Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 12 December – Sturmey Archer

Posted by DaveC | December 13, 2010 | 19 comments so far

Tony and Lee at Langley Vale
Matt’s not the only one failing to shift smoothly this year.

This weekend’s ride was a fairly standard affair over to Langley Vale and back in a rough figure of eight, taking in supplies atop Box Hill. The riders consisted of myself, JohnR, Kevin, Biketech Mark, Gary, Tony and Lee.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of the route but some of the highlights include;

  1. Shimano in Dynasys 10 speed shifter failure! Yes, JohnR was forced to emulate Matt by going 3 speed for most of his ride, actually from the foot fo Alsation! So, it’s not just SRAM that are failing now.
  2. Traction through Life on Mars was “limited”
  3. Mark and Gary both liked HP Ally down into Langley Vale
  4. JohnR took advantage of the sun when we got to Langley Vale to take some shots he later turned a bit “arty”
  5. On the return run we found Chainbreaker to be grip “limited”
  6. No one was having any success up High Ashurst climb
  7. During refreshemenst Lee confided in me that he felt his bike needed some Spank additions
  8. Infestation wasn’t much better in terms of grip!

So a grip limited and gear limited sort of ride! Spanking.

Filed under Rides in December 2010


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

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  1. pij says:

    We kind of did the mirror image figure of 8 to your ride; common ground being, I think, your HP Alley that we did in the upwards direction from Langley Vale? May have been a tad colder our Reigate side, as grip was pretty much fine, and mud wasn’t too much of an issue. Even the remaining ice just proved to be fun once used to it.

    Not too many people about on Sunday, and I think they missed a good day out.

    The ten speed bikes – magazines rave about them, and your shifting issues remind me of when nine speed came out [let alone when 8 speed first came out!!]. Is it just a lubing problem? Cable and chain? Or is it in reality a step too far?

    Oh and back to tubeless; I had a snakebite puncture on the rear that had me wishing I’d not changed back. D’oh.

  2. Matt says:

    John, I didn’t realise you had 10 speed on your new Orange. I’ve just got it on my new Secteur road bike and it has me interested for off-road as the gear range is wide but the steps are quite small.

    Shame you’re having problems with it, both my 9-speed SRAM X0 shifters have fallen to bits this year (replaced under warranty – thanks to Biketech) but it’s the first time I’ve ever had shifters fail on me.

    Not a good sign if Shims are problematic too.

  3. John R says:

    The story of my shifter continued after the ride. I gave the bike a good clean ready for a trip to Cycleworks and found the the shifter was magically working again.

    My only explanation is that some water on the cable, from its wash on Saturday or a wet puddle, had frozen up in the cold weather.

    Unfortunately it is also possible that the shifter is on its way to failing permanently – I’ll see how it performs next ride.

    PS Yes Matt it is 10 speed, although as I didn’t have time to adjust it properly on Sunday, it is currently working as a 9 speed!

  4. tony says:

    Nice photo John, but it’s not me. I think that it’s Kevin.

    A good day to get out and enjoy the trails. It really depended where you were – sunshine or shade – as to how grippy/muddy the trails were. Some parts were at the seriously “interesting” end of the spectrum. Chainbreaker comes to mind!

  5. KevS says:

    That is indeed me Tony, good spot!

    I was trying to keep up with Lee on his single speeder grinding up from the bottom of Langley Vale. Dont know how he does it!

  6. pij says:

    Followed what I took to be said singlespeeder up to Colley Hill on Sunday. He stood up the whole time; how the devil do you find traction? Whenever I stand up I spin the back end out. So how he did it on the ice is beyond me. The “why do it at all” is a question I’ll not go into! Each to their own [although with frozen cassettes most were on singlespeeders by default anyway!].

    Interesting to note the variety of bikes, and the different way each rider rides or has their bike set up. The magazines will have you believe that there is only one true way to tackle any obstacle, and that your bike should be set up in a particular fashion, or be fitted with particular tyres on any given day. Granted some advice will be good and valuable, but figure most has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    New category for the marketeers; Sceptic Rider!

    Nice to see you guys out and about, even though you made my bike look like an Aldi discounted special. Boy do you guys have some nice kit amongst you [Ragley raw coloured carbon bars being my favourite – Quick! On the net NOW! Jenks]. Nice to see them being used as well, rather than brought out once a year when the London to Brighton is on.

    Hope you enjoyed your lunch?

  7. Dave says:

    Hi PIJ,

    Sorry to have missed you yesterday but I decided to sit in the pub in comfort and enjoy my lunch!

    I think you have correctly identified reviews as nothing more than opinion! However, I have to also say that it’s really hard to write a review that doesn’t make it come across as fact, I guess because the “author” generally believes what they write and hence it is the “truth” for them. As you say though, the “evidence” from looking at a group of riders indicates that variety wins!

    Lunch, by the way, was very good, 9/10. I only docked a point because of the size of the Christmas Pudding.

  8. pij says:

    It was bizarre. There I was, all alone in a car park taking intimate photographs of my loved one, when 15 steaming bikers turned up en masse. I didn’t know where to turn!

    Possibly easier to ‘review’ a bit of kit with an editor and advertising executive over your shoulder…. A lot of the riding tips I go in for, but then completely ignore once out on the trail head. As for kit, huh. The amount of top review items I’ve bought that ended up resigned to dustbin status within a ride or two is upsetting. Quasar Links Evo forks anybody?

    I guess this is why people look at blogs and just plain ask what works when out on the trail; too confusing let alone expensive to trust the magazines.

    Pudding too small or too big then? Guess with a cyclists appetite, too small! Don’t knock it too much; whilst you were all firmly settled in I was gritting my drive eating a cold muesli bar: 1/10. Even my Camelbak was frozen solid.

  9. Dandy says:

    Always good to meet a fellow Pace rider, PIJ. I forgot to ask how the rib was doing, but as you were out in the snow it can’t have been that bad.

    As you have identified, the Moles are certainly a ‘broad church’ when it comes to bikes. However, with the exception of Trek/Specialized (the Audi/BMW of the MTB world), the consensus is to buy British, generally Orange for full-sus and On-One for hardtails (though Cotic and Pace also get a look in).

  10. pij says:

    Hi Dandy,

    rib on the mend, thanks. Oddly enough the only time it is fine, is on the bike. Otherwise it still bloomin’ hurts. So much for sledging with the kids.

    As for the Pace frame, well, I’ve always wanted one and I’m pleased as punch with it. It has capabilities way better than I’ll ever have, and is the only bike I need if I’m being honest. I suspect that frame breakages are possibly over-reported, as buyers are keen, first adopters with a bit of cash to splash. The ones most likely to moan on web pages like this! Mine has been fine, and still is.

    Your humour reminded me of some of the clubs and brothels that I’ve been to in my line of work. Just plain funny, although one suspects you get the odd look now and then? Such humour and observations are to be encouraged.

    Once again, nice to meet you lot.

  11. Dandy says:

    “Your humour reminded me of some of the clubs and brothels that I’ve been to in my line of work” !!! Shurely shome mishtake here, or was it the combination of prescribed medication and brandy from the hip flask ?

    How do I get a job like that?

  12. paul901 says:

    Oh, that chap on the Pace at the Reigate half-way point was the infamous PIJ! I thought his dignity was admirable as he approached the bridge next to the closed tea hut where we Moles had come to a stop in the way. One of the Moles shouted “don’t block this chap’s passage” or something similar. Maybe that was fear on your face though!

    Nice to put a face/Pace/frame/expression to a name!

  13. pij says:

    It was a look of fear – I’d been caught out in a public place, and not a virtual one!

    What look should one adopt when approaching a herd of mountain bikers? I’m keen to get the social niceties correct here. One should surely smile, yet also give out a karmic sense of being some kind of riding God not to be messed with?

    “How do I get a job like that?” Simple; fail miserably at school, become a social misfit then get absorbed into the welcoming arms of local government employ. That or just pay the £15 admission fee that these places charge.

    I sometimes think that the underbelly of major cities should be on the tourist agenda. Why leave it to locals and officious pricks in cheap M&S clothing and bad hair to root them out?

    One senses that we’re going to go joyously off topic here….

  14. Dandy says:

    Off-topic alert! What role in local government takes you into clubs and brothels? Or maybe that’s just where local government hang out after work, or it’s just to earn a few extra bob?

    I always suspected there was a place in the public sector for me, it’s just taken too long to find it.

    On a slightly related note, I have just been asked to investigate which software system is best suited to a hospital specialising in breast enhancements.

    A case of Silicon Valley meets Silicone Valleys, perhaps?

  15. pij says:

    “Off-topic alert! What role in local government takes you into clubs and brothels? Or maybe that’s just where local government hang out after work, or it’s just to earn a few extra bob?”

    The further a business is away from the ‘norms’ the more it gets inspected by different bodies. Environmental Health, the Police, HSE, Trading Standards, Licensing all play a part in making sure that the sex industry gets things right. Sounds tedious because generally it is – you often see them during the day, with the lights on. Tacky doesn’t even go half way to describing what they are like.

    If you sell greetings cards, nobody would bother you. Sell alcohol and put on a peep show, you get everybody through the door.

    Brothels tend to be the exception; one finds those as a by product of looking for other stuff. Brothels can be anywhere.

    Some employees are attracted by the dark side of it all, but to be honest it can get a bit tedious [tame even] once you’ve been to a few, and see how bored the people there get. Personally at work I’m far more interested in going to an Evan’s store than a peep show or gay club!

    But it does make for interesting stories…..

    As for making a few bob on the side, I guess some do – I knew a guy who ran a brothel whilst still employed, and that oddly enough was deemed acceptable. Go figure.

    Really, clubs are quite boring if that’s not your thing.

    Are the Moles really this insulated from the mechanics of life on the streets? One suspects not….

  16. (Medical)paul901 says:

    Dandini, what an admirable challenge you have there. You have a PM to help you…

  17. Dandy says:

    “Are the Moles really this insulated from the mechanics of life on the streets?”

    Of course we are, we spend all our time tunnelling under the earth, only surfacing occassionally to wrap our muddy paws around some handlebars and pedal off into the winter gloom.

    Not quite sure what challenge you had in mind for me Paul, but my imagination is taking me in several, quite opposing, directions!

    Currently, my attempt at ‘the big society’ only extends to clearing the snow off the path in front of my house. I won’t be donning my Dandy cape to clean up the streets of Kingston just yet.

    Besides, rumour has it that were I to venture into some of Kingston’s more ‘entertaining’ bars I might encounter a Mole or two !!! You know who you are, ‘cos I’ve seen you in there 😉

  18. pij says:

    “You know who you are, ‘cos I’ve seen you in there ;-)” – reminds me that scene with Graham Norton in Father Ted…. “3am, Tony!”

    Bum, Bum!

    Ooops… Boom, Boom!

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