This page contains details of another interest of mine, mountain bikes.
Use the links below to position to a particular section.
I became interested in mountain bikes in the summer of 1999. I figured it would be a good way of trying to keep fit and diluting the stress of work during the final year of Y2K changes.
My first bike was a TREK 200 purchased from 'The Edge' in Chester. This bike served me well for a few weeks by which time I had realised that I really enjoyed cycling and getting out around Chester on some of the canal paths, single tracks and local forests.
The opportunity came up to purchase a nearly new TREK 8900 bike from 'The Edge' at a reduced price. I part exchanged my old, in fact nearly new bike, for the 8900.
Over the next few months I covered over 2000 miles on my Bike before having an accident in which I broke a rib or two. This put me out of cycling for a while.
On June 19th 2001 my Bike was stolen from work. This was a major shock especially since it was stolen from outside the security office and wasn't insured :-( It also meant that I had to start using my car to get to work - a much more costly and less healthy affair, although fun.
I didn't really hold out much hope of ever seeing my bike again but decided to send letters to every bike shop in the North West - this amounted to about 100 letters in all, licking all of the letters was not pleasant. Unfortunately none of these letters provided any leads and the police couldn't really offer any assistance.
On Sunday xx I was driving through Chester on the way to Maplin to buy some bits for my FCD when I spotted someone riding my bike. I couldn't believe it and didn't really know what to do. I tried to follow the rider but was not able to pursue him far but was certain that this was my bike as it had a number of unique features which I had immediately recognised.
I got a couple of statements off witnesses and some CCTV footage but the Police were unable to really do anything. They did give me some encouragement that the bike was probably still in Chester and that if I kept an eye out that I would see it again. I really began to think more positively after this sighting.
On Monday xx of October I was driving through an estate in Chester and spotted my Bike. I followed the rider to his home and called the Police. About half an hour later an officer arrived and questioned the rider. My bike was recovered and about 2 weeks later I was handed it back.
The bike was in fairly good condition apart from one of the hydraulic brake cylinder clamps had been broken. I managed to get hold of the UK distributor of Hayes brakes and they were able to sell me a second hand housing which I have fitted.
Well the 2002 year started with a wake-up call for me to get fit again. During the early months of the year I have been running, albeit on a running machine, for between half an hour and an hour a day. Now the nights are getting lighter and the weather is better it's BIKING TIME. I have done a bit of maintenance on the bike and have ordered a new free-hub body for the driving end - I just found out a new 9 speed XTR cassette is over 100 GBP so think 20 GBP for a free-hub is a sensible preventative action. I have started cycling steadily doing around 6 miles a night after work and around 14 at weekends but will soon ramp this up once my stamina is up to full stretch.
I thought I would share one of my regular 15 mile journeys with you. Chester is a very beautiful city.
It has many great cycling routes including route 56 of the National Cycle Network which was opened in June 2000. Aswell as the river Dee, which runs through the heart of Chester, the Shropshire Union Canal also passes through the city.
My cycle route follows Sustrans route 56 along a disused railway line out to shotton.
This route intersects with the river Dee at which point the journey continues along the banks of the Dee back into Chester.
I try to keep my bike in top condition by regular servicing which is a bit like my car really. In April 2002 I decided to fit a new free hub as the original one had developed a fair bit of play. I thought replacing it would reduce the risk of the rest of the expensive XTR chain gear wearing out prematurely. An XTR rear cassette alone costs over 100 GBP so the free hub, at only 20 GBP from Paul at Energy Cycles in Llanberis, was a good preventative maintenance option. The replacement of the free hub was quite straightforward but required the purchase of a 12 mm allen key which, take it from me, aren't easy to get hold of. I also totally degreased the rear wheel, hub and bearings before reassembly. The bike is now sweet and here are a few pictures I took after the service.
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