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fairbairn fabrication fangs

fairbairn fabrications

in bygone days, before someone invented the word telemetry, motor races were often begun with the invitation to "gentlemen, start your engines". no doubt the health and safety executive have put paid to such traditions, combined with the need for all manner of technical faff that has inflicted itself on motorsport. that and the fact that, as far as i'm aware, the engines have already been started by the pit crew.

and despite only one of three weeks in spain having passed without major incident, many of us for whom the grand tours are but a delightful irritation in the cycling firmament, are now eagerly looking forward to figuring out which particular date and event we'd be happy to recognise as the commencement of the 2017-18 cyclocross season. for those now looking at me with a quizzical face - and i do understand your pain - where once we need have looked only as far as the land of frites and mayo, our gaze must, of necessity, stretch across the pond.

fairbairn fabrications

naively, i was inclined to look only as far as cross vegas, a one-time uci sanctioned event that initially took place as an accompaniment to the annual interbike exhibition taking place in las vegas (one which moves to reno, nevada in 2018). this year, this blast across the grass (see what i did there?) occurs on 20 september. but several days prior to the notionally traditional commencement of battle, cross occupies 9/10 september in rochester, new york (home of drummer steve gadd, since you asked), followed by an event in eeklo, belgium. but on 17 september, the uci have seen fit to endorse the excellently, if a tad prematurely named, jingle cross in iowa city, usa.

and if aigle thinks the season starts in iowa, who are we to disagree?

fairbairn fabrications

which, to bring me closer to my original point, is likely where it becomes practical to exhort "let the scrabbling begin", that point of the year when reality bites and i discover that no matter how many copies of balint hamvas' annual cyclocross photo annuals i have catalogued in the spare bedroom, any skills vaguely reminiscent of those professed by jeremy powers or sven nys, are now effectively non-existent. and that can mean only one thing...

practice.

i agree, that sounds almost as if intended as a negative state of affairs, but in truth, it's one that i look forward to each year.

mr powers impressed upon me a number of years past that, in order that i gather the appropriate mounting/dismounting skills, i ought best to lower the saddle to the point where i might ease myself aboard without undue concern, roll for a few pedal strokes before instigating the converse and continue ad finitum, rasing the saddle a few millimetres each time until i can leap aboard with a devil-may-care flourish of limbs on a bicycle that ultimately sports a less than embarrassing saddle height.

fairbairn fabrications

invest the time and effort and any unexpected passers-by will recognise me for the true 'cross expert that i claim to be from the safety of the coffee shop. but, as many of you will be keen to point out, that is only the beginning. getting on and off scarcely addresses the pressing need to be able to cycle quickly over often squishy terrain without examining it any closer than necessary (face plant? moi?). and that's to say nothing of the serious likelihood that, having dismounted the specialized crux, i might possibly have to run. uphill, even.

as far as i know, there is little that can be done to improve my uphill speed, other than putting in the effort. repeatedly. assuming i can bypass the inveterate dog walkers in bridgend woods of a saturday morning, repetitive hammering around my improvised course du jour is bound to pay dividends, right? however, when it comes to running with the shouldered carbon fibre up wet, grassy, leafy paths, i'm inclined to take all the assistance i can get. and what appears to have given me the edge in this respect are what i have taken to calling fairbairn fabrication fangs; two stainless-steel machined studs that thread into the appropriate slots in the front of any quality offroad shoes.

fairbairn fabrications

these were generously supplied by paul fairbairn. "I started making them last summer. During the previous season I couldn't find a stud which was cross-specific in the UK. There were plastic, cheap alloy, or large diameter rugby studs.
"I made a handful of the stainless steel studs and handed them out to a few guys (Jimmy Mac, Gordon Watt, Jim Cameron) who, along with myself, were racing that winter season. Through word of mouth people started contacting me, asking if I was selling them, which I wasn't at the time."

this season, however, we can all gain the same advantage as former king of scotland, jimmy macallum, for paul is now able to satisfy the potential demand. "The studs are 14mm long, 7.0mm in diameter and have a standard M5 thread to fit in the shoe. They are made of marine-grade stainless steel, and hence wear very well. They have a hexagonal profile at the top of the stud to allow fitting with a 10mm spanner rather than a plastic key a la football / rugby studs. Due to this design, you can really screw the studs in tight, and when the off season comes, its really easy to get them out again. No more seized studs requiring drilling.
"They retail at £20 posted for a set of four.

fairbairn fabrications

as paul weller was once keen to point out, this is the modern world, one in which technical innovation has made the creation of shiny new stuff often a simple matter of programming a computer and letting some automated machinery take the strain. actually "They are all made in my shed on a vintage 1960s Myford ML7 lathe. Totally old school, no CNC or robots. They take me an hour to make from a metre length of hexagonal bar."

when i made mention of the word 'scrabbling', i wasn't kidding. while there are those who manage to make the art of cyclocross look like a performance by the ballet rambert, my own efforts are closer to the archetypal train-wreck. nonetheless, progress is being made, aided and abetted by those fairbairn fangs which seem to have no trouble in digging into gravel, grass, mud and anything else i may have inadvertently stood in along the way. nor did they upset the balance of the shoes when scrabbling from bike rack to coffee table. should you feel brim full of cyclocross potential this season paul says "Customers can contact me through my Facebook page, or alternatively they are available at Hardie Bikes, The Happy Cog Wheelworks, Gamma Transport Division (all in Scotland) and DC Cycles in Cumbria."

tuesday 29 august 2017

twmp ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................