Neon Knights

Now that the WHW*Falldoon is all public, and the hilariously worded press release had been sent out, I think it’s dawned on us that we’re really going, and the runners are now feeling the pressure. Us on the bikes though? Lets put it this way, I had a sausage supper and a can of Coke when I was waiting on Craig to finish work before we met Phil at mine to go for a night ride/run. Aye, the bike folk will be fine. Probably?

What a lovely night to be out, clear sky with a few wee clouds occasionally diffusing the moonlight, cool autumn air and the hills to ourselves.
Craig made good time on foot and soon left us behind on the climb. Once on the top, Phil and I found the tracks to be on the moist side and cosequently bike control was on the tenuous side at times. A couple of stops to adjust the lights and we were through the forest and ready to charge down to Overtoun, Milton and hot cuppas.
But as soon as we lifted the bikes over the fence and started down, Phil went straight over the bars as the bike got all upset in a deep rut. He wandered along beside me with the light on the bars looking sideways.
We sorted it all out, straightened ourselves up and headed off again. The trail was slippy, with all the difficulties, steep bits and the same speed as usual. So when my front wheel went into one rut and my back wheel slid into another I knew I was going into the bracken. It was soft in there and as I lay and looked up at the moon I could hear a voice floating through the night time chill “Are you aff?”. First proper stack on the new bike, that feels better now.
We slid and skittered our way down the rest of the way without incident, and also without Craig. We thought he’d maybe streaked ahead as I was fannying around adjusting my light angle, or taking photies (again), so we didn’t pause and flew down the tarmac to the BP garage at Milton where we sipped coffees and wondered where the boy wis.
Ten minutes later, a headtorch bobbed into the forecourt. “I went left at the trail junction”, “We went right”.

Night riding is great, but it takes a wee while to get your eye back in as we found. My lights are superb, an Exposure Maxx D on the bars and a Joystick (original, anodised purple!) on my helmet, it was like daylight in front of me.
Phil drew blood from his leg, I merely tenderised my hip. Craig just needed a Honey Stinger Protein bar. We did push though, and the times were good. But I’ll tell you, I don’t care because it was just great fun.

And, the Montane Lite-Speed got its first outing, it survived bracken intrusion and thwarted a hot coffee spillage admirably. It also has arms long enough on me for biking which the Featherlite doesn’t do so well at. Nice.

30 thoughts on “Neon Knights”

  1. Wee excursions into the bushes – ouch! Ach it’s all part of the ‘experience’ I suppose eh!!
    Here’s hoping the weather stays… fairly decent(!)

    (aye…I posted this in the wrong comment bit!!!)

  2. Aye, those lights don’t look too shabby! ;O)

    I’m guessing you’re only planning on riding through one night?

  3. We’re splitting it in two, so we can have a do at the Real Food Cafe on the Saturday night.
    I can see us having to ride into the night on both days, we’ll end up fannying about having cuppas at evey opportunity, setting the timer for photies and that stuff.
    The only real time pressure is on the runners, and that’s why we’re doing the two halfs, so we can stay together as much as possible.
    The roadies are catching the ferry from Tarbet to Rowardennan to we can meet up there for the final(ish) stretch.
    Whatever way it goes, the three lights I’ll carry (one red rear) are less than 400g in total I think, so it’s fine. It’s what else I’m packing is still to be decided!

  4. Ange the bush was very well positioned indeed! Phil had rocks…
    I’m getting used to riding with higher pressures (for speed and less rolling resistance) in the tires, so hopefully if it is really wet I’ll survive. I do miss my spongey tyres and super grip though.

  5. Cool!

    I was thinking, I wish I could contribute to these posts with confidence on the technical merit of spongey tyres/high pressure for speed, how well a jacket can withstand our variable weather systems, or how well different bright lights will perform but I have no knowledge since I haven’t got my bike yet and I’m a relative newbie to all this with pretty rotten walking kit (some bits are great though that I couldn’t do without-even if they are a bit *whispers* heavy! [new kit should be arriving imminently though!!!]).
    So instead I’ll just chip in with the usual oohs and aahs at the good photies and comment on the contents of the stories. :o)

  6. Hey, Ange, it’s good if not everyone on here’s a gear-geek! :))

    Keep reminding us why we all get out there….

  7. It’s getting oot, that’s what it’s all about.
    I’m kinda annoyed at myself in some ways as this WHW thing is taking up all my outdoor time, and I didn’t forsee this for some reason?!
    As much as I love gear, seeing the new stuff and doing all the testing thing, unless I’m using it in anger it’s rubbish.
    After the WHW though I’ll be up and down hills like a, er, ptarmigan on a bungee? Does that work?

    So, three weeks and it’s all west highlands and tents again, are we all going?

  8. West highlands and tents? Aye of course!! I shall await comms…

    Matt- well I didn’t want to mention the word geek but seeing as you did first then aye! All the gear geeks coming up with great info that you otherwise would never hear about at the shops on my high street. Good stuff, it won’t be long til I can maybe contribute to those posts! :-)

  9. “I’m kinda annoyed at myself in some ways as this WHW thing is taking up all my outdoor time, and I didn’t forsee this for some reason?!”

    Somehow ended up having a go at the Welsh3000s this summer and that seemed to totally take over all my weekends for a couple of months – walking up hills I had no interest in, just to make sure there were no nasty surprises on the day.

    It’s been nice to have a few weekends doing just what I want to, without feeling I should be doing something for the W3s. Like meeting Jimmy Saville in The Clachaig!!!

    Anyway fella, best of luck to you all, will be good to see what Craig can do with the training he’s been doing/not doing.

  10. Ange
    Dinnae worry !
    My fave saying is ” I what he said(normally pointing at Craig or PTC !)
    The important thing is you can get reliable impartial advice on blogs like this which means you are not going to waste cash by buying something that is crap or is a best seller in the shops.
    Once you get yer new kit and wear it for a while little niggles or lack of will be the bench mark for further comments.

  11. Aye very true Phil. I just wish I knew this info around this time last year when I spent a small fortune on kit for my trek. I took advice from folk i thought new about this stuff but ended up with a pair of boots that were 1 size too big and weighed about a kilo each! They were promptly taken back for a refund 2 days later!!
    Good thing is I know kit that doesn’t really work for me now and stuff that does… my Osprey pack! It’s dead comfy if a little on the big side for a day walk. A wee niggle is that i need to take it off to get to the water bottles but it’s great otherwise. It’s a keeper. I will get a smaller pack though!
    Oh and I have to sing the praises of my Rab Neutrino down jacket. Rare and warm on the cold nights in the Himalayas it was. It’s packed size is probably bigger than your Golden sleeping bag but I like it.
    Problem with reading on here and seeing photies of new kit in lovely bright colours is that there’s not enough money trees here in Stirling so I have to choose purchases wisely. I will be calling on everyones ‘reliable impartial advice’ soon…!

  12. Great photo – like you’re really burning up the trail!
    There’s always got to be a certain amount of learning by experience with kit, especially when you’re new to the outdoors fun and games. Took me well over a hundred quid to discover that I sleep stupidly cold. Then of course I had to fork out more pound notes to buy sleeping bags that kept me warm enough. At least I managed to sell on the Minimus that I’d never have been able to use!

  13. There’s a wee wave of positivity flowing from all youse folks above.
    I like that.

    It’s a good point about paying for mistakes, every purchase is a gamble.
    There’s no way I could have learned as much as I have in the past couple of years without doing the testing thing on here and elsewhere. It would have taken a lifetime and all the money I could eat.
    I know I make light of it a lot, but I’m acutely aware of how good it really is to have the sort of access to kit and information that I have these days.

    But it does feed my inner geek…

  14. You.. a geek?! never! :o)
    Anyway I never really make an impulse purchase. There’s always plenty of thought/finding out about stuff before I hand over my hard-earned cash. But even then it can go wrong sometimes (my waterproof jacket! which now appears to get wet on the inside!).

  15. So, three weeks and it’s all west highlands and tents again, are we all going?”

    Aye, cabin fever can set in and you find yourself so keen to get out that you head to the hills in far from perfect conditions. Like tomorrow…

    “Wind – Westerly veering northwesterly, average speeds 50 to 60mph with gusts 90mph”

    Good job I’ve got some sturdy Swedish tentage, rather than that flappy, flimsy Terra Nova rubbish!

  16. I wish there were some money trees south of the border too! That way I could feed my inner geek until it was completely stuffed. As it is it’s on rations at the moment following the PHD sale and my ongoing ‘need’ for a new waterproof.

    Anyway, just my way of saying keep up the good work everyone – you help me choose wisely and more importantly to get out and use the gear I already have. Here’s hoping one trip might be all points north to see you folks in person :-)

  17. Ange, you are the cruel victim of condensation. It is a vile creature and must be shown no mercy.

    David, aye. I might leave going ouit til Sunday. Or next week.

    Ah More-On, the PHD sale, credit card heating up? :o)

  18. Melting might be a better description :-(

    However the Combi S seems to be just what I needed. Sadly this impression has only been gained in tests in the living room! Hopefully I’ll make it to the Beacons next weekend for a proper run out. If it passes muster it might solve my ‘how to keep warm at night in the cairngorms in winter’ question that has hounded me for several years. Conversely not having a flapping Lightwave might be a better answer ;-)

  19. I’m awaiting my synthetic Combi bag… that’s over 300 notes waxed at PHD this year. I’m viewing it as an investment, otherwise I would cry.

  20. mrchewy – based on my experience of other PHD products and the view here at PTC* world I don’t think you need worry!

    PTC* – I’ll be very interested to see how the photon fairs. If it wasn’t for all the hassles I’ve had with Quasar poles over the years I’d probably have killed the credit card stone dead by now.

  21. More-On – was it you who posted on OM after their Conbi was delivered? If so, I’m Kelvin and I blame you for my Card taking a hammering! Haha

    Been really pleased with my Minim300 so far, I had a full zip fitted which suits how I use the bag but I do wish I’d got the Drishell… too much condensation in the Laser Comp for my liking. So the Combi has had to have that hideous gree Drishell on it. Hideous.

  22. Have you got a good route for the Beacons, More-On?
    I succumbed to the PHD pressure this afternoon – an Ultra Vest is on order along with some of those down mitts ptc* was raving about last winter.

  23. Poor PHD, they’ll been fair putting in the overtime!

    Kate, the mitts and booties are brilliant, they saved my ass several times last winter. Phil’s got some for this winter too.

    Ange, it’s an age old battle. There are ways of dealing with it, but everything’s got a compromise.
    This is partly why I wanted wacky test kit for this winter, just to see what life’s like outside the normal membrane/Paramo stuff.

  24. My apologies Kelvin it was I – however I reckon you’ll forgive me after a few more trips ;-) Can’t say I miss the drishell on my minim 500, it is my summer bag after all!

    No real route yet Kate. I’ll just head over later on Friday or Saturday, start at the Storey Arms, head east, camp up high and be back at the car early the next morning.

    Condensation, now there’s an issue to battle with. Based on my Dad’s experience with Ventile it might well be the way to go. The only downside is the weight, but what price comfort?

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