Mud vs Sheep vs Bike, the song

Mud vs Sheep vs Bike (MvSvB) is an event that my friend Fraser and I started in about 1993. I’ve written about it on here before. Essentially it’s just a bunch of friends going mountain biking in Wales, but it has achieved a kind of independent existence in our collective consciousness. It’s loosely named after the famous “Man vs Horse vs Bike” race that I regretted once entering in about 1991. MvSvB has been held at various youth hostels and other group rental accommodations, but most often at what was my Dad’s farm near Llandovery in Wales.

Certain MvSvB traditions have been established, most importantly:

  • Banoffee pie
  • T-shirts
  • Getting wet and muddy
  • Getting lost
  • Punctures and disintegrating wheels
  • Being chased by fierce sheepdogs
  • Beer

Banoffee pie is a critical component of the coping mechanisms required to spend much time in Welsh weather, and is a great source of the calories required for biking up hills (at least that’s our excuse). Some terms for the unaware: liquid sun = rain, Welsh not raining = light drizzle.

I’ve designed most of the T-shirts to date, starting in 1995, when I learned that half-toning really isn’t a good approach for screen printing on fabrics. The designs usually tried to have 1 or 2-colour prints using strong mountain bike themes with in-jokes, references to mud, sheep, bikes, hills, etc. This year I came up with a bold design, based on a picture of a friend on a bike, carefully redrawn with an Apple Pencil on my iPad (using Linearity Curve), and printed using a groovy high-tech direct-to-fabric printing process by my friends at Vektor.

Since I moved to France in 2009, I’ve missed out on a few events, Fraser moved to New Zealand, we’ve mostly had growing kids to contend with, the whole age thing, and so MvSvB events have dwindled. But 2023 is the comeback year, the kids are big enough to leave at home, and we can reunite to enjoy a collective mid-life crisis.

To commemorate what we are officially calling the 30th anniversary of MvSvB, I wrote this song about it, celebrating all the nasty weather, excessive eating and drinking, impromptu bike maintenance, and generally messing about on bikes with friends.

I came up with the first line first; always a good start. I wanted to have a sparse, slightly gloomy sounding verse so that I could pair it with an excessively happy chorus. Of course It just would work without rain ambience and bike and sheep noises. Next up came the bass line; I’ve never really played slap bass before (on my Sire Marcus Miller M2 bass), but I am pretty happy with the result – I’m sure it sounds better than when I played it due to the wonders of Logic Pro’s flex pitch editor! Next was the guitar, which is very simple. Drums are courtesy of Logic’s excellent Drummer instrument, which I got to follow my bass part in places. I had quite a lot of lyrics for the chorus, and despite the 130bpm tempo, it manages to sound fairly leisurely. The timing of those lyrics gave me a pattern which led to a melody, which led to some very basic chords, and voila, one functioning chorus!

I’ve been very keen to try out Synthesizer V, which I had bought at fair expense earlier this year, only to find that it’s borderline unusable in DAWs like Logic. However with a little perseverance I found it was workable so long as I didn’t even consider touching the tempo. This gave me the first set of vocals – two backing lines that I made in a similar style to how I worked in Tailwind, except with these synthetic voices. I had planned to sing the main parts myself, but found it just really didn’t work, so I enlisted the help of Lucas H on Fiverr who did a great job with a quick turnaround. With all these working together, I’ve ended up with 5 vocal parts in some places, and it makes for a great ensemble sound that I wasn’t quite expecting, but I’m very happy with.

I don’t care if it’s raining,
get back on your bike
I know you’re hung over
from drinking last night
But that’s not my problem
there’s mountains to ride
and there’s no way I’m
letting you stay inside

Sheep getting restless
and puddles so deep
there’s mud to my elbows
and I’ve had no sleep
but I don’t care
‘cos we’re here to have fun
to every last drop
of this liquid Welsh sun

There’s mud and there’s sheep and there’s rides with our friends
There’s banoffee and T-shirts and hills without end
There’s maps and confusion and roads to nowhere
There’s mud and there’s bikes and that’s why we are here

No punctured excuses
or unspoken wheels
we’re chained to the bars
as we grind up the hills.
We’re spinning for summits
and covered in grime
leaving tread on the tracks
of a great mountain climb

There’s mud and there’s sheep and there’s rides with our friends
There’s banoffee and T-shirts and hills without end
There’s maps and confusion and roads to nowhere
There’s mud and there’s bikes and that’s why we are here

Pedal, pedal... up the hills
Pedal, pedal... up the hills

There’s mud and there’s sheep and there’s rides with our friends
We always come back here, again and again
There’s mountains and rivers and crates of cold beer
There’s mud and there’s bikes and that’s why we are here

Reverse engineering Fox’s Butter Crinkle Crunch biscuits

Update 24th Jan 2024: I wrote a follow-up post to this.

Fox’s Butter Crinkle Crunch biscuits have always been a favourite of mine. I had a little rummage, but completely failed to find a recipe for them, so I though I’d try making one up.

Home made butter crinkle crunch biscuits
Home made butter crinkle crunch biscuits

Fox’s page on the biscuits is oddly free of marketing, but includes both the the ingredients list and the nutrition label, from which we can deduce something of the recipe. The ingredients list noted 8% oats and 5% butter, no eggs, and a critical ingredient I’d not thought of – partially inverted refiners syrup. That’s golden syrup to you. Taking those with some of the nutrition label led to make some guesses about the proportion of ingredients. I did a little searching about ginger snaps, a very similar biscuit texture-wise, which gave me an important tip – “go heavy on the raising agent”. This is what makes the biscuits over-rise and form the distinctive “crinkly” cracks. I then compared my recipe with Rachel Allen’s recipe for ginger honey biscuits (from her “Bake” book, ISBN 978-0007259700), which I’ve made before, and made a few adjustments to quantities, before settling on a recipe.


  • 175g white flour
  • 75g white sugar
  • 25g dark muscovado sugar (adds a slightly caramel-y taste)
  • 50g oats (porridge, not jumbo)
  • 125g butter
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4tsp vanilla powder
  • A small bowl of Demerara sugar (cassonade in France) for rolling

This is about 500g of ingredients providing eleventy bazillion calories, and made 24 large-ish biscuits.


I used a Kenwood Chef to make this, but it’s easy to do by hand too. I baked them on a large double-layer tray with a silicone baking sheet.

  • Preheat oven (traditional mode, not fan) to 180°C.
  • Put all the dry ingredients except the sugar in a bowl and mix.
  • Put butter, sugar (not the Demerara!) and golden syrup in the mixer bowl and whiz until it’s creamy.
  • Add the dry ingredients and whiz until it forms a thick, slightly crumbly dough with no small crumbs. It should be fairly dry, not sticky. If it’s sticky, add a little more flour.
  • Grab small 2-3cm blobs of dough and roll them between your palms to make them into smooth spheres, then roll them in the Demerara sugar before putting them on the baking tray. Leave quite a lot of space around them as they will spread a lot when baking.
  • Bake for about 16 minutes on a middle shelf. They will initially rise to look like little cakes (which had me worried!), but after about 10 mins the tops will crack and they will flatten a bit. I wanted to make sure they were nice and crunchy; if you prefer them softer, take them out a little sooner.

I made a time lapse video of them cooking, but the camera focused on the little dots on the oven door rather than what’s inside, so the biscuits are a little blurry:

Biscuits cooking

They looked pretty good in the end and taste pretty much as I expected, though lacking that blatant butteriness that the originals have, possibly due to my lack of a listed ingredient: “Flavouring”! Still yummy though.

I think if I made them again I’d cut down on the sugar a bit, perhaps increase the oats, though I don’t want to stray into Hob-Nob territory! I could make them look more like bought ones if I squashed them a bit before baking so that they come out flatter.