Hemlock fettling and beer.

A test ride into town proved that the Hemlock is ace, however it also proved that the gears were shot, and the rear tyre a fraction too wide. So after a quick shopping session, and an afternoon of fettling, it’s now been tweaked.

The Hemlock now has a new 32t chainring, the almost-new 11-34t cassette from the 69er, and a slightly narrower Bontrager XR4 2.2" tyre to replace the Bontrager Jones ACX 2.35". Whilst I was at it, the 69er got a new 11-32t cassette, the Hemlock had the stem raised 10mm, and all my spare parts lying round the place were bagged up and labelled properly.

I resisted the temptation to buy new bars and stem this morning, as other than moving to a slightly stiffer 31.8mm bar, it wouldn’t have made much difference. After a bit more riding I’ll work out if I need a shorter stem or not, but for the moment the 100mm Thomson and low-rise Easton EA50 bars seem spot on.

A lunchtime trip out to the Bath Ales brewery shop provided a case of Wild Hare and a case of Rare Hare for imbibing over the Easter weekend.

Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

I’d been toying with dipping my toe into the world of full-suspension bikes again, things have progressed a long way since I bought my Craftworks back in 2003. After a few weeks pondering I settled on a Cotic Hemlock, and after a week long wait a new frame arrived today. It’s effectively a replacement for my little-used On-One 456, so most of the bits were transferred straight across.

Cotic HemlockCotic Hemlock

As built, it comes in just under 31lbs.

Cotic Hemlock frame with short rockers.
RockShox Revelation forks
Hope XC/Mavic F519 wheels with 2.35" Bontrager Jones ACX tyres.
Shimano SLX mechs, SRAM Attack shifters, Hone chainset.
Avid Elixir R brakes
Thomson, Easton, and Charge finishing kit.

Future plans:
It’ll probably get new bars and a slightly shorter stem tomorrow, then at some point in the future some new wheels, probably Hope Hoops, and some longer bolt-through forks to beef up the front end.

Half Man Half Biscuit – The Junction, Cambridge

After a lazy morning I headed off on the lengthy trip to Cambridge to see the mighty Half Man Half Biscuit again, stopping off briefly to don my DPAK and swap cars, then back on the road for the last hours driving. We arrived 30 minutes after the doors opened to find only a dozen or so people in the venue, however it soon filled out as it got nearer to the start time of the only band tonight. They really should wash the floor in The Junction more often as it was rather on the sticky side, although it did mean you were unlikely to slip over at any point, or be able to move your feet at all really.

Just after 20:30 the band took the stage, and after the obligatory preliminary faffing launched into the set with Restless Legs. The mix was fairly poor tonight, with the vocals getting lost beneath the guitar and bass. However this didn’t prove much of a hindrance as pretty much everyone knew every word of every song anyway, and sang along enthusiastically.

Two hours later it was all over bar the queue for the ticket machine in the car park, and a rather wet drive back again.

Setlist (to be decoded later):

Restless Legs
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
Fuckin’ ‘Ell, it’s Fred Titmus
Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess
A Lilac Harry Quinn
San Antonio Foam Party
Irk the Purists
Uffington Wassail
Bob Wilson – Anchorman
Outbreak of Vitas Gerulatis
Running Order Squabble Fest
Petty Sessions
The Light at the End of the Tunnel (is the Light of an Oncoming Train)
All I Want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit
Bottleneck at Capel Curig
Look Dad, No Tunes
Ballad of Climie Fisher (start)
Monmore, Hare’s Running
Twenty Four Hour Garage People (the Pringles cost £1.61)
National Shite Day
Trumpton Riots
For What is Chatteris…
1966 and all that
Vatican Broadside
We Built this Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune

Evening of Swing (Has been Cancelled)
Joy Division Oven Gloves


I was meant to be fixing a computer this afternoon, so despite the weather decided to ride out along the canal rather than drive. As it was wet I took the mudguard equipped Peregrine rather than the crosser, the downside being that it has 32mm slick tyres which don’t provide a lot of grip on a wet and muddy tow-path, at one point on the way back both tyres slipped sideways and I nearly ended up getting acquainted with the canal itself.

23 miles in the rain, and not enough food makes for a very hard last few miles home.

Nothing lasts

I’ve just replaced the rear tyres on the X-Trail at a cost of just over £200. The tyres on there were date-stamped 2003, so were almost certainly the originals, which means they’d done 75,000 miles. They weren’t even worn out, but the rubber had started to perish necessitating the premature replacement. Hopefully these new ones will last just as long, and therefore I won’t have to change them again.

New Model Army – Fiddlers, Bristol

A new venue for me tonight, apparently it used to be a prison. It’s certainly smaller than the venues I usually see New Model Army at only 400 or so capacity, therefore it was a little more intimate than usual, but just as sweaty as always.

States Radio
Get Me Out
The Charge
White Light
Mambo Queen of the Sandstone City
Peace is Only
Today is a Good Day
One of the Chosen
White Coats
Into the Wind
Wonderful Way to Go

Stupid Questions
No Rest