Jensie, Tony, Fabs, Matthias, Jacky Bobby, maybe Thomas. Off the back of the UCI rule changes that have completely overhauled what was, ‘the hour’, the hour record has captured the imagination of a number of the sport’s big hitters. It hasn’t, however, captured mine.
It’s just that I don’t get it. I don’t get it, and I don’t love it. There was a romance to the notion of the hour that existed because of its timelessness. That timelessness was anchored in the strict rules riders had to abide by to undertake it; a Merckx-era bike, limits on rider position and equipment, and a rawness to the whole event that stripped down athletes to the bare essentials.
A bike. A man (or woman). An hour.
A few years ago I was out for a ride in a remote region of Northern Thailand when I had a flat tyre. As I fumbled with the mini pump an American guy, Phil Webb, rode up on, to my surprise, a bamboo bike.
As it turned out he was then living nearby and had set up a co-operative style business to help local hill tribe people make a living by producing bamboo bikes.
A couple of days later I found myself in their workshop, finding out exactly how bamboo bikes were made, which was surprisingly ingenious yet simple. Given the profusion of “free” raw materials (bamboo) and their location in impoverished regions I couldn’t help but wonder just why they had not become mainstream yet.
Twenty-five years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall, is the sun rising again in the east?
After three brutally close weeks of racing, a visibly shocked but overjoyed Greg Lemond clinched victory in the 1989 Tour de France at the 11th hour.
To be more precise, it was in the final minute of the race that it became apparent the American had whooped race leader Laurent Fignon in the final time trial to take victory by a scant eight seconds, the closest margin of victory in the greatest race on Earth's history.
You know all those issues we cyclists had with safety. Like being run off roads. Like being treated like second-class citizens. Well, I can say now that fear no more comrades, divine intervention has given us deliverance.
I present to you, the Smart Hat.
From Sydney designer, Toby King, this aesthetically pleasing wonder helmet, provides a full suite of safety features including:
When I decided to get back into riding off-road late last year I was presented with a choice, baggies or Lycra?
I already had several drawers full of roadie Lycra so I thought: "What the heck, gimmie the baggies, all the cool kids are wearing them." I can be just like them.
I'd also seen Cannondale professional cross-country world cup riders Manny Fumic and Marco Fontana wearing them in races and thought that if they wear them then it had to be OK.