Edward Hopper And The Red Devil 02/15/2015


Edward_Hopper_CyclistEdward 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…

Letourner_winning

Letourner_pacing

Categories: Classic / Riders

The ALM Saddle By Fabric 02/03/2015


FabricI haven’t seen the ALM saddle from Fabric in the flesh yet, but they look stunning. They have altered the basic design to push the rails further to the edge of the saddle creating what they call a “Leaf Spring” effect to help suck up road vibration. Love the buffalo etched cover. Gorgeous finishing.

Categories: Design / Kit

My Favorite 2014 Ride: Talansky In The Final Dauphine Stage 12/31/2014


talanskyJust 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.

Categories: Classic / Races / Riders

Mido Riding Boots From PEdAL ED 12/21/2014


MidoReally liking this new cycling boot from PEdAL ED. They are styled on a classic hiking boot design but with some bike specific modifications. A lowered back heel design allows for a smooth and comfortable pedaling action. A reinforced toe cap area gives some added protection when flicking the pedals. The heal also has a reflective strip built in for night time riding. The boot comes in four color choices and each color comes with a selection of three different lace colors. A contrasting color (like the blue laces above), a matching tone color (like the beige above) and some black reflective laces for night riding. All topped of with the excellent Vibram soles and hand made Italian leather by Diemme.

Categories: Design / Kit

Prints By Victory Chimp 12/10/2014


victorychimpReally liking these prints by Victory Chimp from Belfast (our hometown!). The top one is a hand-pulled single color screen print inspired by John Boyd Dunlop, inventor of the modern bike tyre, also born in Belfast. The bottom one is of our favorite rider Fausto Coppi, a Giclee print on a colored stock. Ryan is a rider like ourselves who  gets his thinking done in the saddle, “dreamed up on the roadside and worked out in the studio”. Both prints are released in editions of 50 and still available. Would make a nice Christmas present for someone…

Victory Chimp

Categories: Design / Riders

Vulpine + Sir Chris Hoy 02/14/2015


Vulpine_HoyI have been following and wearing  Vulpine kit for a while – although I just wore a hole in my socks (over-use). They really pay attention to the details, and their fabric choices are always really good. The launch of the “Hoy” line with Sir Chris Hoy looks like a really nice brand extension for them. The kit selection is designed to stretch from commuting to racing, with my favorite being some of the commuting kit in the pictures above. Creating performance kit in such a flooded market (even with the Hoy name behind it) is a tough ask, but Vulpine seem to be absolutely nailing and owning casual and urban riding. Best of luck!

Categories: Design / Kit

This Leggero Gets Some Beautiful New Paint 01/10/2015


Condor_LegerroReally liking the new Condor JLT Team paint job on the excellent Leggero, With a new kit sponsor and lots of new riders it is a fresh start for the team in 2015. Best of luck! Can’t wait to get back to London to see this in the flesh and hopefully get to see the new SL version ridden by Christian House in Colorado.

Categories: Design / Rides

Favorite Bikes Of 2014: Mosaic RS-1 12/30/2014


mosaicThis beautiful Mosaic RS-1 was put together by Above Category in California. Anyone that has concerns that a steel bike just can’t get light enough should have those concerns put to rest here. Mosaic have hit the perfect balance of keeping the ride quality of steel, and making a frame that can be built up light enough to be a climbing bike – Mosaic’s do come from Colorado after all. Chad and the team at AC have had this frame built up to be sitting between 13lbs – 14lbs, and that is not with any stupid light carbon parts – it was still an everyday ride. The frames come standard with the well respected Enve fork and Chris King headset. The frame geometry is custom as is also the bottom bracket. The AC builds are always beautifully spec’d and finished and I think this one has to be one of my favorites.

Categories: Design / Rides

The Magic Elixir 12/18/2014


Savlon

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.

Categories: Classic / Kit

Empire State 12/10/2014


Empire_Post

The Citibike Program has created a new genre of cyclist, and I am one of them, the “Spontaneous Commuter“. Like most New Yorkers riding in the city is conducted in the same way we walk, with our heads down.  Got to get somewhere, too busy to look up. Sometimes I think it is only the tourists that see what we miss everyday. On these newly discovered random rides I would find myself stopped at traffic lights, stretching my back and looking up. And there it was, not always, but enough to make me feel like I was constantly cycling around it. Sometimes it would appear at the turn of a corner like it had just exploded out of the ground in front of me. Other times, just visible, nudging itself in between buildings as if it was looking for me. From every neighborhood west, east, north and South, Manhattan to Brooklyn, it was nearly always there. The islands spindle, that we all spun around. Now when I ride I find myself looking for it. Now it has become a reason to ride and a reason to look up. Empire.

The full photo essay is here.

Categories: Design