Hope Clings Me Spurnal*

Love Hate. Sums it up really, originally uploaded by Alex Leigh.

You may think – and the weight of evidence would be with you – that this blog is nothing more than a barren wasteland of desperate words, with occasional punctuation helicoptered in. And yet in a circumstances as mitigating as “it was dark, I was drunk, how was I supposed to know it was your sister?”, I offer up the post title as testament to the unheralded research and grinding attention to detail each article undergoes.

What are the chances of a rhyming quadlet** segueing from Alexander Pope*** to a braking system design to erode momentum regardless of lever position? Not bloody likely and that’s pretty much my purchasing attitude to any further products from that fabrication shed nestling in the Derbyshire hillside.

For those of you not afflicted with the incurable disease of mountain biking, Hope Technology produce all manner of interesting components including brakes with a default position of always on. No amount of shimming, swearing, beating with a mallet or – in desperation – prodding with a baked Spurnal (Capital Letters Fully Deserved) will release the needy pads from the spineless discs.

And while squeezing the brake lever does force the Vichy caliper to collaborate with the overrun pistons to bring a final ‘halt‘ to proceedings. This loftily assumes you are still in motion at this point, rather than resting quietly in a bush awaiting the arrival of an oxygen tent. El Verty Monstromo was pitched into the muddy bath of Chiltern trails after a week of rain. From which it emerged a couple of hours later fairly plastered – a state its’ rider was now thinking of as much needed therapy.

The retarded rotation made the climbs a little harder, the descents less freewheel friendly and the occasional flat bit rather overwhelming. The mud didn’t help much. Or the cold. Or my frankly whiny attitude brought on by the mardy realisation that everything brake fixing was not about my person. Still with the gurning, swearing and grunting, there wasn’t much room for it.

It was still great though. Frosty in the first half, wearyingly thawing in the second, my pal Dave and I romped over some favourite trails knowing that twelve hours of drinking lay ahead. A 40th birthday bash which passed from drunken into legend – around 8pm – when the band struck up with “You’ve lost that loving feeling“. Too damn right, plus any feelings of maturity, responsibility and balance.

I don’t remember much but that may not be enough to protect me from the advances in digital photography. I might as well give myself a kick in the Spurnals and wait for the worst.

* Spurnal (Spur-nl). Noun, Verb – eld -ing or led.
1. A little known vegetable found only in Yorkshire. EX: He was found dead hanging by the spurnels.
2. A now defunct Irish sport derived from the petting small furry animal and gailic football.
3. A disc, specifically a steel braking surface for a mountain bike
4. A lie.

** I’m on a ROLL here.

*** This one is true I promise.

2 thoughts on “Hope Clings Me Spurnal*”

  1. Hi Alex, been reading your blog for a while now: good stuff! I was just messaging you to say that I ran Hope brakes (the mini mono’s) on my bike for about three years and had no end of problems with them, despite getting them serviced very frequently (or every time they went wrong, which was farly often). I switched to Formula brakes last year, and they are the business!

    I don’t work for them or anything, by the way 😀

  2. To be fair, they were very cheap second hand and if I could be arsed to “Shim for England”, all would probably be well. For an hour at least.

    I’ve just got used to Avids on the other bikes. Although the instruction manual does seem to insist you build something all turrety and German.

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