A short period of better weather is quite a treat at this time of year. The trails are very muddy but in England we ride anything! I took the mainly off road route to the north side of Healey Nab and had already ridden for 23 minutes when I took 2 of the photographs in this post. The colours of autumn are gorgeous this year and were highlighted by the periods of sunshine today.
It’s only 40 days until Christmas so not too early, I don’t think, to picture some holly berries.
Ancient lore has it that a fruitful autumn will be followed by a severe winter. A website, Weather Without Technology, claims a 95% accuracy in predictions. The author has said that this winter will be the coldest and longest in recorded history. We’ve already had snow in southern England so who knows? He may be right. I’ve ridden in the snow and found it very difficult. Ultra wide tyres help but I have no plans to buy another bike. Yet.
Before my ride I did some work on 3 of my bikes. I pumped up the tyres and suspension of my Whyte JW4 to ride 2 days ago but got caught up in other things so didn’t ride it. I’d removed and greased the bottom bracket, where the pedal cranks connect to the frame, of my Proflex and the left hand cup had disintegrated. The bottom bracket is in 2 parts but is sold as a single unit. You can’t buy the left side on it’s own. This is where you need to know someone in a bike shop. I visited Benji at the Bike Cabin in town. He’d just removed an old style part and I suspect he’s a bit of a magpie, keeping hold of useful old parts. He gave me the very thing I needed. Whilst I was there I picked up a new 11 speed chain. I’d worn the chain out on the Boardman and replacing a chain doesn’t always work. If the gears are too worn the chain will slip over the teeth. Fortunately I’ve caught it in time and proved it by riding the Boardman on today’s ride. I had also ordered a new set of seals for the rear shock absorber, which I fitted, saving me plenty of money by doing it myself. It’s good to have all my bikes ready to go. OK, I can only ride one at once but it nags at me when any of them are out of action.
On my last ride, with a 20 year old shock fitted, I’d found that the bike handled better over a jump section than it had with the 3 year old shock that had been fitted since I bought the bike new. I hoped that by increasing the damping setting from 2 to 5 clicks out of 10 it might stop the rear of the bike kicking up over one of the jumps. It didn’t. On my second lap I upped it to 7 clicks. The bike felt better. Or did I just have my body weight further back? The only way to find out will be more riding. Good.
I had the same spectacular rear wheel slide on the same corner as my last ride. Maybe I need to vary my riding more but I know that Healey Nab will always be entertaining, whatever the weather. Later in the day I discovered from Facebook that this may not always continue to be the case. I took the picture at the top looking up at the last of the larch needles still clinging to the trees. I’ve said before that they make a perfect mountain biking surface, which is renewed every year at this time. Tragically the trees have been confirmed to have a disease, Phytophera Ramorum, and every last one will be cut down. This is the same thing which caused the potato famine in Ireland in the nineteenth century. It’s pissing me off that Facebookers are saying that it will allow more trails to be built. Nothing about this situation is vaguely good. It’s like hearing that an acquaintance is about to die. It will affect my life in a small way. The riding will change and the beauty will be diminished. Being in the country affects the soul. It should never be just about the riding or the bragging rights after riding a trail.
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