Introducing the young


As much as I love the outdoors and exercise I am always careful on pushing this love onto my two youngest girls.

This week the girls have been on a sort of half term break of school for Monday-Wednesday. We decided with an amazing forecast to climb the Cobbler …

The Cobbler (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Artair) is a mountain of 884 metres (2,900 ft) height located near the head of Loch Long in Scotland. Although only a Corbett, it is “one of the most impressive summits in the Southern Highlands”,and is also the most important site for rock climbing in the Southern Highlands. Many maps include the name Ben Arthur(an anglicisation of the Gaelic), but the name The Cobbler is more widely used.

 

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girls and grandad

 

The walk starts from near sea level and goes up steeply through a wood section and continues from there, following a burn known as the Allt a’ Bhalachain. this section is open with a beautiful vista ahead up towards the Cobbler.

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From here the path bypasses the Narnain Boulders, steepening at around 600 metres (2,000 ft). The path splits and you can go left and straight up the face between the two peaks but this was heavily iced and we had no crampons or sticks or even axes. We followed the path around and ascended from the rear.

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The back was still very snowy and it meant an ascent where we had to kick the steps into the snow. the youngest (9) was keen to be first but after 10min let me do the steps until we were 20feet from the top and then took the lead again.

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We made the top – with photographic proof

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whilst sister (11) and grandad were still ascending

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it was so unseasonaly hot with nary a breath of wind. So mild in fact we had lunch at the top.

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and then down to the pass again before the descent.

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And home to a fire ….. asked the girls the next day whether their legs were sore at all.

NO

What more could you want.

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A good week despite the weather


Last week the work commitments cleared even if the weather didn’t. Chose to run when the weather was at its worst but then parts of the late week looked peachy if cold.

THURSDAY

Went out for a ride on the beautiful Mercian steel tourer. I have been reading articles about whether it was better to load some of the weight rando style into the front panniers which lowers the CoG (centre of Gravity) opposed to rear. Now the forks on the Mercian have a decent rake and it responds well to the front being loaded.

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For longer tours I would load all 4 but this was a test shake out with medium load for short tours.

 

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frost steel and cold hands

 

So off I went on cold 2C morning with frosty canal paths. The bike handled well and I relaxed into the ride – most of the time on the Lynskey road bike I have half my eye on the stats on the GPS and find myself getting uptight when the average speed drops below 27kph. Stopped at loch lomond for a pic of Ben lomond over the water covered in snow …This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

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This was far more sedate winding my way up to loch lomond then looping out to Helensburgh.

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Friday was a short 7.5km run but Saturday was mixed with a break in the weather forecast.

SATURDAY

Munro Bagging and Ben Ledi was in my sights but even on the drive up to Callander it looked like I got the weather a bit wrong.

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A bit too much snow on the hill for no crampons – and visibility was a bit short at the top – and there are too many cases of walkers going missing for me to be a knob about having to do it …. This weekend alone 2 of 3 elderly walkers caught out have died in hospital and a young couple on a valentines trip are feared dead and possibly buried by an avalanche in the Ben Nevis range. So a sedate 12km walk around the woods near the base was good enough for us – still got to blame my better half for the weather as every time she comes with me to climb the weather sets in …

SUNDAY

Back to Glasgow and out for a ride on my other road bike (one neglected could get jealous)

Over the crow road my normal trip / training ride. Again pretty cold but the Rapha Pro Team jacket I bought has been absolutely fantastic this past winter. In fact, when the temp is above 8C, I think it may be too hot to wear.

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They are expensive but so far it has been worth every penny. The only missing chink so far are my gloves – have a very wintry Sealskins MTB pair and then the next are more summer long fingered so getting cold hands if I don’t opt for Sealskins…..

Back to the ride – it was one of those rare perfect wintry days.

 

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snow on the Campsies

 

And the Crow road actually had snow and slush all over it once you cleared the car park on the bend. But still I mad a new friend at the top even if they weren’t very chatty.

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Was very peaceful at the top …

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So another ride in and gradually building up the miles – this work business definitely getting in the way of play.

 

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The crow ride as told in pretty colours

 

 

Theatre Thursday: Freeride Fat


 

Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Noah Brousseau got rad on fat bikes this winter.

Bike: Rocky Mountain Blizzard — bikes.com/blizzard

Shot at the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Coastal Mountains, BC
Filmed & Edited by Liam Mullany
Additional Cinematography by Harrison Mendel
Produced by Liam Mullany & Brian Park
Special Thanks to Cory Leclerc & Eric Simmons
Music: Jet Trash — Baby C’mon

That was Snow weekend


Took my 11yo this weekend up to the Cairngorm range and walked into a bothy for an overnight adventure. ruby bothy-2

The forecast was for the howling wind and rain to give a brief 48hour window … so Saturday morning at 7am we left for a 3.5 hr drive up the road.

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Temp was -1C walking in but sun on the face and felt good.

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The walk is under 10km and with only one stream to negotiate as the other 2 have small makeshift bridges over them.

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Temp was forecast to hit -6 which is cold for us. Bothy looked warmer than it actually was as no insolation to speak of and a poor wood burner.

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Ruby enjoyed it though – this was taken in the morning as the tea was brewing and the candles had melted the ice on the inside of the windows.

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A glorious morning and a decent walk out too …..

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The best thing about days like this is it gets children enthused about the outdoors and also great to spend time one on one with the kids. Normally there is a juggling act to some with ….. and finally below a GoPro movie of the 2 days …..

 

Fat biking – is it no longer a fad


Good first person article from singletracks

 

Watching the birth of fat bikes in the mountain bike industry has been nothing short of breath taking. Drawing from personal experience, this fat-tired wonder opened up a lot more trails as well as placing big grins on our faces. Before fat bikes we had been riding our mountain bikes year-round, putting on the studded tires when the snow started to accumulate and whipping them back off again as the ice melted in the spring spring. About three winters ago, a wide tread mark kept beating us to the trails and part way through the season, we finally spotted the culprit: a Surly Pugsley Black Ops.

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A month or so later, Freewheel Cycle Jasper had a fat bike demo day. Happily for us, there weren’t a lot of people trying them. We ended up testing the fat bikes on an old rutted dirt road, the bike park, a frozen lake, the town walking path, and off path through the virgin snow. We became absolutely hooked on the idea of riding these in the winter versus what we were doing at the time. The rest of the season saw us driving 80 kilometers to rent Freewheel’s fat bikes, when the conditions in our town were counter productive to riding skinny (our studded mountain bikes). That was 2012. The fall of 2013 we had the opportunity to purchase a pair of Surly Pugsleys. We’ve had them out on all kinds of trails in Alberta and British Columbia.

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Sales of fat bikes were through the roof that year and with the explosion of fat bike owners came a multitude of fat bike pages on Facebook. I belong to three group pages; two are are- specific while the third is literally comprised of riders from around the world! For those curious fat bike followers, the pages are: Jasper Fat Biking (Jasper, AB), Fat Fockers (Kamloops, BC) and Fat Bikes (world). These are three entirely different pages as well as groups of riders riders. While just a few of us post on the Jasper page, the Kamloops Fockers are a large number of enthusiastic fat bikers, with a core group who get out with snowshoes–and a groomer when needed–to keep the trails rideable. Members of the Fat Fockers update statuses on trail conditions, post trail expansion ideas with community involvement, and upload a number of great photos.

The Fat Bike page is an entity of its own. Being member #150 (+/-), I have watched the group grow to almost 6,500 members worldwide. The topics vary from what fat bike should I buy, what winter clothes and boots do you recommend, what GPS is best, what studded tires, how about night lights, all the way to the most controversial one, “Once You Go Fat, You’ll Never Go Back!” That topic tends to raise the hackles in different ways, depending on the rider.

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Some riders are steadfast in their belief that fat bikes are the wave of the future and that we can wave good-bye to normal mountain bikes. And the evidence seemed to be in the interest and sales. Retailers in some areas couldn’t keep up with the demand, with Surly, Salsa, and Konas being produced for Canada. The industry was taken completely by surprise and mountain bike makers jumped on the bandwagon. This past year saw well known names in North America, like Trek, Specialized, and Norco, introduce their versions of a fat bike.

With this new wave of bikes came the redesigning of accessories to fit fat bikes and their riders’ needs, depending on where they rode. This included items such as panniers, racks, frame bags, lights, fenders, and attachments for carrying any number of items. These versatile bikes were covering all kinds of territory.

That also brings up the often unseen point in the debate, “are fat bikes a trend or not?” Where and when are fat bikes being ridden and how does that affect the market in a given area? For most of Canada and a chunk of the USA, winter has a lengthy grip. Personally, we bought the fat bikes primarily to ride in the winter.

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Fat bikes are proving, however, that they aren’t just a bike to ride in the winter… and if you do a search on fat bikes, you’ll find that some of them, originally, weren’t even intended to be winter bikes. Hundreds of photos of fat bikes in almost every country can be found on the internet, proving how they are being used as travel bikes and work horses. You can even find videos on YouTube of freestyling, touring, and even hunting on fat bikes. It is amazing what some of these riders are doing with fat bikes!

Since I try not to use a motorized vehicle at all when at home, I will use either of my bikes depending on how much time I have. The looks I get and the curiosity of non-riders when I do a solo ride on my fattie to the library or to get bread make the fat bike a fun training bike in the summer. My husband will only ride his fatti in the winter as he loves his Santa Cruz Carbon Blur for the rest of the year.

Is fat biking just a trend? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think they will entirely take over the biking market.

Your Turn: Do you see the fat bike craze slowing down anytime soon? Why or why not?

Sandra Pelley hails from Hinton, Alberta. She rides year-round and favors full suspension mountain bikes and fat bikes over road bikes. She and her husband travel all over western North America to ride their mountain bikes, and her bucket list includes a Women’s Only Weekend at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park in Ohio, Finale Ligure in Spain, France, Kingdom Trails in Vermont, and the Trestle Bike Park in Colorado, to name a few.

How far can you push a fat bike – FELT


Watch BMX rider Gregor Laucht gamble with gravity on the Felt DD 30.

The “Double Dare” video features German BMX/dirt jump rider Gregor Laucht riding the Felt DD 30 on the ski slopes in Switzerland. Filmed in January 2015, the village of Braunwald provides the perfect playground to test the limits of the DD 30 in mint powder conditions, demonstrating the full range of fat bike capabilities.

How far can you push a fatbike? Pretty far if you’re BMX pro Gregor Laucht. Watch Gregor take the Felt Double Double 30 to the powdery streets and slopes of Braunwald, Switzerland.