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CONTENTS October 2016
NEWS 10 Olympic Cycling 16 RideLondon
REGULARS 20 65
Products: Editor’s Pick
Maintain the Benefits of
Training and Nutrition:
Cyclist’s Recipe: Elinor
Barker’s Pedal Power
From the Workshop:
36 THE CHANNEL
ISLANDS UK 50
Nine Spooky UK Routes
76 WORLD CHAMPS
88 Portugal: Refinding its
The Bicycle Diaries:
Markovo, Bulgaria to
ED's LETTER October 2016
Italian Cycling Club 1896 from Westminster City Council
It was early evening and the family was leaving a pub, having dined, in Kingsdown, near Deal in Kent. A wonderful area to cycle, by the way, where a two-mile coastal stretch takes you past two castles and a cycling café. Anyway, outside the pub I met a young Siberian man trying to fix a puncture. I say trying, his knowledge was patchier than his inner tube and his pump was broken. It was twilight and he needed to make a return journey of two-hours and, you’ve guessed it, he had no lights. So I bundled him and his bike into my car and dropped him off at the local train station.
Having said that my now less-frequent (though still occasional) moments of desperation have always been resolved by help from another, usually a cyclist. The loan of a tool or pump; the gift of an inner tube; mechanical assistance all generously provided. Hence the feeling of being part of a universal peloton. They say you are never alone as a cyclist. A roadside incident hails your momentary guardian angel also on two wheels. Turn up to a sportive on your own and you’ll soon be riding in a small group. Travel anywhere in the world, get in touch with a club and you’re invited on their club ride. That’s why there is a whole generation of cyclists who greet one another on the road. It’s an acknowledgement of being part of a caring network.
Jacques Goddet, former director of the Tour de France, summed it up well in 1975:
I have ridden to that same place in my “The bicycle is like a magic machine. A machine of exuberant youth. Jump on a bike, wonder and harmony. So while pedestrians ignore each ride towards the sunset and end up in other and drivers berate each other, cyclists greet each Predicamentville. I still like to ride with exuberance, but I also take a spare inner, other with a smile.” puncture repair kit, working pump and lights if there’s the slightest risk of a return in darkness. I hope this young man will be equally well-equipped from now on.
recent cycling interaction led me to two related thoughts: 1) Cycling, like all skills, needs to be learnt, often from mistakes made. 2) Cyclists are part of a world-wide, caring peloton.
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Olympic Report: BMX Pictures by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
19 Aug: USA's Connor Fields wins Gold in the Men's and Colombia's Mariana Pajon in the Women's
he United States ended its gold medal drought in BMX racing after Connor Fields won the men's Olympic final in the Americanborn sport, while Mariana Pajon of Colombia successfully defended her title in the women's final.US cyclist Alise Post took silver behind Pajon, while Stefany Hernandez of Venezuela won bronze. A fan favourite, Pajon raised her bike in the air after pedalling to a stop across the finish line, acknowledging the adoring crowd in the stands waving the yellow, blue and red flag of her home country. Fields was just as jubilant after racing to the front and holding off Dutch rider Jelle van Gorkom at the finish line to take the gold. "It is a moment that I dreamed about since I was fifteen years old," he said. "To finally hear the words 'Olympic champion' and then my name, it honestly feels like a dream. But tomorrow I am going to wake up, and it is going to be real." There was a photo finish for third, with Carlos Ramirez Yepes of Colombia just edging out American Nic Long for the bronze. Team GB’s Liam Phillips from Manchester crashed in his quarter final and was taken to hospital. Coach Grant White said: “He walked off with our doctor to go for a precautionary check-up. He hit his head in a heavy crash but his collarbone that he injured previously seems OK. He is expected to make a full recovery in due course."
Kyle Evans, also from Manchester, also made a Quarter-final exit and ended Team GB’s hopes of a first Olympic BMX medal. Evans, competing in his first Olympic Games, finished seventh in his quarter-final with only the top four progressing to the semis.
Olympic Report: MTB Pictures by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
21 Aug: Gold for Swiss Rider Schurter but technical problem for Sagan
wiss rider Nino Schurter, who took the silver in London four years ago, was able to upgrade to the gold medal in Brazil. Team GB’s Grant Ferguson worked hard to move through the pack as the race got underway. He eventually finished seventeenth in what was his first season as an elite rider in the sport. The world champion on the road in 2015 Peter Sagan, who chose to ride in the mountain bike event rather than the road race, was already up into third position as the riders reached the first technical corner, despite starting in last place on the starting grid. However, he was halted in his progress by an early puncture on the first lap. Punctures were soon coming in thick and fast for the whole field, the riders’ only options were to fix them themselves out on the course or ride the rest of the lap to the team’s technical areas, making it incredibly tough to deal with. Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic and Schurter were out front as they crossed the finish lap with two laps to go, extending their lead over the chasing Nicolas Coloma of Spain and France’s Maxime Marotte to 35 seconds. Schurter attacked early on in lap six and left the defending champion Kulhavy trailing him by 13 seconds. Coloma did not let Marotte get away however and as they crossed the line with one lap to go; the pair were still wheel to wheel.
In the women’s race Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds found another gear going up the first long hill of the last lap of the women's mountain bike race. By the time she started her descent, the Swedish cyclist had finally pulled away from Maja Wloszczowska of Poland. Rissveds was never seriously challenged again on her way to winning to the Olympic gold medal. She finished the six-plus lap race 37 seconds ahead of Wloszczowska. For Wloszczowska, it was second career Olympic silver in the event, following Beijing in 2008. Catharine Pendrel held off Canadian teammate Emily Batty for the bronze.
At the end of the seven laps of racing, Schurter crossed the finish line a full 50 seconds ahead of Kulhavy, reversing the two riders’ positions from four years ago, while Coloma overpowered Marotte to snatch the bronze.
The Art of Winning:
Team GB Athletes Sketch Their Moments of Rio
Team GB medallists have switched the podium for pens to commemorate their sporting achievements as artworks, in conjunction with official kit supplier adidas
edal winners including Laura Trott, Rebecca James, Elinor Barker and Jo Rowsell-Shand, visited the adidas Creators Base in Rio after securing their medals to commit their feelings to paper by creating sketches to represent their individual moment of the Games. The athlete sketches, which offer an insight into the minds of Team GB’s finest, have been interpreted and transformed into artworks by a team of British illustrators, assembled by adidas. British illustrators Gabe Cuthbert, Alex Williamson and James Carey had the challenge of bringing to life the athlete’s visions. adidas has also released a series of animated videos, narrated by the medal winning athletes explaining their thoughts, which showcase the development and creation of their personal artworks.
- Team GB Cyclists’ Chosen Moments-
Becky James, who won two silver medals in the women’s sprint and Kierin events, said: “If you’d said to me before the Games that I would win two medals, I would have said ‘no chance.’ I had to pick the moment I set a new World Record in the sprint qualifying. The atmosphere was incredible, it actually felt like a home race because it was so loud and there were so many flags. During the race, you are so focussed, but straight after I looked to the crowd and saw George and my family and went straight to be with them.” Laura Trott, who is Britain’s most successful female Olympian with four gold medals, chose to commemorate the moment she shared with fiancée Jason Kenny. Laura said: “I picked the moment where I went and kissed Jason after his win in the Kierin to win his sixth Gold Medal. It was a mixture of relief but also feeling so happy for him. The atmosphere was incredible, it was like a switch flicked on and he just became a superstar. I remember crying and he just had this massive smile on his face. Even though there were cameras everywhere, it felt like a moment for us. It was the perfect end to the Games.”
Jo Roswell-Shand, who retained her team pursuit title from London 2012, said: “For me the moment that stands out is when I rose up on the bank with three laps to go and went to slot in behind the rest of the girls. We had been flying in the earlier rounds but knew the final would be tough. However, when I saw the American team in my periphery, they weren’t where we expected them to be and I knew we had won. It didn’t change anything, we still had to ride hard to the end before we could celebrate.” Follow @adidasuk and search #SpeedTakes to see the further artworks and videos
Elinor Barker, who won a gold medal in the women’s team pursuit, said: “This is the second we crossed the line. It was an incredible release and I just screamed ‘wow’. I knew we were going fast, but had no idea we had broken the record. When I was racing, it was just the other girls, the track and the pain. After we went over, everything started coming into focus and I knew we had won Olympic gold. I saw my mum and dad and GB flags, it was amazing.”
RideLondon The World’s Greatest Festival of Cycling Scot Christian reports on the many events that make up RideLondon Photos by Prudential RideLondon
his weekend is the highlight for any cyclist, the city is abuzz with LYCRA, two wheels and camaraderie. I fell in love with this event several years ago and its lure has become overwhelmingly difficult to ignore. To most, London can appear unsociable and daunting, interaction with others unthinkable, especially in confined spaces, like the tube, but for three summer days the capital is invaded by cyclists from across the world. The attraction is the opportunity to ride on the car-free streets, and of course raise money for a charity. But is there more to this global extravaganza of cycling?
It’s not hard to recognise the many facets of cycling, health, the environment, to mention a few. But increasingly the camaraderie and bonding among all pedlars cannot be underestimated, and why should it? The membership of local clubs has increased year on year, especially since the 2012 Olympics. Our streets are seeing more and more people commuting on bikes, the weekends ruled by the Lycra brigade especially in the more rural setting. Cycling has unapologetically become fashionable, no longer a niche (slightly elitist) pastime and this is perfectly demonstrated at the RideLondon event. No hierarchy, no hidden agenda, all welcome, from wobbling kids, octogenarians, less able-bodied and the stars of the Pro scene. The atmosphere is electric, the shouts of encouragement amongst fellow riders is almost matched by the chants from the thronging crowds, the spectators happily recognise and embrace the endeavours of the competitors. The event is expertly organised and marshalled, the Mall is the bustling epicentre and home to the vibrant finish line, it’s also
the base for the media. This event is in its fourth year and 100,000+ riders were expected to participate in the seven events over the weekend, cycling a staggering three million miles. The highlight is the FreeCycle event which occupies the majority of Saturday and offers the chance for all the family to enjoy ten miles of traffic free cycling on closed roads through central London. The rules are simple, if you have a bike you can join the route at any point and likewise leave to enjoy the many bike based entertainments and activities along the way. Green Park just up from the Mall is undoubtedly the busiest and most diverse, with a host of family dominated activities, including an amazing display of stunts from Andrei Burton and his peers. Back on the Mall, it was great to see so many kids completely embracing their bikes and the open roads, but what was most notable and hypnotic was the conveyor belt of beaming smiles and relentless interactions by all. It sells itself as ‘The World’s Greatest Festival of Cycling’, and it’s hard to disagree, especially as the riders are exposed to a backdrop of beautiful architecture and landmarks, like Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England. However, for once the history takes a back seat to the overwhelming joy exuded by both the riders and the spectators. Saturday evening is all about the razzmatazz of the Pro scene, with the women’s race which was won by Netherland’s Kristen Wild in a spectacular finale, after a bunch sprint. The race is now recognised as the richest in women’s cycling for a one-day race. Sunday is an early start as thousands head to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100, a mass of Lycra dominates the venue as preparations
are made to pedal 100 miles through the city and out into the Surrey countryside made famous by the World’s top cyclists at the London 2012 Olympics, before finishing in a crescendo of noise and emotion on the Mall. The route has some notable climbs with Leith Hill and Box Hill the most challenging. This year they have introduced a shorter ride covering a mere 46 miles which they hope will encourage the less confident or able riders to experience the phenomenon of the event. As well as the personal challenge of conquering the route, participants’ involvement also benefits a plethora of good causes, with £12 million raised last year. The early afternoon is consumed by the hysteria of the men’s race; the Pro teams recognise this event as a permanent fixture on the race calendar. The London – Surrey Classic attracts a stellar line up of the world’s best teams and their riders. The race was won by a Belgian rider, Tom Boonen, despite a brave breakaway from Team Sky’s, Geraint Thomas. Its popularity has promoted the Union Cycliste International (UCI) to award the Classic WorldTour status, making it the first British Men’s race to achieve the honour. In conclusion, the weekend perfectly highlights what is good about the human race and how easy it is get up and out on a bike. Enough said! I will be back next year, why not join me, rhetorically. The public ballot entry system for the 2017 Prudential RideLondon Surrey 100 is open to all applicants at www. PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk
My First Ride London Anna Hughes takes part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 and gets hooked on sportives Photos by Prudential RideLondon
his is the fourth year of the RideLondon-Surrey 100, one of the legacies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the first time I’ve ridden in such a huge sportive. Nearly 30,000 people registered for the event, and I queue up at the start surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of cyclists. The logistics of such an event must be a challenge, but we are moved forwards and somehow leave at our projected start time: 0642. Though this is my first sportive it’s not my first century. I’m riding with a friend who really looks the part with a Rapha jersey and a slick bike. I don’t own a cycle jersey and I’m the only one carrying a backpack: sandwich, snacks, and spares. ACDC blares from the speakers as we cross the start line and head straight onto the A12. It’s a real buzz to be riding on
a dual carriageway empty of traffic, the peloton taking up the whole of the road, heading through tunnels and over flyovers that are normally inaccessible to bikes. “I won’t race,” my riding partner says, although his idea of slow and mine are probably very different. We head westwards out of London through Chiswick and into Richmond Park, the early morning sun emerging as we flow through Kingston and towards Hampton Court. We’re being carried along by this tidal wave of cyclists at an average of 20mph. I’ve never known anything like it; mostly I ride at touring pace, either solo or in small groups, so the feeling of fast is new, and I love it. Forty miles in, I start to lag. “How are you feeling?” I ask my riding partner. “Great. Doesn’t feel like I’ve ridden 40 miles. You?” “Definitely feels like I’ve ridden 40 miles! Feel free to drop me
if you want to go faster.” I manage to hang on for another five or six miles, but as we near the halfway point he pulls away and is soon swallowed up by the riders ahead. Soon afterwards I pass the ‘Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ sign, followed instantly by the promised hills. It’s a tough climb towards Newlands Corner - the first of many. I pull into one of the rest stops for a break - the pace has hurt and I need some time to recover. I eat my sandwich and help myself to some energy chews. This is the fourth rest stop we’ve passed, all packed out with drinks, sweets and biscuits handed out by smiley people. There are toilets and plenty of places to rack your bike. It’s all brilliantly organised. Back on the bike, and back into the hills. It’s absolutely stunning - this is not an area I’ve cycled in before, but I can see why it has its reputation - it’s
Soon comes Leith Hill - the steepest and longest climb of the day. The road narrows and cyclists come out of their saddles, weaving across the road. Avoiding touching wheels is almost more of a challenge than the actual climb. “This is the final stretch!” says one of the stewards, misleadingly: there are at least three more false summits and corners before the road finally levels out and the glorious descent can begin. “Slow down!” the marshals are calling from ahead. There’s an ambulance and some cyclists receiving First Aid, and beyond, two riders lying on stretchers, one with blood covering his face. It’s a scary sight. A little while later I see someone come off and
skid along the ground for several metres. It looks really painful. It’s inevitable that there will be collisions in an event with so many people but it’s worrying to hear of the serious crashes that caused chaos later in the day, leading to delays and diversions and two riders being airlifted to hospital. Ten miles later it’s Box Hill, a famous climb. It’s not nearly as steep as Leith Hill and from having worried since the start line about this section, I really enjoy it. I’m good at steady climbing, and the views as the road creeps higher are astounding. As with any hill, all you need is a low gear and a healthy dose of determination. With the big hills behind us, and 70 miles under the wheels, the final 30 miles are a rip-roaring ride back to London. I’m pumped and stop once more for a sandwich break before the final stretch. “Last climb!” the stewards call as we tackle the hill at Wimbledon, then we pour down towards the river and across Putney bridge. I jump on someone’s wheel and stay there all the way along the
Embankment, allowing him to carry me to Parliament Square. I don’t think he noticed. The Mall makes a triumphant finish and I pass beneath the hoarding 6 hours and 5 minutes after leaving. Not bad for my first sportive - I’ll definitely be signing up for another.
wonderful cycling, with challenging climbs and long freewheeling downs, winding lanes and picturesque villages. And it’s a great day for it, too - the sun gives a rich shimmer to the surroundings. The road is full of bicycles, but despite the numbers it’s flowing really well. I pause for a moment, enjoying the lack of engine noise. Silence but for the whirr of thousands of bicycle wheels.
EDITOR’S PICK Hiplok FLX £29.99 A compact, wearable lock with integrated bike light for when you only want to take the essentials. The FLX features a retractable 1 metre steel cable lock in a compact high impact case with a clip system for wearing on a jersey or in a pocket. Locking system is a three-digit resettable combination lock. With a highly visibility 10 lumen flashing red LED light incorporated into the lightweight design it offers security, safety and comfort. www.hiplok.com
Stolen Goat Orkaan Long Sleeve Men’s Jersey £120
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Built in weatherproofing; a soft, breathable Roubaix lining, a covered YKK zipper, neck protector, and an extra, zipped, waterresistant rear pocket – this is a great three season jersey.
The Tempest fabric is waterproof and wind resistant; it’s manufactured into the garment so it will not wash out. The fabric is also UV protected, 4-way stretch and fast dry fabric; so offers comfort. Additionally, the fabric, despite its weatherproof qualities, is still very breathable, giving a temperature range of 6-16°c. Pixel 100 Reflective Rear Pockets which are reflective when met with headlights. Super soft brushed “Roubaix” lining gives comfort. We have enjoyed using as it takes away the need to layer-up. stolengoat.com
Vango Galaxy 300 Tent £280 My family did a lot of cycle camping this summer and this tent has served us really well. I hasten to add that it has replaced another Vango which I have been using for 25 years, and is only just showing signs of wear. It is spacious and genuinely easy to pitch, we managed in 20 mins without any instructions necessary. We like the fact that you pitch the flysheet first, and then the inner just clips in. It helps you and the kit to stay dry if pitching in the rain. The tent features a tunnel design that sleeps three with the addition of a full height, stand-up porch with groundsheet; great for storage, including bikes, or just a space to hang-out in, really useful on those rainy days. Windows and a skylight in the porch area maximise light. The tent weighs 5.6kg and packs to 55cm by 22cm, so can sit on top of a pannier or in a trailer. www.vango.co.uk/gb
The strap line for the new Portuguese brand Vedette is ‘from cyclist to cyclist’. It is clear from the design of both the bib shorts and the jersey that some serious thought has gone into meeting the needs of the racing orientated rider. The jersey features UV protection, three main rear pockets, a full length zip and is, as promised, very light. Its aero fit sits close to the chest and arms, but remains comfortable. The matching bib shorts are similarly light weight and aero, like the jersey it features oversize grippers on the cuffs. Most importantly the chamois is comfortable, even over long distances. We think the collection looks great, combining modern functionality with a classic look that screams speed. http://store.limaelimao.com/vedettecycling
Vedette Xtralight Pro Aero Bib Shorts (€115) and Jersey (€80)
It is estimated that e-bike sales will reach $24.3 billion by 2025. The figure comes from a recent report by Navigant Research which states that globally e-bikes are the highest selling electric vehicle, with this yearâ€™s estimated unit sales forecasted at 35 million. Our ecyclist feature couldnâ€™t be more important: we strive to bring you the latest in news, technical developments, bikes and accessories
BHF in a Highly-charged e-bike Debate
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The British Heart Foundation doesnâ€™t allow e-bikes in its charity rides. Is this unfair to disabled people? Cycling World talks to both sides of the debate
ancy Smyth, Head of Events at the British Heart Foundation, explains the charity’s position:
“The British Heart Foundation’s terms and conditions for all cycling events currently limits those who participate to non-powered bicycles, therefore excluding electric bicycles, to ensure rider safety on all our cycling events. This has always been a pedal-powered event and any change to this would considerably alter the nature of this event. “As the London to Brighton bike ride attracts around 20,000 participants every year, it is important to consider the health and safety risks and to put in place all necessary measures to ensure that the event is safe. These considerations are made at the planning stage of each event which occurs at least 10 months prior. “Our cycling events are fantastic fundraising events which help the British Heart Foundation continue its life saving work. Over the last 40 years alone the London to Brighton Bike Ride has attracted over 800,000 cyclists, raising over £65 million to fund BHF research into coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer. We are truly grateful to all our participants for their fantastic fundraising efforts.” Ray Wookey of Cycling Made Easy, a specialist e-bike retailer, is not happy about the BHF’s position. He says: “Quick, somebody call Angela Merkel. The British Heart Foundation claim that e-bikes pose a safety risk yet there are two million of them on the German roads. The BHF’s ban on e-bikes at their annual London to Brighton bike ride, they say, is intended to make the event ‘as safe as possible’. This is a commendable aim but e-bikes are not the right target for the health and safety axe. E-bike numbers in the UK have seen a steady rise, without a corresponding rise in danger on our roads.
“My opinion is that ‘mission’ should trump tradition. If the BHF’s mission is to inspire people to get active, either to prevent or simply to live well with heart disease, then I guarantee the best way to do that would be to let our customers participate in the London to Brighton ride.”
“The BHF have also tried to appeal to a sense of purism and tradition by saying that the event has ‘always been a pedalpowered’ event, to which we would ask a representative of the BHF how far they would get on an e-bike without pedalling it. Since e-bikes work by amplifying the effect of the rider’s pedalling, simply sitting on one would get you a total of zero miles.
2017 hybrid range from
he E-Bike market is moving fast. That’s why for 2017 we have a range that’s bigger and better than ever before.
With continuing technological developments E-Bikes are becoming more powerful, longer lasting and better looking. They are shedding their chunky image and are now available in beautifully stylish designs and fashionable colourways. Our 2017 hybrid range consists of 57 models for all types of riding and for all types of rider. Each frame’s construction features a downtube specifically designed to house the market-leading Bosch motor. This allows for low positioning of the motor, creating a low centre of gravity and achieving an incredibly rigid bottom bracket area – both of which are crucial to how the bike handles. All of our Hybrid bikes use the Bosch E-Bike system. Why? Because it’s the best. The system boasts an impressively long battery life. The support from the motor will help the rider no matter how heavy the load and how severe the conditions. And when the battery does finally run low, charging it is easy. Simply plug the battery into a mains socket or connect the mains lead directly to the bike itself.
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For the touring inspired E-Bike models CUBE has developed a frame integrated carrier - as opposed to traditional carriers that are retrofitted. This not only makes the carrier stronger and more reliable, but it compliments the beautifully designed frame, too.
Cube Bikes also offers a huge range of offroad E-Bikes; from 160mm full suspension models that will tackle any enduro trail to carbon hardtail race machines that will destroy any KOM. So whether you’re a guy or a girl, young or not-so-young, like to get muddy or stay clean…CUBE Bikes has the E-Bike for you.
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ELECTRIC BIKES Sussex
lectric Bikes Sussex is the only specialist Electric Bike shop in Brighton & Hove and has one of the largest displays nationally.
We are a family run business and strive to offer exemplary Customer Service. We are Open 7 days a week, so visit at your convenience, or we offer booked appointments if you prefer.
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Here’s what our Customers say: · “The whole team are great and would highly recommend the team and shop and most important an ebike!” – Steven · “I could not believe the service I received from EBS…never pushy, gave advice and guidance to get me to the bike I wanted. Can’t praise them enough.” – David · “Great service and very friendly, helpful staff. From the first visit - a test ride around the Marina, to eventually buying” – Terry · “Best purchase I have ever made, makes cycling even more of a pleasure and staff are very helpful and friendly, highly recommend !!!!” – Hayley
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“I tend to make online purchases but I’m really glad I bought my bike directly from Electric Bikes Sussex. I felt I was sold the bike that was right for me with no hard sell. A friendly, family run business that goes the extra mile so I can go many extra miles on my great electric bike!” Emma
We are a Bosch Approved Service Centre and have a fully equipped Workshop to maximize your Electric Bike enjoyment. Located in Brighton Marina, with free Parking and a wide array of Leisure and Restaurants on our doorstep, a visit to Electric Bikes Sussex makes a great day out. Or we can deliver your Bike to you if that’s easier.
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Wisper 705se Electric Blue . Burgundy . Black
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Trade only Visit us at the Cycle Show NEC Birmingham Stand J131 24th - 27th September Please call David Miall 07733 226906 for an appointment
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Amps Wisper 905 Torque £1,499 - £1,699 by Simon Postgate
ass the word around – quietly please. Here’s a bike to shout about!
A quality piece of engineering with everything required for fuss-free commuting or leisure riding in discreet comfort and style. And if that includes some light off-roading, then no problem, the Wisper 905 has it covered with adjustable NCX Suntour front suspension and a light aluminium 51cm hybrid-style frame. The Wisper’s wheels are 26” making them strong and the bike manoeuvrable and it’s shod with Kenda 1.75 tyres giving plenty of absorption and bounce for under-funded highways and byways. Positive and progressive braking is supplied by classy looking Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes, front and back. There is a sturdy pannier-ready rear rack which also contains a Samsung 575 Wh battery of substantial size, handy for big miles although you have a choice, there is a cheaper option with less range (hence the price range). The Hi torque (50 Nm) 250 watt motor itself is contained in the rear hub, placing a lot of weight to the rear of the bike which is something to be aware of if attempting any gymnastics but under normal use, not a problem.
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Incorporated into the Wisper’s package are bright lights front and rear switching on at the touch of a button on the left handlebar next to a handy and effective twist throttle that can be used as a walk function or for extra zip on a getaway.
Out on the open road it becomes evident that the Wisper is a well thought out, finely engineered machine, the power comes in smoothly for a hub-powered machine thanks to its torque sensor and on the highest setting there’s a distinct impression of … beefiness. The Wisper is very well balanced with excellent ergonomics, just the right balance of the weight between saddle and handlebars. Aesthetically the smoky grey and black look says quality as does the quietness of the powerful motor. All in all a cracking bike with real style. It may have started in China, but this is a wisper you won’t want to ignore!
October 2016 2016
Motor: 250 watt 50 Nm Battery: Standard Long Range 375Wh, Mega range 575Wh Frame: Hydro formed alloy Gears: Shimano Acera 8 speed derailleur Brakes: Tektro Hydraulic 180mm front, 160mm rear Weight: 24kg/25kg Wheels: 26cm Alloy Double-walled Lights: Front 36v LED 15w, rear 36v
V’Lec Pocket Plus Foldaway £999 by Simon Postgate
here electric bikes are concerned one of the abiding issues for the commuter or holidaymaker is the one of portability. If you can comfortably run up on the station steps with it, to catch the 6.15 to work, chuck it on the boat or sling it in the boot of the car, well, that’s got to be a result. So when an electric bike comes along that weighs in at 10.6kg and also folds down to the size of a coffee table it’s certainly worth a good look. The V’Lec Pocket Plus is manufactured in France and supplied over here by BatriBike. It’s a neat little thing that arrived in a box so small, l had to have a double take to realise it had an electric bike inside! The bike is simple to open out, in fact it sort of flips into place and then it’s just a question of pushing on the handlebar and adjusting the seat height ready for the off. The V’Lec abounds with appealing features such as a battery neatly incorporated into the frame with a front light engineered in, a handy rack that doubles as a stand, mudguards, clip-out pedals and a natty front disc brake, all with a modern, welldesigned look. Very French.
Cycling ecylist World
Charging is a simply a case of plugging the charger into the frame and waiting three hours or so for the light to turn from red to green. The power remaining is indicated by three lights on the right handgrip along with an on/off switch, all very neat and classy-looking.
So, what’s it like to ride? Well, if you’re clear about what you want it for, excellent. The power kicks in after a couple of turns of the pedals and once speed has been built up it zips along rather handsomely, particularly considering there’s only one gear. The purposeful-looking brakes work well and the bike displays an admirably nippy attitude. Now, there are of course, certain limitations: the 160 watt motor is not exactly a stump-puller and at six foot two I found it, perhaps unsurprisingly being a foldaway, a little bit dinky, but these are compromises that one could clearly be prepared to make for the sake of lightness and versatility. This is a good-looking, stylish piece of kit which will certainly happily run up to its assistance level of 15.5 mph on the flat accompanied by a hum from the motor. It’s perfect for charging off from home, diving onto a train and then skipping across town for a high-powered business meeting or existentialist coffee-table chat. Grab it and go!
October 2016 2016
Frame material - aluminium alloy Colour - white or black Total weight (including battery) - 10.6 kg Battery type - Lithium (Panasonic cells) Battery power - 24v 8Ah Charge time - 3-5 hours Speed - Up to 15.5 mph (25 km/h) Motor - 160W front wheel gear Range (pedal assist) - 15 to 18 miles Gears - single speed Brakes - front disc, rear vee Wheels - 16 inch (composite front, spoked rear) Maximum load - 100kg
Smart Engine Turns any Bike Electric Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular but can be expensive and conversion kits often both tricky to install and costly. To solve this, technology company Semcon has developed a smart and inexpensive engine prototype that can be easily fitted to any bike.
T Cycling ecylist World
o encourage more people to cycle, Semcon engineers have designed an electrical engine that costs less than €100 to assemble and can easily be transferred between bikes.
“The needs and wishes of the typical cyclist are what got us started. The benefits of the electrified bike are obvious, but existing solutions are expensive and complex. That’s why we developed an engine which is compatible with any bike and easily shared among friends and
family,” says Anders Sundin, Technical Director at Semcon. Making the engine small and easy to carry around was important for the developers, so the team decided on a solution with a 150-watt output weighing just over one kilogram. To maximise battery life, the engine detects the cyclist’s pedalling and is only active at speeds between 7 and 25 km/h. This ensures a comfortable, smooth and safe ride, as the smart engine interprets the cyclist’s pedalling and intentions. The engine contains a small computer
on which the software controlling it runs, making it possible for Semcon developers to develop different apps in future. This could include, for example, different modes, prioritizing speed or reach, or other applications such as theft control or tracking. Presently, the engine is not available to end-consumers. Semcon is currently looking for investors interested in bringing the new bike engine concept to the market.
. o m a l A & h t l a e t S Kudos ort E-Biking. The future of sp
The development of E-Bikes is evolving such that the appearance and ride is getting ever closer to non assisted road and sport bikes. The Stealth and Alamo bikes are ideal for the rider who needs some assistance up hills but wishes to retain a fast sport cycling experience.
With an 11.6 concealed b Ah semilow rolling reattery, tyres and th sistance anticipation e rider will in that the power on th put some E-Bike shoue flat, this fifty mile ‘pluld have a Includes mu s’ range. kickstand, L dguards, display withCD assistance le six off throttle vels, set legal reflectand all Lightweigh ors. t at only 19.2kg. • 6kmh set off throttle • Wheel, front and rear reflectors • Range 30 - 50 miles, dependent upon rider input and terrain • Weight 19.2kgs • Colour scheme - Alamo: Khaki colour with khaki tyres, contrasting colour keyed graphics • Colour scheme - Stealth: Grey colour with khaki tyres, contrasting colour keyed graphics
Kudos Headquarters Unit 4, St. Augustine’s Business Park, Estuary Way, Swalecliffe, Kent CT5 2QJ Tel. 01227 792792 www.kudoscycles.com
SPECIFICATIONS • 700C x 28 tyres • 6061-T6 aluminium frame • Shimano Acera 8-speed derailleur, 46 tooth chain ring • Speed (rotational) power sensor • Black Shimano ‘V’ rim brakes, Tektro cut-outs • Brushless Bafang 36v x 250 watt rear hub motor • Samsung in-frame lithium 36v x 11.6Ah battery, lockable • Charger with UK plug • LCD display with 6 assistance levels, speedo and odometer
£935 inc. VAT
The Channel Islands
Discovering the unique culture, mix of quaint villages and rugged coastlines available on the Channel Islands is a treat on two wheels. Jersey offers an island-wide cycle network of over 350 miles with town, country and coastal routes including 50 miles of ‘Green Lanes,’ where traffic is limited in speed to 15mph. Guernsey is renowned for its smooth tarmac roads, helping you to explore the easier terrain of the western and northern sandy shores and the more challenging rural southern topography. Guernsey also has speed restricted roads, ‘Ruettes Tranquilles’, allowing cyclists to adventure around the island with ease
A Cycling Gem
More than five thousand years of history is packed into 45 square miles of the most prized landscape in the English Channel. Inland you will find a maze of wooded valleys and a network of ‘Green Lanes’, making life run at an unhurried pace; leading you through lush wildflower meadows alongside 400-year-old granite farmhouses and patchwork fields. One of the best ways to explore the Island is to leave the car behind and cycle, as Jersey unravels on every pedal stroke. For cyclists, Jersey is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. 100 miles of roads, byways and lanes to explore. The Island-wide cycle network makes cycling here pure pleasure. Follow one of a number of signposted cycle routes which take in miles of ‘Green Lanes’, where pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders have priority over cars and motorists.
THE ISLAND’S GEOGRAPHY
Cycling in Jersey is a fantastic mixture of flat coastal roads, with stunning views across to France and the other channels islands, as well as steep climbs and descents through the many secluded country valleys. The North Coast is very popular with riders that like to climb. The island is only 200m or so above sea level at its highest point but the pure number of short climbs makes it perfect for the more experienced cyclist. If the flat is more your preference then the east, south and west coasts are a cyclist’s dream. The ride from Gorey on the east coast to St. Helier is one of the most iconic rides. With 40ft tides, Jersey’s intertidal zone is uncovered twice a day to reveal a moon like landscape. It’s a stunning setting to enjoy being out on your bike. The west, or ‘Atlantic’ coast is where the majority of the island’s racing takes place. Whether its road or time trial bikes that takes your fancy, the terrain here is perfect. Jersey really does have a mixture of everything, perfect for both touring holidays and team
training camps, with a unique riding experience with the added bonus or top class food, accommodation, attractions and adventure activities to fill your free time. The Around Island Coastal route will take approximately six hours depending on stop offs and rider pace, and includes seven climbs. There are also a number of signposted routes that take under an hour to complete and are suitable for the less experienced or younger riders. Many of the routes also pass some fantastic places to stop and refuel. Whether it’s a quick snack or a three course meal by the beach you’ll find all you need right here.
PETIT TOUR DE MANCHE
The Petit Tour de Manche offers over 400km of scenic, way marked cycling from Weymouth - Dorchester - Poole – Cherbourg - Mont St Michel - Saint Malo and Jersey. In Jersey, the Petit Tour de Manche circuit follows Route 1 of the Cycle Network. Visitors can either cycle the entire coastal route around the Island (40miles/ 64km) or the shorter route (7.5 miles/ 12km) from St Helier to Corbière and cycle in the ‘Tracks of Steam’ as the route follows the old railway line from St Aubin to Corbière and which is entirely car free, so is ideal for families. The Petit Tour de Manche route is signposted and allows cyclists the chance to explore the Island either on a day trip or for a longer period of time.
CYCLE HIRE/ SHOPS
There is a wide range of bikes to hire, suitable for all the family from mountain to road and even tandems. Many have child seats fitted and child trailers, so that no one will miss out on an Island-wide expedition. Some companies offer a collection and delivery service and provide maps to help you plan your route. There are a number of local cycle tour companies that can take care of you should you prefer a guide for the day. There are a number of bike friendly hotels that provide cycle racks and somewhere safe and secure to lock your bikes. For such a small island, Jersey has a number of excellent cycle shops, stocking masses of accessories, clothing and spare parts. Most shops can also repair or service your bike if needed. Why not visit Jersey and experience everything it has to offer first hand?
October October 2016 2016
ersey is an island shaped by the sea, where things are revealed – to any who choose to look. Its diverse landscapes are waiting to be explored, from the cliffs of the north coast to the epic dunes of the west, you’ll find a place where you can reconnect and revitalise. Breathe in the atmosphere, it’s a liberating experience that will put a smile on your face and freshness in your heart.
Route Details Around Island Coastal Route Clockwise
Length: 40 miles/64 km Approx time: 6.5 hours Level of Difficulty: Difficult, hilly Things to see and do: Liberation Square, Les Jardins de la Mer, Elizabeth Castle, St Aubin’s Harbour, Corbière Lighthouse, Les Mielles Nature Reserve, Grève de Lecq Barracks, La Mare Wine Estate, St John’s Church, Rozel Harbour, St Catherine’s Breakwater, Mont Orgueil Castle and Gorey Village
The top of the Albert Pier to La Fregate Cafe via Les Jardins de la Mer
Length: 0.5 miles/ 0.8 km Approx time: 7 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: The Jubilee Needle, The Marina, The Freedom Tree, Swimmers 2
St. Ouen’s bay to St. Aubin’s Bay
La Hougue Bie to La Rocque
Length: 3.5miles/ 5.5km Approx time: 30 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: La Hougue Bie, Grouville Millennium Cross, Croix de la Bataille, Grouville Mill and La Rocque Harbour
Liberation Square to the Caesarean Tennis Club
Length: 1.24 miles/ 2km Approx time: 15 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Public Library, The Fish Market, Springfield Stadium. Northbound one way
Vallée des Vaux Trinity Hill to Liberation Square
Length: 2.8 miles/ 4.5km Approx time: 30 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Springfield Stadium, The Central Market,The Royal Square, St Helier Parish Church, Liberation Square. Southbound one way from Vallée des Vaux
Railway walk to Jersey Rugby & Hockey Club
Length: 1.5 miles/ 2.5 km Approx time: 15 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Les Quennevais Sports Centre & swimming pool, Jersey Bowl and Rugby Club
Length: 4 miles/ 6.5km Approx time: 45 minutes Level of Difficulty: Medium, 1 hill Things to see and do: Val de la Mare Reservoir, German railway bridge and St Peter’s Church
St Peter’s Village to Greenhills Hotel
Length: 2 miles/ 3.5km Approx time: 30 minutes Level of Difficulty: Difficult, 1 challenging hill Things to see and do: La Hague Manor, Gargate Mill, Inland German bunkers
Gorey to St. Ouen Length: 14.5 miles/ 23 km Approx time: 2.25 hours Level of Difficulty: Difficult, hilly Things to see and do: Gorey Harbour, Mont Orgueil Castle, La Hougue Bie, Eric Young Orchid Foundation, Island Centre Stone, Hamptonne and St Ouen’s Church
St. Aubin’s Bay to St. John
Length: 5 miles/ 8km Approx time: 1.25 hours Level of Difficulty: Medium, one hill Things to see and do: Tesson Mill, The Jersey War Tunnels, Morel Farm, St John’s Manor and St John’s Church
Waterworks Valley Length: 2 miles/ 3.5km Approx times: 30 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Millbrook Reservoir, St Lawrence Millennium Stone and Dannemarche Reservoir
Victoria Village to Durrell Wildlife Park Length: 1 mile/ 1.6km Approx time: 15 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: War Memorial and Durrell Wildlife Park
Durrell Wildlife Park to St Martin
Length: 2 miles/ 3.5 km Approx time: 15 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Durrell Wildlife Park, St Martin’s Arsenal and St Martin’s Church
Victoria Village to St. Helier
Length: 2 miles/ 3.5km Approx time: 30 minutes Level of Difficulty: Easy Things to see and do: Eric Young Orchid Foundation and Grands Vaux Reservoir
FIVE REASONS TO SEE GUERNSEY FROM THE SADDLE…
ith its fantastic scenery, leisurely pace of life and range of historical and cultural attractions, the Channel Island of Guernsey is perfect for exploring - and there’s no better way to do it than on two wheels. Cycling has long been part of the Guernsey way of life, and increasing numbers of visitors are getting on their bikes to discover the secrets of its 24 square miles. Here are five good reasons to see Guernsey from the saddle…
1. No hassle cycling
Guernsey is a compact island and although there’s so much to explore, you’re never very far from anywhere! That means that you can enjoy a few days’ cycling without having to go through the daily routine of changing hotels and moving on; and with rental bikes widely available on the island, you don’t even have to bring your own wheels. If you wish to travel with your bike, though, there are direct ferries to Guernsey from Poole or Weymouth.
2. Variety of terrain
From gentle, rolling countryside and sleepy lanes to challenging climbs and dramatic cliffs, Guernsey has a real variety of terrain to enjoy from the saddle. The west coast of the island is generally flattish with its sweeping beaches, while the south and south-east offer stiff hill ascents and superb views across to the neighbouring islands of Herm and Sark. VisitGuernsey publishes a Guernsey Cycle Tours guide, which is available free of charge from the Guernsey Information Centre, with eleven different routes ranging from 6.5 to 12 miles in length, so there are great options for all levels of pedalling ability.
3. A wide range of attractions
From historic structures to sites shrouded in local folklore, you can cycle right up (or sometimes down) to many of Guernsey’s best-loved attractions. These include the colourful Little Chapel, one of the world’s smallest churches, several intriguing Neolithic burial tombs, Napoleonic coastal fortifications and the distinctive Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum, known locally as the ‘Cup and Saucer’. Along the way take in slices of Guernsey life: traditional farmhouses, flower-filled hedgerows, immaculate gardens, and quaint village churches.
4. Special treatment for cyclists
While Guernsey is famed for its leisurely pace of life, with speed limits of just 35 miles per hour, cyclists still get special treatment. The island’s Ruettes Tranquilles are a growing network of quiet country lanes where priority is given to cyclists, as well as walkers and horse riders, and the top speed here is just 15mph! Clearly marked, the Ruettes Tranquilles are your chance to really get under the skin of rural Guernsey, and to get a sense of island life barely touched by time.
5. Refreshment stops
Need to keep the energy levels up? Guernsey has a wealth of places to stop and refuel - and you can enjoy fabulous local produce as you do so. Stop at a local beach kiosk to sample fresh crab sandwiches, slices of the local fruitbread gâche with rich Guernsey butter, and tasty home-made cakes; or fill your backpack with home-grown fruit and vegetables at an unmanned roadside ‘hedge veg’ stall, not forgetting to leave payment in its honesty box. Enjoy freshly-caught fish and golden chips overlooking the sea, perhaps washed down with a glass of the local Rocquettes cider. And then, if you can, get back on the road and roll on to the next delight!
A Guernsey Ride Map courtesy of Perry’s
he reclamation of the water channel between the two islands was masterminded by General Sir John Doyle, Governor of Guernsey between 1803 and 1816, as a defensive move against possible invasion by the French during troubled times. Consequently, many fortifications are in evidence in this area of Guernsey in the form of forts and loopholed towers, some of which were in place before the draining of the Braye du Valle, which was guarded at its eastern end by the Vale Castle occupying the elevated site of an Iron Age hill fort. Many of these fortifications have additions dating from the German Occupation of Guernsey. The several forts bordering the way, Pembroke, Le Marchant and Doyle are well worth a visit for a flavour of history and a view of the aspect they command.
The Neolithic period is also well represented with the spectacular passage graves of La Varde Dolmen and Le Dehus Passage Tomb. To enter these tombs is to take a step back in time, especially when viewing the “Guardian of the Tomb” in Le Dehus. The many lanes wind their way through an area of Guernsey that was once the heartland of the quarrying industry. Several disused quarries are noticeable with the miners’ cottages gracing the roadside. The views out over the sea are forever different and will yield to the distant north a sighting of Alderney and Les Casquets lighthouse, and to the east our near neighbours of Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou and Sark.
A short, easy ride that would be suitable for a summer evening. It features a mixture of fine coastal views and twisty narrow lanes as it tours the part of Guernsey that used to be a separate island known as the Clos du Valle
A BIKING BOOST WITH BLU ROUTES Visit Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel in Jersey and discover the array of #BluRoutes available for an exhilarating cycling holiday, all mapped out for you and available to download. The beautiful island of Jersey packs a punch with its breathtaking scenery, green lanes, sea views and variety of cycling trails for you to explore. Radisson Blu is conveniently located on the Waterfront in St Helier, overlooking the bay of St Aubin’s and Elizabeth Marina. With a relaxing Spa and recently refurbished bedrooms, it’s the perfect place to start your cycle tour of the island.... For more information: Call +44 (0)1534 671180 Email email@example.com
Radisson Blu Jersey launches #BluRoutes to help visitors make the most of Island
o enhance visitors’ experience of the Island, Radisson Blu has launched #BluRoutes, a series of running and cycling routes taking in many historic and beauty spots.
Jersey is a 9x5 mile island that packs a punch in terms of its rich history and diverse culture, as well as its breathtaking scenery. The idea behind #BluRoutes is to help visitors discover areas off the beaten track that they may not normally experience on a typical holiday.
Guests will be able to download their chosen routes directly to their GPS devices, or the hotel reception can print out a map. The hotel in the main town of St Helier, offers the perfect base to access most cycling routes whilst also providing exceptional service, with rates starting from just £89.00 per night.
To find out more please visit
Four initial routes that vary in length and difficulty have been launched, and hotel staff are devising further routes which are hosted on the popular sporting community and tracking site, strava.com. The routes are personally planned for all levels of fitness, from amateur joggers to keen runners and cyclists. Local attractions such as Corbiere Lighthouse, the Jersey War Tunnels and Waterworks Valley feature on the routes.
Guernsey Velo Club A local cycling club mum tells of big horizons on the small island
by Kirsti LeCheminant
he Guernsey Velo Club puts on a whole spectrum of events throughout the year, from downhill, enduro, cross country and beach racing on the mountain biking side to time trials, road racing and circuit racing on the road side. Some of the events take place in Herm and cater for all age groups. Guernsey has seen a number of its riders enjoying success, locally, nationally and internationally, from Junior events all the way up to Commonwealth Games and also riders fulfilling roles as full-time professionals in the pro peloton. The Guernsey Velo Club offers a number of activities for children under the age of sixteen called “Flyers”. This league ages six to fifteen, members in Under 10/12 age category are encouraged to learn about cycling and race skills. For children between the ages of twelve and eighteen there is the Club’s Academy, the aim of which is to provide a development programme for all abilities and disciplines. The Academy has a very comprehensive race programme in Guernsey and many of the riders will have the opportunity to race in events in the UK.
On the time trialling side both Karina Bowie and Paul Jackson have amassed over ten National Age group titles and five National Gold Medals in team championships, ranging from distances of 10 miles through to 24 hours, whilst one of Guernsey’s longest standing members, Allan Renyard who is well into his seventies, is still racing locally and nationally up and down the country.
During the Academy years the youngsters are able to compete in the Regional George Herbert Stancer 10 Mile Time Trial Championship to qualify to ride in the National GHS 10 Mile Championships, held each September. Guernsey has over the years seen many of its riders progress through this avenue to become professional riders. Last year alone, Guernsey had eight riders qualify for the final, with three riders winning their categories; Hannah Brehaut, Louis Le Cheminant and Alex van Katwyk. The three fastest boys, Alex Van Katwyk, Brad Vaudin and Sam Culverwell, won the Team Championship and broke the National GHS Record, previously set in 2007. The Guernsey Flyers and Academy riders also ride in criterium races both locally and nationally and find this a great way of developing.
Guernsey Velo Club
Guernsey Velo has also seen strong hill climbers over recent years, with Ann Bowditch winning the National Hill Climbing Championship on three occasions. Heather Despres won the British Schools Cycling Association Hill Climb Championships and took Silver in the National Hill Climb last year whilst her father Nick Despres regularly wins age group hill climb titles. The progression of Guernsey cycling is seen now in the pro peloton and the Island is incredibly proud of its two professional cyclists, Tobyn Horton and James McLaughling. Tobyn, riding for Madison Genesis, has in the past two years been victorious at Canary Wharf Tour Series and the London Nocturne. Tobyn placed in the top ten of the Ride London road race, finishing as the top placed British rider. He is a very positive influence on the club riders and regularly coaches for us. Guernseyâ€™s other pro rider James McLaughlin, rides for Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels, and has recently placed 4th in the GP Kranj road race and also finished in the top ten in the Commonwealth Games Time Trial in Glasgow in 2014.
Guernsey youth rider Sam Culverwell has grown through from the Flyers to the Academy and has now been earmarked as a potential future Olympian after being invited to attend British Cyclingâ€™s Olympic Apprentice Programme. This season Sam has ridden extremely well in both Regional and National Championship races, seeing plenty of wins and finishing sixth in the National Championships.
Mountain biking flourishes in Guernsey where a very dedicated cohort of club members spend many weekends planning, building, planting courses and organising a full and varied set of races. Mountain bike elite rider James Roe is enjoying a hugely successful season, with plenty of podium finishes in regional racing, and a top ten English finish in the National Mountain Bike Championships. He recently rode in the London 2012 legacy mountain bike race at Hadleigh International where he rode against some of the best riders in the World before they headed off to the Olympic games in Rio. A lot of up and coming cycling talent from an island that covers only 24 square miles!
The Channel Islands Ferry Service
Have Cyclists on Board
ondor Ferries carries passengers to a variety of destinations across the channel including St Malo, Cherbourg and of course, the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. With its fleet of spacious and modern ships leaving from both Portsmouth and Poole, Condor Ferries operates daily crossings in which passengers can benefit from a choice of seating and cabin classes, a wide range of on board food and beverage, as well as a popular Duty Free shop housing some of the top high street brands including Hugo Boss, Clarins and Calvin Klein with savings of up to 40% on UK High Street prices.
Because of the natural beauty and array of entertainment available at these two destinations, it is no surprise that both Jersey and Guernsey are immensely popular with cyclists. For those passengers who wish to learn more about the Islands, there are a variety of cycling tours including: Donkey’s Day Out, Stride ‘n’ Ride and Sundowners tours which are operated regularly throughout Guernsey. This not only provides riders with a chance to explore the numerous landmarks and historic places of interest, but also allows those involved to reach areas of the Islands that would be inaccessible by car or take too long to walk to. For those cyclists who would rather make their own way are still spoilt for choice, with the amount of potential routes to take to soak up the Islands’ stunning views and scenery. This is shown in Jersey’s extensive cycle network, which presents riders with over 350 miles of town and countryside to really discover the Island’s splendour for themselves. Prices start from as little as £69pp for a car and two passengers each way or those travelling on foot can bring their bicycles free of charge which means you can explore these beautiful islands at your own pace. For more information visit Condorferries.com. Terms and conditions apply, see website
Condor OctoberFerries 2016
As two of Condor’s prime destinations, Jersey and Guernsey boast a blend of attractions and events that compliment the rich culture found throughout these two Islands. From Guernsey’s Vazon Bay and “Tasty Walks” to Jersey’s Botanical Gardens at Samares Manor and Seafaris, there is something for everyone.
NINE SPOOKY UK ROUTES for Halloween W
hat could be a better combination for a thrilling night time ride than a fantastic bike and a scary moonlit cycling route this Halloween? These are some of the favourites as voted by the team at Formby Cycles
Why night-time riding?
If you've never gone out into the countryside at night on your bike, then you're in for a treat. There are few things that will get your nerves jangling and adrenaline pumping in quite the same way, and it really is a fantastic experience that fills you with energy and focus. Creepy locations and challenging ride tracks are plentiful, and even familiar spots will look very different when they are lit by moonlight and bike lights. Rustles from the hedgerows and night-time creatures scurrying across the road will really make you jump!
1. Glentress Forest, Scotland Source: mtbbritain.co.uk Glentress is well-known for having fantastic rides, and it has routes suitable for all levels of biker, from beginner to highly experienced. For the most thrill seeking, head to Red Route which traverses through... wait for it... Spooky Woods! This route is 18 km of unbridled jumps, climbs, roots, hairpin turns and more, often shrouded in an eerie mist, which tends to settle over every mound and branch. Squawking birds are likely to swoop out when you least expect it! This is a route well worth doing with a good quality bike - try the Specialized Enduro Bike for a fantastic ride.
2. Rhyd Ddu, Snowdon Source: www.mbr.co.uk
This is another incredible natural trail with unstable surfaces, rocky outcrops, unpredictable descents and various hidden obstacles that stretch for nearly 25 km. You'll also need to be prepared to hike up sections of the trail, so carry a light pack with your essentials, including a first aid kit, GPS, water and a phone with a signal!
3. Nan Bield Pass, The Lake District Source: www.mtbe.co.uk This is an incredibly beautiful location, but get your turns, speed or timing wrong, and you'll soon know about it! The natural trail extends for over 30 km and is incredibly unstable, with a tendency for thick fog descending at short notice. Only try it at night if you are very fit, experienced and, preferably, have a similarly-minded riding partner with you!
4. Lee and Cragg Quarry, Lancashire Source: bikemagic.com Often described as being a mountain biker's playground, it is also well known as a location offering a huge adrenaline rush. It’s filled with turns and berms that result in incredible momentum for downhill biking, all set in an atmospheric former quarry in the wilds of the West Pennines. Don't do it alone at night if you're of a nervous disposition - it's pretty scary!
5. Revolution Bike Park, Wales Source: revolutionbikepark.co.uk This is great for technical, fast trails which will really test riders to their limits and challenge the senses, especially after sunset...
6. Denstone to Oakamoor, Staffordshire Source: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/cycling
The Earl dismissed him and carried on his way...But that night, a storm brewed up, and a single branch from the old oak tree broke and fell. Later that night, a member of the Earl’s family mysteriously died. The next day, the Earl ordered his servants to chain every branch together to prevent other branches from falling. So... we have a 'chained oak'. The legend has been adapted to form the back-story for the ride “Hex” at Alton Towers.
To put some spooks in your spokes, try this ride near the village of Alton. A mysterious chained oak tree tells a ghostly story. On an autumn night in 1821, The Earl of Shrewsbury was returning home, Alton Towers, when, mysteriously an old man appeared in the road. The coach stopped to find why he was there, and the man begged for the charity of a coin. The Earl cruelly dismissed him, so the old man placed a curse on him: "For every branch on the Old Oak Tree here that falls... a member of the Earl’s family will die."
7. Steynton route, Pembrokeshire Source: outdoorfitnessmag.com Again, this isn't a route that will necessarily test you to the max physically, but you'll need to be incredibly strong mentally when it comes to the route along the A4076 to Johnston. The route has been long associated with reported sightings of a mysterious woman who walks into the paths of road users, before disappearing. The route is called the Ghost Road locally, and the sightings have happened again and again. Ready to be the next brave soul?
8. Snake Pass, Manchester to Sheffield Source: hitchhikershandbook.com This is a nerve-jangling route even on a sunny day and has been used for the Tour of Britain, but it certainly requires nerves of steel at night. There are broad stretches of misty moorlands at the peak, an oddly quiet reservoir at the basin, and loads of blind curves and thick trees throughout. Your legs and lungs will be pumping and your nerves will be jangling!
9. Gisburn Forest, Lancashire
The trails here are suitable for all levels of rider, but the forest itself feels like the setting of the Blair Witch Project at night! It definitely isn't somewhere you want to get lost in, with branches, rocks and roots springing out on the tight curves, berms jumping out at you, sudden drops and creepy, thick woodland.
Bikes | Components | accessories
Design Your OwnÂ Bike From ÂŁ269
Get on Yer Bike and Never Get off Again
Â© Cycle at Lee Quarry, Rossendale
To the west, Lancashire has flat coastal plains where you will find a variety of rural lanes linking villages, farm land and coastal resorts. In the heart of the county the terrain becomes more challenging, as you ride up through the Trough of Bowland, along winding lanes over Pennine Hills or meander along the river valleys of the Lune and Ribble for scenic views and dramatic landscapes. Venture into Gisburn Forest for off-road trails, dirt jumping and heart-thumping down-hill drops. While hidden amidst the hills and valleys of Rossendale is the adrenaline seeker’s dream, the rocky and unforgiving Lee Quarry. This purpose built mountain bike venue with around 10km of red and black graded mountain bike trails, two pump tracks and numerous cycle trials sections is strictly for the fearless. It can be ridden on its own or if you have the staying-power, combine it with a ride to Cragg Quarry. West Lancashire and the Fylde coast is perfect for exploring peaceful canalside and coastal routes, through some of Lancashire’s more traditional market towns and quiet seaside locations, making it a great destination for leisure cyclists. Head for Burscough Wharf on the Leeds-Liverpool canal and explore the towpaths of this man-made wonder of the industrial revolution. ‘A Grand Tour of West Lancashire’ is a popular longer route starting at any of three stations, Town Green, Rufford or New Lane, this 65km tour which takes in most of West Lancashire, covers part of the much longer Lancashire Cycleway. For those with stamina, the Lancashire Cycleway is a demanding 418km route, comprising two circular routes which meet in the village of Whalley in the Ribble Valley. The Cycleway can be ridden as one long tour or split into two, on a journey that takes in the Bowland Hills and West Pennine Moors, the quiet country lanes of Fylde and spectacular views of the Silverdale coast. Lancashire really does offer something for all cyclists and if you are looking for a more family-friendly route then where else to head than to the seaside. Blackpool seafront and the stunning promenade offers a traffic free, flat and family friendly cycle route taking you past the resorts famous landmarks such
as The Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the must-see comedy carpet. Further north explore one of the most stunning coastlines in the UK, Morecambe Bay. The award-winning family-friendly Bay Cycle Way is a 130km relatively flat route to be enjoyed at your own pace. Discover some of the secrets of the coast with plenty of opportunities to take in the spectacular views and enjoy a taste of Lancashire - on a route promising you’re never far from “a view, a brew and a loo”. Don’t just come for the day, make a break of it. With over 40 places to stay boasting the ‘Welcome Cyclists’ quality marque you’ll find everything from luxury 4 star hotels to rural self catering cottages offering special ‘cyclist’ facilities such as dry rooms and dedicated lock-up areas for bikes. Some even have cycle hire and electric bike facilities on site making Lancashire a cycle friendly destination for all. With such diverse terrains and hundreds of established routes in city, coast and rural locations, it is no surprise that Lancashire is increasingly the destination of choice for anyone who loves life and fun on two wheels. For more information on cycling routes, events and accommodation in Lancashire go to visitLancashire.com/cycle
West Lancashire Cycle Hire Scheme -
There’s no need to bring your own bike when visiting Lancashire: from as little as £1 per hour you can hire bikes from automated cycle hire stations across the county. Cycle hire facilities have recently been installed across West Lancashire at Ormskirk Park Pool, Edge Hill University, Burscough Leisure Centre, Burscough Wharf, The Ship Inn at Lathom and Riverside Holiday Park. On Yer Bike Cycles - one of the leading cycle retailers providing cycles, servicing, repairs and cycle hire. Cycle hire fleet includes mountain, road, electric, tandems and children’s bikes. Based in Burnley. Bike and Go – Blackpool North Station a scheme combining train travel with the freedom and flexibility of riding a bike.
Cycling Friendly Accommodation
Stirk House Hotel in Gisburn, near Clitheroe (3 star) – Forest of Bowland area. Regional award winner – small hotel of the year Martin Lane Farm Holiday Cottages (4-5 star) in Burscough (West Lancashire) Blacksmiths Cottage, Dam Head Farm, Nelson (4 star) – East Lancashire/near Pendle Hill The Boatyard – close to the famous Hoghton Tower, canal side location in Riley Green is within minutes of the M65 and just 15 minutes from Blackburn, Chorley and Preston
rom gentle, quiet lanes and off-road cycle trails to the adrenaline pumping peaks and troughs of moorland or the challenge of coastal routes around bays and beachfronts, this variety confirms Lancashire’s claim to having the best choice of cycling routes in the UK. Enjoy a day out with friends or take the family on a leisurely ride. Explore the attractions, history, eateries and hidden gems that turn an afternoon’s cycling in Lancashire into an unforgettable experience.
Lancashire Ride Preston Guild Wheel The Preston Guild Wheel is a 21 mile walking and cycling “Greenway” that encircles the city of Preston, linking the city to the countryside
he Guild Wheel route makes the most of the different landscapes that surround the city, creating a rich and varied environment for everyone to enjoy. To the south of the city, it takes you alongside the gently meandering River Ribble, past ancient woodland, historic city centre parks, the largest nineteenth century dock in Europe and Brockholes Nature Reserve by the M6. Other highlights of the route include the Ribble Link Canal and the woodland areas at Longsands.
GUILD WHEEL AUDIO TRAIL
Seven primary schools located on or near the Guild Wheel have recorded musical compositions or ‘sonic collages’ inspired by locations on the route. You can listen to these compositions and read some commentaries which reflect on the stimuli for these pieces by scanning the QR codes attached to some of the Mile Markers on the route. You will need a smartphone or similar equipped with a QR code reader application. The QR codes can be found on Mile Markers 0/21, 2/19, 5/16, 7/14, 8/13, 10/11 and 12/9.
- 21 miles of continuous, multi-use greenway space around Preston - Easily accessible to all groups - Route includes some of Preston’s best features: The Docks, Savick Brook, Ribble Link Canal, Brockholes Nature Reserve, Pope Lane Nature Reserve, Avenham and Miller Parks and the River Ribble A partnership project between Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council with the support of many other organisations and groups
Over six days, we kept up the pace with 450 avid cyclists and never got ourselves in a spin. Let us work in tandem with you to deliver your event, conference or training programme. At Yarnfield Park, we’re geared up for anything! With each of our clients having their own unique requirements, Yarnfield Park is the perfect venue whether it’s for a conference, event or training programme. With an ideal central location, range of meeting spaces, great facilities and friendly environment, we can help organisations grow, inspire and empower their people. And as one of the UK’s largest centres with 338 bedrooms, we’re able to offer huge flexibility and choice when it comes to choosing the right facilities and space for your event, big or small.
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Lancashire Ride Map
TRAFFIC-FREE CYCLE RIDE BLACKPOOL TO FLEETWOOD TEXT BY WENDY JOHNSON www.sustrans.org.uk/CyclingWorld Distance: 11 miles Start: South Pier, Blackpool Finish: The Esplanade, Fleetwood Train stations: Blackpool North, Blackpool South and Blackpool Pleasure Beach Grade: Moderate
TERRAIN, GRADIENTS AND ACCESS
Flat, wide concrete promenade with a very short and quiet on-road section at Rossall Beach (or dismount to push along this narrower part of the promenade)
Cycling Cycling World World
The razzmatazz of Britain’s definitive bucket-and-spade destination provides a lively start to this ride, but is quickly superseded by the quiet, natural beauty of the attractive Fylde Coast.
Start at Blackpool’s South Pier and head north along the wide promenade. It’s sensory overload in the opening miles, with the clatter of Blackpool trams alongside the route, the sweet candyfloss scent of the kiosks and a million bulbs lighting up the seafront during the famous Blackpool Illuminations each autumn. The adrenalinfuelled rides of the Pleasure Beach are left behind as you cycle towards one of England’s most iconic landmarks: the unmistakable Blackpool Tower. In the opening miles, attractive and ornate Victorian shelters on the Promenade make great stopping points for taking in the scenery over the Irish Sea to north Wales, before you swoop between the curved, sandy-coloured layers of the promenade at Cleveleys, where the Isle of Man can be seen across the water on a clear day. Beside the shingly, pebbly banks of Rossall Beach there are great views of the Lake District’s peaks in the distance. However, the best views are in the final mile from Rossall Point Tower, a futuristic-style observation station that leans eagerly towards the
sea. Go to the top deck to look over Fleetwood Beach, Morecambe Bay, the Lake District and the Forest of Bowland. From here, roll past Fleetwood’s Marine Hall Gardens and the little pastel-coloured beach huts on the seafront, before ending at the white sandstone Lower Lighthouse on The Esplanade. It’s just a short ride from here to Fleetwood’s ferry point for the 10-minute boat trip over the River Wyre to Knott End-on-Sea.
LOOPS, LINKS AND LONGER RIDES
From Blackpool’s South Pier, NCN 62 follows a mix of on-road and traffic-free route south to Lytham St Annes.
Queens Promenade Hotel, Blackpool (01253) 355449 www.queenspromenadehotel.com
EAT AND DRINK
There are many places to eat in Blackpool, including ‘Parks’ Art Deco café overlooking the ornamental Italian gardens in Stanley Park, Kwizeen Restaurant or Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips near North Pier. At Fleetwood, try Beachside Café on the waterside, or head into the town for popular Café Royal or the Granada Fish Bar and Restaurant.
Bike & Go, Blackpool North train station www.bikeandgo.co.uk
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Brighton & Hove’s online cycle map customise, print and pedal!
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Ask Anita The Kids are Alright
used to cycle quite a lot – mainly around town and some weekend rides with friends. However, I’ve now got two young children, and things have changed somewhat. I’m keen to get back out on the bike but would love some advice on taking my children cycling with me. What are the best ways to transport very young kids on bikes?
your bike in various ways depending on the brand and type. Cycling UK have a good article about this on their website and some recommendations which is worth a read.
It’s also possible to get seats that attach to the front of your bike. The advantage of this is that you can see your child, they can see the road ahead (rather than just your back and the bits of scenery around the sides) and you can talk to them more easily about what’s happening around you (or just make cooing noises and go ‘ding ding’ when you ring your bell if you like). Despite these advantages, front seats are considered more dangerous and less comfortable than rear seats – if you do have an accident your child could become your airbag, and they are susceptible to windchill being right there at the front. There are models that have windshields. Like with anything, it’s up to you to weigh up the pros and cons.
I’m tempted to suggest popping your son or daughter in your pannier, but that would be a tasteless joke and not a practical solution to your problem. There are a variety of ways to get your children onto your bike so you can ride again, and transport them in the fresh air whilst getting yourself more active again at the same time.
The most common kind of child seat is a seat that fixes to the rear of the bike – these are generally considered the safest and most comfortable for children too. They are typically suitable for children from about nine months – as soon as they can sit up unsupported, they’re ready to go on the back of your bike. They fix onto
With more than one child, trailers can be a great solution. Cargo bikes are also widely used in places like Holland, and Scandinavian countries for bundling kids into for the school run and other trips but more common in the UK are versatile trailers that attach to the back of your bike, but come off when you want your bike all to yourself again. You can open them up or close them to protect kids from the elements and they’re good for storage as well as little ones. Once your children are old enough, don’t put off adapting your bike. If you have a bike already you don’t need much specialist equipment to make it child-friendly. If you’re using a child seat or trailer just remember to make sure any dangly bits aren’t going to catch in wheels and other moving parts, but otherwise chances are your kids will be laughing and loving it – they often fall asleep en route too, which can be a bonus.
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…
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Training and Nutrition:
Maintain the Benefits of Summer by Tim Ramsden. Tim is an Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) Level 3 Coach and owner of www.blackcatcyclecoaching.com
lthough there are still plenty of weekend road riding opportunities left before winter rears its ugly head again, as the days shorten the short sleeved summer evening rides become a thing of the past…and cyclists generally look for other ways to keep their hardearned fitness. But…how much fitness will you actually lose if you can only complete one ride a week from December through to March? The physiological effect of detraining is an area which has been extensively researched and the good news is that, whilst you could lose up to 10% off your VO2 power after 4 weeks’ inactivity, you don’t need to do too much to maintain the gains you made in the sunshine when the clocks go back. So…make the most of the weekends now. Where you can, try and ride on both days – make Saturday a shorter, faster ride with some hill efforts or sprints – make these fun, against riding pals or just as the whim takes you if you are riding solo. On Sunday do a longer ride at an easier pace… but don’t leave out some sprints/hill efforts: the key to maintaining fitness as you go through the winter months is to keep the intensity of the effort, even if you don’t ride for as much time in a session.
No commute? No lights? Want to do something that will help you keep the extra mph from July and August? When this coach started training back in the 80s, cyclists used to run, do weight training, circuit training and maybe swimming in the off-season. In fact, I recall well looking at an example weekly winter training plan from my then coach and being surprised (and horrified) that there were no rest days at all! You don’t need to go to these levels…but if you do want to cross-train then by all means do. Be cautious with running and circuits, though: cyclists have “big engines” and often get injured quickly when their ambition exceeds their flexibility and specific running fitness – start slowly and build. Next month I will look at the equipment you may need if you want to keep things cycling-specific through the dark months…and begin the process of hopefully adding some speed and endurance in 2017.
As this month goes on, the days get shorter and unless you don lights and ride after work, you may be limited to a commute, or to no session. If you can ride in the evening, steady but brisk work at around 30-40bpm below your max heart rate will give you a good return, and avoids the risks associated with very hard, fast efforts in the dark. Around 1 hour including a warm up and cool down is perfect. Pick roads that are well-lit, and be aware that if you are travelling at 20mph plus in low-light then it isn’t advisable to look at your computer display for your average heart rate for more than a second or two at a time.
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Cyclist’s Recipe Elinor Barker’s Pedal Power Muesli Elinor was part of the GB quartet who won gold in Rio in the team pursuit to retain the title GB won at London 2012. She starts her day with a nutritional breakfast to fuel a sprint training session Nutritional facts per serving •
ircher muesli is a great alternative to porridge and provides a combination of slow release carbohydrates and protein. Oats have a low glycaemic index (GI) and provide energy to fuel a training session whilst the milk and Greek yoghurt add protein to support muscles. This breakfast is also a quick and easy option for athletes on the go as you can make this the night before and have it ready in the morning.
Serves 2 • 200ml Greek yoghurt • 150g porridge oats • 2 tbsp. sultanas • 1 orange, zest and juice • 1 grated apple • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon • 1 small pinch grated nutmeg • 1 tbsp. manuka honey • Milk
Very simply combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, you can top the mixture up with either milk, apple or orange juice. Leave the oats to soak for at least twelve hours. The mix will last for at three days in the fridge.
The Food Champions project is a collaboration between The National Lottery and the country’s top sports nutritionists from the English Institute of Sport (EIS). National Lottery players raise £36m each week for projects and sports funding allows 1,300 elite athletes to train full-time and benefit from world-class facilities, coaching and leading medical and scientific advice through organisations like the EIS.
From the Workshop
Multicoloured Handlebar Tape
Begin by removing the old tape. Sometimes it is necessary to use a cutter. Donâ€™t touch the handlebar with the blade, it can start a fracture
Remove brake and derailleur cables
Clean the bare handlebar so the tape adheres better
Put the shifter on
Place a black join at shifter ring, black as the top ribbon is black. The red tape passes on the edges of the join and then an about-turn at the shifter. Fix with an adhesive tape
Change the handlebar tape. Cut the black tape obliquely so it is smaller on the shifter for ease of installation
Secure with an adhesive tape at the handlebar end
by Martial Prévalet - Martial is a mechanical engineer who has produced articles for car and bike magazines, including Le Sport Vélo, Bike Magazine and Cyclosport
Remove outer gear and brake cables
Remove the shifters. The screw is often hidden
Place girdles in the cable gorges of the handlebar. Fix with a special black ribbon. Well-placed cables allow for well-placed tape
Begin the installation of the tape starting at the bottom. This is the red "sport" tape. The adhesive part must be placed against the handlebar. Don’t hesitate to undo the tape and start again if required
Put the tape on the top of the handlebar. Pull down the rubber of the shifter
Put the tape on the top of the handlebar. Pull down the rubber of the shifter
Finally, put a handlebar end plug in
Enough of single colour handlebar tape. We show you how to create handlebar tape of colours of your choice. At the top we put a comfort tape, at the bottom we put sports tape. The installation of multicoloured tapes is not very different from a single colored one, and looks great
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WHAT GOES AROUND
(A London Cycle Courier’s Story)
This book is an interplay between Emily’s job as a London courier and her personal life. It is also an homage to place, people and bike watching. Emily is a Cambridge graduate, searching for her perfect job and initially uses couriering as a stop-gap during this search. But it becomes evident that she adores the liberation, inclusion, and often consolation, she appreciates via her cycling, be it for pleasure, or as part of her job. I could definitely relate to several of her observations: how cycling events (e.g. the Dunwich Dynamo, a 200km night ride from London Fields in Hackney, London to Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast) unite cyclists from the most diverse backgrounds, usually providing the cyclists with the ideal forum to boast and moan about (in equal quantities) their bikes or bikeexperiences to other like-minded bikesnobs (note: I write the term bikesnob affectionately). I additionally found myself chuckling at Emily’s disclosure that she finds cyclists to be coffee-snobs: like Emily’s favourite coffee shop, set up as a haven for cyclists, I know that on every Club run there are frequent haunts beloved to the cyclists. Aside from the obvious discussions concerning bikes and group-sets, Emily comments on how couriering has opened her eyes to seeing places (London specifically here), that she would never otherwise have encountered. To me, it conjures up a secret, more magical London, and I am stimulated to seek out some of these places (e.g. Postman’s Park, where one wall is covered in tiles
commemorating Londoners who’d saved others’ lives whilst losing their own). Emily also shares the Londonrelated books she reads between her deliveries for her to engineer pilgrimages to locations disclosed within those books, enabling her to see the city in a completely new light. Emily remarks on how couriering allows her to feel as if she is inadvertently stumbling into history at every turn, e.g. she delivered to Downing Street when Cameron was elected PM. She also acknowledges how the London skyline has changed dramatically, where structures are built from the inside out, and angsts about whether this ever-changing skyline is acceptable to her. Other, not directly bike-related, themes include how the seasons become more delineated when you’re a courier: I was interested to learn about the London Plane tree whose fruit-fluff makes spring the season of perpetual sneezes. Emily’s personal life presents itself as a search for inclusion. She writes about the challenges around fitting into the predominantly privatelyeducated boys’ network that is Cambridge. She also discusses sexism in the largely male world of couriering. But whereas those are discussions concerning exclusion, being gay to Emily means she has experienced a greater social mobility, and although coming to London was not as she had first thought (i.e. as Dyke Whittington where the streets are lined with lesbians), she has definitely encountered many opportunities for inclusion via that network. Disturbingly, but predictably, the book does acknowledge the dangers associated with couriering on a bike (either via abusive and unpredictable pedestrians or taxi drivers), and Emily does write poignantly about how feeling helplessly vulnerable and visible to drivers bearing a grudge was one of the most frightening of her career. The fact that a taxi driver tracked her down to her place of work was particularly harrowing.
In conclusion, although I enjoyed reading this book, I’m not entirely sure who I would recommend it to, as it crosses so many themes that may not obviously appeal to the purest bike-junky. But since Emily does suggest cycling is the purest form of autoeroticism and that it can be used to drown your sorrows, maybe this book is simply for anyone who just loves the feeling of emancipation when they hit that saddle.
Author: Emily Chappell Publisher: Faber & Faber Published: January 2016 Format: Paperback ISBN: 9781783350537 Price: £12.99 Available at: www.faber. co.uk/9781783350537-what-goesaround.html Reviewed by: Nicola Robinson -Wife and Mother to four OCD (Obsessive Cycling Disorder) males and member of Thanet Road Club, Kent
f you read the Guardian newspaper, you may have already encountered Emily Chappell: she frequently writes articles about couriering and bike-touring, which she believes is the best way of meeting the world on its own terms. When the Editor asked me to review this book, I was intrigued by the content, as it promised to be different to the majority of cycling books on the market, i.e. non-record obsessed or pure biographical anthologies.
Qatar Hosts UCI World Championships
Qatar is the first Middle East Country to host the Worlds since the championships began in 1921. The nation is now a popular destination for both cyclists and tourists
atar is home to high rises, modern technology parks, sitting side by side with majestic desert landscapes and 1400 years of Islamic history. Its past learnings inform its contemporary vision.
That is why visitors from all over the world enjoy visiting Qatar. In 2015 alone, the nation welcomed 2.93 million visitors to Qatar, which marked a 3.7% increase on 2014.
Cycling Cycling World World
A few basic facts about Qatar: • Qatar is a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, with a population of 2.6 million and 563km of coastline • The ruler is His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani • The currency, the Qatari Riyal, is pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of 3.65 riyals to the dollar • Arabic is the official language with English widely spoken and understood • According to the UNWTO, Qatar is the only country in the Middle East to achieve consistent growth in tourism arrivals over the past 10 years
QATAR AT FIRST GLANCE
Visitors come to Qatar mostly on board the national carrier - Qatar Airways - which connects Doha to more than 150 destinations across six continents. As the winner of the World’s Best Airline, Qatar Airways gives them a taste of the five-star experience they can expect once they arrive. Once in Qatar, tourists have access to a broad range of hotels that cater to the budget conscious and the luxury seekers. Whichever they are looking for, they can be sure of a warm, unforgettable guest experience – and that’s according to the guests themselves. In the Olery Guest Experience in the Middle East 2015 report, Qatar’s hospitality sector tops its peers in Gulf destinations in terms of guest experience. Qatar’s cities feature public art installations by renowned global artists, including Richard Serra, Damien Hirst, and El Seed. Many iconic buildings in Qatar are themselves works of art and masterpieces of architecture. The country is most known for winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but Qatar is a location of choice for many other global events. Qatar hosts close to 80 sporting events annually. The nation is making sports history as the first Middle Eastern country to host the 2019 World Championships in Athletics, and the 2023 FINA World Swimming Championships. And of course this year it hosts the UCI World Road Race Championships.
WHO SHOULD VISIT QATAR?
Qatar is the ideal destination for a fun family vacation. The urban entertainment products are geared towards young ones and adults alike, while beach resorts and sports facilities offer comfort and excitement for all the family. If tourists are looking for a place to relax and discover a new culture, then Qatar is also the place for them. They will find the ideal mix of luxury spas, authentic cuisine, and desert adventures all within a few short trips of each other. Cyclists will be pleasantly surprised and welcomed by an evergrowing cycling community.
WHAT DOES QATAR OFFER VISITORS?
Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre
Visitors to Qatar are charmed by the hustle and bustle of the traditional souqs, where everything from silk to spices is on offer, and cuisine from every corner of the Middle East can be savoured. Qatar’s commitment to cultural excellence extends to a range of impressive public art installations by leading international artists around the country. These include: • Damien Hirst: The Miraculous Journey at Sidra Medical and Research Centre • Richard Serra: 7 at the Museum of Islamic Art Park • Lorenzo Quinn: The Force of Nature II at Katara Cultural Village • Subodh Gupta: Ghandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara Cultural Village • Just twenty minutes away from the heart of Old Doha, visitors can enjoy modern shopping, dining and entertainment experience at the Pearl-Qatar. Similarly, Qatar’s malls offer high-end shopping alongside exciting gaming zones for children and young adults.
Al Zubarah Fort
Qatar is home to remarkable museums and galleries, outstanding performance venues as well as lovingly preserved historical buildings and forts. To name a few, there is Katara Cultural Village, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Al Zubarah, the famous Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Museum, and the Msheireb museums.
Visitors can take a ‘dhow’ boat ride and watch the sunset against the back drop of Doha’s striking cityscape or take in a Doha Bus tour of the city’s landmarks. The country’s position on the Arabian Gulf offers breath-taking scenes of nature, whether in desert expanses or surrounding seawaters. Rolling sand dunes and spectacular limestone rock formations give way to thick mangroves along the 560km of coastline. Gypsum deposits in the centre of the peninsula have given rise to the geological phenomena known as ‘desert roses’ and, most notably, the 40m deep cave at Dhal Al Misfir. This cave formed largely of fibrous gypsum sometimes gives off a faint, moon-like phosphorescent glow. Bin Ghanem Island, which is located in the north of Qatar, is also known as ‘Purple Island’ in reference to its rich history when the Kassites operated a purple dye industry from 1400-1100 BC. Today, the island makes for a perfect day trip where visitors can escape the city and take in the unique flora and peaceful surroundings of the island. Not far away is Fuwairat beach, home to Qatar’s Hawksbill turtles. Every year between April and July, the turtles return to the beach where they were born to nest. Visitors can witness the baby turtles’ first trip into the sea. Qatar is home to the secondlargest population of dugongs in the world, behind only Australia. The large herbivorous marine mammals, weighing more than 400k, dugongs tend to congregate in northwest Qatar and then they spread out around the coast during the summer.
Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the beautiful Arabian Oryx, which became extinct in the wild in the 1970s and was reintroduced to its natural habitat a decade later at Ras Brouq natural reserve.
TOURISM EVENTS AND FESTIVALS
Qatar hosts a myriad of festivals ranging from the Qatar International Food Festival, to the Eid and Summer Festivals. With a range of attractions including special hotel
rates, cultural events, children’s entertainment and shopping promotions, these festivals appeal to large numbers of visitors. Moreover, Qatar is home to many year-long live events entertainment family shows.
The Pearl Qatar Island
PLANNING THE PERFECT TRIP
Qatar is accessible, easy to enter, and offers all of its visitors a warm welcome. At the heart of the old world, Qatar is conveniently located within six hours’ flying time from most European capitals, and nine hours from major Far Eastern and North American cities. Fifty other international airlines currently operate flights to Qatar, bringing over 32 million visitors through Hamad International Airport in 2015. Visitors of 38 nationalities (including UK and US) can receive a single entry visa upon arrival valid for one month. Visitors from other countries can apply for a visa before they come to Qatar through their hotel.
A TRADITION OF HOSPITALITY
The quality and service standards of Qatar’s hospitality industry match the world’s best. The many international and regional hotel brands boast outstanding facilities - modern well-equipped rooms, elegant public areas, multiple restaurant options, pools, private beaches, gyms, spas, business facilities, and children’s play areas.
QATAR AS A CRUISE DESTINATION
Gulf nations are among the top three cruise destinations worldwide during the winter months, where guaranteed sunshine, majestic desert landscapes and futuristic cityscapes meet. As tourists look for new adventures beyond the traditional Caribbean and Mediterranean routes, Qatar is working to tap into the tremendous potential that the cruise industry offers. As part of these plans, the Doha port – which lies in the heart of the city – is being completely redeveloped to create a dedicated cruise terminal and tourist attractions. Qatar is also a member of the Cruise Arabia Alliance, which offers tourists multi-city itineraries to showcase the best of the Arabian Gulf. For more: visitqatar.qa
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GIVE YOURSELF THE WINNING EDGE
Stephen Roche on the World Championships in Qatar When you were racing, UCI races didn’t take place in such exotic places. What do you think about the internationalisation of cycling?
Looking at cycling today, it's good that Pat McQuaid, during his reign as head of UCI, globalised cycling, including Asia and South America. Riders like Quintana and Pantano have come through from Columbia. Look at MTNQhubeka, now Dimension Data - new sponsorship, new team, new horizons and giving hopes and dreams to many African cyclists. So I'm totally for globalisation but I think there has to be limits. It's okay to have South African and Asian riders coming to Europe but before European riders go there, certain rules and regulations must be respected. It's not that easy to respect some of the locations because of the road networks, the hotel networks, the organisational networks, and facilities - it's great for cycling but everything must be managed properly. Security is primarily the main aspect of it.
What do you think of the route in Doha? What will be the challenges?
I think going to Doha is good for cycling but it is the World Championships, and going on what we've seen and read about the circuit... well, when the decision was made, there was an understanding that there would be a man-made climb built somewhere along the course which would help make the race interesting, but that never came about. So we're now looking at the riders using a similar circuit to the Tour of Qatar. You're riding in the deserts, through lots of roundabouts which means any cross winds or anything that may affect the riders in normal circumstances to split the race apart, aren't going to happen here because the straight lines are just so short in between the roundabouts. So it's not a really a good circuit, but it's going to be for a
sprinter. It might also be dangerous because of all of the roundabouts and road furniture.
Who are the riders to look out for in the men’s TT and Road Race? Can you predict winners? For the individual TT I think Tom Dumoulin and Fabian Cancellara as he's riding his last year. If he decides to ride the Time Trial Championships, he will want to win it. And there’s Tony Martin of course.
With regards to the Team Trial, we're looking at Sky, BMC and Movistar. Probably with it being a very flat circuit, I think Sky may have the upper hand because of all of the TT specialists they have on their team. For the Road Championships, Cavendish has ridden the track at the Olympics and we saw the effect that had on him in the Tour de France - he won four stages - it might have the same effect on him there. I think that Alexander Kristoff is a rider who came out of the Tour very disappointed and will want a chance to set the record straight and the flat circuit will suit him. It's difficult putting your money on someone because there are so many sprinters who are at such a high level. We saw in the Tour at least three bunch sprints that came down to millimetres on the finish line. I'll put down Kittel as a favourite as it's a very flat course. Tom Boonen would be a fairy tale. This year he missed out on Paris-Roubaix, and this would be a great fairy tale finish to his career but I'm just not sure he has the outright speed to beat the pure sprinters.
What about the women’s road race?
Lizzie Armitstead has to be the favourite. She's an allrounder and it's not a very difficult circuit.
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1987 Roche in Yellow on Alpe d'Huez by PhSpt
The Stephen Roche Story
tephen Roche became a Triple Champion in 1987 - by winning the Giro d`Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championships in one year - an historic feat that has only ever been achieved one other, Eddy Merckx in 1974.
On disc two we are given a complete review of the 1987 Tour de France - a severe 25 stage Tour that saw Roche win an incredible battle with Pedro Delgado. Roche gave it everything, dramatically collapsing at La Plagne with exhaustion, then taking the Yellow Jersey on the time-trial to Dijon, and finally riding into a Paris swamped in tricolour flags. A day when Irish eyes were smiling. Well-narrated by the familiar voice of Phil Liggett, this is an enjoyable watch for Roche fans, and Tour fans who will not be disappointed by the thrilling 1987 edition.
Format: PAL Region: All Regions Number of discs: 2 Classification: Exempt Run Time: 210 minutes Price: ÂŁ22.99 Available: www. bromleyvideo.com, a wealth of cycling videos, books, prints and clothing
From humble beginnings in Dublin as an apprentice fitter to a cycling triple champion, Stephen tells us about his rollercoaster journey that took him to the summit of world cycling. On disc one we learn of an early talent - junior titles, success in the 1980 Paris-Roubaix amateur race and an incredible first year as a professional in 1981 by winning Paris-Nice. Stephen tells us about the highs and lows. Through an in-depth interview, rare and historic archive film, and fabulous race footage of all his major victories, this revealing and intimate programme tells us of his determination to reach the very top.
Grassroots Cycling An Oasis in the Desert
Cycling World meets Wajeeha Al-Husseini, an inspiration behind Qatarâ€™s growing cycling scene
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CYCLING LIFE IN QATAR I came to Qatar three and a half years as a Director of Brand and Communications and not knowing anything about cycling. I was inspired to start cycling when I met the Qatar Sandstormers Charity Cycling Team. I bought my first bike and fell in love with the sport so much so that within a few short months I also started training for my first long distance triathlon! With brand as my field of expertise for over twenty years I played an active role in promoting the sport of cycling and charity with the Qatar Sandstormers. We organized a few cycling events for charity and it was then that I became an active member of the cycling community, promoting the sport, especially among women, while at the same time raising money for charity, cycling and training for triathlons. I then joined my other business partners in opening Qatar's first premier bike shop, Carbon Wheels. I served on the board of TriClub Doha, participated in the formulation of the race calendar for the Qatar amateur racing season and supported the Qatar Cyclists Center in organising several events and workshops including the Heart of Qatar Ride and the First Women's Cycling Event in Qatar. IS CYCLING A POPULAR SPORT IN QATAR? HAS THE NATION SEEN A RISE IN POPULARITY BOTH PROFESSIONALLY AND AT A GRASSROOTS LEVEL? Cycling is a growing sport in Qatar. I would say that I have seen it more than triple in the last year and half, especially with the established of the Qatar Cyclists Center, raising awareness for cycling for its health benefits among the local population. From a professional standpoint I have seen Qatar as very welcoming to all sports and with the Tour of Qatar in its eleventh year and now we are hosting the World Championship. I can only say that yes, the sport is seeing a rise in popularity.
WILL THE WORLDS BE A POPULAR EVENT? That's a great question, I believe that with the right promotion and awareness it will surely draw crowds. We have seen the Tour of Qatar on the last day draw spectators to the finish line and it's quite exciting to see such an amazing turnout. DO YOU HOPE THERE WILL BE GOOD LEGACY AFTER THE WORLDS? I certainly hope so. The involvement of the local clubs is growing the cycling scene, as well as having a local bike shop like ours available for support and technical services, we can only have a positive effect post the Worlds.
GB Special October 2016
HOW HEALTHY IS THE WOMEN’S SCENE? IS IT MAINLY EXPATS RATHER THAN NATIONALS? WHAT IS BEING DONE TO GET MORE QATARI WOMEN INVOLVED? As cycling is still new as an amateur sport, most of the cyclists are expats. However, there is a growing number of local women who are involved in cycling and are getting into the sport. We saw this need after we organised the Women's event in which over 450 women took part. For the local women, I would have to say that we need to be respectful of the cultural nuances. Most of the women prefer to either train in a private, enclosed environment or at home on a turbo trainer. With the opening of the Losail Circuit Sports Club for cyclists, and after seeing the success of the event, we know that one day a month will be dedicated to women only. This will surely raise the profile for cycling amongst women and encourage them to get out more and get active with cycling as the sport of choice. Post our ladies event, the feedback was phenomenal with the women asking for more opportunities of ladies only cycling evenings at the circuit. Their wish is coming true!
A Charitable Sand Storm Meet the Qatar Sandstormers, a very charitable cycling club
he Qatar Sandstormers came into being in 2012 to participate and represent Qatar in a Vodafone sponsored charity cycling challenge called the Global Biking Initiative. With a charitable ethos they quickly flourished during the first year, working in partnership with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), the Sandstormers corporate donations totalled US$ 10k in support of an Education project in Nepal.
The following year saw 1000km long ride from Oslo, Norway to Dusseldorf, Germany. With a Facebook Giving Page cheerful followers gave their team a lot of support and admiration, with many getting inspired to join the ride.
A new charity partnership in 2013 saw the Sandstormers pair up with Eid Charity association, the start of a successful two-year relationship supported by international Qatari companies Vodafone Qatar, Qatar Airways, Moseco, Salam International, RasGas, and Damen Shipyards. In total, over US$ 100k was raised for the support of Beitak Beiti initiative, a community project to reinvigorate the homes of underprivileged families living in Qatar with household essentials such as air conditioning, refrigerators, kitchen appliances and minor household repairs. The team won “Biggest Charity Fundraiser Award” for its outstanding fundraising contribution to its home charity and the
Global Biking Initiative total charity sum. Since then, the Sandstormers has been joined by Qatar Cyclists, a ministry-backed sports club tasked with promoting the sport of cycling in Qatar. The teams have jointly committed to a three-year contract to build a new primary education school in Gaza. With over 40% of the target US$ 1.5m in donations achieved, their Cycling4Education campaign has also boosted the popularity of cycling in Qatar, amongst locals in particular. The Sandstormers have remained charity-focused amongst a growing number of cycling teams and continue to participate in the annual Global Biking Initiative. In May 2017, the team will participate alongside many other Arab and gulf teams through a celebratory route, a re-run of a 2008 inaugural ride from Vodafone’s headquarters in London to its offices in Dusseldorf, Germany. To support the Sandstormers with its charity efforts, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Piste of Mind.com has just launched a unique new service to take all the hassle out of air travel with bikes and additional bulky equipment. Piste of Mind will collect your bikes and excess kit from your home or designated collection point and deliver them directly to your resort in time for your arrival. The airport experience becomes easier in an instant - no heavy bags, no queuing with bikes and oversized equipment and no waiting at carousels. Hasslefree travel all the way. Collecting from throughout the UK and delivering across the Alps and Europe, Piste of Mind enables users to avoid any unexpected airport ‘in hold’ costs and ensures all
equipment is looked after by specialist experts during transportation. With over five years’ experience and a proven system that has revolutionised ski travel, Piste of Mind is now bringing its exceptional offering to the cycling world. And exclusively for Cycling World readers Piste of Mind is offering an introductory 7.5% discount. Simply highlight the discount tab when you complete your payment on www.pisteofmind.com and enter DiscWQS. For further information visit www.pisteofmind.com today. Alternatively call 0121 323 5156. Coming soon...Piste of Mind is also about to launch Golf in Mind – a specialist carriage service for golfers in Europe using the same principle as the main service. Further details to be announced shortly and will be found on golfinmind.co.uk
hether you’re planning a pre-winter adventure or racing in the Alps this autumn, this time the one thing you won’t have to worry about is how to get your bikes and gear there.
PORTUGAL Refinding its Cycling Pedigree
Jeremy Edwards discovers an untapped beauty and a re-found cycling heritage
am hunched over my top tube and sweat is mixing with sun cream, stinging my eyes. As my breathing recovers I take a swig from a solar heated bidon and sit up to survey the climb that has just encouraged me to stop at its summit. I smile. Sprawled out in front and below is the Arrábida Natural Park. With its deep green Mediterranean vegetation and cloudless skies, it is a welcome sight for sore eyes. I am here to discover a bit of what a cycling holiday in Portugal might offer as an alternative to the tried and tested col hunting in France.
Portugal has a rich cycling heritage, the Volta a Portugal em bicicleta was first ridden in 1927 and whilst not as important as the three grand tours it always has been and remains a significant competition. My arrival in Lisbon coincides with the 9th and penultimate stage of the 78th edition of the race, which runs between Alcácer do Sal and Setúbal, covering 187.5km. At this point a Portuguese rider, Rui Vinhas representing the Portuguese team W52-FC Porto-Porto Canal, is still in contention for the GC. It is clear from crowds gathering early in Setúbal that expectations are high. These expectations are driven by memories of Jaoquim Agostinho, Portugal’s most famous cycling son, who was champion of Portugal in six successive years and twice finished third in the Tour de France, winning on Alpe d'Huez in 1979. More recently Rui Costa, who won the 2013 UCI Road World Championships, has inspired a new generation of cyclists. Professional cycling in Portugal is growing again, powerful Football clubs such as FC Porto have returned to sponsor a team after a 31-year hiatus.
As we leave for the morning ride I am too busy enjoying the heat (36C) and the sea breeze to worry about missing the sprint finish. The ride out of town is a steady climb and quickly takes us away from the noise and traffic of the busy port. As a first time visitor to Portugal I am immediately struck by how green the hillsides are in August; the contrast between
Fernando Pedrosa of Phoinix Cycling, a small tour operator based in Setúbal has arranged for me to ride part of today’s stage, which also follows the route of the local Granfondo held annually in October. Two short rides have been planned, which will complement the timing of the stage and enable plenty of time to enjoy the company of my hosts whilst pit stopping at a couple of their favourite cafes. This is, after all, a special day, being the first time the Tour has passed through Setubal in 40 years. The first ride, in the morning will head into the Arrábida Natural Park, and will include both the category three climb at Alto das Necessidades and the coastal category two at Alto das Arrabida. The second ride, in the afternoon will head back via an alternative route to Alto das Necessidades, where we will wait for the Tour to arrive, hoping to witness an attack on the 20% gradient that appears near the end of the climb. Somehow we then have to make it back to Setúbal before the leaders arrive for what should be a sprint finish. The tour riders have a much greater distance to cover and this includes a lot of climbing; despite this I have my doubts regarding our ability to return in time.
the perfect azure of the sky and the olive tones of the hillside is stunning. I am cycling with a mixed group and as such the pace is steady, given the temperature I am happy to be eased into the ride. We break onto a narrow road that takes us deeper into the Natural Park and leads towards the day’s first climb, the category three at Alto das Necessidades. The climb is steady at first and there is time to enjoy the mixture of farm land, which is mostly comprised of small vineyards, olive trees and grazing sheep. As we progress the climb undulates and I find myself looking forward to the tree-lined sections providing shade as the heat takes its toll. In the last 300m the gradient begins to really ramp up and I find myself out of the saddle and relieved to take the crest in order to take on some much needed water. Thankfully the journey to Aldeia Rica, a small town on the edge of the park is flat and the pace leisurely.
We break for a drink at a café and I enjoy sampling the locally-baked pastries, my pastel de nata, a type of egg custard tart, is superb. A mountain bike parked in front of the café sparks conversation about bikes owned past and present and it is quickly apparent that the team from Phoinix have an encyclopaedic knowledge of bicycles and are keen to share stories. Fernando, who fell in love with mountain biking whilst training for fitness to further his motocross career, tells me how he started with a converted Rossin Mistral cyclo-cross bike which he then fitted with a flat bar. Many of the tiny roads which form a maze across the Arrabida Park are unsealed gravel tracks, the local riders frequently opt to take cyclocross bikes or simply fit heavier tyres to road bikes in order to benefit from these rural lanes which complement the tarmac roads. One of our party, João Serralheiro, who runs a local cycle distribution business is actively involved in the development of the local cycling scene. He plans to make good use of these gravel roads as they will comprise part of the route for the spring classic that he has created and has just been added to the UCI calendar for 2017.
Returning to the saddle we head back into the park and begin the ascent towards the coast. The sun is dominant in the sky, and as I push harder the bushes and trees which line the roads are filled with cicada and their rhythmic song adds to the contrast from cycling at home. I am cycling with a grin, in fact as we begin to traverse the coast and the gentle breeze provides some relief, that feeling of flight or even Jean Bobet’s la volupté, (‘pleasure from a combination of speed and ease, force and grace’) begins to hit me. The ocean sparkles to my right and a smooth curving asphalt strip beckons to the fore. I have already decided that I will be
PHOINIX CYCLING Phoinix cycling, based in Setubal south of Lisbon, are a small cycle tour operator who offer bespoke packages for those who do not wish to move base every day. Instead they are focussed on providing a personal experience with rides from a single base led by guides who have an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycling. Comprised of a group of friends with a passion for and a lifetime involvement in cycling, Phoinix want to share the best of road cycling in this undeniably pretty part of Portugal. Phoinix can provide bikes, full mechanical support and massage as well as a choice of accommodation. Whilst being lovers of cycling this group are also most definitely lovers of life and as such they are keen to share the best of the local food and drink. www.phoinix.pt
returning to discover and explore more of what this area has to offer, it is so different in culture and landscape to Northern Europe. It is worth exploring these contrasts from a saddle. The drop from the category two climb at Alto das Arrabida down to Setúbal is a heady combination of smooth dry roads and open bends which encourage you to let go and lean in. I am rapidly passed by the local riders who know these routes so well and are possibly spending less time admiring the views of the Tróia Peninsula. Following lunch in Setúbal we head back to Alto das Necessidades to wait for the Tour to arrive. We cycle via an alternative route, this time heading back along the coastal road before heading inland up a steadily rising lane. Either side of us the combination of red rock and eucalyptus trees reminds me somewhat of Western Australia. As we climb out of the valley the views change and we are moving through a cork tree plantation, a firm reminder that we are definitely in a wine producing area. Soon we arrive back at Alto das Necessidades, where the crowds that have already developed are mostly made up of local club riders. The atmosphere is one of bonhomie and the crowd is cheering the last of the vehicles to pass up the climb before the road is closed. Many of the lesser powered cars and mopeds are stalling on the 20% gradient and the audience delights in celebrating each failure before helping them on. As the tour arrives a small break of about ten riders is leading the peloton by a couple of minutes. No decisive moves or attacks are made, but the atmosphere is fantastic and it is great to see that the behaviour of the crowd is respectful to the riders. The last support vehicle passes and there is a scramble as the crowd turn to their own bikes and begin to hurtle back down to ensure arrival in Setubal in time for the finish. Cycling with the group from Phoinix we get ourselves organised and after negotiating the lanes of the natural park we manage to average over 50kmh on the final 5km of sweeping downhill into town. What a way to finish a perfect day, that was capped by the sight of home favourite Rui Vinhas coming in safely to maintain his lead of over two minutes in the GC. Time is precious and for most of us, especially those with families. If we get away once a year for a cycling holiday we consider ourselves lucky, which means we must choose wisely. Whilst the Arrabida Natural Park and surrounding areas obviously does not provide the chance to take on any of those cols on your bucket list it does provide other opportunities. It is a pleasure and a change to cycle in a southern Mediterranean landscape. The terrain offers some seriously punchy climbs and very rapid descents, all set against the stunning backdrop of olive groves, glistening ocean and unspoilt beaches. Furthermore, the welcome is as good as or better than anywhere else is Europe and the local restaurants do not seem to know how to serve a bad meal. Anyone who loves seafood will be in heaven. Whether it’s for a cycle only holiday intended for use as a training camp or for a combination of cycling and family downtime I would highly recommend this area as an alternative to the tried and tested destinations.
ARRABIDA GRANFONDO - 2ND OCTOBER 2016 This is the second edition of the event, the first attracting over 600 riders. This is a race of just over 133km, mainly through the Arrabida natural park on closed roads and includes a summit finish at the castle in Palmelas. Interesting to note, there is also a category for those wishing to ride a vintage bike. www.arrabidagranfondo.com
THE BICYCLE DIARIES O ’ L T : 8 ne woman s solo cycle from
Rebecca Lowe embarked on a 10,000km ‘bummel’ through Europe and the Middle East in July 2015. Her aims are threefold: cultivate a pair of shapely calves that will be the envy of all she meets; survive; and shed light on a region long misunderstood in the West
Markovo, Bulgaria to Hamzabeyli, Turkey (28 Oct – 7 Nov) Total miles cycled: 2,130 (3,428km)
My destination is a village called Koprivshtitsa. This turns out to be a charming place full of vivid, multicoloured houses, ruggedly elegantly under neat terracotta roofs. The 19th century buildings have all been perfectly restored, and I learn that it was here where the first shot of the April Uprising against the Ottomans was fired in 1876. Two days later, I am back on the road once more. And what a ride! Seventyfive glorious kilometres of downhill, my spirits soaring higher with every metre I plunge. At lunchtime, I arrive in Plovdiv, the second biggest city in Bulgaria and reportedly one of the oldest in the world, dating from 5,000 BC. It’s a pretty place, and has a bohemian artiness and vibrant architecture that resembles Koprivshtitsa writ large. As I check into my hostel, I see a leaflet for the mayoral elections on the counter. Is the owner going to vote, I ask? He shakes his head. ‘They’re all mafia. You have to pay for everything: 1,000 lev for an operation, 10 lev for a speeding fine. Companies have been shut down for not paying under-thecounter fees.’ He sighs deeply, adding: ‘Bulgarians don’t have enough money to worry about anything but today. We have a word for it: prahostnici.’ My next stop is the refugee town of Harmanli. As I head off the main road to take a more scenic route, a man stops to warns me in German not to go this way as the road is ‘sehr klein und sehr schlecht’. I thank him, but say I prefer small back-roads. Nobody understands the ethos of the cyclist, I mutter to myself as he drives away. They just don’t get it. Half an hour later, I’m lying face down in the road feeling a bit foolish. The holes had worsened, as predicted, until the asphalt resembled a pair of fishnet tights after a heavy night on the voddies. Then, predictably, disaster struck. While ogling a particularly handsome donkey on a grassy verge, I failed to notice the railway track and ditch in front of me – and off over Maud’s frontal lobes I flew. Excepting a few minor surface
wounds, both Maud and I are ok. But my laptop is a different story. On impact, a carton of milk exploded in my rucksack, drenching everything. My laptop, foolishly, was on, and I look on helplessly as the system short circuits before I can shut it down. Why did nobody warn me about the hazardous combination of milk and donkeys, I think to myself? Where were they on my risk assessment form? I schlepp on miserably to the hotel, which I discover in the middle of a wood. It’s large, pink and ominously empty. An old man takes me to my tiny room, which seems clean except for a couple of friendly cockroaches. At least, the sheets are refreshingly pube-free, which is my new yardstick for luxury. After an hour or so, I cheer up. This is helped considerably by the bottle of 2006 Zagreus Premium Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon I discover behind the dusty bar, which I tuck into with gusto. As I do so, the old man shuffles over to take my order. ‘What would you like?’ he asks (in German). ‘What do you have?’ I reply. ‘What do you want?’ he repeats. ‘Pasta?’ I say. ‘We don’t have pasta,’ he says. ‘We have sausages and potatoes.’ About four minutes later, he brings out a plate with a slab of dry beef and chips. ‘We didn’t have sausages,’ he says apologetically. The next morning, after fixing up Maud, I set off at 6.30am. The ride to Harmanli is pleasant and uneventful, and as soon as I arrive I’m approached by a small, swarthy man with a wolfish grin. ‘Hello, beautiful,’ he says. ‘Can I show you around?’ I’m not overly keen, but it turns out he’s exactly what I’m looking for: a Syrian refugee from the camp. We agree to meet in an hour. The man, H, is a Kurd and a dual Syrian/ Turkish national. Three years ago, most here were African and Afghan, he says, though most now are Syrian. Only a few hundred remain as so many have fled to Germany. This is the destination of choice, he tells me, as most other countries send people back to the first place they sought asylum, under the EU Dublin Regulation. H is 32 and is desperate to flee too. He first tells me he left Syria because of the war and cannot return to Turkey because he was caught there with a fake visa for Norway and absconded. The story later changes. His uncle killed someone in retaliation for an attack over money, he confides, and the conflict escalated. ‘Life is cheap for Kurds,’ he says. H introduces me to a Kurdish friend: a flashy fellow in luminescent yellow Adidas trainers, who drives a black Mercedes 4x4 and makes a living as a human trafficker. We drink tea and he tells me how he hates Islamic State (‘they try to convert everyone who isn’t Muslim’), but has no problem with Assad. This surprises me: the Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in both Syria
October October 2016 2016
fter overnighting in the small town of Markovo, I head deep into the Balkan mountains. It’s a damp, grey flannel of a day, and I pass tractors, timber farms and a ‘non-stop mini market’, long closed. There are also a surprising number of incredibly slow-moving old wrinklies, hunched double, who I estimate to be somewhere between 300 and 400 years old.
and Turkey, and have been discriminated against in both for generations. But, as the maxim goes, your enemy’s enemy is your friend, and IS is proving an effective if unsettling matchmaker across the world. H’s friends tell me how the flight to Germany works. They pay a ‘chief’ (like the Adidas fellow), who organises the entire trip, and they travel at night en masse. It costs €600-800 to cross the Bulgarian/Serbia border, and thousands for the trip as a whole. It’s much harder now than it used to be, apparently. A 30km wall has been built between Bulgaria and Turkey, and is due to expand, and guards are more militant. We wander around town and end up in a smoky, sour-smelling bar. I order a coffee while H gets a beer. He would reciprocate, he says, but has squandered €12,000 on gambling and is waiting for money from his family. I humour him, but am sure he’s lying. Gambling debts are clearly more acceptable to his male ego than admitting he’s poor. ‘We get nothing from Bulgaria,’ he says. ‘But we’re ok. We’re men; we have money.’ Then H takes me to the camp. I am not confident of success as I’ve heard Bulgarian camps are notoriously difficult to enter. But the guard is a Bulgarian Turk and H sweet-talks him in Turkish. ‘We’re in!’ he tells me jubilantly. ‘We’ve got fifteen minutes.’
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Inside, we walk into a vast, bleak courtyard, and past rows of grim, corrugated metal porta-cabins where people used to be housed. We then enter a second courtyard beside a large, grey concrete block. Inside, it’s worse than I imagined. The floor is mottled with stains and puddles, while the bathroom is filthy, with several taps running and flooding the sinks. ‘Be careful of the rats,’ H calls to me encouragingly. ‘They’re as big as dogs.’
We go to H’s room, which he shares with three other men in two bunk beds. It’s small and grimy, and I feel a deep, cloying heaviness just looking at it. Then our fifteen minutes are up and we rush back to the entrance. On our way out, H suddenly reveals his money hasn’t come through. Can he have 20 lev (€6) to catch the bus tomorrow? I’m hesitant, but agree. I know he’s a bullshitter, but he’s still a bullshitter in need, I reason. The next day, I hear that H never made the bus. He overslept, he says. And he’s also in love with me. I spend the day ignoring his ever-more-persistent calls and instead explore the town. Harmanli is an odd place, pretty in parts, but with a stale lifelessness at its core. Young
men in jeans and leather jackets mooch in the shadows, their shoulders slumped, their gaze dry and hollow. Back at the hotel, there’s a knock at my door. It’s H. His eyes are bloodshot, his face pallid. ‘Where have you been?’ he demands. I’m shocked he’s found me, but try to remain composed. ‘You’re a liar,’ I tell him. ‘You say you need to leave urgently, but you miss the bus. You say you have lots of money, yet need more. You say you’re a Syrian refugee, but you’re a Turkish fugitive. What’s the truth?’ To get him out of my room, I agree to have a final drink in a bar beside the hotel. When we arrive, he immediately orders a double vodka (on me). He tells me he loves me, then slightly undermines the sentiment by saying he loves ‘all British women’. Have I ever met a man like him before, he asks? Small, sleazy and desperate, I reply? Plenty. Gradually drunker and more incoherent, H tells me he respects me deeply. And wants to have sex with me. That’s sweet, I say, and will never happen in a million years. He shifts tack and tells me he doesn’t respect me and there’s something funny about my eyes. I say thank you and leave. As I rush off, he follows me shouting: ‘I will kill you! And have sex with you!’ – in that rather macabre order. Then I dart into the hotel and up to my room. A few minutes later, I hear crashes and a scream below. And then silence. Later, I discover that H lashed out at the receptionist and was arrested. At first I feel guilty. He’s not a malicious man, I think; just a desperate, misguided one. But I needn’t have worried. A few days later, I hear he made it to Munich after all. And he’s sorry. I ignore him, but on some level I find I am pleased. Maybe, at last, he can sort his life out. From Harmanli, I set off on an ambitious 118km venture to see a ghost-town called Matochina near the Turkish border. It’s a long, hilly slog to get there, the last 15km along an almost impassable muddy track that flays my tyres and pummels my rump. Then, finally, the town emerges in the valley below, glowing in the late afternoon light. The
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place looks eerily alive, but it’s a mirage of vitality; a cadaver enlivened by an embalmer’s brush. Only a tiny handful of residents remain, all of whom I meet outside the village shop: one old man, one old woman, the shopkeeper and an ancient shepherdess. After supping a lemonade for 7p, I have a swift nose around town. I visit the old school and museum, both boarded up, and the 4th century Bukelon ruins, reconstructed in the Late Middle Ages. There’s history and cultural significance here, in this dying ember of a town. But it’s heart and soul are clearly beyond repair. Then, as the sun kisses the horizon, I hit the road again. I am aiming for a town called Shtit, 20km away, where I hear there’s a guest-house. I start making my way across the empty, heavily rutted roads as the light fades. Then, suddenly, the sun is gone and I can barely see more than a yard in front of me. Just please don’t get a puncture, I think to myself as I slow to a crawl. Not now. Not here. A few kilometres later I get a puncture. I can’t believe it. It’s almost pitch black now, and deathly quiet except for a gentle breath of wind. I stop and dismount wearily – and it’s then I hear the jackals. They sound just metres away, cackling with maniacal glee. Oh god, I think. I’m going to die here. I’m going to end my days as some crass horror movie parody, aiming for a town called Shtit. I take out my thermos and have a large gulp of emergency Cabernet Sauvignon Khan Krum. What to do? And then, suddenly, I am saved for the second time that day. A truck pulls up, and the man and young boy inside offer to give me a ride. They speak no English, but I can see the kindness in their eyes. Yes, I say. Yes yes yes! Half an hour later, I am safely ensconced at the guesthouse being revived by a bowl of tripe soup and pint of Johnnie Walker. The wooden building is homely and filled with an impressively eclectic range of décor, including weaponry, stuffed fish and paintings of bosomy women being slain in battle. It’s the perfect refuge and, after patching Maud, I zonk out exhaustedly under my cosy leopard-print sheets.
After a short stay in Elhovo, I head for the Turkish border. As the edge of Europe approaches, ominous signs crying ‘danger zone!’ flash up on my right. Is it, I wonder? I’ve never been to Turkey before, and certainly not on a bike. What dangers may or may not lie in store, I have absolutely no idea. But I can’t wait to find out. Follow Rebecca’s journey on her website at thebicyclediaries.co.uk, Twitter at reo_lowe or Facebook at facebook.com/bexbicyclediaries. Rebecca is sponsored by Kona, Lightwave, Garmin, Arkel, Berghaus, Lenovo and Pedros.
October October 2016 2016
I leave early the next morning – and swiftly get another puncture. I forgot to check the blasted tyre for thorns, I realise. Could I make any more mistakes in such a short period? As I fix it, I meet M, a Brit who moved to Bulgaria ten years ago. Until recently, there were ‘hundreds’ of migrants making their way through his village, he tells me. ‘Police sometimes beat them up and steal their cash,’ he adds. ‘They broke the legs of a couple of guys and they later froze to death.’ (I later look up the incident and discover the guys were two Iraqi Yazidis fleeing ISIS, according to a March 2015 report by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.)
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