Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Posts about general riding stuff.

Mountain Biking in the Peak District 2013-2016 Video

A recap video of our riding in the Peak District over the last 4 years. More info on the bridleways ridden in the video can found on the Tracks page.

Climbing Hope Cross on eBikes

Now Monkeyspoon.com is 11 years old and it’s main riders are around 30, the unthinkable has happened: we’ve started riding uphill, and what’s more on one of the most popular mountain biking descents in the Peak District!

With James running Bike Garage and Shane Peak ebikes, we had the chance to play with the latest full suspension electric mountain bikes from Trek and Haibike. And what better place to try them out than our old proving ground, Hope Cross (aka The Beast).

After filming the video, we carried on up to descend Potato Alley, climbed up the other side and over to Gores, so had a chance to try them on a variety of terrains and gradients.

A couple of notes on the technology. It only puts in power when you peddle, so it’s not like a motorbike. The assistance reduces and stops as you go above 15mph and you realise you’re not superhuman after all. All that high technology adds a fair bit of weight to the bike (and that’s unlikely to change any time soon), so on the flat when you’re going faster than 15mph (or if your battery were to run out) you have a lot of bike to pedal.

Trek Powerfly FS 8 LT, Hope Cross
James’ Thoughts – Riding the Trek Powerfly FS 8 LT

“So I like ebikes,  but probably not for the reasons you might at first think. Often they are dismissed as a way of cheating, getting an advantage of your fellow rider. If that’s your game then yes you could quite easily use them to set the fastest KOM’s (King of the Mountain) on strava or equivalent. But for most people their real intended use is to allow you to ride further, take in more interesting routes, challenge yourself. Rather than being limited, because you know there is that hill. Effectively to give you the same freedom that as a cyclist we all enjoy.

With that said your probably wondering what that has to do with the challenge at hand. Climbing the beast, well our logic was if you can climb this route (spoiler alert: you can) then think of all the possibilities.  I was riding the Powerfly FS 8 LT, which in case your wondering FS is Full Suspension and LT stands for Long Travel. 150mm front and rear so you can enjoy the downs as much as the climbs. This model and other LT models also feature plus size wheels. The tyre width of 2.8 inch provided a really big benefit on this rocky climb, with Bontrager staying away from fitting a super knobby tyre and have gone for the chupacabra. Which provides good grip without compromising the rolling resistance on less technical trails. Where this bike really excels for me is when you get it going downhill, it feels super planted and very confidence inspiring to ride.”

Trek Powerfly FS 7, Hope Cross
Jeff’s Thoughts – Riding the Trek Powerfly FS 7
“It was very impressive technology, the assistance of the motor was useful when tired (or lazy). Getting to the point where I’d normally give up and push (which is often), and being able to wack it up to full power and peddle with easy was great. But on technical climbing, like on Hope Cross, it was quite different for normal climbing. The assistance gives the feeling that gravity or the steepness has greatly reduced, until you lose rear wheel grip, can’t get power into the pedals, or your front wheel won’t go up a rock, then you quickly stop. The easy of pedalling and speed from the assistance gives a false sense of momentum. For those concerned that eBikes make mountain biking too easy or might take the skill out of technical climbs, they didn’t in our test. I performed about half as well on this climb as the other two (I gave up three quarters of the way the first straight), so about the same ratio to how well they do when we’re on normal bikes. Climbing Hope Cross remains a hard challenge.”

Haibike, Hope Cross
Shane riding the Haibike SDURO AllMtn Plus

Bike Garage – Peak District Mountain Biking video

As some may know, the founder and CEO of Monkeyspoon.com; James Irwin now runs Bike Garage, a small bike shop located in Bamford, in the Peak District. Since he started out over 5 years ago we’ve been working towards a video and here it is:

Better late than never – Peaty’s Steel City Downhill 2013 Video

Finally got round to sorting the video from last year’s race. It’s only a year over-due.

Hopefully it’ll be dusty and sunny for this year’s race (Saturday 17th May www.steelcitydh.com).

[RootsandRain Link]Steel City DH, Greno Woods, 380 Race Photos

Cannock Chase – Stile Cop – 12 November

This post has been a little long in coming to fruition, some months ago I collected Jeff and headed south leaving the hills behind, meeting up with Josh and Nat for a Thursday ride. Having ridden with them in the summer we were on the search for some new and varied trails to feed our post Alps (Morgains) void. If you have been there you will know what I mean.

Natinthewoods

Cannock Chase, or more specificity “Stile Cope” is home to downhill section that form the chase trails which also includes the XC loops. Located just outside of Rugeley, Staffordshire, it is well placed and easily within reach with only a relatively short drive. I have visited both the XC and downhill trails a number of times and have been impressed with the variety and quality of what is on offer. The downhill area offers a number of good quality trails packed with features that ride well all year around. Along with an easy push up route, making it possible to get a good amount of time on the bike.

Joshinthwoods

Although the trails themselves are packed into a small area of woodland, each has a different style with something for novices to more “extreme” riders. With each new visit there always seams to be something new or improved. I would love to be more of a local, saying that I think I would miss the Peak District too much!  They also run mini races and timing sessions which must be awesome, racing your mates on your local trails, sweet.

After a quick blast down one the “Red Course” a straight forward red trail, which is fast but not overly technical. Ideal for a warm up before hitting some of the more technical trails in the woods. Despite a fair bit of rain leading up to the ride the trails were on the whole well drained with only the odd puddle to deal with. Running summer tires makes a pleasant change from the normal spikes that were and are still on my bike. With the easy push up we completed a number of runs, checking out different lines. Which was fairly tricky in the rooty woods.

With such a large number of trails littering the woods it is easily to drift from one to the next and before we knew it we found a new section of trails that we had not seen or ridden before. Steep rutted and rooty it was just the sort of thing we were looking for. After walking it we discovered the top of the trail, like may of the trails it branches off one of the larger trails near the top of the hill.

We dropped in for the first runs, the most difficult section being a short but technical straight between two tight s corners. Close to the trees and a nice tasty route ready to catch you out. After a tentative first attempt confidence and getting your balance just right seamed the key. Josh seamed to enjoy it more than most, with a couple of small crashed as he lost his balance into the next corner.

Gettingasplash

We then branched across to a trail called ridge run, as the name suggest it runs very straight with only a couple of corners to slow you down. A good puddle appeared in one of this corners. With Nat foolishly saying he was up for a good splash, no pun intended. And after a couple of poor attempts we got him good. With the light fading we headed home, satisfied with the days riding.

Natgettingwet

Jeff shot a few video clips and has knocked them together into a short video.

[Gallery Link]12-11-01 Cannock Chase Stile Cop, 24 Pictures by Jeff