Brighton MTB – one year on.

I had been mountain biking for a couple of years but was looking to get out more regularly so I turned up in the dark one Thursday evening for a blind date with 15 random blokes.

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You may have heard the following line, “Do you know all the trails in Stanmer?” Continue reading

Peaty’s Steel Cith DH


SomeJDP_7034 time ago I rode my first downhill race. I don’t consider myself a competitive cyclist. In the past I have been though, racing everything from sprints on the velodrome to 12 hour mountain bike endurance races. In general, I don’t bother with racing now, but Peaty’s Steel City is a pretty special race, and worth an exception.

Peaty’s Steel City DH is a Downhill race held in Greno Woods, Sheffield. Championed by the mountain bike legend that is Steve Peat himself, and organised by a dedicated team of volunteers, I had heard great things from previous years of this event. You have to be on the ball to get a space. With only 300 entries available overall, the Senior Mens’ category is usually filled within an hour or so, and none of the other cats take much longer to reach full capacity. But this indiscriminate exclusivity is a key ingredient for the super cool feel of this event. In common with many other of the best UK bike races, it is a collective event, with all profits from entry and sales being put back into the local trail scene.  Continue reading

Great day for me as it was filled with familiar faces watching, riding, racing and some even standing upon the podium. Damp trails ready to dry out promised a slip or two and WP_20140816_002
The start saw a few regular Brightonmtb riders ready at the back for a long solo ride and even a few right at the front with the pro boys – maybe the course reversal had confused them. Continue reading


trail yieldTrail etiquette is raised on occasion and although we all think we behave properly sometimes we may get it wrong.

If you do say sorry that is usually sufficient. The sign (usa) follows the same hierarchy as here with bikes yielding to everyone else. Dogs are not stated but if they do not yield it is polite not to run them over. Badgers you can run over as they seem almost indestructible.

Etiquette also applies to footpaths where you should get off and walk if pedestrians are sharing it but in the dark of night then it is a little different. Footpath wear and tear due to bike tyres is one reason given but walkers and boots with square heels may cause equivalent damage. Braking areas do cause more damage however and this is visible on our own trails.

Etiquette also applies to your ride group and although we have little conflict a little courtesy goes a long way. So to clarify our differences…

We do not cut and shut into a downhill trail. This means going in front and holding a faster rider behind you.

We do not block on uphills as it can make a climb harder for the chase rider. We share the gate load although the faster riders take the lion’s share try to take a turn. Mechanical problem then someone offers to stay and help. Leading, then ask for help when required as the lead rider needs to think ahead to get the most out of the ride for everyone. Riding tail – hardest role at times as the catch up effort can be a killer but can be the most rewarding.

Mix and match – this is key to group rides so try to vary your position and ride alongside a less familiar face. Advice – more difficult but if you notice a problem with a bike or a riders position then it is helpful to say something as you may not notice your own saddle has slipped on the rails for example. Technical advice – more difficult but the Monday ride has used many experienced riders to help with the progress and the results have been great. Bike advice – much more difficult with only two rules. Your next bike is always going to be better than your current bike and the best colour is orange.

So on your next ride show by example.


riding in sympathy

When yWP_20140103_001ou have been off the bike for a while getting back to any level of fitness is a considerable effort. A holiday or a a short break is normally a couple of weeks of struggling towards the back of the pack and then slowly getting faster and fitter.

A longer time off due to injury seems to take twice as long to regain lost pace as the time off so will-power seems to be the key. A planned program can help or even returning to old habits may be enough but if you are trying to re-gain Tuesday pace then life can be a little harder. Continue reading