This is one for our Canadian friends…
Luigia Zilli, an Italian artiste with a passion for cycling and currently has an exhibition in Ontario, Canada.
I caught up with Luigi to talk about her art, inspiration and hopes.
CyclingShorts: Tell our readers all about your art and why cycling features so prominently in your work?
Luigia Zilli: I love how my paintings bring out happiness in those who are passionate about cycling. I can see the joy they feel when they see my work. It’s priceless.
Freedom, by Luigia Zilli. Oil on canvas
CS: Why cycling?
Luigia: That is one question I have been asked very often; It may be somewhat unusual in a world where visual artists usually depict landscapes or still-life or the human figure, just to mention few of the more common subject matters. I feel that an artist who is true to them self paints what they feel connected to and passionate about. That is who I am. The passion I feel for the sport of cycling and bicycles in general is rooted in my past.
CS: Tell us about your connection to competitive cycling?
Luigia: I grew up around bicycles and competitive cycling. My father and brother were racing cyclists and introduced me to the world of competitive cycling in my early years in Italy. Between training and racing, watching my younger brother race, working for a TV show about cycling and watching grand tours on TV, cycling encompassed my everyday life. I really missed it when it wasn’t there anymore. That’s when I started to paint it. Although I have an interest in several subject matters, bicycles seem to capture my attention most often. Bicycles and cyclists became a muse and an inspiration for creating something which is embedded deep inside of me. I want to share it with others so that they can feel the passion I have expressed in my artwork. I try to immortalize bicycles in the environment that tells their story the best. With cyclists, my intent is to depict motion and facial expression; speed and movement, strain and pain, fatigue and exhilaration, spinning wheels, winding and weaving during their battle on the saddle. My medium of choice is acrylic paint on textured canvas. I apply texture to canvas creating the look of worn out roughness yet exhibiting an equally deep and rich perspective.
CS: It seems that cycling for you goes a little deeper than simple competition?
Luigia: … to me cycling is comparable to life in general in many cases. Like in life, perseverance will lead us to success, it doesn’t matter if now we can’t do it, if we make a mistake, if it’s too hard. Also hard work: that’s one of my favourite mantras. Hard work will result in success, sooner or later.
CS: That is beautifully put and very true. Do you think your art has inspired people to ride?
Luigia: I’m very positive in encouraging people to ride the bicycle. For some, after they start to do it, it becomes really addictive. I grew up in a small town in Italy where it was the most common utilitarian way to move around for people of any age. I have wonderful childhood memories riding the bicycle with my friends, being able to go everywhere in a short time, it really gives you a great sense of freedom. The bicycle, in my opinion, it’s a simple but very attractive machine, it has its own elegance and dynamism. It’s a great invention and I also consider it a symbol and a precious tool for living our future in a clean environment keeping ourselves healthy and happy.
CS: We see you have linked your exhibition to the Pan American Games?
Luigia: About the Pan Am Games, as soon as I knew they were coming to Toronto and they were building the new Velodrome practically next door where I live, I thought it was a good time for an exhibition to target not only cyclists and enthusiasts locally and from all over Canada, but also coming from the other Countries which are participating. During the Pan Am Games every city that hosts has a lot of events organized in celebration of the games and to entertain the public, either local or visiting. My art exhibition will be one of them and my cyclist friends and family are looking forward to it.
CS: Have you any success closer to home in inspiring people to ride more?
Luigia: I started my partner cycling and now he’s the one buying all the technology and gears for the bike, even more than me!
CS: You may well have opened a Pandora’s Box there Luigia! Good luck with all the bikes, components and gear that will slowly yet surely fill your apartment. Thanks ever so much for taking the time to speak to us during what must be a very busy time for you. Thanks also for the generous offer of a signed print competition – one of our loyal readers will surely be a very happy cyclist.
Luigia: Thank you Nick.
You can view and purchase prints of Luigia’s wonderful art at: http://www.bicycleart.ca/store.html
Enter our new competition…
Win a cycling sunset, enter by clicking here.
Luigia has generously donated a 50 cm x 50 cm signed Ltd. Edition print of ‘Sunset’; one of her most popular paintings.
To celebrate stage 1 of the 2014 Grand Depart, The Stephen Neal Group hosted a Grand De-Party at Platform North, The Factory Building, Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, HG1 1DX.
Yes, OK, so I bought another cycling T-shirt, and cap, and wristband… It was all for a couple of great causes.
This astonishing pop-up exhibition displayed beautifully a collection of vintage and modern bicycles. There were some true legends beautifully displayed here…
Let’s start with…
Tommy Simpson: 30th November 1937 – 13th July 1967.
The first British rider to wear the yellow jersey – 1962.
Bike frame number 286.
The display was perfect and very peaceful. People stayed with Tom’s bike for long time, often lost in thought.
No records exist for bikes built by Woodrup Cycles before 1973 due to a fire, however both Barry Hoban – the rider, and Ian McLean – the frame builder, have verified it’a authenticity as one of those from the 1960’s finished in Mercier team colours for the Tour de France. Damaged and returned to Woodrup Cycles to be repaired, Jim, an employee at the time, rode it until it was sold to Chris Forbes in Otley. Restored to it’s present glory by Chris it was eventually sold to Bob Garside – who was very generous with his time and told me so much about the history of this beautiful bike and his astonishing collection – in 2010, its current owner. When can I visit, Bob?
Here’s Barry Hoban, dispelling a few myths, interviewed by Ned Boulting in 2012…
Jackson: frame info needed!
Beryl Burton dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, setting numerous domestic records and as well as winning more than 90 domestic championships along with seven world titles. She set a women’s record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men’s record for two years!
Burton won the women’s world road race championship in 1960 and 1967, and was runner-up in 1961. On the track she specialised in in the individual pursuit, winning world championship medals almost annually across three decades. She was World Champion five times (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966), silver-medallist three times (1961, 1964, and 1968) and took bronze in 1967, 1970 and 1973.
In domestic time-trial competitions, Beryl Burton was almost unbeatable. She won the Road Time Trials Council’s British Best All-Rounder (BBAR) Competition for an astonishing 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983. In total she won 72 national individual time-trial titles.
In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 mile, and was not superseded by a man until 1969! In the process of setting this record she caught and passed Mike McNamara who was on his way to setting the men’s record at 276.52 miles and winning that year’s men’s BBAR!
Beryl Burton also set about 50 new national records at 10, 15, 25, 30, 50 and 100-mile distances; her final 10, 25 and 50 mile records each lasted 20 years before being broken, her 100-mile record lasted 28 years, and her 12-hour record still stands today.
Her prowess led to the rare distinction, for a woman, of an invitation to compete in the Grand Prix des Nations in 1967.
“I don’t feel that I’ve got anything special about me. I’ve just got two legs, two arms and a body, and a heart and lungs.”
7 times World Champion – Beryl Burton, OBE.
Another installment to come, including the legendary and utterly charming Ken Russell, winner of the 1952 Tour of Britain whilst riding as an ‘independent’ (no team), and his Ellis Briggs racing bike.
1952 Tour of Britain winning bike by Ellis-Briggs
Ken, 84 & Renee, Harrogate, July 2014
Ken’s Ellis-Briggs with his 1952 Tour of Britain Winners jersey.
The Pain and the Glory
The official team sky diary of the Giro campaign and Tour victory
Introduction by… Sir Dave Brailsford & Chris Froome
Words by Sarah Edworthy, Photography by Scott Mitchell
Cast your mind back to Team Sky’s annus mirabilis. Its 2012 and the halcyon day’s of Wiggo’s dominance in the stage races cumulating in victory in the Tour de France and yet another Olympic gold, this time in the time trial. Every pedal stroke of which, you’ll recall, was chronicled in the rather good ’21 Day’s to Glory’.
Now comes this 2013 Grand Tour journal charting the ups, downs, plan A’s, plan B’s, the tragedies, the triumphs and inner working’s of Team Sky.
The Pain and the Glory delves deep into Team Sky’s attempt to win the double: the 2013 Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. This is a book in two-parts and is generally chronological.
It opens with a well written introduction from Sir Dave and quickly leaps straight into the Giro and Sky’s charge for victory through Bradley Wiggins – remember all the talk, Nibali or Wiggins – and their eventual re-structuring and plan-B second place in GC with Rigoberto Uran. The ‘second half’ of the book covers the Tour and Chris Froome’s gradual deconstruction of the other main GC contenders. Geraint Thomas’ epic ride through of pain will long live in the memory – a legend tales root.
The Pain and the glory has a real fly-on-the-wall feel to it. Although it does leave one or two crucial question unasked – as you’d expect from an internally employed team of professional journalists. The book rally excels in the unusual layers of detail about each and every stage. All supplemented beautifully by the Scott Mitchell’s sublime photography and enriched by input from the all the main protagonists – Wiggin’s, Froome, Uran, Thomas (he of the fractured pelvis in stage 1… This man is one tough dude!), Stannard, et al. It also allows an insight into to the oft hidden, but absolutely vital, work of the mechanics, medical staff, cooks and families.
This is the very official account of a tumultuous yet ultimately successful year in the life of one of the leading professional road cycling teams. Kudos to Sarah Edwards for generating such a flowing narrative.
Marginal gains on the road… Massive gains in reader experience: the book is accompanied by a fascinating commentary from the team players, photographers and writers. Just download the free Livebooks App from The App store or Google Play, scan the photo’s with the livebook symbol and sit back and listen. This really works and is highly effective in enriching and enlightening. I found the chats about photography, framing and choice, artistic and highly educational.
CyclingShorts Star Rating: 80/100 (9 if Team Sky ran a women’s team!)
YOU CAN WIN A COPY IN OUR LATEST COMPETITION – JUST CLICK HERE!
The Pain and the Glory: the official team sky diary of the Giro campaign and Tour victory
Exclusive – with accompanying Team Sky podcast Apps
Harper Collins – Non Fiction on 17th October 2013
Available in Hardback & eBook
RRP £20.00 (Hardback) RRP £13.39 (Digital)
Classic Cycling Race Routes
The Toughest 52 European Challenges
by Chris Sidwells
Reviewed by Nick Dey
Published: 15th October 2013
AA Publishing in association with Garmin
An inspiring book to read and then to ride… if you dare!
This inspiring hardback book presents a selection of the most challenging and rewarding routes for road and racing cyclists. From the South Downs Epic and Tour of the Peak in the UK, to Paris-Roubaix in France and Tour of Flanders in Belgium, from Gruyere Cycling Tour in Switzerland and Tour of Lombardy in Italy to the San Sebastian Classic in Spain, this book is the ultimate motivation for cyclists who want to push themselves to the next level.
The fifty-two classic European cycling routes – one ride for each week of the year – selected to appear in this weighty A4 hard backed tome of well over two-hundred pages cater for the aspiring and experienced cyclist as well as those more romantically inclined, inspired as they are by the epic routes raced by the legends of the sport.
Experience an example… The Retro Ronde.The routes have derived their inspiration from the many professional races as well as the ever growing mass-participation events, the cyclosportives. Indeed the twenty-four routes that cover the UK and Ireland are exclusively ‘sportive in scope. I’m ashamed to report that I have ridden only one … but can vouch for the books accuracy; I was indeed Flat Out in the Fens! Several of the European events feature in the World Cycling Tour: an age group series in which participants have the chance to qualify for and compete in an age-group final. You, yes you, could become a World Champion!
Route 34, pp148-150, covers the outstanding Retro Ronde*
I rode this in 2013 and am happy to state without hyperbole that it is my absolute favourite cycling experience, second to none – full review coming soon to Cycling Shorts (Ed. I promise!)
Here I am… climbing ‘The Wall’ Retro Ronde 2013
In the book the route distance is correctly stated as 100 km (I managed 112 km but did get myself lost taking in a few extra Heligen!) but the total climbing was very different to my experience. The book states 525 m however I managed 1200 m. To be fair to the author the organisers fine tune their route each year – and I did do the extra cobbled climbs! All the other information is accurate and succeeds in conveying the flavour of the experience. For experience the Retro Ronde certainly is! I shall be back every year – or as long as the old bike, and even older legs will allow. If you do plan on riding try to make a long weekend of it. The ‘Crit’, ahem, racing on the Saturday is wholly authentic yet rather tongue in cheek, and well worth the entry fee of €5!
Posing for the official photo at the start… the atmosphere was the best I have experienced.
So how does this fine book present the information?
The book in a nutshell …
- 52 European cyclosportive and Grand Tour routes
- Full-colour route maps with directions and elevation profiles
- Advice on ride strategies and techniques
- Tips on training, appropriate clothing, nutrition and fitness
- All routes are available to download for your GPS cycling computer
- Routes cover the UK & Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
The author suggests the reader takes two possible approaches, both of which allow them to make full use of the route information. The first, and Sidwells strongly suggests this as the most preferable avenue, is to take part in the official event for each route (if there is one) as, and I can only concur with him in this respect, …
“…the atmosphere and camaraderie of these events, where thousands of like-minded souls take part, all enjoying doing something they love, is incredible.”
Additionally, there is also more than enough information within the book to allow you to ride each route, or your own variation of it, independently of the official event and at any time of year. Words to the wise… check before you leave that roads are open!
Each route is clearly described and supported with often fascinating background information along with tantalising titbits of history; and who amongst us hasn’t unleashed the inner child and ridden a classic imagining the spectres of the greats; Coppi, Bobbet, Garin, et al, riding alongside?
There are maps and directions for each route, including profiles that clearly indicate where each hill is located along with rather useful yet often unsettling detail on how long and steep they are! The ever useful height gain is also presented.
In the words of the author, Chris Sidwells, “Enjoy the book, use it for planning and setting objectives, but above all get out and ride these routes. They represent some of the finest cycling experiences you could ever have.”
Classic Cycling Routes in a little more detail …
The introduction is extensive and covers three very important pre-ride requisites: Basic equipment – your bike, creating a training plan, and challenge-ride nutrition. There is a lot of very useful information here ranging from how to best use a GPS device (by Garmin) to the basics of creating a training plan.
The two-hundred pages devoted to the fifty two Race Routes traverse Europe through seven countries but with the majority set in the UK and Ireland.
The UK & Ireland section contains twenty-four routes, as listed below:
The Fred Whitton Challenge
The Ryedale Rumble
Etape du Dales
The Cheshire Cat
Tour of the Peak
The Shropshire Mynd
Flat Out in the Fens
Hell of the North Cotswolds
The Ups and Downs
The New Forest Epic
The South Downs Epic
The Tour of Wessex
The Exmoor Beast
The Dartmore Classic
The Dragon Ride
The Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive
Tour of Sligo
Malin to Mizen
Megève Mont Blanc
Cinglés du Ventoux
Etape du Tour 2010
Tour of Flanders
Grand Fondo Eddy Merckx
The Amstell Gold Race
Gruyére Cycling Tour
Alpenbrevet Platinum Tour
Tour of Lombardy
A Stage of the Tour of Italy
La Leggendaria Charly Gaul
Maratona dles Dolomites
La Pinarello Cycling Marathon
San Sebastian Classic
Val d’Aran Cycling Tour
A Stage of the Vuelta
La Pico del Veleta
Don’t forget… all routes in this book can be downloaded to your Garmin (the Edge 800 in my case) from the AA website.
As the book itself says, ‘the classic race routes selected here are not for the faint-hearted. Based on the best cyclosportive events in Europe and on stages of Grand Tours, they are much more than just pretty rides in the country. The fifty-two routes are serious mental and physical challenges (in the case of the Retro Ronde… the liver is called upon to do its bit too!) that require training and preparation. Yet each is accessible and achieved by many thousands of amateur cyclists each year.
Classic Cycling Race Routes allows you to cycle these rides at any time, either as preparation for the race events, or for the sheer joy and exhilaration of the challenge. For those rides that don’t have a dedicated cyclosportive route, the author has designed a ride a ride to reflect the demands and history of the race.
Each route contains a map with directions and an elevations and an elevation profile, and Chris Sidwells provides an overview combining ride strategy and techniques with the history of the race.
Practical and aspirational, Classic Cycling Race Routes will inspire a new generation of cyclists to push themselves to the extreme. You never know, the next Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish or Sir Bradley Wiggins may well be among them!
One for the rider as well as the reader + GPS routes = 100% Awarded our Star Buy Rating!
Reviewed by: Nichiless ‘Nicky’ Dey.
About the author
Chris Sidwells is an internationally-respected British cycling journalist and author, with nine books on cycling, ranging from biography through fitness and training to bike repair. His Complete Bike Book has been translated into twenty-four languages, and his Bike Repair Manual is about to reach its fifth edition. Tour Climbs and Race for Madmen were best sellers in their genre. His ‘The Official Tour de France Records’ has the backing of Le Tour Itself. Most recently he has published The Long Race for Glory: How the British Came to Rule the Cycling World… the next book to be reviewed on Cycling Shorts. Chris’s words and photographs have graced the pages of Britain’s best-selling cycling magazine Cycling Weekly (indeed he seems to appear in every issue,) and in all issues of Cycle Sport and Cycling Active, along with Cycling Fitness. He has also been published in Men’s Fitness, Cycling Plus, GQ, Running Fitness and the Sunday Times. Phew!