Fall From The Saddle 10/19/2015


It’s the end of the riding season (at least in good weather), there are months of miles in your legs, and the rolling hills feel that little bit easier. Endless roads wrapped in golden tunnels of trees under blue skies. The best time of year to ride up state. You never want to head home.

Categories: Routes

Climbing Otxondo 08/09/2015


The full photo essay for Otxondo is here

We based ourselves in the village of Ainhoa in France for our second week in the Pyrenees, a beautiful traditional Basque village in the Labourd Province. Every road out of the villgae took you over rolling hills, medium Cols or up into the Spanish Pyrenees. One beautiful road out of the village was the N-121-B over the border into Spain. About 2km out of the village the road starts to rise and the climb up to Otxondo begins. As you pass by the exit to the village of Urdax the road hits the tree line and takes you all the way to the top. Worth a little side trip is what looks like a cattle track to the left, that takes you up to the radio mask at Pico Gorramkil where you get spectacular view down ithe valley to Erratzu and the road that takes you up the back side of the Col d’Izpegui. It made for a wonderful day in the saddle and about 8000ft of climbing.

Categories: Routes

The Lost Col 08/01/2015


The Full “Lost Col” photo essay is here

St-Jean-Pied-De-Port is a perfect place for a Pays-Basque Pyrenean raid. An area surrounded by climbs that David Miller called his training ground when he lived in Biarritz, and one that he also called “hell”.  The Col d’Ispeguy was a climb we were drawn back to over and over on our stay there. Riding a climb many times is how you come to know it,  just like your “local” back home. We rode it on brilliant clear hot mountain mornings, in the soft warm evening Pyrenean light, in stifling humidity under hazy skies, with chest thumping thunderstorms in the distance, from the French side, from the Spanish side – every single time the same road offered something different. Featured in The Tour just three times it doesn’t carry the same fame as its Pyrenean sisters – but it is indeed a beautiful and hidden gem. It has had some famous names crest its summit first when raced in anger,  Lucien Van Impe in ’77, Richard Virenque in “92 and Pascal Hervé in ’96. The Spanish side offers a beautiful descent with sweeping corners and a better surface, all the way down to the village of Erratzu and the bottom of another climb The Oxtondo, which makes for a beautiful loop. Ascending the French side from Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry up a “V” shaped valley it has the look of a classic with the road hugging a steeper exposed finish as you near the restaurant (and gift shop, and the biggest selection of cow bells I have ever seen) at the top. It is a climb loved by the locals one that if the Tour ever ventures this far west again will surely get the credit it deserves.



Categories: Routes

From Furniture Scraps to Gorgeous Saddle 05/26/2015

scraps_saddleThere can be a lot of waste in the manufacturing process, and not always in a way where a second use is obvious. Italian furniture makers Poltrona Frau who make beautiful modern leather furniture have this problem. Lots of small and sometimes oddly shaped off-cuts of very expensive leather. To figure out what to do with the waste they approached the students at Parsons School Of Design here in New york to come up with ideas, one of which was this beautiful red saddle above. For now the products including the saddle are prototypes that will be shown at the Poltrona Frau’s showroom until the end of May. After the show the brand will decide to take one of the prototypes forward into an actual product. Lets hope its the saddle.

Categories: Design / Kit

Fred Perry + Wiggins Cycling Badges 10/06/2015


British fashion brand Fred Perry continues its collaboration with Bradley Wiggins by commissioning five illustrators to design these beautiful cycling patches. Each illustrator was given the theme of the city that they live in and include including London, New York, Tokyo, Munich and Paris. Not sure where I would put them, but love them.

The full Wiggins collection is here

Categories: Design / The Other Stuff

Expensive But Worth The Money 08/13/2015

silca_toolsWithout doubt It might be the most beautiful set of Hex tools you could ever own, but at $125 for the set probably one of the most expensive as well. Multi-tools with roughly the same access to sizes can sit somewhere between $20 and $50, so this is quite a big jump. But with those multi-tools I tend to loose them pretty quickly, and I own quite a few that in total go way beyond this price point. There is a damn good chance I am going to take better care of this set. Also the material quality in the Silca set is pretty incredible, using S-2 shock resistant steel for longevity and better fit. They position the set as a “lifetime” product, and they might just be right.

Categories: Kit

Untapped: It’s Like Magic! 08/01/2015

untapped If like me you struggle with a lot of the mid-ride energy gels giving you an “upset” stomach then you are always happy to hear about a brand coming along and offering something natural. I have been using the Scratch Labs products in my drinks now and love them (especially the Orange flavor) and my wife bought me the Scratch Labs cook book, but I find it really hard to get myself organized to make whats in there as good as it sounds. This summer I was lucky enough to spend time in France on a ride with Ted King (of Cannondale Garmin fame) where I got introduced to UnTapped, a pure Maple Syrup “Athletic Fuel”. I was intrigued as I live in “Syrup country” upstate on the New York/Connecticut border. Syrup wasn’t something I though of as fuel. A few weeks later the guys at Untapped sent me a box to try out and I packed it in the kit bag on a two week trip to the Pyrenees, and this is where it proved to be a magic life saver. You know those days when you get the Michelin map out at breakfast and highlight a route. Something that looks good and will get you home before dark in time for a Panaché by the pool. But sometimes those maps lie, in a really bad way and a “triple chevron” road, well just doesn’t have the triple chevrons on. The climb started poorly with a 17% nice to meet you. That climb was called Col d’Ahusquy. The next 7km sat somewhere around the ever lucky 13% easing of to a what felt like a lovely average of 8-9% for the last 10km. At the top suffering from heat, jet-lag, not eating enough and generally sucking I pulled out the UnTapped with the wise words of Ted King ringing in my ears (“it can get you another 2 good hours…) In it went on the way down and we started the ride home over the Col d’Osquich. It literally is like magic. It kicked in pretty immediately and along with two new bottles of water I was feeling really good again. It was quick and effective and I reckon it got me at least another 2.5 hours. There is more to this than just a sugar kick, its naturally full of minerals and anti-oxidants – its basically just good for you. Its something I will definitely be adding to the every day ride kit. When something saves your ass like this did, you just put it in your pocket and don’t ask any questions – and put in a spare one for a friend in need.

If you want to get your hands on some go here

Me_UntappedRiding in the Pyrenees is serious business, so you better bring the good stuff.


Categories: Kit / Rides / The Other Stuff

Up! Up! Up! 05/03/2015

victorychimpgalibierA nice new print from Victory Chimp in collaboration with Galibier.cc, inspired by the legendary Alpine climb of The Galibier. Having sat at the bottom of that climb looking up, it is one of the most inspiring and intimidating views in cycling. The print is available here in an addition of 100.

Categories: Design / Rides