Wednesday, 29 February 2012


Ah, the 29th of February, the acceptable day for a woman to pop the question and for single men to hide.  Queen Margaret of Scotland (13th Century), is said to be the one that decreed -  that a woman could ask any single man (a married man would be a bad move) for his hand in marriage. If the man declined, the good lady could claim a dress in compensation.

Cyclesguff are bending down on a road rash knee and asking  - If you happen to be out on your bike today, would you be kind enough to take a pic and send it with a brief description of where it was taken?  

please send to: 

and we'll do our best to upload them

Stay upright

ps If you are in the mood to propose or even find yourself being asked the question, we wish you the very best.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Once you pop, you just can't stop

In keeping with the UK media excitement and coverage of all things velodrome, cyclesguff has some fantastic shots of the Meadowbank Velodrome in Edinburgh for you to enjoy. Many thanks for guest guffer Jon for sending these and providing cyclesguff with the opportunity to show his work.

Words from Jon:

I'd taken 'the family' down to Meadowbank velodrome on a cold and bright evening last mid September after much intention to see it first hand from the inside, and to be honest, I had hoped someone would offer me a quick loan of a track bike, and a taste of the splintery old boards myself. As a track virgin - safer somehow with very few people watching. And thought that Lars (age 6) might just be sparkled by the ghost of Chris Hoy.

It was the kind of evening that reminded me of any autumn from the 1970's, riding around the estate with yer mates, after the chippie trying to blag in at the local pub for an underage beer and then falling off your bike on the way home. (Cheap lager and my old Holdsworth - ah, I still use them both frequently).

I had been kindly contacted after a while by the very welcoming Allistir who seems to be the veteran organiser, timekeeper and 'gatekeeper' to most of the club activities that takes place at the track (East of Scotland track cycling academy). It's still a bit of a mystery how anyone finds out what and when stuff happens there... but this is all part of the charm of the place. The track surface needs.. well a new surface.. there's only so much you can do with a can of Ronseal. Picnic tables make for pro work-benches. The centre is er grassed over, with plenty of room to run the dogs, fly kites maybe and to pull up some of the old school chairs and break open .. a picnic... The UCI would love it. God, to have been here when Chris was thundering round.

UCI Judges where suspicious of lap times
On a previous visit, we had turned up just hopeful of folk being there, but unlucky then, so had piled up some old chairs found down the back lane, into a pyramid and I'd peered in over the top. Even after having seen past photos I couldn't believe it was as it was...

I'd then naively researched all I could find on the velodrome (built by German architects Schuermann) and why it had fallen by the wayside over the years, in spite of excellent continued proactive support and action from the SaveMeadowbankers. The council had seemingly continually resisted any commitments to restore it (on the basis of 'other facilities being built' elsewhere) and yet had not off-loaded it or the grounds for 'property development' as they had hoped.

I'd crazily imagined spearheading some inspiring renovation plans in the hands of cycle-loving, thrusting modernist architects... All fired up like others previously I convinced myself that there must be some very good reason why nothing at all had happened, planning issues, preservation orders, hidden agendas..?

Back in 1985 it was built tucked away as best it could be 'within the car park', a temporary structure for the 1986 Commonwealth Games. Perhaps unsurprisingly now, it seems that one corner of the velodrome building has been built in a position way too close to the passing railway tracks!

Too close I think to allow any building alterations of the scale and quality it so rightly deserves. Any thoughts about re-routing the railway track?

In stark contrast to Jon's experience of Meadowbank, the inaugural competition at the Olympic 'pringle' in London was a run away success. Great crowds, close racing and the world records proved that it is a fast track. 

Track designer, Ron Webb's explanation of the track is intriguing to say the least:
"In designing this track you take the centrifugal forces – at full speed a cyclist and his bike weighs about 100kg and they are doing 42 mph – and in that last half of the curve they take on another 70kg worth of centrifugal pressure, so they weigh 170kg at that point into the straight.

"You want to give the cyclists the best exit out of the curve that they can use to throw themselves out of, into the straight." That ‘best exit” apparently isn’t in the middle of the camber, but down towards the sprinters’ lane.

And, if one new velodrome was not enough, Glasgow's own boards will be in use soon. The Sir Chris Hoy velodrome is scheduled to open this summer. This has been built as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games facilities. Hopefully the organisers will allow those boards to breath and provide access well in advance of the 2014.

At least this Schuermann velodrome will have a roof

There is always discussion about the impact of major sporting events and the costs to build new facilities and update infrastructure. If the Team GB exploits are anything to go by, the all too frequently used word - legacy can be witnessed by the incredible acceptance of track cycling in the UK - when was the last time the BBC offered so much air time for bikes? With the new tracks in place, let's hope more international events and rounds come to the UK. The momentum of Team GB will hopefully continue to gather pace as existing and future riders of all ages develop their craft on the boards. The headache for Team GB will be selection, we already witnessed that in London last week. Then again, it's not a bad sign, so many capable riders to choose from. It's unfortunate, that not all of them will have a chance to shine. Dani King was very gracious in dealing with selection for the world cup. However, it all came good in the end when she was picked, resulting in a World Record and World Cup Gold.

Stay upright

Sunday, 19 February 2012

100 Aker wood

Fellow guffer and blogger of oblique intention sent an email sometime back to raise awareness of the ipad app version of the fantastic book cyclepedia. The decision to part with £6.99 on top of the price for the book was money well spent. There is a wonderful tactility about holding and reading the book, (or any for that matter) but this guffer has to confess, the app offers more and is an absolute joy.

My youngest daughter was totally immersed, then again what two year old wouldn't be smitten by the kids Lambretta scooter bike. Now that the channels are established, the app will hopefully be developed and updates brought to market. There is a hope in cyclesguff towers, that edition two will include a reference to Kirkpatrick Macmillan. Also, if Michael Embacher can source one of Graeme Obree's bikes, that would be fantastic. If he can't, Christopher Robin might be able to help. The level of detail, up to date development and endorsement from the great man is surely worth a shout. 

Stay upright

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

classic training

We may have mentioned that one or two of the cyclesguff bunch have plans to ride amateur versions of spring classics. Our very own Graeme Obree suggests that you train on the terrain that is the same as the event that you will ride. No point in hill climbing for a pan flat time trial. So it is that the Amstel Gold is a lumpy ride with plenty of short sharp climbs to wrench your guts and drain last ounces of power from your legs. The roads south of Glasgow heading into Ayrshire provide just the opportunity for building some of that core strength and a chance to test out digging deep for one more time in sure and certain knowledge that there is more to come. The roads running between Barrhead/Neilston and Dunlop/Stewarton are just the place. These roads were already well represented in the cyclesguff canon and the lumpy qualities place them firmly at centre of the current training log.

the future is...uneven

Thursday, 9 February 2012

No sign of splinters

The link with cafes and bikes continues to offer an added bonus to the wonderful world of elevenses.

More details here

Not quite sure why there are so many gears for a single speed
Stay upright

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Fog

As the world of cycling attempts to work its way through the fog of today's news, cyclesguff received this rather delightful image.

The pic is from the hills to the north of Glasgow, obviously not all of us were working today.

Stay upright

Friday, 3 February 2012

roastie toastie

For those of us that have to endure cold climates, rain and wind, protecting the extremities from the elements is essential. Over the years, this cyclesguff rider has lost count of how many overshoes and gloves that have been used and subsequently, never used again. The manufacturers claims and scientific (lab based) tests just don't cut the mustard when it's below freezing, blowing a hoolie and hail is horizontal - just like the other week then.

The best overshoes I've experienced to date are by Endura. Their road overshoe works, plain and simple. Neoprene uppers keep out the wet and retain the warmth, the subtle reflective strips are a welcome detail and the kevlar abrasion proof sole more than comes into its own when I have to succumb to the elements and walk a little.

A few weeks back, for some reason, the zip on left overshoe decided that it had had enough. Not ideal, especially when the guys would be arriving anytime soon for the Sunday morning pedal. My attempt at a quick repair didn't work, so they went on anyway and stayed put, albeit a bit drafty. I contacted Endura and they were happy to take them back and have a look. I only sent them back earlier this week, I'd had enough of triple socks and plastic bags. Upon my arrival home today, an inconspicuous grey parcel was waiting for me. My overshoes had arrived, but not repaired, a brand new pair. Now, I'm maybe being a bit patriotic here, after all Endura are Scottish. Their service from first contact to turn around has been ace. 

Cycling Weekly rated the overshoes at 10/10, Cycling Plus, Recommend Buy 9/10, cyclesguff 10/10 and a special thanks to Ann in Customer Service.

Stay toastie