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WOMEN’S CYCLING: INSPIRATIONAL RIDING

Cycling WORLD

ALPINE PASS WITH ALBERTO

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DISTRICT IN DEPTH

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NOVEMBER 2015 £4.75

Cycling World November 2015

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Cycling World November 2015


Cycling World November 2015

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CONTENTS

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THE UCI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN PHOTOS

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FILM REVIEW: Wadjda: a Saudi Arabian Rebel Movie

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AFGHAN WOMEN’S CYCLE TEAM OFFERS NEW FREEDOMS

TRANSCONTINENTAL RACE 2015: Endurance Cycle Racing from Belgium to Istanbul

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A CYCLING WEEKEND IN WINCHESTER

SWISS ADRENALINE RUSH AND WIND-DOWN IN GSTAAD


@CyclingWorlduk www.cyclingworldmag.co.uk @cyclingworld_uk

CONTENTS NEWS

6 The UCI World Championships in photos

8 NEC Cycle Show Review 12 British Cycling’s strategy to get one million more women cycling

14 The Bicycle Diaries: One woman’s solo cycle from London to Tehran

20 Afghan Women’s Cycle Team offers new freedoms

UK CYCLING

24 A cycling weekend in … Winchester 28 Peak District Ride: Bakewell Loop via Hartington

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PEAK DISTRICT RIDE: Bakewell Loop via Hartington

34 Welcome to The Peak District and Derbyshire

BIKES AND STUFF

41 Product Reviews 50 Book Review: Ride the Revolution: The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling

52 Film Review: Wadjda: a Saudi Arabian Rebel Movie

OVERSEAS CYCLING

54 Riding in The Alps:

The Kids Are Challenging Us

58 Transcontinental Race 2015:

Endurance Cycle Racing from Belgium to Istanbul

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GAVIA PASSO DOBLE: Alpine Pass with Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador

66 Swiss adrenaline rush and winddown in Gstaad

74 Gavia Passo Doble: Alpine Pass

with Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador

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Editor’s letter November 2015 This month’s edition evolved into one that celebrates women’s cycling. It was not a conscious decision, in fact, it’s a decision that we might not ordinary take. As Emily Chappell, who writes about The Trans Continental Race, pointed out to me: why make an issue of women cycling, women have always ridden bikes and always will. Articles from female contributors were just coming in; Ride The Revolution: The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling is about to be published and Wadjda, a film about a rebellious Saudi girl, had been sitting on the shelf waiting to be reviewed. Then Lizzie Armistead goes and wins the Women’s World Championship Road Race. It has been an active few weeks for women cyclists. It is only in recent years, though, that women’s professional cycling has developed and has been televised, though still much less than men’s. In 2014 in the UK men made over three times as many cycle trips as women and cycled four times the miles. A study by Portland University in 2013 showed that as they enter puberty girls suddenly start reporting much more concern about not knowing “how to exercise the right way,” and are embarrassed to be seen exercising. There are still many parts of the world, including communities in the UK, where women are discouraged and even forbidden to ride bicycles. It is good to remember that equality around the world still has a long way to go. The bicycle is a vehicle of progression, where every pedal stroke can be an act of revolution. It is a sentiment summed up by Susan B Anthony (1820 – 1906) an American social reformer who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement:

I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood.”

David Robert (Editor)

PUBLISHED BY:

Cycling World Limited Myrtle Oast Kemsdale Road, Fostall Faversham, Kent ME13 9JL Tel: 01227 750153 Publisher: Colin Woolley colin@cyclingworldmag.co.uk

EDITORIAL:

Editor: David Robert editor@cyclingworldmag.co.uk Production Manager: Alice Allwright production@cplmedia.co.uk Senior Designer: Ivan Boyanov

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CONTRIBUTORS:

Contributors: Rebecca Lowe, Mike Taibbi, Sarah Juggins, Steve Shrubsall, Chiz Dakin, Janette Sykes, Nicola Robinson, Lawrence Jackson, Helen Hill, Emily Chappell, Alison Salthouse, Chris Burns, John Orchard

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COMAG Tavistock Road, West Drayton Middlesex UB7 7QE Front cover photo from Mountain2Mountain Although every effort is made to ensure the content of features in Cycling World is accurate and correct, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributors, manufacturers or advertisers. No guarantees can be made upon the safe return of any unsolicited copy of photographic images. Thepublisher reserves the right to alter or amend any submitted material that is printed in Cycling World. All material in Cycling World is the copyright of the publisher and any reproduction of said material would require written permission from the publisher. ©Cycling World Limited 2015 ISSN: 0143-0238

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NEWS Lizzie Armistead World Champion

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riton Lizzie Armitstead won gold in the women's road race at the Road Cycling World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.

The 26-year-old won the 130km race by a wheel-length in a sprint to the line, beating Netherlands' Anna van der Breggen, with Megan Guarnier of the United States in third. Lizzie, from Leeds, was also part of the silver medal winning team in the women’s team time trial with her Dutch squad Boels-Dolmans which came second to VelocioSram, winning their fourth consecutive team time trial World Championships. Armitstead appeared to have lost the chance of victory when she missed a breakaway of nine riders which opened up a minute's lead on the peloton with less than 10km remaining. She was also unable to rely on support from team members Lucy Garner, Hayley Simmonds, Alice Barnes, Molly Weaver and Jessie Walker who struggled to stay with her. However the steep, cobbled climbs on the final lap allowed strong riders in the chasing pack to regain the lead. Armitstead found herself at the front with only 900m remaining as she waited for Van der Breggen to lead out the final sprint, then powering out of her slipstream to snatch victory. Armistead, who last month won the UCI World Cup series for a second successive time, becomes only the fourth British women to win the title, following Beryl Burton, Mandy Jones and Nicole Cooke. Another notable performance from Briton’s women include Hayley Simmonds placing 26th in the women’s individual time trial, nearly three minutes behind winner Linda Villumsen of New Zealand. In the men’s road race Slovakia's Peter Sagan won after an impressive attack with 3km left. The 25-year-old shed the wheels of strong competitors on the penultimate climb of the 261.4km course, extending his lead with some fearless downhill cornering. Michael Matthews from Australia was second with Lithuania's Ramunas Navardauskas third. Britain's Ian Stannard led with 35km left but was caught, and Ben Swift finished as the leading Briton in 22nd. The victory caps a great year for charismatic rider Sagan, who won a fourth consecutive green jersey for the points classification at the Tour de France. Britain’s younger rider, Owain Doull, who was third in the recent Aviva Tour of Britan, rode well in the Men’s under 23 Time Trial, placing fifth behind Denmark’s Mads Schmidt. In the Elite men’s Time Trail, won by Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus who rides with British Team Sky, GB riders Steve Cummings placed 14th and Alex Dowsett 17th.

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Boris Johnson pulls out of London’s 2017 Tour de France Grand Depart

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oris Johnson has claimed responsibility for the last-minute withdraw from London’s bid to host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France. The decision has divided the cycling community, with race fans bitterly disappointed whilst campaigners applaud the diversion of funds. Transport for London (TfL), which the mayor chairs, decided the day before it was due to sign a contract with race organisers ASO to not go ahead with it because of financial concern. Mr. Johnson, said the money, an estimated £35 million, would be better spend on cycling infrastructure. Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We have loved hosting the Tour de France in 2007 and 2014, both of which were amazing events that inspired thousands of new cyclists and showcased London as a world class city for cycling. London remains a major attraction for world class events such as Rugby World Cup 2015 and the World Athletics and we would love to welcome the Tour back at some point – but we have always said that the return was subject to funding. To ensure value for money we must make difficult choices, and on this occasion we have decided that diverting £35m from the cycling budget to host the Grand Depart in 2017 would not have delivered the benefits to cycle safety that we are focused on.” The TfL press officer added in a statement, “the cost to fare and tax payers of the Tour de France would have been around £35m which would have needed to have been diverted from the cycling budget which currently making cycling safer and encouraging more people to cycle than ever before. The wider economic benefit of holding the Tour de France would not fall to Transport for London and so would not be available to fill the gap.”


Nov In briefs…

More cycle stats published In response to well-publicised deaths of London road cyclists, Leisure Lakes Bikes has put together a well-sourced feature highlighting road cycling issues in the UK. The piece throws up some interesting stats: - London has seen a 144% increase in commuters cycling to work between 2005 and 2015. - Between 2011 and 2012, the rate of serious injuries to cyclists increased by 4% whilst the number of cyclists increased by only 1.2%.

Dani King talks puberty

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ani King, Olympic and World Champion cyclist, has teamed up with Lil-Lets in their ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign to tackle the taboo subjects about becoming a teen. Millions of parents and girls feel embarrassed to talk to each other about becoming a teen so Dani has joined a host of celebrities to tackle the taboo subjects in a new YouTube series. Nearly 40 per cent of teens go searching for ‘How To’ videos and answers on the Internet as both parents and children admit they avoid talking face to face about puberty, periods and relationships - because they are too embarrassed. For more information and advice please visit www.becomingateen.co.uk or www.youtube.com/becomingateenuk.

Lizzie Armistead’s Team publish free e-book for women

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port in Science and the Boels Dolmans Women’s Cycling Team have just launched a new, free, and comprehensive guide for women that may want to take their cycling to the next level, with tips and advice coming straight from the professionals themselves. With team member Lizzie Armistead recently winning the world title, and giving a Q&A session in the book, many have already taken advantage of the free download.

The takes a look at the current UK landscape and safety measures put in place by some UK city councils. It then compares the UK picture with a couple of model cities to aspire to in Europe – Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The full report is available at: http://www.leisurelakesbikes.com/white-paper

Two British events will feature in 2016 UCI Women’s World Tour The Aviva Women’s Tour and RideLondon are two of the seventeen events that will make up the top level of women’s cycling from 2016 onwards. The Women’s World Tour will become the leading series of races for professional women road cyclists, replacing the UCI Women’s Road World Cup which ran from 1998 to 2015. British Cycling’s director of cycle sport and membership, Jonny Clay, said: “This is great news. We’ve worked closely for many months with organisers and with the UCI to bring Women’s World Tour events to Britain and I’m proud of the team that has made this happen. The Aviva Women’s Tour and RideLondon already attract world-class fields and fantastic crowds and are fully deserving of their place on the World Tour.”

The free, downloadable 35 page guide details useful information for both beginner and hobbyist women cyclists that want to train at competition level, or to actually compete. A free training plan is included: ‘Tackling Your First Sportive’. Download the E-book at: http://get.scienceinsport.com/womens-cycling-nutrition-ebook/

Voxwomen Cycle Show on British Eurosport and in Australia

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he show has signed a broadcast agreement with public broadcasting television network, SBS, to bring the women’s cycling programme to Australia. The 30-minute lifestyle show will air monthly and is also being broadcast on British Eurosport, showing the growing popularity of women’s cycling. The Voxwomen Cycling Show has a unique format that puts the professional women riders at the heart of the programme to give viewers a behind the scenes insight into the women’s professional peloton and some of the sport’s most talented stars.

Cycle Revolution Exhibition at the Design Museum

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he Design Museum in London is staging a comprehensive exhibition entitled Cycle Revolution from 18 Nov 2015-30 June 2016. It brings together dozens of bicycles; high-end kit and accessories; personal pieces belonging to well-known cyclists; as well as specially-commissioned film and photography to tell the powerful, personal and sometimes remarkable stories of cycling today. The exhibition looks at cycling subcultures through four ‘tribes’ – the High Performers who reach Olympic speeds, the Thrill Seekers who take on all terrains, the Urban Riders who pedal our cities mile by mile, and the Cargo Bikers who work on two wheels. It will expand from the gallery with a cycle café, large scale installations and public events running throughout the exhibition. Photo by Emily Maye

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THE 2015 UCI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, RICHMOND VIRGINIA… IN PHOTOS Photos by Richmond 2015/Casey B. Gibson

Team Velocio-Sram win the Women’s Team Trial

Men's8EliteCycling RoadWorld Race on Libby Hill November 2015


Sagan wins Men’s Road Race

Armistead’s emotional win at Women’s Road Race

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Cycle Show Birmingham

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he Cycle Show again retuned to Birmingham’s NEC, bringing with it thousands of cycling fans. The annual event saw a record number of exhibitors this year, and with them the latest innovations in cycling tech and design. Over 280 exhibitors were able to show and demonstrate to visitors what they have in line for 2016, with many products being seen in the UK for the first time. Amongst the brands attending for the first time were Canyon and Planet X, who joined regulars, Trek, Shimano, Pinarello, Cube, and many more. The weekend’s events were about more than just equipment though, with some of the biggest name in cycling attending the show. Special guests such as Team Sky’s Richie Porte, cycling cult hero Jen Voigt, ex-world mountain bike champion Martyn Ashton, and others fielded questions from an enthusiastic audience during several Q&A sessions. Those looking for some live

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competitive action were not disappointed either, with the weekend seeing a cyclocross race within the NEC grounds, as well as the hall hosting spectacular dirt jumping and BMX flatland competitions. Retuning champions Ian Field and Annie Simpson both defended their cyclocross titles, with the racers able to take advantage of Saturday morning’s glorious sunshine. Sunday at The Cycle Show has now become a mecca for the best dirt jumpers around, as the Sam Pilgrim Big Air Invitational again wowed the large crowd that gathered, with Mat Jones winning the competition. This was as well as the mind boggling skills of the UK BMX Flatland Championship, which saw this year’s title, go to Martti Kuoppa. These attractions have seen visitors numbers rise year on year from those in 2014, the event attracting an audience in excess of 25,000 people, with Saturday being especially busy. As well as attracting those famous for their cycling exploits, the show

brought cycling enthusiasts who have earned their fame in other fields. World Cup winning England Rugby captain, turned cycling enthusiast Martin Johnson paid a visit, as did Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley. The new innovations on show made for a utopia for the Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury, who again returned to see the latest cycling tech around.


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BRITISH CYCLING’S STRATEGY ON TRACK TO GET ONE MILLION MORE WOMEN CYCLING Article and photo from British Cycling

Sarah Storey, Gold Medalist and Rachel Riley, Breeze Ambassador

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ritish Cycling announced in the summer that 254,000 more women are now cycling regularly as a result of their interventions than in March 2013 – when British Cycling launched the #WeRide campaign. This is a great start to their strategy to influence one million more women to ride a bike regularly by 2020. Furthermore, newcomers to cycling are more likely to continue riding their bikes now than those who took up in the sport in 2013. Three in four women who take up cycling now continue to ride 12

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their bikes – an increase of 25% in 2014 alone. The progress is built on the widely popular Breeze programme, which delivers thousands of women-only recreation rides with the aim to help women feel confident and comfortable about going on a ride, to a new level of 50km and 100km challenge events as a way to encourage women to challenge themselves to ride further. Additional measures include working with national partners such as Halfords to reach new cyclists and


complementing initiatives such as Sport England’s #ThisGirlCan. However more work is needed and success in reaching the 2020 figure will require everyone involved in cycling and women’s sport to work together. It will also take a real effort to address the culture in cycling and throughout sport that has created such gender imbalances in the first place. Dame Sarah Storey (British road and track multiple gold medal winner at the Paralympic Games and Able Bodied Games) said: “Cycling has transformed my life, and I’ve been able to achieve a lot on a bike. But cycling isn’t only about medals – it’s a simple, affordable, sociable and environmentally friendly way to get around and stay healthy. More than 250,000 more women regularly cycling is great news, but it’s the tip of the iceberg. There are millions of women in Britain who I’m convinced would love to cycle but are put off by perceptions around safety or stereotypes – we’re here to smash those stereotypes and show that cycling is for everyone” Rachel Riley, TV presenter and Breeze Ambassador said: “its brilliant news that over 250,000 more women are cycling regularly, I’m proud to be one of them and to be a Breeze Ambassador. Interest in cycling amongst women is really high but there are still so many

more of us who could get on our bikes who don’t yet. With fun, social, local bike rides for women that go at a pace to suit anyone, Breeze is a really easy way to get involved! Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport, said: “I applaud the work of British Cycling to date in getting more women on their bikes and enjoying the sport. I hope to see other governing bodies follow in their footsteps with similar moves, encouraging more women to get involved in sport. The government is committed to safe cycling and will continue to work with British Cycling and Sport England to encourage even greater participation.” Jennie Price OBE, chief executive of Sport England, said: “it is good to see more women are cycling regularly but there is still a perception that cycling is a sport dominated by middle aged men in Lycra. I’m very pleased to see British Cycling are working to address this through their #WeRide campaign by creating a welcoming environment for women and girls to get involved and I strongly support their approach. From our This Girl Can campaign we know women who feel welcomed into sport and not judged about their ability, size or how they look are much happier being active, and it is good to see those principles being applied by a major governing body.”

An aim to get more woman racing

Jennie Price of Sports England and Rachel Riley, Breeze Ambassador, on a Breeze Ride

Stewart Kellett, British Cycling’s director of recreation and partnerships outlined the plan for #WeRide going forward: • We will continue to expand our ever-growing Breeze programme throughout Scotland and Wales. • We will prioritise working with national partners – such as Halfords – to extend our reach and help grow participation. • An enhanced Women’s Tour that will include extended stage lengths to improve the quality of racing and the overall reach of the event. • British Cycling will support clubs to promote girls-only races with additional prizes and resources. • We will leverage Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign to encourage more women to engage in cycling. • Our communication will continue to highlight the increasing opportunities for women to get involved in all areas of our sport. Women can find their nearest ride by visiting www.breezebikerides.com

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The Bicycle Diaries One woman’s solo cycle from London to Tehran: Month 1

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wake at 6am, then 6.15am, then 6.30am. Today’s the day! I try to ignore it, but I know it’s time. My arm doesn’t even hurt too badly anymore – my last surviving hope for delay. I had a typhoid jab a week ago and since then it’s felt like I’ve had nightly wrestles with Floyd Mayweather. For the past few days, I’ve had vivid images of me as the heroin addict in Requiem for a Dream, my bicep going mushy and gangrenous as I cry out deliriously, heroically, that I’m going no matter what – only to be dragged off by medics and sedated. But sadly it isn’t to be. It feels fine. I feel fine. The weather is good. It’s all a complete disaster. The last time I had to cycle 50 miles was in 2009, when I was a young, lithe 20-something. That was also the last time I went up a hill. I feel my buttocks shrivel in anxious anticipation.

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Luckily I am fully intending to start as I mean to go on: by cheating outrageously. After packing up the bike – two heavy front panniers, two elephantine back panniers, one lead-lined bar bag, one unliftable rucksack, one totally superfluous ukulele – I take most of it off and leave behind for P, my boyfriend. We are due to meet at my sister’s, in Bolney, before I get on the ferry at Newhaven. Having stripped down to my bare essentials, I hit the road. And except for a wisp of a hangover from last night’s bottle of celebratory Chateau Labegorce Margaux 2001, it feels pretty good. I power thunderously on, energised and invincible. This is easy, I think to myself. Chris Froome eat your heart out! Then I reach my first hill. It’s in East Dulwich, and not particularly long or steep. I stop afterwards for a halfhour sit down and croissant, and ring

Rebecca Lowe Rebecca Lowe, a human rights journalist, started a 10,000km, 20-country ‘bummel’ through Europe and the Middle East in July 2015. Her aims are threefold: cultivate a pair of toned, shapely calves that will be the envy of all she meets; survive; and shed light on a region long misunderstood in the West. She hopes to reach her final destination, Tehran, by March 2016.


shower me with champagne, fish pie, gifts and advice on how to dislocate a man’s thumb if attacked. I feel immensely touched. This is what it’s all about! But how can I convince them to join me the rest of the way? Sadly I can’t. So an hour later, P takes me to the ferry. We load up the bike and try it out for the first time in the car park. It’s just about rideable, but completely impossible to steer. I start working out how I can get from Dieppe to Tehran without turning any corners or plunging into the Mediterranean. It might just be feasible, I ponder, as long as I plot exactly the right trajectory to start with. Tom Hanks and co-managed something similar with Apollo 13, P. ‘I just did my first hill,’ I say. ‘How did it go?’ he asks. ‘I can’t feel my legs. I’m shaking. I think that typhoid has come back.’ ‘Pull yourself together. By the way, I bumped into C (our neighbour) in the hall. She thinks you’re crazy to be taking all that stuff.’ ‘Right.’ ‘And seriously – a ukulele? I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.’ I protest vehemently, knowing of course that he’s right. If this trip doesn’t already scream gap year tragedy meets mid-life crisis, that’s surely enough to tip it over the edge. But before I can dwell on this too deeply, I enter Croydon. And I hope I never have to say those words again. Does it ever end? It reminds me of Montana in the US, which I travelled through by Greyhound bus in 2005 and where time goes to die. I remember falling asleep on Tuesday and waking on Thursday to the same rusty pick-up truck and piece of rolling tumbleweed outside my window, and vowing never to leave home again. Croydon has a similar effect. You also have to climb a god-awful hill to get out of it, which may explain why so many people end up staying there. It’s almost exactly how I imagine Purgatory to be, and I wonder if this could be the mountain Dante refers to in his Purgatorio, with its seven levels of suffering followed by

Earthly Paradise at the top. Probably not. But I challenge anyone to find a feeling more glorious than finally leaving this godforsaken borough on a bicycle. I celebrate my escape with a wonderful swoop down Bug Hill – before getting a slap in the face in the form of the ominously titled ‘Long Hill’. I suddenly get a hint of what I’ve let myself in for. This hill is a menace, and halfway up I stop. I can’t go on. Dismounting, I assess the situation. Options are: go back down, return home and sleep for the rest of the day. Tempting. Satisfying. Maybe a tiny bit shameful. Or continue. I neck an energy gel and suddenly feel the terrifying power of sugar over the weak human psyche. Twenty minutes later I struggle to the top, and allow myself to indulge in a truly humiliating sense of achievement. The truth is, I’ve actually forgotten what a hill looks like. I wonder if it’s a similar phenomenon to childbirth, when a heavy dose of hormones helps women forget the intensity of the pain so they’re not discouraged from getting knocked up again. I mean, the two are pretty comparable, aren’t they? The sweat and the exhilaration? The pain and the release? Except I bet no amount of childbearing can beat that feeling of finally escaping Croydon. At 2pm, I finally pull into Bolney. My sister, her partner and my parents

after all, and Bill Paxton had a terrible cold at the time. On the ferry, I meet a couple travelling by tandem and they ask me where I’m going. They seem impressed when I say Iran, but do I detect a note of pity? It’s a reaction I come to know well during the following few days. When men go adventuring, they are seen as intrepid. When women do it, they are assumed mad or recovering from a broken heart. (At the moment, I happen to be neither – though let’s be honest, may be shortly.) Cycling World November 2015

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I sit down to watch the UK recede into the distance and conduct a thorough examination of my thighs. They are already conspicuously larger. It’s a worrying development. My biggest fear on this trip, other than being kidnapped by ISIS or running out of chamois cream, is developing gargantuan quads that render me unfit for society and make my already scrawny calves seem even smaller in comparison. I buy a half bottle of 2010 Chateau Lieujean Haut-Medoc to put my mind off this and the long journey ahead, and suddenly remember why I like France so much. I spend the night in an overpriced Dieppe B&B, and wake up refreshed and ready to embark on my first proper day’s bummel. First things first, I think: load it up. I’ve repacked my bags with all the heavy items in the back two panniers, but physically getting them onto the bike proves a challenge. First I rest it against a sturdy-looking tree in a plant pot, which promptly collapses. Then I try the hedge. But hedges are prickly, hateful things, and not to be trusted. This one gives a veneer of helpfulness, before rearing up on its bushy haunches and swallowing my bike whole. I curse and dig it out dejectedly. My legs already look as if I’ve recently escaped from a local correction facility, mottled and tender to the touch. It’s fortunate I turned the hotel management against me so

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swiftly and unequivocally or I’m quite sure I’d still be there now, eating croissants and flashing smokers in the car park. By noon, just four hours later than planned, I’m finally off. Hot, bothered and depressed, I veer violently across the road, up onto the curb and onto someone’s front lawn. I look around quickly; thank god nobody seems to be watching, except for a herd of enormous cows. They stare at me disdainfully. I try again, and stagger with inevitable futility into the path of an oncoming car. I stop for a well-earned rest and take stock. It’s exhausting. I’ve made progress, at least; about ten metres, to be precise. I do some calculations. At this rate it will take me the best part of 500,000 hours, or 57 years, to complete the full 10,000km of my trip. By the time I finish it, I’ll be a mad, wizened 90 year old, comprising just hair, thighs and a colostomy bag, wheeled out at parties to recount traveller’s tales from life in the saddle. It doesn’t sound too bad, actually. Finally, many failed attempts later, I get moving. Unsteadily and slowly, but at least in a semi-straight direction. This is it, I think! I’m officially bummelling! Then the noise starts: a loud, guttural yet piercing scraping that cannot be ignored. My heart sinks. Can I really have destroyed this beautiful machine so soon? I stop,


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Cycling World Letter Page We are starting a Letter Page so please send your thoughts, feelings, ideas and insights about all things cycling. Letter of the month wins: A Velo Hinge Home Bicycle Storage. It is a foldaway hook that fits most standard road, mountain and kids’ bikes Send letters to: Email: editor@cyclingworldmag. co.uk Post: Editor, Cycling World Magazine, Myrtle Oast, Kemsdale Road, Fostal, Faversham, Kent ME13 9JL We may edit your letter for brevity and/or clarity. We look forward to hearing from you. Editor

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get off and stare at various parts of it, occasionally prodding them tentatively. This doesn’t seem to help, and I think ambitiously about getting out one of my tools. But which one? Fortunately a male cyclist appears at this moment, looking helpful. I show him what’s wrong and he nods sagely and starts prodding too. That’s the wonderful thing about the current halfway house era of equality and sexism, I reflect; women can do exciting, independent things like cycle around the world, while still relying on men in times of distress. God help us when it gets to the stage when we’re actually expected to carry out menial mechanical tasks ourselves. This particular chivalric knight seems very determined to fix my mudguard. It’s clearly not the source of the problem, but I feel bad interrupting his work after he stopped so kindly. He finally cycles off, rather pleased with himself, and I recommence my prodding. It’s not the brakes, I conclude after a little experiment. It’s not the panniers or chain. It seems related to the gears, and as I trace the cable back I see the end has come loose and is trailing against the tyre. I slip it back into place and start pedalling. Quiet. Problem solved! Meanwhile, clustering in my sightlines looms problem number two: a succession of hills. Hills, I discover, are in many ways like hedges. At first glance they seem friendly: soft and green and matronly. But

as you get closer, their demeanour changes. Their brows furrow, and that expression you took for kindliness morphs into a kind of smug, sadistic smirk. It soon becomes apparent that there are specifically five different types of hill – which are: The bun-burner: the most common type of hill; a long, hot slog that sears the arse like a fire-brand. The false friend: a hill that doesn’t seem like a hill, until you realise you can’t feel your legs and are weeping silently. The masochist: a hill that gradually, imperceptibly gets steeper, like the anecdote of the frog in boiling water, until all you want is to crawl into the foetal position crying for your mother. The redeemer: a hill I can actually climb without too much trouble; more like a ripple in the road. The up yours: basically a vertical wall with the words ‘up yours!’ scrawled on it.

restaurants and cafes closed, I retire to a bench with a loaf of bread and Camembert, before setting off to find somewhere to sleep. On the outskirts of the town, I follow a small country lane and discover a large patch of grass bathed in sunshine, hidden from the road. It’s beautifully peaceful, and I listen contentedly to the buzz and chirrup of unseen critters. Then a thought hits me: what if this is like that part of Life of Pi, where the boy finds what he believes to be his perfect island, only to discover it turns carnivorous during the night and starts devouring itself? It seems unlikely, but I find it hard to shake the thought from my mind. I distract myself by putting up my tent: a Lightwave G15 Raid. Then, as I hunker down inside, I realise with no small amount of distress that I haven’t brought anything to toast my first night in the wilderness. With my Bolney support team nowhere in sight, I am all alone, parched, tired and inescapably sober. It’s a rookie error, and I vow not to make the same mistake again.

By mid-afternoon, just as I am ready to jack everything in and return to London, I finally hit the fast road I’ve been aiming towards. I make up some time, and pull into Forges-les-Eaux – a charming little town seemingly best known for its history of mining, thermal waters and seigneurs killed in battle by the British – around 6pm. Finding several

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Afghan Women’s

Cycle Team offers new freedoms Text taken from report by Mike Taibbi, Correspondent, NBC News

S

idestepping threats and jeers, the Afghan women on the country’s national cycling team are risking their lives to compete and doing their part to help women’s rights race forward in the war-torn nation. In Kabul Salma Kakar is already leading a revolution on two wheels. She’s a lead rider on the Afghan National Cycling Team and, says Coach Abdul Seddiqi, the joyous face of a new phenomenon in the war-torn country: females riding bikes. “I assure you...in the next two or three years you will find girls and women riding bikes, all over Kabul,” said Seddiqi. Right now, even though Seddiqi says scores of young girls are waiting in the wings, it’s just Salma and her dozen female teammates making a statement in the face of Afghanistan’s maledominated society: that while women rarely drive cars almost never ride bikes, that’s now history. “We are changing minds,” Salma said through an interpreter. Then, her serious expression changed back to the 100-watt smile that glows like a headlamp when she rides. Her dream, she says, is “to wave the flag of Afghanistan in the Olympics, to prove to the world that women in Afghanistan have progressed.” To get there, Salma and the team have a guardian angel in the U.S.: Colorado cyclist Shannon Galpin, who spent years doing relief work in Afghanistan and, in the process, rode her own bike over miles of the country’s remote mountain trails. Galpin met Seddiqi and set up nonprofit Mountain2Mountain to find donors of bikes and gear to get the national team off the ground. And when Seddiqi told her he planned to have a co-ed team, something Galpin hadn’t anticipated, she kicked her non-profit into overdrive. “If they’re willing to take the risks ... then the least we can do

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Cycling World November 2015

is support them,” Galpin said of the female riders racing against tradition. The bicycle has become a vehicle for social change among a group of Afghan women. Shannon Galpin, a Colorado mountain biker, is helping to push boundaries by nurturing the first-ever Afghan women’s national cycling team with dreams of Olympic glory. It’s not an easy road; Seddiqi has the team train in secret, changing locations, sometimes at night. His female riders, all of them “good Muslims,” wear long pants and full sleeves, and headscarves under their helmets. They still get yelled at; and there have been death threats. At Jada Maiwand, Kabul’s main bicycle emporium where hundreds of male riders gather every morning to tinker with their bikes or buy or trade for a new one, the very idea of women riding bikes -- to go to work, to the market, or anywhere -- gets a uniform “No!” “Women should be in the home, in the kitchen,” one bike shop owner said. “And if they are outside, their faces should be covered.” “Some men try to humiliate us,” Salma said. “But more and more they encourage us.” With a mother who’s a pediatrician, a father who’s an engineer, and a big sister who publishes Afghanistan’s first feminist magazine “Riudad,” Salma says women will be riding bikes from now on, and other freedoms will follow. Galpin says bikes have always been a symbol of freedom, even in the U.S. where the women won the right to vote soon after they first started riding bikes over the objections of men at the dawn of the 20th century. “I did not expect to see Afghan women biking now,” Galpin said. “I thought it was still several years off. But the bike is an incredible vehicle for social justice … a vehicle for change.”


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Interview: Shannon Galpin of Mountain2Mountain Cycling World Editor caught up with the founder of an organisation “creating education and opportunity for women and girls in conflict regions.”

Ed: Tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do in Afghanistan.

Shannon Galpin

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Shannon: I first travelled to Afghanistan in 2008 to work with women and girls, having created the small, non-profit Mountain2Mountain. During my first few trips there I discovered that while the streets were flooded with boys and men on bicycles, girls were not allowed to ride, and that this had never been acceptable for women. A year or so later I brought my singlespeed mountain bike with me and spent the next few years riding in various parts of the country to explore this gender barrier, while exploring the country. The bike became an incredible ice breaker to spontaneous conversations and opened doors that would not have been opened without the curiosity of being a foreign woman on a bike. I used that to my advantage to better understand gender relations and it aided my work immensely, while also opening up an incredible part of the world to me… there is nothing like exploring a country on bike, the wind on your face, the smells, the dust, the lack of barriers between you and the landscape and people. Three years after my first ride, in the autumn of 2012, I was introduced to the newly formed women’s national cycling team. These were some of the first girls to ever ride bikes in Afghanistan and I immediately began to work to support them, in the hopes that the sport of cycling could work to normalize bikes for girls across the country so that bikes could be used as a vehicle for social change the way they are used throughout Africa and southeast Asia - getting girls safe and affordable independent

transportation to and from school, providing midwives with bikes to better serve their community, and provide young women with a tool to avoid sexual assault and sexual harassment. Ed: As a bike rider, what drew you to Afghanistan? Shannon: Afghanistan is one of the most beautiful and timeless places I’ve travelled to. I had travelled to Afghanistan several times and while traveling by road would look at the mountains, and the river valleys, and would daydream about exploring the country on two wheels. The history of the Silk Road, the expanse of the Hindu Kush Mountains cutting through the country, it’s a country that calls out to be explored. Landmines, violence, and all the usual worries are a real concern, but the more you are there, the more you realize that there is also more normalcy than we ever imagine. Ed: How did cycling open up Afghanistan to you, both geographically and culturally? Shannon: Being a foreign woman riding a bike has continued to be a curiosity to the men and boys that see me. Many swap bikes with me, many race with me, but mostly it’s a reason to stop, laugh, ask questions, and share a bit of our day with each other. I have experienced more of Afghanistan’s humanity on a bike than I ever do traveling by car. Geographically I’ve been able to explore the plateaus above the Buddha niches in Bamiyan, ride across the Panjshir Valley, and ride through the rolling green hills in the


Northern Provinces - things I never would have done or seen without a bike. Culturally it’s allowed for spontaneous roadside conversations with men and boys that are vastly different from conversations with Afghans in a more formal, structured situation. That gives me great insight into their world and how they view a myriad of things for women and girls in their families and communities. Cycling also gave me an incredible view into the lives of young women who are now daring to break this taboo, their lives, their families, and their goals. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen was riding with the national team on a training ride when a woman in a burqa waved at us, I couldn’t if she was disapproving or happy. I pulled over and she told me that when she was a little girl she dreamed of a riding bike and how happy it made her to see these young women riding past.

and Kazakhstan. Often they struggle to finish longer races, and they don’t have the bike skills that professional cyclists do, but just by being at the race, they are representing their country, slowly normalizing bikes for women, and showing the world that Afghan women are not victims. They have improved dramatically since I first rode with them in 2013. Ed: What freedoms are the team members enjoying that other women aren’t?

Shannon: These young women have many of the freedoms that women in other sports are enjoying; travel, the ability to do something purely for fun, and yet the women’s cycling team gets another major freedom that other athletes don’t… the access for independent mobility. The freedom that comes with riding a bike, in a country where women’s movements and freedoms are so controlled, the bike is literally freedom on two wheels.

Ed: How did the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team begin and how well have the team performed and developed? Shannon: The national team was founded by the same man that founded the men’s team, Mohammad Seddiqe. Most of the girls learned to ride from him, and so they’ve only been riding a few years at most. The girls have raced in Pakistan, India, Cycling World November 2015

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A cycling weekend in ...

Winchester This month we head to Winchester, a city not only steeped in centuries of interesting history but also with an abundance of opportunities to hop aboard the bicycle

Seven reasons you should cycle in Winchester

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Situated on the western edge of the South Downs, it’s the perfect vantage point from which to conduct sorties into the wilderness. Find a suitable little coffee shop (of which there are many) and plot a route into the Downs.

For cycle tourers, the city is steeped wall-towall in history - and even some of the walls are Roman. Take time out to visit the cathedral and the Great Hall, home of King Arthur’s legendary round table. So, you do like to be beside the seaside? Well, that’s handy. Winchester is a mere 15-mile pedal to the coast. Fish and chips on the beach? With one of those dodgy impractical wooden forks? Pas de problem!

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For those who prefer a clattering rear mech and coming away from a ride covered in filth, your luck is most certainly in. For the city hosts the starting- (or finishing-) point of the South Downs Way - one of the great British off-road trips, spanning the 100-mile width of the Downs from Winchester to Eastbourne. 24

Cycling World November 2015

The New Forest is just down the road. Winchester is certainly proving to be the epicentre of all things cycling, and this National Park, which includes bountiful swathes of heath and pasture land, somewhat bolsters the notion.

Family outing? Bespoke Biking of Winchester hire out bikes and conduct cycle tour trips around the city and beyond. Avoid widowing your loved ones to two-wheels and involve the whole brood. Encompassed by greenery it’s hard to believe Winchester is just over an hour away from London - but it is. Sling your bike on the train and enjoy the journey down to England’s erstwhile capital city.


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ampshire; unassuming home to some of the best bucolic jaunts on a bicycle the UK has to offer. Including the South Downs and New Forest National Parks (which together cover 45 per cent of the county), and bordered to the south by the English Channel, you are rarely without spectacular views in Hants. We leave Winchester, the county town, and pedal due east with a view to getting as involved with the South Downs as our legs will allow. Yes, the option of a comparatively sedate ride through the flatlands of the New Forest wasn’t without its allure, but after double-helpings at breakfast it is mused that the occasional climb should be negotiated today, lest we fail to burn off those extra rashers of bacon. Out of the inner-city maelstrom, which, for a town so inundated with tourism, is fairly simple work, the road is presently thick with greenery on this late summer morning, and a brisk tack towards Morestead begins. With eventual designs of a Meon Valley traversal today, it might be pragmatic to leave something in the legs for the hillier stretches - but, for now, the 360 degree sweeping vistas alone are reason enough to be riding a bicycle... blissful!

Take a brake: breakfast, lunch and dinner… in Winchester Breakfast: I ate in the Slug and Lettuce whose menu comprises all of the usual breakfast suspects, from packed plates of full English to porridge and bagels. It’s in a nice setting too, just off the high streets within a minute’s walk from the cathedral.

Upon reaching Corhampton and the furthest easterly point of the route, we begin our meander, on lengths of tarmac delightfully free of traffic, along the Meon Valley. Fully immersed in the Downs now and totally appreciative of the rural arena in which we are enveloped, the climbing starts in earnest, and although the road up to Woodlands is never what you’d consider a real challenge, it certainly serves to remind the thighs what they’re here for. Cycling World November 2015

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Now heading north-west, we note that Arlesford appears a likely place to stop for a spot of carbloading. This little town is the blueprint of the picture-perfect British backwater settlement. The high street is laced with a string of charismatic shops and cottages, and a number of eateries and pubs which, in keeping with town’s oldworld charm, brag grade two listing. Opting for a sandwich amid the unrivalled ambiance at the Horse and Groom, Arlesford is departed feeling suitably replenished and the big push back to Winchester along the gently undulating B3047 begins. Once back in town, with a solid 30-miles of riding in the bag, it would almost be inexcusable not to repair immediately to the nearest hostelry to blow the froth from a frosty glass of beer or two, and bask both in a good day’s work and the history of this quaint city in the heart of Hampshire.

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Ask Anita Photos by Alex Loucaides

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nita loves discovering new places by bike, having explored many miles of the National Cycle Network, and taken her trusty Ridgeback to roughly twenty countries so far. She does the occasional sportive, commutes by bike in London and Surrey and dabbles in triathlons, mountain biking and visiting cycling cafes. She currently works for the charity Sustrans as a project officer. Anita’s main area of expertise is surrounding herself with experts, whose knowledge she will extract to answer all of your everyday cycling questions…

acceptable, but it’s also wise to make your first meal of the day a good one, to oil your metaphorical chain ready for the adventures of the day ahead. Something wholegrain, with protein will keep your blood sugar nice and level and help keep the bonk at bay. So, put all your eggs in one omelette, add some spinach and ride like Popeye. Or try porridge with chia seeds and honey - a personal winter favourite. Embrace the chia seed – it may be a fad but it’s a protein and omega oil filled one. Other seeds are available.

One-pot wonders

This chill in the air is making me want to eat pies, pastries, and crumbles all the time. Is this an acceptable diet to fuel my winter riding? It’s your body, and it’s your choice whether the things you fill it with are green and spiralised or beige and baked. Sometimes, especially in the cold winter months, stodge can be warming for the body and soul, and let’s be honest - I’m sure the reason many of us ride our bikes is to justify eating more cake. I can’t be alone in that. However, here are some titbits which might help guide you through this period of comfort food over-consumption and help you feel full of beans on your bike whatever the temperature. Breakfast like a champion

And swedes. Plus everyone knows it’s a true fact that carrots help you see in the dark. Keep on crunching.

Everything in moderation If you can’t switch off that internal voice saying eat the…cheese/cake/chips/insert appropriate stodge here, and it’s there ALL THE TIME, see if you make it stop by eating filling healthy snacks. Nuts and fruit can work well all year round - unless you have an allergy in which case ignore my advice and avoid them as they will probably kill you. If you really want something naughty, just do it. There are always more hills to punish yourself with when the post-snack guilt kicks in.

Eating pies for breakfast isn’t really socially Five a day

Cooking winter warmers like soups and stews is great – just stick a load of ingredients in a pot, season, simmer, enjoy. So much opportunity to experiment, so little washing up. Beans, lentils and other pulses add more protein and other goodness, and the effect they have on certain internal functions can give you that little turbo boost you need up the aforementioned hills. All about the coffee Coffee is warm. Coffee is delicious. Coffee is a cyclist’s best friend. It can help boost your energy pre or during a ride. But caffeine actually makes your body lose heat, so for the rare occasion you’re not on your bike maybe think about swapping some of your hot drinks for decaffeinated versions instead. Then savour the real thing when you’re riding – the caffeine boost will help you pedal your body warm.

No, not five pasties. Keeping up fruit & veg intake over the winter can be tough when the last thing you want to eat is salad, but boosting your immune system with vitamins and minerals is important when the weather is trying its hardest to make you feel ill and miserable. There are loads of lovely seasonal winter veg. Like turnips.

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Peak District Ride Bakewell Loop via Hartington by Chiz Dakin Article from Cicerone Guide Cycling in The Peak District CyCling in the Peak DistriCt

Route 10 Bakewell loop via HaRtington Distance

42km

total ascent/descent

850m

grade

Moderate

Surface

86% road, 4% trail, 10% off-road

Start/finish

A6/A619 Roundabout in Central Bakewell SK 218 685

parking

There are pay and display (ÂŁ4 all day) and on-road parking options around Station Road, reached by following the A619 north towards Baslow, and turning right immediately over the river bridge

Cycle hire

Nearest is at Hassop Station (1.6km N on Monsal Trail)

Road Bikes?

OK with large detour at High Needham

Undulating route on mostly quiet lanes with a few steep hills, but rideable even in wet conditions.

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by C by he Ch lmo el rto m n or to n

Yo u Yo lgra ul ve gr av e

Cycling World November 2015

H ar H ting ar to tin n gt on

F

From the roundabout, initially take A6 towards Matlock, but after only 20m

onto the B5055 towards Monyash (King Street). Head quite steeplyalong towards Youlgrave. Continue romturn theright roundabout, initially uphill for 400m past the large All Saints parish church. this for roughly 1.1km to reach a take A6Turn towards Matlock, but left into Yeld Road and continue, still fairly steeply, uphill for 500m. crossroads in the centre of Youlgrave after only 20m turn right onto Bend right past the cemetery entrance; the by the George PH. Turn right here thegradient B5055 eases towards Monyash past Lady Manners school playground the steeply road becomes Shutts along Main Street, passing the Bulls (King Street). Headand quite at the finalthe houses. Head hotel and a stone fountain. uphill forLane 400m past large All m m o n t i n u e a h e a d h e r e t owa r d s 450 450 Saints parishCchurch. Youlgrave. The lane dips then continues 400 400 This sculptured stone fountain, a Turn left past intoNoton Yeld Road and continue, Barn Farm, gently contouring 350 350 reservoir of 1500 gallons capacity, was still fairlyforsteeply, uphill for 500m. 1.7km before the beginning of the steep 300 300 erected in 1829 to provide the village Bend right past the cemetery and twisty descent (very steep on hairpin) 250 250 the narrow Conksbury Bridge. Take care, with 200 its200 first piped water supply from a entrance;tothe gradient eases past Lady though the bridge and crossing 150 spring. 150 nearby Mannerseven school playground thehas been designated a Quiet Lane. 100 100 road becomes Shutts Lane at the final 50 50 Continue out of the village past some houses. 0m 0m 0 0 2where 2 4 4 6 Bradford 6 8 8 10 10 12 12 14 allotments, the valley 84 on the left drops away quite steeply Continue ahead here towards Youlgrave. The lane dips then below and the lane starts heading continues past Noton Barn Farm, uphill. Roughly 400m beyond the gently contouring for 1.7km before allotments take a left fork down 630 Cycle Peak District Layout of 2011 1st Ed.indd 06/01/2011 the beginning the steep84and twisty towards Middleton by Youlgrave. descent (very steep on hairpin) to the This road twists and undulates for narrow Conksbury Bridge. Take care, about 1km before passing Castle Farm even though the bridge crossing has and the village hall to reach a wide been designated a Quiet Lane. junction in the centre of Middleton. Here, bear right uphill past the village The lane rises up a steepening notice board. You will soon pass an gradient on the far side; after roughly unusual stone walled enclosure for 300m turn left onto a narrow lane three trees (and a telegraph pole) on

the right. Continue grinding uphill for 1.7km on a steep but eventually easing gradient, the18 20 junction with 14 past 16 16 18 20 22 22 24 24 26 26 28 28 30 Whitfield Lane and ignoring a right turn after 1km to reach a crossroads. Turn left towards Newhaven. The road roughly contours for about 12:02 1.6km before rising through woodland to pass under the bridge carrying the HPT at Friden.

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Roughly 100m past the bridge, turn left into Friden Car Park to reach the HPT. Turn left onto the trail; you

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will pass over two gated farm access tracks, and after about 1.7km come to a third gated track. Turn sharp left up this initially steep and stony track which soon eases in both respects. The next 400m is relatively short, but can be moderately difficult. Cross the A515, with the Jug and Glass inn visible 150m to your left, to gain a moderately steep and loose downhill. Turn right onto

the road at the end of the stony track, and descend under the TT (PBW) viaduct 300m later. Continue straight ahead past a couple of side roads to descend gently down Hand Dale into Hartington to reach a wide open junction in the centre of the village. Hartington holds a few pubs/tea rooms for the weary! From the village centre turn right towards Pilsbury (gated road) and past the duckpond on R54C. This lane

threads the very pretty upper reaches of the valley of the River Dove for about 3.5km, passing Bank Top Farm among others. Pilsbury itself is only a couple of farms, after which the road abruptly turns right for a steep climb up the hillside (Waggon Low). After about 1km the climb eases, and you pass Pilsbury Lodge farm on your right, descending gently for about 600m to a crossroads. Turn left onto a more major road

heading towards Crowdecote, and once you have ground steadily up a moderate hill for 500m the gradient eases for the next 1.3km. Cross over a more major road in the little hamlet of High Needham towards Earl Sterndale, and continue gently ascending for another 1km.

From Hand Dale, road bikes should follow the main road right along Long Dale and continue all the way to Cycling World November 2015

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ENJOY A CYCLING HOLIDAY IN THE PEAK DISTRICT

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arwin Forest Country Park in the Derbyshire Peak District is the perfect place to enjoy a cycling holiday. Our luxury lodges are set within a 40 acre woodland paradise and are adjacent to Forestry Commission land. The delights of the Peak District are on our doorstep so you can enjoy the freedom of cycling through some of the UK’s most picturesque countryside or test yourself on some of the country’s toughest climbs and intense downhills. The 2015 Tour of Britain went straight past Darwin Forest so why not replicate the race and test yourself against the dramatic

terrain. Alternatively the Peak District is home to 65 miles of off road cycling trails which are perfect for family bike rides and are located on a network of disused railway lines that traverse the Derbyshire landscape. Our luxury lodges sleep between 2 and 8 people and groups are welcome to stay with us in one or multiple lodges. Our Spa lodges also include a hot tub on the veranda so you can fully relax after a day’s cycling and soothe your aching muscles. Onsite there is also a swimming pool, spa, gym and restaurant. Find out more at www.darwinforest.co.uk

Luxury Lodges in the Derbyshire Peak District w Award winning 5 star park w Spa lodges include private

hot tubs

w Onsite restaurant &

take-away service

w Indoor pool, spa, gym & beauty rooms w Cycle hire, mini golf, tennis and

woodland walks

w Huge indoor soft play centre &

outdoor adventure playground w Part of the Tour of Britain

route

w Close to family cycle trails w Fantastic for mountain

bikers

To find out more and to book online visit

www.darwinforest.co.uk 30

Cycling World November 2015


Sparklow, turn left to Monyash, then head north from Monyash to rejoin the route at SK 148 689. Descend past Wheeldon Trees farm but don’t get carried away with the descent, as roughly 200m beyond this farm, there’s a sharp right turn. Take this to follow R68 moderately steeply uphill on a tarmac track, then gently downhill to a dip below some power lines. Immediately beyond the wires, turn left onto a well surfaced stony track which leads gently uphill. The track soon descends past a large quarry and the end of the HPT before rising moderately to the A515. Here, turn right following the PBW on a segregated trail on the right side of the busy road for 250m. When the segregating wooden fence ends, turn left across the A515 and into a narrow county lane heading down towards Chelmorton. Pass Blinder House on the left, and take a stony track (PBW) heading off right as the road bends very gently left. The track surface is initially good, and although it deteriorates slightly after 500m (after a farm field track leaves it), it’s still reasonable in wet conditions. At the end of the track, just outside

Chelmorton, turn right at a junction towards Sheldon. Follow this road straight ahead for about 5km, ignoring all side roads. At the end of a long straight, with Magpie Mine visible on the hillside ahead, turn left to climb gently to Sheldon on a narrow lane. Descend steeply through Sheldon village past the Cock and Pullet PH. Pass good views over the Wye Valley, and continue steeply downhill to reach a T-junction. Turn left down Kirkdale towards Ashford, and roughly 100m later fork right and steeply uphill on a narrow country lane (unsuitable for HGVs). The gradient eases fairly quickly, and then descends gradually for 2.3km with fine views over the Wye valley. Take care at bends and a rough section early on. Later, ignore a left turn for Ashford and a second left turn immediately after Pennine Paving to reach the B5055. Turn left onto this and head steeply downhill into Bakewell. You will recognise the final part of your descent as being your initial ascent up King Street. At the bottom you cannot turn right, and must instead go left and around the roundabout if required.

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Cycling World November 2015

monkii cage


 Book Review CYCLING IN THE PEAK DISTRICT Twenty-One Routes In And Around The National Park

T

his guide features twenty-one routes in the Peak District using a superb network of back roads and gentle off-road trails. It covers many wonderful and largely unknown routes, taking readers away from busier areas and heading out into the quiet countryside along ancient toll roads and packhorse trails. Each route is graded subjectively from Easy to Hard, based on factors such as distance, ascent and the use of main roads. None of the routes require technical mountain biking skills, but not all are suitable for road bikes or novice off-road riders either. Average levels of fitness and reasonable confidence on the roads is needed.

by Chiz Dakin Published by Cicerone Press Ltd Feb 2011 £12.95 224pp. Paperback Gloss Laminated ISBN: 9781852846305

ABOUT THE AUTHOR The Peak District is Chiz Dakin’s home playground. Her love for two-wheeled adventures started in childhood and she has now completed several multi-day cycle tours. A winner of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild Award for Excellence in Photography, she runs her own photography tuition business with courses in both the Peak District and internationally. READERS’ OFFER: use the code CYCLEWORLD on the website www.cicerone.co.uk and get 25% off any of title. There is a good range of cycle touring titles.

The book’s twenty individual day routes act as build up to the challenge of the multi-day Tour de Peak District, a fivestage challenge achievable by all cyclists of moderate fitness levels. Thorough background and planning sections give you all the information you need. SO WHAT’S INSIDE? • Twenty day routes culminating in a fantastic multi-day Tour de Peak District • Sections on basic cycling know-how including toolkit essentials, pre-ride checks, and a basic repair guide giving step-bystep instructions on how to change an inner tube and how to repair a puncture. • Information for each route on distance, ascent, difficulty grade, surface, where to park and possible cycle hire.

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WELCOME TO THE PEAK DISTRICT AND DERBYSHIRE Janette Sykes of Visit Peak District photos by Karen Frenkel and Doug Blane

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ocated at the centre of England, the Peak District and Derbyshire is one of the country’s premier and most popular destinations. Boasting Britain’s first National Park at its heart, it encompasses a wealth of natural and man-made landscapes - ranging from areas of breathtaking, specially-protected beauty and classic country houses to distinctive market towns and villages and pioneering industrial heritage. From rugged gritstone moors to rolling limestone dales and lush meadows to leafy forests, the quality and variety of its countryside is second to none. It’s no coincidence that National Trust chairman Sir Simon Jenkins selected no fewer than five of its most inspiring landscapes – Mam Tor to Stanage Edge, The Roaches, Chatsworth, Dovedale and Kinder Scout – to feature in his book England’s 100 Best Views. Yet there’s much more to the area than the dramatic uplands of the Dark Peak and Kinder Scout, site of the famous 1932 Mass Trespass, and the gentler contours of the White Peak and Dovedale, inspiration for Izaak Walton’s much-read and best-selling paean to fly-fishing, The Complete Angler. Few people are aware that the Peak District encompasses parts of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, as well as Derbyshire. There are also lots of well-kept ‘secrets’ to discover, such as the Chesterfield area, with its famous Crooked Spire, or the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site stretching from Cromford to Derby, where Sir Richard Arkwright introduced the world’s first factory system. Surrounding cities such as Derby, Manchester and Sheffield are all ideal places to catch up on some culture, dine out in style, splash out on shopping or take in top class sport and entertainment.

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Characterful country houses range from majestic Chatsworth and medieval Haddon Hall to hidden gems such as Renishaw Hall and Gardens, Bolsover Castle, Tissington Hall and Gardens and some of the finest and most varied National Trust properties in Britain. Most hold special events throughout the year, and many are specially dressed for Christmas to offer added appeal during a seasonal visit. Chatsworth, the historic home of the Dukes of Devonshire, is justifiably known as ‘The Palace of the Peak’, with its treasure trove of both traditional and modern artworks, superbly landscaped gardens, 1000-acre estate, ever-changing exhibitions, and popular annual Country Fair. Once described as ‘the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages,’ enigmatic Haddon Hall is home to the Manners family, with a unique atmosphere that never fails to enchant, with delightful terraced, formal and wildflower gardens overlooking the peaceful river Wye. National Trust gems range from Eyam Hall, Calke Abbey, Dunham Massey to Hardwick Hall and Kedleston Hall, and Little Moreton Hall, Lyme Park and Quarry Bank Mill to Sudbury Hall and The Museum of Childhood and Tatton Park. The Peak District and Derbyshire’s historic houses and eye-catching landscapes have also served as the scenic backdrop for everything from prime-time TV dramas to Hollywood blockbusters. Chatsworth appeared in Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess, both starring Keira Knightley, and also in the BBC adaptation of P. D. James’s novel Death Comes to Pemberley, screened over Christmas 2013. Haddon

Hall has featured in no less than three TV and film versions of Charlotte Bronte’s evergreen novel Jane Eyre, as well as making a ‘guest’ appearance in Pride and Prejudice and Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett. Lyme Park stepped into the spotlight when Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth emerged from its lake in dripping wet shirt and breeches back in 1995, as Mr. Darcy in the BBC drama Pride and Prejudice – and visitors still flock to see where he won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Garden lovers can delight in discovering a kaleidoscope of colour in the Peak District and Derbyshire throughout the year – from delicate carpets of snowdrops in early spring through to formal summer borders and rich autumn hues as late season flowers flourish and trees prepare to shed their leaves on the area’s many country estates and in its woodlands. Glorious gardens complement all the area’s historic houses, but there are lots of other hidden gems that merit a visit, such as Hopton Hall or the National Memorial Arboretum. Wild flowers also thrive – from bluebells and orchids in the spring to plush carpets of purple heather cladding the gritstone uplands of the Dark Peak in late summer. So it’s an ideal time to make a date in your diary to celebrate national tourist board VisitEngland’s Year of the English Garden in the area, which will run throughout 2016. The age-old art of creating living art installations made from petals and other natural materials, known as Well Dressing, is unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire. Well Dressing’s origins are unclear, but it is believed to have been

introduced by the Romans or Celts, to give thanks for the area’s plentiful fresh water springs. Talented volunteers in up to 80 towns and villages decorate their wells with designs inspired by the Bible or special anniversaries between May and September. Most communities see it as the perfect excuse for a party – staging carnivals, processions and other special events – and visitors are more than welcome to join in the celebrations. Handsome market towns include Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Chesterfield, Glossop, Holmfirth, Leek and Matlock/ Matlock Bath. Quintessentially English villages range from photogenic favourites such as Ashford in the Water, Edensor and Hartington to former hives of industrial activity such as Cromford, or Eyam, where villagers sealed themselves off in the 17th century to stop the Plague from spreading. The Peak District and Derbyshire is also the perfect place to enjoy England’s great outdoors, with some of the finest walking and cycling country in Britain. Throughout 2015 you can celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Pennine Way by conquering England’s most famous long-distance trail, stretching 429 kilometres from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholme, just inside the Scottish border. But if you’re not a hardened hiker or serious biker, explore the area’s gentler landscapes, ranging from safe, traffic-free former railway trails to scenic riversides and winding valleys, where you can indulge in a relaxing stroll or some stressfree pedalling. The area recently hosted the Stoke-onTrent to Nottingham leg of the Tour of Britain, featuring top national and

Chatsworth House

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Zepnat Cycles in Matlock On the edge of the Peak District are a small, independent bicycle shop.

the Peaks from the right gear set up to the best cafes to stop at.

Julian Gould (Co-owner)is a former international cyclo cross rider and a cyclist of over 40 years. He has experience in all areas of cycling and has an impressive array of cycling related qualifications which he pools together to provide the informative friendly service that is Zepnat.

Julian is a qualified British Cycling coach and is very active in encouraging the next generation of cyclists. Another area where he offers his informed advice on the wide range of bikes for the budding young cyclist.

The shop which specialises in cyclo cross has a wide range of bikes and accessories and can also offer informed advice on your cycling through

If in the area take the time to call in and have a look around. www.zepnat.com 01629 593631

Cycling in the Peak

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international cyclists, in September. But you don’t have to be super-fit to take to two wheels here. Whatever your age or ability, there’s a bike and a route to suit. The Peak District and Derbyshire has around 65 miles of family-friendly, traffic-free routes, while Derbyshire has 283 miles of cycle routes – 227 miles on greenways and 57 on roads. Bakewell, the only town in the Peak District National Park, is home to a famous pudding that was made by accident in Victorian times at what is now the Rutland Arms Hotel. The flustered cook set out to make a strawberry tart, but her culinary disaster created a classic treat that would no doubt have won the equivalent of The Great British Bake Off in its day! Now visitors flock there to sample the unique and traditional recipe, and Puddings are sent by post to sweet-toothed fans all over the world. Bakewell is also home to the annual Eroica Britannia vintage lifestyle and cycle event, held each June, when thousands of cyclists from all over the world don retro gear and take to pre1987 bikes for a relaxing ride through some of the Peak District’s finest scenery, pausing to enjoy the finest food and drink at picturesque towns and pretty villages along the way. Non-cyclists can join in the fun by cheering them on their way and

enjoying a feast of local food, shopping, events and entertainment at Bakewell Showground. Dining out is a delicious treat, thanks to a wide range of cafes, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants serving wholesome, locally produced food and drink. First-class theatre, music, dance, comedy and other live entertainment are staged throughout the year at venues in Buxton, Chesterfield, Derby, Manchester and Sheffield and also at regular festivals, ranging from rock to rarely-performed opera. Internationally-renowned Buxton Festival, which includes a star-studded Literary Series, welcomes visitors from across the globe each July. This autumn a Buxton Festival Literary Weekend, from November 13 to 15, will featuring such diverse and fascinating figures as Simon Armitage, Gyles Brandreth, John Julius Norwich and Simon Armitage. Art lovers can also look forward to immersing themselves in the second phase of a major Arts Council-funded project, The Grand Tour, from March to July 2016. Classic and contemporary works, scenic countryside and vibrant cities will form the stunning backdrop for a very special journey through Derbyshire and neighbouring Nottinghamshire.

Dovedale credit Karen Frenkel

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Chatsworth, Derby Museums, Nottingham Contemporary and The Harley Gallery at Welbeck are among the key venues for exhibitions and events showcasing everything from Old Masters to cutting edge masterpieces. Visitors will once again have the opportunity to emulate the European adventures of the aristocracy in the 17th and 18th centuries, creating their own regional Grand Tour to enjoy the countryside, country houses, gardens, cities and towns of both counties. It’s the perfect excuse to book a holiday to catch up on the area’s rich cultural history and landscapes – including privately-owned works that have not been seen in public before and specially commissioned exhibitions. Season Two will feature Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling, fellow contemporary artists Rose English and Peter Blake and the opening of the new Harley Gallery

at Welbeck, which will house changing displays of The Portland Collection, one of Britain’s great aristocratic art collections. Derby Museum and Art Gallery will also be putting a painstakingly-restored work by the city’s acclaimed 18thcentury portrait and landscape painter Joseph Wright out on display to the public. Bringing together the very best art works, both old and new, plus a host of special Fringe events, The Grand Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that shouldn’t be missed. But rest assured that, whatever your interests and whenever you visit the Peak District and Derbyshire, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome and a wonderful experience. It’s a very special destination at any time of year.

Bakewell credit Karen Frenkel

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For every nasty in the road, there’s the new Durano Double Defense. 40

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Advanced cut resistant SnakeSkin sidewalls and RaceGuard puncture protection. More than a match for your city’s streets.


Review:

Lusso Aqua Repel Jacket £129 Helen Hill, who takes kids up the Alps in this issue, tries a UK made jacket

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usso was a brand I hadn’t heard of until I was asked to test their Aqua Repel Jacket. How fortunate for me as this is a great jacket. It is lightweight and easy to wear. It is made from a fabric called Windtex, lightweight fabric that is windproof and water-repellent due to a membrane which protects and maintains warmth at the same time. The inner is made of absorbing microfibre which helps the dispersion of sweat which is completely absorbed by the membrane avoiding the unpleasant sensation of humidity typical of traditional winter fabrics. The long tail ensures that your bottom stays dry even in heavy rain showers and the hem gripper, elasticated band around the bottom, is comfortable and makes sure the jacket stays in place. The pockets in the back are deep which prevents items from falling out. The close fitting neck and sleeves stop the rain from getting in – a bonus on a wet commute. It is available in 2 colours (blue and black) and comes in sizes small through to xxlarge. The medium came up true to size and because of the four way stretch the body is able to move around easily. Overall an excellent piece of kit that provides a great barrier against the elements and at £129 is a reasonable price for the quality. Lusso is renowned for good quality cycle shorts and have now added jackets to the repertoire.

ABOUT THE COMPANY John and Dorothy Harrison formed Lusso and began trading in Manchester in 1982. Prior to Lusso, John rode International Cycling Events in both Europe and USA. He was very disappointed with the lack of comfort of all cycle wear at that time. Between training and working part time, John attended night school studying Fabric Technology and Design. It was at this point he started experimenting with fabrics and design to address the issues he believed contemporary cycle wear suffered at the time. Dorothy was a member of an elite Marks and Spencers’ test team. She worked in the team as a sample machinist on stretch fabrics, including swimwear and underwear. Her understanding of the importance of each garments stretch and correct stitch length, the thread for different applications and considering comfort and range of movement with close fitting garments really lent itself to this joint venture. Breathability: >10,000gr/m2 x 24hr Water Column: 10,000mm guaranteed Sizes: S-XXL Colours: Blue and Black • Full Front Zip • Storm Flap • Long Tail • 4 Rear Pockets (1 zipped) • High Neck • Reflective Strips on front and rear • SC9 Hem Gripper • Made in Manchester, UK.

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Review:

rh+ AirX-Change Kit

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hen John Orchard rode the Alpine Pass with Alberto Contador he was sporting a new range of cycle clothing.

rh+ may be the best cycle clothing manufacturer you’ve never heard of, but that's all about to change. In only 10 years they have stormed the Italian market equaling the mighty Castelli in market share. Having spent that time perfecting their product range they feel ready to enter the competitive UK and US markets. They have recently teamed up with fleece manufacturer Polartec to create some of the most technically innovative riding kit around. In the AirX-Change range, rh+ have focused on thermal insulation and breathability. Air X-Change is based on a free exchange of air to enhance breathability and reduce excess moisture and overheating. In terms of quality and price rh+ are obviously targeting this range at the top end of the market, the position currently occupied by Rapha & ASSOS. Tough competition indeed. The ‘build quality’ is excellent on all the garments and after several washes they still look like new. A word on sizing; as with most Italian manufacturers, sizing tends to be smaller than UK manufacturers, so take care. Since receiving this kit I’ve really worked it hard. I’ve ridden it up Italy’s mighty Passo di Gavia, through the rain drenched North Downs of Kent and out for a gentle potter along the coast. So, how did fare?

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rh+ AirX-Change Beta Jersey £169 Styled in Italy (but inevitably made in China) this jersey has quickly become my ‘go-to’ choice for chilly autumn and winter rides. Coupled with a short sleeved merino base layer it was perfect for the ascent of the Gavia at temperatures down to 5 degrees Celsius and back home it took on torrential rain aided only by a humble gilet. Whatever the conditions, this jersey has come up trumps, seeing me return home warm and smiling. rh+ claim this is down to the innovative Polartec ‘Power Dry’ fabric which claims to be fast drying, highly breathable with superior wicking action. I certainly agree with that. This jersey isn’t waterproof but somehow the rain is held away from your skin by the fleece interior keeping you warm and feeling dry. The jersey has a desirable, snug ‘slim-fit’ cut with a forgiving amount of stretch. The jersey has a full length zip, snug neck with zip garage and 3 good size rear pockets which hold their contents firmly in place. rh+ AirX-Change Beta Bibtight £155 Smooth on the outside, fleecy on the inside this bibtight uses Polartec’s Wind Pro fabric which is water and wind resistant as well as being highly breathable. I used these for rides in temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees and was always warm without overheating. The Powerlogic pad proved to be a comfortable treat boasting a variable thickness and density of padding from 2mm where it’s not so important up to 14mm where it is. The ankles are


finished with rear facing zips, ankle grippers and reflective trim. I am 6’1” with a 32” waist so chose the XL as I felt it gave me a little more leg length. A high quality bibtight for use throughout autumn, winter and early spring. rh+ AirX-Change Beta Shoe Covers and Gloves Shoe Covers £50, Gloves tbc Constructed from the same Polartec Wind Pro fabric as used in the Beta Bibtight these garments are wind and water resistant without being bulky. I found the gloves kept my hands warm for the whole of the 35 minute high speed descent of the Gavia where ambient temperatures of 5 degrees were significantly lowered by the wind chill. The shoe covers, while not waterproof, keep off the worse of the road spray and block out the wind. Again, I haven’t once returned home with cold feet while wearing these. Well-positioned cut outs for cleats and heels mean that they remain intact ride after ride and the rear facing zip is robust and easy to use. Putting these on, unlike many shoe covers is a breeze. rh+ AirX-Change Alpha Neo Jacket £295 The ‘big gun’ of the AirX-Change range, this is rh+’s cold weather jacket bringing together Polartec’s NeoShell breathable wind and waterproof outer layer with their warm and breathable Alpha inner. In other words, you’ll wear this jacket all through the British winter. The cut is more generous than the jersey, leaving room to stuff your jersey pockets with the tubes, gels and fig rolls we all need throughout the colder season. The jacket has two large rear pockets which are protected by a substantial flap. I particularly liked the contoured, high neck which when fastened felt virtually airtight without feeling restrictive. This is a substantial jacket with integral insulation making it too bulky to roll up and put in a jersey pocket. However, thanks to its remarkable breathability it’s unlikely that you’ll ever overheat. Pull it on at the start of any chilly ride and you’ll feel very smug indeed. All kit available online at www.zerorh.com

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Review:

Bollé 6th Sense sunglasses £121-£139

Nacer Bouhanni in matching Bollé red

Cycling World Editor borrowed glasses from the pros

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steban Chaves wore them in this year’s Vuelta as part of the Orica GreenEDGE team. AG2R La Mondiale are the other world tour team currently wearing Bollé, having been chosen to replace Oakley as their official supplier. So conveniently they come in a range of colours in case a team rider takes a leader’s jersey. I tried the Lime Modulator Brown Emerald Frameset (white body frame, green arms, photochromic brown lens) – the same as Orica GreenEDGE. And they have been a pleasure to wear. THE LENS The first important feature to note is the Trivex lens. Most brands use polycarbonate lenses which meet industry standards for strength. Trivex is stronger and exceeds industry standards, therefore being better at protecting the eyes, whilst giving clearer visibility. This protection means that anything flicked up off the road is unlikely to damage your eyes. There is of course UV protection through photochromic technology embedded in the lens, vital to ensure the health of your eyes even on cloudy days. If you’re like me and lived through the seventies don’t stare at them expecting the lens colour to change like Reactolite.

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These glasses just work- clear vision when it’s cloudy and good protection in the sun. Additionally hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings help reduce rain and finger smearing. The most impressive part of the lenses is that they genuinely haven’t steamed up yet. I have ridden hot-headed in the sun and they remain mist-free thanks to the anti-fog coating. There is additionally the option to have prescription lenses developed with a wide range of prescriptions (+6.00 to -8.00).

Michael Matthews in Bollé white and blue...

COMFORT The Bollé 6th Sense are also extremely comfortable thanks to the ability to manipulate the arms and nose piece. I for one have a nose that isn’t quite straight, so this allows the glasses to sit straighter on my face and be more comfortable in a way that isn’t possible with other sunglasses I’ve worn. The arms and nose piece are made of a substance called thermogrip which helps keep the sunglasses still, especially when giving it some on the bike. I have thoroughly enjoyed using these Bollé glasses and won’t be giving them back to Michael Matthews. At £121£139, depending on the design, the comfort and non-steaming alone make them very tempting.

... and Michael Matthews isn’t getting his glasses back.


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TOP CYCLISTS FEEL THE POWER OF NITRATE TO ‘BEET’ PERSONAL BESTS

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op MTB coach and British Cycling National CX/MTB Commisaire, Nick Popham and cycling coach Pav Bryan are just two of many cyclists who have discovered the secret of naturally increasing stamina and performance – high nitrate BEET IT beetroot concentrate. From road cycling to cyclo-cross, cyclists of all disciplines are feeling the benefit. The pioneering BEET IT Sport Shot, launched back in 2012 for the London Olympics, contains 400mg of natural dietary nitrate, the optimum

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amount needed to increase sporting performance. The shot is used by more than 250 universities worldwide in nitrate supplementation research and many papers have been published to date, proving it can increase strength and endurance naturally. More recently the BEET IT Sport Bar and innovative Nitrate 3000 have been added to the range. The bar offers a winning combination of high nitrate beetroot concentrate and oats and has the same nitrate content as the renowned BEET IT Sport Shot (400mg). The latest member of the

BEET IT Sport family, Nitrate 3000 takes nitrate dosage to the next level and provides the largest source of dietary nitrate (3000mg) in a single unit. This provides users with the opportunity to experiment with nitrate dosage and top up as required to meet their sporting goals. Once consumed, nitrate interacts with enzymes in saliva to generate Nitric Oxide (NO) in the blood system. NO is a vasodilator that naturally increases the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles, thereby boosting strength and endurance.


Nick Popham, who regularly participates in high profile national and regional races, said: “Having used the BEET IT Sport Shot over the last few years, I’m a big fan and can attribute it to securing my fourth consecutive MTB regional championship title this year. As MTB power goes up and down a lot during an event, the higher nitrate levels help me push endurance for longer and at a higher pace when needed. It also aids recovery after the race, leaving me feeling less drained. I would definitely recommend BEET IT Sport products to cyclists and mountain bikers.”

Nick Popham, National CX and MTB Commisaire

Top cycling coach Pav Bryan also commented: “As an Open Time Trial winner and professional cycling coach, I'm always looking to make

the most out of my nutrition and diet. BEET It Sport products have helped me beat all my personal bests and I'll always use them as part of my preparation for events." The growing BEET IT Sport range contains more natural nitrate per serving than any other UK competitor which has made it the ‘go to’ product for the cycling sporting elite. Now the secret is out and cyclists of all abilities can benefit from the power of nitrate! BEET IT Sport products are available from Amazon, Wiggle and Holland and Barrett. Further information can be found at www.beet-it.com

Tested by science, trusted by sports professionals David Weir, CBE Powered by Beet It since 2011

Beetroot shot & bar

• World’s No.1 natural nitrate supplement • Contains c400mg natural dietary nitrate per dose • Researched by more than 150 universities worldwide

• Pre-training & race essential for the sporting elite • 70% more natural nitrate per serving than any other UK nitrate supplement

    www.beet-it.com Available at Wiggle and other online stockists cycling world (jul 15).indd 1

22/07/2015 15:31

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Safe Cycle Storage at Home

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he Lockerpod+ is the perfect home storage solution for your bikes. Made from durable, robust and weatherproof materials and securing up to 4 bikes each, the Lockerpod+ is also the most costeffective bike locker available on the market with both Secured by Design Approval and certified up to Sold Secure Gold Level. Available in two different Sold Secure levels, the standard Lockerpod+ Bronze comes with a key operated, 3-point locking system, so there’s no need for padlocks. Inside the Lockerpod+ there is a metal ‘rib’ which can be used to lock your bikes to for extra security. If security is a big concern for you, you can upgrade to the Lockerpod+ SS Gold which comes with a Sold Secure Gold Ground Anchor for bolting through the bottom of the Lockerpod+ to give another secure locking point. The Lockerpod+ weighs approximately 72kg and can be placed ‘free standing’ onto any ground surface or bolted onto

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tarmac or concrete. Manufactured in the UK from 4mm – 6mm MDPE (Medium Density Polyethylene), it also boasts eco credentials as it is both recycled and recyclable. Both types of Lockerpod+ are available in a variety of subtle and vibrant colour combinations as well as stone effect finishes so it will suit your environment. One unique characteristic is the ability to hold some types of specially adapted bikes, some cargo bikes and trikes, an area where bike storage can often fall short. The storage measures 1m Wide x 2m Deep x 1.35m High. Lockerpod+ is designed and sold by Cyclepods. Launched in 2005 to transform and revolutionise cycle storage, year on year since inception Cyclepods have developed, designed and manufactured new innovative cycle storage solutions for home, schools, rail networks and public domain. Lockerpod+ has received great approval from the Police due to its

security ratings and we have now installed Lockerpod+s at several constabularies across England and Wales. They have also proved ideal for residential associations, schools and office premises, as no planning permission is needed to install them. The need for bike storage with security ratings is on the increase, so Cyclepods are constantly designing new ways for their products to achieve Sold Secure and Secured by Design statuses so that cyclist always have a secure option to keep their bike safe, whether at home, work or just out and about. For more information on the Lockerpod+ please visit www. lockerpods.co.uk. For more information on Cyclepods and their other products, please visit www.cyclepods.co.uk.


THE LOCKERPOD+ IS THE IDEAL STORAGE SOLUTION FOR YOUR bikes! made from durable, robust and weatherproof materials and securing up to 4 bikes, it is the most cost-effective bike locker available on the market which has both sold secure status and secured by design approval.

LOCKERPOD+ IS SOLD SECURE BRONZE AND LOCKERPOD+ SS IS SOLD SECURE GOLD APPROVED PRICES START AT £563, DIFFERENT COLOUR AND SECURITY OPTIONS AVAILABLE Cycling World 49 WWW.LOCKERPODS.CO.UK - T: 0845 094 0490 - F: 0845 094 0151 - E: INFO@CYCLEPODS.CO.UK November 2015


 RIDE THE REVOLUTION The Inside Stories from Women in Cycling

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hen I first sat down to read Ride the Revolution this summer (ironically at the top of the Mont Ventoux waiting for my husband and three boys to finish their climb), I gave myself a little pop-quiz, asking myself (a) how many famous women cyclists did I know and (b) how many books could I remember reading (and/or seeing on bookshop shelves) regarding women in cycling. I’m ashamed to write that I didn’t need any more fingers to perform these tallies. I guess it’s not surprising that my knowledge revolved around the last Olympics in London, both in naming the cyclists and their subsequent biographies. After searching the internet I also discovered that there wasn’t actually an extensive list of women’s books, especially in comparison to the monstrous numbers provided via the world of male cycling (many of which I have enjoyed, I hasten to add). Hence I looked forward to educating myself about my own sex in the cycling arena and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. (Conveniently, this book also provides a list of related books for those whose curiosity has been aroused during the read.)

hence accrue negative publicity due to the current narrow talent base. On a similar note, I also found the interview with Brain Cookson (President of the UCI) thoughtprovoking, highlighting that it can be tricky for men to comment on any aspect of female cycling without bringing out “the politicalcorrectness police” (my words, not his).

As the title suggests, the book does look at the historical struggle for female equality in cycling from Beryl Burton to Marianne Vos. All the riders mentioned share an incredible passion for their sport, be it road, track, cyclocross, mountain biking or paracycling. Their individual stories highlight their dogged determination and their ability to juggle work with their family commitments, and it is wonderful to hear them speak of their families’ support and how they were inspired by older riders. Furthermore it was interesting to learn about riders taking the sport up competitively relatively late, and experiencing ageism rather than sexism, and those who came into cycling after another sport.

Overall this book is an encyclopaedia for women’s cycling – sit down and come up with a list of everything you can think of associated with cycling and I’m convinced this book will cover the lot. For me, this book is an interesting go-to book and I will recommend it to the female (and male) cyclists in my club, especially the young riders looking for potential careers in cycling. If I were to find criticisms, it would be that it was slightly overwhelming in terms of its extensive breadth of coverage, and its inconsistent mixture of narrative and dialogue (interview) did sometimes affect the book’s overall flow.

Many of the riders’ stories were biographical accounts, including very human experiences such as De Vries’ comic account of peeing in bib shorts, and the reminders of the very real dangers encountered in racing, such as Dede Barry’s teammate Nicole Reinhart’s tragic death. I was particularly pleased to read Marianne Vos’ unbiased views on the revolution, where she states that although female cycling should be pushed for recognition, it should not be hurried and

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Although competitive cycling is a major focus, all aspects of cycling are considered here, including the experiences and journeys of a multi-national range of females permeating all aspects of men’s cycling (chefs, soigneurs, photographers, administrators, journalists, campaigners, commentators, mechanics, the list goes on……), and I did feel that passionate readers, for whatever reasons unable to make it competitively in cycling, could use these experiences to stimulate their enquiry into alternative careers within cycling. On top of the cyclists’ accounts and those regarding the additional roles of women in cycling generally, the book also covers important issues such as mental health and even the problems encountered by some to find the perfect cycling-clothing.

Reviewer: Nicola Robinson (Wife and Mother to four OCD (Obsessive Cycling Disorder) males and member of Thanet Road Club, Kent)

Book Review

By Suzie Clemitson Bloomsbury ISBN: 9781472912916 Publication date: 22/10/15 £16.99 Hardback


Left: Former women’s world cycle champion Beryl Burton in action, 1965. Dan Morley/EMPICS Sport. Courtesy of Press Association

Marianne Vos and the Rabo-Liv team race for the finish line during the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix Pro Women’s race in London, 2014. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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WADJDA

 Film Review

Reviewer: Lawrence Jackson, a filmmaker who teaches screenwriting and film production at the Kent University

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arlon Brando in The Wild One, Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, Eminem in 8 Mile. To this list of screen rebels you can now add Waad Mohammed, 10-year old heroine of Wadjda. That might sound surprising on the surface of it but this 2014 gem, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, is a rebel movie to the core.

the sweetness and humanity is the filmmaker’s anger at how non-conformists are punished for questioning authority. Authority figures, male and female, litter the film and one of its many achievements is that it leaves you feeling so uplifted by the heroine’s achievement, rather than resentful at what appear the petty obstacles put in her way at every stage of the quest.

Set in the strict society of Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, Wadjda (pronounced Wudge-dah) is a free spirit who wears trainers, goes with her head uncovered and, above all else, wants a green bicycle. She’s a tomboy and non-conformist in a world where the roles of the sexes are clearly, even aggressively, delineated. Both her mother and the school principal tell her that girls don’t ride bikes and as a central metaphor this powers the story. The bicycle symbolises freedom and, the film suggests, any kind of freedom within the social codes of Saudi society comes with conditions attached. Conditions that Wadjda ignores. We cheer her on, while wincing in anticipation of the trouble she’s stirring up for herself.

The film is slow-paced, delicate in tone and observant of every detail such as how nail polish or magazines are used as gestures of rebellion. It’s also very funny, humour coming from Wadjda’s endless scrapes and how she’ll extricate herself, as well as a darker laughter, underpinned by anger - for example Wadjda’s shout of frustration that, when she falls off Abdullah’s bike and cries that she’s bleeding, her mother’s first fear is that she’s lost her virginity. Girls don’t ride bikes.

The story follows Wadjda, who lives with her parents in Riyadh, as her desire for a bicycle develops into an obsession. She wants a bike so she can be one of the boys and compete with her friend Abdullah (who, in a nice touch, is less brave, less of a ‘boy’, than she is). In order to earn the money required to buy the bike she embarks on a few entrepreneurial schemes before hitting on the solution of entering a Koran-recital contest for the prize money. Around this simple premise is built an entire critique of Saudi society. Wadjda is rich in supporting roles: parents, neighbours, cousins, schoolfriends. But make no mistake about it: under

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So Wadjda is a film that makes its serious points through comedy. It is many things – a rebel movie, a story told from a child’s perspective that shows how adults let you down, an authentic portrait of another culture that offers an intimacy of access that westerners wouldn’t normally be granted. As storytelling it’s classically constructed and paced and, as the heroine’s sheer guts in the face of adversity wins us over, by the end it really packs an emotional punch. The director has extracted an incredible, naturalistic performance from Waad Mohammed as Wadjda, whose relationship with her mother (beautifully played by Reem Abdullah) is the heart of the story. The juvenile leads recall Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, a film that Wadjda resembles in another, crucial way: if you want to examine society, look at it through the eyes of its children.

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour Soda Pictures 97 mins Available for £7.99 at http://sodapictures. squarespace.com/r-z/wadjda


INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR HAIFAA AL MANSOUR

by Soda Pictures

You chose to approach a complex theme like the situation of women in Saudi Arabia through the seemingly simple story of a girl who wants a bike. Why? I wanted to give the intellectual debate a human face - a story that people can relate to and understand. The film does not present a big story but a small one, a story about the emotions of a few main characters, a young girl and her mother, the lives of these characters within their society. I don‘t think people want to sit through a film and be lectured to as much as go on a journey that is inspiring and touching. As simple as the story may seem, I think that more complex themes are woven into it. There are several strong female characters Wadjda herself, her mother, the school principal... Is WADJDA a women‘s film? Maybe it is a women‘s film! But I really didn‘t intend it that way. I wanted to make a film about things I know and experienced. A story that spoke to my experiences, but also to average Saudis. It was important for me that the male characters in the film were not portrayed just as simple stereotypes or villains. Both the men and the women in the film are in the same boat, both pressured by the system to act and behave in certain ways, and then forced to deal with the system’s consequences for whatever action they take. Is the character of Wadjda inspired by your own childhood, are there any autobiographical elements to this story? Well, I come from a very supportive and liberal family. I remember when I was a kid my father took me along with my brothers to get bicycles and I chose a green one. I am extremely lucky to have a father who wanted me to feel dignified as a woman, but it was definitely a different story for my classmates and friends who would have never even dreamed of asking for a bicycle. But I think the heart of the story is something anyone can relate to, which

is the idea of being labelled different or deviant for wanting something outside of what is traditionally considered acceptable. The Saudi culture can be especially brutal and unforgiving to people who fall out of step with the society, so there is a real fear of being labelled an outcast. What was it like for you as woman to direct a movie in Riyadh? Challenging and extremely rewarding at the same time. Every step was difficult and it was quite an adventure. I occasionally had to run and hide in the production van in some of the more conservative areas where people would have disapproved of a woman director mixing professionally with all the men on set. Sometimes I tried to direct via walkie-talkie from the van, but I always got frustrated and came out to do it in person. We had a few instances of people voicing their displeasure with what we were doing, but nothing too disruptive. We had all of the proper permits and permissions so overall it went relatively smoothly. How are you perceived in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world? Are you considered an exception? A pariah? A pioneer? I guess I can sometimes be viewed as a polarizing figure, as some people think the idea of a woman making films or working is media is controversial. But it is definitely not my intention to offend anyone. I don’t believe in stirring up trouble for its own sake, I just think we should be working to figure out how to incorporate inevitable change and modernization into our culture in a reasonable way. Of course death threats and the like can be scary, but we can’t let extremists affect the work we do and the goals we have to develop our country. I hope I have made a film that is close to the lives of Saudi women and inspires and strengthens them to challenge the very complicated social and political encumbrances they are surrounded by.

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RIDING IN THE ALPS

I

was looking for an alternative destination for our summer holiday this year that would cater for the activities my boys participate in. One a keen downhill mountain biker, the other is passionate about road. So we decided on a catered chalet in Morzine, in the Alps, which we would share with some friends, their son also being a downhiller and their daughter a somewhat reluctant roadie. As the day of departure approached I was a bit apprehensive, after all I was travelling 589 miles with three children and an eighteenyear-old, two of my own and two down-hilling friends of my sons. I had last been to the Alps twenty years ago so I 54

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wasn’t sure how I would cope with the driving. Luckily the French roads were as good as ever and we arrived in Dijon, our just-over-halfway stop, late afternoon. The next day we set off early only to arrive in Morzine to find it was raining and there was low cloud – how disappointing this wasn’t what we were expecting. We could get this kind of weather at home! After a wait we were allowed into our chalet and start chatting to our chalet hosts. According to them there was a race the next day up the Col de Joux Verte known as the Grimpee d’Avoriaz. This is an iconic route that was first climbed in the 1975 Tour de France and the record of 33

The Kids Are Challenging Us


freezing which makes braking quite difficult – we were planning on taking a circular route but instead we take it steadily back the same way and finally we thaw out. Our sense of achievement is huge.

minutes is still held by Bernard Hinault, 860m of climbing over a distance of 14km. This was all the incentive Jack needed. My youngest son, 12 years old, has not a gram of fat on him and is nicknamed, by his fellow club riders, ‘the whippet’. We headed to the start despite the miserable weather, only to discover we were a week late. He wasn’t going to let me get away with it that easily. We headed to the start in front of the church where there is a line painted across the road. We set our Garmins and we are off, Jack speeds off like a rocket and is lost from view. I keep thinking will he be alright, the first couple of kilometres pass easily but then, despite signs to Avoriaz, I take a wrong turn. I realise I have

made a mistake and turn round. I rediscover the 1km markers and start to count them down. The switchbacks keep coming, the cloud is so dense you can hardly see anything. I feel woefully under prepared – what am I doing? I know I have to keep going though because I have to catch up with Jack. Eventually the last kilometre sign appears - just one to go, it must be 10 degrees colder as it is almost 1800m, a final push and I have made it to the top and there is Jack shivering beside the finishing line. 59 minutes and 41 seconds not bad for a young one. Now we have the descent to contend with. We are cold and our hands are

Our next riding adventure is a 30km route that is a warm-up for a longer ride. This time we go with our friends Richard (the Dad) and Emily his daughter. This time we are going to have the luxury of a support car of Claire (the Mum) and their other son Will. Emily hasn’t really done any long rides before so this is a baptism of fire. The cloud is still low so disappointingly there are no views to begin with. My legs are still hurting from the exertions of the day before so I am taking it steadily. The road out of Morzine towards Les Gets is a busy one, Jack is over taken by a French man and then hops onto his wheel and follows him into

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Les Gets at speed. Unfortunately Jack with his limited French can’t understand him when they go their separate ways in Les Gets. We start heading uphill – that is the trouble with The Alps - you can go one of two ways - up or down. We reach a point where Richard says we are at the top – I am slightly sceptical but I am relying on his navigating skills as I can see a road ahead that appears to be going upwards – we are in one valley and I know we need to get to the next. A slight descent and then surprise, surprise it starts going up again – never trust a man and a map. Despite some breaks in the cloud the weather deteriorates again, Emily jumps in the car but I battle on knowing that it cannot be any worse than the day before.

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We reach the ‘real’ top which is then followed by a glorious descent – the sun has come out, the cloud in the valley has started to lift and the road is smooth - delightful! It feels like we have ridden much further than twenty miles as that distance at home would feel like a short blast. It’s now Wednesday and we are half way through our holiday so we plan to do a longer route. The sun is out and it is warmer than it has been. This time we are doing ‘An Excursion en Vallee d’Abondance Tour de Trechauffe’. The first 10 km are a steady descent so a nice easy start to the ride before the uphill. We head for the Col du Corbier. We pass through the village of Le Biot and the 1km marker posts are in

evidence – it starts off at 6% but soon progresses to 7%. The switch backs are in view but we know it is only 7km to the top. With 3 km to go Emily is starting to flag, some words of encouragement and she keeps going, Jack and Richard are already ahead. The last 2 kms appear, but the incline increases to 8% then 9%: it is getting


when I had to wait for Jack – now that era is almost a distant memory. A few photos at the top and the chance to enjoy the view before we head back down again.

tougher but we know we are so close – a last push from Emily and finally we see the sign Col du Colbier. Her first Col and her first significant climb – girl power! Richard is waiting for us at the top but Jack has already disappeared – he gets cold if he hangs around, “the whippet.” Emily and Richard decide to take it easy for the remainder of the holiday but Jack has set his heart on climbing the Col De Colombiere. This Col has featured twenty times in The Tour de France, the first in 1960 and most recently in 2010 when Christophe Moreau was the leader at the summit. We start in Cluses, a town in the bottom of the valley. Heads down and we are off, once again Jack quickly disappears from view. I think of all the famous cyclists who have ridden this route before me; the sun is out, The Alps are looking spectacular and it feels decidedly warmer than it had the first day we headed out. The gradient is gradual to begin with, the first kilometre sign we came across was sixteen and just 2%; this

soon increased to 6% but my legs were feeling good and as yet nobody had passed us. Jack is ahead - a small dot in the distance. The mountains spread out before me, the road is smooth and I am enjoying the ride. I pass through the village of Le Reposoir where a small stream runs through and I contemplate paddling. Then the road changes dramatically and starts to climb steeply, gaining height via some impressive switch backs. I turn the corner and there in front of me is the top. It looks teasingly close and I suddenly increase my speed as I think it is not far to go. My eyes are deceiving me though as I am still only at the 14km marker. The gradient changes from 9% to 10% and the final kilometre is 11%. I am nearly there, a man comes past and shouts: ‘well done, keep going just 500m’ though it is probably the hardest of them all. At last I am there! The summit and Jack are waiting – it has taken him 1 hour 15 minutes. It took me a little longer. There is a massive smile on his face and a large grin on mine. There was a time

I think sometimes we underestimate what our children can do. Jack and Emily both ride because they want to, not because we as parents make them. They have pure drive and enthusiasm for the sport of road cycling. Sometimes it is Jack that makes me push my boundaries. I probably wouldn’t have ridden the Col De Colombiere – he wanted to do it because in the past it had been ridden in The Tour de France. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of some of his heroes of the sport. My boys have always been keen cyclists and have been mountain bikers from a very early age. My husband and regularly took them to Wales and The Lake District despite living in the furthest south eastern corner of the UK. Sadly my husband was diagnosed with leukaemia and despite intensive treatment he passed away. The boys decided that they wanted to join a cycling club and it was the support of our local clubs that helped us get through this difficult time. Thanet Road Club is a Go Ride Club that encourages children to participate. Through their development programme the boys are steadily becoming very competent riders. It has also pushed me to become both a stronger cyclist and a coach. But more about the Go Ride programme in a future edition, for now we’re basking in Alpine glory. Cycling World November 2015

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Transcontinental Race 2015 Endurance Cycle Racing from Belgium to Istanbul

Photos by race sponsor PEdALED

T

he creators of this epic TCR race remind us that in the early days of the Tour de France riders would race long into the night to distances of over 400 km each day in stages that would take more than 18 hours. Henri Desgrange, the father of the tour once noted that “the ideal Tour would be a Tour in which only one rider survives the ordeal.” Things have changed dramatically in the

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Grand Tours as teams of riders have a season long calendar to keep sponsors on board, and numerous locations of Depart and Arrivée join the commercial venture. The organisers of the third edition of TCR tell us that “we, however, also like the old way where a rider can simply pick up a bike, shake hands on the start line and race thousands of miles for the pure satisfaction of sport and no other motive but for the learnings of one’s self.”


THE RACE DESCRIPTION IS HARSH AND SELFEXPLANATORY: ONE STAGE – The clock never stops. Racers chose where, when and if at all to rest. NO SUPPORT – Racers can only use what they take with them, or what they can find en-route at commercially available services. There is no third party support. NO ROUTE – Only mandatory controls ensure that racers visit some of the most famous pieces of road in Europe and connect with the suffering of their forebears. The rest is up to them. LIVE TRACKING – Unlike the races of the 1900s, which featured much skull-duggery and deviousness which eventually saw the stages made shorter and more controlled and bike racing become more professional, through the miracle of modern satellite technology and the interweb we can check up on our riders progress wherever they may be. So too can you wherever you may be.

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RACE REPORT 75 solo men finished and one solo woman. The route went from Flanders Belgium to Mont Ventoux France, Sestriere Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Istanbul Turkey. The winning solo man was Josh Ibbett (GBR) covering 4240km in 9d 23h 54m, an impressive 422km per day. The winning and only solo woman was Jayne Wadsworth (GBR) riding 4573km in 16d 12h 58m, averaging an equally impressive 277km per day. Ten other riders also finished taking part in a pair rider event. The most telling race result is that over 80 riders abandoned somewhere along the way. The early part of the race was contested fiercely by British rider James Hayden who, just inside the first 40 hours, made it to the first race control on the summit of Mont Ventoux in Provence. Hayden continued to lead through the second control of the Strada dell’Assietta from Sestriere to Susa in the Italian Alps. He kept pushing the pace as Josh Ibbett and Irishman Ultan Coyle started to close him down. Coyle suffered two damaged tyres on the rough gravel alpine road and fell back while Ibbett, an experienced mountain biker, made up time. Hayden and Ibbett broke clear of the chasing pack and Ibbett had reduced his deficit to a mere 30km by the time the pair reached the Slovenian border. Whilst Ibbett and Coyle were getting lengthier sleep breaks and riding faster on the road, Hayden was pushing on with just 20 minute naps to break up his

riding days. However in Croatia Hayden began to experience a condition known as ‘Shermers Neck’ which affects ultradistance racing cyclist and renders the neck muscles incapable of maintaining the head’s posture. This was now Ibbett’s moment.

moved up into second place as they came through control 4 in Montenegro, with Ibbett still well ahead. James Hayden, after failed attempts to tape his head into a useable position withdrew at Podgorica having made a stunning impression on this race.

By the time both riders had been through control 3 in Vukovar, Croatia, Hayden had lost the lead due to some well-needed sleep and the gap to Ibbett extended to over 7 hours. Coyle meanwhile dropped back to almost a full day behind race lead while Frenchman Alexandre Bourgeonnier

Ibbett maintained his lead and won, having finished second in last year’s event, reaching the Rumeli Hisari at 00:54 local time (EET) as second place France’s Alexandre Bourgeonnier was still approaching the Turkish border with Bulgaria with just under 400km between him and the finish. The unfortunate Coyle’s charge for 3rd place ended with a run in with a taxi in Sofia. The Irishman escaped un-hurt but his bike did not and he had a front wheel to repair before he could continue. The incident meant losing the podium place to Tomas Navratil of The Czech Republic. The Third Edition has seen the biggest field and the toughest parcour yet. More than 100 volunteers from across Europe supported to the event staffing remote control points and distributing race updates. The event has grown from just 30 riders in 2 years and is attracting a growing number of loyal followers known as ‘dot watchers’ who follow the tracking beacons of the riders and share and discuss their progress through combinations of social media.

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Emily Chappell, cycle courier and writer, shares her experience of this epic race Photos by Camille McMillan

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I

never thought failure would feel so good. I was sitting on the terrace of a small Slovenian guesthouse, surrounded by geraniums, my swollen, sunburned legs propped up on the table in front of me, in amongst the debris of breakfast, elevenses, coffee and the ice creams I was demanding from my obliging hosts every half hour or so. The previous day I had emailed Mike Hall to tell him I was officially out of the Transcontinental Race, that evil, beautiful, utterly unique dash from one end of Europe to the other, starting on the cobbled farm roads of Belgium; finishing in Istanbul, on the brink of Asia. This wasn’t how I had envisaged the end of my race. But the Transcontinental is far too big a race for anyone to be sure of finishing. By this point almost half the riders who’d lined up in Geraardsbergen

the previous week were out. Some of them, to be sure, might have bitten off more than they could chew. But also among them were Bernd Paul, who had reached the first checkpoint at the summit of Mont Ventoux in second place, before succumbing to sunburn. And Juliana Buhring, popularly considered the world’s strongest female ultra-endurance cyclist, whose knees gave out two days into the race. I was in good company. And besides, I’d had the ride of my life. The race began at midnight, on the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, amidst the flaming torches and clanging cowbells of a town that has seen countless bike races, but never one quite like this. And then, for a blissful few hours, all the weeks and months of stress and fear melted away as 175 cyclists charged off into the night, finally able to put their preparations behind them and just ride their bikes, which is all any of us had wanted to do all along.

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Just before dawn it started to rain, and our spirits sagged somewhat as we struggled on into the grey clouds, leaning into the brisk west wind and wondering when we’d pass our first boulangerie, because despite all the frites we’d eaten the previous day, we were starving, and it was time for breakfast. A few of us converged on a small town square, alarming the locals with our sodden lycra, insatiable appetites and slightly manic cheerfulness, and for a while I enjoyed the camaraderie you’ll find on any other long ride. By the end of the day however, the pack had spread out across France, and spotting another racer became more and more rare as the race wore on. I felt very much alone as I ascended Ventoux at the end of the third day, crawling slowly up the mountain as the sun sank below the horizon and darkness fell around me. I had only had four or five hours’ sleep since leaving Geraardsbergen, and although I tried to convince myself that the leaders had managed on far less, and that I should therefore be fine, I had never felt less prepared to tackle one of the most notorious climbs of continental cycling. There was no point in fighting it – I knew I didn’t have it in me to race to the summit, so contented myself with just keeping going, no matter how slowly. Continuing was better than stopping. So I battled on under the moonlight, the wind buffeting me from side to side as if I were in a boxing ring, and

the twinkling lights of Provence spread out beneath me. I reached the top at five to midnight, just under three days into the race.

with a hug and, once I’d had my card stamped, proceeded to lay waste to the hotel’s breakfast buffet.

As so often happens, a good day followed a bad one, and I spent the following morning delightedly soaring along mountain roads towards Italy, admiring the scenery and being slipstreamed by local roadies – until I discovered that the rest of the racers had found a much flatter route to the north-east and I’d wasted a lot of time and leg power.

There followed the Strada dell’Assieta – an unpaved mountain road that winds its glorious way along the ridge between Sestriere and Susa, almost entirely above 2,000m. After the heat of southern France, the fresh air and cool breezes were delectable, and the demands of handling a road bike on steep gravel descents meant that my blistered hands and sore back got a bit of a rest from my usual riding position – something I’d be thankful for over the next few days.

The mountains seemed to suit me though, and I bounced into at Checkpoint 2 in Sestriere the following day with a massive grin on my face, greeted the race director

In contrast, northern Italy was flat, hot, windy, and, what’s worst, boring. Concerned that I was losing ground (and failing to realize that all riders would have been slowed down by these conditions), I pushed on and on, progressively reducing my sleep until I was surviving on only ten minutes at a time. Anyone in their right mind would have known this was a foolish strategy, but my right mind had been left behind somewhere on the slopes of Ventoux. The morning I arrived in Slovenia I knew something wasn’t right, and a few hours later I found myself in hospital in Ljubljana, hooked up to various drips and monitors as a team of bemused doctors tried to figure out what was causing my chest pains, and to understand what on earth it was I’d been doing to myself. Eventually they released me with a clean bill of health, but by then I knew my race was over.

But I also knew that I’d be back on the start line in 2016. Not only had I coped far better than I expected I might with the rigours of sleeping in hedges and cycling 300km a day – I had also had the time of my life, and discovered that ultra-racing is very definitely the sport for me. I didn’t feel like I’d failed. ‘And besides’, I thought, unwrapping my third ice cream of the morning, ‘here I am, in the middle of Europe, with a bike and a pair of legs, and I have to get home somehow…’

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SWISS ADRENALINE RUSH AND WIND-DOWN We sent reporter Chris Burns on a memorable trip to Gstaad

S

wiss wasps are really, really persistent. I thought this was worth mentioning in the interest of journalistic integrity and for the sake of a wellrounded article but mainly because there wasn’t much else to dislike about the municipality of Saanen, the area surrounding Gstaad. This may not sound like a revelation – Gstaad in particular has built a reputation as an oasis for the rich and famous to escape the public eye. The list of famous visitors to the town would fill this article and longterm residents have included Sir Roger Moore, Julie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor among others. A glance down the main streets and you may think that’s all they do here – Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet,

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Breguet, Panerai – come and enjoy yourself but don’t forget to drop a few grand on some very Swiss luxuries. First impressions can be deceiving though: despite leaving without a Rolex or two in my bags, the place and the people had shown our little group of outdoor-biased journalists it’s not really these luxuries Gstaad is proud of. “Come up – Slow Down” has become Gstaad’s official motto and it could well apply to the glorious train journey that got us there from Geneva. We had a 5-day Regional Pass which includes connections from the airport and trips on the Goldenpass trains from Montreux. It might seem pricey at first but the Classic train which wound us up and away from the shores of Lake Geneva is an


experience in itself. Built in 1905, it’s in no hurry – that’s missing the point. Stepping into the carriage is a throwback to the zenith of rail travel, all wood and brass with plush upholstery. There is also a panoramic train on the same line to make even more of the view. It’s every bit as pleasing in summer as in winter in my opinion. Green, I remember someone telling me, is the most restful shade for humans to process. As I pressed my nose to the carriage glass taking in allencompassing verdure I still had no idea how much of that was to come. When I first saw the itinerary of our trip it didn’t seem there would be enough actual cycling to write about:– it’s just the vibe is as much about what you can do off the bike as on it. Before we’d even ridden we’d swapped bike wheels for gondola bullwheels (which drive the cables) for the most bizarrely unique gastronomic experience of my life. Zweisimmen is 10 miles by car or about 8.5 by bike (following route 9 or number 5 on the excellent free bike map of the area) and during the summer months you can ascend the 1063m cable car to Rinderberg whilst wining, dining and being serenaded by traditional Swiss music. Being uncouth journalists of course there were jokes about comedy wine-pouring, Julie Walters’ ‘two soups’ sketch and the rest but in reality the ride

was smooth, the operation was slick, the food excellent and the staff inexplicably bubbly considering they were cooking and serving to a moving vehicle in the gondola stations open to the wind at 2000m. It was a chilly rainy night which, at least from my point of view, served to highlight the theatre of it all. Retiring to the Hamilton Lodge halfway down to squash into a sofa by the fire and be served an excellent Eton Mess and evening drinks was very welcome, however. It was they who had provided the food and hospitality all evening. A relatively new ski in-ski out lodge, it was a great mix of modern, unabashed bare concrete and soft, quirky, period furnishing with unfailingly perky, Swiss service. I liked the local dictum of keeping a traditional aesthetic to the buildings, at least from the outside. Anything went inside it seemed! Our accommodation that night was Gässlihof in Feutersoey, a village to the south-west of Gstaad. It was a working farmstead making its own cheese (there are as many cows as people in Saanenland – you may have guessed it’s a Swiss thing) and epitomised the cosy, soporific atmosphere of wooden cladding. Even bare chipboard, used extensively on walls, somehow looked classy and fitted the rustic feel. Bear that in mind next time you’re sweating with plasterboard and paint!

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Breakfast, after a solid-but-much-tooshort sleep, included an excellent rösti fried to perfection in lots of butter. It really is almost the perfect mountain food, laden with slow release energy to get you up the climbs on foot or by bike. Our group had the opportunity to do both, with a cable car to Glacier 3000 and walk across the glacier de Tsanfleuron to Refuge l’Espace, a tiny and remote restaurant perched on the precipice of Les Diablerets. At the Glacier 3000 there is the New Peak Walk joining two crests (not for those with fear of heights: I only just made it across) and the even more unlikely summer toboggan, essentially a rollercoaster where you can decide how much to brake and thus how much to terrify yourself. Even if you’re in the area for biking these are things not to miss, although as with all mountain experiences they can vary wildly depending on the conditions. It was what the area offers for bikes that I was keen to see though. I had already spoken to some locals and our guides from the tourist office and it’s clear they are working hard to make it a serious destination for all kinds of cycling activity. They’re also right on it when it comes to embracing new bike technology. E-bikes are everywhere, from comfortable town bikes to highperformance full suspension mountain bikes. I will admit to a twinge of bike snobbery talking about E-biking. When

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you step back and realise some just want to enjoy the benefits of the Alpine topography rather than conquer it with their bare thighs (metaphorically!) then a strange kind of acceptance takes place. This was immensely helped by spotting a raft of full-suspension E-bikes, each with a rear basket, from one of which a lady was extracting a small dog. Most people like to imagine they look good on their bike but I shall

never hope to emulate that kind of style on the MTB trails! All the bike maps include routes for E-bikes as well and there are charging stations in almost every location of interest. Ditching the electrics for leg-power I had a chance to try out another recent bike development – fatbikes. Fatbiking is still a somewhat niche end of the cycle market but clearly plenty of people around the area have realised – like I


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did after a brief bounce around a car-park – that these things are a load of fun. So much so that this coming January 22-24, skis give way to a serious amount of rubber for the Gstaad Snow Bike Festival. Only the second outing (first time in Switzerland) it is a mix of serious racing and just plain messing around on bikes. In the snow. I’m sold for one, so if you’re after something different this winter it promises to be a great chance to see the latest bikes and practise your two-wheel drifting! The fatbike we tried was from a great little shop in Saanen called Bike Sport Reuteler, from where we would also be borrowing our bikes for the day’s riding. Far from thoughts of snow, the sun was blazing as we met Luke, a young local mountainbiker, for our lift there. He was inordinately pleased to have brought a workmanlike Land Rover to pick up a bunch of Brits, and he was genuinely enthusiastic and encouraging to those in our group who bewailed a lack of biking experience. Arthur Reuteler, the shop’s eponymous owner, was joined by Rudolf (Roade for short) who would be taking the more advanced group

including myself, while Luke took a more sedate tour of cycle paths. Regardless, Arthur had provided us with capable Scott Genius and Spark mountainbikes and was buzzing about setting suspension sag and seat heights when it became clear I’d have Roade all to myself when it got technical, the lack of others’ confidence swaying their decision to tackle anything too tricky. The plan was to ride from Saanen and take in some of the single trails until lunch when we would rejoin for a cable car trip and hike/bike to Mt Wispile for a fondue in a giant Caquelon. I had no idea what this was, but it involved cheese, bread and wine so it sounded like just the thing after several hours’ riding. Up we climbed on roads and small tracks, following the valley towards Lauenen and the impossibly idyllic Lauenensee, a small lake nestling in the trees. The singletrack we encountered was natural and swooping, weaving through the trees and occasionally eking out into the bright sun. Often gravelly with occasional steeper sections of roots and rocks, the 120mm travel Scott was perfectly suited to this kind of riding, though it took some getting

SwissAir: ‘There are over 60 weekly flights to Geneva from the UK and Ireland with SwissInternational Air Lines. Fares start from £34 one-way. Fares are available and bookable online at www.swiss.com’ Gstaad Tourism: For more information on Gstaad please visit: http://www.gstaad.ch/en.html call +41 33 748 81 81 GoldenPass [train tickets]: GoldenPass, CH-1820 Montreux, phone +41 21 989 81 90, http://www.goldenpass.ch

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used to the steep head angle after my usual 160mm enduro bike, hanging off the back more than I normally do. Beware if you rent bikes like we did that the brakes will be continental ‘right rear’ setup as well: practise on the flat before grabbing a fistful of the wrong one on the trails! We continued our loop with the green hillsides bursting out at us, punctuated by chalets like chocolate chips. I remembered back to the train journey and how much better it was to be on a bike fully immersed in the beauty of it all. Every so often I had to check myself and actually take some photos, though they always seemed like a poor record of the vibrance of the colours everywhere. Late for the cable car to Wispile, we whizzed down empty farm tracks back to Gstaad and bikes, people et al found their way to the top. When we reached the chalet there, Roade showed us the FirstBox bike repair kit, available to anyone and based solely on trust, with a small cashbox. It was a marvel of tessellation, with enough tools

to do pretty much anything short of fitting a new headset on the fly, with cables, tubes and brake pads aplenty. Fat MTB tyre sizes nestled in this one but more road-oriented boxes grace the popular tarmac routes around. I couldn’t help admiring this initiative but also harbouring a saddening thought that any such idea in the UK would be vandalised or robbed at the first opportunity. Maybe I just need to be proved wrong. Loaded up with rucksacks full of fondue equipment we hiked and biked towards our destination. Trails in the area are mostly shared and there is an excellent etiquette. Hikers are happy to step aside given fair warning of bikes and riders slow down and are appreciative of the space. Roade had the best trail tool I have ever seen on his handlebars – a plastic dog toy which squeaked! Far from intimidating walkers with a bell or shouts, they mostly looked around bemused, presumably looking for some unrecognised Swiss wildlife. Brilliance! After a short

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while we reached a small chalet and nearby what looked like people sitting in a wooden bathtub. I hadn’t had time to find out what a Caquelon was so it took a while to dawn on me that we were eating our fondue inside a giant saucepan. By the time the rest of our party arrived it was empty and so were our stomachs. My triumvirate of eclectic mealtime locations (gondola, atop a glacier) was completed with the best fondue I’ve ever eaten in just about the most apt location, surrounded by green pastures capped with snowy peaks. The Caquelon is available to everyone, is free and just requires you to unpack the cover when you arrive and put it back when you leave, which takes all of two minutes. Refreshed by wine and calories, Roade and I set off for some more technical riding while the others took the cable car back. Heading to Chrine there were some beautiful sections of trail with some challenging switchbacks to keep the grin factor high. It’s not mountain biking unless you come back a bit muddy or with a bruise somewhere, so to keep up tradition I decided to wash out into some foliage on a gravel path (I blamed the tyres of course). Since riding in New Zealand years ago, I’ve tried to remember the ‘ten minute rule’ – basically, go gently on the road or

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gravel ride home, that’s when you crash. I could as easily have pinned the blame on the vistas. It was genuinely hard to keep eyes ahead and it was only as we rolled back down into Gstaad that I realised how long we’d been out for. Roade had been the consummate guide. Patient, unfailingly jolly and informative in spite of his broken English and my paltry German. He explained that he was not really a professional guide but a member of the local Velo Club, and they organise all sorts of mountain and road riding in the area. I could see why. With 150km of cycling, E-bike and MTB trails, I only experienced a tiny fraction of what the area has to offer. It’s not surprising that Scott Sports use Gstaad as their testing ground and showcase new bikes there. As I relaxed in the Spa of the Palace Hotel that evening, surrounded by luxury that I could, and probably never would, dream of truly being a part of, I think I understood what it is that makes the people of Saanenland proud of their patch. It somehow combines a passion for the traditional and the ultra-modern, the adrenaline rush and the wind-down, the big spenders and the simple pleasures. It might not be the cheapest biking destination but it’s certainly worth the price.


We take E-bikes seriously, and so should you

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GAVIA PASSO DOBLE Our correspondent, John Orchard, rides the Alpine Pass with Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador clad in a new range of cycle clothing from Italian new boys rh+

Alberto Contador’s Palmares Major Stage Race Victories Tour de France 2007 & 2009 Giro d’Italia 2008 & 2015 Vuelta a Espania 2008, 2012 & 2014 Paris-Nice 2007 & 2010 Tirreno Adriatico 2014 Tour of the Basque Country 2008, 2009 & 2014.

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ow, I love to ride and I love to dance, so when I received an unexpected invitation from Italian cycle clothing manufacturer rh+ to 'Pasta Party and DJ with Alberto Contador’ at the top of the Passo di Gavia in the beautiful Italian region of Lombardy, naturally I jumped at the chance. I knew that the 32 year old Spanish Grand Tour winner was renowned for his sense of fun and the chance to get down to his grooves sounded like too good an opportunity to miss. rh+ may currently be a new name to you but that's all about to change. In only 10 years they have stormed the Italian market equaling the mighty Castelli in market share. Having spent that time perfecting their product range they feel ready to spread their wings and enter the competitive UK and US markets. rh+ have recently teamed up with fleece manufacturer Polartec to create some of the most technically innovative riding kit around and now they want to tell the world about it. In addition to the new AirX-Change clothing range, rh+ and Polartec were launching their collaboration with, and sponsorship of, Team Fundacion Contador, an organisation formed to spread awareness of the health benefits of cycling and to give promising young riders a chance to ride on the World Tour circuit. The launch of this collaboration and the RXDUE event (an ascent of the iconic Passo di Gavia with Alberto Contador) took place recently in the beautiful city of Milan, mecca for the world’s fashionistas and birth place of iconic Italian bike builders Bianchi. Seeing the enormous scrum of journalists and film crews squeezed into the room reminded me just how popular Contador is in Italy and Spain. He is a huge sporting celebrity and draws an adoring crowd wherever he goes. When faced with the glare of the media circus Contador comes across as quiet sort of guy, reserved even but when you get him alone he is warm and full of fun, putting everybody at ease with his infectious smile. 2016 will be his last season as a pro rider and he will retire as one of the most successful riders of all time. The winner of seven Grand Tours (TdeF 2007 & 2009: Giro 2008 & 2015; Vuelta 2008, 2012 & 2014) Contador is second only to the great Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil in terms of Grand Tours won. He still claims he won two more Grand Tour victories after being stripped of his 2010 TdeF and 2011 Giro wins following a doping scandal. Contador still claims these victories but the record books no longer share the same view. Here in sunny Milan we are gathered to focus on the future. Contador is joined by Polartec CEO (and owner of uber cool US bike builder Independent Fabrication) Gary Smith and rh+ President Giovanni Cagnoli to answer questions about their collaboration and role as official sponsor of Team Fundacion Contador. The young team currently consists of mainly

Spanish riders with just one Italian and one Belgian exception. I asked Contador whether there would be opportunities for young UK riders to join the team and he confirmed that there would be, in fact the team are actively looking for riders from those countries at the moment. In addition to bringing on young riders and promoting the idea of cycling for health the Foundation has also pledged to invest significant money in developing improved treatment and rehabilitation techniques for stroke victims. This is a subject which is painfully close to Contador’s heart as, in 2004, aged 21 he suffered a life-threatening stroke which required major surgery. He was lucky to emerge with no lasting after effects but quickly set about doing all he could to raise stroke awareness. With the formalities over we drove three and a half hours north past the shimmering waters of Lake Como to the Hotel Palace in the picture perfect mountain town of Bormio. Once checked-in we were equipped with a bike and furnished with clothing from the new rh+ AirX-Change range which we would test on the climb of the iconic Paso di Gavia the following day. This is remarkable kit, beautifully made and exquisitely detailed. I thought that I might overheat in the long bibtights, thermal jersey and jacket I had been provided but the rh+ team had called it just right. When I woke in the morning it was to forecasts of chilly conditions. I have reviewed the rh+ AirX-Change range earlier in ths is sue but suffice to say I could not have asked for better equipment in which to ride the Gavia. The Passo di Gavia and its sister Passo dello Stelvio sit between two provinces, Sondrio in the north and Brescia in the south. During

On Lombardy Lombardy is famous for the Tour of Lombardy (Il Lombardia) or ‘The Race of the Falling Leaves’ which takes place in early October each year, 4 October for 2015. Run over 260km the race usually incorporates the Madonna del Ghisallo a defining climb at the top of which is the Chapel of the Madonna which includes a cycling museum and is a shrine for cycle tourists. As one visitor put it – ‘Only the Italians could link cycling and religion!’

the winter months this area is an established destination for skiers and snowboarders but in the summer the region is quiet. Despite being one of the world's most perfect destinations for cyclists most stay on the French side of the Alps. One innovative idea to attract more cyclists to the area is the proposal to close the Gavia Pass to cars and trucks for one day a week during the summer months. This sounds like a great idea to me and would make a real difference to the enjoyment of the ride. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a busy road but it’s always nice to know that you won’t meet a truck when rounding a blind bend at 65kph. The Passo di Gavia climbs skyward from the pretty Alpine towns of Bormio on one side and Ponte di Legno on the other meeting at the summit at a height of 2618m. When ridden from Bormio the climb is 26km long. It begins gently at first, the SP29 road leaving Bormio and meandering gently through the pine trees. The route passes uneventfully through the sleepy villages of Uzza, San Antonio and San Gottardo before entering the verdant Parco Nationale dello Stelvio. At 13km you reach the village of Santa Caterina, the road ramps up, turns right and the real fun begins. Up to this point in the climb I had been riding with rh+ General Manager Marzio Demartin, an ex professional skier with the build of a pro cyclist. He had been taking it easy on me and we chatted as we rode along together. Having

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reached the turn he rose from the saddle, accelerated away and as he disappeared into the distance shouted over his shoulder, ‘This is where the real climb begins, welcome to the Gavia!’ We had decided to set off early as my flight time from Milan Linate airport meant I would have to take on the Milan rush hour traffic. Up the mountain early and off the mountain early was my mantra. Back in Bormio Alberto Contador was addressing a crowd of eager cyclists before formally firing the start gun, hopping into a helicopter and flying to Ponte di Legno where he would do the same on the other side. He then returned by helicopter to Bormio. There he mounted his Tinkoff-Saxo S-Works Venge, rode up the Gavia, over the summit and descended into Ponte di Legno before turning around and riding back up to the summit! Out of Santa Caterina the crumbling tarmac twists through the pines and in a heartbeat you’re clear of the hustle of the world below. This is an impossibly pretty climb,

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small and intimate, gentle even, replete with mountain goats who casually occupy the road and eye the passing, panting cyclists with mild disdain. At about 20km the road kicks up to its steepest gradient. The scale of the landscape grows and each bend reveals another colossal Alpine vista. The scale of the mountain scape sends shivers down your spine. It was here during the 1988 Giro that a US 7-Eleven-Hoonved rider, Andy Hampsten from North Dakota made history in the most extreme conditions the Giro had ever seen. As the weather closed in and the torrential rain turned to snow, the peloton pleaded with the race organizers to cancel the stage. Most teams were woefully ill-prepared for the conditions but the 7-ElevenHoonved management had predicted the weather and had stocked up on extreme weather ski gear for their riders. With the peloton in disarray, Hampsten and Dutch rider Erik Breukink attacked, descending the treacherous snow covered roads into Bormio without fear, desperate for the shelter of their team cars. Breukink won


As I sipped my hot gluwein and drank in the grandeur of the mountain peaks something remarkable occurred to me; I had beaten Alberto Contador over the summit of the Passo di Gavia. I had completed the 26km in 1:50:46 and I was proud. Somehow the fact that Alberto had set off a full hour after me didn’t seem that important.

the day and Hampsten entered the record books going on to become the first and only American to win the Giro d’Italia. Having passed the steepest section the road flattens and winds its way across a plateau before revealing the biggest surprise of the ride, a mountain top lake, Largo Nero sparking amidst the snowcapped peaks. Heartened by the sight of the summit and with the relentless pull of gravity reduced by the gentle gradient I upped my pace. I could see a considerable group of cyclists and photographers gathered at the inflatable

summit marker which had been specially erected for the event. As I grew nearer, the sight of the crowd made me stronger and I crossed the line at a pace that seemed to impress the assembled group. Did I really hear them cheering? Only once I came to a gasping halt did I turn and see Alberto Contador, resplendent in his neon team colours a mere 50m behind me. Maybe the cheers hadn’t been for my efforts after all. Before I had a chance to ask him where his playbox was and what was top of his DJ playlist he was passed me and into the descent without stopping.

P.S. The descent of the Gavia is a particularly exciting one due to the steep gradient and tight corkscrew bends; it’s like riding a roller coaster on a bicycle. On the way down I overtook an unsuspecting motorcyclist who did a comic book double take as I flew silently by. This is a fairy tale of a climb, tough (the average gradient is 8%, the middle section ramps up to 14%) but never spiteful. Just when you feel you might be running out of juice the mountain gives you something back, a flat section or a tiny descent. I will return to ride the Stelvio but in the meantime if you have a chance to ride the Passo di Gavia take it, you will not be disappointed. P.P.S. On my return home and on closer inspection of my invitation I noticed that I may have been the victim of a hurried translation from Italian to English. Only then did it become clear that instead of ‘Pasta Party and DJ with Alberto Contador’ it should have read ‘Pasta Party with DJ and Alberto Contador.’ Oh well, I thought, there’ll be plenty of time for that next year.

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MALLORCA: ALL YOUR NEEDS MET Andy Cook Cycling is there to serve

T

here is no greater feeling than exploring the villages and mountains of Mallorca on two wheels. The scenery is breath-taking and together with the weather in March and April, Mallorca provides the perfect cycling environment. Andy Cook Cycling Mallorca trips are aimed at riders of all ages and abilities and we have riders joining us from all over the world. Our next Mallorca camp will take place between 5th and 19th March 2016. Riders can choose the number of days they would like to attend, but the majority join us for either one or two weeks. The package includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, a support vehicle during the daily ride, and rides that are led by Andy Cook Cycling staff. Andy Cook Cycling have been organising bike camps in Mallorca for well over 20 years. What is it that sets them apart from the other camps on the island? Experienced and knowledgeable ride leaders take the necessary time and trouble to ensure that the client, at whatever level they ride, have the best time possible whilst taking part in an Andy Cook Bike Camp. A member of our team will accompany you for the whole ride, coaching and instructing throughout to ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from the ride. The ACC staff are predominantly club cyclists many who have cycled all their lives, some internationally who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience which they

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genuinely want to share. It goes without saying that all the ACC staff, from the support vehicle drivers to the ride leaders have the rider’s safety and well-being as a priority. ACC ensure that all of the riders attending join a group that they feel comfortable. Groups can range from highly experienced riders looking for a challenge to those for on their first bike camp, developing their riding skills over a number of days. Throw in a beautiful destination, fantastic accommodation and great food and what’s not to like? Most great bike rides are enhanced by finishing at a café or bar so that riders have the opportunity to chat through their shared experiences of the day. Our camps are no different, with rider’s congregating back at the hotel immediately after the rides for post ride refreshment and again over dinner. The ACC camps are not only getting the best cycling experience but also about meeting other riders and having a great time socially. The friendliness and general good nature is what ensures that we have many riders who return year after year for the March Camp, having built strong friendships that have continued once back home. There are some who have returned for 15 years or more. What we try hard to demonstrate and maintain on our bike camps is an inclusive, accessible and above all friendly approach that is unique to the Andy Cook Cycling brand.

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a new venue and not knowing the lay of the land which is why we ensure our staff meet all flights and ensure that the transfer to the resort is a smooth process direct to accommodation; Club Pollentia Resort, Port de Pollenca. Rides take in the quiet and picturesque lanes full of almond blossom in March and the stunning views of the Tramuntana Mountains and picturesque villages. A support vehicle is available and meets the groups at the coffee stop en route. The support vehicle is driven by an equally experienced cyclist who can provide roadside repairs or bring back riders and bikes if required. Andy Cook Cycling is involved in the organisation of numerous events in the UK including the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, Help for Heroes, British Cycling Breeze Challenge Events, Ride the Night and the feedback from all of these events always highlights the great organisation, routes and staff. This is what we bring to our Mallorca camp. For 2016 we are intending to run two additional camps from the same venue: Mid February – A structured “Training” Camp Mid April – A ladies specific camp www.andycookcycling.com 01249 783399


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e l CLyOc nd oN tO Paris 13-17 July 2016

London to Paris Cycle Challenge Join Team Macmillan for our iconic London to Paris cycle ride and help support people affected by cancer. Our route will take us nearly 500km in just four days, taking in the undulations, flats, beautiful scenery and medieval towns of northern France. The long days in the saddle will all be worth it when cycling down the famous Champs Elysèes to the finish underneath the Eiffel Tower.

visit macmillan.org.uk/londontoparis or call 020 7840 7875

rviendicEE tO Ro me 21-26 September 2016

Venice to Rome Cycle Challenge Join Team Macmillan for this 620km ride from the canals of Venice to the historic Italian capital of Rome. Our route is hilly, with some long climbs and takes us south through the rolling hills of Tuscany, passing traditional villages and fruit farms. You’ll feel incredible as you finish in Rome, but most importantly you’ll have done something truly amazing to help people affected by cancer.

visit macmillan.org.uk/venicerome or call 020 7840 7875

Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604).

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Cycling World November 2015  

Women's cycling: Inspirational riding

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