Category Archives: not racing

Octave Lapize

This is Octave Lapize.

Lapize: modern fixie hipsters would kill for his cred.
Lapize: modern fixie hipsters would kill for his cred.

He won the 1910 Tour de France, and a bronze medal in the 1908 Olympics. He won Paris-Roubaix three times, in 1909, 1910 and 1911.

He is famous for, on the Col du Tourmalet during the 1010 Tour, yelling at race organisers “Vous êtes des assassins! Oui, des assassins!”

That day was 326km over seven major climbs. On unsealed roads. On a heavy fixed gear bike. I see his point.

He went on to become a fighter pilot in the French army, and was shot down and killed over Moselle, in the Lorraine region of France.

A cycling legend and a fighter pilot. What a charismatic man.

Advertisements

Drink Le Tour!

An alternate Tour de France 2014 drinking game. Submissions welcome via Twitter.

 

Update Stage 16!

Due to a number of rider withdrawals, some of these rules no longer apply. I will strike them from the game and replace them with some new rules.

One sip

Adam Hansen’s carbon shoes

A chateau and/or ruins

A sticky bottle

Phil Sherwen says “in the month of March/April/May/June”

Paul Liggett gets a rider’s name wrong

Sherliggett explains what the different coloured jerseys mean

Contador gets out of the saddle

Marcel Kittel’s hair

Eddy Merckx

Wheel change

Europcar attacks

Gabriel Gate uses butter

You realise you’ve fallen asleep

A rider with a moustache

Fernando Alonso

An English rider

“Lanterne Rouge”

“Riding himself into form” (thanks to @ozwinereview)

NEW someone mentions “echelons”

NEW someone mentions how passionate/crazy the Basque fans are

NEW “former mountain bike rider”

Two sips

Thomas Voeckler’s Sex Face (#voecklersexface)

Jens Voigt attacks

Phil or Paul mentions that Jens Voigt is old

Any retired doper is mentioned

A spectator interferes with a rider

A crash

Chris Froome loses time on a stage (to anyone in the top ten)

NEW Anyone mentions Bradley Wiggins

Finish your drink

A Frenchman wins a stage

Any rider with a race number finishing with a 1 retires from the race

Chris Froome, Alberto Contador or Vincenzo Nibali win a stage

Lance Armstrong

 

Car companies that also love bikes

Like most adults who ride bikes, I also own and drive a car.

Cars are useful. They’re good for getting to places that are too far away to ride to. They’re good for carrying things.

Sadly, this week my beloved 1997 Subaru reached that point where the repairs required to keep it on the road will cost more than the value of the car. Now that the sobbing fits have passed (we had some great times, me and the Suby) I’m shopping for a new motor.

Now, apart from all of the usual factors that go into choosing a car (small matters of aesthetics, driveability, fuel economy, value, safety, practicality, space for a bike in the back), it’s worth noting that many car companies also sponsor cycling in various forms.

Lots of car manufacturers are actively marketing to cyclists through sponsorship of teams, races, TV programmes or by producing bikes themselves.

Let’s have a look. Maybe being a cyclist-friendly brand could be the edge that tips me into choosing one make over another.

If I’ve missed any, let me know on the Twitter!

Manufacturers that currently sponsor teams or races

Subaru

Subaru is one brand that has cultivated an outdoorsy image, particularly with its off-road vehicles like the Forester and Outback. The company clearly sees a lot of overlap between its customers and people who ride bikes, and it spends a lot of money sponsoring Australian cycling.

Apart from being the naming-rights sponsor for Australia’s top domestic road race series, the Subaru National Road Series (NRS), Subaru also sponsors the SBS TV show ‘Subaru World of Cycling’ and hosts a web page featuring race reports and videos featuring the likes of BMX champion Caroline Buchanan.

Subaru was the vehicle sponsor for Orica-GreenEdge for the first two years of the team’s life (but not for this year).

It also sponsors two NRS teams: Subaru Albion, and the Subaru NSWIS development team.

UPDATE 24/6/2014: Subaru is now a major sponsor of the Tour Down Under, in a deal that will run from 2015-2017. According to the press release:

“Subaru Australia has entered into a three-year agreement commencing [2015], and will supply vehicles for use during the event. It will also become naming rights sponsor of the Subaru King of the Mountain.”

The press release also reveals that Subaru also sponsors the Australian Mountain Bike Season, so add that to the list.

Skoda

The Czech brand is owned by VW, and has been a hugely visible cycling sponsor over the last few years. Skoda is a major sponsor of the Tour De France, including naming rights for the white jersey for best young rider.

Skoda is a sponsor of Australia’s biggest tour, the Tour Down Under, too.

Skoda also advertises heavily during cycling TV coverage, is a major advertiser on several major cycling websites and magazines including The Roar (which I write for) and RIDE magazine.

They’ve produced videos with Aussie cycling legend Phil Anderson.

Locally, Essendon Skoda sponsors the Kelly Cycling NRS team.

Jaguar

Jaguar is famously a major sponsor of Team Sky, providing vehicles to the team and top riders.

RideExperienceDay3-0697
That’s Richie Porte and Jaguar Australia brand manager Mark Eedle having a chat in front of yours truly. Photo by Beardy McBeard (http://beardymcbeard.com/)
Jaguar sponsors rides with local boutique cycle tourism firm Soigneur. Photo by Beardy McBeard (http://beardymcbeard.com/)
Jaguar sponsors rides with local boutique cycle tourism firm Soigneur. Photo by Beardy McBeard (http://beardymcbeard.com/)
RideExperienceDay3-0404
These were definitely the best sag-wagons I’ve seen. Photo by Beardy McBeard (http://beardymcbeard.com/)

The local Australian arm of the company is also keen to promote itself to cyclists, by engaging in events with local partners like Soigneur.cc. I was lucky enough to be invited on a Soigneur ride paid for by Jaguar last year, with Richie Porte in attendance (read about it here).

Jaguar Australia’s local management counts a few cyclists amongst their ranks, not least Brand Manager Mark Eedle, who certainly convinced me that the company is serious about attracting the kind of energetic people who cycle to their brand.

The company also sponsors a monthly photo competition on CyclingTips.

Volvo

Volvo, through Melbourne dealer Altitude Volvo, is the 2014 vehicle sponsor for Orica-GreenEdge in general, and Simon Gerrans in particular.

Holden

Perhaps surprising given Holden’s V8-powered macho image and the frequency with which I seem to get buzzed or abused by some dickhead driving one of their cars, Holden sponsors a women’s NRS team.

Holden may be better known for hoons, but its women's NRS team is pretty powerful.
Holden may be better known for hoons, but its women’s NRS team is pretty powerful.

Maybe they’re trying to make it up to us.

Suzuki

Suzuki is a sponsor of the Suzuki-Brumby’s women’s NRS team, and has been since the team began in 2010. It’s one of the top women’s NRS teams, and counts the likes of Rebecca Wiasak and Emily Roper among its riders.

Fiat

The Italian marque is a partner of and official supplier of vehicles to British Cycling.

Car manufacturers with an older affinity

Sadly, these brands seem to have drifted away from cycling, but they have a storied history with bikes that deserves a mention.

Renault

Renault was a team sponsor of one of cycling’s greatest teams in the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s, winning multiple Tours de France, world championships and classics with three greats, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond.

Their jersey is still a classic.

Renault’s team jersey is an absolute classic

Peugeot

Few car makers have such a long history with cycling as Peugeot, which of course also makes bikes (although these no longer seem to be sold in Australia).

In fact, the first proper road bike I ever owned was a Peugeot Tourmalet steel-framed 12-speed, which my dad bought second-hand for $180 and is still sitting in the garage at home.

The company sponsored one of cycling’s all-time great teams, right from its inception in 1892. The first official Peugeot team started in 1901, and continued until 1986 (picking up ten Tour de France wins, and numerous classics, world championships and others along the way).

Hennie Kuiper rides for Peugeot at the 1980 Tour de France.
Hennie Kuiper rides for Peugeot at the 1980 Tour de France.

After 1986, DS Roger Legeay took over, leading it through various incarnations but probably best remembered by younger fans as Gan and Credit-Agricole.

Another day in the trenches

Man, it was perfect. A cyclist’s natural enemies brought together in time and space in one crystalline fragment.

A cock in a suit driving a BMW convertible.

A tradie in a 4×4 ute behind him.

Gridlock traffic.

Camberwell.

Fucking Camberwell. Serial bugbear of my commute, a deadening beige epicentre of white middle class entitlement and fucking clueless drivers.

I once knew a girl from Camberwell who told me, without a trace of irony, that her parents bought a Porsche Cayenne because it was the only car that could fit their golf clubs in.

Under a brilliant moon and clear skies, the stage was set.

Act I.

The silver-haired salesman in the BMW was pulling out of a T-junction into the paused traffic. I saw him from 100m away, his black surrogate penis flopped arrogantly across two lanes as he tried to squish it in.

I watched him closely, hoping to catch his eye. Twenty seconds?

He stared resolutely left, refusing to acknowledge the oncoming traffic. The traffic refused to budge.

One of the perks of riding a bike is that when the cars are all stopped, often you are not.

Not all drivers have noticed.

He was stopped, blocking my lane entirely.

I rolled slowly and deliberately into the right lane, towards his right flank, aiming to glide through the small space between his car and the hatchback he was propositioning. Without a glance in my direction, he pushed further out, and the space abruptly vanished.

I stopped.

“Hello?!” – I half enquired as I changed direction, 300 flashing lumens of LED light rolled across his dawning perception as he finally looked in my direction.

Wheeling around behind his car, I rode on, saying not a word more.

“Hello?!” – like a rag to a bull.

He drove past, swearing and gesticulating.

I’ve found drivers hate it when you point out they drive like gormless shits, no matter how gently.

I responded with the universal symbol for “Look where you’re bloody going!” and that was that.

Act II.

As the traffic light turned red, the tradie speeds up to me, window down, to defend BMW-cock’s honour.

“YOU NEED TO PULL YOUR FUCKING HEAD IN MATE, YOU THINK YOU OWN THE ROAD, YOU FUCKING HIT HIS CAR, SLOW DOWN!”

Me (mentally tallying up his Herald-Sun Bingo score): “I didn’t hit him, I just told him to look where he was going!”

Him: “YOU FUCKING HIT HIS CAR!”

Me: “I didn’t touch his bloody car, I was watching him for 20 seconds, he pulled out without looking and I told him so!”

Him: “PULL YOUR HEAD IN MATE OR I’LL GET OUT OF THE CAR AND GET THE CROWBAR OUT OF THE BACK!”

Me: “Well, I don’t think that’s necessary… I told you, I didn’t touch his car, I just told him to look where he’s going. I’m not an idiot!”

Him (realising he stepped over the line): “Yeah OK.”

I rode off wondering how many of these the tradesman has read, to keep his anger and resentment simmering and so ready to boil over at such a slight provocation.

How wound up does a man need to be, to threaten to beat me with a crowbar for telling another driver – who he didn’t even know – to pay more attention?

As I rolled on home, collecting my thoughts, the arrogant BMW driver and the angry tradie continued to sit in the motionless traffic.

Another day in the War On Our Roads.

Is the Courier-Mail playing you for a fool?

Brisbane’s Courier Mail has released shocking news about cyclists not keeping their agreement with Queensland motorists.

“Bad cycle of errors for Queensland riders with many flouting road rules”

“THEY were the changes supposed to make our roads safer, but just days after the Newman Government introduced new cycling legislation, bike riders have failed to meet their end of the bargain.”

Oh, shit, no! Those ungrateful bastards.

“In the first police snapshot of the laws in action, Queensland officers have handed out 88 traffic infringement notices to cyclists flouting the state’s road rules.”

That’s 44 per day! In a state with a population of over 4.7 million

(That’s less than 1/100,000 people)

“The number of fines, issued over a two-day period as part of Operation Cycle Safe in Queensland’s north, stand in contrast to the number of motorists caught disobeying the new safe passing laws – zero.”

Well, this sounds terrible. Those naughty rule-breaking cyclists compared to law-abiding motorists.

But hang on a second, that’s a comparison of cyclists breaking ANY road rule, against motorists breaking a single, brand new, road rule.

To be a fair comparison, we have to ask how many motorists in sunny Queensland break ANY road rule, per day.

Luckily, the Queensland Police publish this data. And we can read it here.

In 2011/2012, drivers in Queensland committed the following traffic offenses:

Drink driving

26,033

Red light Cameras

36,883

Mobile Speed Cameras

386,630

Fixed speed cameras

186,580

Total

636,126

Per day

1,743

 

Yes, that’s right, in 2011/2012, Queensland drivers were fined for breaking traffic rules an average of 1743 times per day.

That’s 39.6 TIMES the number of cyclists fined per day in the recent blitz, every single day of the year.

So, tell me again who’s not holding up their end of the bargain?

UPDATE:

I’ve received some good suggestions on ways to improve this quick and dirty comparison:

1) Compare the number of people using each mode of transport to estimate fines per person (or distance travelled) per day

2) Use an annualised figure for cyclist fines.

I will have a go at these in a later post. If anyone has any relevant data please post links in the comments.

 

UCI to introduce electric motors in 2015

I’ve just received this press release from the UCI. It’s certainly a major innovation, and I can’t wait to see how it changes the tactics used in races!

The UCI hasn’t said so, but I suspect this is partly a response to bike industry pressure: e-bikes are a fast-growing segment of the market, but they’re definitely not sexy, and manufacturers need professionals adopting them to add some bling and take sales to the next level with the cafe racer segment.

Personally, I can’t wait to hit my favourite Strava segments with a UCI-legal 200 Watt motor on board.

UCI Technical Committee meeting: introduction of electric bicycles in 2015
1.04.2014
The UCI Technical Committee (PCC) met in Aigle (Switzerland) on March 31st to confirm the introduction of electric motors to UCI road racing events for the 2015 season. The new regulations require teams to install small electric motors within the frames of racing bicycles, to provide power assistance up to 200 Watts during road races, or 250 Watts in time trials, to be used at the rider’s discretion.The Technical Committee decided that the new regulations, which all UCI World Tour and Pro Continental teams will eventually have to adhere to, shall go through a test phase in 2014 before being adopted permanently. This is an important step in the reform of professional road cycling, and follows the example of Formula 1 motor racing in its commitment to ongoing technical innovation in the sport.

The teams’ terms of reference contain a certain number of rules that aim to change the culture of professional cycling in order to guarantee spectator interest.

The committee indicated that the introduction of electric motors is a response to fan objections that recent racing has “lacked panache” and that the new, cleaner cycling movement has damaged the spectacle of cycling for TV audiences. In particular, it is a question of maintaining the ability of riders to perform at extraordinary levels without pharmacological assistance.

Taking its lead from Formula 1, the new motors will incorporate energy recovery technology (KERS) and riders will be able to deploy a power boost in a short burst or in a sustained release, as required.

During the 2014 season, the teams and manufacturers will be provided with a UCI standardised motor and battery specification to be implemented by the beginning of 2015.

A UCI spokesperson said,

“The UCI views the introduction of electric motors to cycling as the natural evolution of racing, and is excited to bring a new element to the World Tour in 2015. Fans will love seeing riders climbing Hors catégorie mountains at the equivalent of 10W/kg, and can you imagine how good these things will be on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix?

Everyone loves it when Formula 1 messes around with its engines, and we really love the sound of their new cars, so why not add some of that excitement to bike racing? We’ve been holding back innovation for so long it’s definitely time to do something drastic.”

“Besides, Fabian Cancellara has been using a motor for years, and it’s only made him look like a complete badass.”