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Tag Archives: cycling

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.

Our New Outback Jacket

  • Posted by alex
  • 11 April 2013
Schoeller 3XDRY water-resistant soft-shell with Merino wool bonded fleece inside - it keeps you dry from the outside, dry from the inside and it dries in a flash.

There's no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothing.

Most of the weather we get in the UK is neither onething or the other. Some days it's bright and sunny, but freezing cold. Others, lovely and warm but chucking it down with rain. You can’t win.

The Outback jacket is our answer to thesedays. We've set out to design somethingthat feels and performs like a Merino wool base layer, but at the same time is wind and water-resistant.

So we've taken the same soft, itch free, anti-microbial Merino wool we use in our base layers and bonded it with a Schoeller 3XDRY softshell outer fabric. The Merino fleece wicks moisture away from your body, transporting it to the outer shell, which in turn lets it evaporate without letting any moisture in.

The result is a performance weatherproof jacket that keeps you dry from the outside, dry from the inside and dries in a flash.

Perfect for sport, the outdoors and those days when the weather just can't make up it's mind.

Outback-licorice-thumbs

howies Outback Softshell jacket - Men's Licorice

howies Outback Softshell jacket

howies Outback Softshell jacket

We've been putting the Outback through it's paces too. It's fast wicking Merino wool inner sends moisture to the 3XDRY outer really fast and in early spring downpours has kept the rain at bay on rides home.

The jacket is super-stretchy too with contoured panels making movement easier and with two zipped map-sized hand pockets a zip chest pocket with a headphone port, this jacket is perfect for sport, the outdoors and those days when the weather can't make up it's mind. Which around here is most days.

Shop Men's Outback Softshell >
Shop Women's Outback Softshell >

If I can bicycle, I bicycle

  • Posted by alex
  • 4 April 2013
  • howies Leadout Bibshorts

We bike to work and home again, evening rides and weekend jollies.
Getting covered in crap, cuts and grazes and aches and pains.
We love it. That's why we do it everyday.

Funny thing is, we've never really got around to making any serious kit for it...
Until now.

Our new Slipstream cycle jerseys (available in long sleeve and short sleeve) and our Leadout Bibshorts are made using seamless circular knit technology, meaning that they are precision built to fit your body, just like your own skin. They provide a snug fit that will go virtually unnoticed as you wear it.

The specialist machines are capable of knitting yarn into a single continuous tube shape. This means we make body panels in one piece, minimizing the need for seams - seams that could potentially cause irritating friction or chaffing on longer rides.

The circular knitting machines are also capable of varying patterns in the fabric as they knit too. This means that we can have different weaves on the same panel and precisely tailor them to match specific parts of the body. For instance, we have integrated lighter breathable panels in sweatier areas like the underarms and back, and woven more compression in around hems and places where you need a tighter fit. All this without the need for separate panels, seams and stitching.

This makes a truly comfortable, form-fitting garment with a minimalist design. Just like us humans.

howies cycling details

howies cycle range

howies cycle range

Carbon Cycle

  • Posted by ruben
  • 7 March 2013

The carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about carbon footprinting. I have a friend who believed that owning and feeding a dog was more carbon intensive than owning and fueling a 4x4.

The truth is that depending on where you draw the boundaries you can prove anything with carbon footprinting. So if your 4x4 is super efficient and only drives 6,000 miles a year and if your dog eats loads of meat that has been reared just for it (i.e. not a by-product of other part of the meat industry and not mixed with vegetable/rice feed) then yes you can show that the 4x4 has a bigger footprint.

So I wasn’t that surprised to see that US Republican Ed Orcutt declare that the CO2 emissions from riding a bike are greater than that of driving a car. Clearly Mr Orcutt is deluded. Particularly as he cites the greater expiration of the cyclists as being the cause. We can ignore Mr Orcutt on the grounds of stupidity but the carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

Mike Berners-Lee in “How bad are bananas?” looks at the impact of cycling a mile. Now the interesting thing is that it depends on what you’ve eaten. This is the fuel for the bike. So if you are fueled by cheeseburgers the impact of cycling a mile is 260g of CO2e but if you are fueled by bananas this falls to 60g. These figures take into account the embodied impact of the bike per mile.

The embodied impact of a family car kept for 200,000 miles is 100g per mile plus the impact of burning a mile’s worth of fuel (between 150g and 200g per mile). But this doesn’t take into account the fact that the car driver will also have eaten food but that the calories from this food are not burnt off but accumulated. This in turn has a knock-on potential impact of running a health service to deal with those non-cyclists who become obese (note: not all non-cyclists become obese).

So the impact of driving a mile in a car is the impact of the fuel use, the embodied impact of the car and the impact of the food eaten by the driver. So if the driver eats cheeseburgers this gives a figure twice as large as that of a cheese burger eating cyclist.

Phew, that’s complex. The key thing is to understand is where the boundaries of your study are. My advice to Mr Orcutt is to get his facts straight, trust the science and ride a bike more.

Words and facts by Mark Shayler at tickety boo

30 Seconds of Your Adventures

  • Posted by alex
  • 14 February 2013

We asked you to put down the minced pies and head for the hills in search of adventure over the festve break.

Just before the 2012 was over, we looked back at what we had been doing but wanted to know what you were up to too.

So we challenged you to put down the minced pies and head for the hills in search of adventure over the festive break.

Thanks to everyone who shared their adventure. We’ve looked through all of the photos and video you sent in and Mike’s made a 30 second edit combining some of our favourites.

If you spot we've used your clip, drop us a line at info@howies.co.uk to claim your howies Classic T-shirt for your winning submission.

Sideburns Returns

  • Posted by alex
  • 11 December 2012

Sideburns of Glory T-shirt available again - but only until Thursday.

It's a hive of activity in the Printshop today as we're reprinting our sell-out Tee, Sideburns of Glory.

We launched this design in the summer and sold a record-breaking number of tees in only 7 days. We donated £5 from every tee we sold to the Dave Rayner Fund and raised a little over £5500.

Now it's back ('til Thursday anyway) and we're donating £5 from every tee to the fund again.

So, if you missed out, here's your chance to get your hands on one and help us raise some money to help up-and-coming cyclists racing in Europe.

But don't wait too long, they're already selling fast.

Mens T-shirt >
Womens T-shirt >
Kids T-shirt >

Revolution Round 1 round-up

  • Posted by alex
  • 30 October 2012

"1. Don't crash.
2. Be in the front third"

Mike and I headed up to Manchester Velodrome at the weekend to watch our track team race in the Revolution Series.

Standing trackside we listened in on the team briefing for the evening -
"1. Don't crash. 2. Be in the front third" Team manager Kyleigh tells everyone. You can't win from the back and that's where the crashes happen. It sounds simple enough, but with steep bankings and wheels nipping at the rider's tyres in front, anything can happen. It's what makes track cycling so exciting.

A gentle hum from rollers set a tone for the evening. Riders spend longer warming up and cooling down than they do racing, occasionally turning the roller-hum to thunder as legs went into a sprints to stay warm and race-ready.

The team love racing in front of such a big crowd - especially the juniors. Normally, track events aren't as well attended, but at Revolution, the deafening cheers from the stands will on aching legs and make for a great atmosphere.

Between races everyone fettles their bikes; swapping sprockets to change gearing and fixing punctures. Everyone has their own spare wheels, cogs and tools - some borrowed, some hand-me-down - all tidily stowed in the tiny team pit.

A crash in the boys final race called for Dust Busters and gaffa tape to take up splinters and plug gaps in the track. Pringled wheels are swapped for true and grazed knees stay on for the last few laps. Even a crash wouldn't stop the guys from getting back on their bikes and everyone finishing the night on a high.

Mike captured a bit of video and we'll be doing little film about the team and the event which we will release at the end of the series.

In the meantime, you can watch highlights of howies in action on ITV4 Player and the team will be back on the track 1st December for Revolution meet 2.

For a peek into the track centre and what’s happening in the team pit, follow @howies on Twitter and @howiesclothing on Instagram. We’re using the hashtag #teamhowies

Autumn Epic

  • Posted by alex
  • 12 October 2012

I've never been so glad to see a sign for the Finish. Especially when it was accompanied with the handwritten note "Downhill. All The Way." As I freewheeled, the speedo began to pick up and I knew I could make it home. All the pain from climbing masked by the feeling of accomplishment.

My first attempt at a century ride was crunching out of the Rest Less ride in the wilderness back in March and it's been on my Bucket List since.

With regular trips over the rolling hills at lunch time, racing in Italy and week night rides, it felt like it was time to take on 100 miles again.

So I set off - a 5am departure from Cardigan - for the Autumn Epic last weekend. A ride just short of 100 miles through mid Wales with some 8000ft of climbing, notorious for usually being in an apocolyptic downpour but as luck would have it, it was cool but a dry.

We set out in a group of 6, soon merging with a quick bunch and relishing the chance to be swept along and settled into a rhythm. Scott soon powered on and then we were 5.

The first real climb split the bunch and I was soon spat out of the back, gladly resuming my own pace and reminding myself that there were some 80 hard miles to go - I was already starting to feel the pace. As I rejoined the guys as the hill levelled out, we were soon up to cruising speed again and could start to take in some of the beautiful vistas from on top.

Just before the first feed station at Rhayader we started to climb again, before dropping into town. Out of the saddle, leaning hard, Laurence snapped his handle bars at the stem. Despite our best efforts with a handful of zip ties and a stick, his ride was over. He seemed pretty un-phased by the winding downhill on one drop bar and brake!

We pushed on as a 4 as we wound through forests and rolled over hills into the stunning Elan Valley. The road rose before descending round sun-lit hairpins into the open valley floor accompanied by buzzards and kites cruising over the plains.

Before we knew it, we were half way round, passing the cascading dams and heading back towards Knighton. The feeling of achievement was soon broken as we turned into Glascwm hill which felt like trying to ride up a travelator continually tapping my levers, trying to find more gears. I slowly made my way up passing riders who had opted to get off and push, while others zig-zagged up the road shaving attempting off a % or two. It was gruelling. Let alone this far in.

Just before the second feed station, the roads began to roll again and became muddy and potholed. A ping from behind revealed Doug had broken a spoke but managed to limp on to the final stop where a mechanic was able to swap his cassette onto a borrowed wheel and we pressed on.

With less than 10 miles to go, we were stalled again by a puncture. Riders who we had passed and re-passed throughout the day's escapades rolled by as tyre pressure was re-established.

We turned past the final way marker, ushered by an outrider who called after us "6 miles to go. 3 to the top of the big hill". Everyone cursed. Surely not nother big hill?

As it turned out, it wasn't big, it was just long and the sapping came from previous miles more than the incline.

Elated at the summit, I've never been so glad to see a sign for the Finish. Especially one accompanied with the handwritten note "Downhill. All The Way." As I freewheeled, the speedo began to pick up and I knew I could make it home. All the pain from climbing masked by the feeling of accomplishment.

Nick and I rolled through the finish, some 6 hours 24 minutes in the saddle I was over an hour behind Scott, 2 minutes behind Doug and James.

It was certainly epic and a great way to mark the end of this summer's riding.

Image ©rightplacerighttime.co.uk

MMXXII Missile

  • Posted by alex
  • 27 July 2012

The Sideburns of Glory t-shirt was a big hit. Poor Mike has been keeping the printshop lights burning long into the night trying to catch up.

It's all been for a good cause though, with £5 from every tee going to the Dave Rayner fund (more on that here).

This weekend it's The Marquis of Cavendish's turn to put us all on the edge of our seats as he faces 9 trips to the top of Box Hill before the final dash for the line in the Olympic road race.

We'd already drawn this up and thought it'd be nice to share it for the weekend. We weren't planning to put this design on a t-shirt but if you tweet @howies with #MMXIImissile or like the design on Facebook over the weekend, we might ask Mike to print a few.

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