Mountain biking once past 50; the bad back

Box Hill it is then!

The most stupid of things really. Needed some new mastic around the drain hole in the bathroom. Small space, so I was on my hands and knees cutting the old stuff out. It took a bit of time as the original plumber had applied it around the drain hole. then extended under the surrounding tiles. This was all rotten.

Mastic removal

Did it, yet when I went to get up I couldn't straighten my back. Kind of had to hobble around bent over. Next time you get a plumbers bill, remember the physical pain you've avoided.

That was Friday. Woke up Saturday, same issue; took ages to straighten out and was painful all day. Especially sitting down.

Sunday came; bike ride day! Except my back still hurt, still when sitting down. Best go on a four hour bike ride then.

My fat bike is broken.

My Surly O.D. crank and bearings have proven to be poor quality. They've both rusted out after a few months. So whilst waiting on new parts the fat bike is out of action.

Crappy Surly O.D. bearings.

Had to take a bike with thin tyres. 

Now I'm not all evangelical about fat bikes; they're just bikes at the end of the day. It's no hardship to take something else out, and I like bikes of all forms. However I did notice a few things of interest. The first being that a 30lb full suspension bike hardly accelerates any better than a 35lb fat bike. Little more sprightly for sure, yet not the difference you think. Riding up hills is just as hard. Hills are hills.

Going downhill on the susser I could ride around things, play a little more and it was fun. Not any faster really. The fat bike is silly when pointing down something; it just rides over stuff. Indeed I can think of places where the fatty is untouchable. Bear in mind I have no bike skills, as I just ride over and through stuff. For that you cannot beat massive tyres.

Ah, grip. I did notice in all the mud we've got, that a suspension bike with 2.4" tyres at 20psi struggles a little in places where 4 tyres at 6psi don't. This is balanced through the thinner tyres at times cutting through and finding grip, where often the fat tyres slide over.

Muddy 2013 Orange 5

And yes, I agree; the Orange 5 is ugly. I've not used this bike for 7 months. You know what? It rode perfectly in contrast to a bike fitted with Surly parts, which didn't. Quality does shine through.

One thing I did notice, though. On the 5 I used the dropper post quite a lot. Indeed all the time really, it was automatic. On the fatty, which also has one fitted, I hardly ever feel the need to.


It's April in Surrey. It is some ancient blog law that you have to feature a shot of bluebells.

A bluebell

Box Hill.

Man was it busy. I got there, the queue was a good twenty minutes. There must have been 400 roadies there. It's a nice spot, but not that nice, not to queue for a watery coffee. Decided to ride down the hill and over to Pilgrim Cycle's. Took all of, what, 4 minutes? No queue, friendly, she'd literally just cooked cake, and there were seats. Some stunning bikes as well.


This was interesting. Bear in mind I'm a mountain biker, so had little to do with roads; only through Box Hill and a bit on the A24. It was awful! Punishment passes, cars up your backside, being blitzed at 50 mph in 30 zones. And for what? I was 200m from Box Hill cafe and some woman did a punishment pass on several of us, doing a good 50mph. For what? She only parked up, let the dog out of the car and sat there.

Not only the cars. At Mickleham there's an underpass for the A24. I use it. Some roadie decided that the underpass would take too much time out of his life, so he took to the road. He didn't stop at the junction, just sailed into the path of a harmless Porsche who had the nerve to occupy the same bit of road as the roadie wanted. Hats of the the car driver for missing him. Thing was, the roadie was one of a bunch; they all just carved out onto the road.


A slow day out for me, thanks to my back. It was a cracking day out. Fresh and sunny.