Fundamentally there are two kinds of cycling. There’s the escapist kind where you head out into the countryside in pursuit of some contrived goal, like covering a formidable distance or climbing a looming mountain. Then there’s the realist kind where you bravely point your bike towards the heart of the city, and instead of doing battle with the landscape and the elements you confront traffic and potholes and the very forces of bureaucracy itself. While the former may inform the bulk of stylized Internet cycling narratives it’s the latter style of cycling which truly tests both the mind and body of the cyclist, and is the stuff of which true “epics” and champions are made.
I am one of those champions, and this is the tale of one such “epic.”
All great rides start with a challenge, and mine was perhaps the greatest challenge of all: to get money back from the City of New York. This is a near-impossibility, and it makes climbing the Tourmalet on a fixie look like, well, riding around Brooklyn on a fixie. Nevertheless, having already filled out various online forms, I resolved to visit the actual offices of a city agency in search of restitution.
This would be no doddle, and equipment selection was crucial, so after much deliberation this was the bike I chose:
‘The Riddle of the Sands’ is one of those classic old adventure books that your dad (or grandad!) probably thrust upon you at an early age, but which you haven’t much thought about since. It tends to sit on the shelf alongside books like ‘The 39 Steps’, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and ‘Treasure Island’.
Several months ago I wrote a piece for this blog describing my battle with training. I’ve always struggled to commit to a strict and structured regime, preferring to simply ride hard and fast and randomly challenge myself by sprinting for signs and pegging it up hills. In some ways, what I wind up doing on a bike is my own peculiar and haphazard version of training, only I prefer to just call it cycling.
The day started humbly – on a flat cycle path between a lagoon and the sea, with Bastia-Poretta airport as the backdrop. There was no sense then of the grandeur and the glory that awaited us. There was not even a hint of the beauty of Corsica – a level of pulchritude that I have seldom experienced in a single day on a bicycle. Nor, in the cool air of the young day was there any suggestion of the cauldron of heat we would encounter in the canyons ahead.
The other day, I was idly window-shopping for secondhand bikes on the web. All of a sudden transported to a moment more than twenty years ago, on a dusty country road in the middle of Transylvania. A friend and I were cycle-camping around Romania and we’d stopped to greet the one and only other foreign cyclist we encountered on our entire trip. We began swapping stories about roads and campsites and soon learned that he was on a six month journey across the European continent, from Portugal to Istanbul. I was impressed but what made an even greater impression was his bike.
This summer sees the launch of a new festival aimed at cycle travellers. Part of the Adventure Awards event, it will offer talks, workshops, and a chance to be inspired by other travellers. The Inaugural European Bicycle Adventure Meeting, also known as BAM, takes place 31st July through to 1st August in Livigno, Italy. We caught up with the organiser Andrea Benesso to find out more.
Saturday 11th July 2015 was the day that the Red Hook Crit paid its first visit to London. The race series has built up quite a following over the years and it is with pride that we had several Brooks sponsored riders taking part.
This weekend sees the Red Hook Criterium arrive in London for the first time. The women’s event will see the Brooks sponsored Dësgenà Team, from Turin, competing. So we decided to catch up with Stefania Baldi from the team to find out what makes her tick.
In 1957 Roland Barthes published ’Mythologies’ , a collection of essays .. the best known is “The New Citroën” the ”Goddess”.
The Citroën DS 19 replaced the Citroën Traction Avant, the Citroën Traction Avant was old fashioned… pre World War 2 tech and styling. The DS according to Barthes was perfection.
The DS was perfection of Modernism, the high watermark of French design and ethos. World War 2 was in the history books along with the old aesthetics of the La Belle Époque ”Beautiful Era” and Art Nouvos. The Citroën DS was the future manifest in an object.
French style, aesthetics engineering was at its height… for me it was a high point for French’e'ness, French bicycles and bicycles in general.