Posts Tagged ‘Tour of Britain’

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #18

September 23, 2011

5 UP Evolta the Panasonic robot
What’s an Ironman? It’s just a marathon, sandwiched between a swim and a run. Anyone could do it. Sure, you’d take much, much longer to reach the finish line than someone who thinks sleeveless jerseys are more a way of life than an ill-advised wardrobe decision, but hey – you’d get there eventually, you’d have a never-to-be-repeated personal best, and ultimately doing it is what really counts, right? Of course it is. Which is why non-triathletes all over the world should be inspired by little Evolta, the foot-high Japanese robo-child who announced on Sunday that he’ll be doing the 230km Hawaii Ironman next month over the course of a week, powered by nothing more than three triple-A batteries. Yes, his bike has stabilisers, but at least he doesn’t have two bottles parked next to his bottom like his dorky human counterparts. And unlike Evolta, we bet none of them have ever scaled the Grand Canyon, cycled the Le Mans 24-hour course, and had a Banzai!-style short film made about them. Ironmen: out-awesomed by a tiny plastic boy. The shame of it.

4 DOWN Shred West
There we were on Sunday in our famous soundproof bunker, watching Mark Cavendish blast past four riders to win the final stage of the Tour of Britain, when a question occurred to us: is this the first time that ITV4 co-presenter Yanto Barker has been involved in the world of sportscasting? So we googled him and… er, hold on. That’s a joke, right? Surely no one would actually give their magazine a title that’s a pun on the name of a serial murderer? Well, apparently so: mountain bike mag Shred really did produce an offshoot publication called – yes! – Shred West, one issue of which features Yanto on the cover. Killer concept, fellas!

3 DOWN Penny-farthings
It’s probably the fastest-growing type of bike racing in the country (on the basis that barely anyone can ride them, so just a few more participants represents a huge percentage jump) but the BBC had some bad news on Wednesday for eager daredevils looking to become a penny-farthing racer: Leicestershire firm Cycle Magic has sold out of its first batch. Although with only three races a year in the UK, you’ve got probably got enough time to wait for the second load. Hurrah!

2 DOWN Surrey Police
Red faces all round for Surrey police, which last week provided a perfect lesson in how not to do community policing. Commenting on Cycling Weekly’s story on the force’s questionable response to the increased popularity of cycling in the area, Inspector Terri Poulton apologised on Friday for “blunt” and “inappropriate” leaflets handed out to riders around Box Hill threatening them with a £1,000 fine if they rode without due care and attention. Insp. Poulton revealed that the ungrammatical notices were “produced by a local officer who genuinely thought it would be helpful. We live and learn!” Let’s hope so…

1 UP Friendliness
As a counterpoint to the heavy-handedness of coppers in Mole Valley, a pleasing snippet from Tuesday’s Guardian: membership of cycling clubs in Britain has increased by more than 10 per cent during the last two years, taking the total to 82,000. But what clever marketing tools have those devious pedallers used to increase their numbers? Why, if it wasn’t those familiar bedfellows of friendliness and inclusiveness. If only they were not so happy and welcoming, then club runs might not be as well-attended, and motorists would be less likely to complain to the Surrey police force about having to slow down. Damn you, friendly cyclists!

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The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #17

September 16, 2011

5 DOWN Kara Kum
It’s been seven days of utter confusion in our famous soundproof bunker. On Friday we thought Rapha had launched a range of jerseys designed to be worn in an insalubrious area of south-east London, until we opened their email and realised it wasn’t that sort of “New Cross Collection”. Then, on Tuesday night, Guy Pearson ended a day at his intriguing new bike boutique in East Sheen by asking “who has the longest regular vomited”, and it took us a few minutes to work out his phone had autocorrected “commute”. So, naturally, when we stumbled across a mention of a bike called Kara Kum on page 195 of the latest Cycling Plus, we thought that too was a typo. But no: Dawes really did christen a bicycle – a women’s-specific bicycle – with a name that sounds like it belongs to a porn star. Which could explain why you don’t see that many women riding them.

4 DOWN Dating
Speaking of rude matters, a matchmaking website called freedating.co.uk has interviewed 10,000 of its members and concluded that cyclists of both genders are less likely than average to get up to a bit of how’s-yer-father on a first date. Reporting on the survey in road.cc on Tuesday, Simon MacMichael mused: “Perhaps the finding reflects the typical cyclist’s behaviour when it comes to buying a new bike, which after all is a relationship that all of us hope will last a long time when contemplating it, and not to be entered lightly.” And you can see where Si is coming from: it may well be the case that fellas are looking for smooth, assured handling, while ladies perhaps want a model that’s stiff yet compliant. But knowing cyclists the way The DYNAMITE! Files does, it’s more probable that competitive cyclepeople equate dating with training, enduring many long, gruelling sessions before the “big event”. Which ends, of course, with bitter disappointment and self-loathing, no matter how vigorous the final spurt.

3 UP The Italian national team’s speed suit
Cycling is all about cultivating an air of mystery; the less you know about a rider, a team or a DT Swiss anodised nipple, the more you want to know. So well done to Cycling Weekly for running a blurry photo of the Castelli San Remo aero skin suit which the Italian team will be wearing at the World Championships in Copenhagen. We should all fool ourselves into believing that the hi-tech outfit is so fast you can barely see it – for the day when a more detailed photograph emerges showing how the design allows you to easily answer a call of nature will be the moment that the spell is broken.

2 UP Green
As a predominantly text-based outlet, this blog cannot claim to know much about colour or design, but we are nevertheless concerned by road.cc’s report that the hue du jour for bikes next year will be green. It’s such a conspicuous colour that having lots of green bikes cluttering up the visual landscape will surely be the equivalent of PUTTING EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. WHAT A – sorry, didn’t realise the caps lock was still on – what a pain.

1 UP Hurricane Katia
Sombre faces at the Tour of Britain on Monday as the 130km stage from Kendal to Blackpool was cancelled to avoid Hurricane Katia transforming the peloton into a human version of a record-breaking domino-toppling display. “In my 30 years of organising cycling events,” said downbeat race director Mick Bennett, “I have never once had to cancel a stage before it even started, so this is not a decision that has been taken lightly.” All of which makes it sound like this wasn’t a great day for the ToB. But it so was! Because the United Kingdom has finally stepped out of the shadows of road racing’s European heartland. Forget the snow-smothered Gavia and the mud-covered cobbles up the Kopp – our proud sceptred isle can now boast that it has hosted a stage so bloody dangerous nobody was actually allowed to race. And our country achieved this milestone by utilising a mainstay of British life: godawful weather. So thank you, Katia – you may from the west coast of Africa, but you will always be British to us.