Tuesday, 23 September 2014


As we hang on bravely to the good weather it’s a shame to waste it by not being on a bike. I headed out on Sunday into the tame wilds of Hertfordshire to get some wheel-time. In some ways you could call it a warm down from Saturday’s hockey match but I would perhaps call it a whole bit of exercise in its own right at over 30KM.

I elected to take out the hardtail for this ride, knowing there is nothing that technical out there and no real need for full suspension. It was the right choice and gave me a couple of hours of sprightly climbing, skittish descending and riding smart on stiff forks and with none of the mistake-mitigation of 5” of travel at both ends.

While I have been thoroughly enjoying the new bike, it was nice to leave it at home and pop out to ride a long-trusted companion, feeling light and skippy where other bikes will let you plough through at speed. I would go as far as to say that riding suspended all summer has improved my technique in places and I was trusting the wheels to track where I put them.

Everyone should ride hardtails to remember those skills and get a different perspective on rides. This made what can be a dull slog on a bigger bike a bit more of a challenge. Or maybe there’s something nice in throwing a leg over a bike you have ridden for years and thousands of miles and even appreciating all the more the technically advanced bike you have for those bigger days.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Catching Up

Spotted a trend? Yeah that’ right I keep missing Fridays as other pressures in the week ramp up to the end and this informative portal slips a little.

So, news I should have covered.

Jens Voigt is another big and well-liked name retiring from the ranks of the pro peloton and he is the first high profile rider to take a shot at the hour-record in an effort to cement his place in history. He successfully beat the record but I can’t help feeling that if Wiggins has a shot at in the near future he may quickly lose his title.

There was comedy in the news as a policeman got something wrong:

Also a bike manufacturer had a bit of a moan that they weren’t seeing the benefits of this whole biking craze. The guys behind Dawes and Claude Butler claim that while people are buying high-end bikes and potentially buying bikes form Halfords they are not buying their brands. There does seem to be evidence that the boom in cycling isn’t limited to the top end, so maybe it’s an issue closer to home for this manufacturer?


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Teams and Champions

You speak Welsh, right?

So you’ll enjoy this report form S4C on the Bike Park Wales round of the British Downhill series, focussing, inevitably, on Manon Carpenter, the local girl who arrived to race fresh off a World Championship win.

To be perfectly honest I just wanted to watch to remind myself of a great day riding there.

Meanwhile we can begin the build up to the Road and TT World Championships with the naming of the British squad. Led by Froome, the team will have a solid road captain in the shape of Dave Millar, racing for the last time in GB kit, and however way you look at it a great depth in a squad of Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift, Simon and Adam Yates, and Rowe. Wiggins and Dowsett will race the TT and all of the riders willhavethe pressure of performing better than last year’s awful showing where none finished the World Championship race in torrential rain.

The women’s squad is just as strong, with Armitstead leading a team including Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Anna Christian, Lucy Garner, and mountain biker Annie Last.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

More Scrabbling

It’s come to something when I’m suddenly trawling for something to write about and wondering if my commuting near-misses would be interesting enough to fill a blog post. Considering I’m here to write this up I’m guessing not.

Instead I thoroughly recommend Scott Mitchell’s view of the Tour of Britain and will refrain from mentioning how I (and hundreds of other people) saw him on Saturday.

In other news I saw this invention which absolutely comes into the category of “oh that’s a good idea… hang on, you mean everyone has to download it…”. In summary this is never going to work, any more than approaching the idea of cyclist being killed by producing covered cycle lanes across every city (neatly also encouraging people to ride in the rain). I am a fan of realistic safety solutions but let’s not approach them from the idea of cool stuff you can do with tech, but from a premise of solving an actual problem. Thanks.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Slump

Well what is there to talk about now? Suddenly we’re in a strange dead spot where the big races have suddenly ended and while I’ve had an embarrassment of things to tell you about big stage races in Spain and Britain and now they’ve finished, with only really the road World Champs to come to provide professional interest.

So, what now? Luckily Gee Atherton has been making news off the back of his second World Championship win by putting forward the idea that downhill mountain biking should be in the Winter Olympics. Despite not needing snow this makes a lot of sense in terms of making the winter games more friendly to extreme sports as with the inclusion of snowboarding disciplines, and with the UCI wanting to push the popularity of cycling into more Olympic visibility.

Otherwise I think as we look towards the winter it’s worth seeing some BMX in the rain to remind everyone that there’s still riding to be had:

Now I guess it’s time for me to actually start looking for interesting stories for you, rather than relying on the race scene.