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  • Posted by matt45
  • 28 June 2011

For those of you who don't know, a good friend of mine, Gavin Strange has been filming BÖIKZMÖIND over the last year. It's a documentary film about riding fixed gear bikes in beautiful Bristol. The film is in progress right now and will premiere 20.08.2011 on the big Screen at the Millennium Square. (a must, so get out your diaries!)

Last Sunday saw about a hundred plus riders get together for the final bit of filming, I chose to do this in a full vintage rabbit costume.

It was an epic day which i wont forget in a hurry! I climbed Park street still suited up in the costume which was my favourite moment, sweaty is an understatement! That along with the mass take over of the Clifton suspension bridge as the sun set, are going to be hard to beat.

Thanks to everyone that came, as I met so many nice people. It has made me love Bristol just that little bit more!

Keep up to date with more news here http://www.boikzmoind.com/

Thanks to Benjamin Reid and Francesca Milano for the great photos

Cheers then

Gonna wait till midnight hour

  • Posted by alex
  • 27 June 2011

It's Monday folks. That means you've got 12 hours to grab something in our Short Sale and to
get in your submissions for the Summer Shorts competition. We've even been making a few
movies of our own.

We've had some great entries on our facebook page and there's still time to upload your
own video submission to win howies prizes.

What's next from us? Maybe a full bike tour of the office...

Matt's Mayhem

  • Posted by ruben
  • 23 June 2011

In contrast to my team's slightly lackluster performance, here's an altogether more upbeat account of Mountain Mayhem 2011 from our friend & European 24 hour solo champion rider, Matt Page - in his own words:

My cycling career has moved forward very quickly over the last few seasons, going from working as a courier in Cardiff and racing as a hobby, to racing a little more seriously and having a “normal” job to now where I train full time and race for a living.

I enjoy my cycling, so it isn't a chore, but sometimes I forget why I started riding and what I enjoy most about being on a bike. After my win at the 24hr UK/European champs I went back to “just riding” and enjoyed the rides, rather than turning every ride into a training session.

Last weekend I was at Mountain Mayhem, the biggest festival in Mountain Biking and somewhere that really ignited my pasion for cycling. My first experience of the event was way back in 2004 when it first visited Eastnor Park in what was very much a fun team. The weather was really bad, I certainly wasn't very fit and I remember one lap in particular taking almost 2 hours because of the mud and terrain but I loved it and I was totally hooked and in awe of the solo riders, including Tinker Juarez who won that year. I've been to every Mountain Mayhem since and each time since it has been quite serious. In 2005 it was in a fairly fast team, and we narrowly missed the podium in a team in 2007. The came the solo attempts in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and despite coming close in 2008 I managed to win the following year, celebrating by proposing to my now fiancée, Nia on the finish line. Last year it started as a bit of fun, but soon turned into fast racing as I was joined by a team mate and two Wiggle mechanics in a team where we made the top 10 in the Open Men category.

So this year I decided that I would go right back to the start and enter a fun team and really enjoy the atmosphere of what is really more of a festival than a race. As a solo racer it is impossible to enjoy what goes on and in a serious team you are always busy with no time to wander about. This year was different, I was asked to join a team with the people from USE/Exposure lights and although we were entered into the Expert Mixed category (thanks to my elite XC licence) we were there to enjoy the event more than anything else.

I volunteered to start, which meant doing the run. Normally a couple of minutes and about 800m in distance, I can just about cope with that. I wasn't expecting to be running over 10 minutes in a pair of super stiff race slippers! It hurt quite a bit and I was glad to get to the bike.

From that point onwards every bit of the event was fantastic. The slippery mud was good fun and quite challenging then it started drying out and it became really fast. In between laps I chilled out, walked about the arena, cheered everyone else on and just got stuck into the atmosphere that makes this event unique. I only managed 4 laps, none were that quick but as a team we did keep someone on course at all times. Mountain Mayhem reminded me of why I love this sport so much, to go back to where it all started for me and recapture the magic I felt back then.

Go Somewhere New

Hands up if you've heard of Muckle Flugga!
To eliminate show-offs, could you also place St. Agnes, Soay or Ness Point on the map?

I certainly could not have managed this until recently, yet they are all in our country. They are the north, south, east and west extremes* of Great Britain**.

I always encourage people to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats at some point in their lives to get a better understanding of the place we live in. Nick Hand went one step further in his exploration, cycling a full lap of Great Britain.

But even he didn't make it to the poetic-sounding Muckle Flugga. Our country is full of beautiful, surprising places and we should make the most of these long, lingering summer days to go somewhere we have never been. You don't even need to go far to do this: I bet there is somewhere interesting within 15 miles of your house that you have never been to.

I'm feeling particularly fervent about this at the moment. Here's why...

Years ago I stood at John O'Groats, tired but jubilant, and gazed out to sea (or, more accurately, into the fog). I had conquered Britain by bike and I could go no further.

I was wrong.

For last week I was in the Shetland Isles, more than 100 miles further north than "J O'G". This time, as I stood outside my tent in the soft solstice midnight light I looked at the lighthouse on Muckle Flugga and the tiny islet of Out Stack, I was at the top of Britain. And I realised that only now was I beginning to realise how little I know of my own country.

My tent was pitched on a patch of flat green grass like a billiard table. A metre away from the door was the cliff edge, swirling with puffins and scores of other seabirds swirling above the crashing turquoise waves far below. Not only was it one of the best camping spots I have enjoyed in Britain, it was one of the best in the world. You don't need much time or money or expertise to experience a night's camping like that. You just need to go do it.

I have not yet been to St. Agnes, Soay, Ness Point, Rockall, or any number of other super places. But I certainly will do. It's a lifetime's work to know your own country, and there's no better time to start than right now.

* - pedant alert: I have not included the Channel Islands because they are Crown Dependencies, not constituent parts of the United Kingdom and Rockall is not internationally recognised. There are a couple of other pedantic details too, but summer is not the time to be discussing stuff like this!
** - apologies to Scottish, Welsh, Shetland and Scillian separatists!

Mayhem it was

  • Posted by ruben
  • 22 June 2011

Last year, howies entered a team for the Mountain Mayhem 24 hour race. Myself and David Hicks from the office went along with our friends Tom 'carbon-monkey' Johnstone and Xander. It was our first 24 hour race, and I think it's fair to say we went into it a little nervous.

We needn't have worried though, it all went well. We managed to keep a man on the course at all times, we rode to the limit of our fitness, our bikes held together, we didn't get any punctures and by the end of 24 hours we felt that we had presented ourselves well for a newbie team. And as an added bonus, it was sunny, dry and windless on the course.

After that, we took the same team to Relentless 24 hour up in Fort William and had a repeat of Mayhem's success. It was darker, colder and hard, but we had gotten fitter, faster and stronger.

Then early this year, David and I teamed up with adventurer Alastair Humphreys and a 'cloud sourced' 4th rider, Hazel, a sportswear designer. This time we were planning to take on a much bigger challenge - the Strathpuffer 24 hour race way up north in Scotland, in the middle of January. Strathpuffer bills itself as the hardest race of it's kind, and not many people would argue that point after having ridden it. But again, everything went well for the howies team. (..unless you count a a couple of damaged bikes and the broken hand and torn ligament that I took away!)

Following Strathpuffer there was the small matter of the 24 hour race over in Italy which you can read about here.

So with this much 24 hour race experience under our belts I think it's fair to say that we went into this year's Mayhem with a certain amount of confidence. I was quietly expecting a place in the top 25 teams. And that, maybe, is why things didn't go quite so well this time...

After an OK run and first lap for me at the start, Xander took over for the second stint and that's where our bad luck set in. Xander's chain snapped repeatedly, finally tearing his rear mech off. After a short stint riding singlespeed, his rear spindle sheared and left him with a long hike ahead and a bike to carry just 20 minutes into the lap.

By the time a tired, injured and thoroughly disheartened Xander made his way across the line some 2 hours after we had expected him in - the rest of us were just happy to see him and that nothing worse had happened.

It left us with a bit of a dilemma, though - how would we keep running the team, now down to three riders? Tom went out for his lap followed by David... then I went for my second run, coming in to hear that the others had come up with a plan to double lap for the night as a trio. I went out again, handing over to Tom after my lap before crawling into the van for some sleep.

After that, things went a bit blurry for me. I slept, Tom came back not long later with a broken chain, Dan took over Xander's place and rode a couple of laps, David felt ill and declared himself out (he later discovered a tick bite several weeks earlier had left him suffering from Lymes Disease). People were talking about no one being on the track, we didn't have a rider out there?! At some point I was back out in the dark, it got light, I came back in and collapsed in the van again. Rune was riding now, the original team had unravelled. None of us were up for it.

By the time the 24 hours were up, none of us were sorry to be able to go home. It was good to have the team back together, but it had been depressing to see how unprepared we (and myself personally) had been to deal with disaster. Once the team order had broken, my mental state began to unwind and I could not refocus fast enough and deal with the new situation.

At least we all survived to ride another day - although I'm not sure how keen we are to ride again just now!

Free Bikes... again

  • Posted by alex
  • 22 June 2011

A few weeks ago Ruben posted about a few "Free Bikes" that were found in the bottom of the Frederiksholm’s Canal in Copenhagen.

Wonder if this is how they got there...?

fort william trials
Fort William is perhaps better known for it's downhill events but has always had a Trials presence. The event showcases the skill and technique of bikers who can navigate over rocks, logs, pipes, barrels and vehicles in impressive style.

Local lad and British Championship trials rider, Owen Gawthorpe, dropped us a line after the event to share a few photos from his recent win at the Fort William UCI World Cup.

He's currently in the process of entering the World Championship series in the Czech Republic and Spain this summer and will be riding in a great bundle of howies merino to keep him focused on the bike, not sweating the competition.

Good luck this summer. Keep following that front wheel.

fort william trials

Beach to Border

  • Posted by ade
  • 20 June 2011

Rob Penn came to cardigan a couple of weeks ago to ride from Cardigan to the Hay Festival to talk about his book.

I was too busy to go all the way, but had a great ride through the lanes here to a pub at the end of the day.

His mantra of slow, back lane, no traffic, laughter, lying in hedge rows, eat well and earning your beer was exactly what it was.

He wrote about it in the Observer yesterday. Have a read here.

Below are the shots that sum the day up for me.

Cardigan Street Racing

  • Posted by alex
  • 20 June 2011


Last year howies sponsored the Cardigan Street race. Here's a little taster from last year, when the local streets were taken over by riders to bring in 2010 Welsh National Champion, Rhys Lloyd, in a photo-finish.

This year, howies are working with local cycling club Velo Teifi to bring back the Cardigan street race. The laps made around our little town will once again be the biggest race of the Welsh Crit calendar; the decider for Welsh National Championships.

It will be a very fast talented field. The course is amazing, with the start / finish line right outside the new howies shop...

Race day is August 14th with 6 races taking place on the day:

  • 12.45pm - Race 1 Youth Cat C D E
  • 1.30 pm - Race 2 Youth CAT A B
  • 2.20pm - Race 3 Open race to anyone over 16
  • 3.00pm - Race 4 Female Nation championships and Masters
  • 4.00pm - Race 5 Male Welsh National Championship Elite Cat 1/2/3
  • 5.10pm - Race 6 Cat 3-4 riders

Like last year, there will almost certainly also be a healthy amount of local competition as riders from our office go head-to-head with other local shops and businesses. (Did you spot the howies boys at 1:55?)

We welcome you to join us speed the streets and get involved in what promises to be a fast, action packed day. With excellent vantage points along the entire course there are plenty of reasons to come down and show your support!

If you're interested in racing, helping marshal, set up or pack up more information on the event can be found from Velo Teifi here.

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