Monday, 31 October 2011


Stan Ridgway's Camouflage was on the radio the other night. I can't remember the last time that occurrence took place, maybe something to do with Haloween?

Cyclesguff enjoyed its own camouflage at the weekend, the autumn colours are spectacular.  Rare glimpses of sun light breaking through the trees mixed with the early morning mist and having a bike that fits in is such a treat. So much time of late has been spent off the bike. The sheer pleasure and relief of actually being out on rolling tarmac was bliss. In fact, sheer bliss.  It never fails to amaze me what a simple bike ride can do for state of mind, fitness and appreciation of what is around us.

One of Lemond's best circa 96 Alpe D'Huez
The ride was too short, just over one hour and twenty minutes. During that time, my mind raced through the list of things that must be done in prep for the winter, organised weekends (even weeks) away on the bike, considered the big three for 2012 - La Marmotte, a possible return to Paris - Roubaix and the long overdue North to South run of the West Highland Way. A number of other local/UK events will be in the schedule. These events will not require the same amount of planning and preparation as those above. One thing that they will have in common, is acting as a pulse to the level of fitness. There is also a hankering to ride a few cyclocross events before the seasons up, so my lack of fitness is a big concern at the moment.

This blog also featured heavily in the ride; a few ideas are brewing and guffbike has yet to ride with the aid of gravity. guffbike could go on the hill now but the brakes are yet to be fixed. The result of that first descent would be very scary.

Stay upfright

Sunday, 30 October 2011


cyclesguff riders have some tasty tops spanning years of cycling. A few tops are possibly a bit on the snug side, but that means you can only fit treats in one of the back pockets.

This post could well be the first in a series. As a starter for six, if anyone knows the team that rides in the colours of the jersey on the left, drop me a line and the first correct answer will recieve a wee treat from cyclesguff.

The mystery jersey has a lovely turtle logo on the right shoulder. My memory of that team's pace was anything but slow.

Stay upright

so far we have one correct answer, well done Chris. Chris has an earlier version of the jersey in his collection, so has kindly turned down the mystery prize

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Hong Kong Phono

The screen saver settings on the computer include a random selection of pics from iphoto. This kicks in when the computer hasn't been in use for a minute or two. I've found a simple pleasure in waiting to see what comes on the screen and it's always a good way to calm the kids. 'OK, what do you think it will be next?' This usually starts with themes, objects etc and then resorts to the bizarre processing that kids are so good at. To have a momentary lapse into that abstract world is a great release after a hectic day. It is quite possible that 'bike' would be shouted out, there are quite a few images of two-wheeled dreams on the hard drive . Would they have thought of a bike like this?

The pic was taken in Hong Kong a few years back. I didn't see the rider, although, in my head I have an image of what he looked like. Whoever owns that bike is looking for some attention and it's about time that cyclesguff paid tribute to yet another bike that stops you in your tracks.

Stay upright

Monday, 24 October 2011

Marco Simoncelli

cyclesguff only found out about the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli today. He was a fantastic competitor and always exciting to watch. RIP

steel's real

Millar, Peiper, Ludvig, Ekimov, Vanderaerden, Fondriest and the formidable Director Sportif - Peter Post aka de Lange all played a major part in Team Panasonic. The exploits of that team and era that they competed in is legendary. 

We may all suffer from rose tinted Oakley Factory Pilots as time rolls on, some even go to the lengths of adding to the memory. My memory of Anderson and co was them riding Campag, but I wouldn't say no to a test ride Alan Tensey's brace of Merckx lovelies.

Even though cyclesguff attempt to keep this blog from being 'click on this link' type of place. It is quite possible that you can't locate a vhs player and your old tapes (not on a PDM tape though) and enjoy some class moments. Thankfully, youtube has come to the rescue for those of us that have added to landfill.

If you look closey, a youthful Phil Anderson is learning from the badger. If you don't have the time this pic will do.

Stay upright

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Theseus' Paradox

Only Fools and Horses (classic BBC comedy) has a sketch where Trigger proudly explains the reason why he has been awarded a medal. The story is best left to Trigger to explain

There are times when simply replacing kit and parting with hard earned cash would be easier than making the effort to attempt the repair. There is an appeal to this. Chasing the shadows of a great online deal. Sourcing the part locally and having a chat with staff at the shop isn't a bad way to spend spare time. The fun continues when the tinkering starts. Tools are looked out, a space is cleared and once you are finished tinkering, the all important test ride hopefully proves that the decision was worth it. For me, the appeal of keeping things going is just as strong, if not even stronger. The sense of satisfaction and belief that you can do it is a great tonic and encourages more fixing and tweaking. The web provides an endless source of bike bible information, Sheldon Brown anyone?  There are a considerable number of 'how to fix' step by step guides. Forums are another rich source of advice. If you can get past the off topic replies and acronyms (IMHO) (FO), the collective knowledge is only too willing to help. True to open source and co-repair, there is a rapidly growing band of wrenchmonkees out there with their own sites and blogs. A cyclesguff favourite from the past was angryasian, he was a one man band for Maverick suspension tips and fixes. Those of us that have endured the idiosyncrasies of Mavic Ksyriums would be wise to point the cursor in the direction of the rogue mechanic. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all those that have suffered the pain of a repair to make my life easier.

The toolkit for fixing bikes inevitably changes in time with developments of components. That change is currently bordering on being so quick, it's becoming ridiculous. I'm sure we all have a favourite tool, the one that has a patina and character that's been honed over years of use. The one that we can rely upon, or become frustrated if it can't be found, this may sound weird, but it can almost amount to a sense of loss.  A few years back I decided to buy a pair of Park Tools cable cutters. Why did I wait so long? 

This simple tool exudes quality in abundance. The sensory feedback and satisfaction totally outweigh the price tag. The cutting jaws crisply cut through a cable like no other and the wonderfully simple crimp area for reforming outer cable and those oh so important ferulles proves that the guys responsible for designing and manufacturing at Park take their job seriously. However, I have experienced a few duff Park tools in the past. The no quibbles warranty was called upon due to what was described by the shop staff as 'soft metal'. My thoughts are that something was not up to par with the treatment of the material at the finishing stage of manufacture. Forgiving Park is easy, a small error was taken care of and the replacement crank extractor has worked without fault or complaint.

Park are in the business to sell tools, if the mechanic in the shop uses them, fine. That's the kind of endorsement that results in more punters buying tools for the home workshop. If the home mechanic's skill and knowledge challenge the shop, well there will also be other customers with bikes and kit in need of TLC.

The cycling equivalent of Trigger's broom from my fleet is a Shimano Deore XT M760 rear mech. This rear mech was first used on a 2005 Klein Palamino XV. That bike was a blast to ride primarily down to the the Maverick monolink suspension platform that Klein had licensed from Paul Turner and Frank Vogel. Previous full sussed Kleins didn't hit the mark, but the Palomino range was an all together different breed. In Maverick's own words, 'The effect is a super-stable and efficient ride.' 

Great fun for chasing the big rigs in Morzine
Weighing in at under 11.5kg (26lbs ish) for an aluminium full susser is still not to be sniffed at. The bike was designed for XC racing, but trips to UK trail centres, French Alps and back country exploring demonstrated just how capable the monolink platform is. When the Klein frame was moved on, the rear mech was fitted to a fabulous and missed 2009 Cannondale Prophet.

Even better fun for chasing big rigs

I've made a few comments in earlier postings about the Prophet. After the Prophet, the mech found its way onto the current full susser in the fleet, the very lovely and orange Turner Sultan. 

During its 6 years of abuse, I've forgotten how many cables and jockey wheels have been replaced and the number of major knocks that it has absorbed. Scottish Heather is widely known as a mech eater, not this one. The inner plate of the mech even snapped due to a spectacular off on the infamous Ridge Ride in Morzine. This truly epic route is after the punishing ascent of Col de Coux.

Rocks the size of Monsters live over there...

Not to worry, Colin 'choir' Powell found a small, but sturdy stick and I wrapped the cage in duct-tape. Duct-tape is ace, if you don't carry any, you should. My Dad told me an old trick of wrapping the stuff around a pen or pencil when on his travels and competing in motorcycle trials. I've departed from this and wrap it around a tyre lever when on my travels and competing against myself. That Morzine stick splint and duct-tape fix lasted so long that I forgot about it. When the time did come to fix it, the bent cage was straightened in a vice and the split was welded. The grinder then went to work to remove any weld splatter and clean up the surface.  Even though the repaired cage was smooth, it wasn't looking too pretty after the surgery. So, some gold spray paint was applied and the repaired mech looked very bling. The mech was then fitted back on the bike and doing what it was designed to do. All was going well until recently; the dreaded play and sloppiness of an old mech started to make its presence felt. This is a problem due to the Turner being hyper critical of cable length and adjustment. The dreaded ghost shifts had returned and there isn't much you can do about play in that model of rear mech.

The day has finally come to break out the 5mm Allen key and remove the poor thing. The new home is the top step of the podium (shelf) in the garage, a little reminder of great kit, bikes, fixes and most importantly, epic rides with pals.   

M760, an ace piece of kit

The mech is being replaced with a 10 speed XTR unit. In fact, the whole drive train is being replaced……..not due to sloppiness or other parts falling to bits. It's all down to marketing and the Big 'S' being very good at extracting cash from my pocket. The cost of the additional letter 'R' is causing me some grief. I'm positive that some logic will be found soon.

Stay upright

Monday, 10 October 2011

Uncle Pat The Plonker

If you're feeling a little down about cycling (for whatever reason) then don't look at this:

What a numpty.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Trail etiquette

Following on from the earlier post about humour between strangers, I started thinking about Rider and Trail etiquette.

Fore!  how are the greens? You can play through if you want. Nice shot, anymore where they came from? The etiquette on the golf course is usually the only feature that keeps me going. I haven't played for over 2 years and am missing the friendly nods and comments. So, why oh why are other roadies becoming so adverse to saying hello and embracing road etiquette? Christ, it even takes some an eternity to raise a finger of their hoods. OK, the roads are bad, but not enough to raise a hand. Some riders should take a steer from these rather splendid chaps at The Tweed run.

When did this change in camaraderie start? If a bunch passed, you would be welcome to join, even if it meant sitting at the back to stay on. That doesn't appear to happen anymore. Even on the trails, fellow mountain bike riders look bloody miserable. Dog walkers say hello, and let's face it, they hate us. Fell runners are in another league altogether. Surely it can't be an air of superiority, then again they are bloody fit.

Just the other day I was riding up Rosie's climb just off the West Highland Way. Rosie is a tough little minx, she ain't tall, but she's well built. Riding a 29er singlespeed over the slippy rocks and deep puddles takes a fair bit of effort. A few happy campers encourage you on, runners don't. Picture the scene, 15+gradient and a runner with gravity on her side coming towards me. Did she move over an inch and let me keep going without having to stop and dab? Nope, she didn't and to add insult to injury, not even a smile or hello. 

Other road users also can't wait to pass, this is another topic for another day, but the cyclesguff mobile home may cause a few tailbacks.

The local rag has an article about the Blane Valley to Lennoxton path. The path has recently been resurfaced and it's great to see all manners of people using it. The author of the article agrees. However, he puts the boot in to cyclists that don't have any thought for other users. You know the type, come flying along behind, pop out last minute and scare the life out of you. Why do people do this? A courtesy shout of, 'hello!' would be nice. The author does miss out on one major point. That point is horse crap. What is it with horse riders? Dog owners need to clean up after their pooch. Is there some law that basically states: Horse riders can allow their steed to crap anyplace, anywhere, anytime?

In an attempt to keep off the fairways and greens, I've started to wave at motorcyclists, guess what, they wave back.  They must have read zero bhp.

This post was brought to you with a Scapa 16yr old Single Malt courtesy of fellow guffer, Routemaster General.

Stay upright chaps

West Coast Humour

One of the defining features of life in the West of Scotland has to be the friendly moments of banter. Glasgow is a place that tends to come on song when the sun is out. Today was a good example. The train journey was full of happy faces, this could also be down to that Friday feeling. Four 'ladies that lunch' where taking the train to Edinburgh and where asking the ticket inspector what the difference was between a single and return? He replied 'being single means that you are happy, a return costs you more and means you have to go back'.

Stay upright

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Bull Ring 2

The Red Bull Minidrome event in Glasgow today is still going on as I type this, young kids, I'll tell ya! Anyway, if you are reading this and you are in Glasgow and it is before 19:00, go along. 

How many checked shirts can you spot?

Red Bull could have done better with the PR, the turn out was pretty lame, pity, as what I witnessed was well worth taking the time out to go along and watch. The atmosphere of the venue and the small crowd where more than up for a spot of fun. The practice rounds had the crowd gasping and cowering as rider after rider either went too close to the edge, or went over in dramatic fashion. Two of the best offs where James Vale and Jake (my first time on a fixie) Roberts. James decided to jump out of the minidrome and land his bike in Parc Ferme, very stylish. 

The chap in the pic above was wearing a fantastic cycling cap. The obligatory H&S - you must wear a helmet - has resulted in this classy piece of kit being covered up, shame. Not too worry, all going well, cyclesguff may have a wee feature on his caps soon.

Stay upright

ps I've been told that the actual event was busier and the atmosphere was ace. Well done to Toms Alsbergs and Chris Vollmer for making the final. In the end, Toms won.

North South Divide

The maximum daily temperature record for the UK as a whole for October has been broken with 29.9C recorded at Gravesend at 14:42 BST. The previous record value was reported at March in Cambridgeshire on 1st October 1985.

Thanks Met office. 

Life in the Blanevalley is somewhat different.

Stay dry and upright

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Bull Ring

On 2nd October 2011, Red Bull will be bringing the world’s smallest velodrome to The Old Fruit Market in Glasgow to challenge fixed gear riders from across Scotland for the first time.  Looks like fun:

Stay upright hipsters