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.
The UEV 490 – Urban Escape Vehicle 03/07/2015
Just like a bike the UEV in the title above stands for Urban Escape Vehicle. Unfortunately the camper looks like it is only available in Australia. It could best be described as the Swiss Army knife of campers. The design thinking that has gone into producing this is astounding. How they have managed to include so many features into such a small footprint has to be admired. There is everything from a bedroom, to a kitchen, to a bathroom, and a series of “outside living” features. Watch the video and see how the outdoor kitchen comes to life – pretty amazing – all with running hot water from a diesel heated water tank system.
Vulpine + Sir Chris Hoy 02/14/2015
I 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!
This Leggero Gets Some Beautiful New Paint 01/10/2015
Really 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.
And There Was This 03/15/2015
The relaunch of the Jaguar brand has been a resounding success. They are once again making cars that if we could afford them they would definitely be on the list. Their partnership with Team Sky gives them an interesting media platform to get their products good air time in some of their biggest global markets. Last year they did a special edition F-Type Coupe for the Tour De France, only to see Chris Froome crash out. So they decided to try again in Paris-Nice this year and did a special World Champion Edition to follow Bradley Wiggins for the final time trial up to d’Eze. Alas Jaguar can’t seem to catch a break as Wiggins was a no-show for the final stage. No doubt looking at his over night position on GC and taking a peak out the window at the non-typical weather for Nice decided to say “Non” and stay in doors. Not sure they followed Richie Porte in the Jag, but they should have, he won.
The Onomichi-U2 Hotel A Cycling Destination 02/28/2015
Ok it might be a once in a lifetime trip, but if you ever get the chance the Onomichi-U2 Hotel in Hiroshima looks pretty amazing, especially if you ride. Imagine a hotel where they welcome you riding right up to the reception desk to check in (instead of pretending that the large black box on wheels is a massage table or Trombone). Where they actively encourage you to hang your bike on the wall in your room (instead of balancing it on the small desk in the corner to make room). Where they provide service areas to do any traveling maintenance (instead of scrubbing the lube stains out of the carpet in your room). Such a place exists – coupled with amazing food and retail, Onomichi looks like a great destination. Right out the door is the Shimanami Kaido Bike Path, that takes a beautiful route across numerous bridges onto a network of islands out to Shikoku Island.
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 ALM Saddle By Fabric 02/03/2015
I 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.
“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.