About the author
To place my comments on the rides in perspective, here is some info about me.
thefathippy himself is a fictional character. Although he was originally based on me, over the years he developed a life of his own as this site became popular. He's much hipper than I am, but not as good looking.
"If all the hippies cut off all their hair
Oh I don't care, oh I don't care." Jimi Hendrix, If Six was Nine
These days, I don't even look like thefathippy, although I was once a dead ringer. When my hair started to disappear the ponytail had to go - it was starting to resemble a comb-over <shudder> - I've even managed to lose a little weight - only to put it back on again. As promised, the beard's back, even if the ponytail won't be dragged out of the sentimental drawer.
By deity, who would have ever believed it? I've gone past a half century. I'm 175 cm (5'9") tall and weigh around 90 kg (depending on how much riding vs eating I do - obviously the ratio's going wrong again!). I ride at least once a week or I get cranky. I regularly ride around local fire trails and single tracks. My health is generally sound but I am not superfit by any means.
I'd classify myself as an experienced trail rider - I ride all sorts of tracks, but when they get too tough, I'm not too proud to walk - to quote Clint Eastwood - "a man's got to know his limitations". I'm pretty slow going uphills, but get out of my way when gravity becomes my friend. I enjoy technical riding, but enjoy being out in the bush looking at a view even more. I'm definitely not a d00d!! and my reviews are aimed at new to average riders rather than d00ds.
I grew up in the Blue Mountains, spending my childhood in the Lower Mountains, and adulthood in the Mid Mountains. Much of my childhood was spent exploring on trailbikes but almost all of those tracks are now closed to all motor vehicles. Mountain bikes were the obvious option - environmentally friendly as long as you don't skid, and great fun.
I have personally ridden every ride reviewed and all opinions and times taken are based on my own experiences - yours might be different!
As you may have guessed by now, I enjoy writing, and have been a regular contributor to mtb and computing magazines. More about my writing.
2005 was a horrible year bikewise. I kept breaking derailleurs, hangers and wheels on my Giant NRS2, so pinched my son's old Mongoose VRS3 - until I snapped the swingarm. Then I pressed my venerable Giant ATX 760 back into service - for a while. Doing an out and back night run (solo) on the Oaks, I snapped the frame completely, the headset separating from the down and top tubes. 10 kms is a long way to walk when you're carrying your bike and are battered and bruised... Lucky for me I was only travelling slowly with my lights off, not fast with them on like usual. My wife took pity on me, and I bought what's now an old Kona Coiler, which has proved very strong and capable, if heavy. I also have a hardtail built from a mixture of old parts from the Pit and a Diamondback Topanga frame (my second Topanga).
Hang on, 2005? It's 2010 now - must be about time to get something new! A Santa Cruz Nomad would be nice, but probably too expensive. I bought a second hand roadbike a couple of years ago - Giant OCR3, but it hardly ever gets used apart from an occasional commute to work. I much prefer mtbs. Lucky it was cheap.
My first mtb was an 18 speed, 18" rigid Graecross - heavy steel frame and steel wheels, but it did have cantilever brakes and index gears (for the rear). Next came a 21 speed, rigid 20" Diamondback Topanga - a huge improvement, CroMo frame, alloy wheels, LX gears, but a bit big off road. After many kilometres, I sold the Topanga and bought a Giant ATX 760. Now this was brilliant - a full 1" of front suspension, CroMo frame. Now I had suspension, I could go faster, but had more control, and importantly, I didn't fall off nearly as much. This lasted 7 years of heavy use (and suspension upgrades) before upgrading to the NRS - a good bike, but not sturdy enough for the abuse I dished out. after destroying the umpteenth derailleur and wheel, I stripped it back to a singlespeed.
another fAt hIpPy production