Tag Archives: riding

It's Dyfi Enduro Time

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2013

howies Dyfi Enduro - photo rightplacerighttime

Next weekend hundreds of mountainbikers from all across the UK will descend on the town of Machynlleth, nestled in the beautiful Dyfi valley, to participate in one of the highlights of the Welsh MTB calendar - The howies Dyfi Enduro, which after more than a decade has become the fastest selling and arguably most loved MTB event in the country.

Come rain or shine the course promises 60km of the best trails around and a fantastic atmosphere the whole weekend. Some long, long climbs are more than made up for by the stunning views and fast, whooping, white knuckle descents, mixed up with miles of fantastic singletrack and entertaining trailside shenanigans to take your mind off your tired legs.

In previous years the course has featured a brass band, a group of cheerleaders, a Welsh rock band, Darth Vader and a Star Wars ensemble reenacting battles from the movies, a wizard, a man playing a banjo and a wind and hailswept mountaintop rugby match. And every year there's a bar serving pints of beer just before the finish.

All in all, this adds up to our very favourite mountain bike event of the year and the excitement is starting to build in the office.

Ade, Hazel and I are starting to fine-tune our bikes. Bleeding brakes, oiling chains, choosing tyres. This year we're joined by our resident trail runner Chris, who manages the shop in Cardigan. He has borrowed a bike from a friend to see what all the fuss is about, although with a couple of 100 mile trail running races on his calendar we're half expecting him to shoulder the bike at the start and run the course.

This year the howies Dyfi Enduro is proud to be raising money for Aberdyfi Search & Rescue Team who will also be fundraising at the event on the day.

Follow the news on the Dyfi MTB events Facebook page.

We hope to see you there.

Welsh Downhill Championships

  • Posted by hazel
  • 17 August 2012

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun was out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Peer pressure and gentle persuasion is a powerful thing. I’m a sucker for it and just can’t say no. I hate missing out on things so my outside-of-work life becomes quite choccer-block.

This was the case come Friday last week. I was beginning to feel pretty beat, it had been a long week and tiredness was starting to set up camp in my muscles. So the thought of going off to race in a downhill mountain bike race at the weekend was not looking that appealing… but you know I’m not one to miss out…

With race day on the Sunday and practice on Saturday, we set about learning every inch of the course, well I say we – mostly Jon, Sam, Si and Josh! I have trouble learning courses. I think it’s from the many years of riding XC - I'd rather just ride it and deal with obstacles as and when I reach/ hit them.So with a van full of bikes, snack and the Season’s soundtrack turned up, myself, Jon from decent world and Cardigan’s own Jesus set off at the crack of dawn towards Moelfre for the Welsh Downhill MTB Champs. We met up with the other Ceredigion riders and set up camp. With Si Williams aka fretter, Sam aka fretter junior, Tomos and Aled aka Axe and Shotgun!

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Roll on Sunday…

Oh wait it’s absolutely peeing it down – what a surprise. And what’s that, yeah I’m sat in my tent wearing a woolly hat, merino softshell and thick socks! This is summer! Ah well, nothing that proper cup of tea can’t sort out.

Heading up in the uplift trailer along with 30 other riders for the start of our first timed run, there was only two subjects of conversation – the weather and what tyres to run. I participated in neither of them mainly because I thought there’s no point getting down about the weather and secondly I can’t take my front wheel out so there was no chance of me changing my tyres. I’d just have to like it and lump it.

My first run went well - I wanted to keep it smooth and consistent as the course was becoming quite slippery. The bottom section of the track was my favorite with a couple of jumps that you could launch off, nothing like the feeling of fresh air between the tyres and the ground. I managed to take the lead with a good amount of time between 2nd and myself.For my final timed run, I thought I’d open it up a bit and try pedaling more - "Giving it the beans". It paid off and I was able to knock 5 seconds of my first run. Awesome. Plus it meant that I had a comfortable lead to take the win.  Woohoo, I just won the Welsh Champs, what a result!! As always, I’m glad I went!With banter on tap and some great riding the weekend ended up being so much fun. Jon and myself are now the proud owners of a Welsh Champs jersey. Also in the Ceredigion camp, Si took 2nd in the vets, Sam took 10th juniors and Josh was 24thin the senior cat. Not bad at all!Thanks to MIJ racing for a brilliant race, Jon for playing taxi, tea maker and bike mechanic. Tomos, Aled and Josh for the hillbilly entertainment, Si for his constant fretting and Steve and Vicky for being loud marshals!

You guys made the weekend, the result was just a bonus!!

A-to-B. Via C.

  • Posted by alex
  • 20 June 2012

Routine can be a good thing, but I recently realised I've been stuck in the grind of A-to-B: Ride to work. Work. Ride home.

The routine has been broken a little in preparation for racing in Italy. So A-to-B has had a little B-to-B loop added at lunch, but last night reminded me it's a lot more fun when A-to-B goes via C. Especially when you don't know where C might be.

I live about 1 mile from work and it took nearly 2 hours to get home via a 30 mile detour on roads I've never seen, over hills I've never climbed and getting lost at a crossroads I couldn't get back to with a map, let alone without one.

Finding myself a little lost, faced with uphill one way and downhill the other, the temptation was to take the easy way out and roll down. But with the setting sun as my only bearing, onward and upward west was the order of the evening and eventually, all would be alright. At the summit, the Preseli's came into view in the distance with familiar-looking fields lining the river valley. It was clear I was heading back to B.

Today is the longest day. 16h 38m 20s of daylight (give or take). That's plenty of time to take the long way home.

Ever wondered where A-to-B might take you if you go via C?

Riding a bike should be easy

  • Posted by alex
  • 3 May 2012

Isn’t that what we are told? You learn when you are small and, like an elephant, you never forget. What an amazing deal. Once mastered, you have a gift that lasts a lifetime, and even if you part ways for a period of time it waits patiently for you to return. Once bought, it is the gift that keeps giving – health, entertainment, and convenience. So why isn’t everyone riding a bike? Shouldn’t the streets in every village, town and city hum with the sound of rubber passing over tarmac? You only have to observe parts of cities like London, Bristol, and Cambridge at rush hour to see the potential. Hybrids, racers, fixies, bmx, mountain bikes, single speeds, choppers, Dutch bikes, and cruisers all spinning to and fro.

While cycling numbers have increased by around 20% across Britain over the last decade, we lag behind other European countries. The number of cyclists killed or injured sits around 27,000 for that period. This figure is unacceptable and concerns over safety are the main reason many bikes sit unloved in garden sheds up and down the country. This is a terrible shame since cycling represents the elixir to many of our problems. Regular riding can significantly improve fitness levels (goodbye beer belly) and increase life expectancy (hello happy retirement). By swapping an eight mile round trip commute from car to bike, you save 0.5 tonnes of carbon per year – that’s the equivalent of a short haul flight.

It stands to reason that if we want a country that is synonymous with cycling you need to ensure that it is safe. As a result of much hard work by sustainable transport charities and cycling campaign groups we have seen significant progress. Most recently, the Cycle Safe campaign from The Times – coupled with February’s Parliamentary cycling debate - has helped raise the profile of cycle safety. There is much that can be done to improve junctions, slow speeds in neighbourhoods, and provide better road user training. However, this all requires investment – even a small percentage of the road budget could make a huge difference across the country.

Ultimately, the goal is to get people – young, old, male, female – on bikes for their everyday journeys to places like school, work, and the shops. However, currently around 66% of journeys (two miles or less) are completed in a car. While the number of accidents involving cyclists are a concern, the perceived danger can sometimes outweigh the actual risks. It is important to emphasise that cycling is still a fun, exhilarating, and egalitarian means of getting around. You hear of schools not letting kid’s cycle and adults looking on in horror as you ride past on the way to work. It is important to remember that it’s cycling, not war. Going forward, we need more people on bikes and (much) improved cycle infrastructure to ensure that the fun isn’t taken out of cycling.

Words: Ben Addy

Mountain biking in Brechfa

  • Posted by howies
  • 14 March 2012

Here’s your chance to win a weekend posh camping in the Brecon Beacons and ride the trails on your doorstep at Brechfa.

You and a friend could be off on an amazing weekend of mountainbiking and posh camping from the kind people at Canopy & Stars. We’ll join you to ride some of the most famed trails in the country and throw in some howies performance Merino baselayers for you both.

And the best part is you get to pick which weekend we go

To enter, simply submit your details below or over on the howies Facebook page to win a place for you and a friend.

Good luck.

Thanks for all your entries, this competition is now closed.

Riding in circles

  • Posted by alex
  • 21 February 2012

Over the winter we've watched record-breaking heros racing at the Manchester Velodrome in the Revolution track series.

And since my first visit to watch an event, a certain excitement surrounding track cycling has made me keen to give it a go.

The track at Newport is much the same as the one in Manchester, albeit crowd-less and silent when we turned up for our session yesterday. The silence drew my attention to the steep banks at either end of the track (45° banks, to be precise), which have been the only real niggle in my mind since first realising how steep they are. I have been reassured that if you can ride fast enough to get round on the lines, you're going quick enough to make it round at the boards.

Winding up the fixed gear approaching the first bend, I started to wonder; will my tyres grip at this (low) speed? Will I make it round? Or will I slide down it on my face?

But as the pace picked up all I could concentrate on was keeping on the back wheel of the bike in front, lap after lap, trying to pull into his slipstream and keep a good pace.

Before I knew it, I was flying. The rushing air lapping at my ears while shooting up the bank towards the advertising banners, then timing a descent to glide tidily to the back of the pack for a rest.

When your head is down and your speed is up, you don't worry about being clipped in, or remember you're on a fixed gear bike with no brakes and no freewheel. Fear vanishes and soon all that matters is going faster, catching the bike in front and absorbing every minute, while ignoring burning legs and lungs or anything else telling you to slow down.

We certainly weren't breaking any records, but track cycling is even more exciting to me, now that I've had a go.

Thank you Welsh Cycling - I'm sure we'll be heading back for another fix soon.

Categories:

The Best Seat In The House Isn’t Always In The House

111-Best-Seat-In-The-House
Colour so rich you can almost smell it.
Detail unmatched by any screen on Earth.
It’s like you can actually feel the wind prickle the sweat on your brow, 
as you plunge into the shade beneath the trees.
Because you can.
Real breeze.
Real sweat.
Real shade.
Real trees.
It’s a High Definition, Surround Sound experience like no other.
There’s only one thing better than a 3D IMAX Technicolor sunrise.
A real sunrise.
Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats.
The show is about to begin.

Mike Reed

Illustration: Jenny Bowers

Bad moods get lost in the woods

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

Woosh!

  • Posted by ruben
  • 11 November 2008

this is our woosh jacket.

It's been around for a while now but since the BFJ came out, I feel that it has been a little bit overlooked in the jacket department.

It's kind of at the other end of the scale from the BFJ.

Very light and very small. You can pack it in your bag and forget it's there.

But when you get off the train and realise it's a bloody cold day and the wind is stripping all your warmth away, you'll be very glad you have the woosh with you.

Because even though it's small, and light, it's very windproof and surprisingly warm. It stops the windchill and creates a protective shell around your jumper or jacket, helping to keep the warm in and the cold out.

It's also a fantastic jacket to wear for biking, fell running or any other activity that gets you outside in the wind and the cold.

Me and ade love ours. And we think it deserves just as much attention as the BFJ.

Check out the men's here and the women's here

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