It’s a while since we’ve ranted so let’s get to it! Everesting, Zwifting, Strava and Face Masks…

Covid-19

Viktor, our resident observer, pundit and soothsayer on all matters cycling makes the point that it’s not down to the UCI to state if such-and-such a race can go ahead on a certain date, it’s down to regional and national governments, ‘spikes’ notwithstanding.

He has a point, but like they say; ‘man with no target hit nothing.

Our amigo, top cycling photographer John Pierce reckons that the UCI knows damn fine that many of the races they have scheduled won’t be permitted to take place but they have to keep the teams thinking that they will – elsewise there’ll be more sponsors heading for the hills, a la CCC. 

Everesting

I just hope they’re both wrong and I can watch my beloved Primavera on Saturday August 8th.

* * *

Deceuninck

I know, I’m biased – as a Patrick Lefevere, Iljo Keisse, Michael Mørkøv fan – but one of the few good things to come out of lock down for me were the team’s, ‘Week in the Life’ emails giving you an insight to the lives of riders with some terrific photographs of the stars, their families and homes.

Everesting

A really nice job by the team’s media department

* * *

Strava

Strava has been used in folks’ Everesting exploits and have started to charge for the privilege of using it at its more detailed levels.

Everesting

I wouldn’t know a Strava from a balaclava but surely there must be huge development and running costs for such a complex operation?

A few quid a month doesn’t sound too savage to me in a world where 10 grand bikes are commonplace and you can pay over a grand for a derailleur jockey roller cage?

* * *

Over-size Derailleur Rollers

Don’t be ridiculous,” I hear you say, “it’s bad enough paying 400 quid for a roller cage, never mind a grand!” 

Don’t shoot the messenger, the latest Ceramic Speed, titanium 3D printed over-size roller set up costs £1,300.

It’s a thing of beauty for sure – but we have our reservations.

A few years ago, Dave and I were at the Tour de France, we met up with our old amigo, Kiwi mechanic, Craig Geater.

Craig has wielded the spanner at CSC, Discovery, Astana, Radio Shack and now Mitchelton Scott, so he knows what he’s talking about.

He was prepping Lance’s beautiful, Trek Speed Concept and we observed it was running a stock derailleur cage, not the Berner over-size job which were taking off back then.

Craig explained that they’d done the tests and could see no advantage in going down that road.

Whilst the Great Hambini observes that any savings on friction are negated by the aero aspect of the longer cage catching more of the wind.

And of course, the chain has to be longer – and therefore heavier.

But hey!

It’s your thousand pounds to do with as you see fit.

* * *

Marketing

It’s a great thing, as well as thirteen hundred quid roller cages, you didn’t realise you needed disc brakes until those marketing boys told you, did you?

And how the hell did any of us survive without a ‘gravel bike’ all those years?

If I ever meet anyone from the ‘Rough Stuff Fellowship’ I’ll be sure not to mention gr**el bikes, it would definitely bring on a mega-rant.

Those dudes have been riding off road since 1955; jingz – that’s a long time, as old as me…

Then, of course, there was ‘The Highway Man,’ Scotland’s own Davie Bell who was waaay off road before World War Two.

And then there’s ‘Zwift Specific’ clothing and shoes – you really do have to take your hats off to those marketing boys – and girls, of course. 

* * *

Virtual

The subject of Zwift leads us on to ‘virtual’ racing – and whilst I can appreciate it’s an unprecedented period and any racing is better than nowt, what about ‘commentary’ on virtual racing?

The first time I saw and heard it I thought someone was having a laugh – but no, it’s for real.

I’m finding it increasingly difficult to deal with modern cycling; ‘it’s bike racing, Jim – but not as we know it!

[Calm down Ed, it’ll soon be the Primavera and everything will be fine, ed.]

* * *

Everesting

If you’re riding a hilly time trial or a road race then hills are a necessary evil but to go out and repeatedly ride up and down the same hill all day?

Why?

Lachlan Morton during his successful (second) Everesting ride.

On the eve of Paris-Roubaix the journalist was surprised to see Eddy Merckx and his team wolfing down cream cakes.

I thought cakes were bad for cyclists, Eddy?’ said the scribe.

No, no, you’ve got that wrong,’ replied the great man; ‘it’s mountains that are bad for cyclists!

* * *

Cycling Weekly

It’s easy to criticise ‘The Comic’ – it used to be such a valuable resource if you wanted to research races, times, rider information.

Now, it’s no longer ‘race-centric’ and has to appeal to the ‘sportiv generation’ who can get more information from the internet than you can possible absorb.

So it’s tough times for them.

I couldn’t find circulation information from the year I first started buying it, 1971 but I checked year 2000 and they were shifting in excess of 30,000 copies/week – now it’s less than 17,000.

Not so long ago it was mid to high 20,000 – I wonder what their break even figure is?

* * *

‘Cool’

Continuing with my ‘Comic bashing’ theme, t’other week they ran a six page feature on the ‘Tekkerz’ cycling team, ‘comfortably the coolest in cycling.’

The first ‘rule of cool’ is that you don’t broadcast that you think you are…

Everesting

And to close,

* * *

‘Old School’

We’ll be running an interview with Tino Tabak soon.

Remember him?

He dominated New Zealand Cycling for years before moving back to the land of his birth, The Netherlands – the family emigrated when he was a young lad – rode in the orange colours, taking a team time trial Worlds medal at Leicester in 1970 before turning pro with the mighty Belgian, Flandria team – The Red Brigade. 

Everesting

Tino moved to Goudsmit Hoff and won the Dutch Professional Road Race Championship, beating none other than Tour de France and Worlds winner, Joop Zoetemelk into second place.

Then there were two good seasons with Peter Post and the all-conquering Ti-Raleigh armada.

But after that things started to go wrong, bad business decisions, drink and too much ‘kit.’

It’s all documented in his book, ‘Dreams & Demons of a New Zealand Cycling Legend.’

It’s well worth a read but be warned, it may wipe the rose tint from your 70’s era glasses.