A little sling shot to our friends at Dutch & Wolf over in the UK, who are trying to get a nicely curated cycling boutique up and running. They are going to be offering some of the best cycling brands out there, alongside their own custom products. Also their own coffee no less, classy. Run by Mark McGrath a guy that knows a bit about style you can be sure you are going to get good advice. Keep an eye on their site as the stock builds up and they start to introduce their own products. Best of luck guys, hopefully see you out on the road soon.
Despite feeling like there is still an eternity of winter to go, the PROs are already off and running. They really don’t seem to have much of an off-season anymore, it really doesn’t feel that long ago that I was sitting on the edge of my sofa screaming at Dan Martin in the finale of the Lombardia. The Tour Down Under has given us a great entrée to the season, with despite some riders commenting that they were “hardly touching the pedals“, the racing appeared pretty fierce on today’s Stage 5. It has also been the first opportunity to see some of the new team kits, bikes, rider swaps, and the return of some fallen hero’s.
I really don’t mind the Kartusha kit. I usually hate red kits but thus one actually does the sponsor proud by managing to stand out in a peleton of various shades of blue, black and white. I really wish Green Edge had done something closer to the national kit that Gerran’s is riding in, he really looks pretty classy. It is not to late yet, you haven’t left the country yet and most of Europe don’t believe the season has started. The LOTTO sponsor must be as happy as a sponsor could be as you can’t really see beyond their name on the team shorts.
Valverde is back, and despite being out for two years, seems to be riding with ease, and took a great win today beating Gerran’s in the sprint. That is pretty impressive even if a lot of riders claim to be not “riding”. Griepel looks fast, lean and mean (well he always looks mean) and seems to have power to spare. With a whole bunch of sprinters now split up and riding against each other I can’t wait to see the first pure sprinters finish, with Cav, Goss, Renshaw, Greipel, Hayman, and Pettachi, going head-to-head. Heinrich Haussler looks to be fit, healthy and looking happy to be back on the bike (despite taking a big bump in the pre TDU crits). Without doubt one of my favorite riders who is coming off a stinker of a season last year I hope to show well in the classics. Oscar Freire, well there is life in the old dog yet, a new team and a pretty new bike seem to have given him an few extra watts and hope of a run in probably his last classics campaign.
Specialized have dialed back the paint on the team frames and delivered pretty sweet looking Venge’s and SL4s. Trek has gone backwards and managed to deliver a completely expected frame compared to the classic Leopard track design from last year. There is no mistake that this is a Canyon, one of my favorite frames may be a tad over-decaled. It is nice to see Bianchi and the Celeste back in the peleton, and I can only imagine that with a team like Vaconsoiel on board they are going to get a lot of airtime.
I can’t wait to Milan San Remo!
Categories: The Other Stuff
Categories: The Other Stuff
Next time I am lucky enough to make a trip to Barcelona I know where I will be spending some time, and probably a lot of Euro’s. PAVE looks like a great bike retail experience, that falls into the category of “Shrine To Cycling”. With more square footage than they know what to do with, they have introduced some really nice display touches that pay homage to cycling culture. The back lights on the bikes and gallery presentation, the cobble stones cut into the floor, and the wheel art display in the entrance area, all make for what looks like a really unique space. It looks like they are selling pretty much the expected global taste brands, so it is hard to tell if they are carrying any local or Spanish brands beyond Orbea (Their shop site isn’t up yet). Also check out their blog, it looks like these guys know how to ride (nice cornering style on the mountain descent) and they have an eye for a photograph. Great brand, can’t wait to visit.
I have to admit when I first took the Pro Team jacket out of the box it felt way to light to be a winter jacket. On trying it on I had even more doubts, the cut which has a high rise around the front of the waist made me want to keep pulling it down. I thought I had got the wrong size. The fit everywhere else seemed perfect. The neck was snug and comfortable, and had enough of a gap that it wasn’t going to allow my holiday stubble to get caught in the zip. And there it stayed in the box for a few weeks ready for a block of riding over the winter holidays.
On the first ride out (in 32˚F) all fears were put to rest. I should really know better and trust in those that know better. One of my pet peeves about winter jackets is the “bunching” you get around the waist when riding, that often also lets in a nice little stream of cold air. The high cut of the Team Jacket prevents said “bunching” and keeps the jacket snug to the body and therefore warm. The fabric has also a nice stretchy quality to it that also makes it very comfortable to ride in, in fact it is pretty safe to say that you could almost forget you are wearing it when jumping in and out of the saddle. Layered up I was wearing a Rapha Merino base layer, a Gore Thermo Layer, and a pair of arm warmers under the jacket and pretty much stayed warm right down to 26˚F riding at a high cadence. It is not completely rain proof, but even when I got caught out in a light shower it still kept me pretty much dry.
Overall it is a great product, well designed as you would expect, and incredibly practical. I am not going to go into the technical details of the jacket, Rapha do a much better job of that on their site. But having road tested it now for over a week in some frigid weather it is definitely staying in the kit bag. (One sad note: on one ride in a random stream of thought I counted I was wearing 5 out of a potential 8 Rapha products).