Roll Model

Il keep it short and sweet but i thought that the news today over on Velonation was worth adding my two-pence worth. Graeme Obree has come out as gay. Given Graemes battles in the past with depression and suicide attempts, its amazing that he has taken the brave step of being true to himself, and I don't doubt that with the making public of this part of his life he is facing upto a huge issue that keeping to himself will have literally eaten away at him and destroyed any chance he ever had of a well mental being. If I look at professional sport, its not hard to work out that homophobia still exists and athletes feel they don't have a choice in being open with their sexuality. The sad tale of professional footballer Justin Fashanu who came out, only to be disowned by his brother and later commit suicide has perhaps acted to only reinforce beliefs that athletes are not expected to be gay. Things are getting better these days with the likes of Gareth Thomas but its still such a hostile environment within sporting society for people to be open about who they are.... and with Graeme taking the brave step to admit this he is, perhaps even without realising, acting as a role-model to people within the sport that sexuality is actually completely irrelevant within our world today (or at least it should be). So Graeme, I salute you on your bravery - you are a legend!


Over the colder months I find it increasingly hard on occasions to garner the motivation to prize myself away from the warm cocoon of bed, to suit and saddle up, hitting the freezing tarmac to get those all important and often trumpeted 'winter base' miles. Recently iv discovered that moving around my cycling, whether it be to a different time of day or a different route to play on has reignited the passion and im finding it increasingly easier to cast aside the covers with reckless abandon.... grabing fistfulls of lycra carefully laid out the evening before, and jumping atop my winter bike to roll out on another early morning solo adventure. Simon Gerrans recently summed up the motivation experience with such a great quote from his coach Dave Sanders - 
the hardest part about going training is putting on your socks”
I always lay out my kit in anticipation of an early morning roll out - it softens the blow of waking up at  5:30am to simply remove pyjamas and jump straight into the soft comforting arms of super-roubaix and softshell fabrics. Another tip is to lay out the baselayer on the radiator... instant toastiness that no winter warrior can resist passing up.
You see, however hard it is to get that initial motivation and get-up-and-go feeling, once im actually out there on the open road, i NEVER regret the decision to train, no matter what ungodly hour I see the city, it matters not that I have a busy day ahead with a late night finish... for this moment i have zero regret that im out riding my bike and enjoying the city before sunrise.
Atop some cheeky little north London climbs, lie the rewards ready to be reaped for the season ahead. Legs will become stronger and more efficient as you dance atop the pedals up a particularly steep climb, or choose to grind out a slow lingering hill. But its not just the fitness rewards that await the early morning intrepid stealth-cyclist... its the breathtaking views and the ability to enjoy a deserted cityscape, inhabited only by other early-morning risers. There can be no more rewarding feeling than to sit smugly at the apex of a climb and take 5 minutes to soak in the surroundings, knowing so many others opted to pull the covers over their heads, ignore the early morning alarm that was set with all the best intentions, whilst you took the bull by the horns, you decided today was the day to set the training in motion on the new loop you discovered perfect for that pre-office workout.
So with the little training loop done I head back to the office bike part, hanging up the Colnago in the bike park area until the commute home later. I cant help but feel chuffed and happy and warm (proper layering and good quality clothing like gloves will make all the difference when tarting around before sunrise on your bike this time of year). The rewarding glow will last all day, even if you don't, and find yourself dropping off before hometime

Lights + decent clothing + good music + handful of haribo + bidon of water = perfect training

You'll Know - Eliphino
A Town Called Obsolete (Mount Kimbie rmx) - Andreya Triana
Fort Teen - Dorian Concept
Always - Hackman
Snow & Taxis - Gold Panda
Kaili (Walls rmx) - Caribou
CMYK - James Blake
Earthquake (Gold Panda rmx) - Little Boots
Leave House (Ikonika rmx) - Caribou
The Floating World (Eliphino rmx) - Kidkanevil
Snowburst - Italtek
Rock Wit U (Yoruba Soul dub) - DJ Jazzy Jeff
Tilt Shift - Mosca
Will Be Gone - Dave DK
Channel One (Dave DK rmx) - Pablo Bolivar
Pushin' - Duncan Powell

Bottle Cage Bargain

Wiggle are currently selling their Verenti carbon bottle cages for a nice discount at £10 a pop... kit your bike out for the upcoming season and scoop here

Tall Bike Lust

The Point Of No Return

You know the score...... rifling around your sock drawer like a madman/woman trying to find a pair of non cycling specific socks. Making space in the cupboards as various tubs of fantastic carb-laden potions clutter up the shelves. You have a specific area (that seems ever expanding) dedicated to bikeparts no longer used but stored away for that emergency requiring some long-retired chainring. Pots of soothing lotions, rubs and balms fill the bathroom cabinet. A neat plastic box holds a plethora of crazy looking bar and gels in all manner of fantastic flavours. The bookshelf seems to be spread about 30% dedicated to literature and 70% to cycling magazines. Then there's the wardrobe, what originally started out as one shelf dedicated to cycling lycra now spans a whole section of the wardrobe, and its still stuffed to capacity. You have a dedicated 'accessories' bag - housing caps, scarves, snoods, gloves and of course oversocks in every colour of the rainbow. You sit at work, and whenever there is a spare moment you without a moments thought navigate to a cycling bookmark. You enjoy browsing cycling twitterers, engaging and feeling an affinity with like minded enthusiasts - even though you never met them. You log your training miles, even down to the lowly commute, and its never quite as good as it could be. You are strict with carb intake.... only before big rides and a lactic sprint follows after consumption. You weigh yourself every other day, constantly ruing the result. You designate a weekend morning or day off to 'cleaning the bikes'. The grin on your chops is from how gleaming you got your chain. You scremble for something to write your shopping list on.... Its a Skil Shimano team card.

Others on the outside call it 'obsession'..... 
those of us ensconced inside the bubble call it 'passion'.

Colnago C59 + Di2 = Bianchista Ultimate Lust

What's In Your Pocket?

How long have people stuffed their ride essentials into a jersey pocket? Certainly much longer than I have been around on the planet that’s for sure! Every rider has been there - reaching into a packed rear jersey pocket and fishing around for those elusive sugary bars, attempting to fish out rogue pound coins for the obligatory coffee stop, or yanking out one tyre lever, having lost its way from its accompanying mate.
So step forward 3 solutions to storing all your tranklements, each differing in looks and prices yet all essentially performing the same function, albeit to varying degrees of storing said trinkets.  I picked three different types of jersey bags, but in essence they all do the job. That’s the job of keeping your back pockets organised and offering protection from the elements – be that some gnarly back sweat after a hard session in the saddle, or a glorious downpour and mud spray (for those that forgot to fit their mudguards).
First up is the “Lezyne Caddy Sack”. Crafted from a tough pvc plastic and sporting a sealed waterproof zip, this was the biggest capacity-wise of all three pouches due to its width. Its dimensions are 10 x 14 cm and wouldn’t struggle to fit everything needed for a long ride. But its size may not be suitable to cram into all jersey pockets – It wouldn’t quite fit without a struggle into quite a few tops of mine (a UK size 8 or XS). That’s not to say this is definitive downer on the case though – just something ladies of a smaller stature should be aware of. It will fit just fine into two pocket jerseys and of course one pocket jackets. If in doubt measure the width of your pocket. Its big capacity and toughness makes it ideal as a commuter case to sit inside a backpack or messenger bag. I keep a spare tube, a co2 and affixing head, 2 x tyre levers, a condor mini tool and a patch kit comfortably in this pouch – with room to spare. Available in wither silver as pictured or black, it may not present itself as the most refined solution to handling your goods, but for less than £8 one would be hard pushed to find a better solution to keep all your items safe.
Rapha launched their aptly titled ‘Essentials Case’ in 2010. Made of supple soft leather, the case has dimensions of 15 x 10 cm. Inside a card sleeve holds debit cards securely, whilst a splash of pink is found with the ‘Bon Courage!’ motif inside. Smaller in capacity than the Lezyne, it will hold a tube, levers, patch kit, keys and a small multi-tool just fine. Costing £30 (now reduced in the January sale) some people won’t stomach the perceived ‘rapha pricing’as always  – I purchased mine and am actually using it as an everyday wallet, thus retiring my ancient and much loved Comme Des Garcons turquoise number to the drawer. It’s also perfect size for those with an iphone, although you will struggle to do it up with an iphone and tube contained. Its also slimmer in width than the lezyne so slipped easier into jersey pockets of all sizes. Its a very stylish little number, and a great gift for any cyclist. A more expensive Paul Smith version in purple highlighted colorway is set to launch soon should you want something even more swish.
Lastly is the rudimentary looking ‘Jersey Bin’. Its basically a sleeve of plastic with a secure ziplock style closing designed to offer water protection to your bits and bobs – rather than storing equipment and spares as the examples above. They also work with touch screen phones so you can text home in an emergency whilst raining! Available as a two-size-double-pack for £6.20, they measure 9.5 x 17.5 cm. I picked up a nice Sigma Sport branded one on a La Fuga club run some months ago, and it provides a neat solution to keeping phones and notes from getting a soaking. These are tall and narrow, fitting easily into most pockets. (They are available in two sizes and a variety of prices on
If your looking to avoid that unsightly jersey sagging that can occur when loading yourself down then I couldn’t recommend one of the above more highly. One plus factor in having a wee bag is of course its incredibly stylish and debonair (come on be honest – we all strive for that out on the road) but another major tick in the box is that it encourages you to only take out necessities. How many times have you ridden a long route only to get home and discover you didn’t need the extra two bars or two tubes? Streamlining is a good thing here, meaning you will only carry what’s truly needed. Feel free to comment below as to what your ‘ride essentials’ are and what you keep them in...

Nice Box

Millinery Box? A Philip Treacy within?
No! Its a new LAS.....
nice touch....

Chaingang Noob

Last night I did my first chaingang. I nervously waited at the rendezvous point, and chatted to a handful of other first-timers... all looking very fast and lean! The ride leaders pulled up, atop a handful of fine and nippy looking carbon steeds. I gulped.... here we go! Through-and-off for laps of Regents Park.... very flat, so I expected quite a brutal pace checking the legs of these boys. And I was not disappointed! The principle was riding the circular formation in the bottom diagram. So off we set.... and before long I have moved my way up to the front of the right-hand line... only to make the cardinal n00b sin of surging forward and accelerating to get in front of the rider on the left. I didn't think he was slowing for me so I put down a little gas, opening up a gap behind me.... not cool Gem! I was told nicely by a couple of super helpful and friendly guys about waiting for the left to ease up slightly, and to keep things nice and tight when rolling off. 
artists impression
I managed the ridiculous pace they set for a few laps before unceremoniously announcing I had to fall off for a lap to catch my breath. I felt like my lungs would explode (due in no small part to the fact I was partial to an occasional social rolly up until November - a habit that's been firmly kicked into touch before the new year). So I watched as a sea of well dressed legs cruised to the horizon line..... "well Gem, you managed to hold for a few laps, but get back on or else you'll look a donkey!" I could hear my internal dialogue taunting me. So I sat up, cruising a circuit at about 6 mph and getting my lungs reacquainted with actually inhaling and exhaling air in a non-frantic manner, and then soon enough the sparkly looking train of blinking lights was fast approaching "Here we go!" I sped up, and then tagged right along the back of the line again.... feeling a little recovered and ready to hit it once more!
I took another turn on the front "Smoothly Gem" I scalded myself, fearful of looking a melon for making the same error again... but I managed just fine! Floating down the back of the group of riders I felt like this was such a new exciting riding experience.... it was exhilarating, scary, and chuffing hard work. After much huffing and puffing I sat on Conrad's wheel and received a very welcome half lap tow to the finish point. It was without a doubt the most intense cycling id done in a long time, differing so much from the many hours spent languishing in the hills of Surrey around heart rate 2/3. I rode home like a giddy schoolgirl, excitedly thinking about deep aero wheelsets, getting my aerobic system up to scratch and fuelling for next week. That's right.... "next week"...... I'm a glutton for punishment.

Find more information on riding pacelines using the links below... believe me, il be swatting up!

Craft Winter Gear

Bianchista HQ has recently been riding in some items from Nordic brand Craft, designed for winter conditions. Craft is a brand born out of Sweden, with a sterling reputation for their extreme weather baselayers, and they champion their clothing range with an innovative 3 level layering system, ensuring you can pick the ideal combo of gear for a specific temperature range. Often on those horrible cold and wet rides, the secret to staying warm and comfortable is the combination of the right layers, not one garment massively thick and warm, but a subtle combination allowing for your body to properly regulate its own microclimate. Its reputation for quality cycling gear has been long tested within the pro-peloton, and recently the new pro team venture of the Shleck brothers has signed a three year contract for Craft to provide not only their pro team racing kits, but all manner of accessories and warmers too. Also on board with Craft this forthcoming year is top women's racing outfit Hitec Products UCK, so perhaps look for Craft to expand their ladies top end gear perhaps, having the perfect group of testers in such a fast bunch of gals.
The three items on test are the "Active Rain Pant", a pair of slim fitting waterproof overtrousers, from the level 3 system, meaning the item serves an ideal outershell to protect from the elements. Next up are the "Thermal Tights", again from the 'Active' range - a pair of thermal fleece-lined waist tights with a chamois. Finally on test is the "Rain Jacket" from their Performance range. Crafts 'Active' range is good quality training wear for the budget conscious, offering competitively priced pieces to get you out and in the saddle. The jacket is taken from the higher up 'Performance' range, geared at those training several times a week all year around, boasting advanced moisture transportation and made from soft and flexible fabrics.
The jacket surprised me when donning for the first time. The cut doesn't seem becoming of its bright yellow material. I expected a commuter cyle loose comfort fit, something akin to an Altura jacket, however I was pleasantly surprised. The jacket is slim and figure hugging, crafted into a great example of 'race cut'. The arms were tight yet allowed for a longsleeve underneath, and cut at the perfect length to avoid draughty wrists. the body of the jacket fit very nice indeed, resulting in a very flattering outline, again with the right amount of room for one long sl;eeve jersey underneath to insulate on those sub 5 degree rides.
The yellow was not fluorescent, so I didn't quite get the commuting 'nodder' feeling, which was good for someone who doesn't ride a hybrid. In fact I enjoyed wearing the jacket on foggy jaunts out to Surrey, it giving me piece of mind I was visible to lazy morning drivers. The jacket lacked any way to regulate temperature in way of underarm zips and such, but that didn't seem to bother too much, on warmer rides I tended to plump merely for a merino baselayer with the Rain Jacket serving as my outer-shell. 
One large zipped pocket adorns the rear of the top, and large it is, fear not hoarders as I suspect a whole days provisions could be easily stowed away with room to spare. So, how did it fare in a deluge I hear you ask? well with a simple moniker like "Rain Jacket" I expected nothing but complete proofing from our British deluges.... and I was not disappointed! I wore the jacket on several rainy commutes (one a full on snow storm in early December) of around 45 minutes and the jacket performed admirably. I arrived to work with my torso completely dry (with the exception of some sweat!) the top had acted as a complete impenetrable barrier to the elements, not allowing anything to permeate through whatsoever. The jacket is perfect for those roadies who commute, or train in a changeable climate. On a club run it would be very nice to be many miles from base and caught in the rain only to be sporting such a jacket as this one. The colour may put many off as its seen as a nod to the commuter style, but rest assured its dapper tailoring more than makes up for the colour, and it certainly wont look out of place teamed with a pair of luxury bib longs and ridden atop a high end carbon steed.
I put some miles in wearing Crafts Thermal Active tights over the festive (and freezing) season. A modest looking pair of half tights with a blue thick chamois, these tights have to be one of the warmest and softest garments i have ever worn. Made with two types of brushed thermal roubaix styled fabric, these tights were very snug indeed. I presume the crotch and top thigh area are made in a slightly different fabric in order to properly regulate temperature - but overall these tights really impressed on the warmth front. On the back of the leg is a reflective floral motif - definitely not my cup of tea, although other ladies out there might dig that kind of feminine vibe.... but personally I though it looked a little naff, but bearable on the commute for sure. And that's just my won hangups on the whole Hawaiian flower debate so I wont let this put me off talking about the tights from a functional point of view.
The chamois was relatively comfortable on riding out and about on the commute and errands, but I would struggle to get on with it on a longer distance ride. It wasn't overly breathable, and one could really tell the difference to th4e higher end Cytech
A cute little coin pocket is hidden on the inside waist of the trousers, ideal for stashing the flat white £2, or even a small key.
Now, rain pants arent something you see too many roadies out and about in around the lanes... they are definitely more of your standard commuter-issue clothing. However, I recently spotted this video of cyclocross legend Molly Cameron out on a training run in Japan wearing some rain trousers. So that's got to be an endorsement right?
These overtrousers have a nice slim cut to them, helped in no small part by the velcro tighteners around the calf, meaning its easy to get them fitting snug and avoid any mishaps where the pants are caught in the crank. A shaped knee area also allows for comfortable tracking of the knees during the pedal stroke, again its a small detail that makes a world of difference to comfort when miles from home is a deluge. The material is a soft shell like affair, but not literally 'softshell' if that makes sense? Its waterproof yet avoids that tacky, stiff rustly appearance a lot of overtorusers tend to have. A mesh liner will avoid that nasty plastic feeling on your leg, and braces are supplied should you wish to secure them tightly on a ride. These braces are removable - and to be honest iv clocked up a fair few rain soaked commutes in them sans braces and they still fit just fine. But its nice to have the option I guess....
Reflective piping snakes down each leg, catching headlights amply as expected. These rain pants surprised me, as I was always quite averse to such a 'commuter style' bit of kit as overtrousers, but I must confess to having had my opinion changed by these. Its mainly down to my experience some years ago of some awful baggy and rustly numbers, so I deem them a valuable addition to the wardrobe of someone who likes to commute even when its tipping it down! Lastly the trousers have a very strong looking reinforced seat area... so rest assured no matter what saddle is ridden, you would be hard pushed to wear a hole in these. Iv also donned them when working at sports matches and such where there's every chance il have to sit in the rain for 2 hours, and also for some walking whilst back home in Yorkshire (the price is half of some walking specific trousers out there).
The velcro fasteners on the rear
Re-inforced seat area - very tough indeed!

Minidrome LDN

Ladies, Equality, Style

A pithy subject I know. Fear not readers for bianchista doesn't intend to ride upon her soapbox to wax lyrical about all the inequality and disparity within racing and specifically ladies arcing. No, these words are merely a stream of my consciousness if you may - born from a sapling of a conversation had at the weekend over as particularly interesting post ride flat white (or three). I got thinking about what I like about cycling, what inspires me as a 26 year old female amateur cyclist, who does not (yet) race (this is something that may change in this space), who are the role models I have, whom do I look at as 'cool' 'hip'...whose style I wanna channel when throwing out some KM's with the boys of a weekend.
Its about equality right? For me, the women I think are super-cool-no-questions-asked are those fierce yet feminine, aggressive girls serving it right up along with them men week in week out. I ride with guys and i love it. I want to be as fast as them, hurt people on the hills as much as them, I want to be right there with the lads when turning myself inside out on an 18% wall of tarmac, I want to drop those suckers on a screaming descent (something I'm not ashamed to say I'm fairly gung-ho at....given the exorcism of all fear of crashing after my accident!)
I look at some of these girls who can hold it right with their male counterparts and its so incredibly inspiring and a kind of philosophy I buy into as a rider firstly, and as a girl secondly. I love when out on a group roll and I'm right up there on the climbs, or happy to drill it when taking a pull on the front. I mean sure, there's going to be plenty of times when the men are too strong, but showing this grit and mixing it up in a fearless way is something that instantly secures respect of any fellow rider, male or female.
There's a handful of riders out there I love because they go hard and they are fast without abandon. Browsing the Rapha Continental rider page you can see the addition of a quick lady into the fold in Carey Schleicher-Haselhorst. I love the idea that a lady is turning herself inside out along with those nippy lean guys on these gruelling rides. You have riders like the glamorous butt-kicker Heidi Swift, putting some serious hurt on the US cyclocross scene, and always looking glam (check out her nails!). Don't get me wrong, its not about looks here, its about being brisk, pacey, and encapsulating a gritty but feminine style. There's nothing I find less appealing personally than a defeatist attitude when it comes to riding, when ladies always assume there going to be slow and don't want to attempt to mix it up with the boyo's on the weekend rollouts. Wasn't everyone slow at some point of their riding lifetime? I'l always chase a wheel up a climb, regardless of whether its a rapidly-disappearing-from-my-horizon-because-hes-so-quick kind of affair. Its that trying that makes it all so worthwhile. See.... us girls like to suffer too!.
Maybe that's what I love to see in ladies can be summed up as simply as I like to see girls willing to make themselves suffer for the sport. This is true equality.... forget the arguments women have lower average speeds and the races are a shorter mileage, its truly equal in the sense that we are more than capable of making ourselves suffer and hurt every bit as much as the boys out there, and that's something any detractor or chauvinist cant take away. Riding hard and 'giving it a go' as they say = true panache in my book. Check the painface out below of Liz Hatch, drilling it right at the front makes me want to jump right in there and chase down wheels. 
The longing for this equality even comes down to the clothes for me. I make no secret of my hatred of these companies who insist on offering us hot-pant style shorts (unflattering for the most) or adirning every bloody item with a horrible sprawling Hawaiian flower. Its a lame stereotype we want this kind of stuff, whereas I actually just want the style of the men's items cut for the female form! Probably why companies such as Craft and Rapha are receiving glowing reports from ladies donning their clobber for those training runs. Anyway... enough on that....
Should you want some sites to visit that fly the flag for super fast and tough-as-nails ladies, look no further than the excellent I Get Cross blog of UK fast girl Claire Beaumont of Rapha Condor ladies team. Some great posts there its a definite bookmark. Also check out Heidi Swifts Grit & Glimmer, some great musings on all things ladies & cycling. Also worth a peep is top racers Maryka Sennema's little project.
So ladies.... suit up, jump in the saddle and go hard today. It cant fail to disappoint....


via flickr

Liz Hatch


Monti Pallidi

Bike Lust

London Climbing

This has got to be the best thing iv seen on the net this year, granted its an early call, but the idea is amazing. Hat to Claire & crew. Tempted to try myself but id probably manage ten, then collapse on the workplace doorstep crying in pain. Seriously, go check it out, and see that living in a city doesn't limit your climbing prowess...


Hammersmith Cycling Films - Brian Robinson

The excellent venue and bianchista hq local, Riverside Studios are screening a special collection of short films on the great British cyclist Brian Robinson - 
London's cycling film aficionados return to Riverside Studios for a tribute to 80-year-old Brian Robinson. A British and European cycling legend, he was one of the first English speakers to try their luck in the heartland of cycle racing in continental Europe, and the first to make a major impact in the results. He was the first Englishman to finish the Tour de France and the first to win a stage. This was in 1958 and was followed with a stunning 20-minute winning margin the following year on Stage 20, cementing his reputation as a tough yet friendly racing cyclist, popular with his fellow professionals. Brian was also the first Englishman to win a continental professional stage race – the Dauphiné-Libéré in 1961. Extracts from his biography, 'Brian Robinson: Pioneer' will be read by its author, top cycling writer Graeme Fife. There will be extracts from a previously unseen film about Robinson by Ray Pascoe, as well as footage of him in the 1953 Tour of Britain. Also, archive film from Herne Hill and a profile of 1937 Tour de France winner, Roger Lapébie.

Films screening this afternoon include: Brian Robinson: A Gentleman Cyclist (Ray Pascoe, UK, 2010, 40m); A Wheel in Britain: 1953 Tour of Britain (UK, 26m) and Keep Going Lapébie! (Nicolas Philbert, UK, 1988, 30m).

The screenings will take place at 1:45pm on Sunday 30th January, tickets £8.50 and can be booked here

Goodbye 2010.....

So with today being the 1st of January 2011, we officially bid goodbye to the year of 2010, and what a year for cycling it was! We saw epic grand tours crafted to extol unprecedented suffering, a three-time tour champ testing positive, Spartacus dominate some early season classic action, and of course the rise and rise of popularity of cycling within the UK. Below are some of my top highlights from the past 12 months, some personal, some as a cycling fan, but all as a lover of all things on two wheels!
Mark Cavendish cries after victory in stage 5 of Le Tour
And I cried with him! I will never forget it, it was one of the handfuls of days off we had whilst posted in South Africa for 6 weeks with work, and I watched the last 80k or so of the stage live on tv, and maybe it's because I was a little tired (actually exhausted) and emotional, I just thought it was the most amazing thing, and I loved seeing how much it meant to the guy, especially after his early season arrogance and that whole two finger salute shtick. It showed how much the chap cares and how much he needed it. And well of course we all know what him form was like after this.... hats off to Mark.

London gets two epic cycle hangouts
Early summer bought us the arrival of two cracking bike-loving venues in town.  The Rapha cycle club, a temporary cafe come boutique come gallery sat proudly in Farringdon, welcoming all manner of cycle fans for their daily Giro and Tour screenings, as well as throwing some very nice soirées come the evening, such as new range and book launches. It's tenure ended late July rather sadly, but rest assured the club will return summer of 2011 serving some lovely nudie roast! Look Mum No Hands! is a rather more permanent cafe venture plonked in the heart of the old street area, serving food, drinks, running a repairs workshop and bike film screenings aplenty. As well as screening live races and old cycling films, they have also hosted some great nights such as a q&a evening with pro-tour rider Dan Lloyd and most recently the launch of the Gran Corsa charity challenge. Be sure to pop in when in town, it's a one of a kind venue.

Alexander Vinokourov wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège
April saw Vino win Liege in an emphatic manner, motoring away from Kolobnev in the closing section to take his second LBL title. After serving a two year ban for playing with his blood, the Kontraversial Kazakh made a return to the Astana team and rode in a manner akin to a super strong diesel engine. 

Rapha launch ladies specific range
Finally a brand stepped up to the challenge of making some super functional and stylish ladies specific cycle wear. Drawing from the designs of the popular mens products, Rapha have created a range for the most discerning of cycling women. Reviewed here and here the range has performed wonderfully over many miles in 2010, and rapha have built a truly solid foundation of products that hopefully they will keep adding to as the seasons tick by...

Cadel Evans takes a truly epic victory during stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia
I don't think anyone will disagree with the use of the term 'epic' when recounting stage seven of what could be described as the most brutally entertaining grand tour for years. The giro had it all, insane mountain time trials, evil climbing stages and of course the pavé and dirt of the seventh stage, the 220km from Carrara to Montalcino. Cadel, Cunego, Vino and others amongst contention, it took a natty kick from Evans to shake his adversaries and give us a victory salute to remember. He looked battled drained and completely spent, and for that reason it has to be one of my favourite stages this year.

Editing at Le Tour final day
In 2010 I had the privilege to be sent out to edit for two amazing photographers on the last day of Le Tour de France. I did a small write up of the experience here. 2011 should hopefully see me heading out for this stage again on behalf of Getty Images, all fingers crossed and calendars allowing. I will of course try and document the thing a little better this time, with of course having another whole years worth of on-the-road experience under my editing belt :-)

Quote of the Year 2010
This nod had to go to Omega Pharma Lotto's Matt Lloyd for the following golden nugget after several crashes had blighted the tour, with Euskaltel's riding being widely blamed  - "They just fall off. There's no reason why. You'll just be riding along and there they'll be like a bleeding carrot in the middle of the road lying in pain."

The "Hell Of The North" ride
Possibly the funniest craziest ride ever undertaken, you can read a report of the day here. I simply cannot wait for the 2011 ride, and rest assured I have even booked it off work already to ensure nothing gets in the way of getting dirty and scoffing some frites courtesy of Rapha whilst enjoying the spectacle of roubaix on the big screen. A sublime day that wont be forgotten for a long while Also, I will ensure I don't wear speedplays this year boys :-)

Giro vs TOC
A great wee chart knocked up by the Ritte boys explains why the giro this year was just SO damned good. If the 2011 version is half as good it will be amazing still.

Cancellaras April Romp

Chris Newton takes the Premiere Calendar title
What a way to retire. Chris Newton retired from road racing by winning the Premiere Calendar title in his final season on the tarmac. Finishing 200 points ahead of the super strong Simon Richardson, Newton rode the races classy and legs like dynamite. It struck me how awesome the level of domestic racing is in the UK, I really enjoyed watching the races on eurosport, and think 2011 is going to be an awesome year for the domestic racing scene, with teams like Endura, Le Col and Rapha ready to duke it out.

These are just a few of my top 2010 cycling moments, please comment below as to what the highlights were for you, did you reach your goals of kms? was there a particular race that reduced you to tears of emotion or frustration? Was there a product that helped you get everything you wanted out of 2010? Then jot it down below and share. I have a feeling 2011 is going to be another belter of a year. I'm in the process of penning down my cycling goals, mainly relating to my continuing back/leg issues, but that's another post for a few weeks time! Here's to a great year passed, and another great one to unfold...