Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Art of Cycling

My latest article is now live on the ever wonderful Cycling Shorts

This is one for my Canadian friends, especially those residing in Ontario.

There is a competition running alongside this art exhibition and article. You have the chance to win a signed Ltd. Ed print directly from the artist herself. Here it is...

Sunset, by Luigia Zilli

There are three ways you can enter on the Cycling Shorts.

The competition closes on 5th August 2015.

Good luck.


PS... I now have another little blog, this one is going to chronicle my battle with Lymphoma and my efforts to raise £3001 for two vital cancer charities:

Monday, 23 March 2015

2015 will be a little different... and so it begins.

Here we go, sporting events for 2015 are now being inked into the disturbingly empty cycling calendar... better late than never!

It all kicked off with a leap into the unknown from the historic Larpool Viaduct, whitby. Now part of the excellent 'Cinder Track' cycle route, linking Whitby and Scarborough via the old railway line.
One small step... as I have distinct anxiety about heights (hence the end of my bouldering escapades) this was a big deal! 

Please ignore the less than slick abseiling skills - hands everywhere but the correct place!
Still, the views were too sublime not to dangle for a while. never one to let gravity get me down, It wasn't the freefall that I feared but the concluding rate of change of momentum should the resultant force in the rope be removed from the system. spinning gently, as I took in the sights of Whitby Abbey and the Moors, with an estimated angular momentum of ... OK, OK, enough physics teacher subliminal advertising (I promise not to act with such impulse in the future!)

Event #1... Born-Survivor - The Lake District 2015 with Team RM Fitness.

Check out the mad course here:
A new winter of strength training with just the occasional indoor ride - real life sometimes dominates - has led me, via the awesome and incredibly switched generous team, with Sam Dimmick to fore, to enter something completely mad... Born-Survivor: The Lake District!

An early strength session at RM Fitness, Wigan, under the careful eyes of Sam D. It's all about technique.
I will, I WILL ride up the cobbled HILL! I am a VIKING!
Sam's idea of a fun finish after 50 minutes of full on strength training - this place is AWESOME!
This is NOT what it looks like. From the disturbed mind of Russ Meadow's - the brains and driving motivation behind RM Fitness.
Sir Wiggo following in my foosteps - My dream pick for Paris-Roubaix 2015. All fingers crossed that he wins the ultimate classic. C'MON WIGGO! Photo courtesy of  RM Fitness.
So event #1 of 2015 will see me join the magnificent RM Fitness team for Born-Survivor - The Lake District 2015! No, I have no idea whatsoever why I thought entering this 'ultimate military assault course' would be a good idea... it must have been all the endorphins generated at the end of one Sam's insane HIIT finishes!

Event #2... Moors & Shores Adventure X Massif - 6o miles.

As the Moors & shores AdventureX passes the magical Fyling Hall School it falls upon my Kona Singlecross and me to ride it for fun. Starting & finishing in the beautiful Dalby Forest - scene of many a happy hour Fyling hall cycling fun - this should prove to be a magical day in the Brooks Cambium, what with no need to worry about gears n all!

Here's the map...

And profile...

and the Massif stats...

It should be a day of great fun and adventure - traversing the little trod trails of the majestic North York Moors national park.

Event #3... a long week in Germany with The Lost Boys

Details to follow!

Event #4... The Great North Run for the Finlay Cooper Fund.

The famous and huge North Eastern half-marathon. Time to put all this Jeff Galloway run-walk-run stuff into practice. My aims: to raise £300 for the Finlay Cooper Fund (my school's main charity for 2015), to finish in one piece and to enjoy every stride of the day. Why not join us?

A Just Giving page will be set up soon. Please be as generous as you can in this time of insane austerity!
Thanks for taking the time to read this little post. I hope it entertained, enlightened and perhaps encouraged you to join me on the road - and trench swamps - of this fine little Island.



Thursday, 24 July 2014

'Heroes of Cycling' Le Grand Depart 2014

Now where were we? Ah, yes...

To celebrate stage 1 of the 2014 Grand Depart, The Stephen Neal Group hosted a Grand De-Party at Platform North, The Factory Building, Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, HG1 1DX.

The exhibition was dedicated to raising funds for the Dave Rayner Fund & Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Yes, OK, so I bought another cycling T-shirt, and cap, and wristband... It was all for a couple of great causes.

This astonishing pop-up exhibition displayed beautifully a collection of vintage and modern bicycles. There were some true legends beautifully displayed here...

Let's start with...

Tom Simpson

Tommy Simpson: 30th November 1937 - 13th July 1967.
The first British rider to wear the yellow jersey - 1962.
Bike frame number 286.
The display was perfect and very peaceful. People stayed with Tom's bike for long time, often lost in thought.

Barry Hoban

Woodrup 1960's. Frame number 286.
No records exist for bikes built by Woodrup Cycles before 1973 due to a fire, however both Barry Hoban - the rider, and Ian McLean - the frame builder, have verified it'a authenticity as one of those from the 1960's finished in Mercier team colours for the Tour de France. Damaged and returned to Woodrup Cycles to be repaired, Jim, an employee at the time, rode it until it was sold to Chris Forbes in Otley. Restored to it's present glory by Chris it was eventually sold to Bob Garside - who was very generous with his time and told me so much about the history of this beautiful bike and his astonishing collection - in 2010, its current owner. When can I visit, Bob?
With Barry Hoban - Yorkshire Cycling Legend & true gent.
Here's Barry Hoban, dispelling a few myths, interviewed by Ned Boulting in 2012...

Beryl Burton

Jackson: frame info' needed?
Beryl Burton dominated women's cycle racing in the UK, setting numerous domestic records and as well as winning more than 90 domestic championships along with seven world titles. She set a women's record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men's record for two years!

Burton won the women's world road race championship in 1960 and 1967, and was runner-up in 1961. On the track she specialised in in the individual pursuit, winning world championship medals almost annually across three decades. She was World Champion five times (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966), silver-medallist three times (1961, 1964, and 1968) and took bronze in 1967, 1970 and 1973.

In domestic time-trial competitions, Beryl Burton was almost unbeatable. She won the Road Time Trials Council's British Best All-Rounder (BBAR) Competition for an astonishing 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983. In total she won 72 national individual time-trial titles.
In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles - a mark that surpassed the men's record of the time by 0.73 mile, and was not superseded by a man until 1969! In the process of setting this record she caught and passed Mike McNamara who was on his way to setting the men's record at 276.52 miles and winning that year's men's BBAR!

Beryl Burton also set about 50 new national records at 10, 15, 25, 30, 50 and 100-mile distances; her final 10, 25 and 50 mile records each lasted 20 years before being broken, her 100-mile record lasted 28 years, and her 12-hour record still stands today.

Her prowess led to the rare distinction, for a woman, of an invitation to compete in the Grand Prix des Nations in 1967.

"I don't feel that I've got anything special about me. I've just got two legs, two arms and a body, and a heart and lungs."
7 times World Champion  - Beryl Burton, OBE.

More to come, including the legendary and utterly charming Ken Russell, winner of the 1952 Tour of Britain whilst riding as an 'independent' (no team), and his Ellis Briggs racing bike.

1952 Tour of Britain winning bike by Ellis-Briggs
Ken's Ellis-Briggs with his 1952 Tour of Britain Winners jersey.
Ken, 84 & Renee, Harrogate, July 2014

Friday, 18 July 2014

Le Grand Depart 2014: Your Bike Shed and Yorkshire Heroes

The day finally arrived - Le Tour de France Grand depart 2014. A 190.5 km rolling stage from Leeds to Harrogate.

The road painters were out early, despite the drizzle.

The A59, near 'HQ Hughes'.

A gentle pootle along the River Ouse ...

"You shall not pass!"
Past the station and through the ancient Micklegate ...
Cycling through the Micklegate - a glorious sight awaits.
Greeted by a band... and their lone groupie from Japan (she was there all day!)
The crowds gathered  - after we accidently 'opened up' a little early by barging straight in!
Your Bike Shed - a cafe/workshop devoted to all things bicycle. I rest happy!
Indoor bike parking for over 20 bikes - what a difference this makes to a relaxing espresso.
Tim, his training  bike and winter wheels (I'm jealous!) He drove over from Lancashire, parked his car up and rode 50 miles in. Top chap & one of Britain's best amateur triathletes. He had lots of good tips on getting your better half to embrace the obsession!
er, 5 minutes before opening! The staff are fantastic (and very patient.)

Perks of early arrival - The delicious Full-English at Your Bike Shed, York
The delicious early breakfast at the excellent Your Bike Shed - and what a warm & genuine welcome Martin, Adele and all their gave us - in York's historic Micklegate saw us through the short stroll to the railway station, via a quick T-shirt exchange (my medium slim-fit proved far too optimistic) at York Cycle Heaven (a must visit for you Brompton fans.)
Cycle Heaven, York station.
We even managed to beat the crowds at the station - just.

Waiting for the York-Harrogate Le Tour Special - it soon got very busy.
Now, the plan was this... Find the finish line, walk down the road to the '1km to go' banner, set up for the day - we were there to cheer Michael Hughes and the Marie Curie cancer Care Power Peloton - and watch Cav take the stage an the maillot jaune. Things didn't exactly to to plan! The crowds were astonishing in number and gloriously cheerful in manner.
The Tour Makers did a wonderful job - always with a smile.
By 11 am it was already several Tifosi deep along ten's of kilometres of the rout. We couldn't get near. The team split up with most gently wiggling their way to the roadside and me taking a stroll around the rather lovely city of Harrogate.

This is as close as I could get to the legendary Betty's Tea Room.

The not-so-happy face of consumerism - perhaps they've just seen the prices!

The entire county seemed to have been covered in homemade wool bunting. Fabulous stuff.

The jolliest purveyors of fine Yorkshire street grub.

A Manchester couple grab the last remaining crowd free space.
With the peloton about an hour away the excitement and atmosphere was electric.
But where to watch? What to do? Ooh, an invitation to nibble, look at old bikes and watch the stage has just been thrust into my hand - my retro jersey and cap have come to the rescue. A new plan - mid-stage tactics replaces pre-stage strategy!

Heroes of Cycling: Pop up Exhibition... coming soon in the next post.