Tag Archives: bicycle

Vai, vai, vai!

  • Posted by alex
  • 11 June 2013
The pace was so hard and fast that your lungs and throat burned when you came off from a set of laps and back to the tent.
We've just got back from a long weekend in Italy, racing bikes at the Castelli 24 hour criterium.

24 hours with Phil Collins*

“I would rather have a kidney removed with a plastic knife in a branch of KFC but we’ll sign up again for next year”

Every June in the foothills of the Dolomites the centre of Feltre is closed off for 24 hours of thundering thighs. The relay criterium event around a 1.8km circuit is organised by our old friends at Castelli and is about as much fun as you can have on a bike unless you own a tandem with the seats very close together.

100 teams of 8-12 riders take to the line with strategies that vary from “we’ve paid for a pro- rider so we are going to get our money’s worth” to “I’m sure the rest of the lads will be along in a minute, I’ll keep going until they get here”. For sheer guts I admire the tenacity of the latter.

The course goes up for longer than is entirely necessary, down for a disappointingly short time and has a long straight section that provides useful thinking time for composing an excuse should you decide to hand over early and a nearby canal if you just want to end it all. The lap finishes on a cobbled section sponsored by the local dentist.

Notable features apart from all the cycling stuff are the tannoy operators taste in music, which lurches from abysmal (Genesis) to please make it stop (Genesis), the chance to see a former world champion emerge from a putrid port-a-loo and the local Sprizzone which seems like an ideal pre-race drink. Like Italian footballers or Michael Douglas it goes down easily.

The combination of sleep deprivation, Sprizzone dehydration and trying to ride as fast as you can tests your mental strength so you WILL hate it for a bit but 5 minutes after it’s over you are booking the hotel for next year.

Great event. Fantastic people. Get some friends together and do it one year. You’ll never look back.

Thanks Castelli for a great event.

*As you can see from the picture Hazel’s bike is a Genesis.

Warming up nicely

Rooftop views and mountains

Assembling our bikes

Fuelling up

Practising the 2 Laps Signal

24hr Start / Finish Gate

Fatigue starting to show

Carbon fibre galore

Busted Cleats

Rain stops racing

Last year's event video.

Lunchbreakout

  • Posted by alex
  • 25 January 2013
  • lunchbreakout

Today's the day the snow becomes cold driving rain,
the day snot freezes to your gloves,
the wind slaps spit back in your face
and stops you almost dead in every pedal stroke.

Today's a great day for a ride.

Birthday Club

  • Posted by alex
  • 15 May 2012

Saturday was belting sunshine out west and Hazel had rallied us up for her birthday to ride the Tour of Pembrokeshire. We couldn't have asked for better weather to take in 75 miles of Wales by bike.

The miles passed as the skin got pinker, taking in coastline out of St. Davids and up towards the towns closer to home, before turning back over the Preselis towards the finish.

Plenty of riders passed us by while we stopped for lunch or to high-5 santa; our faux Birthday Club t-shirts giving away that we probably weren't taking things all that seriously. In fact, by the end of the ride, we had picked up a few companions along the way, making the ride that bit more fun.

Sometimes with cycling to work and rides penned in the diary, I forget how great it is to ride without an agenda - not riding to train, abandoning the GPS and the ticking clock, no pace to keep or person to beat.

Note to self: Ride more. Train less.

Roll on summer.

Lunch.

The top of the climb. On top of the world.

Rest Less Ride Film

  • Posted by alex
  • 4 May 2012

On the night of the Spring Equinox, Rob Penn and friends took off on an overnight cycle ride across Wales.

The Rest Less Ride took the peloton of 16 riders from the west coast, all the way to the east. They cycled unlit back-roads riddled with pot-holes, gravel and barrier-less hairpin bends. They passed through deep dark valleys, through forests and up mountains, in a race against the sunrise.

The Rest Less Ride celebrates the pleasure of cycling and the friendships it forges.

Riding a bike should be easy

  • Posted by alex
  • 3 May 2012

Isn’t that what we are told? You learn when you are small and, like an elephant, you never forget. What an amazing deal. Once mastered, you have a gift that lasts a lifetime, and even if you part ways for a period of time it waits patiently for you to return. Once bought, it is the gift that keeps giving – health, entertainment, and convenience. So why isn’t everyone riding a bike? Shouldn’t the streets in every village, town and city hum with the sound of rubber passing over tarmac? You only have to observe parts of cities like London, Bristol, and Cambridge at rush hour to see the potential. Hybrids, racers, fixies, bmx, mountain bikes, single speeds, choppers, Dutch bikes, and cruisers all spinning to and fro.

While cycling numbers have increased by around 20% across Britain over the last decade, we lag behind other European countries. The number of cyclists killed or injured sits around 27,000 for that period. This figure is unacceptable and concerns over safety are the main reason many bikes sit unloved in garden sheds up and down the country. This is a terrible shame since cycling represents the elixir to many of our problems. Regular riding can significantly improve fitness levels (goodbye beer belly) and increase life expectancy (hello happy retirement). By swapping an eight mile round trip commute from car to bike, you save 0.5 tonnes of carbon per year – that’s the equivalent of a short haul flight.

It stands to reason that if we want a country that is synonymous with cycling you need to ensure that it is safe. As a result of much hard work by sustainable transport charities and cycling campaign groups we have seen significant progress. Most recently, the Cycle Safe campaign from The Times – coupled with February’s Parliamentary cycling debate - has helped raise the profile of cycle safety. There is much that can be done to improve junctions, slow speeds in neighbourhoods, and provide better road user training. However, this all requires investment – even a small percentage of the road budget could make a huge difference across the country.

Ultimately, the goal is to get people – young, old, male, female – on bikes for their everyday journeys to places like school, work, and the shops. However, currently around 66% of journeys (two miles or less) are completed in a car. While the number of accidents involving cyclists are a concern, the perceived danger can sometimes outweigh the actual risks. It is important to emphasise that cycling is still a fun, exhilarating, and egalitarian means of getting around. You hear of schools not letting kid’s cycle and adults looking on in horror as you ride past on the way to work. It is important to remember that it’s cycling, not war. Going forward, we need more people on bikes and (much) improved cycle infrastructure to ensure that the fun isn’t taken out of cycling.

Words: Ben Addy

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