Feedback, that sense of feeling the trail, the bike instantly responding to your every input.

Every half turn of the cranks propelling you forwards, the tyres telling you what they find through your hands and feet. The wheels turn and the tyres buzz, the frames silence only broken by the occasional chink of chain on stay.

Glen Dye Mount Battock sheep shed

I love hardtails, I have two of them, their characters may be totally different but the solid connection between rider, the trail and the sensation of riding that they provide are the same.

Convention says you should ride a hardtail first. Learn your bike handling skills before getting a full suss or risk having your lack of abilities hidden by a more capable bike. Whilst I agree with this to a point, riding a hardtail will teach you bike handling, and how to ride a hardtail whilst riding a full suss will teach you bike handling and how to ride with suspension.


Hardtails teach you to be smooth, to refine your line choice and control your speed. Riding smooth can be fast, but the smoothest line is not always the fastest line.

Full suss teaches you the fastest line, how to not brake and to trust the suspension. Trusting the bike to do its job is not always a short coming of skill. It takes confidence and bike handling to hit a section of roots and drops knowing the bike will work, and will work better if you don’t grab a fist full of brake.

Hardtails teach you about pedaling, climbing and body position, riding a full suss teaches you the same.

There is a place for both kinds of bikes, I am faster on certain types of trail on one and slower on others, it depends. Almost all my PB’s at trail centres are on hardtails and almost all my natural descents are on full sussers.

I wouldn’t pick one over the other but if I could only ride one bike for the rest of my life, it probably wouldn’t have a rear shock.

Sven the bike 2


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Kaspir & Henry

Sold a car Sold a bike, 6 wheels less in the stable.

Last month was a good (or bad a month) for wheels in our house. Henry the faithful Honda HRV after a difficult few months went on to pastures new and time was also called on Kaspir the Santa Cruz Heckler 5.0.

“were showing signs of problems”

Both have shared adventures and spots on the driveways for almost the same amount of time, and both, to paraphrase my car mechanic “were showing signs of problems”.


Selling both cars and bikes as private sales can sometimes be a tricky and with bikes, long process. After all, it is a buyers market. So with your expectations realistically set, a sale shouldn’t take that long. I advertised both on Facebook and Gumtree, but it was Facebook that found both buyers. The Santa Cruz having an offer of the asking price accepted within 24 hours of being advertised.

Racing Mountain Bike Pits Muckmedden

As brilliant as they both are, the lure of the new was starting to grow. As was the niggle (with the bike at least) that I was starting to out grow the Heckler, having gotten as much as I could out of the 2001 frame design. I don’t expect to be instantly faster on modern geometry or 650b, but I expect to have a bike that is more confidence inspiring and with that, pace will come.


I will miss both of them they were brilliant and will continue to be brilliant, just for someone else.


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Year One

It all started innocently.

I thought I’d create a wee blog to keep all my mountain biking efforts in one place. I produce blog posts and maintain webspace at work so I had the know how and wanted to make something that was for me.

One year on the site has grown and has been given a fresh new look and URL (www.stravaigingmtb.com). I thought I would just say thank you to everyone who has visited the site this last year.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings. And to my Wife for putting up with my poor punctuation and time spent typing on the sofa.

Hopefully next year will be just as exciting, with a new bike build on the way (again thank you to my Wife 🙂 ) as well as the usual exploits, should be fun!


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Schrödinger’s Valve

When I was a toddler I had an aortic coarctation, it was treated with surgery.

I had annual check ups which involved ECGs and x-rays to ensure there was no further coarctation. As an adult the medicals are far less frequent and thankfully there is no sign of narrowing of the artery.

A common other defect for those who have or have had a coarctation is a bicuspid heart valve. This is when the three leaflets that usually make up your heart valve are fused into two.


If this is the case then there is usually no ill effect if you are fit and active but when in your 40s to 50s then surgery may be required. Especially if other symptoms present themselves.

I was at my medical recently and the consultant was unsure as to whether my valve is normal or bicuspid, the results were inconclusive.

My fitness is important to me for lots of reasons, to be able to participate in cycling and enjoy it to the best of my abilities without my fitness stopping me. But now more importantly than anything, to be there for my wee boy and wife.

If I do have a bicuspid valve and surgery is required as I move forward in life, I will not allow my fitness to inhibit my recovery or quality of life afterwards. For my wife and for my wee boy. The time in the pain cave is for more than myself its for them as well.


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