Growing up I used to see a lot of German touring cyclists on the loop around Galway, pushing into an Atlantic headwind with bikes loaded full of bags and things strapped to them. Fast forward a couple of decades and the selection of camping and on-bike kit for touring is pretty astounding and technically advanced. Named after one of Britain’s most iconic routes that stretches the length of the country – this full pannier set stretches the full length of the bike front to back. The bag system uses an integrated Ortlieb mounting system that makes it compatible with pretty much all frame systems. Each pannier allows you to pack a substantial 23L – thats 92L of kit – enough for any trip. With the Ortlieb QL2 mounting system and the bags the system comes in at 1940g.
Edward Hopper And The Red Devil 02/15/2015
Edward Hopper wasn’t really a prolific artist, he actually spent very little time in front of the canvas, and spent more time gestating on what he might paint next. It was during one of these long periods of questioning himself living in New York that he found himself walking every night to Madison Square garden to buy 40 cent tickets to watch the Six Day races. It was during one of these visits he watched one of the great Six Day champions, that eventually inspired him to put brush to canvas again. That rider was Frenchman Alfred Letourner, a six times champion at Madison Square Garden. Letourner was named “Le Diable Rouge” because of his choice of red jersey. Hopper described him vaguely as “ I did not attempt an accurate portrait, but it resembles him in a general way. He was I think a member of one of the last French teams to win a race at Madison Square Garden”. The painting depicts the life of a track rider back in the 40s, often staying at the track during the races. His suitcases tucked under his bunk, topped off with the French flag. In races that were often marred with crashes and more than half the riders failing to finish, Letourner also sports a bandage on his right arm. In the photograph below from one of those many victories Alfred poses on the left with his riding partner DeBaets.
Later in Letourner’s career when he reached the peak of his power he went on to break the bicycle paced speed record, conducted behind a car in Bakersfield, CA, onboard the Schwinn Paramount bike where he clocked a speed of 108.92mph, still wearing his famous red jersey. So Hopper had no idea who he was painting. Just a rider in a red jersey jersey that caught his eye who was staring off into the distance.
More images after the break…
The Magic Elixir 12/18/2014
Any rider who has spent long hours in the saddle day after day has probably at some point had the misfortune to experience a saddle sore. That felling that starts with a mild irritation at the end of a ride, only to wake up the next day to a full on saddle sore and a world of hurt. At this point there is not a lot to be done, other than suffer. Although I once watched a documentary on the Tour in the days of David Miller, where they would take raw meat (usually Liver) and seal it in a ziplock bag to then be placed in their shorts over said irritated spot. Apparently it worked, but rumors of the team chief then cooking it and making the “Lantern Rouge” eat it for dinner are apparently not true. One method of prevention I was introduced to when racing in my teens was the wonders of “Savlon”. Or ironically our knick name for it now used in other cycling circles was “Ass Saver”. Savlon is a British made antiseptic cream. The stuff that when you were a kid and grazed your knee was the go to “magic cream” that your mother used. For this particular use case, usually after a post ride shower and drying, I put a thin layer around any contact points that might need a little love and attention (or even if the don’t to be preventative). I have got to the point where I do this after every ride and have not had a saddle sore for nearly 20 years. Is it the Savlon? Maybe, but that is the magic. Something is working and I am not changing it. So my recommendation would be, like me, if you are ever flying through Heathrow make sure you make a visit to Boots Pharmacy (they are in every terminal) and pick up a few packets. It is always something I keep in my kit bag.
“Just one moment like this makes you forget it all. This is why we do this” a teary Andrew Talansky declared when he passed the finish line of the final stage up Courchevel Le Praz, and learned that he had won one of the most respected races on the calendar. That statement could also be applied to fans watching the conclusion of the same race. On a day when all eyes were on the obvious, Contador, Nibali and Froome, the teams that usually dominate somehow conspired to let Talansky get in the break, only 31 seconds down on GC. Maybe those teams are just so used to shutting everything down in the last 10km and their over confidence stopped them looking at a break that had a former Giro winner in Hesjedal pulling for a team mate who had maybe more guts and determination than all of them put together. The Garmin rider tore down the technical descent of the Côte de Montagny to set himself up for the climb to the finish with a 1:11 minute lead over a charging Contador who at this point had pushed on alone seeing the GC win slip away. By the the time he crossed the line he had only taken 4 seconds out of Talanskly. They had basically matched each other stroke for stroke up the final climb. Wether the tactics were called from the car or on the road between Talansky and Hesjedal it was one of the smartest and tactically savy rides of the year, finished off by a rider who just refused to buckle and literally left everything on the road to take the biggest win of his career. This was an amazing stage to watch.
A Stunning Cinelli Supercorsa Pista In Pink 12/07/2014
Sometimes to get a bike this perfect, and this bike really is perfect in every aspect, it takes a really long time. In this case three years. The frames are custom made in Italy by Cinelli and the design and paint was created by Ignazio Lacitignola, a designer from San Franciso. The build list is pretty impressive. A classic Cinelli alloy cockpit. The drive train is Campy Record Pista originally designed for the velodrome and now found on classic street builds like this beauty. Laced up to the Campy hubs are some polished H-Plus Son rims. As you would expect with a build of this quality it is going to hit your wallet pretty hard at $5250. But if you are looking for something that stands out this is a good place to start.
Vittoria Lorica 1976 Shoe 11/22/2014
Leather and laces are well and truly back. My first ever pair of racing shoes (granted in black) are back on the market. The original shoe launched in 1976 by Celestino Vercelli is handmade in Biella, Italy and sports the original punched holes for ventilation.
Available at Always Riding