Tag Archives: the new forest

Winter Riding

Been a bit slack with the updates on the blog to be fair. Apologies. It’s been tough to fit in blog updates around work, family, the festive chaos and riding like a BOSS around the New Forest’s lanes. I’m currently at a bit of an impasse due to a football injury – it seems, now at 31, I can’t play more than a couple of games without picking up some sort of body complaint!

Good news is the SKS Raceblade Longs I fitted in the autumn have been working a treat. Staying on solidly and not producing too much in the way of annoying rattley noises. One thing you do have to watch out for is gunk getting caught in and around the clips near the brake calipers- as the clearance is so tight in this area any build up just ends up scrubbing your tyre and my rear has been squared off slightly. I guess I need to just clean the thing regularly! I’m slack with that as well.

While I have been out riding I’ve managed to take some snaps here and there so I thought I’d share these to give the blog a bit of colour on this dreary January day.

Nice little spot overlooking the Solent Estuary, near Lepe.
A little trip past Saints training ground.
A trip out on the nobbly tyres! Fawley inclosure.
A moody winter sunset out on the forest.
Autumnal scenes in Beaulieu
A mild winter’s day at Eling Harbour.
Tides out. Another shot of the Solent Estuary.
Beaulieu. Before the winter started to take hold.
There are some hills in the forest you know!
A cold and icey but fast bend near Brock.

 

One Month In: Cube Aim Disc 29er

So a couple of months in and I thought it was about time I reported back on how I’ve been getting on with the Cube Aim Disc 29er. It’s been among the wettest couple of months on record here in the UK in Jan and Feb which has resulted in limiting my off road mileage. However I’ve still managed to notch up over 100 miles on the Cube so I’ve definitely got to know it a bit.

A hardtail 29er is ideal for The New Forest where most of the stuff you come across is undulating fire road and the bits of single track here and there are not too technical. As I had hoped the Cube is great on this kind of stuff, fast, responsive and agile enough to deal with 30mph descents on bumpy gravel. The hydraulic disc brakes are really good for a bike of this price and you’re thankful of their presence on wet and muddy rides. They really inspire confidence and I think it’s the brakes and the comfort levels that are the standout features of the bike. The Scape saddle hasn’t given me a single ache even when riding more than 20 miles without padded under-garmentry!

The Aim Disc comes with Schwalbe Smart Sams as standard and I’ve found these a good cross country tyre, suited to the tracks around the forest. They’re not incredibly grippy so when the going gets very loose and slidey you will lose traction but the trade off is they’re pretty quick on the road. The smooth line of nobbles down the middle meaning that connecting forest enclosures isn’t too much of a chore. As the weather’s been so bad recently I’ve actually ended up doing a fair few road miles and I’ve enjoyed them for the most part. It’s no road bike but for an entry level hardtail it copes with the tarmac pretty well.

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The soaking wet winter has made a right mess of van and bike…. I hate cleaning.

The only downer is the fork, it’s a Suntour XCM jobby, which isn’t great at damping when traveling quickly. Often failing to rebound quick enough to catch the next bump or dip that’s in front of you at speed. Although to be honest, for crashing about the forest and having a laugh on, it’s something that you can happily live with and perhaps something that a lot of people wouldn’t notice unless you rode something much better equipped side by side. You can actually get this exact bike for £379 now at Hargroves – at that price it’s a blooming steal (I have nothing to do with Hargroves, this is just where I bought mine – other bike shops are available).

Cube Aim Disc 29er Fork
Forking good enough for me.

I’m now looking forward to spring creeping in and the chance to get out in the forest a bit more on this thing, I’ve already been planning a few routes with my better half that involve a few pub pitstops.

Mountain Biking in the New Forest

Putting my new Cube AIM Disc 29er through it's paces.
Putting my new Cube AIM Disc 29er through it’s paces.

Since moving back to the New Forest I’ve rediscovered mountain biking, the trails aren’t technical but there’s a few fun hilly sections and plenty of mud about! Not surfed in a good while so getting on the bike has been a welcome distraction however I will sample some South Coast soup soon and report back.

Dibden Enclosure

RENOIR

Damn… I miss this place at times. Clear morning, low sun blinking through the trees whether you’re admiring the views via bike or leg power it’s a great place to unwind – often empty too.

RENOIR

The accessibility of the New Forest is a major thing I miss living here in the North Devon countryside, don’t get me wrong there are some incredible vistas around these parts but much of the green space is privately owned by farmers and such – pretty difficult to just pitch up and explore. So when I’m back south coast way I’m always reminded of how easy it is to slink off the main roads and enjoy a bit of the great outdoors.

RENOIR