Archive for March, 2011

Early Spring, mountain bike, night ride

Had a fantastic ride last night, spring is beginning to get going here in our little corner of South East England, the trails are beginning to dry out and temperature is nudging the low teens, here are some pictures from last night’s ride

Here we are getting ready to roll, the woodland is a beautiful carpet of wood anemones at this time of year. They are the first woodland flower to come out in this part of the world, followed by primroses and spectacular bluebells.

The sun is beginning to dip towards the horizon and disappearing into the trees, which are still stark and bare from a very hard and snowy winter. There were seven of us out last night, probably the biggest group we have assembled so far this year, summer will see as many as twenty out at a time – fair weather bikers 😉

A puncture and a mechanical put us back an hour and plunged the woods into inky blackness leaving us to ride into our own tunnel of hi-tech lumens, with a soundtrack of owls and that weird noise that foxes make at night.

Home for a shower, curry and bed – perfect.

To add to the story, here are some pictures of a night ride two weeks on as the woodland starts to come alive;

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Aston Hill Black Run Race March 27th 2011

Just got back from a very busy weekend over at Aston Hill Bike Park over in Buckinghamshire for their annual Black Run Race. Duffbag were a sponsor and had a trade stand in the busy paddock.

Over three hundred riders entered the race and despite a cold early spring start the sun came out and with it the atmosphere picked up for a really good early season event.

We talked to a lot of people over the day and managed to sell quite a few bags – which was nice.

Duffbag donated a duffbag classic kit bag to each of the winners in the nine categories, the winners were:

Elite Men

Jack GEOGHEGAN – 1:25.050

Expert Men

Natahn Vials – 1.25.240

Hardtail Men

Daniel Jary – 1.37.440

Juvenile Men

Alistair Warrell – 1.44.560

Youth Men

Philip Atwill – 1.30.670

Junior Men

Jono Jones – 1.26.610

Senior Men

Josh Lane – 1.30.270

Master Men

Chris Spooner – 1.27.790

Veteran Men

Trevor Harvey – 1.32.410


Amie Wills – 1.50.640

All of which now have brand new duffbag classic kit bags to store all their gear in post and pre-ride

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New video for Duffbag Stealth bag

Latest video for Duffbag Stealth bag just finished. The Duffbag Stealth bag is designed to take a full size bike with a bit of dismantling but packs down to a really small, easily manageable size.

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Mountain Mayhem 24 hour mountain bike race

Mountain Mayhem is a 24 hour mountain bike race held in the UK each year on the weekend closest to the summer solstice in June and is the largest 24 hour mountain bike race in Europe attracting 2,500 competitors and up to 15,000 spectators each year.

The first Mountain Mayhem race was held in 1998 at Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire, moving to Sandwell Valley Country Park in 1999. In 2004 the race moved to The Deer Park of Eastnoor Castle Herefordshire and has occupied the same location since.

The whole event has a real festival feel to it with on site camping, trade stands and a 24 hour buzz that is difficult to capture anywhere else. In 2011 the team at duffbag will be at Mountain Mayhem, both competing and with our own trade stand offering all kinds of bike bags including our extremely popular duffbag, which is a favorite amongst mountain bikers that want to keep the interior of their car, van or camper clean after the event – ESPECIALLY if it is raining and we experience the familiar Mayhem Mudfest!

The event is usually around a 9 mile loop and teams compete as teams of four, five or ten or even individuals there are various categories of entry:

Individual Male, Individual Female, Mixed Expert, Mixed, Open Men, Open Women, Sport Men, Sport Women, Tens

and the following subcategories:

Guests, Services, Singlespeed, University,Veteran

The race typically gets underway with a run to grab the bikes and then an orderly walk over the line and away, this prevents carnage at the first corner or pinch point and settles any start line nerves. Each team has a baton that is passed from rider to rider as they take over and each rider has a electronic timing chip attached to the bike that race control monitor, through their computer system, giving teams and spectators real time updates on laps and timings.

As the race settles down the riders get spread out over the nine mile course mix of double and singletrack whilst the rest of the team settle into their campsite routine of trying to keep fed, hydrated and depending on the weather – warm.

There is inevitably quite a bit of hanging around between riding stints, but plenty to keep everyone occupied with bike fettling and repairs, eating and of course sleeping in preperation for those lonely night laps.

But the countryside and circuit is quite beautiful and lush at the heart of an English summer

As night falls the atmosphere changes to one of excitement and trepidation as a final testing and charging of lamps takes place and spare batteries and torches are stashed amongst the energy bars in the hydration packs.

As night really starts to take hold it is really inky black out on the course and of course the temperature drops dramatically and riders ride along in their own tunnel of light and spectators get to see “space aliens” with head torches and bar lamps emerging from the darkness

Daylight breaks and riders emerge from tents, ready to take over from their team members, tired and bleary eyed but still loving every minute of it, honest!

As the following morning rolls on the miles have racked up as well as the tales of bravery and skill during the night which seem to get ever more wilder and exaggerated as time goes on, but nobody minds, it is all part of being a 24 hour weekend warrior, but there are some very tired legs out there.

Inevitably the event draws to a close and winners are announced and teams give each other a well earned pat on the back for all the hard work and training that goes into an event like this.

We will be there for Mountain Mayhem 2011, with two teams from our cycle club The BogHogs, one team of four and a fun team of ten, plus Team Columbia Bikefood, who are sponsored by duffbag will be fielding some very competitive soloists for the event. It is a great event, with a unique atmosphere, the weather can make it or break it, but whatever it does it will be great fun, see you there.

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Transporting a bike in a Porsche 911

When you think of vehicles to transport bikes around in you think, estate car, small van, hatchback, but Porsche 911 is not the first car on your list. But what if you have a 911 and want to take your bike to the trails? Bike racks are not made for later 911’s as the rear spoiler raises automatically with speed. Porsche used to do roof bars for the 911 but only up to the 996 version.  Tow bar mounted racks would void the Porsche warranty, so that just leaves the option of putting bikes on the back seat?

Back seat? Are you mad?

Joe Handley from London owns a beautiful black Porsche 911 convertible, with an equally beautiful black leather interior and wanted to find a way to transport his bike inside the back of his beloved supercar. Joe had exhausted all the options, even speaking to an engineer in California that makes custom racks, who advised against it. We spoke with Joe on the phone and between us we figured out that our race bag would fit in the back of a Porsche 911, provided both wheels were off. We added the proviso that under our 60day no quibble guarantee if it did not fit then Joe could simply send back the bag for a full refund.

Well we are delighted to say that our duffbag race bag DOES fit on the backseat of a Porsche 911 and here are the pictures to prove it, thanks very much to Joe for kindly sending in the pictures.

The problem: narrow and shallow rear seats clad in beautiful leather with raised channel on the floor, not a great environment for muddy bikes.

With the wheels off it fits width wise, you can drop the seat pin and it will fit into the bag but Joe has decided to leave his at ride height.

Roof closed and ready to go!

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