I want to buy a map holder that goes on the handlebars so that I can see a folded ordnance map plus your route maps/descriptions in all weathers. This should save me having to constantly get them out of my pack, which is a real pain, particularly in the rain. Can you suggest any makes?
Best Regards
Giles, by e-mail

I can indeed. I personally use a cheapish plastic one, with Velcro attachments, that can be bought in Halfords Bike Huts for a just a few pounds. They tend to last me well over a year at a time but beware, they aren’t totally waterproof so it’s worth covering your map on really foul days. Other makes include the Zefal Doomap, which is a similar kind of thing; or if you want something a little more substantial, take a look at the range of Klikfix holders, which are available on-line from www.mapkiosk.com. TH

I like to think that I am a strict adherent to the ‘just get out and ride’ doctrine, but have often wondered if am actually any good at MTBing and also why I find some climbs/descents, that are said to be hard, do-able, and vice versa. I ride an entry level GT Avalanche 1.0 Disc. On the Edale route guide in the Jan 2007 issue I cannot get anywhere near clean up from Greenlands to Hollins Cross (two attempts). I have seen this ascent described as ‘contouring gently’ and ‘rideable’ but found it to be anything but. In the accompanying text to the route guide it says the ‘crux’ of the climbing will come on the way up to Rushup Edge – a climb I have cleaned mostly in the middle ring. I think I may have technique issues with the ruts and rocks of the earlier climb rather than the longer, but less gnarly pull of the second. Can you shed any light on why this might be? I like the feeling of achievement of having done something difficult, but get frustrated when route guides seem to suggest that things I struggle with are moderately difficult. Another route in the Jan 2007 issue proposes climbing Chapel Gate – I have only descended this and cannot imagine going up it.
P.S. I have managed to get down Jacob’s Ladder clean on the GT – only to be told by a bloke at work that he has cleaned it in the opposite direction (eg climbing from Edale!). I am not sure what is possible and what I should aspire to!
Dan Hemmings

Different trails suit different riders, in terms of technical ability, aerobic fitness, brute strength and sometimes even mental toughness. Steph and I have been riding together for years yet she magaes to clean plenty I fail on, and I still sneak up the odd one that has her walking. Regarding Greenlands to Hollins Cross and Rushup Edge, I can only imagine that it is the technicalities that get you here as even I manage this one. But the climb on to Rushup, you’re a better man than me – I can’t get near it! Chapel Gate as a climb might well need some walking, but it does at least get you up onto the ridge quickly, and as for your colleague; anybody that can climb Jacob’s Ladder from Edale gets big respect from us here! If you really want my advice, stop worrying about it and ‘just get out and ride.’

My car was broken into recently whilst I was out riding. I’m now paranoid about leaving it anywhere. I guess you guys must face the problems as the rest of us with regards to this kind of thing so I wondered whether you have any tips to try and reduce the possibility of it happening again?
Jason, Solihull. By E-mail

I have to say that I’ve been extremely lucky and in 6 years of route research I’ve only been broken into once, and that was in the first year. Andy in the office wasn’t so lucky last year though when his longtermer was nicked out the back of a pool car in York. Since then he’s taken to D-locking the bike frame to the door handle of the back door. As for non-bike tips/advice: the main thing we try to do is park in the most popular place in the area, where there seems to be the most going on with people coming and going all the time. And if possible, always in sight of the entrance/road/town/whatever. It seems that it’s always the quiet or secluded places that get hit the worst. We also remove all valuables (yes I know it’s extra weight), and take the face of the radio with us. Having said all that, we’re in the lap of the gods like everyone else. And perhaps we should touch wood after posting this!

You seem to be bombarded with letters asking where to ride when the weather’s bad but I’d like to know where you’d suggest for a week’s holiday in the UK in middle of June, when the weather should actually be really good. We don’t really want to focus on the man-made trails, although wouldn’t mind the one, particularly if the weather’s not as kind as it should be; and would like a mixture of full-on epic rides and easier half-days that we can mix in with a few hours in a pub. Distance is not really a problem as we have a whole week, but an abundance of self-catering digs might be useful.
Trevor, email

June and good conditions, it would have to be Scotland. Either a continuous road trip taking in at least one of the Seven Stanes, Fort William, Aviemore, Skye and even Harris. Or if you really want to stay in one place, go for Fort William and be prepared to do a few hours driving some days to ride other places. You could pick up one of the Seven Stanes centres on the drive up and another on the way back, and if the notorious Lochaber weather gets the better of you, you can always ride in Leanachan Forest. Enjoy!