Who is Fraggle?
Hello Pacefists! My name is Sophie Carter. I am the youngest daughter of The Big Cheeses, Adrian and Cathy Carter proudly flying the Pace Flag alongside my sister Aimee.
I wanted to start a blog so people get to know a bit more about who we are and to share our passion for biking & the adventures we source on a weekend when we are not participating in ‘proper graft’. I am not a writer or journalist so please be aware that my blogs will contain ‘occasional’ poor grammar, possible hints of repetitiveness stemmed from my enthusiasm but hopefully keep you entertained.
I should start with giving you lot a brief history lesson about the business and where it is today…Mum & Dad started Pace Cycles 29 year’s ago designing & manufacturing one of the World’s first leading suspension forks, not to mention the iconic square tubed frame - RC100. They sold the Fork side of the Business to DT Swiss 8 years ago and concentrated on frames, clothing design and suspension service. I always wanted to work for the family business, as biking is who I am and all I have ever known.
So after several miserable jobs in the North East of England ‘finding my wings’ which included the random variety of selling Satellite Insurance, Life Guarding, Outdoor Instruction and oh yeh, painfully flogging Caravan Warehouse space…I did manage to keep an ounce of normality with part-time Mountain Bike Coaching for British Cycling - Then I finally decided to change my life and follow my passion when I was stood in a freezing cold warehouse one Sunday morning wondering which plot Mr Moany would like to park his fancy tin on wheels whilst all my mates were out riding.
So that is how it all started, 7 years now working for the family business and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Pace is currently based in The Great Yorkshire Forest – Dalby but shortly we will be moving to our new office in Thornton-Le-Dale, just down the road. Dalby is where Pace became the true Family Business. My elder sister Aimee (who is the organised one) after she completed University joined the team.
5 years (ish) ago, Dalby bike shop came up for tender so thought we would give retail a bash. Mum and Dad focus on Pace & Dalby Bike Barn is Managed by Aimee.
After driving past Sutton Bank on my morning commute I had a light bulb moment and thought it would be an awesome place for shop/hire & trails. After a couple of years of developing the trail system at Sutton with the North York Moors National Park, Sutton Bank Bikes was finally born. That’s where I am mainly based, so if you haven’t been yet, pop in and say hello (plug plug plug).
My job role includes marketing/websites & social media stuff for all three businesses. So I am the one behind all of our Instagram posts which may now make a little more sense…I am the one with hair like Fraggle Rock/Worzel Gummidge & normally lugging a Pace on my back up some Mountain in the Lakes whilst trying to keep up with my better half, Flange (Sam Flanagan).
I have now moved back to my real Yorkshire roots & live in the Dales with ‘me Flange’. We have got a great group of Lakes mates that we share the most amazing adventures with our bikes on a weekend.
Last Sunday I ventured up Helvellyn on Mother’s Day (Sorry Mum) with my friends Rozza, Joe and Robbo. Helvellyn is the third highest peak in the Lakes and it is my go-too mountain ride. A belly full of porridge and bleubs we parked in Glenridding and set off riding up past the Youth Hostel, a ride shortly turned into a walk as we hung a right, slung our bikes on our backs to hit the steep zigzags that lead us to the top. By God it was tough’un, watching where you step otherwise you end up waist deep in a big snow dump and the air seemed so thin reminding me of the Alps. But this time I didn’t have my snowboard, I was going old school with my New Pace RC127 hardtail. All my mates were on big 150/160 travel bikes but my Juliana Roubion was getting some much-needed TLC. I have been riding the Pace now for a few months over winter and I bloody love it. I am not biased; it rides like a dream, even down Helvellyn.
As we ventured up, walkers were heading down from Helvellyn & the general comments from them were “Are you mad?” - Well yes I guess we are to a certain extent, I have grown up riding the likes of Dalby Forest and so Trail Centre’s are no longer my desired riding location on a weekend. There is nothing wrong with a Trail Centre of course, but you can’t beat those big mountain views full of adventure. Flange and my friends have introduced me to some of the best mountain riding possible in the UK & it is guaranteed we will be hitting one of them every weekend, weather never permitting.
As we hit the top of the zig-zags we caught our breath back and took some obligatory Instagram snaps just to prove we haven’t being sat hung-over on a sofa, and demolished a bag of jelly babies. Looking at the summit of Helvellyn & the ridge we were about to hike up. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered but that steep ridge looked particularly sketchy with a nice glisten of ice winking at us. I was making the call to sack that risky ridge off, turn right and head straight over Raise pass - Joe however was not having any of it. Jelly-baby fuelled adrenaline, now pumping through my blood we set off. After a short 20-face plant paces later and coming to the conclusion that Five Ten Freerider’s were not our best footwear choice for the day, Rozza and I quickly sacked it off and decided to wait at the top of Raise Pass as the boys were determined to continue. We sat there and caught site of two skiers attempting to ski down one of the steep gullies. After a short time gorping at the nutcases opposite, the boys joined us and we finished off the crumbs we had rolling around in our bags to then head down Stick’s Pass.
Snow turned into slush as we headed back down on the sweeping corners and rock gardens. Snow filled the trail so it was technically easier to ride than normal but riding in slush does become tiring. Maybe we should have set off earlier to avoid the slush but those gins just tasted too good the night before. Quickly descending to the Youth Hostel the trail becomes a bit more technical with loose boulders littering the trail but such good fun.
Before we knew it we were back to our vans, high fiving one another like school kids matched with cheesy grins. Helvellyn is one of my favorite rides but this was the first time in the deep snow, the cloud free sky & belting sun made it a grand day out. We finished the day at Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley for some well-earned Lakeland lager.
So this is what my blogs will be about. Where I take my bike, the places I get to ride, and the people I get to share it with. This life definitely beats selling caravan warehouse space…
Hope you all have a great weekend and ill be up a mountain somewhere.
Soph. Aka, Fraggle.