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Archive for the ‘cycling stories’ Category

I’ve been watching and enjoying the extended SBS TV highlights of the Tour de France, as well as reading some interesting stories – in particular 2012’s “The Secret War” by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle, which is probably the most interesting of the several “Armstrong Era” insider confessions that I’ve read, mainly due to Hamilton’s lively approach and his closeness to the competitive heart of the era, having raced both with and against Armstrong.

The war of marginal gains and enhancements surely continues in the 2010s as it always has, but beyond the more recent tragedies, triumphs, deceits and lies of the formerly ‘undetectable’ EPO era, I’m now looking further back to the past in the book ” Tour de France – The Golden Age 1940s -1970s” ( teNeues).

It’s a large format book that covers the era from Robic, Coppi and Bartali (1940s post-war) to the decade of Merckx, Thevenet and Ocana ( 1970s ) via Anquetil vs. Poulidor in the 60s and lastly leading into the early Hinault years :

Ferdy Kubler, 1950

Ferdy Kubler, 1950

Anquetil vs. Poulidor 1964 - legendary !

Anquetil vs. Poulidor 1964 – legendary !

Taken mostly with large and medium format film cameras, with the majority of images in classic black and white, it offers quite a bit of insight into the men, equipment and spirit of the times thanks in part to the wonderful reproduction detail and the image quality of the originals.

Fausto Coppi, 1951

Fausto Coppi, 1951

There are few words and those are probably unnecessary, although having some background knowledge of the legendary event and its riders will definitely enhance the viewer’s enjoyment.

Jean Robic, 1948

Jean Robic, 1948

This is a book to have and hold, not one to merely view on a screen…

Roder Hassenforder, 1953

Roger Hassenforder, 1953

Happy LeTour !

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the heavenly bath-chair

the heavenly bath-chair

Road bikes are great when you’re in a hurry, but you can’t beat the experience of taking your time – when you have that time. Time that passes more slowly, and speed that seems much lower because your head is higher above the ground, looking about and taking in all the sights.

takin' it slow - i was walking it here

takin’ it slow – i was walking it here

On a road bike you are focussed on yourself a great deal more – your pace, your control, hazards coming up fast. I would  recommend all road bike riders to have a second “slow bike” to appreciate the inner-self via the outer world, as much as by physical exertion.

I feel that the bicycle market here is similar to the motorcycle market, in that the mainstream is either fast-looking racing style bikes or grippy dirt bikes (if you go to most mainstream motorbike shops). My take on this is to ask myself why we should all be like each other in our riding needs ?

Who says I have to have one or the other – I mean road bike or MTB ? Find your own niche I say …  be it new, or second hand classic, and do your own thing …

to salts bay

to salts bay

Today I rode the Gazelle for the first time in a while, and feel the better for it. No stress on the upper body and I saw all the sights !

 

I became a little blase the other morning on my early commute – having pre-checked my headlight to see the green “charged” light on. Didn’t worry about my spare battery …

uh-oh...

uh-oh…

About twenty minutes in the indicator suddenly went mostly red on a totally lightless track…

Thankfully, it took about half an hour for the battery to fully die, at which time it was getting faintly light…

hurry up, day !

hurry up, day !

some street lights

some street lights

I was given a valuable lesson – take that spare ( and consider a dynamo set ) !

dumaresq st

dumaresq st  

follow that bike !

follow that bike !

nearly there...

nearly there…

Lucky I wasn’t going home from an afternoon shift, it would have been a long one .

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It’s easy to take the ability to ride for granted, most of us have been doing it since we were kids … but for those who have not, it can be a scary experience.

nervously pushing off …

Yet given a bright autumn day on a quiet stretch of cycle path with a basic, easy to use, low geared bicycle and some patience, miracles may happen even for those who lack all confidence.

some time later

This is the department store Roadmaster bike I restored and slightly modified last year (at a very minimal cost) for just such a purpose…

dahon and roadmaster

It was an 18 speed to 6 speed down conversion, I dumped the horrid flat bars, fitted a better seat and a rack I that already had.

Next lesson is gearchanges!

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Awoke to stars, left under clouds …. racing from the dark and rain — only a couple of hardy ones on the track this morning. Light reflecting puddles in the city — I missed the worst and found the best, on a starry-cloudy morning :

harbour icon #1

harbour icon #2

the sky is falling

morning rise

shared path

into the trees

orica in grey

dreaming blur

Here’s to underwater sunlight.

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