Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The lazy environmentalist and whitepods

I came across a couple of cool blogs today and was reminded of somethign I read on Ben Sunders blog. I don't remember how I came across Ben's blog but he is a fascinating guy. On his blog I saw a post about a trip that he made to Switzerland to visit the Whitepods. These pods are an eco-village set in the Swiss Alps that provide room and board in what seems like fantastic luxary. All the reports that I have read have been glowing...a trip out there must be on the list!

The reason I was reminded of the whitepods is that I saw a similar reference from a new blog that I stumbled across. The blog in question is the wonderfully named L
azy Environmentalist. The blog is a fantastic read and will certainly become one of my RSS feeds. The blog covers a fairly broad spectrum of environmental issues and recent posts are a good introduction to Carbon footprinting. the author is currently guest editing on the Ecologist blog as well. As one of those strange coincidences, the author seems to have been at the whitepods at the same time as Ben Saunders...very strange...

I downloaded a new report ‘
Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook' from the internet that sounds like it is worth a for the trip back home...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Walk in the Quantocks

We had a great day out today in the Quantocks. Sarah and I are both breaking in new walking boots so we decided to head out for a longish walk. Given the beautiful weather we headed down to the Quantocks for the day. Using a little walking guide that we picked up in the Bath Christmas market a couple of years ago we decided to head to the Western end of the hills.

Last year I headed to the Quantocks with Cass for a day mountain biking but we started and finished in the Eastern end. This time we started from a beautiful little village called Bicknoller. We headed up one of the Coombes, traversed the the ridgeline for a few kilometres and then dropped back down Bicknoller Coombe. It was so nice to be out walking again. I love being out on the bike but it is nice to head out for a long walk every now and then. We have resolved to do it more often. Next time the Brecons?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mather in 29er mode

With significant help from Rob (Thanks Rob!) I finally got around to metamorphosing the Mather tourer into its 29er alter ego. I have been out to Wales on it twice now and I must say it has been an absolute revelation. I had forgotten what it is like to ride a hardtail MTB and had no idea what it was going to be like riding a 29er. I am totally converted...

The combination of being a hardtail, and Rohloff means that there is more grip in the back end ue to the weight of the hub and the lack of bob. That directness of power transfer that you get and smooth gear transitions at low speed have given me a lot more confidence climbing on technical singletrack. The second thing you notice is how the bigger wheels create a shallower angle of attack going into small rocks and roots. It is so nice to just point the bike in the direction you want it and not worry that you are going to get stopped by the front wheel. The upshot of the change is that I was able to clean both of the singletrack climbs at Cwm Carn and the White Trail at Afan.

It is a bit more of a handful on the descents floaty speed descents like the Rocky. Still...I'd settle for that trade any day. I think that the Mather is going to be a great long ride bike as well...looking forward to my first all dayer already.