Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s Little Helpers.
Yes the panic is setting in, so much to get organised and so little time, the Cycling Shorts team have put our collective heads together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint even the fussiest cyclist in your life.
We’ve split our choices into four perfect price parcels for commuters, kids, pro’s or fans. Click on the images or text links to visit the retailers (we’ve tried to find the cheapest deals for you). If nothing takes your fancy take a look at last years suggestions by clicking here.
It would have to be a Handmade Cyclist print or 5. My personal favourite is the Monument Collection, I love the style of them and the little stories behind each print- the dog in Paris- Roubaix, the Chapel in Lombardia. You have to be a bit of a bike geek to really appreciate them! I came across Neil’s work when he provided South West Women’s Race Series with prints as prizes. A great gift at only £25 each or buy the full set of 5 for £100.
If you are thinking about giving racing a go next season, sign up to one of the race training sessions that Cycling Shorts staff writer; Heather Bamforth is coaching – price is £20 per four hour session and is aimed at female riders who are either novices, fourth or third category riders.
Safety on the road is a hot topic at the moment, so I would suggest a OneLife ID Band, these silicone bands come with an etched metal tag with a unique URL and QR code that links to your personal profile where your “in case of emergency” can be stored and if someone enters the pin number on the back of the tag into the website your medical data can be viewed by a paramedic. It’s a highly customisable system, show as much or as little info as you want and it has multiple uses, lost property, ICE or Meditag. You can buy stickers, bands, keyrings and cards. Keeping a loved one easily identifiable in an emergency situation could save a life. If you click here you can see an example of what a profile looks like.
Remember there’s a discount of 15% with xmasgift15 until 11th December!
For the kids two items: the Bell Fraction Helmets and The fun Handlebar Heroes… Giddy Up!
For the Boys: A nice retro wool racing cap, Walz do a great quality cap for a good price, available from Always Riding from £19 to £23. Or maybe some leather trouser straps from Brooks, they have a great new range of bright metallics from £14.66.
howies do some great t-Shirts for men and women but my favourite this year is their mens Labrador T-Shirt.. a bargain at £25
Pegatin provide bike sitckers decals to the cycling stars; a great stocking filler. Choose the country flag and name and you’re ready to go! Starts at £9.99.
Why not treat the track cyclist in your life to a Track Cycling Calendar only £16.99, with photographs by top cycling photographer Guy Swarbrick… or for the track sprinter who likes their caffeine rush why not head over to V-Sprint’s website and order an Espresso Set. V-Sprint have cycling in their blood, owned by European Team Sprint Champion; Jess Varnish’s Dad. If you can’t stretch to a set of V-Sprints custom made wheels go for the coffee hit!
Stitch-Mi-Lane is a brand I’ve only recently come across, I bought one of their gorgeous Bike Twist Snoods recently and it’s getting a lot of wear this winter. I love it, really soft and cosy wool. Coming in under budget though is the Commuter Cowl at £28, or the Snug Spectator Merino Bike Bobble Hat also at £28. Want something for the living room? Why not get a Stitch-Mi-Lane Bike Wheel Cushion… my favourite is the blue and orange colourway, again a snip at £28!
For the lazy cyclist: Brite Ride Mega Bike Wipes £19.99 Or if they are feeling a little more energetic… give it a polish! Get a Purple Harry Bike Wash & Polish Mitt for £5.99, Purple Harry have a great range of cleaning products, check them out!
Hannah Walker Matrix Mug £16
Cool little gift for someone you know who loves cycling, drawn by the amazing Marty McCrossan, this little gift won’t break the bank and it’ll help fund Matrix Fitness RA with part of the proceeds going directly to the team!!
Fancy a read… Rob Hayles: Easy Rider £16.99 – Very funny book which will keep you entertained for hours, and shows you the insights of what it takes to become a Pro bike rider! It’s one of those books you’ll read many a time and have you laughing out loud like I did on a flight to Germany!
It simply has to be the traditional Christmas undies under the tree – a three pack of Look Mum No Hands Podium Pants (£25) will bring a smile to the faces of all; simply perfect for your pedaling partner! Why not accessorise with a pair of Rapha Winter City Riding Socks (£15), in pink, of course.
What Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a book to curl up with as the kids clean and prepare your bike for the traditional Boxing Day ride. This year has seen a cycling book eruption. My particular favourites, of which I will select three (the reviews are coming – I promise you readers… and you too dear editor!) have been, in no particular order…
Long Race to Glory – How the British Came to Rule the Cycling World, by Chris Sidwells. A wonderfully written and entertaining history of the many characters and events that have paved the way for the riders of today.
The Pain and the Glory: Team Sky Giro & Tour Diary, by Team Sky, Sir Brailsford and Chris Froome. Another fine tome, packed full off Scott Mitchell’s beautiful photography and supported by a free interactive Augmented Reality App that allows readers to scan selected pictures and then to sit back gazing in wonder as Scott tells you the story behind the photograph.
One for you Kindle folk: The Winter Cycling Survival Guide: How to Cycle through your first Winter – keep warm, get fit & stay motivated (A Beginner’s Training Guide.) by Rebecca Ramsay.
There’s no finer place to circle the important cycling dates of 2014 than in the Roths 2014 Tourleben – calendar (42-42 cm). Full of great photos that capture many of the legends of cycling. You won’t see many of these in the UK. Classy and inspiring.
Here are some of my favorites. It’s so wet over here so some warm wool cycling socks or rain booties—both of which I’d love right now, just to walk the dogs!
David James: Some top quality bar tape makes a real difference to comfort when riding and with so many colours and styles to choose from it should be easy to find something just right.
The majority of your heat escapes via your head – do yourself a favour and buy a bobble hat – Scruffy Dog Creations are selling like hot cakes at the moment! You can find out more about this brand, which boast handmade knitwear by checking out their Facebook page. If you want to buy one right now, you can purchase them from Victor and Liberty, priced between £26 and £29
It has to be the Defeet Slipstream Hi-Viz Overshoes (Pink) RRP: £13.99
Every cyclist needs to keep their neck warm in the winter and this Merino collar from Rapha goes down a treat for both the men and ladies alike. Available in just about every club colour you’d need, it’s understated by over delivers in warmth.
Winter Collar £25
Secret Santa could get me a set of Speedplay Cleats. I became a SPEEDPLAY disciple earlier in the year. A little odd at first but once you’re used to them they’re brilliant. The best way I’ve found of describing the Speedplay experience is to say that it’s just like having the spindle of the pedal running through the ball of your foot.
Good prices online, but do what all good riders should do… check out your local shop..£28 in mine.
Domestique: The Real-life Ups and Downs of a Tour Pro – A bumper year for cycling books in Britain – Wegelius’ tale has to be most enlightening book I’ve ever read on Pro road cycling. Click here for my review.
One23 Coloured Multi-Tool – £11. Perfect for fitting in your pocket or saddle bag. Small, but adds rainbow coloured functionality to an often grey wintery world. Who says multi tools need to be boring.
Santa’s Little Helper
New club kit! Abergavenny RC have great new kit for 2014 and I would be very happy to get some for Christmas.
Adidas Response Womens Tour Rain Jacket £85. Brilliant jacket for training in during those cold winter months or rainy days, it’s great to use as a thermal as its a very warm jacket but also keeps you dry. It isn’t that fluorescent ‘hi-viz’ that everyone hates to wear so they’re seen on the road by trucks and cars, instead it’s still a bright colour just a lot nicer and actually looks cool to wear! It’s unisex however there is a mens version with blue stripes down the sleeves!
Rouleur Centenary Tour de France
Evocative as ever from the lovely folks over at Rouleur. Outlandish quality both in terms of its content and binding. Listen to the most recent Rouleur podcast for a review of the project.
Whilst I must admit I’m not a subscriber to VeloCast’s premium content – with this package on offer its hard not to sign up. If it’s half as good as their work for Eurosport then I’m sure it will be a triumph.
This would be on my Santas list… Limited edition print from Aaron Kuehn. I love this picture, it’s something that I come back to time after time and it’s great for showing folks who are learning which bit is which on a bike. On sale for $99.
Velobici Ella Vest and Shorts Set – £66 for the set. Designed and made in the UK, this set is soft, durable and discrete. Perfect for the leisure rider, commuter & more serious cyclist alike.
Would love to get one of these from Santa – Chapeau Etape Cycling Jersey Black/Red RRP: £70.00
The only thing that every cyclist in the UK should have is gold or silver membership of British Cycling because this gives you up to £10 million in third party liability cover, with gold membership also giving you personal accident insurance. For peace of mind, buy your loved ones membership of British Cycling.
Louis Garneau RevoXR3 – I have two pairs of these and I defy anyone to tell me that £200+ worth of Specialized or Sidi are really worth the extra amount of money. Firm on the sole comfortable uppers and the heel retention ratchet system is superb. Currently £79.99 in Evans.
or Tifosi Roubaix Photochromic glasses. Dont fog up, protect your eyes, go from clear to black in a jiffy. every bit as smart as Oakleys every bit as good, but no poncey price tag.
Everyone is carting some bit of tech around these days, why not use a musette in true cycling tradition but with a modern twist. The folks at Stolen Goat have a Harris Tweed design for £48
I LOVE this silver necklace from Oliver Bonas. I never take it off!
Silver Bike Necklace £38
These have been a hit for Ana Nichoola, although you’d be lucky to get your hands on a pair they’ve been so popular. The Star Tights are great for the commuter, the easy-going cyclist and the regular club runner.
Winter Star Tights £55
I don’t want to leave the boys out – Every bike deserves to be treated like a piece of art and what better way than hung on the wall. Bike Shelf £75.41
Why not let the fine folk at Rapha keep you warm and cosy with their distinctive stripy 100% merino wool Cross Scarf, £40.
I have to agree with Loz. The podcast, jersey and eBook bundle from Velocast is a must have for the pro-cycling fan. I’ve been a subscriber since the early days and honestly can’t think of a better team than Scott and John – full of panache and plenty of chapeaux! Their stock & legend is growing fast. An absolute bargain.
Something Under The Tree
I have always struggled with women’s jackets – I am totally in love with all the jackets that Bioracer make because they actually fit and are Italian made but are also well-priced. They also follow the European fashions (the brand is massive in Belgium, Holland and Germany, to name a few!) A good example is the Climate long sleeve jacket.
For readers in the UK, Onimpex are the sole distributors, so you will need to visit their website: www.onimpex.co.uk Retails in the UK for £109.
A perennial favourite, the Garmin Edge 500 is a popular choice amongst cyclists due to its size (small and therefore lightweight).
I love being able to relive the best parts of my season back, and there’s no better way to capture the moment than with a GoPro. The built in WiFi also allows you to connect your camera to the GoPro app on your smartphone. The app allows you to control the camera, play back your recordings and allow share you content.
So your trusty steed has gone to the bicycle graveyard in the sky… you can still have those memories, hang the memories pride of place above the mantelpiece hunting lodge stylee (but with less actual death involved). Bicycle Taxidermy have the answer…. Love it!
This is one for the boys, you can’t beat the quality of Le Col clothing, any man would be happy to receive a stylish Mizuro B5 Winter Jacket, worth the price tag of £249.99.
For the girls… Ana Nichoola hits the list yet again with her fabulous “Hello Yellow” Commuter Cycling Raincoat. Too good just to use for cycling!
For the city cyclist who likes to travel around town with their iPad in understated style. New Yorkshire brand Blanket Row bring you their Finkle Street Bag and iPad sleeve set. This set is hand tooled from quality leather, it sits comfortably across your body, on your shoulder or slide both arms through the adjustable strap and it sits neatly on your back while riding. There’s plenty of room inside for your other accoutrements, it’s a very adaptable bag and currently comes in Red, White and more traditional dark chocolate brown. popular with bot men and women. I’m seeing them pop up everywhere. £165
It has to be – Assos ij. intermediate_s7 Windproof Long Sleeve Jersey – around £179.99
Bont Vaypor+ and Bont Vaypor Shoes £225
The coolest and comfiest shoe around! With the option to ‘heat mold’ the shoe to suit your feet these shoes are the bees knees with regards to the quality for money. They are well made, cool, comfortable and will last you a long time (if you a person who takes care of their belongings). Now with the option to have a ratchet fastener (buckle) or a dual dial retention system the shoe is suited to everyone. If you want to look like the next Bradley Wiggins look no further as he won the 2012 Tour de France in a pair of these!
What about a cheap as chips trip to the World Cyclocross Champs in 2014. The £250 would bring fantastic memories and start lots of conversations off for years to come.
This is on my list. Do a bit of track? Do a bit of testing? Do a bit of Road? Just like being a tart and don’t care what the club bore calls you?
You need The Casco Speed Airo helmet. First all round helmet for TT,Track and road. Comes with a visor too. Should knock out at around £240 so still under budget, but currently available at Amazon for £199.99.
A long weekend of vintage steel, cobbled climbs and fantastic Flandrian festivities – the Retro Ronde van Vlaanderen is calling you! One of the most magical events there is. Beer and racing Friday, several cobbled Crit’s on Saturday and the Ronde on Sunday. Be quick, as registration is open and numbers are limited to one thousand.
Book your pedaling pal a full cycle fit at, er, www.cyclefit.co.uk. Two hours spent one-to-one with a fully qualified technician should see them riding in blissful comfort. It changed my cycling experience completely.
I think a good gift is always some fresh cycling clothing as a great mid priced gift. A new Castelli jacket or a fantastic lined pair of ladies (or men’s bibs) something you’d love to have but really “don’t need”
Woodguards – £150 per set. These super stylish mudguards are handmade in Edinburgh from re-claimed timber and brightly coloured formica. A piece of lovingly crafted art
Dream Gift… The sky’s the limit!
Similar to last year – I would love to give some bikes to those children who miss out over Christmas. Can you imagine their faces if they received a new Isla Bike or one of the new Frog children’s bikes. To see that would be a memory to last for ever. I borrowed a Brompton from my work this year as they have a couple for staff to use, but if they weren’t available, if I was having something myself I would be very happy with one of those.
I would buy/own a Scottish women’s UCI registered cycle team. The team would race road, track, mtb & cyclocross.
Cippolini RB1K Full Super Record Group other than pedals Which would of course be Speedplay… plus, if you get something like this, give Chris Froome one of your old bikes to help him get African riders racing, or donate to www.re-cycle.org.
Unless you’re millionaire, I can’t imagine there are many cyclists with the Vis Vires Factor Bike on their list… wonder if it comes in my size. Although, for that price, you’d hope it was made to fit!
Canyon’s stock continues to rise as it now supplies two teams at World Tour level and with bikes that look like this you can see why.
I’ve just taken my nephew on a Balance Bike Building Course and we have great fun, but I’d love a full on Frame Building Course From The Bicycle Academy £360+ depending on which course.
Dreams may come true… Nico and his team at www.go4cycling.com offer a sublime and unrivaled week in Flanders during which you will be waited on hand and foot, ride with legends like Johann Museeuw and Team BMC, participate – with your own support and feed stations – at the Amateur Tour of Flanders, wander the service course and meet the teams as they set up, play Belgium hopscotch as a VIP as you track the pro’s during not just the Ronde but also the Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix (unless Specialized have forced the town to change its name!) it doesn’t end there. Check out their website and then check you bank account. They do offer an amazing weekend too, along with almost every major event you can think of.
My personal ‘best bike’ as test ridden at Eurobike 2013 was the Airstreeem Race Air (Triple E) with Di2. It was fast, very fast, and agile, balanced, smooth and fun. In fact any Airstreeem bike would make me grin.
Here’s my final suggestion: the new Kinetic Rock & Roll indoor trainer – A fantastic bit of kit. I would recommend mashing it up with a few of the excellent, often hilarious, but always leg crushing, training vids from www.thesufferfest.com, a Garmin ANT stick and speed/cadence sensor, and a subscription to www.trainerroad.com. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review of this set up soon. A revolution in indoor training is born!
I went to an event that was at the local art gallery. Bike Art at the Dairy Center in Boulder Some great and inspiring bike art as well as some fantastic gift ideas for the high end.
Carnival by Brian Echerer – Glass and recycled bike gears $700 available at his Etsy shop.
Illustration by a friend of mine Kathleen King – Zommin’ Thru $1800
You may have seen we’ve covered the development of the Hovding Invisible Cycling Helmet on Cycling Shorts and it’s finally hit the market, it’s still pricey at this stage but what a great invention! Yours for €399 Euros.
All cyclists love proper coffee, the stronger the better, get cafe quality coffee with the new Sage Coffee Machine by Heston Blumenthal
Simply a Team Sky bus with all the mod cons, gadgets and extra fittings to make a long transfer as comfy as possible! Imagine rocking up to a womens tour series or national series in one of them or even your local club run (you could have your cafe stop in it at the end of the ride with your club/team mates), instead of it being wrapped in Team Sky change it to Epic-Scott colours! It’d certainly turn some heads and be very cool! Maybe Team Sky will be selling it soon as surely they’ll want a new one in the not so distant future??
First up we have Stages power cranks, for people who want to have a go at power but might not be able to afford the SRM version. From £599 at most bike retailers – there is a Shimano version and SRAM version too – here is the link to the ones that Evans are selling.
At the other end of the spectrum is a Van Hool tailor made coach for your trips to races and events – imagine the envy when you rock up to your local circuit race in one of these bad boys!!!
Incidentally, Lotto Belisol were selling their team bus (admittedly with 817,000 km on the clock), so if you are interested: www.lottobelisol.be
Nothing takes your fancy here? Well take a look at last years suggestions by clicking here.
Cycling Shorts unleashes Santa’s (last minute) Little Helpers.
We’re up to our eyes in bicycle shaped packages badly wrapped and covered in sticky tape, it’s all got a bit manic, so much to get organised and so little time, so we’ve got together to give you a list of gift ideas that won’t disappoint even the fussiest cyclist in your life.
We’ve split our choices into four perfect price parcels. Let us know what you intend to give, or hope to receive.
I’m going to give you a long list of favourites, a pick n’ mix if you will.
Ideas for the kids… why not go for a Crazy Stuff Helmet, choose a crocodile, cat, eagle or numerous other critters, all for under £30.
Keep your loved ones visible on the daily ride or commute and weekend roaming with this selection of road safe stocking fillers:
Daub the kids (or your own) bikes and clothing with this brilliant Glowtec Reflective Paint, a little pot goes a long way! Besides my bikes I own a KMX Trike Kart which is very low, so for extra safety part of the frame and the wheel rims are painted with this stuff, during daylight you can’t see the paint, but at night when light hits it it’s amazingly bright and a steal at £4.99 a pot. Also try the Glowtec glow in the dark paint if you’re riding in the countryside (it needs pitch black to stand out). What about a brilliant Proviz Triviz Light, this neat little gadget will attach to clothing and bikes, it has a number or light settings and to recharge you plug the battery into your USB hub on your laptop. Genius! and a snip at £29.99. howies reflective Roadsign Backpack, now available for a limited time at £25! Why not pair it with an awesome howies T-Shirt, so many designs to choose from, all classics!
Let people know you’re coming… and with a bit of panache… this Brass Striker Bell does the trick! Personalise your bike with your own Custom Head Badge for £17.00.
For the stylist female rider in your life, why not treat her to some AnaNichoola Goat Skin Kestral Cycling Gloves (fingerless mitts) they are so buttery soft on your hands, well padded and a great value buy at £34.99 (yes I know over budget a bit, but worth every penny). Available in white or black.
For the men… these Bike Chain Cufflinks should do the trick £20.
For the serious roadie… some excellent ASSOS Chamois Cream, I swear by this stuff, it’s cooling menthol feel is great and it lasts twice as long as other brands I’ve tried, it’s a bit more expensive that some others (£13.99) but I think it’s worth the money.
Something to give you your coffee stop fix, why not send some Montezuma’s Doppio Coffee Pip Sweets, get your coffee and sugar rush on the go. If you’re feeling naughty why not try some of their award winning chocolates too! Bean Machine bars and chocolate covered coffee beans. All these goodies start at £2.39 and go up to £4.99.
If only a hot coffee fix will do; then why not go for a Keep Cup, these reusable cups help keep your coffee warm between the coffee shop and the office. They come in a range of colours and sizes and will only set you back £8.50, they fit under most coffee machines to be refilled.
Lets get a bit arty… what about one of the gorgeous prints from friends of Cycling Shorts; Bruce Doscher and Andy Arthur aka Magnificent Octopus. All for around £30, what a treat!
For the collector types why not gather your own peloton, with these great die cast cyclist figures from France, made as they always have been, each is hand painted, available for around £6 each.
Rapha Winter Socks… £15
I’ve spent countless hours in the saddle with cold and numb feet… often extending up the legs until it feels like they’re made of wood. Some toasty winter socks such as these can help make that peg leg feeling a thing of the past!
Keep those feet dry and warm in a pair of Campagnolo Thermo Txn Waterproof Overshoes, these are a real favourite of mine. Slightly over budget but what the hell!
Because you are the revolution!….What about an – RPRT T-shirt £20
It’s book time… ‘Vélo’, £21 from those fine gentlemen and ladies at www.rouleur.cc. A series of short essays by Paul Fournel, he of ‘Need for the Bike‘ fame, beautifully illustrated throughout by Jo Burt. A book the cyclist in you life will find themselves returning to time and again. I’d bundle this with ‘Need for…’ To complete the Fournel Christmas cycling package.
Has to be a book! Not an electronic version to go on the Kindle or iPad, the real thing I mean. For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, Tyler Hamilton/Daniel Coyle’s The Secret Race has to be up there, but I think David Walsh’s Seven Deadly Sins is likely to be the top seller and the one I want to read the most (along with the rest of my family!). As a stocking filler, again for anyone who hasn’t read it, it would have to be Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride. If you do have an iPad then for £2.99 Lanced: The Shaming of Lance Armstrong is all the old David Walsh articles from the Sunday Times about Armstrong and are well worth a look, especially for those shocked when Armstrong was finally caught out!
Fantastic images by two of the best photographers in the business – a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Gruber Images Cycling Calendar
This is a tough one. It’s either got to be a mix or cycling related toiletry goodies such as Hoo Ha Ride Glide for the girls, some Muc-Off Dry Shower for the commuters and some Joshua Tree Salve for the road rash we’re bound to get in the new season!
Alternatively, it’s been a topic on every cycling fanatics tongue of late, but I’ve heard some fantastic reviews on Tyler Hamilton’s book, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs.
Inside-Out Sharp Cycling Book £10
Giordana Skull Cap – Stops heat escaping through your head when you’re out in the cold.
Registration to the Cycling Development North West Road Race League
Be a part of one of the most successful road race leagues in the country, with over 19 road races, supported by the National Escort Group, next season – visit www.cdnw.org for more information.
Taster session at Manchester Velodrome
Fancy being the next Emma Trott or Sir Chris Hoy? Get yourself down to a taster session at the National Cycling Centre to have a go – check out: www.nationalcyclingcentre.com
There’s only one thing on my list for the Secret Santa category – after his immense year, what could possibly be better Christmas day viewing than a review of Wiggo’s Tour de France victory? You can get the 4 hour edition plus a commemorative water bottle for twenty quid from the Cycling Weekly website, which leaves ten pounds to spend on seven and a half litres of Alpro chocolate soya milk, maybe not scientifically the best recovery drink, but certainly the tastiest… Between them, they should see you safely through digesting the turkey.
Breaking the Chain by Willy Voets RRP £8.99
‘Rough Ride’ by Paul Kimmage RRP £8.99
Kimmage has certainly endured a rough ride both in cycling and journalism, fighting what seemed a losing battle against omerta and the powers-that-be. As cycling looks to (hopefully) be on the brink of massive change, Rough Ride serves as a reminder of a cyclist who never fulfilled his youthful potential as he was generally beaten by juiced-up riders for the entirety of his career. Very enlightening, made even more so with the addition of hindsight. Try and pick up an updated edition if possible. An absolute steal – available at well under £30. One of the best and most honest cycling books ever written.
A huge amount of chocolate! Energy for my riding… honest!!
Park Tools Pizza Cutter – £17.99 – Great for the cyclist who has everything, a small novelty item that shows thought without breaking the bank or requiring knowledge of cycling from the buyer!
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – RRP £8.99 – A handy little book for the cyclist who fancies self-medicating their lack of willpower with extreme pain.
Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Would have to be one of my own Wiggo Cartoon mugs or a T Shirt all the way on that one! £12.50 and £20 respectively.
Eddy Vinyl Figure £35
Hmm secret santa now thats always a hard one…I had to go over budget by a fiver on this one http://rouleur.cc/eddy-vinyl-figure
Santa’s Little Helper
Maybe something for the coffee table? What about the stylish book Merckx 525. It’s a beautiful book and any true cycling fan or cyclist would be happy to receive this.
Treat your bike to some luxury this Christmas… Brooks Leather Handlebar Tape £45.
This little curiosity caught my eye, the Lightskin LED Seat Post, contained within the stem is your rear light, not sure how great it is but it looks very stylish £43.
For the cycling mad ladies you can’t go wrong with an AnaNichoola Sun Cat Jersey (£75) and matching Sun Cat Padded Cycling Shorts (£80); both are beautifully made and the shorts have a high waist unlike other brands so you won’t find your back exposed when you lean forward on your bike. The waist is really comfy too, it doesn’t dig in. Available in Black and white (I opted for one of each colour).
Another favourite of mine and great value are the dhb Women’s Vaeon Roubaix Padded Bib Tights, great for winter, they have a zip front and they are really comfortable, only £49.99.
Quality unisex items that won’t disappoint are the TwoZero Verso Hi-Vis Cyclone Cycling Jacket, available in Black or Yellow, in a range of good sizes and well made, price £54.99. For a few pounds more for a limited time is the Visijax Signalling LED Cycling Jacket, this jacket is really well made, it has a soft feel and is extremely bright, there are reflectors all over the jacket and integrated front and rear lights with indicator lights when you lift your arms. It’s a great jacket with the lights off and you’re like a neon christmas tree when the lights are switched on, no one will miss you in this thing! Limited offer prices of £58 – £78 (depending on size) from an RRP of £149. It should also be a hit with gadget lovers in your life as Stephen Fry was spotted wearing one in his latest series ‘Gadget Man’. The other unisex item is a wonderful New Zealand Soigneur Merino Wool Retro Cycling Jersey
Monkey Bike Wheel Lights… for kids and proper big kids! Turn your spokes into a party of patterns and colour. £39.99
RPRT fluo Helmet Sterling – Keep visible, safe and sound even in the Christmas rush on the dark icy winter nights.
Nick Dey & Felix English:
Nick says: Has to be the Rapha Merino bundle especially with their current discount. Not cheap but how can you not give socks, etc, for Christmas? £90 with 15% discount.
A really bright rear light (not sure which one) or a luminous jacket (again no preference) to show someone how much you care. You can never be too safe out on the road, so anything which makes you more visible in my mind, even though in the case of the luminous jacket you can probably see it from outer space is a fantastic gift!
Channel the great Eddy Merckx on long winter rides.
Molteni Retro Long Sleeve Jersey
Everyone consider’s their bike a piece of art, so there’s no better way than to display them in the home than with a bike shelf like this wooden beauty from Urban City Bike Shelves www.urbancitybikeshelves.com
Castelli Leggera Jacket – This is one of the best rain jackets that I have ever owned (and I have owned a few).
British Cycling Membership and Race Licence
For under £100 you can have £10m liability insurance and personal accident insurance if you buy the Gold membership package, together with loads of other offers plus if you purchase the racing licence for £32 if you’re over 18, you can compete in various British Cycling events! Visit www.britishcycling.org.uk for information about the racing licence.
A nice set of pedals. E.g. Look Keo 2 Max Carbon Pedals
For the most friendly, secure and satisfyingly fantastic cleat click you could ever wish to experience, invest in some nice pedals for your bike. Money can’t buy the confidence and assurity you get from a quality pair, meaning you can keep the power down for longer without any niggling fear of pulling out of a cheaper pair. An excellent investment that will last.
For a hundred quid, you’re approaching serious territory – if it’s for someone who spends a long time on their bike, how about a gift that keeps on giving? The Brooks Swift saddle is an example of hand-crafted British finery, a piece of leather perfection that, once worn in, will be more comfortable than anything else on the market, and will last… Well, last longer than the bike you fit it to.
A voucher for a massage, really need it, on a bike every single day for hours can do anyones back in! …and preferably a hot young lady.
Foska Novelty Jerseys – £48.99 – Great jerseys worth a giggle and surprising comfortable. Comes advertising Road tax, Baked Beans, Newcastle Brown or Cornflakes amongst others.
Tacx T3075 Cycle Motion Stand
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke: & Jack Holroyd:
Lezyne Super Drive – £99.99
What JTL says: Super bright and compact little unit, and very well made. Just leave it on the winter bike and never get caught out in the fading light again. Flashing commuter mode through to full power where it’s good enough for MTB night rides!
What Jack says: A 500 lumen light under £100? This baby is seriously bright. Whether commuting through London or climbing the Pennines after dark, this little sliver of CNC aluminium will really light up your life.
Camelbak All Clear
And finally, Camelbak has a cool new biotech offering that uses an ultra light long lasting battery with a UV light to clean and purify water from “iffy to safe”. Made for travel to some remote parts it’s great for the car or hiking or just to be on the safe side. Retailing for $100
Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
A nice expensive bottle of Montepulciano!
Shutt Velo Rapide Active Softshell Jacket £99.00
Affordable, well made, great design and fit… what more do you look for in a jacket?
Something Under the Tree
For this price range I’m starting with my favourite winter jacket. I really love my Le Col Ladies B3 Winter Cycling Jacket, everything about the design is perfect in my opinion. A couple of my friends have road tested my jacket and it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re tall or short, busty or less so the design works. My favourite feature is the extra long thumbhole sleeves which my friends and I all found brilliant. There has been real attention to details on this jacket, the finishing is excellent. It looks great, feels great on, fits perfectly and is really well made. Wicks well, and keeps you snuggly warm and dry. This is going to be a favourite for years but I can’t wait to see what Le Col do for the girls next season. £234 pricey but worth it, you’ll get year worth of wear out if it.
To accompany the jacket and complete the look why not try the Le Col Unisex Padded B3 Winter Tights £159.99, same as the Jacket, beautifully made and really comfortable (speaking from a female perspective).
If Santa cares to listen I’d love a set of Elite V-Arion Parabolic Inertial Rollers (£229.99 current price), during the winter months there’s nothing better than staying toasty warm and still being able to give yourself and the bike a workout.
The other item to catch my attention was a pair of ASSOS Zegho Crystal Glasses £223.99 (normally £279.99) I’ve heard good things about them but not had a chance to try them out for myself, they have good eye coverage to protect from any unidentified flying objects that may be airborne (and if you temporarily take flight) which I like, they also have great reactive lenses at the top so going in and out of shade won’t leave you temporarily totally in the dark as the bottom third of the lens will be clear… so I’m putting them on my little list… I can but hope.
Karcher Pressure Washer… around £200
I used to dread coming back from a muddy MTB ride or wet road ride in the lanes…not anymore. What used to be a lengthy and freezing cold chore is now less than a minutes work!
Thule Bike Case – Let your bike travel in style and safety, just in case you can’t wait for spring.
A GoPro HD Hero 3. These little cameras are so much fun to play with regardless of what you’re doing. I sure had a great time watching my descending videos this year!
David James, Heather, Anna & Nick Dey:
David says: I would have definitely said a Go-Pro Pro HD Camera, but the price has crept up too much, so there’s can’t be anything better than a Garmin 500 with the cadence sensor and heart rate monitor to see how your training is going, or in my case to tell me just how unfit I am!
Nick says: The Garmin Edge 500 GPS performance with heart rate and cadence. £199 (Amazon) to £229 (Wiggle) depending one where you shop. A fine little bike computer that makes for very useful analysis with Strava.com. If, like me, you get lost a lot, then the Garmin Edge 800 is the perfect bike buddy – but too pricey for this category.
Heather says – ‘A trusty favourite at Cycling Shorts Towers, this computer is small yet will still monitor your heart rate, cadence and track your trip with GPS – a brilliant buy if you are looking at building on your performance next season.’
Anna says – ‘Always popular, one of the most picked item’s on last years list, I’m picking it again. If I had the cash though I’d splash out on the Garmin Edge 800” title=”Click to buy the Garmin Edge 800″ target=”_blank”>800‘.
Anything with Yak leather must be worth the money!
Rapha Grand Tour Cycling Shoes
Rapha Hardshell Jacket £240
Mavic Aksium Wheelset
Worried about trashing your carbon deep section wheels on potholes? Then invest in a paid of Mavic Aksium wheels – superb value for money and make a great spare wheelset – have a look at the following link for more information: www.bike-treks.co.uk
Association of British Cycling Coaches
So you want to improve next season but can’t afford a coach? Why not become a coach yourself through distance learning with the Association of British Cycling Coaches? Prices start at £250 and you don’t have to qualify as a coach if you don’t want – but the content of the course will be invaluable in helping you exceed your targets – check out: www.abcc.co.uk
Tacx Galexia Roller Trainer £245
A turbo trainer. “While away the wintry hours safe in your garage or shed, away from the perils of black ice and the dark. You get the additional benefit of working off all those mince pies, and you’ll definately notice a massive difference in your riding as the training pays off. A perfect motivation booster, if all seems lost in your bid to get fit for next year.
You’ve got to like someone to spend two hundred and fifty quid on them – if you like them that much, it would be a good plan to do something to make sure they come back to you, so why not make sure they can see their way back home after a winter training ride? The Exposure Revo is a dynamo powered light that’s available for road and off road disk hubs, so there’s no need to worry about keeping your battery charged and at 800 lumens there shouldn’t be any problems seeing where you’re going.
My current tv cost me about 20 quid, it’s so old school, I’d like a big tv that I can hook a laptop up to so I can watch all the latest bmx videos!
Tacx Booster Turbo Trainer – £231.99 – A winter trainer suitable for long term use, the Booster is a solid piece of kit for moving the bike inside in bitter conditions.
Kask Vertigo Helmet – £164.99 – As worn by Wiggo and Cav, this helmet is a serious piece of kit. It’s super lightweight, increasing the comfort from the already stonking padding. Add in it’s beautiful looks and you’ve got a winner.
Cycling clothes – Nothing makes me want to ride more than a new cycling kit
This year Interbike was showing bright NEON colors for Spring for Women at least.
Who said the 1980s were over!! But for cycling gear it makes great safety sense and fashion sense too.
Pearl Izumi has cycling and Tri-athlete wear in blue, black, white with neon green accents. From $80 to $150. Giro was showing some Empire cycling shoes in everything from the traditional black with bright GIRO pink inners, naming and laces with matching soles to some really glow in the dark neon green show and traffic stoppers. Retailing for $299.
And Giro also has a line of nice open helmets in blues and silver to protect and add extra styling to the outfit. Retailing from $40 to $275.
Genesis LED Light from £195
New front light. I’d love to have the more expensive one but that’s over budget so it’s this baby.
Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Having had Yanto in the commentary box with me a fair few times over the years I would have to go with one of his Arcus Winter Jackets methinks!
Dream gift… The sky’s the limit!
Well obviously if a budget is no option I could go on forever, but for me I’d be happy with a WSD [Women Specific Design] Trek Madone 7, being a short girl these bikes really work for me…. Oh and maybe a set of custom made V-Sprint Wheels… yes please!
Ok… I hear you, coffee does feature quite heavily on this list… but we like a good espresso here at Cycling Shorts, so we would really love a top notch machine to help us though the day.
For the cycling gent who has everything… a Dashing Tweed Reflective Stretch Tweed Cycling Jacket, this design is cutting edge even though it takes inspiration from 16th century equine armour. The underarms are open for ventilation and the classic tweed is woven with wool mixed with modern reflective fibres. It’s yours for £850!
If I was truly dreaming then a I’d like a Pro Women’s Cycling Shorts Cycling Team!… you never know… it could happen!
2013 Cyclo-cross World Championships, Louisville USA: Weekend VIP tickets, Flights & accommodation… approx £1000 (other ticket packages are available).
This is something I’d love to go to; the atmosphere at ‘cross races is incredible and I’m sure the US won’t disappoint. An awesome weekend of racing, with foghorns, chips and beer!
Fuji Altamira SL – It fits perfectly into the Thule Bike Case and takes the ride to at new level.
Four offerings here. Firstly in terms of equipment it simply has to be a custom build Serotta Ottrott SE. The frameset comes in at £6,499. It’s a journey!
But what about an experience you will never forget? My choice would be Flanders Week with Nico and his fantastic team at www.go4cycling.com. It’s as close to pro riding as many of us will ever get. Ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, and several classic routes under the watchful eye of the Lion of Flanders, Johann Museeuw; fully supported as only the pro’s know how. Follow the pro-races at several points as the Go4cycling team play ‘Belgium hopscotch’ across Flanders for the Ronde, the midweek Scheldeprijs and Paris Roubaix. Keep up with the race via a satellite feed in the ultra-comfy bus. But best of all, don the VIP pass, enter the service course and watch the teams prepare, chat to the riders, the DS’s, the mechanics and support staff. Fully embrace the the flavours, sounds, and energy of an elite Race. A week never to be forgotten. Genuinely classic.
Charity fundraising £500: why not sign up your loved one for one of the splendid Action Medical Research century rides? The ‘must ride’ UK event of 2013 is the Ride London Olympic route sportive on 4th August. Relive the glorious memories… Cav’s heartbreak, team GB’s chase, and, if you really need to, Vino’s success!
Charity fundraising £1500: ride from London to Paris with a hundred plus other like minded souls and be there when the centenary Tour de France finishes, and Cav wins, on the Champs Élysées. When: 17th to 21st July 2013.
I’m sure it would be very easy to list endless number of presents in this section, but whenever I’m in a position to spend a decent amount of money I try to give that extra bit of thought and apply Epicurus’s philosophy and say to myself “Would it really make me happy?”. So is it the latest carbon 29er hardtail MTB that first springs to mind the one that would make me really happy? After some deliberation it is a resounding, no. Just riding a bike should bring happiness, not the type of bike you are riding. So on those lines, I think if money was no object I’d love to be able to go to a remote community somewhere in the world, with a lorry full of bikes for people who may have never ridden one before. I reckon they would have so much fun the look on their faces would be worth far more than anything money can ever buy! I’m not sure everyone would want this as a present, but it certainly ticks all the boxes with me.
Twice in one stage can’t be missed. Hopefully to see Chris Froome outsprint Contador to the line.
I absolutely love love love the TDF 2010 paintings by Sarah Halliday and can imagine they’d look fantastic in every one of our ‘training rooms’. And at Price On Demand, I can imagine they’re pretty pricey!
And if art isn’t your thing – a week (or 3) cycling in the pre-alps with VeloVercors.com ;)
Condor Lotus Type 1 LC Road bike £5,200
Jaguar XF Sportbrake
For the ultimate team car, this is on the wish list – if it is good enough for Team Sky, surely it should be good enough for your team or club? Check it out at: www.jaguar.com
A Parrotti Roubaix full carbon frameset fitted with Pete Mathews custom wheel set and Campag Superrecord EPS
An Unlimited Budget?! Go hard or go home. Buy a cycling team. Or better still, several. Perhaps you could invest in women’s cycling, or sponsor an amateur team? If the sky’s the limit you would even some money left over to buy the £8,000 bike you’ve always dreamt of. How about the Cervelo P5 Time Trial bike? Buy one of those and watch your 10 mile time trial PB plummet by probably about ten minutes! Stealthy.
The clue’s in the question – if money was no object and Sky was the limit, you couldn’t get much more extravagant than purchasing a celebratory Pinarello Dogma 2 in glorious TdF yellow. You probably don’t deserve it, you probably couldn’t get anywhere near pushing it to its extraordinary limits, and you’d had to have been very, very good indeed for Santa to leave one of these under the tree – but you know you want one. And even if modesty forbade you taking it out in public, wouldn’t it look great hung on the living room wall…
My perfect gift would be for my very own indoor BMX flatland area for me to ride in, with a heater, a fridge, sound system, even a disco ball… and also a new VW Transporter for me to cruise around in to get to my venue with my bikes in the back…. and then a nightclub to put a BMX night on once a month where they only play the music I want and the dancefloor is for BMX riding!… and then maybe a chicken shop to deliver to me wherever I am (I love chicken), all kinds of chicken, jerk chicken, fried chicken, chicken curry etc; all this riding makes me hungry ya know!… Oh and a decent mountian bike so I can ride at Cannock Chase!…. and also a tandem so I can have fun jumping stuff and trying tricks with another rider…. hope that’s ok Santa… I hope I’m on your good boy list.
Brompton M3L – £870 – The Brompton is the iconic british bicycle. Small, convienient and sturdy, this thing turns heads and folds into a couple of square foot for easy carrying. It’s ideal for commuters, for regular city riders or anyone with limited storage space. A definate winner.
BIKND Inflatable Bike Case
This is THE inflatable bike case. Made in Quebec, Canada by biknd. Really cool, easy to use, innovative and so fast to get the bike ready for those short or long destination cycling trips. Priced at $599 it’s about half the price of the industry standard Sci-Con case (but takes half the time to put the bike in or out!) I was totally impressed with it. It’s #1 on my wish list.
Marty MacDonald McCrossan:
Euskatel Team Bus – To me would look great to rock up at the local 10 or Wednesday night World Championship of Criteriums and you’ll be helping to feed the families of the team as well as they have €1million shortfall to pay the wages
this month……I think I would have a jacuzzi fitted as well though!
Bianchi’s 2013 Vacansoleil-DCM Team Bike
A 55cm frame weighs a claimed 895g… yes please!
Let us know your cycling gift ideas.
All the Cycling Shorts Team wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and New Year!
If you don’t see anything that fits the bill, check out last years list by clicking here!
‘Cheering on a Competitor’ – My daughter Megan takes on the climb – Image ©David James
When I wrote my first blog for Cycling Shorts I was quite worried when I would be able to write a follow up. Well here I am one day after my “Ponderings from the Velodrome” went online and I find myself with about five hours to kill as I’m on a rapid return journey to Manchester by train.
As I get on the train in Abergavenny I am quite excited to be able to wear my new adidas Sennheiser headphones which were a present from Becky, so my first job is to select some appropriate music on my iPod and make a choice; either continue reading Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage, someone who I am really pleased to say I share a birthday with, or get my note pad and pen out and start scribbling. The fact that you’re reading this gives away the winner!
I did suggest last time that I would write about organising my first ever hill-climb and the thrills of cyclocross, but as the hill-climb was such a success and as I have been hassled ever since to make it an annual event, I am going to stick to just the one subject.
When as a family we first joined Abergavenny Road Club nearly ten years ago I remember one of the first ever road events we went to watch was the club’s Hill-Climb Championship. Living in Abergavenny we are fortunate to have many fantastic road climbs in close proximity to the town, the most famous of which is ‘The Tumble’. This climb has been used on many major events over the years; I can remember watching the Milk Race going up there many years ago and more recently, watching at the toughest part of the climb the last time the National Road Championships were held in the town in 2009.
‘Marking Up the Road’ my son Gareth on the right and my daughter Rachel’s boyfriend Luke on his hands and knees – ©Image David James
The club’s hill-climb used to start just as the road up The Tumble comes out of the trees about half way up the climb and was about one mile in length. In those early years I can recall about twenty riders taking part. I remember the winner the first time I watched, Nick Kenwright, someone who I believe had represented GB. Last year only two riders took part! Whether this drop in competitor numbers is because of the toughness of the climb, because there has been an increase in traffic, or for some other reason, the club’s committee decided we had to do something to rejuvenate the competition.
As we are good friends with Wiggle rider Ben Simmons who has been winning a few Red Bull Hill-Climbs around the country I thought it would be good to try something similar. I suggested to the club committee “Why not use the hill up to our house? We can get a road closure and all the kids can take part as well.” And so the inaugural ‘Cwmheulog Hill-Climb’ was born.
As we live up a dead-end lane, first thing was to get all the neighbours on board: job done! Next up was to speak to Monmouthshire County Council about the road closure. As a local authority Monmouthshire are a pleasure to work with and do everything they can to help with cycling in the county: job done!
Now the question was should I widely advertise the event or just keep it local and see how it goes? Keep it small scale was the consensus of opinion, so I sent out a leaflet with all the details and asked people to email or ring me to let me know if they were coming in order that we could provide free food for all competitors and spectators. With one day to go only one email had been received and I was starting to think it was going to be a big flop. That was until the night before the event when I was made aware that the email address I had put on the leaflet had been misspelt! How could I be so stupid?
A disturbed night’s sleep deliberating what to do, so first thing Saturday morning I’m in Tesco Abergavenny with my youngest Megan buying 120 sausages (half fat!), 120 fingers rolls and 25 garlic baguettes thinking I can always put the surplus in the freezer.
‘Hoping For A Top Quality Competition’ – Image ©David James
5.00pm comes around and the barriers and road closure signs are in place and there’s already a steady stream of cyclists and spectators making their way up the hill to signing on at our house.
51 competitors, 39 youth riders and 12 adults signed on to compete and there was a great deal more than that ready to provide vocal support. It wasn’t a case of putting surplus in the freezer, but raiding it for more supplies!
What can I say about the racing other than I know all too well what it’s like to ride up our hill, so every single person who gave it a go deserves a shout out. The spectators made for a brilliant atmosphere, ringing cowbells, cheering and shouting encouragement to every single rider.
It would be amiss of me not to mention that a youth rider, Evan Davies from Maindy Flyers who completed the climb in 1min 10secs, set the fastest time. Fastest adult was Abergavenny Road Club member James Woodier with a 1min 14secs ride and is the 2012 Abergavenny Road Club Hill-Climb Champion
Other notable facts from the night – all the food went! My wife Christine and Stephanie Best, one of the club coaches and a great volunteer, didn’t leave the kitchen as they slaved over the cooker!
It seems pretty certain with all the feedback I’ve received the hill-climb will become an annual event. Even Ben Simmons and Amy Roberts who were both there as spectators seem eager to get their best wheels out next year! I’ve also tapped up Magnus Backstedt to compete and he said he might as long as it is no more than a minute long!
So watch this space for an event next year that should be a lot bigger and even better. Before I get the go ahead though, Christine said she wants guarantees we are getting caterers in as she is not going to be missing out on all the fun.
Thanks again for reading, now back to Rough Ride.
Newport Velodrome – ©Dave Gratton AKA SunflowerDave (on Flickr)
For someone who always has a lot to say for himself, thinking what to write about is more difficult than I thought! I should hasten to add, that’s not because I can’t think of anything, it’s because I’ve got so many ideas running around in my head it’s so difficult to chose.
So my decision has been made for me because for the first time in weeks I have an hour or so to spare to put pen to paper (yes, I am actually writing this on paper) as I’m sitting in the stands watching my daughter Ffion take part in a Welsh Cycling youth track session. So the subject: the importance of good cycling facilities, specifically Newport Velodrome.
The difference this sporting facility has made to Wales is difficult to quantify, but if you look at the numbers of riders both before and after this facility was built who are at or on their way to the top of the cycling tree, it’s obvious that its impact has been massive! The same can be said of Manchester Velodrome and I am sure it will be the case with the Olympic Velodrome; we should also consider Herne Hill and the riders that have benefitted from that facility. What it shows it that good facilities really do make a difference to the progression of riders coming through the ranks, whatever their cycling discipline. Of course we also need champions to inspire youngsters into the sport, but we’ve got such a conveyor belt going at the moment there is no worry about these facilities being under used.
So what memories have I taken from Newport Velodrome over the last 8 or 9 years that I’ve been making the 30-minute drive from Abergavenny to get here?
Well I might as well start with my number one memory and also because “why shouldn’t women’s cycling be given priority over men’s for a change?” If I can find the photo to accompany this when I next go hunting in the attic I’ll post it at a later date, as even now I find it quite hard to believe. Picture this: a women’s keirin with six riders on the start line. In amongst the six, the current senior World Champion wearing her stripes Clara Sanchez. Also on the start line I think it was Sandie Clair. Next up to them, a few star struck young girls from the UK including two from Wales, my 13-year-old daughter Becky and Katie Curtis. I can’t recall another current senior world champion ever racing in Newport, so that line-up is implanted very firmly in my head. By the way, it was France first and second with Becky coming in third to the disbelief of the French coach, especially when finding out Becky’s age.
As for other memories of female competition in Newport, between 2006 and 2007 the Youth and Junior Track National Championships had such strong fields the racing really was fantastic to watch. Seeing Becky, Lizzie Armistead, Joanna Rowsell, Jess Varnish, Laura Trott, Dani King…(I could go on) racing against each other with Hugh Porter getting very excited on the microphone really was brilliant. Looking back now I honestly think you could see then who was going to make it to the top and they weren’t all winners. The look of determination in a rider’s eyes is something I believe is what sets them apart and that is something you can spot at a young age. If someone happens to win a Youth National Championship on the way to the top that’s nice, but ultimately you need to look at the bigger picture and remember it’s not a sprint, it takes a lot of time and effort to win at elite level. And that’s what people will remember; senior champions not 11-year-old ‘superstars’!
On that last point, some really bad memories for me have been watching young girls of Under 12 and Under 14 level attempting to break a National Record as if it was the be all and end all. They have been all kitted out with the best equipment money can buy and their parents have been shouting so loudly at them as if they were doing it themselves, but why? Many of those I have watched are either no longer riding or just riding now and again. And why provide the best equipment at such a young age? Good equipment yes, but keep the very best as a reward and as an incentive when they are racing at international level. I really would like to see some sort of equipment specification cap on all youth riders to make it more of a level playing field and to give them something to aim for.
While I’m in the process of airing my concerns, the other thing that really worries me is that young riders seem to be specialising on one cycling discipline at ever-younger ages and training to the detriment of their education. Youth sport should not be like that. If I could single out one young rider who has got the balance right and sets an example for other to follow it is Elinor Barker and look where she is now! Elinor has given most forms of cycling a go, but over the time I’ve known her and the family her education has come first. She’s obviously had coaching, but it has been Elinor’s drive and determination to succeed that has won her the Junior World Time Trial and of course her supportive parents (I believe there could be another reason and the same applies to Becky as well; both Graham, Elinor’s dad and myself are ardent Newcastle United followers and maybe it’s because the girls have never seen us celebrate the winning of a trophy that they are doing their bit to cheer us up!).
On the male side of things, at the same time as that outstanding crop of girls I mentioned the boys’ fields were also amazingly strong and they provided fantastic racing to watch. Jason Kenny, Peter Kennaugh, Alex Dowsett, Luke Rowe, Adam Blythe, Andy Fenn…(once again, I could go on) are just a few of the names that cycling fans would recognise from the Olympics and pro-peloton this last year. Despite many outstanding races and individual performances the one that stands out still after these years is Andy Fenn’s Youth 500 metre time trial. Here was someone mixing it up with the best youth riders this country had to offer in all the circuit races around the country and he was winning the endurance and pursuit events on the track. In the 500 metre time trail he was up against all the best youth sprinters in the country including current BC Academy sprint member Peter Mitchell. I can still picture him going around the track now. I seem to recall I was sitting in the stands next to Iain Dyer, National Sprint Coach and Trevor King, father of Dani and a few others and the first thing that came to my mind was that here was the person to follow in Jason Kenny’s footsteps. Well I was wrong on that front, but I really think he has the potential to be the next big road sprinter from GB. I am not saying that Andy will be another ‘Cav’, because I am not sure there’ll be another in my lifetime, but I am sure that he’ll be winning many races and stages over the next few years. Another rider I’ve watched in Newport in a similar mold to Andy is Sam Harrison, although he’s got a few years to catch up yet.
As recent as last winter I was sitting in the stands of Newport Velodrome watching the annual ‘Winter Track League’, which mixes all abilities up into different races, both male and female. In Wales we are very lucky indeed to not only have Elinor Barker coming up into the senior ranks, but we also have Amy Roberts. To see both Elinor and Amy mixing it up with the men in the ‘A’ league really is a great sight and I am really excited about the prospect of those two girls representing Wales and GB around the world over the next few years. The girls often found themselves riding in amongst elite men, well not just elite, but professional riders. Last year watching Luke Rowe, Magnus Backstedt, Jonny Bellis and many more on a Tuesday night with the rain hammering down on the velodrome roof, whilst sipping a cup of tea, is fascinating, enjoyable and a relaxing time in amongst my hectic lifestyle.
I have never been in Newport Velodrome with a full stand of spectators, but with the success of this last season and the accessibility of cycling stars to the general public I think I might get to see that over the next couple of years. What Newport needs is the right event to fill the stands, something that has got my mind running wildfire again! Now, if that event gives equal precedence to the women riders or better still star billing, wouldn’t that be amazing?
…Next time, whenever that will be, I’ll probably write about organising my first ever hill-climb and also about the importance and thrills of cyclocross.
Thanks for reading.