stick with us for the rest of the ride leaving us with a slightly more manageable group.

Up onto Pitch and it's more of the same as we hit all the steep singletrack including Rat Run, Evian and Christmas Pudding. There was even time for Lee to ride the log drop/double at the end of Proper Bo although despite clearing it he lost it on the loose landing and ended up on his arse. Luckily he was okay and will live to ride again.

Niall had a mechanical and we lost him and Adam, Felix and Laurent. We eventually caught up with Adam and Niall although they did have to spend 30 minutes (I think that's about 8 cheese straws) waiting at Peaslake Stores. But they got the bike fixed and finished the ride with us.

Circa 18 miles plus I rode 10 miles to and from Adams to make it a decent distance and 991 km for January with still two riding days left and well on track for my annual target.

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Ride Archive

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July 2015

June 2015

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

Top

click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'