Archives for the month of: November, 2010

It’s Friday night and I’m looking forward to my dirty weekend ahead. In fact it’s going to be filthy. Lots of panting, sweating. Even a little groaning. Plenty of tight revealing clothing (kinky!). Pushing it harder, for longer…

…it’s Friday night, and of course, I’m at home cleaning my bike.

Cycling is not a sexy sport. Perhaps occasionally it is, during a picturesque sun-drenched stage of the Tour de France, the camera dwelling on riders pouring water suggestively over their gasping faces… the hot steaming tarmac, tanned skin and toned thighs bulging beneath lycra, a flicker of the erotic, a flutter of the housewife’s heart… But on the whole, and especially in the winter off-season, cycling is mostly unglamorous drudgery undertaken beneath grey skies and on grimy roads.

As a racing cyclist the outside world views you with, at best, indifference, at worst suspicion. Lust doesn’t even come into it. As the weekend rolls around and the normal world embarks upon its escape from the working week – drinking, pubs, clubs, bars, dancing, flirting, falling over – us lot are packing in the carbs and heading to bed with a warm milky drink. The pursuits of hedonism and of peak athletic condition mix about as well as a heavily laced house party sangria – it’s fun at first, but before you know it you’re cowering under your duvet praying that Monday morning never arrives.

As a young single male, forgoing such social activities precludes most opportunities for finding a suitable (or even unsuitable, I’m not fussy) female companion to befriend and copulate with and to do all the stuff that normal couples would do. Which probably doesn’t include riding bikes, or at least any kind of cycling that isn’t on dorky rental bikes through Center Parcs in matching cagoules (when any female refers to cycling as ‘biking’ it is this vision of holiday catalogue activities to which they are referring). Read the rest of this entry »

…the moustache is not an accoutrement common in the modern day peloton. In fact, it was last seen winning a race whilst adorning Kevin Costner’s upper lip in the (seminal, defining, pioneering, pinnacle of artistic expression!) cycling film, American Flyers. However, during Movember, the cycling world is doing its bit to raise awareness of the men’s health charity. Dan Craven is just one pro taking on the challenge of growing a ‘tache for the good cause, and the organisers of the annual gentlemanly Tweed Run are offering the chance to bid on some rather bling 24ct Moustache handlebars.  The auction is being run in conjunction with Going Going Bike, and the bars are on display to view at our favourite London cafe Look Mum No Hands

…speaking of American Flyers, the very pleasant blog Domestique satisfies those longings for naff retro cycling Americana with its regular Flyer Fridays instalments. Their collection of iPhone and desktop wallpapers are worth checking out too…

…despite its gritty realism and faithful recreation of professional cycle racing, Costner and co are still not able to get you into the thick of the action in the same way a remote control helicopter can. This footage of the (pretty obscure) Amstel Curacao race was shot using a drone-like chopper by Aerialtake, and possibly hints towards new ways of shooting the big pro races, getting us closer to the action than even motorbikes currently can. The big question would be how these little aircraft cope when buffeted by winds such as those experienced during this year’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Ask a non-cyclist the reasons why they are reluctant to cycle through the city to work – after all it’s cheap and quick – they’ll cite the accepted vision of London’s roads. Impatient van drivers leaning on their horns, resentful of the cyclists’ very existence on the road. Swerving, U-turning taxis, diving towards the curb at any unexpected moment. Posh mums on the school run, towering above traffic in their 4x4s, one ear to their phone, one eye on the kids squabbling in the back seats.

But ask the downtrodden commuter, the veterans of London’s packed narrow roads and confused street designs, and they’ll point not towards the motorist as the rivals to their little patch on the road, but to their fellow cyclist.

During the recent tube strikes, space on that thin strip of tarmac – you know, that half a metre between curb and traffic – was at a premium. It was worse than the elbows out argy bargy of a 4th cat sprint at Hillingdon, and no less dangerous. A constant battle to get to the front. Except there was no ‘front’ – beyond each shoal of cyclists and cars lay another, and another. There was no getting ahead and away from the pack because the pack stretched from the first pedal revolutions of the journey right to the last (I think there’s a metaphor for the futility of life in there somewhere).

So there were two options. The first, acceptance and patience. The second, to go berserk, weaving in and out, jumping curbs, swerving past pedestrians, blazing through red lights, pushing grannies out of your path… the cyclists of London chose the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

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