A problem solved and a ride in the sunshine.

Yesterday there was no chance of a ride. It rained just about all day so I took the chance to look at my Proflex mountain bike. Despite it being from the beginnings of full suspension, before many of the difficulties had been solved, many parts are like new. It must have hardly been ridden by it’s previous owners. The wheel rims show no sign of wear from the brakes and the teeth on the gears are perfect. The brake blocks match front and rear, as if they have never been replaced, which I think must be the case. It looks as if the saddle and it’s stem were replaced because they are not original items. The only problem I’ve had is that the bottom bracket, where the pedal cranks attach to the frame, is very stiff. Turning the pedals round by hand takes some effort so has been wasting my energy when riding. I wanted to take it out to replace it with new but it wouldn’t budge. I clamped the removal tool in a vice but I could only twist the rest of the bike a little way before it became solid. I twisted it back and found it starting to move more easily and after much deliberation I realised that it was undoing in the “wrong” direction, anti clockwise instead of clockwise. I unscrewed it the whole way out. This could only mean one thing. An Italian spec bottom bracket had been fitted, which screw in the opposite way to every other version. I haven’t told the whole story, there. I’ve missed the number of attempts that this victory took and the amount of cursing needed to accomplish the feat.

The reason you might do this is if the original threads in the frame are damaged. An Italian version is around 1mm greater in diameter so you can cut a bigger thread in the frame, screwing the other direction. It’s curious that this repair has been necessary when the rest of the bike looks as if it’s never been touched. I’ve ordered a new part so should be up and running next week.

In the mean time it’s been too muddy to ride delicate old bikes so today I rode my Boardman to Healey Nab to do some circuits. A section of the trail has been cleaned by scraping the mud off it and it’s much improved. I really must help out some time but I have to admit that one of the team, who always turns up to help, is a rather unpleasant character. Say a word and he wants to tell you the opposite. In my business I met thousands of people and found that just about everyone has some good qualities. Anyway, maybe his only endearing quality is that he knows how to improve a trail.

Despite the rain the trails ran well today for my 3 laps. On the way to the Nab I noticed a rider some way ahead of me on the climbing road section. I never did catch him but saw glimpses of him right up to the trails. I didn’t see fresh tyre tracks so he obviously didn’t ride the same route as me but guess what? Yes, Strava tells me that I managed my third and second fastest ever times on 2 segments of the climb. It’s amazing how another rider unconsciously adds an element of competition to an everyday ride. The weather was gloriously sunny today, an enormous contrast with yesterday when some parts of the country have had floods. It can only be Global Warming that’s causing the cold, damp weather.

At this time of year the trails get a free resurfacing in much of the woodland. The larch needles fall and renew the trails. They wear off from the most used tracks but are bedded down onto other parts, providing an ideal riding surface.

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A perfect MTB surface which money can’t buy.

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The view from the highest point with Rivington Pike in the far distance.

Do you know that when you’re stood on a beach the horizon is only around 3 miles away? From this height of 680 feet, when I look towards the sea, as in the top picture, I can see more like 30 miles. I could also see the hills of North Wales which are even further. On a really clear day, often in winter, the mountains of Snowdonia, even further into Wales, can be seen over 70 miles away. It may be autumn but it’s a good time to be a mountain biker.

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