“it can be ridden in a shopping trolley”

One of the best trails in the area (there aren’t that many anyway) has been obliterated by the relentless march of progress. This used to be a challenging downhill – roots, steps, a big wheel-grabbing rut and a couple of tight bends. I’ve crashed on this trail more times than I can remember but when you got it right, it was ace.

Now look at it. It’s about 4 feet wider in some places, about a dozen trees have been felled and the bends have been straightened out. A lovely thick layer of gravel has completed the hatchet job.

At the bottom, the theme continues. Elsewhere in the area trails have been flattened in readiness for more gravel and sanitisation. I’m expecting more heartache in the next few days…


They’ve left the really good stuff alone though. For now.


Thanks to the magic of Ebay, I swapped the wheels and fork on the Patriot. The big Z1 Freeride fork was changed for a Pike with the all-important U Turn travel reducer for the climbs. I also reduced the rotating weight of the wheels by 1.3 pounds, which is quite a lot, by swapping the Hope/D321 wheels for Hope/DT 5.1’s. The different tyres also mean the bike sits a bit lower and I have to say it’s a revelation. The previous wheelset sapped momentum as soon as I stopped pedalling, climbs had to be ridden in the granny ring and I was reluctant to ride the bloody thing. It had got to the point where I was even thinking of selling the whole bike.

Now, I can carry speed through turns and rough sections without pedalling. I can move the bike around more due to the lower weight and the amount of effort needed to accelerate is significantly less. It’s like having a new bike, in fact. 1.3 pounds at the wheels is a HUGE reduction.