Living in a place like England in the winter sometimes you actually forget what the sun & warmth feels like. I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in New Zealand & managed to put in a whole lot of miles on the bike, making the most of the summer conditions. So in stark contrast to Christian’s recent post I thought I’d share a few of my favourite photos from my rides down under.
The Christmas break is over & in theory you should all be back on your bike making the most of the (drier) weather. We’ve got loads of exciting things planned for 2013 & can’t wait to share them all with you.
This Sunday we’ll be back on our bikes with the first Steady Sunday ride of the year, a gentle 30 mile spin setting off from Mud Dock Deli at 10am, bring a bike (most people ride fixed) & come for a chilled out ride with a great group of people without too many hills.
My first proper ride of 2013 was a fun one with a few teething/bottle loosing/puncture issues. Here’s a few photos from along the way:
Earlier in the year our good friend Gav held the unique Fixed N Chips points based alleycat in Bristol, it was a glorious day & 80 riders (including Ed) took part in the event. The video has been put together showing the day from all angles. So sit back, grab some chips & enjoy the bike based sausage fest!
Back last year I went to Berlin for Charge Bikes to put together a little video riding on the Scissor fixed gear bike. Well it’s been a wait but the video has finally been put together, and it’s awesome. Take a watch of it below!
We’ve just got back from yet another great Steady Sunday ride, in total there were 17 riders, an amazing turnout for what was such a cold morning, riding to Chew Valley Lake & back. We took the GoPro out to get a little footage which will become a video some time soon. But for now here’s a couple of photos from today’s ride. Keep an eye on the blog for the video & follow us on Twitter for future #hwsteadysundays rides.
Sunday is our favourite day of the week, we try & ride bikes almost every Sunday, normally just a couple of us, for the past few months at least, as we never think to tell anyone until the day of the ride. Though recently I organised a little ride out to the Burrington hill climb & had 9 of us riding in total. This got us thinking that we could easily get this number of riders out weekly, so this week I put a few tweets out & today we had 11 riders attend the ride, the route was simply out to & around Chew Valley Lake, which in total came to a decent 28 miles.
We’ve decided to try & get the numbers up weekly, and put a little name to the ride, we’re calling them ‘Steady Sundays’. They are super chilled out, will be around 30 miles each week & we’ll be meeting at 10am at the Tobacco Factory in Southville. If you want to join then head on down next week, make sure you bring a drink & necessary puncture kit/tools too. See a few random photos from today’s ride below to see what pull be getting yourself into. I even created a little hashtag for photos/chat about the rides – #hwsteadysundays . We hope to see you on a ride soon!
I took advantage of being oop North at the weekend to go watch the National Hill Climb and give a bit of support to club members PJ and Glyn.
As I nipped out for breakfast in the morning the Manchester weather was cold and damp, with the incessant drizzle that it seems to hold so close to his heart. Ominous for those attempting to ride extremely fast up a hill. Especially when the hill in question is ‘The Rake’.
The Rake is pretty steep. The event program (a glorious DIY photocopied thing by the host club Lancashire Road Club) gives the key facts of; ‘The Rake climbs 321 feet in 947 yards giving and average gradient of 1 in 8.8′, this translates into new money as averaging around 11 % for 0.9 km. The real savage parts comes with the 20% start and a 25% kick with plenty of tarmac left before the finish line. As you would expect I chose to situate myself just after this part for most of the race, it was good for pain face spotting but also the part where the competitors needed the most encouragement which I duly helped provide. There where plenty of people out despite the inclement weather and it made for a good atmosphere.
I was astounded by the age range of competitors, yes I expected a smattering of juniors and some vets but an age range of 12 – 68 blew my mind a little. Amazing that people of these ages can even ride up the thing but some of the juniors where super quick with James Knox even breaking the top 10!
There were some incredible bikes on show, the majority of people rode carbon road bikes but a few purists where riding fixed (PJ included), this included a Cannondale Track!
Choice of gear for fixed seemed to be in the 54 – 57 range, though the top end of that seemed a little too large. As the excellent commentator, event secretary and winner many moon ago Peter Graham pointed out to PJ as he worked hard through the steepest section ‘He DEFINITELY looks oooverr geaaared thurrrr’.
This beast had a drilled out saddle and shows all the elements of what is generally thought to make a good hill climb bike for the short steep stuff. Single front ring, base bar/bar ends with a tt shifter and weight savings made wherever possible (drillium saddle!). Around 85 psi seemed to be the tyre pressure of choice for keeping traction in the wet conditions.
PJ and Glyn both had excellent rides, carding 02.51.2 and 02.37.5 respectively. Giving them 37th and 8th positions. Cracking ride by all and Glyn finished a long season by breaking the top 10.
The event was won by hot favourite Jack Pullar with a 02.21.3 giving a 5 second winning margin over his closest rival (and defending champion) Gunnar Gronlund with 02.26.0, Matt Clinton rounded out the podium. He was one of the few riders I watched at the finish and his speed over the line took me aback.
The very top is where the brutality of the climb is most evident. I spoke to PJ up there who proclaimed he had ‘gone deep into the death zone’ and kept touching his chest as if to make sure his heart wasn’t going to pop out.
Full results are up on the CTT website.
It is my intention to try and ride a National Hill Climb one year, but now investing so much into road seasons is going to make it hard to keep my focus for a month longer! We will have to see…..
*I make no apologies for poor picture quality.
This Sunday once again reminded me why I love riding bikes & living in Bristol. Almost every Sunday myself & Ed will go for a ride, and are sometimes joined by 1, maybe 2 other riders to put in a few miles. This Sunday was the Bristol South CC hill climb at Burrington, so we had a little round up via the social networks & managed to get together a group of 9 of us for a ride out to support close friends & local riders as they battled with the infamous Burrington Combe climb.
The ride out was foggy but fun, then we joined the largest crowd on a corner to watch all the riders compete, including Christian, Dan B & Mark, as well as eventual winner Paul Jones aka PJ (winner of last week’s Hell Climb). There was a great atmosphere & there were spectators of all ages, it feels great to be part of what is such a good cycling community.
Once the prizes were handed out we set off for the ride home in what was glorious sunshine, taking on a hill challenge of our own, in form of Wrington. I took a bunch of photos thoughout the morning & they are all below in glorious iPhone quality. Now grab some friends & go ride!
The Bristol fixed gear scene is currently under going a massive rebirth, with lots of new riders and a variety of events happening.
Last week Tim and me headed over to Wales for the first of hopefully many Ride The Drome events.
Ride The Drome is a great idea by Luke which basically involves a bunch of cyclists, with varying levels of track experience, going to Newport Velodrome for a couple of hours of fun and some hard work!
If you’d like to get on the waiting list for the next event, visit Ride The Drome and drop Luke an email.
So, last night I landed in San Francisco, and being the last Friday of the month it was Critical Mass night, now I’m not one to attend Critical Mass back home, but last night was a special one as it was the 20th anniversary of the event being held here in SF. I had borrowed myself a bike from the ever so awesome guys at Mash Transit & rode towards the start point.
Just riding to the meeting point I must have bumped into a good 100 or so riders, and the rumour was that up to 10,000 cyclists would be taking part. These rumours were confirmed when we got to the start point, at the end of Market street & we were greeted by the sound of cheering, music & bike bells ringing out across the area.
There were cyclists from all over the place, of all ages & on all types of bikes, from folding bikes right up to a 36″ wheeled beast, and a whole lot of home made machines too! This one being ziptied together rather than welded, hmmm. Also spot the news reader, film crews from across the area were here to cover this story.
The mass set off soon after 6, and was escorted by a number of cops on motorcycles, which was nice as they blocked off any road we chose to ride down, which started as a set route, then got particularly random throughout the night.
There were crowds of people lining the streets to take photos & show their support, there were also hundreds of Friday night commuters in cars being held up for ages as the 6 mile, yes 6 mile train of bikes went by! Some drivers were impatient, but most of them embraced the moving bicycle party.
There were occasional stops for ‘circles’ at certain intersections, where we’d ride circles right in the middle of to road just to show that for that night, we owned the road, and not the cars.
At one point we rode through a tunnel, which called for celebration as we rode totally car-less, and the noise & atmosphere was incredible. Like
Nothing I’ve experienced before.
I rode with the group for 3 hours, and as more & more riders dropped out as it got dark, I called it a night. The bikes with boom boxes continues to ride, alongside thousands of others in a bit of a random route, but it must have gone on well into the night. Now I’ll stop boring you with words & badly taken photos, though soon I’ll put some badly shot video online so you can experience the madness for yourselves!