Glacier-01

Aiguille du midi

I know, I know, it’s not even remotely bike related but I just wanted to document the nice photos I took today up at the Aiguille du midi. Up at 3842m altitude the air was thin and cold, I was mildly terrified in the cable-cars […]

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Buggered!

Today was a very special day. It was the first day that there’s been sufficiently clear trails to take a regular (non-fat) bike out on the trails (albeit trails a little lower down in the valley) for some off-road action – nice! Maybe I was […]

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Ski-touring

In a weird switcheroo it appears that I’m learning to ski uphill before learning to ski down??? I’ve been out twice now ‘skinning up’ which basically means strapping on an omni-directional ‘skin’ to a pair of skis and hiking up some steep snowy slopes. The […]

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video

Epic snowy ride

Yesterday I went on a short but really quite challenging fatbike ride. Only 10km in total (but seemed much longer with the amount of pushing and slow-paced deep snow riding) it provided some amazing views and really difficult terrain. In places the trail was compacted […]

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A January well spent

I’m writing this from the car on the way back to France after 3.5 weeks in sunny England. January wasn’t a big month in terms of the quantity of rides managed but what it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality! After the […]

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There and Back 2014

We’ve been in the UK for most of January and, as always, things have been crazy hectic and so, despite riding quite a bit, I’ve not managed to find time to write anything on the blog. The first big ride of the new year was […]

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Ardeche and Blighty visits

A few days ago I headed back to the Ardeche to show a Swiss couple round the farm. I took the opportunity to do some non-snow riding by way of preparation for tomorrow’s ‘There n Back’ bikepacking event in Wales. The weather was awful throughout […]

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Too much snow?

Evening, We’re currently enjoying loads of snow here in Chamonix but I’m a little worried. I went out Snowboarding yesterday for the first time this winter and I hated it! Waiting for ages for the lifts, crowded slopes and far too little skill meant that […]

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fat

Winter is here!

It seems that winter has landed in the Alps! There’s been a decent amount of snow around for the last month or so and it seems it’s here for good (well, hopefully spring will arrive at some point next year). I’ve been getting out fairly […]

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Plans for 2014

As has been well documented on this blog 2013 was a year consisting mainly of failed attempts, reoccurring injuries and missed opportunities. But…..I’ve decided that 2014 will be different! I’m not entirely sure why I feel so confident (maybe because I feel like I’ve finally […]

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01

New bouncy bike!

I’ve finally finished building-up my new Alp-friendly full-sus beast! I bought a used Santa Cruz ‘Blur LT’ bike on eBay and then set about making it mine (by changing almost everything!). Some of the changes were due to the parts coming with the bike being […]

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05

HOLY CRAP!

I went for a ride with Mikey and friends (sorry fellas I will eventually remember some names) on Saturday and to say that I was blown-away by the trails I now have on my doorstep would be the understatement of the week. The whole ride […]

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not-me

Changes…..

For me this year seems to be all about changes. Firstly, our lives have been completely up-ended and our lifestyle has changed forever as we gave up the farm and moved house. Sports-wise – I bought a carbon road bike (something I said I’d never […]

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01

I’M BACK!!!

WOW – when the house got struck by lightening a few months ago (one hell of a lights exploding, fuse-board melting and ear-splitting bang affair) we didn’t think that we’d never be online in that house again – but that’s exactly what happened! So it’s no […]

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03

June

So…..that’s June finished! It’s felt pretty uninspiring on the riding front this month (which is why things have been pretty quiet on the blog). It’s not that I’ve haven’t been putting the miles in but they’ve been road miles and so there’s only so much […]

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03

An evening tootle

I went on my first proper ride since the Pyrenees this evening and it was lovely. Not long but mean as hell in terms of a nasty little climb and some seriously technical descents!

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TP-03-10

TransPyr 2013 – Day 03

The plan was that every third day would be shorter and easier than the previous two to give us a rest and so Day 03 was, on paper, a half-day with time to rest and recover after two big days in the saddle – HA!

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pyrenees

On the road again…..

Right…..it’s almost 04:00, I’ve got a taxi coming to take me to St Pancras in 15 minutes, I got 3.5 hours sleep after a wedding last night and I’ve got a 17 hour day of travel ahead of me! All being well I’ll be back […]

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Looking likely.

Tomorrow we head back to Blighty and in just over a week I’m scheduled to take the train to the very north-east of Spain in order to start the TransPyr trip with Nick, Duncan and Kevin. At this time my elbow has regained 90% of […]

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08

I got BOAR’d!

You know a trip has gone a little awry when it’s 01:30 in the morning and you’re sat up a tree in your pants, armed with only a headtorch and leatherman watching a wild boar attempt to eat your bike!

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06

Mountain air.

I went to see a sports physio this morning and got me some new and (hopefully) improved warm-up/post-ride exercises as well as some more core strength stuff and so I set-off on a nice little celebratory tootle to see how things are progressing spine-wise.

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01

3 for 3 (March overnighter)

I’m continuing my monthly bivi challenge but…..due to weather, my ongoing bad back and other time constraints, I was fast running out of March and so I decided that I’d do something a little different this month.

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Tubelessness

Afternoon, I’ve had a very quiet few weeks as my back’s been giving me crap again and so I’ve been taking things VERY easy (a run here and a swim there but not much else). But…..today there are a few little things to report:

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06

First ride in March

I can’t believe it’s the 8th and I’ve only just done my first ride of the month! To be fair I’ve been bloody busy so far this month and so I’ll let myself off just this once. I’ve been spending my days chasing out the […]

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info

A slow start to the year…..

As part of a drive to motivate myself to do more this year here is the first of 12 planned monthly instalments which document just how much (or how little) I’ve ridden each month. Below for your viewing pleasure (pah!) is a graphic representation of the first […]

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05

I love winter riding!

I’ve not managed to get out for a little while due to being (overly?) cautious with a bit of a sore back but today the sun was shining, the snow was crisp, my back was feeling good and I definitely felt the need to get out into […]

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02

More night riding…

I’ve been managing to get out a little bit for a few night rides (necessary as there simply isn’t enough daylight to do everything that needs doing (renovations, baby, cooking, farm) as well as getting out on my bike).

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13-01-2012-03

Snowy VTT club ride

This morning I went on my first ride with a local Mountain Bike (VTT) Club. Well…..with one member anyway. Everyone else didn’t show up due to either the overnight snow or because they had some kind of reunion drinks last night – but me and […]

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04

1st trip of 2013 – DONE!

Last night, after being inspired reading everyone’s ’2013 bivi-a-month challenge‘ aims over on the Bear Bones Bikepacking forum, I decided to change my plans for a night ride into an impromptu mini-bikepacking trip.

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pyrenees

TransPyr 2013

It’s been a while in the planning (and things may well alter yet) but preparations have progressed sufficiently that I think it’s not premature to mention the plans for my Big Trip 2013! After loving my TransAlp 2012 trip so much I didn’t want to […]

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l’Etape du Tour

l’Etape du Tour

Bugger! It would appear that I’ve accidentally entered the 2013 l’Etape du Tour road event. It’s a stage from next years Tour de France (usually one of the harder mountain stages) and so it seemed ideal for someone who’s never ridden in any road biking event […]

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November Bivi

It took until the 27th of this fine autumn month before I managed to get out for a night in the wild! There were a number of aborted attempts and failed missions but last night I ignored the forecast snow and sub-zero temperatures and set-off […]

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solaris-08

Bike porn!

Evening all, Today I took delivery of the final parts to put together my long-awaited shiny new 29er build! My Cotic ‘Solaris’ is finally complete and ready to hit the trails (there’ll be a mini test ride tomorrow before a weekend of bike/bivi fun!).

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Paleo diet thingy

Evening, I’ve always liked the idea of eating better but unfortunately I’ve never liked the idea more than I like eating cakes and drinking beer and so, a few years ago, I found myself on the slippery slope to obesity and early death (ok, so I’d put on […]

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021112-night-ride

Night-rider!

Last night I went out to test my new Hope ‘Vision 1′ light. When used with my LED Lenser ‘H7R’ head-torch it seems (based on yesterday’s outing) to offer up enough light for me to get out and do some night time rides over this […]

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A real ride!

Evening, Today I went on what should be considered my first ‘real’ mountain bike ride since the dreaded back incident of late August. It wasn’t far but it was sufficiently technical that I’d go as far as to call it actual mountain biking!

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Caminata españoles grande

Being so close to the bottom of France a few days ago meant that we were also very close to the top of Spain (funny that)! As I’d never been to Spain before I took the opportunity to sneak over the border for a mini […]

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221012-01

WOO-HOO!!!!!

Today I managed my first little ride in well over a month! It wasn’t a long ride, it wasn’t a technically difficult ride but it certainly was a very welcome one!

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tiger

Luggage:

One of the most important factors in bikepacking is the carrying and weight distribution of your kit. Five pieces of kit complete my bikepacking luggage ensemble: Frame-bag Rucksack Seat-bag Bar-bag Gas-tank

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Cooking gear:

To continue the ‘gear I took on my trip’ series here’s a run-down of what I cooked on and how it faired throughout the trip. I did a fair bit of looking around and testing before I settled on my stove/cookware for my trip and […]

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140912-02

On the mend!

This evening I went for an actual real life bike ride! My back is now feeling sufficiently healed for me to risk a (very VERY tame) short little tootle around the woods near here. For the first km or so I think that the only […]

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solaris

Retail (back) therapy

My back is feeling a lot better. In fact, I went out on my bike (for the first time since my disc selfishly herniated) today! I popped down the trail from the house for a few hundred metres before turning around and riding back.

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02

XXC article

Evenin’, Despite the fact that I’m still stuck flat on my back, unable to move, in constant back pain whilst looking helplessly out over Mont Blanc I find myself in a strangely good mood.

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new

New blog address

I should also probably mention (not that it’ll have escaped your attention) that I’ve moved my blog and so, whilst you can still be redirected here if you visit www.simple-lodge.com/biking, the easiest and most direct route is to simply type in www.gairy.co.uk

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xray

Ouch!

I’ve spent the last week pretty much entirely horizontal due to crippling back pain. My old friend the ‘herniated L3′ has reared it’s ugly head and put me on my ass!

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02

I will never be fast!

We’ve had Matt, Rachel and (Amelie’s best friend) baby Connie with us for the past week and so it’s been my pleasure to take Matt out into the Ardèche hills so that he can teach me some lessons in humility.

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12 hour stealth bivi!

I did some maths and realised that I have no free evenings for the rest of the month and so, beginning to panic about the ’2012 Bivi a month challenge’, I opted to do a 12 hour stealth-bivi last night.

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06

Salamandre bikes

I met up with Yann yesterday (as mentioned in my previous post) who makes custom bike frames in the south of the Ardeche. I couldn’t resist sharing a few photographs of a few of his fat-bikes as they’re beautifully made and perfect for bikepacking duties.

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01

TransAlp – 07

Ok, so this is it, the final TransAlp post – thanks for staying with me. It’s been a long trip-report and I think we’ll all be happy to move on with our lives now that it’s almost over!

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07

TransAlp – 04

Afternoon, Sorry for the delay in the posting of Day 04 but I’ve been having image hosting issues and have been unable to put anything new up for days. So…..where were we?

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02

TransAlp – 03

Day 03: Despite what the profile of the .gpx file indicates below I did not descend to sea-level before climbing a 1.5km vertical cliff at the start of day 03!

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TransAlp – 01

It’s been well over a week since I returned from my ‘Big Trip’ and so I decided it was about time I attempted to string some words together and write about what went on. Ok, here goes…..

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ALIVE!!!!!

ALIVE!!!!!

After 6.5 days (3.5 days faster than expected) in the mountains I successfully completed my TransAlp trip! I’ve just gotten back to Chamonix and am absolutely (both physically and mentally) exhausted.

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and I’m off…..

and I’m off…..

Evening all, Almost time to be off and just enough time (before eating some pork chops and going to bed) for this post. Everything that I can be arsed to do is done and anything that’s been forgotten is staying forgotten!

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Le Raid VTT des Monts d’Ardèche

Ok, so it’s now just over a week until I’m off on my trip! So…..last weekend I entered a 3 day/4 stage mountain bike race in Le Chelyard to see how my ‘training’ has worked out. I’d been meaning to enter this race for the […]

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Long, hot and knackered!

Evening! On Friday I went on another 24 hour ‘training trip’ which turned out to be a real humdinger of a ride! I wanted to have the most riding time on both Friday and Saturday and so I set-off at 14:00 which would give me […]

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01

One month to go…..

Good afternoon, There’s less than a month to go now until I set-off on my big trip and so I’m starting to pick up the pace with regards to ‘training’ so…..as well as doing some nice long rides I’ve also been doing a sweet little […]

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250512-01

Adapted seat-bag

A while back I bought an Ortileb seat bag and it was basically a bit crap. Always moving around and getting in the way and generally (apart from being really waterproof) of no use what-so-ever. Then, whilst recently thinking about ways to make a harness for […]

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250512-01

Weekend bivi trip

I’ve been trying to refine my kit and packing-order in preparation for my big trip in July and now that my kit is (mostly) sorted I feel like I’m finally getting close to being happy with it all. So…..I’ll be heading off on Saturday for […]

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Fuel-tank

Yesterday, I took delivery of my newest piece of bikepacking luggage – the ‘fuel tank’. It’s basically just a little top-tube mounted bag for carrying the little things which usually clog up your pockets or become annoyingly inaccessible (as they end up at the bottom […]

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200512-ride-03

Le Cheylard ‘big-loop’

Afternoon folks, This morning I headed out to do a ride which I managed part of back in January before my navigation skills let me know down and I missed off the intended last 3rd of the ride. Don’t get me wrong my new and […]

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190512-04

Great new ride!

Today I bagged myself another great ride to add to my collection of ‘rides to do whilst picking someone up/dropping someone off at Valence train station’.

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140512-ride-03

Lake Devesset ride

Today I went on another little tootle which I thought I’d post about. I rode from Saint Agreve via Lake Devesset to Le Chambon Sur Lignon and then back home.

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All things 29er…..

Afternoon all, As I’ve had my 29er for a couple of weeks now (we’ve been on a few good rides together, I’ve fallen off a couple of times and we’ve generally gotten to know each other quite well) I feel that I’m ready to give […]

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