M25 graffiti dash - Banstead wild side.

Gary Fisher Tassajara 26"

The Tassajara was the first bike I built from scratch. Bought the frame, used, for £70 and went from there. I've owned it for 14 years now, and think it perhaps represents a time when 26" peaked. Not quite tubeless, not dropper post friendly, and would be out of its' depth at a trail centre, even back when it was new 15 years ago. But back then we still only had the one bike to do it all. I used this bike to commute to work, ride cross country each Sunday, do the odd trail centre, or go on long distance rides where some road work would have been involved. It's been ridden to Guildford, Shoreham, Brighton, Eastbourne and even Rye. I took it out today, the first time since Christmas, and expected it to be awful. It was fine. OK the 560mm handlebars took a bit of getting used to, as did the 30x36t gearing. The brakes are pretty bad. 5 miles in, all was good and I was happy.


Perhaps the Tassajara wears its' age well as it did sport different geometry to most bikes. It was quite stretched out for the time. It's also very light for a mainstream bike - less than 25lb.

Certainly my Whyte would be more confident off-road, climbing and descending better. Mix in some road work though, and I'd rather take the red bike. Even with a leather saddle and bag it's lighter than the Whyte. So far, of my little collection of 26" bikes, only my Pace RC303 is awful to ride. Sure I'd not take any to a trail centre, but I rarely do those anyway. And if I want a fast few hours, the Whyte is enormous fun. For bimbling, or longer rides, 26" is perfectly fine as is.

I still think bike progress is now the same as for motorbikes or digital cameras. 30 years ago a GSXR1100 was a beast; then, as other bikes got more powerful, it morphed into a tourer. A 6mp camera ten years ago would have been awesome, now you can get 50mp versions. Really, though, any bike with over 100bhp is fast, and more than 10mp is wasted if you just upload on to Instagram. And with mountain bikes, a professional downhill rider on a 20 year old bike would beat you on your modern version just about anywhere. I'm not saying give up, stick to old tech, just sometimes progress has to be taken with a pinch of salt.


I didn't stray too far today - just over to Banstead. It's a cross country jaunt involving country lanes, so any bike is fine.

Road to Banstead

Would you believe this trail is 1 mile from the A217, or 3 miles from the M25?

M25 graffiti

Yes, I hate this bit under the M25

Little girl, suicide and a peace dove??