Hamsterley Forest

Apologies for the lack of geology here just a few photos from a ride at Hamsterley forest at the weekend…

Also has anyone got any tips for taking photos of fast moving things like bikes? My camera (Pentax M60 compact) seems to take ages to respond then you miss the thing that you are trying to capture?

Typical North East Desolate Waseland
Typical Desolate North East Waseland scenery on Root 666
Drop off on Brain Freeze
Drop off on Brain Freeze. The Berm doesn’t seem to quite line up with the drop off…
Hamsterley Trails
Hamsterley Trails
North Shore on the Skills loop
North Shore on the Skills loop
The ground is hard...
The ground is hard…
Root 666
Root 666

All the stuff we went on can be found on either the red trail or the black trail.


The road, the ride and the rain

One thing is certain about cycling in the UK, at some point (or most of the time) you will end up riding in the rain. Sometimes you get caught out, but most of the time you just go out in the rain because otherwise you just wouldn’t get out! Today’s ride was one of the latter.


In the same way that its often said that Eskimos have an abundance of words for snow, the same can probably be said about the British description of rain. So I can tell you that it was spitting as we met, this then developed into a prominent mizzle, before intensifying and becoming a drizzle, until further intensification turned it into a deluge and the eventual development of a downpour.

You would have thought that our damp home training ground would make British cyclists the best in the world when it comes to riding in the rain, compared to our continental counterparts training in nothing but the Mediterranean sun! But images of Bradley Wiggins suffering in this years Giro show that it can get the better of even the best out there!

Our route took us out towards the Durham Dales, with chattering teeth and hairy descents included in generous proportions. A quick tea stop at a friends to warm up, then the final push back into town as the drains reached their limits and spilled into the road.

Finally, remember that if in doubt refer to rule #9.

Going Fixie

Two rear derailleurs have been sent through the rear wheel on this bike. The second took with it the threads on the inside of the dropout, rendering it unable to support a rear derailleur anymore. The solution: go fixie.

The hub I have invested in a ‘flip-flop hub’ so the option is there to bail out onto a singlespeed freewheel if I decide that the hills of Durham are too much for a fixie.

Unusually for a job of this kind the conversion went without major problems, even getting chain tension with semi-vertical dropouts worked out ok! The only hassle was that the new rims are thicker and the presta valve was barely long enough! I’ve opted for a 17t rear sproket but this can always be changed.

Chainline on fixed/singlespeed bikes is I’m told crucial. If its wrong the chain will endlessly come off and in the worst case (brakeless fixie) the chain will prematurely brake and you will loose any ability to stop the bike! For this reason I have (for now) kept the albeit crap brakes on it.


Fixie conversion complete (I think).