Why are Chavs wearing Peruvian Hats?

For many years they have been the preserve of travellers, hippies and outdoorsy types ( I even wore a fleece one when I was in the Himalayas many years ago ), it now seems like the classic Peruvian woolen hat has now been claimed by the Chav fraternity as a fashion statement ( it was once the Lowe Alpine Mountain hat! ). I don't think that trend was predicted?

And whilst we are on the topic, why is it that all Chav blokes ride girls bikes? Trust me...next time you see a tracksuit wearing lowlife on a bike, I bet it is a girls one!?


Marin Trail Headcam Movie

After 6 or so weeks out of the saddle and enjoying the early hours of most nights with little Immy, I was little nervous putting the biking kit together for this trip out with Wrennie.

A start before the sun came up gave Wrennie the opportunity to convince me to stop for the first time at a McDonalds drive-thru ( yes I may well have had a Maccy-D's a few times before, but I have never used one of this quick-fatty-hit windows ). An Egg McMuffin later and we were kitting up at Gwydyr Forest just outside Betws-Y-Coed in deepest darkest Snowdonia.

As seems to be the norm these days, there was a weather warning, with storms and gales lashing across the UK, ( well this is December, so it is allowed ), so we prepared ourselves for 25km of wet and windy trails.

Welsh Fireroad

After breaking in my legs and realising that my rear mech wasn't going to be my friend this day ( I really should learn how to adjust these things ). The fireroad hill climbs soon became sweet rolling descents.

A couple of hours later after 20 or so km of cracking trail, foggy views and blustery gales, we got to the top of the final three sections of downhill singletrack. By this time the legs were less than fresh, but there was enough left to fly through the woods in a true speederbike stylee.

Headcammed Up

I first rode the Marin Trail ( now called Gwydyr Forest as the sponsorship deal ended a while back ) before it 'officially' opened on my old hardtail bike. It hasn't changed too much in the years that have gone by. It has a nice old-skool varied flavour with most climbs on fireroad and nothing too cheeky to catch you out. However, unlike riding at the trail centres, you do feel like you are actually getting away from it on this ride. Dare I use the old cliche...it's a 'classic'?

If you are keen you can combine it with the trails at Penmachno ( which I haven't ridden, but they are supposed to be pretty good ), but we opted to combine it with a big basket of chips in Betws-Y-Coed which given my time of the bike and the inclement weather was a welcome choice.

Tim & Wrennie - Team Mud!

Click here for the headcam footage ( featuring the final 3 sections of downhill trail ).

Click here for the trail map.


What happened to November?

Blooming eck, it is December, it is dark way too early, every other advert seems to be for a TV or a Sofa ( as well as the obligatory Coke advert ) the Christmas market in Manchester is in full swing and there has been snow all around the country ( but none here! ). Strangely not really heard any Chrimbo songs yet though ( thank goodness, apart from singing Fairytale of New York in the locak Irish bar where I grew up I have no time for the yearly pain that is Wizard! )

As regulars will note November has been taken up by the arrival of a certain Imogen Layla...so here is the obligatory montage of images ( funked up in photoshop )...

... and I'll take it as good Karma that I actually ran into GOD, otherwise known as Eric Clapton at Keele service station on the M6 the other day. ( see here for the story behind the song 'Layla' ).

Keeping me sane at the moment are the musings of these two chaps...

The bloke on the left is Graham Linehan, who is the writer behind Father Ted, Black Books and my current favourite 'sit-com' the IT Crowd. After seeing him on Charlie Brookers Screenwipe ( yes he is the guy on the right ), I have now tuned into his blog 'Why, That's Delightful!'

Charlie Brooker is of course the Guardian writer ( and the bloke behind 'Dead Set'....anyone who can make Davina McCall into a Zombie should be called 'sir' ). He doesn't have a blog of his own as his soul is owned by the newspaper ( and now BBC4 ). Still worth reading his rants though. Never a truer word said in rant?

Now where is my Gluwien...


Introducing...Imogen Layla Sadler

Tim and Vicky Sadler would like to introduce you to their daughter Imogen Layla Sadler.

Born after a sprightly 38.5hr labour, little Immy was born at 17:22 on the 3rd of November 2008 at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport. Weighing in at 7lbs, she is a healthy bundle of baby.

Vicky showed the stamina of an olympic marathon runner and is still showing no signs of fatigue, whilst Tim is living on energy drinks, flapjacks and cups of Earl Grey Tea.

Parenthood rocks!

Click the above shot for more pics or click here.


Whitewater Kayaking - The Playak Years

Found an old CD with shots I took on my old Nikon FM ( that's a manual 35mm SLR for you young folk out there ). All taken between around 99 and 2002, mostly for Playak, but also for Paddles Magazine and Playboating UK Magazine.

I had to stand in freezing water for 7 hours to get the shots of Hurley Weir....ahhhh memories!

Click the image above, or click here to check them out.


Fixed Gear Bikes - I don't get it?

What is it with Fixed Gear Bikes? Whether it is a new Charge Plug ( which seems to be the media's bike of choice ), or a 1970's Track bike, the whole concept of whipping around the streets with no brakes, no freewheeling and no gears just doesn't work in my head.

Even walking around the Cycle Show at Earls Court, everywhere I looked there was either a dodgy hybrid race/mtb/ugly/no gear commuter bike or some strange distrubutor selling an uber cool imported 'Fixie' from the Far East ( apart from Ninjas, has anything really cool ever come out of Japan? ).

It's not that I don't like razzing around the streets on a bike. I spent years communting on a bike from Harrow to Watford ( the 'Basement' years ) and I have a wicked little fully rigid dirt/street jump bike to keep me entertained when we need something from the local shop. It's just that the original couriers who went back to Fixies ( after for a while all being seen on mountain bikes with slicks ) are proper mental and kudos to them, but now every cool kid is adding one of these steel status symbols to their corridors and that just bugs me.

Now we all know what happens when the cool kids buy something....yep, they create a nice little bandwagon which the rest of us can jump on. Just check out this Kidrobot collaboration

The Kidrobot Fixie - Who was let lose with a paintbrush?

And Kidrobot are not the only collaborators, check out the other bikes on Highsnobiety here. Now there are some very pretty Fixie bikes, the SE Racing Lager looks very slick ( but still doesn't compete with their OM Flyer ),but where will this end?

'The' craze for 2009 - The Clown Bike

So what am I trying to say? Not really sure to be honest. Something inside me tells me these bikes are cool ( but then again all most bikes are cool ), they are the ultimate in simple engineering ( you try bleeding 2008 XT hydraulic brakes ) and they do promote urban madness ( and we all love that ). But then again there is another subculture of Fixie riders who not only have to have the best looking bike, but they also insist on doing tricks....that is what has killed it for me.

This movie pretty much says it all...


Falls of Lora Article - Not as good as Hurley

Randomly whilst clearing out some boxes of books for recycling I found an old CD with these images and the original article I wrote of Paddles Magazine back in 2001 ( in my Playak.com days ). It is worth noting that these waves have changed in the years gone past so this guide cannot be considered 100% accurate. Click here for all the pictures

Tim Sadler on the 'Forever Wave'

The Falls Of Lora

When the rivers are dry and work is getting on top of you, there are certain places you start dreaming of. Having spent far too much time watching videos, surfing the net and reading all the mags, many boaters will picture the same place, a truly perfect playspot. Details will be fuzzy, but you can expect a massive green wave, with a sweet shoulder you can blunt yourself dizzy, a big hole you can cartwheel in and of course eddy service.

Where will you find a place like this? Canada? New Zealand? Norway? Spain? Well these places certainly do have their playspots, but what would you say if you were to hear of a place like this in Scotland?

Well there is such a place and it is called 'The Falls Of Lora'. This has long been a secret locals spot and often the subject of myth and legend. Catch it right and you will have the best day in a boat your will ever have, catch it wrong and you will either be looking at flat water or you will get the biggest beating outside of a unlicensed boxing ring.

The 'Falls' are actually a tidal race at the seaward end of Loch Etive. They are created by the outgoing tide squeezing through a constriction on the way out to sea. The height difference between High Tide and Low Tide needs to be more that 3 metres for them to form and given this, they run at about 4hours after High water. So therefore you are going to need a pretty big tide to get them working, probably a Spring Tide ( roughly twice every month ). Saying this, the state of the tide is not the only factor which contributes to the levels of the Falls. The weather pays a large part, especially the atmospheric pressure and wind. To be honest sometimes they just don't work and no one knows why, so if you hear tales of boaters saying that the Falls where not worth the journey, then more than likely they just caught them wrong. In truth, if the sun is shining and the Falls are running, you are in a classic session and it is certainly worth arriving early to watch the relative calm of this Loch form some of the most spectacular whitewater your will see anywhere.

The Falls consists of three outstanding waves called the 'Forever Wave', the 'Ultimate Wave' and the 'Main Wave'.

Blunting the Main Wave

The Main Wave normally starts running first, but when this becomes a bit nasty the other sections will normally be ready to rip. Once those have begun to flatten out ( remembering this site has time limits ) it is time to return to the Main Wave again to see if anything has been learnt. The Main Wave has been on a few videos now, so many will recognise it's shape. However, you can not appreciate the power and size of this feature until you have screamed down it's face and/or been pummelled in the hole. It forms just below a bridge pile, so there is perfect eddy service, though beware there are whirlpools here which suck down boats and their pilots in seconds. On local advice, take a deep breath if you go over! It begins life as a green wave and then it begins to break and get steeper and steeper. If you start getting more beatings than rides, you are probably best moving on
to the other waves.

The top wave and easily the most friendly is the Forever Wave and many would consider it to be on par with Canada's Skookumchuck. When perfectly formed it is a large green wave with crisp glassy sections and sweet foam piles. As the name suggests, you can sit here forever and watch the world go by your boat, both above and below. Unfortunately there is no eddy service so you have to catch it from above, normally using the broken sections to slow yourself down. This is the place to learn how to surf, spin and carve like the big boys and girls. If you do drop off the back ( or you are polite enough to let someone else have their fun ) you can hop out of your boat, walk up a bit and set yourself up for some more bliss.

The Ultimate Wave

The Ultimate Wave is on the other side to the 'Main Wave' and is easily the hardest to catch, though the most rewarding in terms of dynamic moves. This wave is super fast and airborne moves are a go here with two defined
shoulders to jump off. You can either catch this wave 'on the fly' after coming off the Forever Wave, or for the brave there is some whirlpool infested eddy service on the left.

How to get there:

The Falls form under the A828 bridge in Connel. To get there from the M6 (around 200 miles ) you need to take the M74 to Glasgow, then the A82 to Crainlarich. From here you jump on the A85 to Oban. Connel is a little before Oban and you can't miss the Bridge. You will need to cross the bridge as they form on the other side of the Loch. To do this the A828 turn is just after the bridge on the left. Once on the other side you can park up on the right in the lay-by.

This is definitely not a site for the feint hearted. You can get some big beatings here and you do not want to swim as rescue inevitably takes place a long way from shore ( the flow continues to the sea ). Saying this, if your roll is bomb-proof and you can cope with being sucked down in some meaty whirlpools than this is easily in your limits.

The local wave shredders are Andy Jackson, Dave Kwant, Greg Nicks and the guys and girls from Edinburgh. To see them blunt, spin, wheel and grind the waves is a lesson to many boaters, and they can be seen here all year round from hot sunny days to chilly Scottish winters. Though you may see the Falls in videos and magazines with boaters from all over the UK strutting there stuff, these hardcore paddlers are normally there showing what is actually possible, given a little courage and maybe a little madness that is.

In this past season the Falls were chosen for the first ever Scottish Extreme Competition. Twined with a mad river race down the Nevis many pros tested their skills in the main wave and some notable names had some
beatings dished out. Though this mainstream use of this site is taking away some of the mystique of paddling here, it is a perfect location for such competitions with little if any access difficulties. In recent years the site has become crowded if the weather is good and the word has got around.

As for a places to stay, there are some local campsites, B&B's and hostels especially in Oban

There is some good footage of the Falls of Lora on the following videos:

- 'Another Kogg Day' - KOGG 2000 Promo Video, Heeland Coo & Borkenhorse Productions ·
- 'Dangerous When Wet' - System X Promo, Heelend Coo & Brokenhorse
Productions · 'id10t' - - PeakUK 2000 Promo Video · 'id10t5' PeakUK 2001 Promo Video

Having read this article, just remember that this place doesn't exist, it is all a dream and will never be as good as Hurley


Vic-Tim Photos as Art?

I vaguely remember this chap asking if he could use some of my skateboarding shots for his paintings. Didn't think much to it at the time, but rather impressed by the result!

Before you ask, no, I don't get any commision, just credit. ( though I might start asking if he gets bigger! )

The guys name is Kevin Simpson and you can check out the rest of his work here.

You can check out the rest of my shots by clicking the 'images' tab at the top or clicking here.


Talent borrows....

....sometimes I feel like Steve Roco...
.....genius steals.


Lomo Pictures - First Attempt

Got back the films which have been plonked and clicked through the Lomo Camera this summer.

Some nice results and definately impressed with the colours you can get from such a retro bit of kit. Looks like i'll be needing to find some more 35mm 100ASA film, ideas anyone?

Click the above image to see the pics or click here


Victim 'Thing'

Remember the cheeky Japanese brand 'Victim' who seem to create some very cool collaboration projects? Well they are at it again with this 'Thing'.

Can you work out what it is?


Well it is a 'Leather Wallet Cord'! ( of course it is! )

More cool Victim collab stuff on the Japanese Unbar Site


Santorini 2008

Vicky and I have just got back from a 'Babymoon' to Santorini...awesome trip and quite possibly our last on our own for a while :-).

Check out the pics by clicking the image above or click here.


Sadler's Ales

Look what Vicky found...

Monthly Special Brews

...It seems that the good old family name is associated with a brewing tradition in the Midlands.

Permanent Brews

The story goes that it all started in 1900 when a Thomas Alexander Sadler opened the first brewery to supply the 12 pubs run by the Sadler family at that time ( 12!? ). Not sure what happened as it would seem that his venture was only open for 27 years. Fortunately 77 years later ( in 2004 ) the Sadler family re-opened the pub it was originally associated with and brewing started once again.

I'm looking forward to tracking down some 'Worcester Sorcerer'. Described as a "light golden bitter, light and refreshing, yet smooth and fruity with hints of mint and lemon. A floral aroma and crisp bitterness combining to give a balanced and clean tasting ale."

Original bottle labels

I'll be placing an order and reporting back, I just hope it stacks up against the family favourite Black Sheep Ale !

For more information on Sadler's Ales click here

NB: As far as I know we are not related....


The South Wales Mountain Biking Triple Crown

Mud was the order of the day

Just back from an awesome road trip to South Wales with Darren, Mark, Matt, Nik and Guest star Ben.

Taking in the 'Triple Crown' of South Wales Mountain biking, we kicked off with an uplift day run by Cwmdown on the Cwmcarn Y Mynydd Downhill course. Battling with the rather tricky wet and muddy conditions, the first damage was done to Ben's brake lever, but this was soon followed on the next run when Darren decided to become a tree hugger and in the process ripped out his brake hose, twisted his handlebars round and give himself an impressive bruise. Mark then decided to go one better and show off his combat roll bending his forks and buckling his wheel in the process. There were other spills and some hero moves on show, but all in all this is a definate must for any biker!

After a night drinking the local ale at Glyncorrwig Rugby club we had a leisurely start as we waited for the bike shop to open ( for repairs ) and the cafe to get the brews on. Five healthy breakfasts later we headed out on Whites Level trail ( which starts right next to the campsite ). Unfortunately Mark was a little battered from his combat roll and headed off to the local hospital to get an x-ray, so it was down to 4 of us to do ourselves proud. On some of the best singletrack in the world we held our own, even when it got tight and testing. The sun also started to win the battle against the rain which given that it is July was rather nice.

Glyncorrwig Valley seen from the Whites Level Trail

Meeting Mark back at the campsite ( he hadn't broken his wrist, just a little sprain ), we decided not to head out on the bikes again ( muscles were a little sore at this point ) and instead cleaned down the bikes and cracked open the beers and run around trying to keep away from the midges.
Glyncorrwig Campsite

Saturday morning was a little drier and we broke the camp down before filling our bellies with another healthy breakfast at the famous Dropoff cafe. A short drive back down the road is the Afan Forest centre and home of the famous 'Wall' trail. This turned out to be a very long fireroad ascent followed by a rather tasty continuous downhill trail back to the centre. It was a little bit of a let down after the constant hits of the White Level trail, but still a classic run nonetheless. I would have probably enjoyed it more if my forks hadn't lost all their travel ( 160mm forks running at 20mm doesn't really help the shoulders on a rocky descent ), but these things happen.

The tally of broken parts over the three days for the crew were as follows:
  • 2 bent brake levers
  • 1 ripped brake hose
  • 1 pair of bent forks
  • 1 pair of forks with internal failure
  • 1 buckled wheel
  • 3 punctures ( all Darren's )
  • 2 warped discs
  • 1 trip to Hospital
So all in all a classic 3 days biking with a solid crew of holligans!

Check all the Images here


There is a word for it....

...and that word is Awesome!

Used this picture in some presentations I've been giving at work and it certainly had the desired effect.

"For those of you about to Rock, may the Force be with you!"


Vholdr Test

Managed to get the Vholdr fitted to my Giro Remedy helmet with a little bit of clever sticky foam trickery ( all those years outfitting kayaks must have done me proud ).

Here is the first test: click here

Up a bit, round to the left a bit??


Vholdr - Headcam from Heaven?

Watch out trail monkeys, I've just got my grubby mitts on a Vholdr Headcam to play with for a little while.

Check out the killer spec and results you can get here

I'm going to be mounting this bad boy to my DH helmet this weekend, just in time for a trip next week to Cwm Carn and an Uplift day

And if you want to buy one, hit up the main crew at Madison here

As the cliché goes...'Watch this space!'



¿uʍop ǝpısdn ʇxǝʇ ɹnoʎ dılɟ oʇ ǝlqɐ ǝq oʇ pǝʇuɐʍ sʎɐʍlɐ ǝʌɐɥ noʎ ʎlǝɹns ˙noʎ ɹoɟ unɟ ssǝlʇuıod ɟo ʇıq ɐ sı ǝɹǝɥ

¡uɐɔ noʎ ʍou llǝʍ

ǝɹǝɥ ʞɔılɔ


The Bullet Proof Manager?

This conference caught my eye last week ( it was on at the same hotel I was at for work in California ).

Has the office really become that dangerous?



California - Top 5

Just back from another crazy work trip to the mighty US of A, this time to Southern California and the delights of Anahiem and LA.

My Top 5 from the trip:

1) Being able to order something with Peanut Butter and not feel like a kid.
2) American spirit measures on company expenses ( not mine I might add )
3) Long beaches and empty waves.
4) Crazy Finnish guys and enthusiastic Pols.
5) Californian Sunshine and blue skies.

Check out some of the pics here


Bored of the Base 02 font yet?

Am I the only person who has noticed that every rubbish designer, both online and in print is using Base02 ( or a variant of the same font ) on everything at the moment?

Come on people, there are lots of fonts out there for free ( Dafont is my favourite resource ).

Do I need to set up a 'Ban Base02' site in the same vein as Bancomicsans?

And yes, I have used it on one of my youtube movies, but that was ages ago before everyone else started using it...honest!

Here endeth the lesson.


Market Research

It's the little things that make me chuckle.... :-)


Bowser and his Off-Road Vehicle...

Yep, we finally got around to actually buying a game for our Wii ( been a bit busy of late you see ). After doing rather well at Guitar Hero round my mate Big Tim's flat, I was very tempted in buying that. Then the Wii Fit came out and that looked like a good giggle ( if not a bit sensible ). Then of course there is the Big Brain Academy ( I don't think Brain Training is available on the Wii? ).

None of these stand a chance when sat next to the new Mario Kart game. Costing a lost less than Guitar Hero and Wii Fit, you get one controller with the game and another is only £5. Wack the disc in and I am transported back to all-night sessions at Uni on a battered N64. There is even the classic Rainbow Road track ( which I still can't do ).

Not had too much time on it yet, but already I am back to using Bowser ( he was my favourite on the N64 version as well, but did you know in Japan he is known as King Koopa?), but this time he has an off-road vehicle ( as well as the bikes which are a new feature on the Wii version ).

Just need to unlock all the tracks and secret characters now....( not having third-life crisis..honest! )


Lomography - something retro for the summer

Having seen some cracking photography in the Happy Campers book Vicky bought me for our anniversary, I did a bit of research and found that they used a 'Lomo' camera.

Roll on to Vicky's birthday and I have managed to track down an original Lomo LC-A camera ( with the original Russian lens, not the new Chinese one ).

Plan is to experiement over the summer....all with 35mm film, true old School!

We are now in the Lomography movement , why not join us?


Vic-Tim footwear?

Everyone is cashing in on the Vic-Tim brand these days!

Ok, these are actually a collaboration with the under-the-radar Japanese Brand 'Victim' ( good luck if you can find anything on them ) and the footwear brand Keds.

Only available in you guessed it......Japan