Fresh Goods Friday 634: The Home Improvements Edition

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It’s the home improvements edition of Fresh Goods Friday. It’s dark and cold and wet outside, and we’re sick of staring at our walls and wondering if that’s magnolia or nicotine, a rat or a mouse. If we’re going to be indoors, we want our habitats to be nicer. And so we’re spending our Christmas money not on frivolous trinkets or January sale fashions, but on home improvements. DIY of course – we’re bike journos, not politicians.

Hannah needs a rat trap

Extra Power Little Nipper Rat Trap

No joshing or being jocular about your pest control. No casual dabblers. This is for those who are serious about pest control (Hannah hopes). She thinks she has a rat. She can’t smell it, but she can hear it, and it’s walked off with some bait in the loft (but is still scrabbling around). She couldn’t get hold of a wildlife camera to see if it’s a rat or a raccoon, but the balance of probability seems to be in favour of rat. So this trap is being deployed, with peanut butter. Yes, she’s feeling a little squeamish about it, but also: rats. In the loft. It’s going to be plural, isn’t it? Eww all round. The absence of claw sounds in walls and ceilings will definitely be a home improvement.

Hope Seat Clamp

New seat clamp for Ross’ new Deviate Claymore. Because he doesn’t trust himself with the one that came supplied with the frame (small bolts y’see). The seat clamps from Hope are all about being not-small. Machined from billet 2014 T6 aluminium, fairly deep ‘n’ chunky and featuring a gert big bolt. Available in all the usual colours. And black. If you are well boring.

OEX Etna Mini Stove

  • Price: £30.00 £16.00 (with Go Outdoors Member’s Card)
  • From: Go Outdoors

Compact, lightweight and ideal for the solo explorer. This screws directly onto your gas can, and when it’s packed into the carry pouch it is very easy to lose, so you’ll need to be very organised (or just less useless than Amanda).

ESI Extra Chunky Grips

Charlie says… “What’s better than a Kitkat? Obviously a Kitkat Chunky is way better.

“Now if we apply this theory to grips, and throw in an “extra”, we get the ESI Extra Chunky silicone foam grip. These are an old favourite of mine and great for tired old hands. With an external diameter of 34mm they are great for folk with big hands.

“Top tip for fitting is to get the bar end plugs (included) in first, and then use cheap window cleaner or alcohol to lube them into place. Sounds weird, but it really works.

“The extra chunky is available in lots of colours and also available in two wider widths for big hands and weirdo bars like Jones H bars.”

Sugar Soap Powder

Benji is redecorating his kitchen. Yes, those small red tiles will be going. Actually, they won’t be going, they’ll be going under a coat of green paint. Apparently you can paint tiles. Who knew? Probably loads of people. The redecoration project is very much a delaying tactic instead of getting a whole new kitchen refit (£1,000,000).

The Penguin Dictionary Of Place Names

  • Price: £9.99
  • From: Abe Books is good for secondhand copies

Here’s what Benji got for Christmas. A ceaselessly fascinating and illuminating tome all about why places are called what they’re called. “Shap: (village, Cumbria): ‘(place by the) heap of stones’. OE hēap, ‘heap’. The name refers to the remains of an ancient stone circle by the main road (now the A6) south of the town. c.1190 Hep.”

Sikagard Latex Paint

Probably seals punctures too…

In keeping with the home improvement theme, Chipps has purchased this tin (well, it’s plastic) of Latex paint. While Hannah’s filthy mind inferred that it had some kind of deviant purpose, it’s going to be used to seal up those awkward gaps between the tiles and the side wall and hopefully stop the house filling with water. If you thought that Stan’s was expensive, this stuff is about on par, and far less useful on the bike… 

WTB SL8 Cromoly Saddle

Benji has robbed this saddle of Amanda/Rhys because he needs a saddle with a lower stack height (is that what you call it?) for his Stif Squatch build. Why does he need a lower stack saddle? Because he has lost temporarily misplaced the small brass pins that are used to reduce the travel on the OneUp dropper seatpost he’s fitting and the current saddle is approximately 10mm too high (this is also why the saddle pictured above is not in Benji’s usual nose-down-tail-up angle of dangle). And he does get on well with WTB saddles. The WTB Volt saddle is his goto perch but he’s giving this sleeker SL8 saddle a try. Benji’s Squatch is very nearly finished btw. Look out for a ‘Bike Check’ feature sometime in the next week or so. In the meantime… back to searching for tiny brass bits.

Bum Butter Mouse Trap Bait

Charlie says… “is there no end to the uses for this magical butter? Seriously now… a couple of years ago I lost a few dozen tubs of Bum Butter to a gang of furry attic residents. They gnawed into a cardboard box, then through the plastic lids, and consumed the Bum Butter. I then got some HUMANE TRAPS (looking at you Evil Hannah) and used a bit of Bum Butter on a Ritz Cracker to capture the offenders. Being a generally nice guy I took the trapped mice and released them in the garden of a miserable old sod in a nearby village who drives like a complete ****er and has cut me up several times.

“If you are using humane traps, do check them regularly as several poor mice have frozen to death in the attic before I got to them. These mice also go into the old gits garden.”

Thread Of The Week

This very bestest thread on the world infamous Singletrack forums this week came about from this post from NewRetroTom

The winning TOTW in FGF gets a prize. And it’s the fabulous majestic Singletrack x Granite Designs RockBand Strap! So BOOYA!! to NewRetroTom. Please email Please include your postal address, as it really speeds up delivery logistics init.

Classifieds Ad Of The Week

moonter: “Pace RC627 *** Price reduced ***. Size: Medium. Colour: Stove (looks black in photos, dark green/grey in reality). Invisiframed from new. Bought Feb 21, ridden for 500km till June 21 then I got a good deal on a full suspension. It has sat in the garage since. In virtually as-new condition. A few shallow paint rubs on the down tube (typical, the only tube that isn’t Invisiframed!) Includes: Hope Seatpost Clamp (black), Hope Headset (black), Burgtec rear axle, Pace neoprene chainstay protector, Vitus Seatpost (rigid, black, brand new). Save £280 on a new one and get a free headset worth £110!”

The Mystical Moors

Taken through the mystical lens of Rossendale. Or possibly a smear of Vaseline.

‘A Historical Field Guide to the Rossendale Valley, East Lancashire – Part Two: The Ogden, Lower Irwell and Spodden Valleys’, to give it its full title. Another one of Benji’s Christmas prezzies. A photo-filled book full of interesting little bits of history about the valleys and hills where he lives (and rides). Books like these are great for finding new places to have an explore, whether that’s on wheels or whilst dragging the family around on during weekend walkies. Archie (the dog) is also keen on walkies.

Speaking of mystical mores…

While you’re here…

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Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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  • Fresh Goods Friday 634: The Home Improvements Edition
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    Full Member

    Green in a Kitchen is a big no-no.

    Re the rats:

    Eww all round

    Sorry, but it’s more like wee all round- they’re incontinent so once they’re eradicated give everything a clean

    Full Member

    Odd replacement seat clamp choice – they’re not known for their function, nor durability. Stock one is likely better.

    Full Member

    Chocolate works on the mouse trap (well it did for me when I had a mouse in my office) traps are quick and more-humane than poisoned bait. They take the bait back to the nest, feed their off-spring and they die a slow death, then they rot and create a bit of a stink which you then have to locate and clear out.

    Full Member

    Also if they get eaten after consuming the poison it passes into the food chain.

    Full Member

    Yup, I don’t usually use bait, but I thought it was in the cavity walls rather than the loft, and I don’t have access to the cavities to set traps. Bought bait so I could shove it in some holes/cracks, had a spare piece which I left in the loft and it’s been taken. So, not just in the walls. Dammit.

    Full Member

    “Charlie says… “What’s better than a Kitkat? Obviously a Kitkat Chunky is way better.”

    Norwegian Kit Kats are immense, lots lots betterer!

    Full Member

    Advice from RSPCA on rodents suggests that Hannah’s kill trap is more humane than Charlie’s humane trap. Releasing a caught rat or mouse is cruel:

    As far as we are aware there has been no study of the outcome of catching rats or mice and releasing them elsewhere. Other rodents show very high mortality rates when translocated to an unfamiliar area. The same is probably likely to be true for many species of rodent: they will be unfamiliar with food sources and places of shelter; they may face aggression and competition from other rodents already occupying territory in the new area and are likely to be more vulnerable to predation.

    UFAW guidelines

    Release near the point of capture is unlikely to solve the problem as the animals are likely to return unless the premises have been effectively proofed. Release in an unfamiliar environment may have adverse welfare consequences as animals may have trouble finding food and shelter. Also if the area contains suitable habitat it is likely to already be occupied by other members of their species and may not support additional animals.

    Free Member

    Sikaguard is much cheaper on Amazon and is only every a temporary fix but it does work but is a mess to apply .wear gloves wait till it’s dry then repeat every 12 months

    Free Member

    Archie has those “pleeeeeease feed/tickle/play-with/walk/be-nice-to me” eyes. Bet he gets all these on a regular basis.

    Free Member

    Nicotine? You mean fagnolia

    Full Member

    Hannah’s kill trap is more humane than Charlie’s humane trap

    Idk, I got the impression that the trap was largely functioning as a vector of rodent delivery into the gardens of local old gits. So possibly the humanity or otherwise of the trap is a secondary consideration.

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