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As the summer approaches, I slowly try to ride myself back into fitness after the over-compensation of the winter. The winter nights of dark beers and hearty stews give way to after-work rides and a greater sighting of salad. As our eagerly anticipated events in the early summer creep closer, I guess we all start thinking about fixing up the bike ready for the season and trying that bit harder on rides. Mind you, it’s not usually to beat the riders around us (though that’s always a bonus if you’re a competitive type), but to make sure that when that big Lakeland all-dayer, that 24-hour race or that local enduro comes around, we’re in great shape and riding a bike that’s running smoothly.

As the days tick down to that big event circled on the calendar, there’s usually a frenzy of last-minute preparation and shopping. Is the event important enough for new grips? New tyres? New forks? Or just some more tubeless sealant in the old tyres? It might get a full strip down and rebuild with new cables, a fresh chain. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s stripped down and oiled the jockey wheels in a rear mech before a big event… no? Just me then…

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure – Long Mynd: Barney goes in search of long singletrack descents too good to miss. International Adventure – Ecuador: Cass Gilbert goes bikepacking – stunning photography and adventure results. International Adventure – Los Angeles: Chipps seeks out that which is not concrete in the City of Angels. Crash Gallery – A fond look at some crash photos inspired by this issue’s cover. Classic Ride – Exmoor: Barney finds that steep hills and merciless gorse can hide a treasure trove of West Country singletrack. Grouptest: Trail SPD shoes are tested by the team. But do they pass the ‘pub’ test? Bike Test – The Second Coming: We test three second iterations of bikes from Orange, Santa Cruz and Singular. Is it a case of improvement through evolution, or a film sequel style flop? Grinder: A bucketful of shiny components, lovingly mixed with some springtime grit and exuberant riding before judgement. UK Adventure – Orienteering: Chipps tests out his map reading skills in the Dark Peak. Magic in the Margins of the Day: A change in circumstances leads Doug McDonald to discover the joy of dusk and and dawn riding.

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