Friday, 30 January 2015

Bikes in the Media

While braving the cold in the real world and hearing about the road pros gearing up for the season with races in warm places, there have been bikes in the news.

I couldn’t quite work out why, but the Guardian commissioned some hipster Lego which inevitably featured bikes. I think it’s safe to say they were not geared and had no brakes, so proper hipster steeds.

Top Gear repeated an old format of racing though a city in a car (or in this case a glorified invalid carriage), in a hovercraft, by public transport and by bike, in St Petersberg. Because it’s Top Gear the car won and the bike did less well, although you were left wondering if Richard Hammond hadn’t crashed and ruined his Pinarello Dogma, whether he would have easily cruised to victory.

More pro-bike I came across this delightful film on one of those channels that turn up on your Freeview and no one ever really watches.

Finally I'm not sure what to make of this:


Monday, 26 January 2015

Trying New Things

A free Sunday and kind-of not-terrible weather for January led to semi ideal conditions to go and get muddy in Hertfordshire. I had a plan, which was to investigate various links between rides I’ve been doing regularly in the area that looked possible on maps but I’d never ventured down. Some were bridleways I’d missed, some were tracks that variously looked to connect or possibly not. Depending on the scale of the map I looked at. All were worth trying to satisfy my curiosity, if nothing else.

The added benefit was to be able to try out a new bit of kit I had. The Garmin Fenix is a fully functional GPS watch that allows you to both track your activity and navigate. I uploaded my route to the watch, stuck a back-up map in my bag and set out to learn how it would work with the support of vaguely knowing where I was going in the area I was riding.

Once I’d sussed the zoom on the map on the watch it started to come into its own – showing me where the route I’d chosen went, even if it lacked more detail to help to navigate. What went less well was the route, which turned out to be littered with deadends and private woodland that split my best laid plans.

As ever, here is the Strava data:

More interesting perhaps is this image which shows my plan (in green) and my ride (in blue)

While it didn’t go as planned I am happy with the ride which allowed me to look at those possible-seeming routes and rule them out mostly. Aside from the exploration it was a hard ride on semi-thawed mud which got harder to make progress on as it got softer, and hitting many of the usual tracks in the opposite direction to the one I usually follow. It’s very easy to get a particular path in your head as one-way without reminding yourself what it’s like the other way and giving a whole new perspective on it.

Elsewhere this weekend it’s been an excellent time for DIY bike business, whether you want to build your own carbon fibre bike around a 3D printed frame, or want to buy a North London bike shop for 99p and get involved in bikes (and in taking on the successful Cycle Surgery branch up the road).


Friday, 23 January 2015

Tech Riding

I’m trying to change how this blog is run, to reflect when there is news to write about, not just updating for the sake of doing so. This also gives me time to work on other projects that will be revealed here in due course.

This week the road pros have been in action in Australia in Cadel Evans’ last race, and the usual season-opening Tour down Under.

The highlight of the race for me so far has been this crash, filmed from within the peloton by Jeremy Roy.

The race gave Sky team sponsor Jaguar the perfect opportunity to PR their new car systems that are designed to alert drivers to cyclists and go further than any tech so far to pinpoint them and allow a driver to react.

In other news this is a fun mix of riding styles that will make you want it to be summer again and not a winter full of slippery roads that will leave you sliding across the tarmac on usually tame corner:


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Road Roundup

The road season is just about getting going, as the big teams head to Australia for the Tour Down Under. This seems like a good time to look at the news and changes afoot in the peloton.

Amongst the moves, perhaps the most noteworthy is Sagan’s signing with Tinkoff-Saxo where he gets to wear possibly the least attractive kit in the sport. Elsewhere there has been a lot of interesting news around Sky, as Froome looks to another Tour de France win, which starts to look increasingly possible thanks to big name signings including Nicolas Roche and Leopold Konig. Those big names along with Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte should provide a phenomenal support for an assault on the title again.

The other big Sky news is that Wiggins has signed a contract extension to take him through Paris-Nice to end his time in the team with an attempt at Paris-Roubaix. He’ll follow that up with a tilt at the hour record as planned and then full-time prep for Rio as part of a new, also Sky sponsored, development team named after the riding knight himself.

With this news it seems I’s already time to sum up his career, which the Guardian did with quotes from Brailsford, and strangely a bunch of pictures of Chris Froome.

Talking of the hour record Alex Dowsett was due to have a go at it before Wiggins, but his plans have been potentially set back as he broke his collarbone in a training crash.

He’s still hoping to get the attempt going, but he first has to recover from an operation to put it back together.

Finally some good news as MTN-Qhubeka have been granted a wild-card for the Tour de France and will be the first African-based team to ever join the race.

Expect an exciting season.


Wednesday, 14 January 2015


We’re firmly in that time of year when every trip outside feels like an adventure, as you battle wind and rain and cold and you never really know what the day will throw at you each time you step on the bike to head to work. I tend to get through by a mixture of despair and occasionally managing to imagine I really am on an adventure and that my socks are in fact wet through again in the pursuit of mountains and excitement, not just avoiding the Tube.

To fuel this sort of fantasy I do enjoy a film like this one, of some real exploring.

Definitely don’t listen to articles like this. (and the associated comments about how unlawful/dangerous/etc bikes are)

Keep going.