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Tag: cycling

The start of a New Year is a fantastic time to make a few changes in your life. Whether it’s deciding to drop a couple of extra pounds that you’ve been carrying since gorging yourself on Quality Street over Christmas or trying to get back to peak fitness – now is as good a time as any to do something different.

In the past our New Year’s resolutions have always ended up broken by mid-way through February, but this year we’re determined it WILL be different. That’s why we’re switching things up and doing New Year’s reVolutions, not reSolutions. That means focusing on cycling only, and no more caving in at the first sign of peer pressure, or sacking off a ride with friends because the forecast looks less than favourable! 

Here are a few different revolutions you might want to try, as well as our advice for how to make them a success. 

Upgrade your gear

Sometimes we need a little push to invest in new bike stuff, especially if it’s a step up from what you’re used to riding with. Handbuilt wheels, custom frames and carbon fibre componentry don’t come cheap, but when you pay a bit extra you’ll find the riding experience is so much better – not to mention that it’ll last wayyy longer and could end up saving you money on replacement parts.

So this New Year, choose to treat yourself with a new set of wheels, an upgraded drivetrain (like the gorgeous Campag Chrous one in the picture above), or maybe just a flashier choice in bar tape. The rewards will be many and you’ll get to enjoy improved performance all year long.

Ride a 40/80/100-miler

Whether you’ve only dipped your toe into long-distance expeditions, or you’re a seasoned rider looking for a new challenge, setting yourself a new ‘longest ever distance’ target to beat in 2016 is a brilliant way to get and stay motivated. 

And imagine the satisfaction after some hard work in the early season when you finally cross the finish line, able to say you just rode further than you ever have before.

The only downside with this one is there’s always another distance. Just done 50 miles? Next time do 75. Just done 100 miles? Ever heard of a double century?

Get back on the bike

From being involved in a bad traffic accident, to recently having had a baby, to going backpacking round Asia for eight months – as far as reasons for not having ridden a bike in a while, we’ve heard them all!

But we’re here to tell you that NOW is the time to get back in the saddle, start turning those pedals and rediscover the joys of life on two wheels. Remember when you used to commute to work by bike, and now you spend an hour and a half on the sweaty tube everyday? Which did you prefer? Exactly. 

That’s what friends are for

There are few better things in this life than riding bikes with your good friends, so perhaps this year you should start recruiting some new cyclists into this amazing sub-culture of ours. 

They might need a little bit of persuading to begin with – but once you’ve got ’em hooked that’s another riding buddy you’ll be able to call on yourself!

Reach your peak!

When was the last time you were in really good shape? As in absolute ‘top of your game’-type shape? For us it was about four years ago. Or maybe it was five…

Well friends, this is the year we get back to being those peak physical specimens* that we once were. It all starts with getting back on the bike and putting in some major miles in the early season, so you’re poised and ready to get your best results ever all year long.

Imagine checking Strava and finding you’ve beaten an old time you set three years ago. Or absolutely blowing away your usual riding buddies on a particularly tough climb! 

* this may be a slight exaggeration

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If you check up there ^^^ in the top navigation of our site you’ll spot that we’ve added a link to  our brand new online shop, which, fortunately for you uninspired gift-givers, is here right in time for Christmas.

You’ll find many of the same great brands that we stock in our London store, including CInelli, Hope Tech, Nitto, Lynskey Titanium and Brooks England – all of which have featured on our blog because of their great quality products. In fact, we only sell gear that we really believe in, both online and in the flesh.

We’ve got a selection of full handbuilt bikes, but you can also purchase frames & forks, and other bits of componentry – ideal if you’re looking to build up your own project bike.

If you’re looking for a great gift for a loved one this year, you know where to look first! Even better, send your friends and family the link to the shop and ensure you get something you actually want this year!

Lets go shopping!

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 The infamous Mont Ventoux has been the scene of some great cycling battles in the past, but will it play a part in this year's Tour?

The infamous Mont Ventoux has been the scene of some great cycling battles in the past, but will it play a part in this year’s Tour?

We’re already stoked for the Tour de France to kick off on 4 July and with the big names, Nibali, Contador, Froome and Quintana, all down to ride it’s set to be a true heavyweight battle. With a seriously hilly course, it looks like being a year for the pure climbers, which throws a little doubt on Chris Froome’s chances – at one stage he even claimed he mightn’t ride at all because the course didn’t suit him. 

Regardless of who makes it to the start line in Utrecht in three weeks or so, it’s doubtless going to be a fantastic month of racing. We took a quick scan of the route and picked out some key days where we think the race could be won or lost.

Stage 2: Utrecht to Zeeland

After a time trial prologue around Utrecht the race begins in earnest with this 166km slog across the barren flatlands of Belgium to Zeeland. It’s very early in the competition for anything to be outright won, apart from the inevitable sprint finish, but we might see some major time losses if the notorious Belgian weather comes into play. Flat terrain and proximity to the sea make this a likely spot for severe cross-winds, and with cross-winds come the dreaded echelons. We may well see one or two big names get caught in a second or third echelon group, at which stage it becomes pretty difficult to bring the race back together.

Stage 4: Seraing to Cambrai

It takes four days for the Tour to reach France this year, with this the stage where it finally crosses over the border with Belgium. Classics fans will be delighted as the peloton hurtles over the infamous cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, with six sectors of the ‘Hell of the North’ race featuring in the route for Stage 4. We expect Chris Froome, who has a healthy disdain for northern Europe in the spring, will be less delighted.

But why might this stage have an effect on the general classification? Well last year Vicenzo Nibali used an early cobbled stage to put more than two minutes into his nearest rivals, laying down a marker for the domination to come. Don’t be surprised to see the top guys clinging to his wheel as he nimbly navigates the ‘baby’s heads’. 

Stage 9: Vannes to Plumelec

What’s more fun to watch than a time trial? A team time trial! Only kidding, all time trials are deathly boring for spectators and quite frankly I’m sick of hearing commentators trying to liven them up with  ‘fun’ trivia about each rider out ‘on course’. Nevertheless, time trialling is integral to at least one of the big four contenders’ game plan. 

Chris ‘looking at stem’ Froome is a master of the race against the clock and his team aren’t too shabby either (despite falling apart at the Giro a little bit this year). It’s still early in the race to be hoping to defend a lead, but Froome must take time here from his nearest rivals if he’s to stand any chance of mixing it up at the business end of proceedings.

An interesting extra dimension is added by the fact that this TTT is later than usual, meaning some teams may have lost a couple for riders along the way – especially on the aforementioned cobbles. Any teams trying to tackle this three riders down could lead to some seismic shifts in the standings.

Stage 17: Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup

Cycling history buffs will tell you that a summit finish in Pra Loup marked the end of the Age of Eddy, when the all-conquering Belgian, Merckx, was defeated by Frenchman Bernard Thévenet. The Cannibal never won his sixth tour. 

Despite the heritage, the part of the day that may well come into play for this year’s GC is not on the climb up to Pra Loup, but the huge descent from the summit of the Col d’Allos. Defending champ Vincenzo Nibali is a superb descender. It’s fair to say that after scuppering his TdF chances last year going downhill, Contador may not be quite so confident. Everyone will be watching the Italian for any attempts to get away on this slope.

Stage 20: Modane to Alpe d’Huez

 A scene on Alpe d'Huez

A scene on Alpe d’Huez

The inclusion of Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate day of the race is an aggressive move, even by  the standards of notoriously sadistic Tour organisers. Anyone whose GC hopes are still alive will be asked to tackle three horrifically big mountains in just 110km, the Telegraphe, the Galibier and then the Alpe itself – all three steeped in iconic racing history, equalled only by Ventoux in terms of their fearsome reputations. Unless we see a show of total dominance earlier in the race, akin to that of Contador at this year’s Giro or Nibali at the 2014 Tour, then this may very well be the deciding stage of the whole affair.

So there you have it, the key stages of the Tour De France 2015. Now let us know who you think is going to win it.

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Women are awesome. Cyclists are awesome. But who are the most awesome women cyclists? We’ve put together a list of our five favourites. Who else belongs in this list? Tell us in the comments!

Beryl Burton

  Image Credit

Image Credit

Beryl Burton was a British women’s road cyclist. In fact, for two decades or more she was the British Women’s road cyclist. Burton won everything it was possible for a woman to win on a bike, including 90 domestic championships and seven world titles.

One of our favourite cycling legends is attributed to Burton, who set the 12-hour distance record in 1967, surpassing both the previous women’s and men’s records. The story goes that while out on that record beating ride she actually passed another rider, Mike McNamara, on his way to setting the equivalent men’s record miles. Old Beryl is reputed to have given him a liquorice allsort as she passed before leaving him in her dust. McNamara ate the sweet.

Burton also gets 10 extra awesome points for rocking the name Beryl like a boss.

Marianne Vos

She’s fast, she’s Dutch, she’s won all there is to win in road and CX – she is Marianne Vos. Few riders living or dead have ever held such dominance over the competition that they could really lay claim to the title of ‘greatest cyclist of a generation’. Vos can.

Here’s some fast and furious on bike footage of ‘the Cannibal’ bossing it around Paris at last year’s ‘La Course’. At about 40 seconds she hits a gap, grabs the wheel of the German champ then drops everybody in the final metres.

Give yourself 10 awesome points if you can name Vos’ home town. Clue, it begins with an apostrophe.

Frances Willard

Not quite a ‘pro’ bike rider, but most certainly an impressive woman who definitely believed in the power of two wheels to change the world, Frances Willard was a suffragette, an author and a bicycle advocate. She wrote a book called ‘A Wheel Within a Wheel: How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle’, which explained her perspective on cycling as a way for women to gain independence, develop confidence, and be seen by men as equals in skill. 

On the massive popularity of cycling at the end of the 19th century she had this to say: “Tens of thousands who could never afford to own, feed and stable a horse, had by this bright invention enjoyed the swiftness of motion which is perhaps the most fascinating feature of material life.” Amen, Frances, amen.

Laura Trott

With the potential to become the best out and out track rider Britain has ever produced, the diminutive Laura Trott is a specialist when it comes to the omnium and team pursuit. She’s got 14 national titles titles to her name, two Olympic golds, 10 euro championships and five sets of rainbow bands too. The most terrifying part, she’s only 22.

Trott is beloved by the British public, not just for her uncompromising attitude on the track, but for her bubbly personality away from competition. Who could forget the snap of her chugging Heineken with Prince Harry at London 2012, or this refreshingly honest and perfectly unscripted interview from 2013. Skip to the 1:30 for the best story about sausage pasta you’ll ever, ever hear.

We love her a bit.

Annie Londonderry

   Image Credit

Image Credit

Annie Londonderry’s story is so impressive it’s actually a total nightmare to retell. There are so many details, angles and incredible aspects that you don’t want to miss out, we could end up writing a thousand word essay on her exploits alone. 

Here are the essentials. Born in Latvia in 1870, she was the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world. When she set off from Boston in the United States she had never ridden a bike before. Londonderry was not her real name, she ‘sold’ her surname to the Londonderry Spring Water company to raise sponsorship cash. Her trip was called “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman” by one New York newspaper. She visited France, Egypt, Jerusalem, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Singapore en route around the world, before sailing back to California. She even entered (and won) a few local races on her way back to the east coast of the US.

Got another awesome woman cyclist we need to add to this list?

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That’s right, this weekend you’ll be able to see some of our custom-built bikes on the hit BBC2 show Dragons’ Den. We’re not asking Peter Jones and his pals for any investment though – although if any of them need a new custom-built frame we can totally help – we’re actually going to be there supporting our friends at Hornit, who are trying to get backing for their ultra-loud bike horn. 

It’s a fantastic product and one we proudly stock in our shop, so we couldn’t be more excited to help them go for the big bucks.

To back up the brand we created a couple of unique bikes, so the Dragons could see what the Hornit looks like and give it a test. More than that we can’t say until the show’s been on, but here’s a sneak peek at a one of our custom-built beauties, specially made for the programme.

To celebrate we’ve got a special discount on Hornit products and we know sales are going to soar once the show airs, so get down to our shop at 38 Store Street in London or visit our online store to grab one before the rush. The horn is specifically designed for cyclists and is ten times louder than a car horn, enabling riders to be heard by motorists, even above the revving of engines.

And don’t forget to tune in or set your Sky+ boxes to record at 9pm, 15th February, BBC2.

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Do you cycle to work but struggle to carry your suit in without it being creased up? Or want to bike to a party and keep your dress wrinkle free?

Well worry no more Henty Bags are here!

The Henty Wingman bag was designed by two friends who cycled to Canary Wharf everyday and were constantly criticsed for looking scruffy.

Their solution – Design a messenger bag that can carry your suit, shoes, laptop and other essentials while looking cool and fitting comfortably.

Please watch this video to show you how it all works: Hello

They come in 2 sizes (Large and Compact) and 3 colourways (inside colour), Grey, Green and Blue.

They also fit as hand luggage on planes and so are great for business travelers who want to carry a laptop and suit on the plane 🙂

We have these bags in the shop and at £119.99 are a great buy!

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The name Otto London may not be so familiar to you…but the chances are you have seen his awesome cycling ponchos being used by cyclists throughout London, the UK and Europe!
These ponchos are incredibly well designed for the urban cyclist as they feature the following:

– Fully waterproof

– Hood large enough to go over helmet

– Double Zips to increase airflow

-Cotton Lining with inner pocket

– Poppers to form temporary sleeves

– Hi-Vis reflective piping

– Straps for holding onto the handlebars (explained below)

– 2 sizes

– 8 awesome colours

The reason these ponchos are so well designed is they are at home off the bike as well as on. They have temporary poppers that you can clip together that form sleeves for when walking around town and not be blown around like a sail.

Then once you are back on the bike simply unpop the poppers and put your hands into the straps and hold onto your bars.

The effect of this is a tent like structure that protects your entire body (from head to toe) from the rain.

No more wet legs, cold hands and soggy shoes.

The 2 sizes keep the fitting process easy and the range of 8 colours (from black to bright pink) mean there is a shade for everyone.

Pop in store to try one of these revolutionary products on and have your daily cycle transformed. 

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