It's 2013. It's the law to have a log burner. It just is.

Ich bin ein mountain biker. Ich bin ein woodburner.

Or something.

Yes, it's 2013 folks and time to get a wood burning fireplace. They're all the rage, especially amongst us mountain bikers. Indeed as a visitor to the Singletrack forum now and then, it is a requirement that I own an Orange Five, an Audi car and a log burner. They'll stone me to death when they find out I drive a ten year old Fiesta; best stop posting up crap then.

The burner was installed on Friday. The instructions said "four or five small fires before the Big One." So, Saturday, first fire... Big Mother! One can't help not to. Twelve solid hours this was on for and by the end only the cat could tolerate the heat. Indeed we re-lit it on Sunday afternoon and she was still in the room having slept there all night. Is now indeed sitting by this thing. It's hot. She's hot. She's very happy.

It's a fashion thing, sure. But it's also a fire. Our front room never ever got above 18 deg C. It was cold basically, and used to drop a few degrees mid winter, children wrapped in blankets style. Our central heating would be on constantly, heating the whole house in a tepid manner. Tad expensive with no net gain. Now the room is 23 deg C and so warm that for the rest of the house the central heating has not come on. It's 7 deg C outside, a temperature that normally makes our house intolerably cold. With this fire burning all day our house is toasty warm, the upper floor [now there goes all sympathy for running a ten year old car] is at 20 deg C.

Now that's all fine and dandy, but what people don't tell you is the sheer volume of wood you get through. I've been collecting it for ages, so have a stash, but there's a big hole in it. Our 4.5kw fire consumes around 150l to 250l in volume of wood per day by my "how many bleeding bags have I carried in" calculations [a small car boot full]. OK the wood I have burnt so far has been construction cut offs, so poor quality burn. I've yet to hit my log stash, but fully expect that to burn slower. And yes, the dampers here are way down, with the bottom one fully closed. My boy monitors the flame very closely.

The second thing is the mess. My builder used to laugh when I cleaned my mountain bike in the garage / kitchen we have, but that was a clean operation compared to carting chopped wood into and around your house. I'm reasonably tidy, but it's just impossible not to leave a trail of wood choppings and chippings between back door and the burner.

Finally my rides now have purpose. All those wind blown bits of wood, or the dog throws; they're mine boy, they're mine. Can't get many into a Camelbak, but the simple expedient of not taking any water or spare clothing means 16l of valuable wood space. Best not fall off the bike and onto my back then.

Anyway, fire on, all of the family are in any room but where the fire is. Cat really loves it. So if you are thinking of getting one, make sure you have a cat otherwise nobody will get the benefit of it.

And of course now every ride out is motivated by the hunter gather instinct that is normally dormant. Every dog stick, every wind blown branch, every trail pixy log obstacle is fair game. Can't get much into my Camelbak, true, but every bit helps. One Camelbak full equates to forty minutes burn, which is forty minutes that the central heating isn't on. Interestingly Dirt had a review of folding saws this month, wonder why? Of interest now are all those newsagent window adverts for wood at £100 a load or £5 a bag. Wonder what "a load" constitutes? And if you do buy "a load" what the dickens do you do with it when it gets delivered? And how do you know how old the wood is? Don't want to clog my new burner up with tar do I?

It's a whole new way of life really, this wood burning. It takes over and I feel a wood buying madness coming over me. I'll have to lie down. In front of the fire, naturally.