Climbing the 21 Hairpins of Bureaucracy

Guest Blogger BSNYC Is Not A Puffin

7 Aug 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

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:

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The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club – Taking a Classic Book for a Very Long Cycle Ride

Tim Wright joins the Brooks Blog to lift the lid on his epic adventure

4 Aug 2015  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Boat - Holland

‘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’.

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The Challenge of Training

Juliet reflects on her mission to get race ready

31 Jul 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Sports Cycling, Stories, Urban Cycling

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.

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En Corse – Cycle Travel with Bikecation

Rob Penn joins the Brooks Blog to recount a trip to Corsica

30 Jul 2015  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure 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.

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Celestial Cycles

The summer solstice is longest day and shortest night of the year. It's revered by ancient cultures all around the world and always a good excuse for a bike adventure

17 Jun 2015  |  Posted by Jack Thurston  |  Categories: Correspondence, Events, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

Long before the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Thanksgiving came along human kind measured its progress through the year by observing the sun and the stars. The solstices are the pair of celestial bookends that mark the longest day of summer and the deepest depths of winter. Unlike religious and cultural festivals, which are ultimately products of the human imagination, the solstices are firmly rooted in the reality of our cosmic situation. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we live on a spherical rock hurtling around a gigantic nuclear explosion, spinning as it goes.


The Sweet Grass at Sunset. Photo (C) Nomadic Lass

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“Someday a real rain will come…”

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Heads Out Under Cover Of Wetness

9 Jun 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

This past April I took delivery of a brand new saddle:

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Britain Is Brilliant!

Juliet flies the flag for these fair isles

4 Jun 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

I love to explore and the pace of cycling makes it ideal for those seeking pleasure from their region. As I see it, walking is too slow, running doesn’t take you far enough and cars are too fast and too far removed.

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Multi-Modal Memories

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Time-Trials Into The Past

12 May 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

There are all sorts of reasons to go for a ride.  Sometimes you want to explore, and to mark the world with your tires like your bike is a cat and the road is someone’s pant leg.  Sometimes you want to challenge yourself on that big climb–or, even more pathetically, to challenge complete strangers via some social networking app like Strava.  And sometimes you just wanna get naked.

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Once More Over the Top

Jack Thurston retraces one of the classic pass-storming routes of the inter-war years

6 May 2015  |  Posted by Jack Thurston  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Heritage, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

The West Arms, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog

The centennial commemorations of the First World War remind us of the origins of the phrase ‘over the top’, now widely used to describe anything extreme or outrageous. The stuttering newsreel shots show young men clambering out of their trenches (‘over the top’) and walking briskly into machine gun fire, barbed wire and almost certain death. With the war not yet a year over, using such a charged phrase ‘over the top’ to describe a bike ride must have been a very deliberate act and that is exactly what Walter MacGregor Robinson did in his celebrated account of a ride across the Berwyn range in north Wales, published in Cycling in May 1919.

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Hartley Cycles in Her Own Words

Juliet Chats To Award Winning Female Frame Builder Caren Hartley

30 Apr 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Art & Design, Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Stories

In my previous post for the Brooks blog, I chatted to photographer Camille Macmillan and new frame builder Caren Hartley about the intriguing sounding steel machine the latter was hand-crafting for the former, something the pair had nicknamed the ‘Demi-Porkeur.’

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