Thursday, October 26, 2006

Active Brits Possie are Off to Dublin

Its all booked and sorted. The active brits possie (this time psychs, Rico and Weeman) are to decend on Dublin at the end of November for a few days of pre-christmas season madness. We managed to score some well cheap flights for £0.48p return plus taxes(£33 each all inclusive). Since returning from our epic adventure in the USA in Sept, we made a pact to continue having proper travel fests, to see some great scenery, to explore the potential for some outdoor mentalness (going to weigh up the option for future biking and hiking visitsas its only 50mins flying time from Liverpool), to eat good food, drink good beers, meet some quality lasses and most of all continue to experience our experiences. It should be a right blast, personally i cant wait..... We've no idea where we will stay or what we will do as yet, so if you know of any good quality B&B's, Irish bars with good music or hiking/ biking spots within an hour or so of Dublin then feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers.. psychs.. We'll post a travel review on our other blog when we return..

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PACE RC400 Full Suspension Mountain Bike

As you are all probably aware, the awesome Yorkshire based PACE bikes have got round to delivering the long awaited full-susser to the mountain biking market. The active brits possie cant wait to test drive this beauty (so PACE is you are tuning in to this blog, feel free to send us a bike to try out for the weekend in the mountains of North Wales.. :o) It looks absolutely stunning, although after a bit of post trail biking chat in the pub at the weekend we came to the conclusion that we are not in favour of the white paintjob (although it looks like you can also get the frame in a deep red). We envisaged PACE to put out a frame in a fusion of stunning graphite-black and aluminium but then again its the specs that truly matter and as soon as we get hold of one to test we'll post a review... Watch this space.

Pace RC400 (Extract taken form PACE 2007 Online Catalogue (pdf)). Click on Image for a larger view or download catalogue.

If you have been lucky enough to test drive the RC400 or have some constructive opinions, feel free to leave a comment.. .. The Active Brits Possie.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Biking Pictures and Route Guide from Moel Famau at the Weekend

Last weekend the 'Active Brits Possie' (this time comprising Psychs, Weeman and Rico) went out and continued exploring our local hills up at Moel Famau. Yet again the place was literally deserted, no competing for space with the red sock brigade.... its just quality hastle free X-country biking. The ride this week was awesome, even the point where i went straight over the bars and got passed by my rig doing a cart-wheel.. No damage done for a change.. It was so damn fine that Monday at work was a breeze, obviously the happy vibes were still kicking in..

Anyway, i thought i'd write out the route for you incase you fancy giving it a go.. The route described is only a small part of our bigger route so you can do it in several hours.. It makes for a cool afternoons training..

1) Park in the vicinity of Loggerheads Country Park somewhere on the Mold to Ruthin Road in the vicinity of the 'We Three Loggerheads' Pub..

2) Complete a gentle warm up by cycling up the main road in the Ruthin direction then after about 1 mile turn right at a T junction when you see the signs for Moel Famau.

3) Head onwards and upwards up a minor B-road towards the main lower car park next to the toilets (on the right).

4) About 200m before the toilets is a forest path that goes up to the right (there is an old sign for 'no biking' at the bottom but just ignore it.. the sign was in place before the bike routes were developed).

5) Follow the gravel fire road for about 0.7 miles uphill to a fork in the road then continue left and upwards (you may want to stop here and familiarise yourself with the surroundings, you'll return here later in the day). You now stay on the gravel road for about 3 miles until you arrive at a gate and the 'grassy knoll. Turn left through the gate (you'll see a signpost with a bike dedicated 'over the top' route marked on it) and dig deep for a few minutes and nail the uphill.

6) Continue straight along the path for about 2 miles and enjoy the mixed terrain of fantastic singletrack and undulating terrain before arriving at a gate on the ridgeline. You now get chance to take in the awesome view before nailing the grassy singletrack directly in fron of you which brings you out at a narrow country lane about 2 miles further on..

7) Turn right and head up the narrow road which soon goes from tarmac to gravel as it weaves itself up the valley. Its a bit of a slog and the gravel gets deep in places so dont be surprised if you have to push the bike for short distances once in a while..

8) After a 1 mile approx you reach a farm gate on the rigeline. Go through the gate and start heading down towards Cilcain on the old road. After a 100m you'll see a bridleway sign to the rign and a small reservoir below. You will also see a well defined grassy path which decends across the fields towards the reservoir. The choice of decent is up to you... The path takes you round the right of the reservoir and decends throuh some gorse before arriving at a small gate..

9) Turn right through the gate and head down the track for about 1 mile (you'll have a couple of farm gates to open). After about 0.7miles keep your eyes peeled for a track/gravel road that goes up to the right (if you reach tarmac and see a agricultural building in front of you then you've gone too far so reatrace your route about 200m).

10) When you find the lane, head up it and continue onwards across planks and muddy areas. Its gnarly but quality. After about 1 mile you'll go through a farm gate and past a house before rejoining the path. Continue along for another mile (but keep you're eyes peeled for another bridleway that joins from the right... approx 300m past the house.. you'll decend this route later).

11) Eventually you'll reach a tarmac lane. From here follow the mountain bike route sign to the right and continue onwards for about 3 miles. The road ends quickly so most of the 3 miles is on forest, farm tracks with yet more sadistic but great plodding uphill sections.

12) All of a sudden you'll recognise where you are... You'll be back at the 'fork in the track' (see number 5 above) but you will have approached it from the opposite direction. Now all you need to do is turn right and do a second 3 mile circuit of the forest track back to the grassy knoll.

13) When you get to the 'grassy knoll' you turn right and have a quality little decent before rejoining a small section of the path you negotiated in number 10) above. Continue along the path until you reach the tarmac road as before.

14) Instead of turning right, go left and head down to a T junction.

15) Turn right and head down the road for about 0.5miles. Shortly after a small downhill you'll see a brick building which is close to the road, sort of sticks out a bit on the corner. Immediately after the building take the left turn (looks a bit like its going into a farm). Now decend the tarmac road, go across the ford and enjoy your final uphill of the day.. most find it a killer.. its short and sweet but gets the front wheel bobbing a bit.. i reckon its great, really gives you chance to dig deep..

16) Continue up to the T-junction then turn right and follow the straight narrow lane to Loggerheads Country Park.. Go through the gate and continue straight on through the park on the main path until you come out on the Ruthin-Mold Road..

17) Ride complete...

Now head back to the motor then.... PUB..... you deserve it... go on you know it makes sense.. Get changed and head to the 'We Three Loggerheads' for a swift cold one and a brunch..

Hope this helps.. I'll draw a map of the ride at some point and stick it on...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another Great Ride at Moel Famau

The Active Brits Possie had another awesome day in the hills on Sunday. Fellow Active Brits member Rico and myself headed up to Moel Famau near Mold/Ruthin to complete a quality up and over 3 hour mad one. The weather was crap with torrential rain showers from the onset but this is what UK riding is all about, you cant let a bit of rain stop you.

We decided to head from our car parking area at Loggerheads up towards the main car park at Moel Famau before heading into the forest. From here, an undulating track took us west to the grassy knoll, a short sticky climb up a well grazed hillside. Out on the moors it was time to blast along the narrow and incredibly muddy singletrack towards the Moel Famau/ Craig Arthur ridgeline. The singletrack is excellent with scattered rocks and gnarly ups and downs. After a short 2 minute break to remove the fusion of thick muddy deposits and sheep turds from our faces (god knows how much we must have eaten on the way) we opted to take the ridge west and over to a byway which links Ruthin to Cilcain. It was a great oportunity to do a bit of cyclo-x, with some steep sections warranting speedy carry ups rather than wasting energy trying to cycle them. It also presented us with an opportunity to let the bike rigs really rip for a while with some quality transitional sections, sweeping grass covered curves and steep rabbit carved embankments.

As the sun began to go down, we began the home run back to the car opting for a steep fast flowing and highly enjoyable downhill to a small trout reservoir about 1km from the ridgeline. The downhill is awesome, not highly technical just fast and furious ending at a serious of small fords across numerous streams before joining a long gravelled road with takes you towards the village of Cilcain. Several kms later it was time to nail the final uphill, a short but sharp road section that rises steeply towards Loggerheads.

The entire day was finished off with a quality bit of banter, a swift carbo boost in the form of a chilled pint of lager and a proper brunch in the local boozer. Another excellent afternoon out.