Smooth Solidarity.

More of the same...

October (2011):
commutes by bike 12 (131)
commute distance 310.5 (3597km)
total distance 703.5km (9255km)
commutes by car 7 (39)
turbo sessions 0 (1)
time trials 0 (17)
run 23km (63km)
row 7km (256km)
nights not at home 0 (47)

After yet more days of not feeling well and so lacking the motivation to ride, I’ve ended October having commuted by car 7 times. In February that figure was zero.

Still, the Polish trip has bumped up the mileage for the year for the year and I’d should achieve the 10,000km mark for the second time ever.
I appreciate that this is more than most people, but to put it into context, I was speaking with a rider from another local club who was telling me that he was already past 21,000 and would get to 24,000km+. He had records going back 35 years totalling 800,000km! No wonder, even at 57 years old, he is still kicking my arse on time trials.
Still, a mini-tour over the next couple of days should get me past 9,500km and closer to having a rest at Christmas.

Friday commute home. Lovely...

On-One Carbon 29er Race Review.

I… am a lucky fella*

On-One 29er Carbon Race

As you may have noticed if you read this blog more than occasionally, I have a bit of a thing for On-One/Planet-X bikes. I now take pictures that sometimes they use on their website, but have been a customer for many years – appreciating their value for money approach and knowing that a bike designed an hour’s drive from where I live is likely to suit my trails and conditions better than something from halfway round the world.
All I have to do is take the photos. If the bike is a bit shit then I could just keep quiet about it and send off the pictures. On-One would still be happy. But this bike really is a bit special and so I thought I’d say a bit about it. 
If you read my post about the Scandal 29er, you’ll know that I’m no professional tester, just a bloke like you that reads around a bit before spending my hard-earned, but usually has to run the magazine and on-line reviews through a ‘reality filter’, knowing that the bloke doing the testing rides 10 different bikes a day…

on-one carbon 29er

It is an On-One Carbon 29er Race with a few tweaks to the spec. It is built around their super-lightweight (1100g) carbon frame, RockShox Reba RLT forks and XT bits and pieces. The wheels are On-One’s own carbon rims with Schwalbe Little Alberts, FSA carbon bars, Thomson post and and On-One bignose saddle.

On-One 29er Carbon Race

The bike is stunning. It looks like some kind of futuristic muscle car. It seems to bristle with attitude and aggression just standing in the shed. It’s probably like the Lotus Elise Mark 5 will look when it comes out in 10 years time. The carbon bends and bulges all over the frame with subtle shoulders and angles. The gloss finish looks almost wet and the red metallic stripe around the inside of the front triangle (as seen previously on De Rosa road bikes) finishes it off a treat. Wherever I have taken this bike, people have stood and stared. People (riders and non-cyclists alike) all come for a look and comment. Even roadies like it. It could be all that carbon…
The line that really catches the eye is the arcing top-tube that continues smoothly into the seat stays. Just beautiful.

On-One 29er Carbon Race

The idea of moving the makers name from the sides to the front of the down-tube works too. It means that the main frame remains un-cluttered, but also gives them more room for the logo.

On-One 29er Carbon Race

Other features of the frame are the giant bottom bracket junction. A press fit BB92 makes for more rigidity and power transfer apparently. The head tube is equally massive with a tapering headset (bigger race at the bottom than the top), again adding stiffness. The chain stays are huge too, but still seem to have plenty of room around the 2.3″ tyres.

On-One 29er Carbon Race

There is a lump in the seat tube for the front mech to bolt directly to – no bands required and the back brake is where it should be – within the rear triangle.
It’s a 31.8mm seat post fit too, so should be stiff but also allow use of those fancy dropper posts if you must.

On-One 29er Carbon Race

All in all, it is a well thought out frame with all of my boxes suitably ticked – I really can’t find fault with the finish, the paint, the graphics, anything.


And so to the ride. Well apparently, the geometry on this is based on the Scandal 29er that I’d ridden before. That may be true, but this bike rides so much better. The strange thing is that it doesn’t feel like a 29er (and that’s a good thing). Sure, you get the advantages of rolling over obstacles and carrying huge momentum along the trail, but it feels far more ‘steerable’. 
Until I’d ridden this bike and after a lifetime of riding ‘normal’ 26″ wheeled bikes, 29ers had sometimes felt a little unwieldy because of their wheel size. Never quite so rideable and engaging unless I was on on swooping, and not too technical trails. 

on-one carbon 29er

This bike re-addresses all of those reservations I had about larger wheels. A first foray onto the trails of my local woodland and I found that the light weight and responsiveness of the frame allow all the commitment and involvement that my faithful Inbred singlespeed has for years. But then add in the advantages of those big wheel and it is a very special recipe. Being light carbon rims, they spin up to speed just as easily as smaller wheels and so the major drawback of 29ers (the extra effort accelerating out of corners – something you do a lot of on tight, woodland trails) is gone.

29er sunrise

With XT stopping power, RockShox to keep that front wheel where it should be and every ounce of energy you put in reaching the rear wheel, the ride is thrilling. The trails I am so familiar with are suddenly passing by much quicker. The stream crossing that I used to need to brake for to drop into is now tackled at speed as the extra diameter of the front wheel will handle that, just like it did the tree roots and kerb-sized trail lumps.
Climbing is a doddle with that power transfer and feather weight and I’m cornering and twisting through the trees with confidence and purpose with the bike feeling like and old friend already.

carbon 29er

Home again and before I get the coffee on, before I take my helmet off, even before I shout ‘hello’ to the missus I’ve already got the bucket and sponge out to wash the mud off the bike. It’ll be in standing in the kitchen again tonight so I can look at those curves for a little while longer…


*most of the time.

Come play with me.

The last few years of my life* reduced to four and a half minutes.

*I should point out that there are a few sets of event photos in there where I have taken pictures of all the riders in an event. I’m not so nuts for people in lycra and pointy hats…

Sit right down my wicked son and let me tell you a story…

My first ride of 2011 was another adventure through the snow and ice of Central Poland. It was a beautiful, crisp morning with a solar eclipse to see me off. Compared to last week’s ride in -8 Celsius, today’s -3 was positively balmy…

wioska - ice ride
wioska - ice ride

The roads are suffering from a couple of months of a snow, thaw, freeze cycle that just builds up layer upon layer of ice. Imagine this in the UK? People would be writing to their MP.

wioska - ice ride

There seem to be plenty of marked cycle routes in the area. I just need to find a map showing where they go…

wioska - ice ride

Time to get off and walk…

wioska - ice ride

Most of the pictures that have been taken for this blog and a few I’ve had published in magazines have been taken with my Panasonic Lumix FX-35. I knew carrying it in my hip pocket was a bad a idea and sure enough, when I came off on the ice a few miles into the ride, I landed full on it. The case and screen are scratched and the Crumpler case has yet more battle scars, but the camera still seems to work. In fact, all of the picture in this post (apart from the last one obviously) were taken after I dropped 85 kilos onto it.
The route on Bikely.com.

My Commuting Year.

For the last few years I have been following Chris’ most excellent lockring.not.included blog.

People often tell me that they admire my commitment to riding, especially through the worst of the weather, but his daily pictures and cataloguing of the changing of the seasons almost always get me wishing that I’d gone further on the way home (or at least used the fixed gear).

Once again, his year’s mileage stats makes mine look pretty pitiful, but here goes…

Total distance: 7487km (4653 miles)
Ridden to work: 148 days
Run to work: 16 days
Car to work: 37 days. Given that I wasn’t allowed to ride a bike for 6 weeks at the start of the year, I’m still pretty please with what I have chalked up, although it will of course be much more next year (as everyone who does this sort of thing says at this time of year).

Winter:
snow tree

Spring:
today

Summer:
on-one scandal 29er

Autumn:
leaves

As I’ve said before, getting up early every morning and riding to work won’t add years to my life, but it certainly adds life to my years…