I was super excited when I logged in this morning to find that Danny MacAskill has released a new video.  I am a big fan of his and some of his previous vids are nothing short of amazing.  The way this guy rides is something special and he makes jumps, drops, tricks, that I would never even think of attempting look unbelievably simple.

Check out Inspired in Barcelona (scroll through to 1min 40s if you want to get straight to the riding)...enjoy!

Inspired Bicycles in Barcelona from Inspired Bicycles on Vimeo.
After setting my budget turbo trainer rig, one things that was getting on my nerves was having to switch pedals between the Goblin and my road bike so I could use the bike shoes when on the trainer.  As I have Shimano cleats and MTB not road shoes, it made sense to try and pick up a set of Shimano SPD pedals.  As usual I checked out my go to places for a bargain (Craigslist and eBay) and the best priced set I could find were the PD M520 used for around $25.  That seemed a little high for me as I seem to recall I snapped up my original pair for around $20 and they are extremely solid.  I switched my browser over to Google shopping and sorted by price Low to High.  Google shopping threw up the best price on Jenson at a little over $25 brand new and shipped for around $32 all in.

I've used these pedals for some time now but as I bought my original pair used I've never owned a new to me set.

All boxed up nice and neat
They also come with a fresh set of cleats
The thing I like about these pedals is they are easy to get in and out of should you need to get a foot down quickly and the tension is adjustable.  They offered a nice scope to learn and getting used to riding clipless as I started out with the tension as loose as it would go to build confidence, and now I ride them approximately in the middle of their range.  Each turn of the 3mm hex forces a small click so you can count the clicks and ensure the tension is the same on both sides.

Tension is adjusted with a 3mm hex.  I like to loosen them all the way out and then tighten for approx 10 clicks
How to install and remove bike pedals

After adding a little grease to the thread I screwed them in remembering that they are R & L specific and tighten towards the front on both the drive side and non drive side.

The pedals are fitted with a 15mm wrench or 6mm hex from the opposite side.
After that all is good to go and I'm ready to ride without having to swap pedals between bikes.

I've not managed to get across to my favorite local trail Fountainhead recently so I've been keeping up with news and progress of the their redesign of the Black Loop.  Rated at expert difficulty the old black loop had many section which were starting to get weather worn.  The Fountainhead Project have been keeping everybody updated with progress through their Facebook page (The Fountainhead Project) and this latest teaser video shows some of the team riding the new features.

I'll post an update after my next ride at Fountainhead but until then I'll be watching the Facebook page closely for updates.
Winter storm Pax has hit the North East hard over the last couple of days and has firmly scuppered my plans!  I took a vacation day today, as I have some time to use up and planned out hitting the trails for the morning, followed by an afternoon start to Valentines day with the wife.

As much as I enjoy riding in the snow the thought of mashing the pedals through over a foot of snow doesn't fill me with excitement.  I can definitely see the appeal of a fat bike right now.

So instead of a morning on the trails my day has consisted of a short blast on the turbo trainer and an hour of solid snow shoveling, both a decent workout but just not quite what I'd planned for.

Here's a few quick pics to show the aftermath and all the neighbors efforts to clear the road and their driveway's.

My neighbor taking a break and popping across for a quick chat


I'm hopeful that this will be the last big storm of the winter and the riding will become a little more regular very soon.  Until then I'm off back inside to keep warm!
I'm now back in the warmth of the home after sufficiently tiring myself out on the trail this morning.  Although I probably should continue resting my knee, the temptation to get out there was just to much.  The last few weeks of weather have been pretty bad here in Northern Virginia and ahead of fresh forecast for more snow, this morning was a rare morning where it was dry and cold enough overnight for the ground to freeze and the trails to be rock solid.

Upon arriving at my go to trail network for an hours blast I was pleasantly surprised to see I wasn't the only one with the same idea and the car park was pretty full.  The riding wasn't plain sailing but it was great to be out there.  Despite my two pairs of gloves I quickly lost any feeling in my fingers and hands but pressed on regardless.  I'm also really please with the way the Goblin is handling now, each of the upgrades I added following Christmas (Christmas Additions) made the bike comfortable and a pleasure to ride, I'm particularly liking the wider 720mm bars and they made a solid difference to the cockpit having jumped up from 660mm.  The Continental Mountain King Tire dug in like a champ and should be a solid performer these next few months.

Difficult run river crossing
I must admit I was grateful to make it back to the car in one piece and quickly through the heaters on to get the blood pumping to my hands before I put the bike in the back.

Finally got the Goblin dirty in 2014
Clean again

Shout out to my cousin back in England here, he's religiously been getting up and going to his garage almost every morning to log some miles on his turbo trainer.

Having been able to ride for almost 6 weeks now I figured the time had come to start getting my body back into shape so its not a shock to the system next time I'm back outdoors tearing up the trails.

There's lots of information available online as to which type of trainer is best and generally there are three main different options air, magnetic and fluid, with fluid most often being at the top end of the budget.  I decided air would be noisy, magnetic runs the risk of wearing out sooner, so fluid would be the route for me.  As always the bargain hunter in me came out and I spent a couple of days checking out Craglist until I cam across the Performance Travel Trac 2000 for a little over $70.  Its used and a few years old but in great functional condition and even comes with a remote to alter the resistance and a riser for the front wheel.

I set it up with my road bike, a $45 Craigslist find and look forward to giving it a go.

I'm going to use the blog as a way to track my progress and help me to stay motivated so as a starting point I jumped on the scales and weighed in at 214.6lbs!  My immediate goal is to get to and stay below 210lbs and from there I'll set a new target (I believe in setting baby steps towards goals with one eye on the long term goal as they are more easily achieved).

I'll be focusing on interval training to kick off my routine, mainly based around Tabata principles to keep the rides short but results focused, progressing to longer rides, once fitness levels rise.

Goblin in the background itching to get out.

OK so those of you who have been following will have heard of my recent knee troubles, having had operations on both knees previously, my recent off and then subsequent soccer injury was something of an eye opener.  Its taken a while but I'm slowly starting to realize that I need to not only keep myself in good shape but make sure major body parts like my knees are strong and functional in order to last me the rest of my life.  Now I'm sure there's a couple of camps here as most of my riding is XC with the odd jump, drop or hop included as and when needed, many would say knee pads are a little over kill for this type of riding however I'm happy to take out a little extra insurance in aid of self preservation.

As someone who is always on the lookout for a bargain, I headed over to The Clymb my go to place for discount gear to see if they had anything which would suit.  A quick browse brought me to the the SixSixOne Riot Knee Pads priced at a little under $20.

• Great protection with internal hardcap
• Durability from 1000D Cordura outer
• Snug fit with neoprene chassis
• Stays in place with velcro closures
• CE
• Internal hard cap/EVA pad
• 1000D Cordura
• Perforated neoprene construction
• Velcro closures
• 50% Neoprene, 15% Kevlar, 15% EVA, 15% Nylon 5% Plastic

The pads themselves are designed that there's only one Velcro strap at the top and a neoprene loop at the bottom to put your foot through.  I ordered the XL and they are a snug fit but that's needed to keep thing in place, and the pad feels comfortable against the knee.  All in all I'm happy with the purchase and hope they'll last a long time and help my knees last even longer.

I first watched this video some time ago however was reminded of it when nsmb.com released a new video: 'How to be a Road Biker'.

Watch 'How to be a Mountain Biker' below, there's elements of this that ring true with all of us.

'How to be a Road Biker'