Sparrows Fart Riding.

Late last year, I started getting notifications on Strava that one of my KOMs had been taken. Nothing unusual there, especially around Christmas time when we get an influx of tourists. Then I started to take a closer look to see if it was the guys on a tandem bike like the Christmas before. Nope, some bloke called Richard. And it seemed to go long than the holiday break. Arse, there is a local who has found Strava and is quick. My worst nightmare.

Now lets just sort one thing out before I get feedback that I am a fat pretender. I know that! I have ridden with enough very good riders to know where I sit in the pecking order, and it is some where between the grupetto and broom wagon. Still, it smarts a bit when the segments your created are being picked off like low hanging fruit.

There is one segment I was using to judge my fitness as it is a slight incline over a few hundred metres. Every now and then I would take a swing at it to see how my fitness and strength was holding up.

Richard and I swapped the KOM between us 4 or 5 times, and as of today he still holds it by 1 lousy second. I fear it is now out of reach. Some friendly banter started on Strava and Richard invited me out in the morning with a group of guys he rides with.

It is a 6am roll out up at a the local headland. So I showed up one day and found they do a set loop of 19kms around the local area. The first morning I had my arse handed to me as the fast guys put me to the sword up some of the short climbs. That said, these blokes are whippets. Well most of them. The three that are nearly always near the front, Richard, Barry and Brian, are quite a bit less chunky than I am. They are however, all my elders. Luckily for me, there are a few others than I can keep up with. Harry, Trevor and Ron are more my speed, so it isn’t a total loss.

This is what it looks like currently when I head out of a morning.

I have about 2.5kms to meet up with the guys and then it is pretty much full gas for the best part of 40 minutes for me.

The last 200m is a sprint. You know, boys being boys. I am yet to have a crack as my arse is usually about 50m behind me at that point.

It is then a gentle roll back to the table of knowledge for a quick catch up on local happenings before the group disperses. I occasionally do a gentle run back to the headland to get some cheap kilometres in the bank and scare the crap out of the local wildlife for my Instagram account.

I am really enjoying the early morning riding. It is difficult dragging myself out of the fartsack at 5am, but once I am awake, I love it.

So far the riding has been fast and enjoyable. We have only had one small drama, yesterday when Richard had a close call, a lot closer than this video suggests.

I can tell you from where I sat it looked a lot worse. Hopefully that sort of thing doesn’t happen too often.

So I would like to thank Richard for the invite and the rest of the bunch for the welcome.

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The New Bike Thing.

6th May 2011, I brought home my brand new Avanti Giro 4 road bike.

The new ride.

At the time of typing this blog post, it has done a credible 21,746kms. In that time I have never dipped below 94kgs, so they haven’t been the easiest kilometres for the predominantly aluminium frame, especially given the state of the local roads.

It has got me “Around the Bay” in 2011. From Adelaide to Geelong in 2012. Was ridden in the middle of no where in 2013 and so far in 2014 has had me sitting on the wheels of at least 2 UCI Pro teams. I love my bike.

It has gone from the stock standard bike that Avanti shipped to the LBS, to the orange and blue “clown” bike that it is today.

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I broke the original Shimano wheels that were on it. The saddle gave out after 12,000kms of my fat arse bashing away at it. It has been through tyres, chains, cassettes, bar tape etc etc. It has been called the worlds noisiest bike. Rob Arnold from RIDE cycling review couldn’t believe how heavy it is. And again, there are the universally disliked colours. But, I love my bike.

A reoccurring comment over the past year or so is “You should get a new bike norbs”. My response is nearly always “Why?”. Is there really anything wrong with my bike? As far as I am concerned, it is more than enough bike for me.

Luckily, I have been in the position to ride some truly stunning bikes. Giant, Cervelo, Cannondale and Trek amongst others. A sub 6kg Scott complete with the latest SRAM 22 kit. Yes, it was fantastic. Yes, it would probably up my average speed on rides by a kph or 2. Yes the gear changes seemed to be magic. None of this continually moving the shifter trying to find a gear. But it also might break under 95kgs and on the local roads. It is also way beyond my price point. And, it doesn’t fit the criteria I have in my head for my next new bike, which includes :

- Disc brakes. I have had them on the old flatbar and loved them.
- Ti or steel. As great as CF is, I would really love a Ti bike next up.
- Call me old fashioned, but I would love a bike with a horizontal top tube. From what I have seen, that may not be possible.
- A bright orange frame would be a massive bonus.

So, as you can see, that bike may indeed be fictional (if you do know of one that fits the bill, please don’t tell me, my wallet couldn’t cope). It is also difficult to justify when I have a bike that is doing the job already. Add to that the fact that I don’t like to waste things and am a well known tight arse, and it all adds up to me sitting on top of an aging Avanti Giro 4 for some time yet.

So if you see me out enjoying my not quite 3 year old bike, don’t hassle me about replacing it. Look at the places it has taken me.

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2014 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) – Video, Audio, Live Tickers

This Sunday night, April 6th, we get the next big race of the season, the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Official site here http://www.rondevanvlaanderen.be/en), otherwise known as the Tour of Flanders. The second of the ‘monuments‘, it comes just ahead of the Paris Roubaix, which will be run and won next weekend. The Tour of Flanders takes place every 14th Sunday of the year.

This from the official web site.

The Tour of Flanders was conceived of in 1913 by Karel Van Wijnendaele, co-founder of the sportspaper ‘Sportwereld’. In that era it was customary for publishers of newspapers and magazines to organise cycling races as a way of promoting circulation.

For us Aussies, SBS will be streaming and showing it live on SBS One.

SBS will LIVE stream the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) via Cycling Central from 8:20pm AEST on Sunday 6 April and from 0000-0200 (AEST) Monday 7 April on SBS ONE.

For live race tickers, video and audio, steephill.tv and cyclingfans.com are the places to check.

Another great preview of the race is over at Inrng.com

And this flyover thanks to @cyclingthealps

Koppenberg hill 1

Koppenberg hill during the 2009 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) Classics road cycling race. Author =Ctankcycles

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Friday Videos

This first one is thanks to Duke.

This should spark up some chatter.

Have a great weekend and ride safe.

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Friday Videos

Another Friday means more videos.

Fairdale R+D from Fairdale Bikes on Vimeo.

As usual, have a great weekend and stay safe.

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Friday Videos.

Lets start off this weeks Friday videos with a safety clip from 1936. Love the commentary.

Have a great weekend and stay safe on the roads.

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Cycling and Crowd Funding.

Cycling and crowd funding. Does it work?

It was a sad email this morning that set of a train of thought that has been stuck in my head like a splinter ion my mind. The email was from Lesli Cohen, know on Twitter as @CyclismasEditor. It was to let the many contributors to Cyclismas know that she was closing it down. You can read about it on the Cyclismas site here.

I am not going to go into the story behind it, but I will say that it frustrates me that a good egg like Lesli gets treated like this. I thought Cyclismas was a great idea. I also admit I was sucked in by the now infamous Aaron Brown aka @UCI_overlord. Basically, it is a shitty tale. Google it.

The part of the story I want to look at in this post is the Kimmage Defense fund. If you don’t know about it, these two articles paint a decent picture. Velonation or bicycling.com

I donated to the Kimmage Defense fund. Not a lot, but I did donate. That now, seems like money down the drain.

The other one that has left a bitter taste in my mouth and a slightly diminished PayPal account is the Kickstarter project The Commentator.

This from the website…

What is the project?

In 1976 Danish Filmmaker Jorgen Leth made the legendary sports and cycling film, A Sunday in Hell, about the Paris Roubaix cycling race. It defined a genre and helped put the Paris-Roubaix on the global sporting map. Leth now comments on the race for television.

We plan to follow Leth as he prepares for and comments on the race. We’ll be with him from his hotel in Paris until the end of the race at the Roubaix Velodrome. Along the way our team of photographers and filmmakers will shoot footage of the race, crowds and Leth himself caught up in the excitement of sport. We’ll capture the intense effort of contemporary pro racers, and will be sure to include stars from cycling’s past.

Sounded like a great idea. I was in. The documentary was of the 2012 Paris Roubaix, with delivery of the final product in August 2012. Myself and the other 530 backers are still waiting. The producer popped up on March 13th and said it is 80% done. Going of the current timeline, we still have another 6 months or more to wait. Surely this is not acceptable?

Hopefully the latest cycling project I backed isn’t such a bumpy road. The Fly-6 sure looks interesting. I have to say the rear light concerns me. But I figure I will keep my current 50 lumen blaster and run the camera as well. Fingers crossed.

Have you had any experience with crowd funded cycling projects? Let me know about them in the comments.

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Bike GIFness

Something a little different for a Saturday morning.

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Friday Videos

Lets start with a Kittel tanty.

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“SUMMERLONG” (STEEL ERA IMAGE MOVIE) from goooove on Vimeo.

Face plant and amazing dismount from fly6 on Vimeo.

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How to Make a Mountain Bike Film from Filme von Draussen on Vimeo.

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Have a great weekend. And stay safe.

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Strade Bianche

Tonight is the race along the white gravel roads of Tuscany. A classic in some peoples books, even though Twitter has been around longer.

For us Aussies, it is a late race, with coverage starting on Eurosport at 12:30 (thank you Julie Davies) but slightly earlier if you are able to stream it.

As usual, the best places are :

Steephill.TV
Cyclingfans.com
Procyclinglive.com

Check these out for some excellent shots from last year.

A brief write up and the winners thus far are on Wiki.

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