Monday, 31 December 2012


Some rides are so wrong that they just turn out so right. Today's venture out on the cross bike proved why it has become the 'go to' bike. The roads where rivers, the trails where mud floating in rivers - a road bike would have been silly and a single speed would have been purgatory. The ride wasn't long, but it provided ample time to reflect on 2012 and revisit the plans and engagements for 2013. 

have faith
A few guffers have milestone birthdays to celebrate in 2013 (we are trying, honest!) and a number of dream rides found their way into recent conversations. It's fair to say that these where fueled by local ale and malts of the month. A couple of plans will require a leap of faith, but where would life be without ambition and goals.

As for other engagements, if you happen to be in the mood to pop the question this Hogmanay, cyclesguff wishes you all the very best.

See you in 2013 and please stay upright

Saturday, 15 December 2012


A number of years back I found myself cycling from Glasgow to Stornoway (you guessed it, that was before parenthood descended with a bang) and it has to be one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I'll keep the stories for another time, but one thing I did find out about was localism. Once in Stornoway I booked into a bunkhouse above a surfshop, started talking with the owner and the next thing; I'm wearing a wetsuit, a board is under my arm and waiting for him to start up the surf bus. Two days where spent paddling, driving, exploring, talking, laughing, lot's of drinking and loving the sensation of actually being able to stand on a surf board and catch a wave. It was during those two days that I was introduced to the term localism. The guys from the surf shop had their favourite spots. It's fair to say that I would have ended up in hospital, or even worse if I'd even set wetsuit in water at their favourite breaks. Some breaks required a jet-ski or boat to escape the imposing coastline and head out towards the horizon. The great thing about the guys in Stornoway wasn't that they only embraced the areas that they discovered, but they were also keen to show them off and prove just how good surfing could be in the the Outer Hebrides. A far cry from some of the anecdotes from other global surf spots.

if you look closely there's an old windmill
I've seriously missed being out my bike and earlier today I finally swung a leg over a mtb for the first time in months - bliss!  The ice from the past few weeks has began to thaw, but there are still areas that are best avoided, primarily fire-road and exposed paths. The parallels with the local trail fairies and the Stornoway crew suddenly hit home when a group of guys that I've not ridden with for sometime peeled off a recognisable trail, quietly slipped into the forrest and introduced me to some fantastic local singletrack. They have been busy exploring and building and it's payed off. Riding singlespeed through the off camber acute twists&turns, chutes, roots, planting ruts and pine needle covered trails required finesse. A quality that I've never possessed, but who cares when you have the chance of riding with a fab group of like minded souls who show you how it's done and flow through sections that had me dabbing, striking pedals and cursing in equal measure. My strava feed is one twisty red line of fun, will I be able to find those trails again.......thanks guys!

Stay upright

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dr Alex Moulton

It's been sometime since the last post and I was hoping to type something with more cheer.  However, the news of the death of Dr Alex Moulton has stopped me in my tracks. 

As many have said, and thankfully during his lifetime, he was an inspiration and will continue to be. There cannot be that many people on this planet that can lay claim to designing, engineering and manufacturing an iconic object that is coveted by many and is the epitome of a looking at things differently. In Moulton's case, he just happened to have more than most and his collaborations with another genius, Sir Alec Issigonis resulted in what is quite possibly one of the most loved vehicles to ever role of a production line and is a symbol of a generation.

Moulton was a man who embraced the technical challenges of developing complex products with an equal appreciation of the craft of the artisan and a focus on the experience and enjoyment of the user. In these times of mass manufactured land fill; his philosophy, responsibility and approach is a legacy that we can all benefit from.

Thank you

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Colour, Nose, Palate, Body, Finish

The past few weeks have been pretty quiet for the guffers. Injuries, illness and just good old life have put an end to any plans for quality time on two wheels. This weekend may provide a glimmer of hope, but and it is a big but - there's an event taking place in Glasgow, no it's not the UCI World Cup. The guffers will be joining forces to see what else can come out of finely crafted and cared for strips of timber. The nose will be in fine fettle, as for the taste buds, they will be squeezed, smoked and pulled in all manners of directions by the wonderful delights on offer at the Glasgow Whisky Festival. Ah, the joys of a weekend dram in the Arches. 

Sareheids will hopefully be minimised by a strict routine of taking the time to plot a path amongst the stalls. If you believe that, you will believe anything.

We'll do our best to stay upright

Thursday, 1 November 2012


There have been many jokes and quips about the inclement Scottish weather, with a favourite being 'just wait 10 minutes and it'll change'. let's consider last weekend in the West Coast; Saturday greeted those rising from bed with a wonderful clear blue sky courtesy of a high pressure and a light northern breeze. All was good, in fact very good.  The family where about to enjoy a treat of going to the recently opened Sir Chris Hoy velodrome. Once in the car and underway, it didn't take long before the kids level of excitement could be measured with the classic question 'are we there yet'? True to from, this hit home every few minutes.

Upon arrival at the velodrome, I was struggling with the fact that the venue actually exists and is no longer an evocative CAD image. This is not a criticism of other major building and civil engineering works following the plan, budget or even running at all - Edinburgh trams anyone? It's just a sense that Scotland has been waiting for this for a long, long time.  The velodrome is a pleasant geographical and historical reminder to Celtic Park on the opposite side of London Rd. Cycling has most certainly come home to the East End of Glasgow.

The last time a major cycling event was hosted at Celtic Park was in 1897. More than 20,000 cycling fans watched Dubliner, O'Neill winning the 10 mile race. The prize money was £300, not bad for 1897. A manual worker at ship yards would be earning approx. £40 per annum, so putting your body to work on a bike was quicker way, and more than likely a safer way to make a living. The current tracks stars will be back competing in Glasgow at the UCI World Cup from November 16 to 18, let's hope that the prize money is more than £300!

This guffer had been invited to attend the Thunderdrome, courtesy of Graeme Obree, my day job does have some pretty good perks. Soaking up the atmosphere and spinning round from the track centre watching the racing unfold was a treat that I'll remember for a long time. At times, you would literally be stopped in your tracks by the site of yet another legend from the sport. My daughter's autograph book is now filled with Dan Martin, Stephen Roche, David Millar, Sir Chris Hoy and let's not forget Graeme Obree. Sean Kelly, the Dowling brothers, Tiernan Locke and a host of many others where there and no doubt putting in a spot of 'practice' before the Braveheart charity dinner. The opportunity to watch Hoy and his famous contemparies doing what they do best was simply superb. The added bonus was watching Graeme Obree on Old Faithful doing a few laps. As Graeme got into his tuck and showed us all how it's done the cheers and applause from the crowd raised hairs on the back of my neck. Just imagine what the atmosphere would be like if an hour record was attempted at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome.......

I'm sure that those of us that are parents do have idealistic notions of what it's going to be like taking our kids to a major sporting event. This guffer's first experience of a sporting event in any form of arena/ground/muddy field and was in stark contrast to the velodrome experience. Going to the local football Derby aged 6, frozen to the spot, watching, listening to the crowd and attempting to show some form of interest to what was happening on the pitch was poison in comparison to the velodrome. The real treat was the opportunity for me and my Dad to spend time together without any other family distractions. At one point between races, I was sitting back relaxing watching my daughter taking pics and speaking away with other guests. I started to imagine a scene of a Dad and Daughter going to their seats together for the first time in Celtic Park for Saturday's game. Celtic didn't fair too well on Saturday, if they where Celtic fans, the Thunderdrome would have been money well spent. 

Just for the record, my my daughter's first experience of a footie game was the 2012 Olympics opening round, France v USA (ladies) at Hampden park, she loved it and supported USA right to the end, thankfully they went on to win Gold - ah, the romance of football.

With the clocks changing in the early hours of Sunday morning there was a slight glimmer of hope that the forecasted weather front wouldn't wrong was I to be. I'd signed up for the Glasgow Couriers Cycling Club, Halloween Howler cyclocross race at Glennifer braes on the outskirts of Paisley. Has any form of profanity been used on cyclesguff before? I'm not sure, so this maybe a first. The only word that I can use to describe the conditions is, shite! It was so bad that the seniors race was held off for thirty minutes as the previous race entrants tried their best to finish. 

a place where shoes are lost
Due to the conditions, the senior race was then reduced to 40 minutes and a lap (great decision).  I know that cross has a reputation for being tough, and the past few experiences of blue skies had lulled me into a false sense of security, but that race was bonkers. Cyclesguff salutes those that organised and endured the event, those that where mad enough to came along, spectate and cheer us on. As for the riders, let's hope for the blue skies to return. One memory that I'll take from that race was the view out over Glasgow. It could have been the cold beginning to shut down my brain, but I could swear that there was a heat haze over a certain part of the East End. The balmy climes of the velodrome certainly have an appeal for the winter days ahead.

Stay upright and warm

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


It's time to put away the summer bike (when was it!?) and swing a leg over another trusty steed. The Lemond with it's cannibal orange is anything but subtle, however this is....
update and not so subtle...

Stay upright

Sunday, 21 October 2012

rest day

There was a cross race today, but this guffer decided to head out on the local, gloopy trails. The total distance was a smidge over what a cross race would total. The elapsed time was double and my legs where still burning on the return to be done for next weekend.

Stay upright

Sunday, 14 October 2012

wiggly worms

if you look closely....
There's a childhood joy of being head to toe in mud, and for those of us that had the delight of growing up with a sister, worms just added to the fun! I'm sure many of us have chased screaming siblings around as they attempted to escape from a brother who had his hands full of muddy, slippery, wiggly worms - good times.

Recently, cyclesguff has been spending a lot of time in mud. The Scottish Cyclocross season is under way. So far, the conditions under tyre have been wet, gloopy, slippy and sticky. The blue skies above have helped to quickly dry out the mudpack on legs, arms, face etc just in time to shake it all off before heading home. The two event courses to date have been very different with today's Auchentoshan race (sadly no whisky) being an absolute blast. Today was quite possibly one of the most challenging hours I have spent trying to stay on the bike in recent years. The course had it's fair share of interesting sections, the kind of places where dog owners loose their pooches. The advice of; sit back, loosen the grip and hold on was well received, but you could just tell that the crowd was baiting for mud and blood. Talking of crowds, the numbers were down on last week and the encouragement as riders clambered up the various 'walls' could have been better - come on, cheer us on!

Last week's event benefitted from a wonderful weekend of sun and families making the most of Callendar Park in Falkirk. The course was less technical and almost encouraged riders along as they flowed through sections and could even catch breath on a gentle descent of blaze. 

In starck contrast to today's brutality, the meandering course allowed riders to dismount at will and steep sections and ramps could be ridden with gusto. Whether this was strategic decision at the hands of the series organisers remains to be seen - give those new to the sport a 'gentle' taste of mud and they'll be back. 

I thought only dogs did that...
The starting field at all levels is impressive. What isn't quite so impressive is the feeling when you are catching someone, only to realise that they are going slower due to a mechanical. This is obviously a feature of cross, but for me, it doesn't tick the same box as catching someone on a climb. That subtle feeling of reeling in the red rag at cross is an entirely different beast. It's fair to say that I didn't catch that many people, so the feeling may change, then again, so had my fitness levels.

Stay upright

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Park Life

football pitches get everywhere
With all the news surrounding the opening of the fabulous Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, tickets selling out in minutes and the teasing list of riders turning up for the Thunderdrome on the 27th October, the news regarding the refurbished 400m (402m to be exact) velodrome in Caird Park, Dundee could easily be overlooked. Credit is due to all who had the persistence, passion and commitment to see this through.

It also happens to be the place where Sir Chris Hoy won his first Scottish Scratch Race Championship title.

I have many fond memories of frenetic schoolboy and junior races being held there. The events also commanded good crowds and a lost dog making it's presence felt was usually the order of the day. The training was always fun, but started with being handed a stiff brush to remove the detritus from the excesses of the teenage drinking sessions from the night before. The track also had a reputation of removing skin; a tumble learning to ride fixed on a tarmac surface (or was it concrete) resulted in bruised pride and a few plasters. Thankfully, this didn't happen too often, once was enough.

I've not visited the track for many years, but the next time I'm back, I'll stop by and hopefully have a ride. In the meantime, tonight's malt and memory trigger is a Glen Elgin. The nose is initially smokey, followed by toffee. Taste has a hint of liquorice with peppery spice that lingers on the lips. It's from 1986, fitting as I was thirteen years old back then and quite possibly on my way home from a late season trip to the track before the weekly club meeting.

The sublime Glen Elgin malt was a kind gift from Routemaster General and was handed over after we completed the first round of the 2012 Scottish Cyclocross Series - a wee report is on it's way.

Stay upright

Monday, 1 October 2012


The travels of cyclesguff continue; it's just a pity that a recent trip to Antwerp wasn't earlier in the year or even a few weeks back to enjoy the full Philippe Gilbert effect. Sitting at home watching the world unfold on TV, I had an image of the fabulous Phil Ligget in my head - his body moving in uncontrolled excitement, ear cans on, mic close to his lips, trying not to mention that his name was painted on the road, Paul Sherwen is sitting alongside, eagerly waiting for a millisecond gap to open for a chance of a few words. Suddenly, a Belgium rider bursts from the leaders, showing the rest of the bunch how you remind the critics what a great rider is capable of. PHIL on the road conjured up a weird scene, especially as I was watching Eurosport. Just keep an eye on Le Tour 2013 coverage for DUFFERS

Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp is the start town of the semi-classic (terrible reference)  Grote Scheldeprijs. I have to admit my ignorance and inform fellow guffers that this race has never made it onto my radar. It just so happens to be the oldest bike race in Flanders, and has a list of winners from Roger De Vlaeminck to Mark Cavendish. Cavendish jointly holds the record for most wins with the Belgian, Piet Oellibrandt. Depending on where Cavendish ends up in 2013, he may have some tasty Belgium team mates to contend with if he's looking for the outright record of four wins.

The Grote Scheldeprijs starts just outside the Antwerp City Hall. The bike parking inside is a reminder of how central the bicycle is to life in Flanders. 

If you ever have the chance to visit Antwerp, go for it! I didn't have much time to explore the city, but what I did see and experience will certainly result in a return journey. 

This wonderful Derny deserves a just because...
Stay upright 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Just = night

The 'just because....' series tend to be pics and nothing more than a caption. And, we can't forget Routemaster General's French take from a few months back.

Yesterday was the first time out on the bike since the Graeme Obree sportive. A single speed 29er isn't the best option for weak legs and lungs, but the conditions where great and I can only go as fast as a 32x20 will allow on the flat stuff - there wasn't much flat stuff.

The day provided ample opportunities to experience the sheer amount of water that has recently fallen out of the sky and a tree felling operation of a huge scale around Mugdock and the West Highland way does beg the question - will the cleared sections of woodland ever recover, or will they become yet another area of tree stumps and bog? 

what's the name of that Orb song?
So, as night equals day, the dark hours where spent enjoying an Arran non chilled filtered 10yr old malt. A delightful flavorsome (almost toffee) malt that is a pleasant as the isle it came from. Cyclesguff are planning a wee trip to Arran and possibly Islay very soon....the nights are drawing in.

Stay upright

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Delica Daze

One of the most amusing tweets from this year’s tour was from David Millar:
Swept opening my curtains to find beautiful blue sky, and... The Deathstar. 
The days of pro-riders driving to races by their own means are well and truly over.  The tales recounted in Slayer the badger and Put me back on my bike offered an insight to the welcome escape from the peleton (and even team mates). The untimely death of Tom Simpson in 1967 resulted in him never collecting his Mercedez Benz 300sl Gullwing that was ordered just beofre the tour. There isn’t much room in that car, and how on earth he could fit a bike rack with gullwing doors is beyond me.  
I recently had the privilege of giving Graeme Obree a lift. Now, this may be a slight aberration for the Flying Scotman, after all the bicycle is his most frequent mode of travel. The reason was a request to help with transporting ‘the beastie’ for an initial speed run – more on that another day. One thing we did speak about during the short journey was kids and bikes, Graeme summed it up perfectly ‘kids and bikes are like fish’n’chips’.    
For me, putting bikes in a car/van etc paves the way for memories of adventures and hopefully new ones to recount. Ah, the onset of road trip fever. Some of the best road trips and memories where spent traveling across the UK and France. The vehicle of choice was owned by riding buddy and great friend, David. Other than his bikes, it was his pride and joy. The vehicle was a first series Mitsubushi Delica (aka Japanese passion wagon) or simply referred to as the van. We would push the van to ramming speed on long descents and David would cook its brakes chasing me and other Raid Pyrenean riders on the Col de Tourmalet descent to Sante Marie du Campan. The brakes were never quite the same and there was still a few days left of the raid and a trip to the French Alps via Mt Ventoux to contend with! As the support vehicle for the Raid Pyrenean it was a welcome sight parked up on a Col.   
who needs ac...

The huge tailgate would be open to provide shade and access to supplies of food and cool drinks. Tunes would normally be blasting out and on the dashboard, the bobbing Mr T would be keeping to the beat.  
You climbed what!? Yo crazie fool!
Morzine has been the mtb destination for the past five years and the van always cut the cloth in the town. Riders and locals would stop for a chat, it was the vehicle equivalent of a puppy. Maxine, the friendly owner of the Les Marmottes campsite would welcome us back in the summer and ‘Camp David’ would be erected. The van was a always a welcome sight after a day in the mountains and a few Mutzigs in Bar Robinson. The bbq would be lit, and with coolbox fan purring away in the background as a gentle reminder that the van’s battery had kept the beer cool. A perfect setting to kick back and reflect on a day in the mountains.  

David hit upon a major spot of bad luck in France during this summer's trip. The result, the van has been left to be crushed! I was gutted when he told me the news. Thankfully, David and the rest of the crew are all fine. As for the van, it will be replaced, but never forgotten. At least we the have memories of shredding the rad through the Alps, windows down and Booker T and the MGs drowning out the cowbells. 
This isn’t exactly a fitting end to this post, but this classic phrase from the ace BBC comedy - Still Game, always reminds me of the van and trips to Morzine   
‘Feel the burn Boaby, Feel the buuurrrn’  
The crazy Frenchies in a hot hatch pulling over and getting well out of the way of J189 NPR on it’s mission not to change down from 4th to 3rd certainly did.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Obree way

Not exactly a sportive geometry
A few weeks back, cyclesguff mentioned the kind invite to take part in the Graeme Obree Sportive. The invite came from none other than the man himself. The reason for the invite was down to the this guffer's involvement with 'the beastie'. Graham has been working with staff and students of Product Design Engineering (PDE) programme at the Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow. There is an additional and historical element to this collaboration. Graeme started studying PDE, in his own words 'for a matter of weeks'. Thankfully, the result of that early departure from his studies has resulted in one of the most inspiring and challenging stories. 

Whether you ride a bike or not, working with Graeme is an experience! The energy gained from his work ethic and approach is addictive. The next few weeks will see even more development and tweaking as the time to roll out 'the beastie' for the record attempt approaches. The excellent site humans invent has more details of development and the Obree way, so please point the cursor in that direction for more info.
Nick O Balloch
A post about the Graeme Obree sportive is well overdue.....the event takes place late July! Four guffers made the journey down to Ayrshire. The chat in the car centred around lack of time on the bike and what to wear. In other words, we where anxious. And as it turned out, the good old inclement Scottish weather decided to come along and keep us company on the ride. Charlie Milarvie (Maximise Sport and Graeme's agent) had mentioned that the 68.5mile route would feel more like 100. The 'heavy' undulating roads (over 1,100metres of climbing) and Nick O The Balloch climb around the 40 mile mark being the main test. The guffers only managed 2 miles before the first test. A mangled rear mech, and no means of repair forced Pete to abandon. We left with the first bunch and just had to watch them disappear as a dejected Pete walked like a duck back to the event start at Auchincruive. The remaining three tried to keep together, but a fluctuating pace saw a few smaller groups form from the second wave to depart. The guffers had the chance to regroup after the magic descent to Straiton Thankfully, the descent was the only major section of dry road we experienced.  After a short stop for water and grub the heavens opened and it was truly biblical. The last few miles saw the sun break through and warm our damp bodies as we confronted the last few ramps on the run back to the start.

The combination of quiet roads taking in some stunning views of the moorlands high above Ayrshire, fantastic marshaling, support of South Ayrshire Council and police stopping traffic at junctions created an atmosphere not too disimilar to a closed road event. The success of the event is a credit to the organisers and the following that Graeme has. It's also generating funds for the fantastic charity Combat Stress. The other draw was the number of riders. Smaller sizes (in my experience) results in groups willing to work and make the most of the day, this is something that mass start events, such as the Etapé Caledonia struggles with.

If you have ever considered riding the roads that Graeme trains on, stop considering and sign up for 2013.

Stay upright 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

haste ye back

as we may have mentioned a couple of times cyclesguff manage to get about a bit and some manage more than others. So it is that one of our number, Lindsay, is taking himself and family off to Toronto tomorrow. Knowing his eye for detail we at cyclesguff are sure that he has sorted out everything that he needs to for the year long sojourn. Bike, check, kit, check, shoes, check, helmet, check...
One last item to tick off on what was no doubt a very long list was of course a wee trip round the back yard just to remind him what he will be missing in the flat lands of Toronto, Canada.

We set off out and round to Torrance on Tuesday and as you can see we were accompanied by something of a glowering sky. The quiet roads make this a bit of a guff favorite route either as a step to a longer trip or as a fine run in itself.  The shorter ride is a perfect 'squeezed for time quick run out of a morning run' and despite it's brevity the trip proved to be a veritable cornucopia of all things Scottish. Hills, views, sunshine, clouds and a deluge of rain. Though it was a special treat and on reflection, not especially Scottish warm rain. Having neglected to pack the kayak, I mean honestly!, it made for a challenging return back to the city but one that had us smiling all the way home. Have a great time Lindsay and haste ye back.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

sounds of silence

There has been an element of silence on the cyclesguff blog of late. The guffers have been traveling, and in some cases – relocating. Fellow guffer and author of the excellent Oblique intention is off to Toronto with his family for a sabbatical, not a bad place to spend a year. Prior to departure, the cyclesguff bunch enjoyed a fitting 'last' ride of the year. The invite to ride the fabulous Graeme Obree sportive came from none other than the Flying Scotsman himself, this made the event even more special. There are a few posts in the draft stages that include: The Graeme Obree sportive; how it came about and an ode to a sadly departed vehicle.

Shenzhen pavé
This guffer has spent the last 3 weeks working in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. My last time in Shenzhen was 2007 and it’s hard to describe how the city has changed. My first experience was the size of the place and the sheer number of building sites, my second experience is the size of place and the sheer number of building sites! How can a city grow at such an astonishing rate and just how sustainable is this progress? It’s daunting when you consider the resource, energy and manpower required to keep the place going, never mind what was required to build it, or for that matter - keep it growing! One small observation and rest bite from the progress is that the bicycle still rules of the road. Traders with cargos that would make the western cyclist weep can frequently be seen on the super highways cycling towards oncoming traffic - the Police don’t bother. As darkness ascends, the bikes become the creatures of the night, meandering around with out lights and continuing with their complete disregard of any traffic laws. When I say cycling, that isn’t particularly true. You see, most of the bikes are now electrically powered with lovely little hub motors that hurtle them along at Wiggins pace.

Mobile kitchen - even when traveling, the gas ring remains on
Other than the drivetrain 'progress', there are still a few bicycle related observations from the first visit that remain. Most cyclist ride with their saddles far too low; this is possibly due to the bike being shared amongst many. However, it does get the job done, even if the knees are bent out and up around the ears. The other is the humble side stand (and a number of alternatives), this is an often ridiculed piece of kit by the road brigade. Why have a stand when we can happily rest our fizik gel tape wrapped bars and kangaroo hide upholstered saddle against a rough cast wall, only to return and cry at the sight of a rip or a scrape. Those that commute and deliver by bike know better, use a stand! The botch repair is another ace aspect; bamboo splints instead of steel stands and copious amounts of packing tape used for frame repairs are very common. Unserviced bikes with rusty chains can be heard from afar and the mobile bike repairer with his box of trusty tools, spare parts and of course, tape is always close by.  How he will fare with the electronic stealth killers is another matter. The problem with electric bikes is the silence, his repair 'radar' will no doubt change as much as the tools in the toolbox.

The parasol was that faded
The bike below had just been parked up and battery removed for charging. It was used to haul 4 full ‘water at work bottles’. A rough estimate of the all up weight (inc. rider) was 160kg. The bike was easily travelling at 20mph/32kph and the only noise was the water sloshing about. I had an image of a flash flood washing the street, it was only when I was confronted by an irate delivery guy going about his business and having to swerve to avoid me that I came to my senses.

Another hyper-domestique going about his business
Will bikes still rule the road when I next return to Shenzhen? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, the electric bike/trike makes riding in the blistering summer heat a little bit easier, but the trade off is the huge increase in the amount energy required - it must be a Shenzhen thing....

Stay upright

Friday, 27 July 2012

it's the Tour...

the Tour cast it's magic spell again this year. With extra added spice that British riders made the podium and collected a wheen of stage wins. Let's not narrow our focus too much since there are just so many great bike riders out there. The Tour is too large to take in all of it at one sitting. Indeed even though we gorged ourselves on all things bike at the final iTT and final depart from Rambouilllet it still meant that we only just scratched the surface. The riders whizzed past at speed on the time trial but we were secure in the knowledge that there was another coming along soon. Drama too when we saw Richie Porte catch his 2 and 4 minute men at the same time and Tejay Vangarderen over take Cadel Evans. We were relying on our own watches to judge who was going fastest and it did prove pretty reliable. It was odd then to have to text home to find out for certain who had won. The depart was a much more relaxed affair with time to appreciate bikes, equipment and the effort riders had made to get to Paris. We could see the helicopter hovering over the peleton as we made our way round the peripherique yet it still took a long time to find out that Cavendish had taken his fourth win on the Champs Elysee. It felt like a long time to just keep hoping but sometimes...

UCI to rule on aero profile

david millar

andre griepel
vincenzo nibali

thomas voekler and higgs bosen
no tour complete without a smile from jens

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

just pecqueuse

For all the modernising and professionalisation of the Pro Peleton road cycling remains a relatively accessible sport. I have been on holiday in north of Spain where people took bus trips to Barcelona just to see the hallowed turf of the Nou Camp. That is as close as it gets. Similarly golf fans rarely if ever get a chance to play on the championship courses and even then at some expense. A similar story can be told of cricket too I've heard.

Though the start and bus areas may be invite only at the Tour we stand at the roadside and our heroes duly ride by. And the course is open to us every other day of the year. In the final stage this year there was a wee bit of spice with two cat 4 climbs of Cote de Saint Remy les Chevreuse and Cote de Chateaufort. Nothing to get distressed about for the pros but maybe enough effort required to suspend frivolities and apply both hands to the bars. Staying close to Village Depart of Rambouillet it seemed only right to take in a few kilometres of the etape just to see what they looked like.

simplement parce que

A few others had the same idea and a number of nods of recognition were exchanged. This Tour has had only two riders wear the yellow jersey and both are time trial specialists. Bradley Wiggins has acknowledged Miguel Indurain as his Tour hero and he too was able to make large gains in time trials and defend them in the mountains. It is customary now to suggest that Big Mig could not climb but this misses the point since he so clearly could climb but had no need to attack to gain any more time. It is also fitting that at the top of Cote de Chateaufort is a monument to Jaques Anquetil another man who could make great gains in the time trial and defend in the mountains. Having seen what was there it seemed a fitting point to turn and try the climbs from the other side for no other reason than I could.
stele Jacques Anquetil