I used to love snow. Day off school, etc. Nowadays I hate it though, second only to ice. But snow, you can ride in it, yeah? Slap some wide, knobbly tyres on to your cyclocross/gravel/mountain bike and “hit those trails”!
Both David Hasselhoff & Ever Ready that promoted “(K)Night Rider” in the 80s. One was a TV series around a super advanced self driving car called KITT (with what could loosely be described as LEDs on the bonnet), the Hoff playing “Michael” aided by KITT in tackling crime and generally re-acting the same plot episode after episode. In fact, KITT’s noises and looks are akin to a Tesla now I guess, albeit the Tesla’s self-driving technology is way behind a now 40yrs old KITT…
Open up any cycling magazine or cycling website over the past few years and it’ll feature gravel riding. Photos of gravel roads undulating through forests before leading to a gravel hairpin before a stretch of gravel especially open to expansive skies, before taking a small gravel off-shoot to a lake previously untouched by human breath, let alone a gravel tyre.
The magic of the Tour De France not only captivates but fascinates millions of people from all corners of the planet. Some of them will be cyclists themselves, men and women who have felt the pain and the pleasure of riding the exact same roads as their Tour heroes. Though for the vast majority the chance to visit France, let alone ride a bike on the hallowed tarmac of the French roads is nothing more than a dream.
The Tour is the most televised annual sporting event and is screened to every continent on Earth. Everyone will have their own personal reason as to the allure of this sporting feat. Many of us enjoy the “sprint” stages, 200km of cat and mouse racing where the breakaway, or escapees are given only so much time before they are reeled in and the sprinters teams take over. Five hours of dangling forlornly off the front only to be caught , sometimes just metres from the finish line. This is where the sprinters, who have remained hidden and protected by their loyal team mates, pop out in the last 50 meters to claim their prize. The ultimate prize of a Tour stage victory. The escapees, having been caught, often face the ignominy of nothing more than winning the day’s ‘most combatative rider’ award. The prize often as meagre as a lump of cheese provided by the day’s sponsor or a crate of wine to be washed away with their dreams of a career changing victory. A victory so cruelly quashed for another year at least.
The Manchester weather is no respecter of seasons. It was though most obliging when in late July 2016 a funeral cortege departed from an otherwise unremarkable housing estate in Wythenshawe, South Manchester, and embarked on the short journey to the church.
The only tell tale of who was taking their final journey was in the small peloton of cyclists pedalling behind, a dozen or so lycra clad men and women who decided this was their way of paying their respects. On arrival at the church it soon became apparent from the sheer volume of mourners that this was a popular and much respected figure. Yet this was no local dignitary, politician or celebrity, to the 500 mourners and many more around the world who couldn’t attend this was the funeral of someone of so much more.
There are moments in your life that for whatever reason stay etched on your mind. The moments can be a split second of something you’ve seen, something you’ve heard or something you’ve shared. These memories can be amazing, tragic or simply mundane.
Its often hard to articulate that moment and to emphasise to people not present the importance of it.
30 years ago I did a bike ride. It was a bike ride around Snowdonia, North Wales. I was dropped off by my mum at Bala Youth Hostel one August bank holiday evening to be collected the following day. In between was to be the most fabulous cycle ride i have ever undertaken with maybe only a hundred like minded souls.
A gentle potter around a hidden corner of France.
When choosing a destination for a cycling holiday then France will always figure highly. Arguably, France is seen as the spiritual home of cycling. Whether it’s because of the legendary Tour De France, not only the world’s toughest bike race but one of the world’s hardest sporting endurance events, or the simple fact that France has some of the most culturally and geographically diverse scenery in the world. Add in the mostly favourable weather, great roads and world renowned cuisine it then becomes clear as to why France is one of the most visited countries in the world.
Another 2 weeks have passed and our resident junior cyclist, Josh has been going from strength to strength in his road racing.
For a lot of cyclists the Sunday club run is their first introduction into the world of cycling. A vital ingredient of that club run is the almost obligatory café stop. The Sunday club run and the café stop go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. It’s in the club cyclists DNA, etched in their culture and it’s where friendships are forged and relationships built. Every cycling club has its favourite haunts and one of the most popular stops for the Weaver Valley Cycling Club, of which we were members, was the café at Prees, Shropshire.