Saturday, 15 April 2017


I have no justification.

I have a new bike. A completely new one, with ridiculously pimp componentry on an even more ridculously pimp frame.

There must be someone to blame, surely?

I could blame Slam69 for displaying those petrol bars that caught my eye when I first walked in the shop.

Or I could blame their mechanic, the exceptionally skilled Rich Parkes, who knows everything there is to know about Dirt Jump bikes, and being so darned helpful when I asked a relentless barrage of questions in the middle of a busy work day.

I could blame Steve for getting me the sublime petrol painted Dartmoor Cody frame for my birthday. Yet how can I blame him for being such a perfect husband and listening to my waffling desires?

I could blame Flyup417 for having such a excessively fun pump track, a challenging dirt barn, and a fantastic social atmosphere where everyone is welcomed, no matter what their ability, age, race or gender.

I could blame Matt at our LBS UKCC who deals in all things shiney and blue from Hope. I could also blame Matt for the jump tyres have gave me to run on the current bike, as they were the key to enjoying the pump track. Yes, maybe it's his fault.

Actually maybe I'll blame other-Jo. It was her idea to go to the pump track in the first place, and that's what got this whole uncontrollable slide into financial extravagance started.

To be honest, the only one to blame is my inner magpie that just can't resist shiny things. I really don't need such a pimpalicious jump bike. I can't even dirt jump properly. It is so different to jumping a big full suspension bike at speed. Dirt jumping takes skill, practice, and rubber limbs of a teenager. I'm old and likely to get broken. See Lewis below for the definition of skill...

The new bike is way over the top to ride around tarmac.

The old Santa Cruz Chameleon could carry being the pump-track bike. I could have, of course, split the Santa Cruz and stuck the parts on the new frame, but my love for the Chameleon is too great. Of all the bikes I own, the Chammy is the only one I would be distraught about loosing, even though it now rides like a bag of nails, and is pretty much worthless. We have been though a lot, this bike and I. This picture (by Neil Williams) below shows what cemented the Chammy into my favourite all time bike. Doubt I'd ever be stupid enough to ride a hardtail down Snowdon again, but that day was one of my best days on a bike. Together, we pulled off stuff I didn't even think was possible.

But maybe, just maybe, if I try, I can pull out some excuses.......some kind of justification.

I don't buy much 'stuff'. I live in work clothes, charity shop clothes, secondhand goods. I don't decorate the house every five minutes to keep up with the neighbours. I don't drink, smoke, gamble, buy magazines. We rarely eat out or go to the cinema. Mostly, other than bikes and kit, my lifestyle is minimalistic.

I have grown into all the bikes I have brought. When I got a Marin Attack, most people thought that 140 mm travel bike was total overkill for a female rider. Yet I changed from an XC rider that couldn't drop off a kerb, into an All Mountain rider that tackled rocky stuff with ease. The first downhill bike saw me learn to handle speed, bigger jumps and even race, yet most people told me I didn't need a downhill bike. Getting a decent carbon road bike with good gears and good fit, helped the progression from local roadie, to big distance multi-day audaxer.

That thing 'it's not about the bike' is a lie. It is about having the right bike for the job, and the right bike to fit the rider. Sure, a good rider will be able to ride a bad bike well. Sure, spending money doesn't give you more talent. Sure, you can trundle on, and make the best of, a bike that isn't quite right. However, talent is nurtured when the rider is comfortable and the right bike enhances that.

This bike, no matter how nice it is, isn't a purchase to make razzing round a tarmac pump track more pleasurable (although I am hoping that is a side effect). This bike has been put together so I can try, at least, to improve my dirt jumping ability and hopefully one day, be able to find that flowing ease which the skilled riders have. That effortless air. That ability to clear a table with little more than rolling speed. That enviable 'pump' that sends a rider into the air so high they go out of shot on my camera. I am not stupid, I know my limits and most of this is a pipe-dream. Yet I do enjoy jumping, more than anything, and anything that helps improve that is only going to make me happy. We started this journey on Thursday, the new bike and I, and we saw a little progress. It will be a long road ahead, but a fun journey no doubt.

As for the unnecessary bling? Well, I still can't justify it. But it is sure going to make me smile taking photos!