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Wacky Weekender

NMBC on the road again

Ray Foster has finalised his dates for a Seven Stanes weekender. It's to be Sat/Sun 24/25th June, so if you'd like to sign up see latest info updates on our Facebook page. These are always fantastic short getaways on great trails and the memories last forever. Some of the clan will be travelling and staying over (Glamping!) on the Friday but you can join in the fun on any of the three days. DON'T MISS THIS, it doesn't happen too often!

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Dropper Post for the Gollum? Can it be true??

Yep, I've finally conceded, but only because it solves a longstanding issue. The issue was always how low I could get my saddle on the Fuels, because with the standard (recommended) 400mm seatpost it always left a minimum standing height of around 75/90mm at full insertion where it bottoms out of the downtube's sculpted lumps. If you've been around a while you'll know that I snapped the downtube on my first EX-8 at Kirroughtree (I think!) back in 2010 and since then have been a "good boy" by not chopping any more seatposts. You may applaud if you like. That inability to get the seat down onto the frame for going downhill has always been a problem for me and cost me a bit of speed, all to do with confidence I suppose.

Anyway I finally decided to take the plunge, but only after being impressed with Peter Whitworth's Whyte t130's lack of saddle wobble. Anyway, I did more than enough Googling and review-scanning before plumping for Chainreaction's Brand X dropper post, the 150mm version. I fitted it on Saturday 3rd Feb when it arrived with another small item (see below) and it drops perfectly right down to the frame while still lifting me exactly where I need to be for hard pedalling. There's a bit of slack on the nose of the saddle as I expected but I'll learn to live with it I suppose. Now for the (next?) boring bit!

As for that other item, well once again if you've been around a while you'll know that I have no respect for MTB journalist's opinions with regard to frame angle modifications, or indeed the designers thereof. Here's a quick resumé of previous, and all very successful "you can't do that" changes I've made:

1) Kona Bear 2002, my first full susser. 4" rear travel and 100mm Marzocchi Bomber fork. Terry's build - 6" GoldTec Rocker extension out back, 170mm Marzocchi Junior T triple clamp fork. Fabulous DH bike and XC trail muncher.
2) 
Barracuda Cudajaw, 49 quid frame with 2" rear travel and 80mm front by design. Terry's build - 5" out back with Xfusion O2 shock, 150mm Marzocchi Dropoff forks up front - great little XC bike, just like an Orange 5.
3) Kona Coiler 2006, replacement for stolen Kona Bear. Standard Sun wheels swapped for Deemax DH wheels, Drop-Off 130mm forks replaced with Marzocchi 150mm All Mountain SLs, 203mm discs, Fox DHX4 Air shock, Juicy Sevens with braided hoses - fantastic all-round bike.
4) DDG Mutha, 149 quid frame with 5" rear travel and 120mm front by design. Terry's build - 5"  rear with standard Xfusion O2 shock, 130mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great little XC bike, super light and better than most. 
5) 
Claud Butler eXcess, 79 quid frame with 2" rear travel and 80mm front by design. Terry's build - 4" out back with Fox Float shock, 130mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great little XC bike, much like a Focus XC.
6) Commencal Meta 5.5 2008, eBay frame, Fox DHX4 Air shock, Marzocchi 150mm All Mountain SL forks. Solid all-round bike BUT too many pedal strikes with low bottom bracket so got rid quick!
7) DDG Hitman, 129 quid frame with 4" rear travel and 100mm front by design. Terry's build - 5"  rear with Fox Float R shock, 130mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great little XC bike, as good as the best.
8) Trek Fuel EX-8 2008, on Cycle to Work scheme. 5"  rear and 120mm Fox forksTerry's build - standard 5" rear, 130mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great all-round bike, felt way better on the rough.
9) Trek Top Fuel 9, 2010. My retirement present. 22lb pure race bike. Terry's build - standard 4" rear, standard 100mm Sid Race swapped for 150mm Revelations - great all-round bike, slightly slower steering, excellent downhill and on rough.
10) Trek Fuel EX-9 2011, warranty replacement for broken EX-8. Terry's build - standard 5"  rear, 150mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great all-round bike, my "beastie" for gnarlier rides.
11) Trek Fuel EX-8 2012, ebay frame. Terry's build - standard 5"  rear, 150mm Rockshox Revelation forks - great all-round bike, perfect everyday tool.

One of the above was stolen (Bear), one was given to son-in-law (Coiler), four ridden until they died (DDGs, CBR and Barracuda), one given to wife (Decathlon Rockrider n9.1) and the other three loved and treasured.

and now...

The same 2011 Fuel EX-9 as above but now sporting the dropper post and a pair of the latest 180mm Rockshox Lyrik forks (yep, 7 inches!). Luckily I already had a pair of QR to 15mm adaptors for the front wheel so the 15mm Maxle was no problem. The bike looks absolutely evil. Yes, the forks are poking out a bit further than the 150 Revs and a whole lot further than the standard Fox 32 Floats, and the bottom bracket is at 14.5" so an extra 20mm there but the plushness of the forks settles it down beautifully and it jumps around the garden fine. The only thing I may change on the revamped bike is the length of the bars. I took 630mm FSA carbon bars off it (aye, titchie 630s!) and have replaced them with 780mm carbunkles. They feel a bit too wide for me and I think I may start clouting trees on my local fast bits. Can't wait to try it on some lumpies!

What's new for 2018?

Well, I'd be surprised if there weren't a handful of new bikes appearing amongst the membership although I hope they're BIKES rather than MOTORbikes.

On a personal level I'm happy to say that I may get some weekend rides in this year due to an enforced scaling-down of my Cycle Speedway racing schedule after 4 or 5 years of extremely restricted availability. I'm really looking forward to getting back out on the trails and I have a cunning plan to upgrade my "beastie" with a little mod. Unfortunately I'll probably shy away from the big climb rides as I'll just hold the quick folks back too much. Should still leave me plenty of options though, especially if Northumberland dries out. Hope to see you out there somewhere, preferably when we reach double figure temperatures!

SCHOOL'S OUT?

bike4health While we remain firmly an adult bike club it's to everyone's benefit, and ultimately ours, to get more bums on bikes. The perfect way to do this is to encourage the school YOUR kids go to to adopt the right attitude and encourage them to link up with Bike4Health. This community company is the ideal enabler for not just children but also casual or non-riding adults but it's always best to start at the roots and work up. Have a word with your school at their next open evening or whenever the opportunity arises. Why not try your work's HR department while your at it and help boost our own membership down the line?

 

 Anyone know why more of us seem to turn out on winter Thursdays than summer?

Great turnout for NMBC's 10th Birthday at Glentress!

Terry's recollections are on here somewhere.

BettaBlast non gradient Over the years several Club members have benefited not only from the superb service and quality workmanship at BettaBlast but also from the Club discount agreement we set up with them many moons ago. HOWEVER it is important that we are seen to be playing the game so please, if you need your frame either sprayed or powder coated come and get a membership card from me first and show this at BettaBlast BEFORE you discuss costs, make a firm order or enquire about any available discount. It's betta for them and betta for us that we maintain some integrity in our dealings with such a professional company. If you need any reassurance about their competence or recommendations for their work see either Ian Browning, Ian Mundy or myself, Terry Kirkup.

Not even SEMI-IMPORTANT

This web site is NOW in an induced coma in favour of our Facebook pages. The aim is to simplify and speed up the creation and publishing of future rides, and hopefully avoid any further misunderstandings or ride plan clashes. I will still update the Ride Diary when I can and report on any Sunday rides I might manage to squeeze in but otherwise the "newsy" bits and information for new Club members will barely change from what you see now. I think it's been a great success, at least prior to Facebook and I have over 250 gigabytes of reports, pictures and videos collected over the years which I will treasure and look back on very fondly. Of course anyone is welcome to add content to the Ride Diary if they wish, any time. Just send it to me. Progress- C'est la vie!

 It was a rotten start to 2016. Too wet for most, too cold for many and too icy for some. However if you're planning a ride do let the other members know about it on Facebook please. Thursday night rides should continue regardless as there are almost always one or two hardy souls needing either exercise or punishment. I may not be there odd times, especially in ice and sub-zero temperatures both of which affect my health badly these days, but most of the regulars are plenty capable of leading around one of several of our more familiar routes.

 Hi there!

NMBC will always welcome new members. You must, however, be over 18 as this is an adult-only club, so apologies to any youngster who may wish to join. I've had hundreds of enquiries and usually direct young people or their parents to the North East Freeride Association, Hamsterley Trailblazers or more recently Barnesbury Cycling Club.

HOWEVER! We have very close links to Northumbria Short Track Club so if you like to go fast on a bike give them a try. Big People also very welcome there!

Where and When ? Thursday and Sunday + odd days and times - See Facebook or Forum!

NMBC ride just about every Sunday and Thursday evening, meeting at the ASDA, Benton car park, the Border Minstrel pub in Gosforth Park or other venues arranged by mutual agreement via our Forum or FaceBook pages.

While Sundays and Thursdays are the traditional Club outing times, there are many members who post their extra ride intentions in the above places so keep an eye on them if you fancy fitting in a ride at any other time.

With most upcoming rides advertised in advance on this site, occasionally there is little time due to unforeseen circumstances to provide the necessary information, and it is here that the immediacy of social networks like FaceBook proves beneficial. Unfortunately there are also other distractions which prevent prior warning of future rides, although we try to at least request ride ideas and ask for volunteer Ride Leaders if there is nothing planned by the usual providers.

A few Dos and Don'ts

So please, once you've met a few members and ridden with them, there is nothing to stop you suggesting a ride of your own, but if you do it on behalf of the Club please try to ensure it does actually happen and take responsibility as Ride Leader, or get someone else to do so if you're not confident of our regular procedures, which really are as simple as you'll find anywhere. Bear in mind however that Ride Leaders do have some responsibility for the conduct of everyone participating in a Club ride.

A few things worth remembering:

  • Respect the countryside
  • Respect other road users
  • Be aware that horses do not like bright colours or fast-moving objects. I always prefer to stop and wait for them to pass
  • On night rides, DO NOT blind oncoming car drivers or pedestrians with your zillion Lumen LEDs - this is so common and so very dangerous
  • Use cycle paths where provided - surely safer than the alternative
  • In rural areas, shut any gates that you've opened
  • If you're caught where you shouldn't really be, (accidents happen, maps go awry, people get "lost") apologise politely and do the right thing
  • If you know there should be someone behind you, take the odd glance back to make sure they are still there
  • If you're leading, make the odd stop to regroup and maybe do regular head counts if numbers are high
  • Remember a catch-up halt is fine, but the last one in gets no rest if you move on immediately so they will never recover
  • Don't rely on others to provide you with fixes or spare parts - be responsible and take precautions, that way you'll get more help should you need it
  • If you borrow an inner tube, chain link, gas canister or whatever then please provide a replacement as soon as you can to the donor

Above all, get mingling and enjoy your biking with NMBC!

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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.

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The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!

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