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Jason Miles headed to Valencia for a multi-day stage race armed with his race shoes, a positive attitude and, well, that was about it, actually.


“You know about those bearings, yes?” I said to the young lad in the bicycle hire shop as I wobbled the rear wheel of the rental bike side to side. There was quite a lot of wobble, as it happens.

I was a bit surprised to be paying a visit to a cycle rental shop in Valencia. When I was first asked if I could pop over to Spain to cover a three-day stage race, the organisers offered to provide a bike for the race. How convenient! No lugging a bike bag across airport terminals and nervous waits for the damn thing at the other end. I had to fly out of Edinburgh but fly back into Glasgow, so from a logistical standpoint the option of a shiny race steed, delivered to my hotel, sounded brilliant.

Fair enough it wouldn’t be my bike, but bearing in mind this is going to be 300 kilometres of mountains, it wouldn’t be rubbish, would it? Well, yes. It would be rubbish, actually.

I’m not going into a full spec here, but some highlights for you (apart from the half-disintegrated rear hub bearings): RST fork with added ‘it doesn’t move up or down’ upgrade. A triple chainset, with square taper bottom bracket (I liked this bit though. Triples are cool and taper BBs rock. It had one of those ugly plastic guards to keep oil off your trousers though). And 680mm ‘wide’ riser bars. A cutting-edge thing of beauty.

At least the headset wasn’t shot to bits and the front tyre was pretty good. The whole package weighed a ton though. Up in smoke went my dreams of a glorious stage win…

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Longer Shortcuts Chipps encourages us to expand our mental maps and seek out the hidden byways between here and there. In between, happiness lies. UK Adventure: There Be Dragons Here! Probably… Sanny takes advantage of the long dry summer to check out a Lake District route reputed to be so wet, steep and horrible that only a fool would try it. Column: Jason Miles Jason just wants to ride a long way. However, he’s not keen on being judged for it. Classic Ride: Clwydian Hills Tom Hutton takes us on a tour of this lesser known riding spot in an eort to persuade us there’s more to Wales than trail centres and Snowdon. International Adventure: Just When It Was Going So Well Jason Miles dons his best Lycra and jumps on one of the worst bikes he’s ever ridden to take part in a local Spanish stage race. Spoiler: he doesn’t win, but by getting to hear the tale, you do. Interview: Simon Gallup - There Is No Cure Best known as the bassist from The Cure, Simon Gallup is a cycle nerd and collector of Orange Bikes. Chipps goes to check out what’s in his shed… quite a lot as it turns out. Behind The Scenes: Build It And They Will Come Antony de Heveningham takes a look at unauthorised trail-building and asks whether this is breathing life into the trail network, or threatening its very existence. Behind The Scenes: MIPS - Twisting My Melon Our resident neuroscientist Dr Barney Marsh checks out the technology behind MIPS helmets and the injury risks driving their development. Bike Test: XXC We test out three short-travel, full suspension bikes from Intense, Saracen and Yeti to see how this new crop of slack(ish) but swift bikes compares to their steeper cross country brethren. Plus much more…