A Life in the Year

Long thought unsurpassable, 2015 saw two exceptional mile-eaters take on cycling's Year Record. Jack Thurston looks back at how the oldest and toughest record in cycling was finally broken.

25 Jan 2016  |  Posted by Jack Thurston  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Monthly highlights, Sports Cycling, Travel & Adventure Cycling

In Ancient Greek mythology, Zeus punishes Sisyphus for his avarice and cunning by condemning him to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. The notion of punishment by arduous, never-ending and ultimately meaningless toil is not confined to Ancient Greece. In traditional Chinese folklore a miscreant named Wu Gang faces the divine punishment of forever chopping down a self-regenerating osmanthus tree that grows on the moon. The cycling equivalent of these mythical tortures is the Year Record. The thought of getting on a bike, riding for more than twelve hours only to get up the next day and do it all again, and again and again for a whole year makes me shudder. I’d rather fly to the moon with my felling axe.

Sisyphus by Titian

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Chased by Dogs – The Transcontinental 2015

Camille McMillan brings us a tardy piece of reportage

20 Jan 2016  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Events, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Just before the start of the Transcontinental, Austrian, Walter Reiterer, In his printed Lederhosen

For a time bike racing had lost its shine for me. I was beginning to resent the bicycle and in particular bike racing. The gloss of the Tour de France, the hyperbole of the spring Classics, Super teams with P.R banality, with brand guidelines, overkill!  

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My top rides of 2015

Juliet drops by to deliver her highlights of 2015

6 Jan 2016  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

Like many people, at this time of year I find myself reflecting on what’s gone before, looking back over the past twelve months and reflecting on the moments I’ve particularly enjoyed. As I’m one hell of a lucky lady, there have been a whole load of fun times in 2015, so in no particular order, here are my rides of the year.

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“Deck The Halls With Blah Blah Blah Blah, Yadda Yadda Yadda Ya-Ya-Ya…”

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Goes Shopping

23 Dec 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

When last we met, my son and I were enjoying a post-Thanksgiving ride just north of the city:

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Don’t Call it a Steed it’s a Liberation Machine

Camille McMillan investigates just what is in a name

15 Dec 2015  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights

My bicycle is a machine, I know you know that, we all know that, but some to like to forget that.  Some refer it to a bicycle as ‘Steed’, some gender them and some name even them!


'Molly Longlegs' by George Stubbs (1762) on display at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

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When Cross Makes You Cry

Juliet explores the pain of the race

8 Dec 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Events, Friends, Monthly highlights, Sports Cycling

“I just don’t understand. That’s the pure definition of masochism if it only feels good once it’s over.”

I’m on the phone to my Mum, telling her how I spent my Sunday afternoon and her suspicions that I’m just a little bit barmy have been ramped up a level. The activity we’re discussing is cyclocross and I’m just done explaining how the day’s race was so hard that I nearly puked and cried. “It just sounds horrid,” she continues. “I don’t know why you would do such a thing.” Rewind a few hours and I was asking myself the same thing.

Cyclocross is a form of bike racing that takes place in the winter months on a variety of predominantly natural surfaces, participants racing as many laps as they can of an incredibly slippery, muddy course with obstacles that might mean you have to dismount and carry your bike. Good bike handling skills are essential and unlike road and crit racing, there’s no drafting or hiding behind your opponents for some brief respite; cyclocross is an all-out solo effort that puts you in the red from the minute you begin pedaling. It’s a brutal, roughly hour-long assault on your body and mind, and one that I wasn’t even sure I was up for.

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Cold Turkey

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Gets Outsprinted As Usual

2 Dec 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

Down here in Canada’s air mattress we have a holiday called “Thanksgiving.”  Basically, it commemorates how the religious fanatics who are our idealogical forebears were starving and generally failing at life, and so the Native Americans helped us by sharing their harvest.  In return, we gave them smallpox:

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Bring on the Night

Jack provides some top tips for heading out into the night

26 Nov 2015  |  Posted by Jack Thurston  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Mid November is the time of year when we face up to the undeniable fact that winter has arrived. More than that, winter has no plans to go away anytime soon. In fact, it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. The freezing temperatures and the bad weather are hard enough, but the lack of daylight is the really big downer (quite literally, for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as it’s appropriately known). There’s no getting away from the fact that if you ride your bike through winter, you’ll be spending a lot of time riding in the dark.


Night lights

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Gorge yourself on junk miles

Juliet takes a moment to reassess those winter rides

6 Nov 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Over the last couple of months I’ve picked up a few cycling magazines down at the shops, several of which contain winter training plans, advice for getting fitter and answers to some commonly asked questions such as ‘why aren’t I getting faster?’ In many cases the wisdom dispensed includes the line ‘ditch the junk miles,’ which got me thinking, just what are these terrible junk miles I keep hearing of, and should I be worried? Are they addictive and pleasurable yet somewhat shameful and bad for my health, the cycling equivalent of gorging on cola, quarter-pounders, pizza and hot dogs? Should I be careful I don’t become hooked?

In case you haven’t heard of junk miles, the term is generally used to refer to any time you spend on the bike that is not purposeful, so miles that are neither a recovery ride, a high intensity ride, nor an endurance ride or similar would be deemed junk, and either not worthy of your time, or down right bad for you if progression is what you’re after.

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Racing CX in China Part 2

Brooks Sponsored Angus Edmond Brings the 2nd Part of his Report from China

4 Nov 2015  |  Posted by Angus Edmond  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Events, Friends

Angus brings us up to date with the second half of his China trip to ride cycle-cross.  If you missed part one, read it here

Hainan was a little different. It was a bit warmer and a lot more humid. It had the wonderful feature of the course being 200m from the front door of our resort and in contrast to the last race this one had been built to order. It was regulation width from start to finish, had one of the most interesting flyovers I have ever seen and was fun to ride.

Beautiful track with a stunning backdrop

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