Last ever print issue of Ride UK

About three weeks ago I posted the news that Ride UK BMX mag is going out of print. Today they announced their last ever issue and it looks a banger.
I’m so happy that Bas Keep has made the cover for the last ever issue, a fitting send off for the UK mag. What a last cover too, Bas is absolutely fuckin’ sending it!

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Check out the article on the Ride website here.

VW Camper update – Road legal at last!

We’ve been achingly close to getting the van in for an MOT for weeks now but every time we thought we were ready, the van had other ideas and spit it’s dummy out. Last week the low oil pressure light came on just when we thought we were done.

After an ordering frenzy, we headed down the workshop armed with all the parts we needed. We bought a remote T-piece so we could plumb an oil pressure guage in and still retain the original pressure sender to the light on the dash. In the case of the oil pressure being too low, we bought a new oil pump, gaskets and crank seal. There’s a bit of oil coming from that general area, so we thought that was the most likely culprit of our low oil pressure. We also got a new numberplate made up.

Camper MOT-2

Leo started the day with a set of pressups for maximum POWWWWAAR!
Camper MOT-3

We started off by fitting the T-piece. It allowed us to relocate the pressure sender to a location with better access, on top of the engine.

Camper MOT-7

Camper MOT-6

Once that was done, we plumbed in the pressure gauge temporarily so we could check the oil pressure. This was the moment of truth, because if it was indeed too low we would have to do the crank seal and oil pump which involves dropping the engine off its mounts. Not a five second job.

Camper MOT-5

After a few nerve wracking minutes waiting for it to get upto temperature, the pressure looked fine. Result!

We rang up our tame MOT tester to see if he had space for an MOT that afternoon and he did and told us to bring it down. We rushed around and did a few last minute jobs like fitting the front numberplate and tidying up the engine tinware which was all hanging off.

I’d optimistically insured it that morning, ready for when we did eventually have to take it for an MOT but I didn’t think it’d be this soon! Driving it on the road for the first time was so surreal. It felt so much smaller as soon as it was off the farm and on the open roads. A good feeling for sure. My eyes were glued to the gauges though. I was so sure something was going to go wrong.

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It made it to the garage with no hiccups at all. In fact it drives much better than I thought it would. The five speed box is actually quite good and the engine feels stronger than I anticipated. It’ll cruise at 60 fairly comfortably.
Now the scary bit, MOT time!

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Standing there watching Martin go over it with a fine tooth comb was such a nerve wracking half hour. I was soooo nervous. It’s definitely the worse MOT I’ve ever had. Turns out I needn’t have worried. IT PASSED!

It went straight through, first time! There were a few bits and pieces like the pedal rubbers worn and a low tyre, but we changed them there and then. I thought it was going to struggle getting through emissions, but it was actually really good. To say I’m chuffed is an understatement.

Camper MOT-1

It spat its coolant everywhere during the MOT but that was just a hose that we’d plumbed the temperature gauge into that had been rubbing on a bracket. We drove it back home and sorted that as well as plumbing the oil pressure gauge in properly and putting it in the dashboard.
Then we had a small ceremony to celebrate.

Big thanks to Martin at General Mechanical Services. Big thanks to them in general actually. I take so many crappy cars to them and they still let me come back. Great garage, very friendly and fair. Check them out and give them a ring if you need anything doing car wise.

http://www.general-mechanical-services.co.uk/

Now, did someone say roadtrip?

VW Camper Van Update

I haven’t posted an update on the Camper in a while. Over Easter we haven’t been working on it much but this weekend Leo and I got down there and did a few litle bits to it. On Good Friday I went down to the workshop with my buddy Andrew and we managed to sort out the indicators and hazard lights. Turns out someone had cut through the wire when wiring up an auxiliary temperature gauge….ahem. While we were there we also filled up and bled the cooling system. When it was upto temperature we noticed a leaky hose.

Fast forward to this Friday and I went to the workshop by myself and refitted the spare wheel well. In an attempt to get the original dashboard temperature gauge working I cleaned up all the earths in the engine bay. One was super dodgy and I decided to replace it completely. I came away armed with a list of spares to buy.

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VW Camper 11-04-15-6

Saturday I headed down with Leo and we replaced the leaky hose and fitted the new engine earth strap. The brakes were still a bit shit so we re-bled them too. We bought a new distributer cap a while back and so we fitted that in the hope it would sort out the rough running. It seems to have made a small difference. It’s got to be better than the old one anyway. I noticed the bumper end caps are missing and we misplaced them a long time ago. It won’t pass an MOT with sharp edges so I put some edging strip on the ends to cover them. I’ve no idea if that’ll be enough to satisfy the tester, but we’ll see. Then it hit us. It’s finished and ready for MOT!

VW Camper 11-04-15-4

VW Camper 11-04-15-5

VW Camper 11-04-15-7

VW Camper 11-04-15-3

This has been a (very, very, very) long time coming, but here is a video of it complete and running.

As always with this van though, it’s not that straightforward. While we were driving it up and down on the farm, the low oil pressure light came on. Bum.
There’s a bit of an oil leak coming from the oil pump area. It looks like a right bitch to get to. We’ll have to drop the engine off its mounts to get to it. We’ve got an oil pressure gauge, oil pump, crankshaft seal and gaskets on order. Oh well. One day we might finish this project.

VW Camper + Hijet-3

Spor – Caligo

I was going to put one of the tracks from Caligo into this weeks Top Five but I couldn’t choose just one, so I’ve decided to do an entire post on the album.

I don’t know how, but Caligo completely slipped under the radar. It was released a month ago and no-one seems to have noticed. It’s strange because it’s such a fucking banger! I’ve had it on repeat all week.

I’ve always liked Spor but he seems to have tightened up production and refined his sound. Caligo has hints of Noisia which isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m in love with that intro and the way the tracks are all segued. My favourite album this year for sure.

You can go and grab Caligo on BitTorrent for free!

UK BMX History – NSF Tour

I haven’t posted in ages and then you get two BMX posts two days running. Sorry. I couldn’t not post this though.

When I was a wee lad, 13 to be precise, the NSF were BMX as fuck. The Northern Street Foundation were always appearing in Ride UK with their unique brand of BMX. To me the NSF got BMX right. They loved riding and having a good time. They did a roadtrip in 2001 and it was covered in the mag at the time. Recently (I’m old, two years ago is recently) a load of negs from the trip surfaced, which prompted Ride UK to do a follow-up article, ten years on. It’s quality to see all those photos I know so well mixed in with ones that never made the original article. It’s also great to get some insight from the riders a decade later.

Read the article here.

I love BMX. I love riding down the street and hopping over shit. I hope BMX can be part of my life forever. It’s given me so much.‘ – Olly Olsen

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When I first read that article I remember wishing I could go on a roadtrip like that. Since, I’m lucky enough to have been on several. None that sound quite the the NSF’s trip, but some have been close.
If anything, this has made me want to roadtrip again more than ever. EUC anyone?

Ride BMX Mag goes out of print

It’s a sad day for UK BMX. Ride BMX UK has stopped making print mags.
Ride has been an institution for all things UK BMX even before I started riding. It’s something that has always been there and something I never thought I’d see the demise of. When I first started riding it was the only way I could see what was going on in the BMX world and the only way to buy decent parts. I used to send off postal orders along with cheques (Remember them?) written out by my Dad and eagerly await the resulting parcel. The whole process would take weeks.

I do feel slightly guilty, as I haven’t bought the mag for years. Last time I did, I remember thinking ‘This is just the content from their Facebook feed!’ and I think that’s the problem. With so much information available for free instantly, no one wants to pay for out of date news. I’m not even sure why I’m surprised, UNI mag went the same way.

Their website says they’ll ‘continue to create unique and interesting BMX content with the world’s biggest BMX personalities and translate them into a digital format that can find you faster and keep you up to date quicker.‘ Whether that means a paid subscription service or just their social media channels is unclear. I can’t see it ever being the same again though. End of an era. RIP Ride UK.

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VW Camper project – History

For those of you that have been following my VW Camper updates, I thought I’d provide a bit of history of the van since there’s no update this week. Some of you may be surprised to hear Leo and I have owned the van since October 2007.

We bought it from a guy in Hitchin and towed it home on a 5ft length of raggedy rope, overtaking cars as we went. We were young and silly back then…

Since then we’ve been working on it off-and-on whenever we have the time/enthusiasm/money. Recently we’ve realised that most of the hard work is done, so we’ve been pushing to get the last few bits done and that’s what I’ve been blogging. However, most of you won’t have seen the real hard work that we put into this project in the first few years of ownership. When we bought it, the van was totally rotten and we spent almost 4 years welding it up. Our build thread on the T25 forum is so old it’s been locked, but you can see just how much work we put in to get it welded up. It’s an epic read, and I’ll summarise it here in a few photos, but head over and check it out if you’re interested.

http://archive.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=32407

Here’s all the rusty bits.

We cut a scary amount of metal out.

Here’s some of the new bits in.

Most of the bits were odd shaped patches, which meant I had to get good at fabricating weird shapes from metal while Leo was getting better at welding with every patch.

I’ll leave it that for now, the rest is in our 80-90 thread if you’re interested. We’re hoping to get it on the road in time for some trips this summer. I bought a new indicator relay last week, so we’re hoping that’ll sort our strange indicator problem. More soon!

Top Five Tunes

Here’s a birthday week Top Five.

Macca is rapidly becoming one of my favourite producers.

I’m not usually into progressive but this is a banger!

Love the vocal hook on this one.

Here’s one for those long sunny evening sessions at the new Dunstable skatepark. Roll on the good times :)