Genesis Equilibrium 10 Bike Review aka the 'Real Steel'

Genesis Equilibrium 10 in her natural environment
I'm sitting here with the heating on, wrapped up in fleece and heavy jeans looking out at the driving December rain from my home office window. Seems like as good a time as any to write a review of the bike that has been getting most of my attention over the summer ( remember how good the weather was this year?!).

It wasn't planned like this, I'm a mountain biker, I live for fat tyres and get stuck in debates about wheel sizes versus suspension settings. Truth is, before this summer, I'd never even ridden a road bike before ( the closest I got was riding my big brothers road bike when I was about 8 ). But I've thought about it. I've thought about it a lot. Who hasn't watched Wiggo or Cav and fancied a bit of that? Who hasn't seen an epic set of hairpins on the side of a big hill and thought about hitting them up on something fast with dropped handlebars?

So I did it, announced as a legacy of the 2012 Olympics I entered the Ride London 100 as soon as it was open. That was the plan for 2013.

Then I didn't get a place.

Then I realised it was the same rubbish you get with the London Marathon.If you are not signed up to a charity, forget it. It's a closed shop.

Road bike project put on hold.

All Clipped up and ready to go
Then my viewpoint on the world changed. I was working at a show in Birmingham and catching up with legendary Bike Photographer Steve Behr. He told me that our joint friend and industry pillar Michael Bonney had been in a bike accident and was fighting for his life. I'm not really sure what happened next, but as Michael started to fight back it became clear some help would be needed. So along with many other people around the world I stepped up and looked for a way to raise some cash and deliver on his request to 'Get Out and Ride'.

And the 100 Mile Challenge was born.

So cutting to the chase ( and the review ) I had opted to ride the 60 Mile Sportive in Penrith as part of the challenge. So I needed a bike, a cool bike, a bike that would make the most of what 2 wheeled skill I had.

Step forward Genesis bikes and the 2013 Equilibrium 10 Road bike.

Unboxing this was something special. It was scary and unknown. My bike builds over the past decade have all been about sorting out sag and working out how the thru axle works. This was new, this was skinny, this looked dangerous?!

Walk around any city and you will see thousands of people on skinny tyres in all weathers, but having been stuck in a world of 2.5inches and now having to consider 25mm, this was all a bit alien. Then there were the combined brake and shifters. This model opted for Shimano Tiagra 4600 joined to Tektra R317 brakes with a cable? Wait up, no hydraulics? How is this thing going to stop? And come to think about it, how do you change gear?

Out came some old SPD pedals from my hardtail and out on the open road to work out how this steel beast worked.

Why don't roadies like valve caps?

In short, It worked, and it worked fast. Push down and it moved forward. No loss of power into bouncy forks, no fat tyre knobs dragging. Just speed and lots of it. I even started to work out how to change gear and managed to work out how to stop and not fall off.

But it wasn't quite right. It was like I was playing golf with a cricket bat. Some new riding kit was needed. Step up Madison and some wife-scaring lycra along side some suitable Shimano roadie shoes and pedals.

The roads were mine, now were would I go? I'm fortunate living on the border between Cheshire and Manchester. I have a world famous mountain bike shop at the end of my road, an Olympic class BMX track being built in the village and various team roadie types riding past my house on their way to the Peaks. So I just headed out with this awesome piece of Reynolds 725 Steel underneath me.

Comfort wise this was never going to be an easy transition, I quickly started to hate the conditions the roads are in. Though I also found you can bunny hop a steel frame over a pot hole when needed. After 10 or so miles the bike felt perfect for me. In fact my planned outing of 6 miles following a running route I use, quickly became a 20 miler. My next ride was supposed to be 15 miles and that became 30 miles. This bike made mile chomping easy!  Looking at the bike it is clear that this is a 'classic' frame shape and I was riding in classic style on a 56cm frame which came up spot on for my size ( Mr Average at 5'10ish, 75kg, 32/32 ). Granted I had to jack the seat up to get that perfect form, but that was the only adjustment this bike needed out of the box.

Heading up the Cat & Fiddle ride ( yes I was straight into hitting the big hills ), this bike looked after me like an old friend. Yes I was overtaken by hotshots on carbon wunderbikes, but I've never ridden uphill like a racing whippet, this was about the ride, not about the Strava section. Hitting the big downs was scary, but tucked down and holding on for dear life I loved it.

Peak District rocks.

After a couple of more rides I worked out that the tyres needed some upgrading ( the bike I had was used as a press sample so the tyres had been well used ). So I fitted some Conti Gatorskins. I also realised that roadies don't like backpacks and use those stretchy pockets on their tops, so instead of a camelbak I got some Conti bottles to keep the sweat glands happy. The build was near perfect.

However, I also spent a lot of time looking at this bike. It was ( and is ) a thing of aesthetic beauty. It may not have all the fancy pants parts, but it still kept the lycra clad cafe society happy. But something didn't work for me. In a word, Mudguards. They might be useful, they might be mandatory for club riders who like wearing the same top and ride in close formation. But for me they just distracted the eye too much. So they came off. ( NB: these were not a standard feature on the bike anyway )

Guess what? Next few rides out in Wales and Cheshire I actually think I went faster being able to look down at the rubber rolling fast? Just me? ( ...probably )

Then came the mighty sportive and 60 miles around Penrith. It was ace and even better once I re-adjusted my seat even higher. I'm happy to say I lived up to Michael's 'Get out and ride' request.

So what do I think about this bike? Well it's a dream in steel. For the hardened carbon weight weenie this is going to be a good winter training bike ( not even sure why I typed that, but it seems to be what that bunch like to hear? ). Not sure why, but there is something about having steel that is always going to be special and the Genesis brand just seem to be on the money for keeping a brand keen and core. For mountain bikers, cut the crap, get an Equilibriuma and explore the other trails out there. For the non-biker, the roads are yours, get off the sofa and reclaim them.

Jodrell Bank classic ride ( way too flat )

Would I change anything? At the moment no. Everything on this bike works. Yes when some of the kit starts to wear I'll upgrade, but not too much. This isn't a bike that needs all the bells and whistles. It's a bike that just needs to be ridden..... though there is a 2014 version with disc brakes...and that does sound tasty.

But now what? The roads look pants out there and the wind is blowing everything 2 feet sideways. Bugger it I'm off out on the Equilibrium....

Just look at it...


#ride4MB 100 Mile Challenge Done.

So after a bit of running around Chester and the surrounding area I was presented with one of these trinkets..

Not wishing to go into a long report of how it went ( I'll save that for another post ), but all in all following 'not much' training I was pretty happy with a smidgeon over 4 hours.

More importantly it brings to a close my #ride4MB 100 Mile Challenge.

Michael's main message following his accident was to just get out there and ride. Now to be fair I did choose a couple of running events as well as the Sportive, but it's still getting out there at the end of the day. If I could ask you to do anything after reading this post, it would be to plan your next ride out....

Now to the money bit. As you may be aware it has been a little tricky getting the cash in for this challenge ( who would have thought that without justgiving.com you would have found it so hard to part with your cash? ). Some of you have been very generous and I am very grateful for your support, however some of you are still trying to work out the complexities of giving me your cash or sending money to PayPal.

I know it isn't pretty, but I want to raise as much money as I can to support Michael and his journey back home. So if you want to give, either send it to timsadler@gmail.com ( for PayPal...seems to be the most popular method at the moment ), or send me a cheque or drop me a message for my bank details for a transfer.

I'm totaling everything up at the end of October to send to Michael's fund, ( which gives you another pay day ).

Now to plan for 2014.... thinking Lakes 100 Ride, some more Enduro's and very open to more suggestions?

Thanks for your support.

More details on Michael's journey here


#ride4mb Sportive Article Published

Check it out

Pretty stoked with how the pictures came out on this one.



Get it on film.

I want to take you on a journey into how my mind works.....here I am sitting in my hotel room in Nice, overlooking the sea and watching the roadies and runners take on the challenge ( cough cough ) of the promenade and my mind is drifting to this weekend's Ride For Michael Sportive I am lucky to be taking part in. ( the 2nd part of my 100 Mile #ride4mb challenge )

Combine that with a rather impressive talk I have just sat through by industry legend John Swainston and I end up back at Chrissie Wellington's book 'A Life without Limits' ( she lived with my Twin sister at Uni! ) and a poem she quote's from a young chap who died too young from ALS.

His name was  Jon "Blazeman" Blais and he said this...

More than your neighbors.
Unleash yourself upon the world and go places.
Go now.
Giggle, no laugh.
No… stay out past dark,
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal.
This is it… your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it all in.
Yes, every chance you get…
Come close.
And by all means, whatever you do…
Get it on film.

And that is how my mind works and how I plan to live and how I want my kids to live too.

Roll on this weekend and the 60 miles on skinny tyres...


100 Mile Challenge - Stage One Complete! #ride4MB

Saturday morning, gale force winds, sideways rain and 14 miles of Welsh hillside to run along whilst racing a train. Madness? No, just stage one of my Ride For Michael 100 Mile Challenge at the Race the Train event in Tywyn on the Welsh Coast.

It's quite a simple premise, there is a narrow gauge train and you race it from the station up the valley and back again. Apart from the first and last miles, the whole race is across private farm land. This is not a road plod, more of a fox hunt with bogs, grassy fields and hills to conquer.

I'm not much of a competitive runner, in fact I wouldn't even call myself a runner, but this seemed to me like a very friendly and approachable event. Yes, it was dominated by strange club types ( I guess some people just like wearing the same 1970's vest as everyone else? ) and there were some wannabee expedition runners looking like they were going to set out on the Marathon Des Sables, but other than that it was relaxed and very well organised run.

The first half of the race was up the valley with some mild ups and downs across fields littered with slippery cowpats. This was the easy 7 miles and I should really have run faster. Reaching the half way mark I saw the train coming up fast but I turned before it reached this point. Now came the fun bit and the uphill stretches to climb the other side of the valley. Dropping some SIS energy gel I looked down at my #ride4MB t-shirt ( now soaked through ) and remembered that I wasn't running for myself, dug deep and gave it some welly. I kept the train in sight right up until the bog of doom and that slowed me down enough for the Train to get away.

Then came the gale force wind. Coming out of the woody area and back onto the farm land meant that the full force of a cheeky storm made running forward pretty interesting. At one point I couldn't actually see! Progress was hard and slow, but my legs felt good and I just kept plugging on and held my position in the race.

Unfortunately, the bog, hills and wind hit my time and even after dropping a really fast last mile ( overtaking a lot of people ) I came in just after the 2 hour mark ( the train arrives around 1hr 45 ish ). I can live with that though, I finished running, injury free and smiling and hopefully I have got some more money in for the fund.

Cheesy event picture of me here......

Needless to say if you are reading this, don't think of it as a challenge, think of it as an experience. You can sit on your sofa watching Country File and thinking about the outdoors or you can get out there and be part of it.

Next up... 60 miles on a Road bike at the Ride For Michael Sportive. See you there?


Just get on your bike.

Been up since 5am this morning. Caught the redeye train to London to conduct a round of interviews for work in a mini heatwave of 32 degrees. I just couldn't help but look on jealously as the cyclists of the city made their merry way around. Their speed creating their own air conditioning. Some on Boris Bikes, some on carbon racers, some on battered old mountain bikes.

I didn't get on the Ride for London list this year ( see old posts with some mini-rants about it being another London Marathon where only the big charities can get places ), but I am desperate to get back to the smoke of my youth and once again explore it on two wheels.
It should be no surprise that getting hold of a Steel dream machine from those awesome folk at Genesis has been a mini revelation for me. Lets not get crazy,I'm NOT going to start shaving my legs, but lets just say my mind is not not only full of mountain missions, but also the roads to those mountains.

Why? Well I'm riding for Michael.... are you?


Ride for Michael

After a hard and hot day in the office and a slow commute home on the M6, getting this t-shirt and stickering up the fleet of bikes puts life back into perspective. Quit your moaning and get out on a bike and Ride For Michael


Crunching the Miles - #Ride4MB 100 Mile Challenge Update

Not long till the first part of my #Ride4MB 100 Mile Challenge so I have been trying to get the miles in where I can.

The first event is the 14 mile RACE THE TRAIN trail race. With this in mind I made sure that whilst on a family holiday to Menorca I got some trail miles in before Breakfast ( and before the heat of the day kicked in ).

Not really sure what to expect on this one. I've raced over 12 miles doing the Tough Mudder before and I am pushing my road miles to 14 pretty easily on the road, so it should be a grand day out.

The latest info from the organisers is that the train ride is just over 6.75 miles, and takes 45 minutes so the average speed is 9mph. This excludes any stop at the top of the line etc., which has an impact on average speed

The RTT timing is

42 minutes up
43 minutes down
23 minutes stop at Abergynolwyn

Overall timing is therefore 108 minutes for 13.5 miles giving an average speed of 7.5 mph. If you exclude the stop at Abergynolwyn then average speeds are 9.5mph. The Train will however reach up to 15mph depending on location as obviously it is slower at certain places due to speed restrictions for operating purposes.

What does that mean for the race? Well I'm b*ggered if I know, I'll just turn up and work it out on the day. The only thing I hope is that the weather is bad, as I tend to be faster when the rain is coming down and others are suffering. In a weird way I enjoy it more when the conditions are against you. That said, I'd rather not run in a heatwave. 

The next event after this is the actual #ride4MB sportive in Penrith...watch this space for details on the training ( and awesome bike ) I am putting in for that....


#RIDE4MB 100 Mile Challenge - LOGO

With thanks to the awesome Aaron Tolley Design I have a kick ass logo for the Challenge:

Now I just have to get some clothing sorted...


#RIDE4MB 100 Mile Challenge - The Beginning

Many of you who follow me on here or on Facebook and elsewhere will be aware of my passion for Mountain Biking. One of the key people who has stoked that fire in recent years has been Michael Bonney of Orange Mountain Bikes.

I forget how we first made contact, it's not really important, but I do know that we got talking about the famous Endurance DH event at Fort William very early on. An abridged version of the conversation went like this:

Michael "Have you heard about the Endurance DH event at Fort William?"

Me "Yeah, it's in a few weeks time, I'd like to do it one day"

Michael "Do it this year"

Me "I don't have a bike"

Michael "Ride one of ours"

Me "Errrrr ok!"

This is what Michael does, he gets people riding bikes. He is the spark that ignites people around the world to get out there and do something.

In March this year, Michael was out riding and crashed badly resulting in a C3 spinal cord injury. The result is that Michael is now tetraplegic - paralysed from the neck down, requiring a ventilator to breathe.

I've not know him for long, but I can tell you that Michael is a Tough Northern B'stard in the truest sense. He will not be beaten by this but he will need some ongoing support.

It is with this that I present a 100 mile challenge I am doing this summer.
NB: I should add that I haven't run in an off-road event before ( Tough Mudder doesn't count ), I've never ridden a road bike and I haven't run a marathon before....so it really is a set of firsts!

For the long-term, the process of setting up the Michael Bonney Trust Fund and charitable projects are in progress. Sadly until they are firmly in place, well known services like justgiving.com are not an option for reasons out of the control of Michael's support team.

Therefore to raise funds ( and get your hard earned CASH ), I am asking you to support the Ride for Michael - Stage 1 Campaign.

All you need to do is hit the 'Contribute Now' button ( or you could buy some merchandise to help spread the word! )

Granted doing it this way will make it hard for me to track what I raise, but this isn't about an individual target or about a personal ego massage. This is about raising funds to support one of our own.

This is also an open invite to all of you to join me at any of these events and to do your own for #RIDE4MB

This is just the beginning.... please keep checking back for updates.



1 Race 3 Blogs

One week on and I am still buzzing from racing in the awesome Mini-Enduro at Eastridge Woods. Ok I didn't exactly set a fast time, but I did clean all the lines and finish in one piece. I also got to hang out with the super talented Charles Robertson and he busted out some great pics like this one:

The Saracen Ariel 143 is awesome...but still needs a little help from time to time (c) Charles Robertson 2013.
So with a good day out on the bike it would seem rude not to go blog-crazy..

Just click the logos:

Ride It Out 


I think I did it justice...and yes I count this as one of the three ( get lots of traffic these days)

Now to wait for the next dates as I really like this format of racing!


The Sadler Messenger Bag - Designed and Made by Emma Cornes

I've taken on many roles in my time. I've been a sales person, an IT nerd, an e-commerce pioneer (cough), a teacher, a marketeer to name but a few. At the moment I guess you could say I am a bag man ( if there is any doubt Wideopen Magazine did on P115 of issue 18 ). Of course that isn't strictly what I do, but it makes it easy to understand what keeps me off the streets and the mortgage being paid.

With this experience I'm pretty confident in saying that I have influenced quite a few designs in my time, a kayak here, an advertising campaign there, a backpack or two of course, though I would never be so bold as to claim I am a designer. I have however had long protracted 'discussions' about nomenclature, and being a little too opinionated when it comes to the topic, I like to win those battles ( I still claim ownership of the Pyranha Burn name as well as plenty of others in the current line up ).

All that said, I am sitting here with an awesome bag designed and made by Emma Cornes called 'The Sadler'. And yes that would be my surname and yes I feel completely humbled by the whole experience.

The Sadler Messenger Bag - Made by Emma Cornes
I can't remember how the process started. I am sure that there was always a plan to add a Messenger style bag to the collection, but knowing a little bit about bag design I threw a few ideas in the pot, ( hoping not to offend of course ), but generally kept nudging each time a new blog post came out about how the project was developing.

The Sadler Messenger in it's Natural Environment
Next thing I know Emma say's that she likes to name her designs after people she knows ( there are already 'Elizabeth', 'Helen', 'Kirsty' and 'Nicola' designs ) and drops the bomb that it will be called 'The Sadler'. I suppose I have become immune to my name, but hinting at leather products it does have an agreeable ring to it when applied to a bag ( though still makes me feel a wee bit uncomfortable ).

Scottish Woven - Cheshire Made - The Sadler Messenger Bag

It's fair to say that Emma is relatively new to this cut & sew game, but picking up this bag you would think that she had been busy working at these designs for years. The finish it on par with the highest quality bags you will find in that there London Town and using true Scottish Tweed this has a feel that evokes Rannoch Moor or the Callanish Stones.

The Sadler Messenger Bag - Plenty of Space.
I've used lots of Messenger bags in my years and fit is a funny thing. You don't want it too large so you overload it and can't find anything, but equally you don't want to be left wanting more room. Size wise this bag is spot on for everyday use ( blokes don't have weekend bags do they? ). I can get my Ultrabook ( or iPad ), Compact Camera in Lowepro pouch, Joby Gorillapod, Sunglasses, magazine, passport, pens and all the associated cables and still have got some space to play with.

Other features include leather straps with metal buckles and a reinforced waxed cotton base.

Not sure what else I can say about this bag. It's like a Barbour Jacket or pair of Hunter Wellingtons. Not cheap, but you know you are getting something that if looked after will last a lifetime and be equally at home in the office or trudging into the Clachaig Inn.

It is worth noting that along with the Sadler, there is now also the 'Fairweather' iPad sleeve ( which I am guessing is named after the legendary Kayaker David Fairweather ). You can also get some of the first-off-the-sewing-machine bags direct from Emma here.

The only thing left to say is check out Emma's website here and if you see her at one of the craft fairs she is hitting up this year, say hello!

More pictures of the Sadler Messenger are on my Flickr Page ( I'll be adding some more soon ).

The Sadler Messenger Bag - Made by Emma Cornes
I should add a footnote at the bottom here apologising to Emma's lesser half Pete, as my grammar and punctuation of late has been truly horrendous ( and Pete is one of the greatest wordsmiths I know ). I promise to do better much like I have done before like.


I have never...

.....fitted a mudguard.

Ok, back in the day I might have fitted one of the original Crud Catchers ( who didn't? ) but certainly since owning grown up Mountain Bikes, I've chosen to keep my bike free of such madness.

That is until I got the Ariel 143. It's such a good looking girl that it deserves a little bit of protection doesn't it?

So yesterday before 24km of greasy fun around Cannock Chase ( Style Cop - Follow the Dog - Monkey Trail ), I fitted a Muckynutz Bender Fender to the Fox 32's.

To quote their text; "...the mudguard is installed so close to the 'knobbly bits' means it can be small and discrete, which is a big plus for those that don't like using them, and as it is less than 1mm thick it adds negligible weight to your bike."

Naturally I got a white one ( got to keep the Factory look going ) and you know what? I'm only a flippin' convert!

Bender Fender on Ariel 143 - Tim Sadler
The question is will I ever take if off?


Bruntwood Park BMX Track - Get Involved

Yesterday I popped along to my local park in Cheadle to check on the progress of a project to re-build a derelict BMX track back up to a serious standard. I've ridden this bit of gravel loads of times and was going to be taking the girls there in the summer ( especially after Immy enjoyed the Strider Sessions at the British Cycling Track ), but it has certainly seen much better days.

It was a low key affair with a very keen council representative selling the idea to the locals and a rather impressive representative from North West Mountain Bikes, none-other than Rick 'Ricky Bobby' Clarkson ( him of Steve Peat's mechanic fame ). There was even a random appearance by Syndicate rider ( and local hero ) Josh 'Ratboy' Bryceland , who gave the plans his (unofficial) approval. To be honest the support from the local riders was rather thin on the ground, but big things grow from small starts and hopefully as word spreads the riders will come out of the woodwork ( and those chaps at NWMTB are perfectly placed to get people involved )

So what is planned? Well from the drawings it looks pretty impressive, a proper race ready BMX track, with plenty of whoops, bumps, berms and whippy tops. I'm a little concerned that due to those lovely Local Government cuts there is no money for a warden, but if built correctly it should be relatively easy to keep clean and tidy ( and hopefully the local skids will realise it is better to have a track which you can ride, rather than something you trash because you haven't got the latest XBox game )

This is before:

And this is what is proposed:

Whilst I am not the biggest BMX race fan, two wheels is still two wheels and look at how much fun this track could be!

So I signed up to be a volunteer. Not sure what that means yet ( and the organising team/person doesn't yet either! ), but I am one of the many guilty bikers out there who have ridden trails all over the UK and not spent enough time building/maintaining them.

Oh and if it does go ahead then I think I can justify another bike?

NB: It was raining/snowing so used Polaroin for the images....just 'cos they look like token retro shots.The originals and some panoramics are up on my Flickr.


Compact Camera Mount Testing ( Featuring Saracen Ariel 143 )

I've had a number of forays into the world of video in my time. These have involved everything from filming skateboarding events with a classic Sony VX-1000 to hanging out at the British Snowboarding champs with a Fuji bridge camera. In recent years I have played around a fair bit with action cameras with the trust original Vholdr ( now Contour ) attached to my bike lids.

I've never really got the quality I would have liked ( though lets not forget the net has had to catch up a fair bit in recent years ) and fell out of love with all the editing that was needed to make a good movie.

So honestly I am not really sure why I decided to make a mount for my trusty Sony HX-9V compact camera out of a Joby ballhead and old lighting bracket ( shhhh it's from a competitor brand ).

I'm probably not going to use it much as I really do like this little compact and I don't think it will like being treated like a crash test dummy. However the first results were pretty impressive.

Three lines down Style Cop at Cannock Chase on the awesome Saracen Ariel 143.

Saracen Ariel 143 - Cannock Chase - Camera Mount Test 1 from Tim Sadler on Vimeo.

Saracen Ariel 143 - Cannock Chase - Camera Mount Test 2 from Tim Sadler on Vimeo.

Saracen Ariel 143 - Cannock Chase - Camera Mount Test 3 from Tim Sadler on Vimeo.

Now I just think what I could do with a Sony Action Camera ...


No Smiling Tim Sadler .....

Ok, that is a proper weak blog title, but I am in a little Google battle to get back to the top of the search results ( yes I know it's sad, but it keeps me happy ok! ).

10 years ago I was heading out to the US to work for the first time and I needed a new Passport quick. Given that I was living in Runcorn at the time, the nearest office who could sort one same day was in Liverpool. Throw in early digital camera processing and that is how I ended up looking like a Vietnamese POW.

Back to the present day and I need to renew it ( not just for work, but also so that Eva can get her first one ). Not so rushed I got some pics done at a local shop.

Still look like a POW....

Tim Sadler
Wanted: Tim Sadler - Marketing Guru.


Writing stuff for other people

Tim Sadler
Tim Sadler - Ride.io ( Photo by Tom Laws )

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter  firstly why not? Secondly, you might have missed my ugly mug up on the Ride.io website reviewing the kick ass Sweet Protection MTB range.

Been a few years since I wrote for another website, but those of you who can cast your minds back will remember that before Tim@Lowepro, Tim@Etnies, Tim@Pyranha and Tim@Outdoorgarage, I was originally Tim@playak. ( before you ask the Outdoorgarage domain has changed so many hands since i owned it that I have nowhere to link to )

It must have been around 98 or 99 when I first starting writing for the original Playak site. In those days I was using a University drop in room ( shhhh even back then I worked out how to bypass all their systems ) and it was before the 'bubble'. Fun days indeed and got to write lots of stuff and go to lots of events. Unfortunately ( and annoyingly ) all my articles were republished when the site had a face-lift and my name was taken off...such is the Wild West of web land. However, you could argue that in writing for them I started down the route to Pyranha ( as I wrote one of the first reviews of the S6 Kayak for the site ), but who knows what role each unique decision plays in a timeline ( and there is of course no such thing as fate ).

Since those early stoooodent days, I've been fortunate to work in a somewhat creative roles (cough), but regardless of that, I think it is important that everyone has some sort of outlet for their musings. Could be writing, could be snapping, could be painting. Who knows what is lost because someone didn't express it in some way? Granted the media is 99% rubbish, but that 1% can change the world.

And that is why this blog exists....( though might just keep it to my musings rather than trying to change the world ).

p.s. working on some follow up stuff for Ride.io so keep checking back.


Lego Girls

Took the girls to the new Lego store in the Arndale yesterday. Apart from a protracted discussion over the merits of the Star Wars collection versus the new 'Friends' collection with Immy, we also made these two custom Lego figures.

Lego Eva and Immy - 24th Feb 2013
 Not sure why Eva chose a shovel though?


Shooting in Snowdonia

I was lucky enough to make the most of the sunshine and get out of the concrete of Greater Manchester and into the Welsh Mountains at the weekend. The primary aim of the trip was to get some shots for work and given that there is an embargo on what I was shooting I will have to be a little bit vague.

Either way I ended up at the mighty Pont Cyfyng on the Afon Llugwy with old pal Tom and boating model for the day, Mitch. For those of you who have a good memory I actually wrote a guide to these set of special waterfalls some years ago for Ceufad Magazine and I was nice enough to re-publish them here.

The light was something special. Given the time of year and angle of the sun, I'm not sure it could be repeated without some heavy cloud cover. This of course meant the challenge of shooting a colourful well lit subject against dark rock and with another colourful subject in white fast moving water.....errrrr what setting does that on my camera?

Tom was out shooting a new project related to the awesome new and improved  Welsh Rivers Guidebook ( follow them on Facebook and buy a copy here ) and at one point we had me shooting him, him shooting Mitch and Mitch shooting us both ( avec GoPro Hero 3 ). Twas a fun morning indeed.

I filled a memory card and got a couple of bangers. Just need to see if they will work in adverts and other branding fun and games.

Tom got this composite and yes I do like my Orange Patagucci jacket and didnt choose it because it matches the Lowepro logo...

Tim Sadler
Mitch dropping the Bomb and Tim Sadler being a Tog - Shots by Tom Laws
The afternoon was spent playing on a locals track just down the road, but that is another story.

Buy this book:


Explaining Star Wars

I've just tried to explain Anakin Skywalker's role in the 6 episodes of Star Wars to a four year old. I think I failed. How exactly do you cover the whole Leia / Luke thing? What is the age gap between Ani and Padme in Episode I?

And wtf is Yoda?

Whilst I regroup here are some silly facts about the greatest series of all time.



Do I get a prize?

And I don't even have on of those silly posed MBA headshots?


I should have bought a BMX

Ok, I admit it, I have never owned a BMX. Even with a starring role in ET and whilst my school chum Simon had an awesome Silver Mongoose, I was still riding a trusty Grifter. Then, what seemed like years later, my other school chum, Tim, got a Puch Mountain Bike ( one of the first in the UK and yes made by the company who make those little moped things ) and any interest I had in BMXs went out the window.

The Mighty Raleigh Grifter

From the Grifter, I followed Tim ( yes, one of the original 'Tims'), into the world of Mountain bikes with a Peugeot 'Safari' and then through a succession of Marin's, British Eagles, Treks and other stuff. I used them to ride the trails along with commuting 10 miles to work ( remember when one bike did it all? ). I never really missed not having a BMX.

The Marin Hawk Hill - My first bike with Front Suspension

Many years later I started work at Afour ( which became Sole Technology UK ) and I was once again exposed to the world of BMX with the brand Etnies. But even with being involved in the UK premier of the mighty 'Grounded' BMX film ( as a side note this introduced me to the Black Keys, so I will always be grateful for that ), I stuck to Mountain Bikes, whilst Etnies, at the time, focused on it's skateboarding portfolio.

Grounded -find it on some download site?

Roll on a few years and I found myself a couple of weeks back at Manchester BMX track riding for the first time a small wheeled beast. Yes I am now 35. This I now realise was far too late. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but instead of hanging around New Deal Skates trying to be good at skateboarding through osmosis, I reckon I would have been better off learning to jump a BMX. Call it heresy, but I have never been that good on four wheels.

So why write about this now when clearly I am all about two wheeled action these days? Well last night on my little Blackberry screen I watched this video.

Just check out the entry at the 2min mark. THAT IS INSANE!

Now I am not saying that I would ever have been able to ride like this, but I might at least have been able to learn how to bunny hop properly without SPDs!

So what can I do? I'm never going to be able to jump a big like these guys but with Sprog No.1 now riding her first pedal bike and Sprog No.2 not that far behind, I am going to make ruddy sure that both of them spend some time on BMXs....

....now I wonder if I can buy a Grifter on eBay?


Feedback Posters

Got to love this project from the Emerald Isle. A bunch of designery types got together to make some posters highlighting the classic feedback/input they had all received ( and continue to receive ) over the years.

I think in my short and illustrious I have heard most of these at least once ( and some practically weekly ) 

Here is my favourite:

But they all make me chuckle...and the one below reminds me of this video

Check them all out here