Sunday, August 30, 2009
When you can't use the countryside to stage your beloved cyclocross event due to the Nazis - get them to run up the stairs of Rue Foyatier.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Yeah yeah – that’s me, my brother, Richard, is on the tricycle. It was the late ‘70’s and that is a ‘Micron 5’ and I think it was made by Raleigh. Having the word micron in the name of the bike my give you a clue about the bike – it was tiny and I still had the seat at it’s lowest and most forward position. I have also just noticed the huge rear light and now the memories are flooding back. I loved that bike, all the other kids were on ‘Grifters’ and ‘Boxers’ and ‘Choppers’, you know BMX style street bikes and there I was on a racer. Man I was teased so much about it, but I was the quickest on the housing estate and often just went out to race myself around the estate’s perimeter roads. I do not even know how aware I was of bike racing at this point but I did know this was like the bikes my Dad used to ride.
I seem to remember a purple Peugeot following the Micron 5 bought from Alf Jones’ in Wrexham, the shop is still in business. I joined Wrexham Fibrax cycling club when I was 16, by then I was already going off into the Welsh mountains to do 60 miles+ on Sundays, if I had done my homework that is. I also bought a secondhand old racer, by that I mean it was a handbuilt steel race bike built and badged by a very respected British frame builder – unfortunately I forget who. It was kitted out with original 1960’s Campagnolo and a hollow stem, which would have cored my chest if I had fallen onto it. Both of these bikes were stolen from our garden shed within a week or so of getting the retro bike.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Photos of Welsh country roads that used to be my stomping ground to follow.
For now play this:
or watch this - you choose.....
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Ok so here is the Neu bike, the f100 Alloy frame from Neuvation Cycles complete with SRAM Rival groupset for only $1300 inc delivery.
After looking at various options it came down to cost and top tube length. This 48cm frame has a 514mm top tube, which is ever so slightly shorter than the Cannondale I was riding. It comes with the Rival Groupset and at little more than the cost of the groupset alone. As has been said about other similar deals, if the frame just happens to be rubbish at least you have a new groupset. Oh and new wheels Neuvation's M28SL, new saddle, bars, 11x23 cassette, Miche Pro Race tyres, Cane Creek headset – you get the picture. Big props to SRAM for the adjustable levers making it easy to bring them closer to the bars for those of us with smaller hands. It also weighs in at around 17lbs and feels very twitchy and responsive, it wants to go fast. For some reason, I haven’t managed to go fast yet. The bike fit feels great, similar to my track bike, maybe I am psychologically scared of trashing another bike but the few rides I have done have been rolls to the lake etc.
I also had the slight problem of some transatlantic differences. After ordering the bike I suddenly thought, ‘Last time I ordered a bike in the US I had them keep the brakes set-up English style’. But figured I didn’t want to slow down delivery and surely it wouldn’t make that much difference. How wrong can you be? Each of my first rides involved some kind of fast skid through corners at busy road intersections etc which scared the living $$$$ out of me. In the UK the front brake is in the right hand. Most riders only use the front brake to slow the bike, unless necessity calls for both, but even then you apply more force into the front brake lever. When a bike slows most of the weight is transferred to the front wheel, therefore the front brake does the majority of the slowing, the rear wheel is unweighted and with only minor braking force will stop spinning and therefore skid. I tried getting used to the left hand front brake and indeed on normal rides for lights etc it seemed to be going ok. But thinking about times in races when both brakes might be used or other road situations I doubt I would be able to retrain my instincts quite so easily. I swapped the brakes over myself. Next time I will tie a fishing line to the cable before I remove it from the internal routing.
Anyway I can only have positive things to say about Neuvation Cycles. The ordering online is easy, it arrived in great condition and seems like a great frame. I guess time will tell. Better go ride it.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Cycling Tips is a great blog with advice, opinions, amazing photography and it introduced me to Kenny Van Hummel, star of this year's Tour De France.
Based in Australia I figured they should see some of the midwest.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I don’t know how I discovered the ‘Ditty Bops’, but my wife and I went to see them at the Spiegeltent in NYC 2006. At the time they were nearing the end of their across America tour, by bike. Yep they cycled between venues across the USA – try that Dave Gorman.
Wikipedia can tell you more about the band:
The Ditty Bops is an American band from Los Angeles, California. Though previously with Warner Brothers, they now self-produce. They are noted for their tight vocal harmonies and playful style. They are headed by Abby DeWald (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Amanda Barrett (vocals, mandolin and dulcimer). Their music is reminiscent of such artists as Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel, but incorporates a variety of musical styles such as folk, bluegrass, blues, western swing, ragtime and musical theater. Their live shows are often very interactive, and have different themes and theatrical elements complete with props, costumes, skits, and amusing slide shows.
Their music is great, such fun, great stories about quirky characters and absurd situations. Best of all is their live act. True vaudeville and cabaret complete with popping balloons, skeleton costumes and other such craziness.
The Ditty Bops website has become the AbbyDeWald and Amanda Barrett website which seems to be a holding page so lacking in some character for now.
Oh I neglected to mention, 'they love riding bicycles'.