The Ride Journal – Featuring Greg Lemond, Victoria Pendleton and… blimey! The Highway Cycling Group!

Have you been looking for a cycling publication that talks more about the pleasures of riding than the latest kit? A magazine that isn’t stacked full of adverts, but instead is beautifully designed and elegant? A journal that covers all aspects of cycling, from BMX to cycle chic, via singlespeed and track racing? Yes?

I should very much like to draw your attention to a new cycling journal called The Ride. It is a thing of astonishing beauty, more akin to a book than a magazine, the design work alone makes it worth the £8.50 cover price in my opinion.

What about the content? Well you won’t find many adverts at all, and no technical reviews or ride guides. Surely every modern cycle publication must contain information on fitness, technique and nutrition for cyclists? Not this one. What it contains is a series of terrific articles, artwork and photo-essays that explore the feelings associated with riding a bike. There are BMXs on the Lower East Side, essays on the hunt for the perfect brakes, the birth of mountain biking, cycling through the snow, a tour of someone’s workshop, even articles from Greg Lemond (on his incredible Time Trial that won him the Tour de France) and a piece by the always excellent Victoria Pendleton.

There is even an article by yours truly, The Highway Cycling Group. The Editor Philip Diprose contacted me at the beginning of Spring, having read this blog and wondered if I would write a piece on the origins of The Highway Cycle Group. I gladly did so, producing a piece specially for the journal that has not been featured on the blog. I didn’t know if it was any good or not, but it seemed to fulfill what Philip was looking for in producing a bicycle journal with soul. To my surprise and delight, they published my article, along with a couple of pictures from the archives of the Group, including one of the badges my father made.

The Highway Cycle Group in The Ride Journal - apologies for the quality of the image

The Highway Cycle Group in The Ride Journal - apologies for the quality of the image

I hope my piece stands up to scrutiny when compared to the other articles, there is some really good writing in the rest of the journal.

It also turns out that someone else from the village has also written for the journal, Debbie Burton is well known in the world of mountain biking, not only for her journalism but also for her clothing company Minx stylish cycling gear for girls. Philip had no idea that we live in the same village when he commissioned us and Debbie and I only found out we’d both written for it after the journal was published. Debbie received her copy first and showed it me during the school run. Small world.

Get over to The Ride’s website and snap up one of the limited first editions – each one is numbered and there’s only 1000 copies available.

*** Stop Press *** It’s sold out already! They may be going to reprint and are taking emails to gauge interest – get your name down now and ask for a reprint, these are going to be collectors items. I cannot stress how beautiful and soulful this journal is, it makes Rouleur look like Cycling Weekly, and that seriously takes some doing!

Turbo-Training in the Workshop.

Well, I did manage to get onto the turbo trainer in the workshop and I coped with half an hour of spinning. Though in retrospect, starting the workout with Richter Scale Madness by …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, was somewhat foolish. I started at 23:50 and finished at 00:20, a different kind of nightride from the type I’m used to.

It was also a good chance to try out the merino wool base layer top I received for Christmas (actually this was the only bike related present I got, apart from Cycling Weekly’s winter fitness guide), it performed well. Riding stationary on the turbo trainer really shows how much the wind acts to cool a cyclist down. The temperature of the workshop rose sharply and halfway into the session the windows were steamed up and I was rolling up my sleeves.

I finished the spin to Indian Bones by Dead Meadow, the insistent rhythm promotes a healthy cadence for the wind down. A bit of stretching and a bath later, I felt much better for having spun the cranks and I’m pleased to report no pain or stiffness in the legs this morning.

Must get that bottom bracket fixed though

The Tour so far

I must say that, despite the (very) faint whiff of doping controversy, I’ve really been enjoying the Tour de France this year. Vinokourov crashing so badly so early on seemed to have blown the whole thing wide open, when he finished the first proper mountain stage in tears of agony I thought he wouldn’t be in the start up next day. Then there was his crazy solo breakaway on stage eleven with only 2km to go. Were you, like me, suddenly on your feet willing him to win it? It seemed so futile, so mad, he was breathing fast, the bandages on his stitched up knees a blur of white. It was inevitable that he would be swallowed up back into the Peloton, but for a moment it looked like a miracle was happening. However I was pleased that Robbie Hunter won it in the end, the first Maillot Jaune for South Africa. The British have performed well this year, sure the riders aren’t hugely high up in the general classification, but I think they have given good account of themselves. Bradley Wiggins in particular is worthy of praise. Early in week one, a suicidal solo breakaway into a headwind that looked just briefly like it might get somewhere, what a brave ride, even if it wasn’t planned. And then today, he really upped the ante on a day where many riders probably wanted to take it easy and prepare for the mountains. He started the time-trial in the dry and rode at a cracking rate through a downpour to set a time that stood as the fastest until Vinokourov blew it out of the water. Sixth against such powerful riders and on such poor road conditions was a major achievement.

Bradley Wiggins - photo from BBC website

Millar put in a solid performance today as well. Now there’s no real telling which way it will go. Vinokourov moved up ten places on one stage, Rasmussen looks precarious, Cadel Evans is doing well, I love a Tour when you can’t tell who is going to win.

Here, according to this week’s Cycling Weekly, are the winner’s average speeds for stages 1-8

Stage 1 – 27.12mph (43.65kph)
Stage 2 – 27.46mph (44.2kph)
Stage 3 – 22.25mph (35.81kph)
Stage 4 – 25.9 mph (41.69kph)
Stage 5 – 24.64mph (39.67kph)
Stage 6 – 23.17mph (37.29kph)
Stage 7 – 25.1 mph (40.41kph)
Stage 8 – 21.23mph (34.17kph)

the first one hundred kilometres of Stage three was raced at an average of 19.7mph (32kph) according to Bradley Wiggins’ cycle computer.

Although these speeds look pretty fast to me (remember my 19.3mph over 14.3 miles? Rubbish!) they are slower than normal for the Tour de France. Rumours abound that this is because a general doping clean-up has finally happened.

I can hardly wait for the Pyrennes… although that does mean I have to ride up Brassknocker Hill this week. I did ten hill-circuits in preparation today, it’s not going to be enough training so I think I’ll try and ride Winsley Hill first in the next couple of days, gulp!

The Eternal Reek of Damp Wool

I have just returned from a weekend away in Wales with my family. A good time was had by all even though the rain was near continuous. I’ve been going to the Brecon Beacons since I was too small to remember, my father was from the area, a little farm called Forest Lodge. He used to have to cycle into school, looking at the undulating hills and narrow roads it becomes apparent how my Father was able to keep cycling into his forties (he died age fifty) even though he smoked forty a day. That basic level of fitness and ability to cycle long distances, up and down all but the steepest gradient was forged on the anvil of those hills. I remember him once telling me how his brakes failed coming downhill into Heol Y Senni and he came off onto the tarmac. The bike was fine and he painfully carried on, having to sit a maths test with blood seeping through the gauze bandages covering his road-rash.

Normlly the only cycling you hear about in the Beacons is mountain-biking, but this year we saw loads of road bikes powering down the excellent A roads around Sennybridge and Glyntawe. At the Mountain Centre near Libanus there was a display of ’50 years of the Brecon Beacons National Park’, I took a snap of this rather nice photo of a touring group resting above Talybont. Witness the geezer in the beret.

Picture of cyclists on display in the mountain centre

Sunday was of course Father’s Day. The Boys got me this Tour-de-France guide which came with a free History of the Tour DVD. It’s published by the people who create Cycling Weekly so it’s a pretty good lowdown of all the teams etc.

Cover of the Tour De France Guide

It also came with a free Rapha catalogue. My Birthday isn’t until October, but seeing this catalogue, I feel the list is already starting to be compiled! Result!

The title of this post comes from the Mint Sauce cartoon strip drawn by Jo Burt for MBUK magazine. I have Mint sauce stickers on my Mountain Bike.

Published in: on June 18, 2007 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Landis, LeMond, Cooke

I have tried to steer clear of any detailed news about the Floyd Landis doping case, I find it so depressing that the sport has reached this low a level. A recent article in the American magazine Bicycling to which I subscribe, gave readers the option to make a judgement based on the key evidence submitted by both sides of the story. I have to say that I came out against Landis, a lot of his defence is irrelevant to whether or not he actually took an illegal substance during the Tour, and from what I can see, it looks like he did. However my wife bought this week’s Cycling Weekly and there was a story of how Landis’ camp tried to blackmail Greg LeMond (the first American to win the Tour) into not testifying against Landis. It has completely shocked me and ruined what remained of Landis’ tattered reputation, in my eyes anyway:

See this link to Cycling News for the full appalling story.

We desperately need a clean Tour de France this year. Thank goodness for Nicole Cooke. As men’s cycling slowly implodes into doping, corruption, blackmail and scandal upon scandal, women’s cycling is stronger than ever, with a British champion at the helm. What a pity that this fantastic athlete receives scant coverage outside of the cycling press.
Nicole Cooke - champion cyclist