This Bike Belongs In Farthing Wood

Winter Riding

Many thanks to those eternally-stylish folk over at Rapha for allowing me command their airwaves as such and pen my thoughts on 'winter riding'. Head over here to read the post in full. Also ladies, dont forget the forthcoming Festa della Donna.

Tweed Run 2011

Rapha Festa della Donna

For one day only, this coming Monday the 28th February, Rapha are holding a special flash sale for all their women's clothing range. With a massive 50% off the range, they will also be announcing two new female contributors to their fabulous blog, as well as giving a little peek to the forthcoming S/S11 range and also running a competition. The ladies range is amongst the finest cycling gear iv had the pleasure to test out, read up on the range here and here and be sure to set a reminder to visit on this special 'Ladies Day'. Il be swinging by to add to the wardrobe for sure!

HOTN Redux

Not much to say on this, other than its one of the rides of the year! My account from last year can be read here. See you all at race HQ in April!

A Nice Dorking Pootle

2012 Olympic Road Race Route

This week saw the announcement of the official route the mens & ladies 2012 Olympic Road Race will take, and boy is it impressive. And I mean impressive because its the area that so many of the UK's cyclist based in the south will be familiar with. To think that hallowed Olympians will thunder among the same roads as us mere mortals is pretty incredible, albeit they will be chuntering along significantly faster than the hallowed Sunday roll outs to Surrey. The route takes in classic landmarks such as Richmond Park (will the participants have time for the infamous 3 Lap Challenge?) and hammers out repeats up the classic climb known to all us city dwelling grimpeurs, Box Hill. 
Its pretty incredible that as London cyclists, such a monumental event is going to take place right in our backyard. Now comes the dilemma for me - do I book the day off work and venture out with friends to camp up on box hill armed with a serious camera - or do I work and help distribute the images from the race, calling on my encyclopedic (err.... scary as colleague prefer to say) knowledge of riders and teams? Well I guess I have over a year to mull things over! Anyway the full route is as follows >

  • Heading south-west from The Mall taking in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham to cross the Thames at Putney Bridge and into Wandsworth.
  • Continuing into Richmond and into Richmond Park en route to Richmond Bridge where the race again crosses the Thames.
  • Heading south and through Bushy Park to Hampton Court Palace and Hampton Court Bridge where the race enters Surrey.
  • A large loop in Surrey taking in Walton on Thames, Weybridge, West Byfleet, West Horsley and Dorking.
  • From Dorking the race repeats a challenging 15.5km circuit around Box Hill including the National Trust’s Zig Zag Hill. This loop will be repeated multiple times for the men’s and women’s events.
  • The race then returns to central London through Leatherhead, Esher, Hampton Court, Kingston and Richmond Park before using the same route back to The Mall.

In The Saddle Q&A

Damien Breen's excellent blog In The Saddle has a wicked interview with Condor Cycles design guru Ben Spurrier. I thoroughly suggest heading over there now to be indulged in all things bike design via the heritage steeped London cycle brand. Sterling stuff!

Pro Team Kit

Rapha have dropped their new 'Pro Team' line - garments designed for the specifics of racing. Think aero, streamlined, paired down styling with performance the key factor. Designed by two Rapha Condor stalwarts, Olympian Chris Newton and ex National Champion Kristian House, the kit resembles those garments of the Pro Tour peloton - highly technical and lightweight fabrics that cling to the skin in an uber PRO fashion.The jersey is made from an extremely high-wicking, stretch fabric from Switzerland that is exclusive to Rapha and incorporates Coldblack® technology, so the black material stays cool against the skin in hot weather and provides UV protection.
Whilst its quite an unforgiving cut - its nice to see someone produce a jersey akin to that worn in professional racing. I have had my fingers burnt once before buying 'Pro Team' replica kit, only to find it arrives and its a cheap loose cut made with budget fabrics and pretty much nothing like the quality of the kit I saw in a race and wanted to purchase! Most teams in the pro tour now employ some kind of aerodynamic design element to their kit. Castelli seemed to set a precedent with this in producing the Cervelo Test Team aero range. I believe Garmin also had special climbers and aero jerseys available as team issue by their kit supplier Pearl Izumi. So its nice to see a brand other than Castelli throw its hat into producing race specific clothing for the discerning weekend racers amongst us.
a fine aero example via flickr

Another worthwhile mention here if discussing race fit clothing is to Le Col. Iv been admiring of their clothing for sometime, and with its racy aggressive cut and simple colour styling, its another great option for those seeking that tight aero fit minus the plastering of distasteful euro sponsor logos all over it.
Leon Harris Flickr

Ragley Rude Pump

I recently purchased the Ragley Rude Pump as a jersey-storable mini pump for those infrequent yet highly irritating mishaps on the road (ie translation : "I got burned t'other day on an early morning training ride far from home with only one CO2 canister and now i have learnt my lesson"). With its rude name and erm, more than passing similarity to a toy of an adult nature, the rude pump is a mini pump with quite striking styling. More importantly coming in at a shade over a tenner its as pleasing on the wallet as it is in the hand.
 The pump has a pleasant feeling soft rubber handle, making for easy grip when pumping. The handle retracts out to reveal another telescopic chamber ideal for high pressure. The website claims to be able to pump up to 180 psi, and whilst im not sure that's an exact figure that could be easily reached, I managed to take a road tyre to over 100psi without trying too hard.
The pump can handle both presta & schraeder valves, and although fiddly, simply requires flipping the adapter around in the valve. But once flipped you can keep it as it (il be on strictly presta).
The 'Rude Pump' will fit snugly into a jersey pocket and doesn't weigh much at all. A highly recommended ride essential at a price that really wont break the bank.

Whats This All About?

Raleigh Vektar

Anyone remember these? I seriously lusted after this bike as a kid, I used to visit a pals house and always hog it, he had the black "blackcat" version. So tough! Forget all your new-fangled carbon lightweight weenie road machines, back in the day all this little mini bianchista wanted was the ability to tune into some crummy radio station and fire off some sirens whilst riding along about 3 miles per hour down the road.
"The onboard computer features elapsed time, distance travelled, speed and maximum speed achieved. Optional add-ons include a Computer Module accessory pack (trip meter, speedo) Radio Accessory pack (3 preset AM stations) and - OH MY GOD - Sound Synthesiser with 8 built in digital sounds, paddle, shifter and speakers."

Colnago Lust

Coppi Protar 1:9 Scale Bianchi Model

Spotted on ebay - a cute 1:9 replica model of Fausto Coppi's Bianchi bicycle....