New wheels Specialized Rockhopper Evo Pro

(Scroll down for review)
You know when you are a kid, and as you grow up one of the markers is getting a bike with bigger wheels than the previous one! Well I guess I’ve grown up a bit this week as I’ve moved from Mountain biking on 26″ wheels to moving onto the new standard, 29-ers, oh yes!
This is my new rural assault weapon …. rolling past (fast) on a Bridleway near you!
November 30th
Ok, I have been riding this for a month now and feel able to fully review the 2014 Specialized Rockhopper Evo Pro.
It’s a good looking bike with a fine range of componentry and contact points; Brakes and gears doing their job beautifully. I’m really liking the Sram 2 x 10 set up with the ‘X7′ rear Mech, whilst the 29er wheels roll very nicely indeed especially at battle speed’ (they do feel marginally slower’ to accelerate). In theory then I should be delighted but I am having some difficulties with the handling. The frame design which has a ‘more relaxed geometry’ allied with longer stiffer 120 mm travel forks seems to me to need more weight distribution to the front as I have had a couple of times where the front end washes out. This may be a tyre issue though and it just makes it feel less planted at the front? Will keep experimenting. It’s great at straight line though and an able climber.
(Just noticed that MBR were ‘underwhelmed’ by this model in their review so there maybe something of how the front end doesn’t perform in their experience too)

Micro climate

I have a meeting today at a coffee shop (not unusual I know!) but this is the picture from the link that my colleague sent me to confirm the venue/location. Hoping that this obscure village doesn’t have some sort of bizarre localized micro climate.
Obviously I have set myself the traget of seeing how many snow related words I can get into our discussion without it being noticed …. if you get my drift?

Bio angst

I have been asked for a Bio’ for a conference I am speaking at next year. It is SO HARD to write something that is a useful summary of yourself that doesn’t come across as either, a bit pretentious or instead, too flippant!
Errrr ……..
Ian Macdonald is a youthful middle-aged geek who seeks to serve his twin passions of Stand Up Comedy and Youth Ministry usefully (one of which he pays to do, the other he gets paid for). He feels very blessed to have four sheds, three teenagers, two bicycles and one wife.
Ian Macdonald is a Contemplative Christian Activist seeking to redefine Orthodoxy (partly because he doesn’t fit easily into any particular category). When he is not enabling Youth Ministry or Mission in the Diocese of Oxford he can be found out in THE cathedral, either cycling, hiking or kayaking.
Ian Macdonald is an amateur ecclesiologist and a professional youth worker. He finds a home in the Mission department in the Diocese of Oxford helping churches to engage with young people and community. He is interested in everything (which makes a bio difficult to write) but is currently very excited that he is to be speaking on a ski trip, meaning he can claim his ministry is going downhill!
Whilst taking comedy very seriously, Ian Macdonald retains a sense of humour and playfulness in his approach to theology and spirituality. He works within the mission department of the Diocese of Oxford focused on youth ministry, emerging culture and discipleship. He has recently returned from speaking overseas and finds that this experience of the Isle of Wight has completely changed his geography.
There are well over a million entries relating to “Ian Macdonald” on Google, nearly all of which aren’t him. If you are patient enough though you can eventually find that he is a Christian, a cyclist, an expert on Creosote (don’t ask) and works for the Church of England in the arenas of Discipleship and Youth Ministry.
You see?

Hope MK

hope mk.jpg
Fantastic to see what is happening up in Milton Keynes with 130 teenagers involved in “Hope” and actively making a difference to the communities of Milton Keynes.
The Website and/or hashtag #hopemk
I love the ‘branding’ and the awareness being generated around what the young people and churches are doing. I love the fact too that the ‘uniform’ is intentionally a Hoodie, to counteract stereotyping of young people.

Mistrusting our souls

Loving this piece from Richard Rohr on the danger of religion actually mediating an unspiritual life:
“The most unfortunate thing about the concept of mysticism is that the word itself has become mystified–and relegated to a “misty” and distant realm that implies it is only available to a very few. For me, the word simply means experiential knowledge of spiritual things, as opposed to book knowledge, secondhand knowledge, or even church knowledge.
Most of organized religion, without meaning to, has actually discouraged us from taking the mystical path by telling us almost exclusively to trust outer authority, Scripture, tradition, or various kinds of experts (what I call the “containers”)–instead of telling us the value and importance of inner experience itself (which is the actual “content” the containers were made to hold). In fact, most of us were strongly warned against ever trusting ourselves. Roman Catholics were told to trust the church hierarchy first and last, while mainline Protestants were often warned that inner experience was dangerous, unscriptural, or even unnecessary.
Both were ways of discouraging actual experience of God and often created passive (and passive aggressive) people and, more sadly, a lot of people who concluded that there was no God to be experienced. We were taught to mistrust our own souls–and thus the Holy Spirit! Contrast that with Jesus’ common phrase, “Go in peace, your faith has made you whole!” He said this to people who had made no dogmatic affirmations, did not think he was “God,” did not pass any moral checklist, and often did not belong to the “correct” group! They were simply people who trustfully affirmed, with open hearts, the grace of their own hungry experience–in that moment–and that God could or would even care about it!”