Posts Tagged ‘Condor’

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

April 30, 2013

5 UP John Torode
john torode outside richmond park cafe On a typically busy Saturday morning in Richmond Park, TV culinary arbiter John Torode was spotted parking his stealth-black Condor up against the wall of the famed Roehampton Gate café, where he quietly enjoyed a brew undisturbed by the large number of two-wheeled Masterchef fans milling around. Well done, polite Lycraists! Although it must have been tempting, surely, to congratulate him on doing a few laps of the park’s 6.7-mile loop by adapting his no-nonsense catchphrase and solemnly intoning: “Cycling doesn’t get any tougher than this.”

4 UP Slowing down
Fabian Cancellara, a lap away from besting Sep Vanmarcke to win Paris-Roubaixand he isn’t even ruddy pedalling! Has cycling slowly ever been more exciting? No, it has not. Cat-and-mouse officially beats solo breakaways on The DYNAMITE! Files Thrill-O-Meter. More of this please, professional cyclists!

3 DOWN Slowing down
Pictures from Amstel Gold were annoyingly intermittent this year, leaving the Dutch host broadcaster NOS filling airtime with expensive super-slo-mo shots of various riders – which, as TV expert Alex Murray pointed out, was a pretty ineffective deployment of broadcasting technology. Has slow motion ever been as uninteresting? No, it has not. Less of this please, professional television people!

jonathan vaughters in garmin control room 2 DOWN Jonathan Vaughters
He’s Garmin’s omniscient eye, observing the movements of his riders via the bank of screens in his control room. Sadly, that carefully cultivated image, propagated by the promotional film for the new Edge 810, was revealed to be yet another of cycling’s many lies after Jonathan Vaughters had to locate Nathan Haas with the modern-day equivalent of opening the window, yelling, and hoping for the best. “If anyone is near @NathanPeterHaas,” Vaughters tweeted, “please tell him he just got the last minute call up to do Amstel. And turn on his phone!”

1 UP OAT
What, you may wonder, is OAT? According to Bike Biz, it’s the Office for Active Travel, a soon-to-be-launched government department with a budget of more than £1billion which will aim to get more people cycling and walking. Well done, clever bureaucrats, for choosing a name relating to porridge, the traditional breakfast of British cyclists. Although, as the department will be responsible for moving bodies around, they could have called it the Central Agency for Kinetic Expression – or CAKE for short.

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Coming up with a new nickname for José Rujano

May 31, 2012

During the Giro, I learned that José Rujano’s nickname is “El Condor” – which, if I am to trust the services of Google Translate, is apparently Spanish for “The Condor”. Like the soaring bird of prey, the Venezuelan climbing specialist displays his magnificence at high altitudes. In that sense, the name is apt.

But condors are enormous, heavy birds, while Rujano is a light, relatively compact fella. More pertinently, lanky Dutchman Robert Gesink is known as “The Condor of Varsseveld”, and we really can’t have two condors in professional cycling. That would be like having two Cannibals or two Pistoleros or two Tyler Hamiltons, one of whom somehow vanished while in the womb. Utter madness.

So we need a new name for José. Littlejen suggested “The Dassie”, which is a small creature that dwells in mountainous regions. But dassies are found in Africa, not South America, which is a shame because I can’t help noticing that the cute little critters bear a slight resemblance to little José.

Instead, I suggest cyclepeople should use the name of another bird of prey when referring to the Androni team’s upwardly-bound sensation. Like a condor, it is found in Venezuela (and, in a pleasing co-incidence, it too shares its name with an independent bicycle brand). But unlike a condor, this feathery killer is small yet robust, similar to the man himself. And the moniker I’ve come up with also incorporates Rujano’s home state, as well as gifting many wordplay opportunities to sports commentators who seek to praise the multiple Giro stage-winner’s magical climbing ability and wizard skills.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby dub José Rujano… The Merlin Of Merida.

I hope this one will fly.

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 #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?

A Wholly Unbiased Recommendation

January 31, 2011

Perhaps, like me, you enjoy bicycles and reading things, although you refrain from attempting them simultaneously. And maybe you take particular joy striding through the electronically-activated doors of Condor, London’s top bicycle emporium, to peruse the vast collection of cycling-related reading materials on display. Or maybe you’re a bit pushed for time and you’d frankly much rather know where the hell all this is going, for goodness’ sake. Well wonder no more, impatient reader, because issue five of The Ride, the magazine everyone in our home refers to as “kind of like a cycling version of McSweeney’s“, has metaphorically hit the shelves, packed with articles by famous bicycle stars Graeme Obree, David Millar and Michael Barry, as well as great stuff by less well-known people. (I’m firmly in the latter category. Page 102, if you’re interested. It’s sort of about Richmond Park, but kind of isn’t. It’s accompanied by the above illustration, created by The Tree House Press, which you may want to click to experience its full loveliness.) If you’re really too overwhelmed with excitement to wait for your next visit to Gray’s Inn Road, you can purchase a copy here.