Saturday, 29 September 2012



 Welcome dear reader , to this , the first ever ' Flat Tire Fry-up flyer '. 
Charlie Kelly , famous piano mover , once said ,the biggest problem with having an issue one , is there has to then be an issue 2. 
 In this first issue I'd like to include some bits and pieces of our local MTBing history , a few bits in-between , and then a report on the latest ride we just did as a group . I'd also like you to contribute with any pics , or write ups of your rides , that will hopefully go on to motivate other riders. Contributions should be sent on a plain postcard to : PO MTB BOX 4130 . Wigan . I'm sorry , but we cannot return any items.

BMX came first.

 I've been MTBing a while . It's a grey area .I'd done BMX as a kid . Just on the streets . 2 bricks and a plank was our skatepark . Some time in the mid 80s , I'll say 1985 then , I read an article about this exciting new sport from over the water in a Monthly BMX mag , BMX Action Bike . I kinda remember the test rider , Mark ' Sid ' Salisbury doing some jumps and generally hooning around his local BMX track . The bike had these crazy one-piece bullmoose handlebars , and looked radically different . Or ' Rad ' . That weekend , probably , I went mountain-biking . It was a ride , with no real planning , or proper equipment , up onto our local hills , the West Pennines . I was with my friend Chris Green . We rode the 30 ish mile , with about 20p in our pockets , and little else . The spirit of adventure was obvious , me being 16 , and Chris ( what ? ) maybe 13 . oh , he was on a Raleigh Night Burner BMX , and I was on my Freestyle Pro . Yea , we were intending to mountainbike , which is what we did , we just didn't have MTBs yet . I can't remember if this was a one-off thing , or not . Either way it was towards the end of BMX . It's first death . We properly mountainbiked , though , riding our BMXs up Rivington Pike and off the back . Chris fell and snapped his brake lever .

 A relatively short time later , I was a young worker . My dad and I were on a properly local contract in the town centre . A refurb on the Queens hall Methodist building. Across the road in the old market hall was Alan's bike shop . Principally BMX , but skateboards and records too . In the window was a sticker , about 8"x3" , easily missed , which said " Muddy Fox Mountainbikes Available Here " , or something .Thinking back , this was to be one of those points where one's life ' turns ' . I kinda knew Alan from when he was located out of town in his old shop . He's a few years older than me, so as kids , kicking tyres and squeezing brakes , we were probably more than a minor irritation to the BMX celebrity ,so we got more time from his dad Arthur . He was in the shop that day , and welcomed me warmly . I said I was interested in one of these new fangled MTB things , and with hindsight , I can see why Alan didn't immediatly order one , but after a bit of pestering over the next fortnight or so , he said If I wanted one , He'd get one also ,and that we'd " mountainbike" .
 In the meantime , whilst ordinary young men of the eighties were ogling the charms of Sam- Fox , I was ogling a poster advert of the Muddy- Fox . Hmmm. Self adjusting headset . Oh yea . 

    So we got bikes . Lives turned . I can remember that first ever ride . We met on the canal , fairly equidistant from our mum's houses . We knew absolutely nothing about mountainbiking . NOTHING . There was no information . Anywhere . So we just rode . For me BMXing as a kid had crossed over into riding offroad on the local tips . We all did it . Dropping down steep hills . The odd jump . Whatever . Alan had successfully raced BMX at the highest level . I could flick a bike around . We just applied these skills to the bigger bike , and just had fun with it . Local woods and homemade MX tracks were our playground .

Three sisters again . On the Axis . Very new .  

And then we rode some more . Over the next few years , new riders came and went . I met Andy , through Alan . Another BMXer .Martin was a local kid . Nigel was over from the states . A great rider . Dead strong and super competitive . Gareth was a cyclist . A roadie . He got on it too . A few years elapsed , more or less , and the scene dwindled , from those early vibrant days , into , well , the doldrums really . Alan was riding less MTB , doing more MX , that he'd done as a kid . Andy had gone to uni . Gaz was in the navy for a bit . I dunno . Still I rode .I got the Diamond Back Axis.

  There must've been times when I rode a little less . I got married young , and we had a baby , in that order , just , but I dont remember a time when I wasn't getting out on the bike .
Around that time , I got a jumper for christmas .

 Time marched on , and there was people I'd bump into , and ride along with . The internet happened , and I met a few that way . Jon , '96 ? I'd already done a decade's riding , more or less .

Anyone know where this is ? 

And then Andy's back on the scene , and Julian too . Old friends . So we ride . A little later , a mere heartbeat , and I had more kids . Another 3 in quick succession . And still I rode . There must have been times when I rode less . It was so hard then . But I never quite hung up the boots , Y'know . Andy had hooked up with a crazy gang of local riders , collectively the " 3 Flat Caps , and a Whippet " .Dave , Stu , Gareth , Trev ,Rick , John ,Andy ,Dave T, Phil , Steve . And more .Hope I haven't forgotten anybody . It seems like yesterday that I first rode with them . It was a nightride up Darwen Tower , with a pint after . Me in a pub . Blimey . In real money , this has been the best part of a decade that we've ridden together .Some great rides . " Epic " days out . Times change . Lives change . Marriage/ babies /jobs , whatever . In recent times it's been a slightly less structured thing . But still I ride . We all do . Sometimes together , just a few of us . Sometimes it's a solo thing . Tony is on the scene now , too . A friendship through Alan . We've been doing some good local spins. Jeff is a guy I bumped into on the canal a while back . We ride a bit .

Andy and I in co-ordinated wardrobe shock

 Andy ( above ) in conversation mentioned that it was now 25 yrs we'd been riding . We'd done a " First Big Ride" together , with Alan in 1987 . From the backside of Stockport to the Peak District and back , with a B+B stop in the middle . A Plan was hastily formulated , and here we are , right up to the minute . This Saturday just gone , 22nd Sept 2012 , will be marked as the anniversary of that ride . I'm not exactly sure when we first did it , but it's kinda right , so that's what we're having . Andy had suggested vintage bikes , too . Something I often indulge in anyway , so there was a few of them there too . It couldn't be all about that though . I was very pleased that on the day , we had 10 riders. A mix of bikes , from across the years . So , no big blow-by-blow write-up . The ' Flat Tire Fry-Up ' . No one punctured . We rode around Ladybower / Derwent / Howden reservoir , over to Win Hill , dropped through the trees , and then over to Stanage Edge . A new route for us all . The weather was superb , and the craic was too . Chris came , on the day my oldest friend , just recently properly mountainbiking .He's traded up his Raleigh Night-Burner . It's a ' pinch yourself ' moment . Cos he's still just 13 . It's not mountainbiking , It's time-travel. On the day , in no particular order . There's Dave , Stu x 2, Chris , Jason , Alan , Tony , Gareth , and Andy , and of course , myself , I'm Tim . Thanks a lot guys . Long may it continue . Here , some pictures .

Andy and Alan. Top of the first climb

Gareth took this . Me . Lockerbrook/ Rowlee.
I'm on a 1987 Muddyfox Courier , that has been slightly restored. 

Pushclimb up Roman Rd.L2R at the front , 
jason , Gaz , and Stu H

Stu took this. Heading up to Win Hill.
Alan + Gaz. Alan's on a Nishiki Alien ACX

Andy rode a 1990 Carrera , that I'd saved from the crusher . 

Tony + Chris
Tony Holland , on the DB Axis

Gareth + Dave


Me . Stanage Edge

Whinstone -Lee-Torr

OK , so , I just realised , I didn't get a definitive group pic , OR , a pic of the holy trinity of myself , Alan + Andy to commemorate the day . Duh . Get it the next time round.
All that I took are HERE , with some of Stu's mixed in . I kinda did a mass copy/paste thing . 

Definitely have a look at Gareth's here , cos they'll be better .

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Fantastic Instamatic tactic

I just dug out some old pix and had a scanning sesh .....

There are many , but here are a few to be going on with .
These are , as far as I can remember , early 90s . I'd say '91 /'92 . Might be a little later . Either way , still knocking on 20 yrs ago. ....

First few are at Fairholmes visitor centre . Alan's Red Nishiki Alien can be seen leaning on the wall near my DB Axis .

Next up . I used the classic technique employed in many cycle sport mags , namely , staging a stunt . 
In the first pic , Alan is seen to be styling a skid . In the second he asks if that was OK . Ha. 
We were on the moorland just above the carpark . Kinda heading to Hagg farm area.
Win Hill , our target , in the far distance .
Kinda cocked up the scanning a little . I'd intended them to be in order . Strictly speaking the above two , should be in the middle of these two...
First is that ace downhill after that first nadgery climb through the woods from Fairholmes CP.
Second , we have crossed the A57 to climb the Roman Rd towards hope cross . 

Alan can be seen pushing his red Nishiki Alien up this tough climb , an image that may be repeated on Saturday...

OK , to finish , just some scenery shots . First is the view from Roman Rd back across the A57 where we had just come from . 
Next is that big plughole thingy in Ladybower Reservoir .

OK . 

Monday, 17 September 2012

Tour of Barati

Tour of Britain passed my house last week . Had a half day chop off work to watch it come past .
Rode out to meet some friends and find a suitable spot .
met up with Tony who works from home , whatever that means . It's a grey area . A bit like construction work . He was with Alan , and a couple of other guys from local to him . We rode a few miles up to Billinge , with crowds substantially already lining the route . Really good feeling . Lots of warmth . Makes a change from being spat at , and forced into the gutter , for the crime of dressing like a fruitcake.
Anyway , here's a pic of myself and Tony at the top of Billinge . Alan and the others are out of shot .
I did a quick google search for uploaded pics that people had put up on Flickr , and such .

Photographer is David Stanley . I messaged him via Flickr and he kindly allowed me to use this . Check out his other pics at his "stansgang" flickr photostream. I just had a quick look . There are some great pics of the stage 4 finish in Blackpool too , oh and many other non cycling pics also .
Here ..

Here is a particularly good one of the Isle of Man gurning champion .

Here is a link to a short video I took with my phone as the main field flew past .

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Never actually finished .....

Where's Wally?

I considered having some grand unveiling ceremony , but then I couldn't really be arsed . 
Bar some minor detailing , I'm saying this is finished . It really would shine with some brand new tyres , but those period Smokes are just so right . 
I'm mulling over the pedals . I suppose I should ride it with clips and straps , as I indeed did for the bulk of my MTB life . In real money , it's only the last 10 yrs that I've been on SPDs . I did a load of commuting one year on them , and it's hard to go back . Again though , clips and straps are just so right for it . I have many options . I have a large cage beartrap , Suntour XCIIs , that are comfy to use , as they offer a load of support , BUT , are a bugger to get in / out of . I also have a Suntour XC Pro . MTB parallelogram cage with clips / straps , as fitted in pic . Dead dead nice pedals . Proper top dollar stuff , BUT , bit uncomfy on the feet without a stiff soled shoe . 
I also have some Tioga pedals . Plastic toe clips . Nice enough , but ever so slightly got a wobbly bearing . Work well though . 
And then I have a ton of SPDs and the relevant shoes . Hmm . We'll see . 

Anyway , overall I'm pleased with it . The wheels are really nice . If you'd seen them before you'd would say they weren't the same ones . I disassembled them ( with the angle grinder . See ' daily grind ' ) and then just buffed em up with Autosol . On the rims , I ingeniously ( i think ) used a terry towel on the palm sander . It stuck to the velcro . Still plenty hand rubbing though . Hubs came up good . With loads more time they could absolutely sparkle , but they were never that shiny , even when new . As it happened , I was in a rush to get them to the shop for building . In the end Alan's turned them around super quick . Norman , who builds the wheels , really has them straight as a die . Deffo recommended . 
I was struggling for a freewheel . The internet sent me a nice chrome plated ' Sun Race ' one . It's still a fairly low-end product , but ten times better than them skanky Shimano generic ones . I refitted the Spoke protector . Cool original thing . Never see em these days . Oh , new M10 track nuts  too . 

Wheels , duh . 

Shiny freewheel , and colour matched rimtape.

I'm still unsure about the saddle . The black San marco ' rolls' is closer to the original black one I had in 1987 , but , it looks a bit too flash and racey . I still might ' feed' the brown one and see how it turns out . It is dead comfy.  Seatpost got a , ahem , manly rub . 

The internet brought me some more stuff for the front end . I have the dead original grips . Quite a fat girth , missus , closed end , rubber . In OK condition , but I didn't want to circumcise them for the bar ends. I considered those AM'E mountain ones in lime green , and I have a set of lime green cables . Full set . Not quite the look I want . So , a web search brought up some Ritchey foam grips . Ergosomethingorother . Fairly retro look , open end with a plug . Bit like a vintage ' grab-on '. 
The bar ends were ' won ' on Ebay a good while back , specifically with the Courier in mind . The'yre an ONZA ' L' bend . Really nice useable shape . Good nick . Bout a tenner . I taped them with that old style ' Tressorex' cloth bar tape in yellow . Like , a quid a roll . It'll be dirty after the first ride .Ha . 
Even more time ago , I won some campagnolo thumbshifters . I'm not at liberty to say how much in a public arena . They're a really industrial thing , that would probably survive posting inflammatory videos about the prophet Mohammed in Yemen. 
As deities go , I kinda like Mohammed . 
I didn't spend any time at all obsessively cleaning and polishing the bars , brake levers or stem . There are a few circumferencial gouges on the bars .
 Life's too short .
 I nearly took apart the levers to spray over the black clampy bit with some satin black , or something . It's a job for another time . Not enough time.
 Headset job was detailed earlier . All cleaned up nice , and I had a brand new 15+ yr old set of bearings . I bought them for a wobbly shimano headset , but when I cracked it open they were an angular sealed type .  Early attempt at planned obsolescence . Finally got to use them , but that said , the original bearings are OK . 

Bit of a fiddle with the crankset . As I said . I'd fitted a BB that I was sure would be OK . Well , it wasn't. 
I banged another in and it's fine . I used a Shimano XT chainset I had , in stock . It had a Girvin ' Rock Ring ' chainring bash guard fitted . No , they're not a new idea either . The bolts are longer to accomodate this , so in the absence of any other I had to remove the ones from the stock Sugino cranks . With no more than a quick clean using white spirit , and then a cursory rub with the autosol they look OK . Again , obsessive polishing , and they would be insane . Some other time . 

The ones on the left

I did the brakes with a blob of autosol in the towel . Came up a treat . I set them up last night , then noticed the rear pad was a bit worn . With a rummage I found another new pair , in a packet . They seem to work OK . Cantilever brakes need a bit of prep to work well . The brass pivots seem to go sticky . I quickly rubbed them down with a very fine 1200 gr sandpaper , before applying a bit of grease, BUT , taking care to not lubricate the bolt itself . I've actually seen them undo mid-ride . I should get some threadlock really . I re-used the straddle cables , and yoke .Both original Dia-Compe . 
Cable outers and inner are modern day ' Jagwire ' . Off the roll in Alan's . I obsessively removed the jagwire branding with some thinners . 

I didn't use the clear pads . A bit grabby , but also , they seem a bit taller from the post , so they cause the canti arms to ' droop ' a little . Not quite the correct angle . In this pic you can see the the tyres better . And the pedals I probably won't use . Harry Leary's , as it happens . 

Here . Two fairly grainy zoomed in pics of the front a rear mechs . Suntour XC Pro pedals, and Steel toeclips with white leather straps AND toeclip buttons .. Phew . I cleaned the mechs in a bath of white spirit using a paint brush in the crannies and nooks . Front mech was ' spragged ' open and wedged . I aslo used a roughed up offcut of inner cable as a tiny wire brush . Top tip . Also dead handy for cleaning out recessed Allen bolt heads .
Rear mech is a teeny bit wobbly . I have a period XT one , that isn't much better really . Front mech seems OK . I still think that back then , componentry was so much more durable than today . I know it was early days . Maybe the manufacturers thought we were all going to retrace Hannibals footsteps across the Himalayas every weekend , but compared to todays kit it's really good . Considering the amount of use and abuse that poor rear derailleur has had , It's a wonder it hasn't exploded . Next week , eh ? 
I does make you think though . Well it does me . All the old bikes are so ' serviceable ' . With simple tools . I've regreased the hubs , and they just work . Same with the headset . The shifters internals have about 4 pieces to them . Brake levers have a tiny amount of ' slop ' . Nylon washers will sort it for pennies . 

Gear cables are the same off the roll , Jagwire . I've kinda found some properly correct silver cables, but again , they're over in la la land . They were a curious clear coated finish . Not actually silver , but you could see the silver spiral underneath . Would look nice . Hmm . 

OK , so like I said , few details . I've got some ARAYA stickers coming for the rims . Hope they arrive in time . And I could do with sorting some kind of chainstay slap protector . I have a ' sharkfin ' thing I might stick on , but I'm probably just going to cut up some clear Fablon . 

Custom made stickers , applied with love.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Very early mountainbike club flyer

Very early event guide1

very early event guide 2

Mr Specialized , Ned Overend , Riding for Schwinn.
One to beat in '87

The other one to beat . Tomac . Early Suspension . Rear only !

Seen enough camo ? Here . Zebra. Great ad from BITD.
Always wanted some of them levers. 

You thought camo was your generation , right ? 
 Just as a side note : This book is so funny . Obviously unintended . Allsorts in there , like how to survive a bear attack , and how to fend off cougars . Tell em you have a double mortgage and your Amex is maxed out, obviously .
 It's so early , there's actually a chapter on how to convert a tenspeed racer , into a MTB , using oxy bottles to manipulate the back end for fatter tyres .
The good book . 

Great pic

tuck and roll

MBUK Issue 1

Mountain Biker Issue 1

Bicycle Action . Dec '87 . Alan on the cover .Hiding behind the heading . Just see his shoes / white socks.

The one to beat in the 90s....

Sadly missed .

MBR issue1 . Still got the VHS too.

All this shit never really appealed to me. Of it's time I suppose . 

Issue 1

Random Fisher ad . Armstrong racing MTB . '95 

Bonkers Cannondale. 

That's all folks ....