Posts Tagged ‘Boris Johnson’

The DYNAMITE! Five: the month in cycling, remixed. March 2013

March 28, 2013

pedal pub
5 UP The Pedal Pub
It’s a common scenario for the amateur cyclist: your club’s alcohol-based social event is drawing to a close, and you’re faced with the decision to either go home or continue the revelry elsewhere. Well, worry no longer, because everyone can now do both thanks to a bit of Dutch ingenuity. Boasting speeds of up to – gasp! – 5mph, the Pedal Pub is a steel 10-seater bicycle equipped with a barrel, a beer tap, cup holders and a sound system. What could possibly go wrong? The only drawback is a possible increase in membership fees to cover costs, as each Pedal Pub costs a sobering £26,000.

4 DOWN Riding through London at street level
Blah blah double the number of cyclists in London blah blah blah £913million investment blah blah blah safety measures blah blah blah cycle lane on the Westway blah bl… hold on – we’re going to be able to go up in the air and cycle above the streets? Like E.T.? WHY IS EVERYONE NOT TOTALLY EXCITED BY THIS?!

3 UP Robot police bikes
Another overlooked yet totally mind-blowing feature of London mayor Boris Johnson’s 10-year vision for cycling in the capital is a plan to give police electric bikes that can climb stairs. That’s got to be one cop chase we’d all love to see. Especially the bit where the officer says, “Go go gadget legs!” and a pair of telescopic limbs sprouts from the cranks.

2 UP Geoffrey Soupe
The Paris-Nice prologue proved to be a magnifique day for the French, who took half the positions in the top ten, including a surprise victory courtesy of Europcar’s Damien Gaudin. France’s domination was augured by Geoffrey Soupe of FDJ taking an early lead, although it was obvious he was unlikely to win. Soupe’s just for starters.

1 UP The organisers of Milan-San Remo
Tom Boonen angrily quit, Robbie Hunter’s eyeball froze, and Gerald Ciolek took a surprise win for his Pro Continental wildcard team MTN Qhubeka. But the truly remarkable aspect of La Primavera’s snow-smothered 104th edition was that it went ahead at all. Packing the riders into their team buses, skipping the Turchino and La Manie and resuming the race 54km from the finish ensured we got to witness a truly historic race – so, ultimately, it was Mauro Vegni and his fellow race officials from RCS who turned out to be the real heroes of the day. Well done, you lot!

Advertisements

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #7

June 3, 2011

5 DOWN Piercings
As Giro time trial winner David Millar topped off a fantastic week for British cyclists by showing off a pair of hipster specs in a post-victory interview, one of his former Saunier-Duval team-mates was facing the very real possibility that he too might be changing his image. Ivano Fanini, owner of the Italian Continental Amore & Vita team, revealed on Tuesday that he was ready to sign Riccardo Riccò, providing the ginger doper “removed the two earrings, piercings and also the diamond embedded in a tooth”. It’s easy to criticise Fanini for putting cosmetic alterations as his number one priority while issues related directly to the Cobra’s doping past only made third and fifth on his list. But this is Riccò we’re dealing with, a man so dim-witted that the ability to put in an earring without his earlobe going septic is probably an immense source of pride. In this context, you can imagine the psychological challenge the one-time wannabe barman was facing – which could be why he walked away from Amore & Vita and signed for Meridian-Kamen the very next day. Heigh ho.

4 UP Leather
Staying with the serious business of makeovers, those monochrome fashionistas at Team Leopard Trek have given their style-conscious fans the opportunity to buy the same leather jacket that Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara will be working this season. “Shop the look”, the Leopards command, somewhat confusingly. But which look to go for: cabaret Justin Timberlake tribute act or underweight Judge Dredd? And would you really be willing to pay £570 for the privilege?

3 UP Nudity The naked human form cannot possibly offend when placed atop a bike – and BBC2 viewers were reminded of this simple truth during the Bank Holiday weekend when the whimsical video for Bicycle Race popped up during Days Of Our Lives, a wonderful new two-part documentary on Queen. Sadly, magistrates in Suffolk have not learned this lesson from history, as they recently fined 23-year-old cyclist Alexander Purser £500 and handed him an 18-month conditional discharge for trying to set off a speed trap while wearing only his trainers and a pair of spectacles. Spoilsports.

2 DOWN Gyroscopic force
Regular readers may well suspect that The DYNAMITE! Files knows next-to-nothing about the science behind bicycles, and they would be entirely correct to make that assumption. In fact, the only bike-based scientific theory we know is that gyroscopic forces on the front wheel and the angle of the fork increase stability – and now it turns out that both have been debunked. So thanks to the experimental model demonstrated by Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin, no one knows exactly how bikes stay upright. Damn you, science!

1 DOWN Olympics tickets
Like Stonehenge or the Wandsworth one-way system, mankind may well never fathom the rationale behind the Olympic ticketing process – but after a quarter of a million people were left empty-handed on Wednesday morning, we now have a vague clue to how the fiendish ballot operators decided who should be kept out of sports venues next year. Bradley Wiggins, Boris Johnson, The DYNAMITE! Files and just about everyone we know personally on that there Twitter were turned down, including the Olympics’ very own Head of New Media and friend of this weblog Alex Balfour – and it is obviously no coincidence that all of us ride bicycles. If that’s not a clear case of minority discrimination, chums, we don’t know what is! To make matters worse, it was London’s racing cyclists who let the 2012 visionaries bulldoze the legendary Eastway circuit to build the Pringle-roofed velodrome overlooking the A12, and now they’ll be locked out when Team GB bag their gold medals. At this point, you may expect a scathing diatribe about the situation (particularly as Condor Cycles this week identified our reputation for having “a sharp tongue”) but The DYNAMITE! Files isn’t all that bothered, actually. It’s the Olympics – a spectacle, yes, but not as jaw-droppingly awesome as, say, Prince live at Wembley, nor as historically resonant as the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the case of track cycling, it’s just people doing something similar to what we do, but faster. And, course, it will be on the telly. But if you’re still desperate for tickets, then check out the website for the Olympics’ German vendor, which was apparently prohibited from advertising in the UK but is obliged to shift tickets. There’s no cycling, although you can grab a seat at the third round of the women’s ping-pong for 120 smackers. Don’t say we never do anything for you.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #6

May 13, 2011

5 UP Alessandro Petacchi
Sound the conspiracy theory klaxon! The Giro d’Italia’s commissaires ruled in favour of their countryman Alessandro Petacchi on Sunday, even though the ageing fastman clearly weaved around like an inebriated pensioner for the final 200 metres of the second stage to edge out an irate Mark Cavendish. It’s their national race, so it stands to reason that them Italians would show no sympathy towards a foreigner, yeah? Well, not quite: leafing through The DYNAMITE! Files’ bumper book of bike facts, it seems Paolo Bettini was disqualified in similar circumstances at the 2005 Giro, although on that occasion the English-speaking sprint rival – Baden Cooke – actually ended up going ‘a’ over ‘t’. Well, Cav, if that’s what it takes for the race officials to make the right decision…

4 DOWN The Associated Press
Sound the conspiracy theory klaxon again! But a bit louder this time! The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the federal investigation into alleged doping carried out by Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team has uncovered “corruption to the core”. But don’t get too excited just yet: AP’s source is “a person familiar with the investigation”, which sounds like it could be any of us, depending on how you define “familiar”. Still, at least the news agency has uncovered a mystery that has long perplexed some of its more unintelligent American readers: apparently it was “in France where Armstrong became famous by winning the Tour de France seven straight times”. So that’s how the race got its name!

3 UP Caravans
And speaking of mysteries, The DYNAMITE! Files was left to ponder the possible purpose of a scruffy caravan which we spotted parked next to the VIP entrance of the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday evening. It must be there for a reason, because British track cycling is all about the aggregation of marginal gains, isn’t it? Our theory: when the pressure of all that aggregating gets too much, this is where Dave Brailsford goes for a bit of “me” time. With his spreadsheets and cocoa. And a clipboard.

2 DOWN Boris Johnson
Securing his record third appearance in our weekly rundown, Boris Johnson turned up half an hour late at a Hillingdon school for the launch of the latest Sky Ride cycling event because he, er, choose to take the tube instead of using his bike. Maybe the Mayor of London was afraid of getting a flat. The Uxbridge Gazette revealed: “A few of the children showed the mayor how to find and fix a puncture in an inner tube. Charlotte Masters, aged nine, said: ‘I think he understood it.'” Let’s hope so, eh?

1 UP Doutzen Kroes
After this week’s tragic events, the Giro needed some sort of light-hearted moment to soften the mood – and Cycling Weekly duly obliged yesterday with the romantic tale of the underwear model and the professional cyclist. If CW is to be believed, blonde hottie Doutzen Kroes and race leader Pieter Weening could soon be an item, chiefly because the two of them hail from the same Dutch city and she tweeted the word “lokwinske” – which apparently means “congratulations” in their native tongue. Now, the DYNAMITE! Files is a big fan of the whole romantical-getting-together thing, but is one word tweeted to a third party ample grounds to conclude that she’s likely to call him? Remember, CW: if poor Pieter’s heart gets broken, you will be the ones to blame.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #5

May 6, 2011

5 UP Triathlon
Cycling purists who steadfastly believe that riding a bike when combined with a swim and a run does not constitute proper racing may want to avoid visiting their local Virgin Active this weekend, because the gym chain is making the multi-sport world even less competitive with an innovation called “Indoor TRYathlon”. Worn out by five kilometres on an exercise bike? Then take a breather in the pool, as demonstrated in the promotional video below. Actually, it looks quite fun – but of course that’s what they want you to believe. All bizarre cults seem enjoyable and harmless at the beginning. You won’t be laughing a few months later when you’re running barefoot through the East End while wearing a wetsuit. Resist, chums, resist!

4 DOWN Jim Ochowicz
Responding to an ongoing Italian investigation, BMC announced the suspension of former world champion Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio on Monday by issuing a disappointingly responsible statement. “Jim Ochowicz said new information received, along with consideration of the team’s anti-doping policy and the UCI’s Code of Conduct, means the two will be held out of competition pending further details.” Which doesn’t sound at all like the words of a man who issued the most brilliantly unconcerned “no-comment” when it first emerged that Ballan could be facing charges: “I know what’s been in the newspaper but I can’t read Italian anyway so I’ve got to wait for a translation anyway and blah blah blah.” The DYNAMITE! Files reckons the BMC boss’s reaction this time was something like: “Ah, whatever. Those two are screwed.”

3 UP The Thunderdrome
Attention thrill-seekers! Forget the Cape Epic or the Norseman Xtreme Tri – Detroit should be your next international destination for seat-of-your-pants racing now that a group of “renegade landscapers” has unearthed a lost velodrome buried beneath 30 years of overgrown weeds. Despite the surface having more cracks than a 42-page theory about doping on the Bikeradar forum, the organisers have bravely included a “Geared Road Bike class” in their motorsport-centred racing programme. You know what that means, don’t you? Book those plane tickets – we’ve found a temporary replacement for Crystal Palace!

2 DOWN Bont
UCI officials banned the Bont Crono on Wednesday, purportedly because the time trial-specific shoe “influences the performance of a rider” by, er, being more aerodynamic. Noting that TT helmets perform a similar job, sniggering fashionistas have argued that the Swiss spoilsports took issue with the Australian company’s latest innovation simply because it was aesthetically displeasing – and they’re probably right. At last: a decision by cycling’s governing body we can all agree makes perfect sense.

1 UP Boris Johnson
The staff at Condor had a pleasant surprise on Wednesday when Boris Johnson bumbled through the shop’s electronically-activated doors with his Marin hybrid – the very same bike he had bought from the famous Gray’s Inn Road store some years ago. This photo of Boris, pictured alongside Condor’s Claire Beaumont, pleases The DYNAMITE! Files in many ways. For a start, the London Mayor is in our favourite cycling emporium. Then there’s the suit – a big tip-o-the-hat to anyone who refuses to compromise the integrity of high office by wearing Lycra. But most of all, it’s the shagged-out look on his face. Apparently the pedalling politico cycled all the way from City Hall – a distance of almost three-and-a-quarter miles. Who says politicians don’t know the meaning of hard work?

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #1

April 8, 2011

5 DOWN Puns
There was a keen sense of anticipation in The DYNAMITE! Files’ famous soundproof bunker last Friday when we tore into our pile of morning papers hoping to witness an orgy of inventive punnery accompanying photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Boris Johnson riding the latter’s titular two-wheelers – so you can imagine the intense disappointment when we discovered no one had plumped for “joke pedallers”, “political Raleigh” or “Last Traction Heroes”. In fact, the only pun deployed was – wait for it – “I’ll be bike”, which was used by no fewer than five publications. I’ll be bloody bike! He’s not a bike! Neither of them are! It doesn’t even make sense! The headline should, of course, have been “Faster la Vista, Boris!” But nobody asked us, did they?

4 UP Sponsorship opportunities
Oh, cruel fate! Friend of this blog and all-round nice chap Will Hayter drew his action-packed daily diary of the Absa Cape Epic to a premature close after hitting a ditch and taking a very nasty tumble on last Friday’s 143km-long stage. The DYNAMITE! Files wishes him a speedy recovery, but having seen the wince-inducing footage of his wheel-mangling smash, it can’t help wondering why 12 sponsors would want to associate themselves with such a painful misfortune in the clip’s closing frames. Coming soon: You’ve Been Framed bike crash special, sponsored by [NAME OF WHEEL MANUFACTURER DELETED FOR LEGAL REASONS].

3 UP Wood
Another week, another groundbreaking material surely destined to usurp the carbon stranglehold – and unlike fancy-pants nylon fused by the magic of lasers in a 3D printer, this one is made from those dull, useless bits of scenery you usually ride past, or “trees” as they’re commonly known. For just £4,500, the discerning cyclista is invited to own an Audi-branded wooden bicycle equipped with SRAM Red, which you will no doubt agree is, er, truly unbe-leaf-able. Photographic evidence of two or more of these bikes actually being ridden would be a novelty, if only to make a quip about them being a splinter group.

2 DOWN Lycra
Prepare to overhaul your wardrobe, chums, because the death knell of the cyclist’s fabric of choice was sounded on Monday by no less a clothing authority than a features scribbler from the London Evening Standard. The reason? Apparently Rapha has brought out a pair of jeans which you can’t actually buy at the moment. “Lycra – your days are numbered,” the scribbler concludes, and who knows what outdoor activity will be the next victim of her withering fashionista’s eye? Possible target for the autumn/winter season: those long, thin shoes maniacs use to slide down snow-covered mountains. And the sticks! Those silly sticks! Dahling, they’ve just got to go!

1 UP Emoticons

Poor old RoboFab. The mighty mandroid, known by his adopted human name of Fabian Cancellara, got into a horrible pickle after appearing to be less-than-gracious about the manner of his defeat at Sunday’s thrillingly unpredictable edition of the Tour of Flanders. The pre-race favourite said his rivals rode “only to make me lose” and Nick Nuyens’ victory “has no value” – but as he later explained: “Interviews are not coming out like always I be thinking to say things. Specially now what’s around sounds not me. Lot get lost in translation.” Yet while the subtleties of the Fablish tongue eluded the gentlemen of the press, there could be no misinterpreting the stark binary language of the emoticon on the Swiss cyborg’s back (pictured above) which reflected his fans’ reactions to the race as it unfolded. He’s caught Sylvain Chavanel (AMAZED FACE)! Oh no – he’s cramped on the Muur (AMAZED FACE)! Now Phillipe Gilbert’s gone on the Bosberg (AMAZED FACE)! Fab’s attacked with four kilometres to go (AMAZED FACE)! But Nuyens has got it (AMAZED FACE)! Finally, Team Lay-O-Pard have found a use for that clumsily-pronounced “o”.