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Bikes, bikes, bikes

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Last week my bike expired. One evening, as a result of a worn drivetrain, I'd been stripping it down to give it a good going over before sticking some new bits on it, including a new rear mech to replace my old, wobbly XT one. Off came the mech, leaving behind an apparently loose mech hanger. 'Oh, that must need replacing too', thought I. Sadly not. Closer inspection revealed a nice big crack in the (non replaceable) alloy dropout plugged into the carbon fibre frame. 

Terminal. 

I've been riding quite a lot recently (it's been quite wet for climbing – had you noticed?), so all of a sudden being bike-less was not cool. Missing Big Thursday's ride with the boys the following evening was even more not cool. Thankfully, a nice local chap who designs bikes came to the rescue, and a couple of days later I had a new frame. A trip to the see the chaps at 18Bikes in Hope sorted me out with some bits I needed and come Sunday evening I was finally mobile again. 

Sunday's ride with a friend of mine was what I consider to be bike riding at its best: 'playing out' on bikes - the kind of thing you do when you're a kid. Discovering new stuff, riding familiar stuff, mucking around, getting muddy, tired and hungry. The new bike – a Cotic Soul – was loads of fun. My first hardtail for 10 or so years, it is very responsive, and I only noticed the lack of a suspended rear end when trying to plough through really rocky stuff. 

While we're on about Cotic, while bored for an hour on Saturday morning I came across the following videos on YouTube, recorded when Cotic founder Cy Turner gave a talk to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers at Sheffield Uni 18 months or so ago. I remember the talk advertised at the time, but didn't go as I figured it would be way over my head. As it turns out, it's a very interesting and illuminating overview of bike design. The various materials they're made of, what affects handling, etc etc etc. Cy also makes some thought provoking points about carbon fibre and the concept of the bicycle as an environmentally friendly mode of transport, which might be worth thinking about next time you rock up at a bike shop with £3,000 burning a hole in your pocket. In short: my old frame is basically now landfill. Not cool. 

You can watch the other bits here: part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6

Happy trails! 

JC

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