Tag Archives: mountain biking

A Mechanised Tramp

Found on the Epicurean Cyclist blog, and pointed out to me by local rider Crispin Bennett are these videos of Bill Houston, who called himself a “mechanized tramp.”

He was from Dumfries and Galloway, an area with a heritage of pioneering off-road cycling, in the form of Rough Stuff “Highwayman” Davie Bell, who charted his exploits in the Ayrshire Post between the 1930s and the 1960s.

According to Wikipedia the pits closed in the 80s (High House in 1983 and nearby Barony in 1989) so this video might be from the late 70s or early 80s.

Andy MacLeod: Torch Bearer

Two of my most rewarding blog pieces from last year charted Andy Macleod’s story from MTB and trials enthusiast through his ordeal to his ‘comeback‘ with more zest than a Lapierre carbon all-mountain bike.

Andy had to keep it under wraps for a while but his nomination to carry the flame was successful and he will be proudly running on his carbon/titanium leg the Olympic flame in Forfar on 12 June. Big well done to Andy.

He is the master at throwing himself at a challenge, focusing on the positives and overcoming adversity. A quote from his facebook page:
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
― Bruce Lee


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Dirt School MTB coaching

The other weekend my younger brother came over from Switzerland for a 2-day MTB skills tuition with Andy Barlow at Dirt School.

The Glentress trail centre is known as one of the best in Britain, if not Europe and now we have top-not coaching to match: Dirt School run their training courses there: founder Chris Ball focuses more on elite downhill and XC racers while he and Andy Barlow provide skills coaching to any age and ability of rider.

My bro is pretty experienced, spending all summer riding local trails around Zurich and the Swiss ski centres and it seems that he got a lot from the weekend. He brought his all-mountain Transitions Covert over in a bike bag especially. It’s set up with 6″ travel front and back and a Hammerschmidt internally geared BB.
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Andy Macleod: bouncing back

In “Superman“, I looked at Andy Macleod’s background in dirt jumping and downhill before a nasty accident robbed him of a leg in March 2011.

This post is about his amazingly quick return to mobility: on 16 July he was back on his mountain bike* and I met him in a café a couple of weeks ago to find out more. (*83 likes and 40 comments on facebook)

In person, Andy exudes the positivity and enthusiasm I expected. His dreads add to his chilled-out vibe, but he isn’t a dozy hippy- he has a relaxed yet focused attitude: determined not to let his accident and disability hold him back, but also realistic and stoic about it. 19 year old Andy is back on his feet and getting on with life.


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Andy Macleod: Superman

A couple of years ago my wife showed me this video of 15/16yr olds ripping on their jump bikes in the local woods. The footage is rough but she knew the kids, it was local, and we were impressed. Although The Drum-Up has a pretty roadie-centric worldview, my teenage years were spent skateboarding and mountain biking, and I can still appreciate a nice jump when I see one.

Amongst the majority of Drum-Up readers, ‘Superman’ will conjure up Graeme Obree’s revolutionary position used to break the hour record for a second time. But in this context, it’s the motocross-inspired freestyle manoeuvre that most of us could only dream of attempting, let along landing.

Originally hailing from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Andy Macleod started taking his biking seriously around the age of 13, and was immediately drawn to jumping and getting whatever air he could. He chose a full-face helmet and pictured himself as a motocross rider.
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Macavalanche, Glencoe

I don’t cover mountain biking that much on the blog. In fact I don’t mountain bike that much, any more– the pressure of time and an obsession with road. But it’s where I started taking cycling seriously, so I will retain a fondness for it.

When I have been using the mountain bike, it’s been in the snow, for my commute – during the last 2 harsh winters. Slush and road salt do terrible things to anodised aluminium, I can tell you.

The Macavalanche, a No Fuss invitation event, is a gravity enduro race starting from the Meall a Bhuridh (Glencoe Mountain resort) 1108m and descending to the bottom of the chairlift at 305m.

IXS Macavalanche Promo from No Fuss Events on Vimeo.

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Scottish bike show: World Class mountain biking

It’s just over a month to go until the Scottish Bike Show on 16th-17th April and I am quite excited about this event. I am a roadie primarily, and I sometimes forget that Scotland is world famous thanks to a UCI Mountain Bike event being held annually at Nevis Range. It’s not surprising that mountain biking features heavily at the show.

The multi-award winning Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup will be bringing its action and atmosphere into the heart of The Scottish Bike Show with The Fort William World Cup Screen. As well as a continuous showcase of some of the best mountain bike action from the past 9 years, the screen will also feature the BSD BMX displays live. The World Cup team will also be on hand to talk about the Best Mountain Bike Event in the World!

The area is also a growing trail centre in its own right. Nevis Bike School will be running guiding and coaching sessisons plus new training camps with Dirt School in 2011, and Alpine bikes will be at Nevis Range this summer providing bike hire. Dirt School– the mountain bike skills coaching company- are also exhibiting, as are Alpine Bikes, who will have a large stand, hopefully with plenty of bling on show.

Other mountain bike exhibitors include:
Moredirt– a guide to mountain bike trails and routes worldwide
Singletrack mountain bike magazine
International Mountain Bike magazine

Early 90s Scottish XC racing

Recently Craig Hardie, top cyclocrosser and grass track racer, and owner of Hardie Bikes shop in Cairneyhill, posted some old pics on facebook that piqued my interest- I rode mountain bikes in Edinburgh’s Pentland Hills in the early 90s and even raced a couple of times.

Craig has kindly pulled out some of his old diaries from the 1994 era and reminisced for a bit for me:

I started to get into XC when I got injured in my first sport of Moto-X which I had been competing in for about seven years, after my shoulder injury I was using Mountain Biking to get fit and started enjoying it more and more. I then looked at trying a race in 91 where I took part in the fun Cat at a race in Peebles and went on to win, the rest as they say is history.

At this same venue on the day I watched a certain James Ouchterlony (newly up from the juniors) leading a certain Sandy Gilchrist in the senior race, James then went on to snap his left crank arm off and get passed by Sandy only to claw his way back and win!! That was an inspiring day for sure and little did I know in a few years I would be beating these two riders I had watched in the top Cat 🙂

Steven Deas, James Ouchterlony, Craig Hardie, Donald Paterson, Andrew Davies

In 1994 the top bods making the podiums were myself, Andrew Wright, Dan Whitehead, Steven Deas, Alistair Martin, Andrew Davies, Martin Magrath, Evan Hawkins and Chris Young.

The scene was great in the mid 90’s as Mountain Biking had really taken off and was buzzing, prominent race teams of the time were Pentland RT, Paisley RT, Penicuik RT and 232 RT. Courses sometimes consisted of one lap of 20 miles, the races usually were up to three hours long with mostly natural terrain of singletrack, fire breaks and farm tracks.

Evan Hawkins, Dan Whitehead, Craig Hardie

There were races all over Scotland and up and down the country. I competed in Nemba’s, BMBF’s, Norba’s and of course the SCU series, all which were very well attended and I was competing against people like David Baker, Adrian Timmis, Nick Craig, Gary Coltman, Richard Thackray and Martin Earley in the south.

The Scottish scene was getting great reviews and you were getting over the border invaders at a few of the races, in the Scottish Champs at Hawick 94 Paul Hinton of Team Raleigh Turned up and this in turn gave me extra motivation to win as I could not have an English Pro coming up to win our Champs!

Craig Hardie, Scottish MTB Series Stonehaven 1994