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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
On March 28, the Brooks distributor for Netherlands culminated their month-long instagram contest featuring our #enjoyeverymile hashtag by putting together an afternoon exploring the beautiful, bleak, and weathered landscapes surrounding Amsterdam. By bike, of course, despite the ever-present rain and wind of that day. The theme of the tour was to connect south Amsterdam parks and green zones into one ride. Peter Gijam of Buzzworks.nl was invaluable in uncovering some great examples of Dutch architecture and scenery and providing us with a course map. With Peter’s help we saw many scenic corners within a stone’s throw of Amsterdam’s city center. Here are some impressions of the ride. Our route began at the Blauwe Theehuis, a modernist pavilion built in 1937 in Amsterdam’s the largest city park first opened in 1865: Vondelpark. Starting with a spin past the Bosbaan, oldest artificial rowing course in the world, we covered some gravel through the Amsterdamse Bos, which is three times the size of New York’s Central Park, the Amsterdam Forest is among the largest city parks in Europe.
While I ride along the serpentine in Hyde Park, the mood is mellowed to the sound of 70’s disco. ‘Ring my bell’ by Anita Ward, plays from a makeshift stereo; crudely strapped to the back of a bicycle in front of me. I glance back, and I’m confronted by a sea of tweed; with faces beaming in the glorious spring sunshine. My stead for the tweed run this year was equally mellow; it was the latest offering from Pashley Cycles in Stratford-upon-Avon.
This Saturday saw the Tweed Run take place around London. As with years gone by, we were again a sponsor of this marvellous celebration of cycling. Here we share our favourite pictures from the day. Enjoy!