Archive for January, 2010

Prolly and Marinoni: Sunday Treat

Canadian Classic

It’s Sunday, which means that I should be watching NBA games or pretending to read.  I am, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to repost something from Prolly. He’s got a few pictures of a before/after paint job on a Marinoni Track, and it looks GOOD:

Chrome? Chrome.

If you stumble across an older Marinoni frame, jump at it.  They’re fairly ubiquitous in Montreal (obviously), and I’m thinking of tracking one down for my next build.

Anyway, it’s great to know that these frames get their due.  I’m hoping that over the next few months, more attention will fall on Canadian cycling and those who support it (there are TWO ProTour races coming our way, don’t forget).  Bad ass Marinoni track bikes are a good start.  Hopefully the powers that be will be able to use the attention that comes with hosting professional races to encourage increased urban riding.  If we could only convince Louis Garneau to drop their Rock Racking sponsorship

Hitler’s Fixie: Another one of those Downfall spoofs

Yes, it’s been done to death.  Really, I think the academic one is the best.  But, this is pretty funny.  And it will be on all the blogs in a matter of minutes (I found it on Cycling WMD).

For real now, happy weekend.

Where the A-holes are: Philadelphia

Here’s one for the weekend.  I love this show.  It’s like Seinfeld on crack.

The internet is abuzz with news that USA! USA! USA! will be hosting the CX World Championships (not the entire country, just Louisville) in 2013.  If you happen to love riding your bike, dismounting it to run up some stairs / hop over a hurdle, and getting really muddy (and really, who doesn’t?), then this is good news.

There’s also a video edit of Steve Bauer’s announcement that Canada has a Pro Tour team.  It’s partly in French, partly in English, and mostly in music.  Weird.

In other good news, it feels like -30 (Celsius) in Montreal today.  Good weather for merino everything.

It’s Fin du Monde Friday, so do something fun tonight.

Big Day for Canadian Cycling: A Canadian Pro Team

Sweet hipster hairnet.

Jim Balsillie can’t buy his way into the NHL, but maybe he can help Canadians make a showing at the Tour de France.  The Globe and Mail is reporting that the BlackBerry boss is now involved in Canadian cycling.  According to the G&M, Steve Bauer (Canada’s most successful cyclists, who finished 4th in the 1988 TdF and won 14 Yellow Jerseys over the course of his career) has been pushing for a Canadian team for years.  His efforts had met with various obstacles until last year, when a relatively unknown America cyclist named Lance Armstrong sent Balsillie an email.

Apparently an email from Lance Armstrong gets results, because Bauer met with Mr. BlackBerry and good things happened.  Today, Bauer will announce the line up for his Canadian team, which hopes to compete in the Tour de France in a few years.

This should be fun to monitor.  Let’s hope the team jerseys don’t look like this:

This jersey tastes like shit.

Thanks, Lance.

Of Touring and Track Bikes

more about “Tokyo to Osaka Teaser“, posted with vodpod

Further to my recent post about bicycle clubs being the next “thing” in urban cycling, here’s a video detailing what I think will be an important element of those clubs: cyclotouring.  Despite rumours that the fixed gear phase is passing, it’s not.  It’s simply morphing.  And this is nothing new, of course.  For months, maybe even AN ENTIRE YEAR, people have been touring on their fixed gears.  It might have begun as a way to get from one session spot to another (perhaps in a different town), but it has evolved into serious trips on serious bikes.  As you can tell from the above video, it’s lots of fun.  Especially when you’ve got a camera crew and a van to carry all your gear, which means you can ride your bike unencumbered by the panniers and water bottles (touring staples, along with beards and merino wool) that would make it simply impossible to get up a hill running a 46×17.  Yet, as fun as that video seems, I just don’t think it could ever beat this:

Beards are awesome.

Or this:

Black and white = total class.

I’m not one to begrudge fixed-gear riders their touring experience, but you simply can’t beat the feel of a proper fully-loaded touring bike (ideally ridden somewhere between 1972 and 1976, before I was born).  And, to be honest, touring isn’t something to be put on film and set to music.  It’s long days of pedalling and having good conversations, not an extended sprint competition or excuse to MASH all over the place.  Perhaps, as bicycle clubs — which will undoubtedly include at least a few fixed-gear devotees — increase in popularity, we could set some ground rules for their activities.  I propose the following: go ahead and tour on your fixed gear.  Film everything.  Create “web edits.” HOWEVER, all trailers for touring films must be set to the Fleet Foxes.

If you can make that badass, then more power to you.

In other track cycling news, you can expect something different from this blog in a few days.  Maybe next week.  I don’t want to give too much away, but enjoy this and let your imagination run wild:

Tour Down Under: ALLEZ VICHOT!

Quoi de what?

You’ve likely never heard of Arthur Vichot.  Me neither.  Sure, he rides for one of the few teams with a quasi-stylish kit, but that really has nothing to do with him.  So, why was he such a fan favourite at the Tour Down Under?

Not the work of the Chalkbot.

It seems that Australian cycling fans like to have fun.  According to various news reports, a group of fans decided to pick one unknown competitor in the TDU and make him a star.  After a little research, they settled on Vichot and went about transforming this 20-year-old water carrier into a cycling celebrity.

“Only two weeks ago the idea came up to create an Australian fan-club for an unknown rider who would be doing his first race here, who had never been to Australia before and doesn’t speak English,” said Alsbury [from the Port Adelaide Cycling Club]. “We went through the start list and we found Arthur on Facebook. That’s how we got to know that he came second at the U23 French championship. The club has grown from words of mouth.”

During his first training ride with local cyclists in Adelaide last week, Lance Armstrong was asked by Alsbury: “Do you know Vichot?” The seven-time winner of the Tour de France had never heard this name but he was told: “You’ll know him by the end the Tour Down Under.” That’s exactly what’s happened.

To his credit, Vichot is being a good sport.  “It is fun that this story occurs to me,” he noted in one interview.  I just might try and snag one of those Allez Vichot shirts.

Good on you, Australia.

EDITED TO ADD: Be sure to check out the Facebook page.  Lots of great pictures.

Braving the Cold: Ottawa

The beard helps.

It’s currently raining in Montreal, and the forecast calls for an 8 degree (Celsius) day.  This is hardly the weather for winter riding, unless you’re in Vancouver.  However, later this week it is going to get cold, and I’m sure we’ll soon be buried under snow yet again.

Like Montreal, Ottawa is known for cold and snow.  Over the past few years, however, more and more cyclists are riding all year round.  The Ottawa Citizen has a story about winter cycling and its increasing popularity, and they got a couple of quotes from the fine people at Fat Moose Cycles.  Fat Moose is a fantastic LBS, just in case you ever find yourself in Ottawa.

The article suggests, quite reasonably, that winter cycling is not as difficult as people assume.  Especially this winter.  Thanks El Nino.

It’s not winter everywhere: Tour Down Under

Winning.

I was fortunate enough to live in Australia for 4 months a few years ago.  Melbourne, to be exact.  I’d love to go back with my bike, as I didn’t do any riding while I was there.  I’m currently cycling Australia vicariously through the UCI pros at the Tour Down Under.  Unlike other major races, I’ve yet to find a website that is streaming the Tour Down Under, so I’ve been forced to watch the 6minute recaps on Steephill.tv.  If you’re curious, HTC Columbia Highroad is killing it, led by Andre Greipel, who is sprinting his way to victories.  It must be nice not having to compete against Cavendish.

Sometimes finding races online is a cinch.  Other times, it’s almost impossible.  Maybe I should just cave and get a membership with Cycling.tv.   But then I wonder how often I’ll watch the lesser-known races.  It’s tricky.

If anyone has any good sites for streaming the Tours and the Classics, I’d love to know.

In other news: apparently everyone rides a bike in Toronto now (I’m not sure if I believe the stats, but it’s encouraging nonetheless); Ottawa is considering a segregated bike lane along Gladstone Ave (which would really facilitate my regular pilgrimage from downtown/Centretown/Glebe to Di Rienzo’s); and Westmount is still mulling over keeping the Maisonneuve bike path open all year (DO IT!).

The Next Hip Thing: Bicycle Clubs

Old-timey fun.

The NYT Spokes section has published a nice history of New York bicycle clubs.  Wheelmen (and women) formed groups to promote cycling, make friends, and encourage social interaction (an especially important element for new immigrants).  Clubs were organized around regions, or ethnicity, or anything else.  They helped train racers, or simply organized leisurely sojourns.  Today, clubs retain many of these elements.

I’ve ridden with a club once.  I was living in Aix-en-Provence, and decided to head out with the local club for one of their weekly Sunday morning rides.  This was my first club run, and I had no idea what to expect.  When I showed up and saw everyone in spandex kits, I got worried.  I learned a lot that day: don’t bring a bag, don’t bring your U-lock, don’t wear cotton shirts, bring power bars.  The ride wasn’t painfully long (95km), but I was not used to riding as part of a team.  I sucked.  I hit the wall.  I dragged my ass back into town a good 45 minutes after everyone else.  I learned my lesson.

Or did I? Perhaps that club just wasn’t for me.  It was a traditional roadie club.  But now, new options are presenting themselves.  Here’s why I think Bike Clubs are the next big thing in urban cycling:

  • everyone loves hanging out with friends.  Add bikes and throw an element of exclusivity into the mix, and you can’t go wrong.
  • urban riders (fixed-gear or not) are slowly chipping away at the roadie domain.  Riding track bikes long distances is, apparently, film-worthy.  Full kit is acceptable, so long as it’s stylish.  However, I suspect that urban bike clubs will wear normal clothes and focus more on pub-crawls than centuries.
  • Clubs, if done right, are pretty much a party on wheels.  Nobody demonstrates this better than The Fucking Bike Club, and I propose all new clubs use the FBC as a template.
  • You can establish a club based on whatever criteria you’d like: gay, academic, indie rock, grrrl power, etc.  You can even start beefs with other clubs, which would be hilarious.
  • finally, Clubs require a witty name, a website, and some kind of uniform.  This demands the skills of an English major, web editor, graphic designer, and silkscreen specialist.  There, you just employed at least half of your club.

This is my prediction for 2010.  Clubs will be the new “thing” among urban riders.  They might be called “gangs,” because urban riders simply cannot use words un-ironically anymore.  See? I just wrote un-ironic instead of sincere. So, go find some friends and do something awesome.

Classic Track: Gordon Singleton Loss (1982)

Yesterday (or maybe a few days ago — my recent relocation has cut a hole in the space/time continuum), Urban Velo posted the above video.  Their intention was to bring attention to Koichi Nakano, but I thought a repost here (with a focus on Singleton) might boost the Canadian angle.

Gordon Singleton is pretty much the coolest person ever.  He has a wikipedia entry, but only in French.  Eschewing English is the internet equivalent of scoffing at fixed-gear bikes with a front brake.  Moreover,  not only was he racing track before most current fixé riders were born, but he also graced the cover of what is arguably the most awesome magazine ever:

Nothin'. What's up with you?

He earned this cover after becoming the first Canadian ever to win a Word Championship.  True to his roots, Singleton is still in Niagara Falls.  I’m not sure if he sprints from winery to winery during Sunday rides through Niagara-on-the-Lake (the Falls’ classy cousin), but he could.  And it would be awesome.



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.