After my last ride on a Trek Fuel EX8 full suspension mountain bike with 29” wheels it would have been good to gain some more familiarity with the larger wheel size. Unfortunately the bike in question has badly worn rear wheel bearings which are preventing the gears from engaging easily. So today I chose to ride my Boardman FS Pro with it’s 27.5” wheels. My ride was very similar since I rode 3 laps of my local hill, Healey Nab. Time was a little tight for me, preventing me from a more ambitious ride. At 2pm we had to be at Hoghton Tower, a fortified manor house owned by the 14th Baronet, Bernard de Hoghton. We weren’t dropping in for afternoon tea with the family but visiting a craft fair in the grounds. Hoghton Tower is best remembered for the visit of King James the first between 15th and 17th August 1617 when he allegedly found a loin of beef so exquisite that he took out a sword and knighted it, calling it “Sir Loin”. This is where the term sirloin steak is said to arise from.
I climbed the 680 feet hill by riding along the flank and ascending the north side to the top. I was alone and rode down the red graded descent. I’ve ridden this route so many times that I was making the mistake of letting the bike take me down the hill rather than being the one who was in control. I ran off line on some corners and climbed back to the top to ride it with a different attitude. On my second lap I made sure I was pushing the handlebars down into the corners and allowing my legs to flex to absorb the many undulations. By doing this I kept the pressure of the tyres on the ground more even and stayed on line. There were quite a few other riders on the hill by this time. A third lap went similarly well and again convinced me that the difference between 27.5″ and 29″ wheels is small whilst 26″ wheels give a much less cushioned ride than the bigger sizes. If the weather stays dry I hope to ride one of my classic 26″ wheeled bikes on Tuesday and will certainly include Healey Nab in the ride.