You have heard me mention the lovely folk at Wheels for Wellbeing before in a blog last year. The charity helps people with and without disabilities into cycling, hand cycling and other non-traditional cycling activities. Because of the serious hard work the team and volunteers have put in it’s been shortlisted for the National Lottery top 10 funded sports projects.
We want to try and help them win so we are asking our readers to take one moment of their time and click to vote for WfW. Your vote could win them a £2000 cheque and an appearance on British National TV. You don’t need me to tell you just how useful that sort of money and exposure is for a charity in these hard time. So please take a minute to click and vote, don’t forget to tell your friends to vote to!
For more information on Wheels for Wellbeing please visit their website: www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk
To Vote please visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/wheels-wellbeing
Challenge yourself and raise awareness of a great charity… hurry places are limited!
Cycle Edinburgh to Richmond in Aid of Missing People
You’ve always wondered what it really feels like to be a pro rider with support vehicles and entourage? Well here’s your chance to live the dream, drama and inevitable pain. Push yourself to the max and raise awareness for a great charity and touch someone else’s life. Cycling Shorts are throwing their support behind the ride and would be very proud if some of you lovely people got involved. We would of course promote you fundraising and help in any way we can!
The charity Missing People is inviting participants to sign up to its first Cycle Challenge, a professional-level boutique five day ride from Edinburgh to Richmond, to help provide a lifeline for missing people in the UK and anyone left behind, starting on 16 June 2012.
The route is designed to put experienced riders through their paces, with a pro-level experience including a support car, quality accommodation and food supplies, to fuel the journey through Newcastle, York, Nottingham and Milton Keynes.
Eurosport commentator and sport promoter David Harmon has endorsed the event, in recognition of the exciting challenge it offers for participants, as well as the importance of the cause.
David said: “Every mile these riders get under their wheels exposes passers-by to a massively important charity and its vitally important work to help missing people, their families and their loved ones.
Having specialised in distance riding myself I know how tough this ride is going to be. From the hills and climbs of the first 2 days to the windswept middle section, it’s going to be a huge personal challenge…”Chapeau!” as they say in cycling”.
The Cycle Challenge also represents the ‘premier event’ of the summer for Missing People’s partner Ride2Raise, as it contributes logistical expertise and promotes the challenge throughout the cycling community.
Richard King, Managing Director at Ride2Raise commented: “Although very beautiful, the first two stages’ long journey between Edinburgh and York will be tough. The riders will really be put through the mill, but it is great that we can support them so closely to make this event a huge success.”
“The riders will have a support car, food and quality accommodation as they physically test themselves with this remarkable fundraising endeavour.”
Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive of Missing People said: “If someone you loved went missing wouldn’t you want the world to stop and look for them? The charity Missing People is building a dedicated community of people across the country ready to join the search when the worst happens.
This new cycle event will be memorable for the scenery, the professional support and the incredible physical challenge, but will also help the charity to raise awareness of vulnerable missing adults and children, and support many families left behind.”
Avoiding the DIY - Image ©Copyright John Steel Photography - www.johnsteelphotography.com
So the season is over, the racing bike is back in the shed and the long winter months are upon us, but what happens now? Where do all these riders go to? If you’re a ‘normal’ member of society no doubt this change doesn’t seem a big deal, maybe you will swop your summer stead for the trusty winter machine, find the lights you hung up last year and carry on your daily lives like nothing much has changed, but if you’re a full time cyclist this change is much bigger and more disturbing than you could ever imagine.
The easiest way to describe this is to split it into stages, so here goes I’m going to let you into the unknown world, give you an insight to where everyone of ITV4 fame (sort of?!?) goes.
Stage one is best described as ‘unsuccessful social season’, it’s the same every year, the racing bike goes away, the phone starts beeping and large groups of cyclists gather at charity events or show’s where after a meal and some speeches are taken care of, everyone forgets they haven’t drunk much in the last eight months and gets stuck into a session they really can’t back up. It all gets messy and everyone makes big statements of intent for next season. It’s ridiculous and tends to go on for a good month or so before the realisation that cyclists although capable of putting on a good party are rubbish drinkers! This problem is multiplied if you have to go to a non-cycling related party in which case you try to keep up with people who aren’t built out of nothing like us cyclist’s and can drink you under the table, stay away from these gatherings they are dangerous!
Stage two is a combination of DIY and too much coffee, after the ‘unsuccessful’ drinking season hasn’t gone down with your other half too well, you will promise to fix everything in the house that has broken over the last eight months of the racing season to repair the situation. Although the problem with that is when a cyclist is left at home all day, the majority of that day will be spent thinking about fixing things and not actually fixing them as the permanent state of ‘coffee bonk’ takes hold as the coffee machine takes the full brunt of a day at home, you will end up with an ‘unsuccessful’ DIY season at the end of this stage, much the same as the before mentioned drinking merry go round!
After being caught up in Ian Bibby's & Geraint Thomas's Tumble in The Tour of Britain
Into stage three and by now most cyclist’s will either have started to beat themselves up about been unfit, got bored of destroying the house through DIY or waking up in the morning after having been drunk under the table by a rugby player again. Now they will have begun to think about starting some sort of comeback. The main problem of this stage is that it involves getting the winter bike together and no matter how well you looked after it before you put it in the shed last year it isn’t going to work. My own personal list of problems this year involved a stuck seat pin (that was 2cm to short? Work that one out), and a distinct lack of working brakes. This is the time of year you are most likely to see domestic pro’s in their local bike shops as they attempt to head off on rides but lose bits of the winter stead on route and have to bail into the shops for help, if your after your favourite domestic pro’s autograph this is the best time of year to be creeper and hang around in bike shops.
The light at the end of the tunnel will start to show by now though, the realisation that a comeback to training is required or more that it’s easier hiding out on the bike than having to attempt DIY SOS LIVE at home has hit all cyclist, you will start to see them come out of the stages as you read about where they and their team have taken off on a training camp to get ready for the coming season. These training camps are where the demons of the winter are thrown off and cyclists become cyclists again, back to reality and the safety of the bike!
Important! No cyclists were hurt in the process of this blog!
GranFondo - View Of The Coast - ©Image Copyright Randy Ruhlman
Imagine a ride over the rolling hills of California, nestled between the vineyards of Sonoma County and along steep cliffs, as you ride your way towards the waves of the Pacific Ocean. On the first weekend of October, avid cyclists did just that, as over 7,500 riders descended on the town of Santa Rosa, California (just north of that mythic city of San Francisco) for the third annual Levi’s GranFondo Ride. Along with Levi Leipheimer and these thousands of cyclists, many other professional cyclists and celebrities gathered to ride and have a great time with all the proceeds going to charity.
Levi's GranFondo 2011 - Image ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
The charity is Forget Me Not Farm, promoted by Levi’s wife, former Timex/Cannondale rider Odessa Gunn. Her involvement with animal rescue and rehabilitation has been instrumental in getting awareness and funding for the ranch & foster programs, but it is more than a shelter for abandon critters. The facility acts as a therapeutic refuge for at-risk children, pairing them with animals around the farm and charging the children with their care.
The ride itself incorporates three varied routes, a bit of “something for everyone”, each with a different profile, degree of difficulty and length. All three traverse incredibly scenic terrain, down the Russian River Valley toward the town of Jenner at the Pacific Ocean. The Kings Ridge route takes the GranFondo riders over the hills toward Ritchey Ranch (yes, that Ritchey) where the bike legend himself was reported to be serving sandwiches at the lunch stop.
A very organized ride, the mass start–all the groups at once and at the sensible hour of 8AM–was well managed and the numbers of volunteers and CHPs officers (California Highway Patrol) controlling intersections along the route was impressive. Rest stops were plentiful and well stocked, as were comfort stations. Of course, the scenery was beautiful, as if one had expected anything less. And in typical California coastal fashion, there was some fog along the ocean. Some of the vistas and hill tops were cool and obscured, and a few areas along the ride were reported to have some visibility issues, but aside from that, the ride and post ride weather was excellent.
GranFondo Post Ride Celebrations - Image ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
Naturally, one of the rewards of a great ride is in the post-ride lunch and festival. The post-ride food offerings ran the gamut from specialities like the very popular Paella stand, to Mexican and Indian food to BBQ beef and plenty of regular post ride cuisine. And, of course, providing the much needed post ride refreshment: an assortment of New Belgium beers to quench the thirst. Along with food and a continuous array of entertainment, there were dozens of Exhibitors at the finish line festivities, including Camelbak, Chris King, HED, Nissan & SRAM, just to name a very few.
All in all, it was a great event.
The pre-ride organization was just that, organised, as was the smooth start with its 7,500 cyclists. The course was well policed and marked and the post ride entertainment and
festival was fun and entertaining.
GranFondo Exhibitors - Images ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
So what makes a great ride–just that! Levi’s GranFondo 2011 was a ride where you could challenge yourself, have fun, and know that it is all was going to run smoothly. And it is definitely a ride we won’t hesitate to sign up for when entries open for next year’s event.
I thought I’d share this great animation project I came across. It’s by Tim Wheatley, an animation student at University College Falmouth, and check out his blog about his current work in Africa producing a Cyclotrope film for an AIDS charity.
The Cyclotrope from tim Wheatley on Vimeo.