||Click on the link for Summer
Wear: I was fed up with rear cassettes and chainsets wearing out at an alarming rate despite normal TLC..Very costly, and
wasted chains as well. So I am now running two chains ! The idea is that after a ride you take the chain off (use a Sedis chain with a Power link that you can undo by hand) dunk it in a wide necked plastic bottle with some degreaser - I use neat
Hogwash - and shake for a minute or
so. Then drain off and rinse with tap water until it flows clean. Blast the chain with GT 85 or similar and leave to dry.
In the meantime clean the drivetrain, much easier with the chain off, and put on your other chain and lubricate
normally. This dodge seems to be effective in making expensive drivetrain replacements a rarer event.
the only pedals that never lock you out (or in) when least wanted, are
Time ATACs. These work even in snow, when other pedals can be impossible
to clip in to.
SPDs have a tendency to clog up in heavy mud, especially when you attempt a long sticky wet bit, and like me put a foot down. A good tip is to spray not only the pedals but the bottoms of the shoes with WD40 or similar. Its not perfect, but it does help.
What we've found to be a winter long trouble free
solution is to use a complete unbroken run of outer cable. It's not so aesthetically
gorgeous as a I don't know what but it works so well that most of us
have now filed out the cable end stops so that we can run the outer
through the cable guides, thus avoiding the dreaded zip ties.
John Thompson, Spain
The other thing I can recommend, after a spate of not so
rusting up, is to save your next punctured inner tube (skinny XC ones
are no good) and use them as boots for the top and bottom headset cups.
Simply cut a tubular piece of rubber about 2" long and yasta!
The bottom seems to be more important than the top. Grease them well to
get them on in the first place and to allow the steering to move freely.
Cheaper than the lizard skin version, more effective and if you can cut
straight, more discreet too.
John Thompson, Spain
Editors note You need to roll
the rubber boot back off the headset after the ride to allow any trapped
water out. The tip is not designed to waterproof the area, only to keep
dirt out and prevent water washing your grease away. The bottom race is
the most important one to cover.
brakes 1: The Wales and Peaks rides in particular will wear down V brake blocks
faster than a Black & Decker belt sander. To off-set this make sure yours
are new or nearly new before setting out on a ride like the Heifer or the Peak
to Peak. Better still get hydraulic disk brakes
and save a fortune in blocks and rims.
| V brakes
2: need adjusting part way round a
long wet ride. With Shimano V's as you
release the little silver pipe, look how far the tip of the pipe can be pulled
past the end of it's metal cradle. This is how much cable you'll need to
pull through the cable clamp. When the end of the pipe (noodle) will only just
push in to the cradle as you squeeze the brake arms together, the brakes are
properly adjusted. Make sure you screw in the cable adjuster at the lever
before you start or there'll be no adjustment left here. Shimano levers have
a longer screw and therefore more adjustment here than most. Screw out
the adjusters to improve braking at the top of the awesome Dragons Tail (see Pink
|Tyres: for the above routes in particular, an aggressive tread is required,
cross country race tyres need not apply. Pump them up to at least 45 PSI (yes
you can afford a decent track pump, I've seen mine for £15) or you'll get
pinched. I like the Bontrager Technical or Specialized Team Control on the
front in at least a 2.125 Kevlar. You can ignore these tips if you like, but
don't land on me when you flunk the hairpins at the plunge pool.
|Vision: Use motorbike visor
anti-mist on the inside of your downhill goggles. Don't rub all the spray off
as you apply,
or it won't work. Keep the plastic clean using washing up liquid
on a tissue then rinse and dry.
Goggles: Tie the strap of your
goggles on to the back of your helmet so they don't get lost when riding. I
use boot lace through the rear vents, after I lost a brand new pair of
Washing: Use a banister brush
to wash your bike from a bucket. these are unbeatable and can be bought real
cheap from Wilkinson's.
|Use car shampoo not
washing up liquid to wash your bike. Washing up liquid has lots of salt in it
which will rust your chain etc.
|Don't use a jet wash
on your bike as it will kill your hubs! etc.
Buy MTB shoes a
little too large. This will allow room for your SealSkinz
|On cold day's do up
your shoes as loosely as possible. Even the slightest pressure on your feet
restricts blood flow and will freeze your feet like two prize turkeys. Also if
your feet are completely numb from the cold, DO NOT get in a hot bath for a
few hours. This causes indescribable pain. You have been warned! More
|When you've printed
one of the amazing routes from MTBBritain, put it in a polythene bag to take
with you on the ride. Ink jet print out's will smudge away on a hint of sweat
in your jersey pocket....
warmers: are great on rides where the temperature changes through the
day (this is most days in the mountains). They can be stuffed in a jersy pocket if you get too warm. More
|2.5 cm Zinc Oxide Plaster
This stuff is a real medical miracle. It can be used to stick bandages over all the oddly shaped body parts us mountain bikers commonly injure (what do you mean your body parts aren't oddly shaped? mine are). In combination with a Futura elastic bandage (both from Boots the Chemist) you can strap the joints traditional bandages slip off as you ride.
In addition and sometimes more usefully, it can be used like Duck tape to stick all manner of disasters (and it comes in a more convenient size). I've wrapped it around a separated shoe sole and even around a torn tyre and rim with the brake released. A top rated addition to your long ride back pack.