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Design, Editorial & Publishing - Michael Mercer-Brown

FRWD This is the cumilation of years of me loving to ride my ike and finallly gettin the cahnve to put donw in print all those bookmarked webpages and storties that i was told growing up. This is a ollection of cycling empemera from all areas, rak to mountain bike, bmx to fixed gear, this is for lovers of all things bike. this is velocita. enjoy CONTRIBUTORS/SOURCES

concor supercorsa, available from


Photos : Tim Kolln shot on Polaroid Camera. 2006





Neither one of us is very good at it, but there we were rallying, Cav taking a break from a busy first day at the HTC Specialized camp and me enjoying a lull in the action between shooting assignments. I won’t pretend to “know” Mark Cavendish but I enjoyed the 20 minutes we spent sending loose returns back and forth. It was one of several glimpses I got into the young man who happens to be the fastest sprinter in the world. While I can’t pretend to “know” him, I will say I liked him. We didn’t talk about racing. Having had my own share of dental experiences I asked him about his teeth; what he thought about about the bikes he and the team will be riding starting in 2011. I offered my own third-party view of the company that Mike built, told him about the daily hammer-fest that is the Specialized lunch ride and how serious they all are about racing and riding their bikes. Mike Sinyard rode Leadville, rode to Vegas (again) and enjoys the lunch ride tradition as much as anyone. I wanted Mark to know this because of course, none of the Specialized folks, and least of all Mike, would blow their own trumpet. Specialized’s HQ never looked better. Robert Egger’s fantastic creations were everywhere. A sleek, flowing prototype tandem sat poised for takeoff in the lobby, whimsical hotwheel and flintstone bikes, choppers, cruisers and everything in between dotted the second floor landscape where the team set up camp. It’s hard to describe the place in words... bikes and bike frames hang from the walls, dangle from the ceiling, stand on cabinets, triangulate against desks... they are everywhere you look, and with the possible exception of accounting (which I’ve yet to visit) you couldn’t walk more than 15 feet without a bike being within easy reach. Cav summed it best... “I love this place” he told me as yet another of my returns missed the end of the table and he scrambled after it. I think his teammates did too and it didn’t take long before they were riding around the building and enjoying themselves on bikes of every description even as they began the serious work of preparing for another racing season. I shot intense 150-minute BGFit sessions for Tejay Van

Garderen, Cav, Evelyn Stevens and Hayden Roulston. BGFit is where rider physiology, biomechanics, and equipment converge to give riders the best possible platform to train efficiently, win races and stay injury free. The level of detail is incredible and piece by piece the fitters, lead by Scott Holz and Doctor Andy Pruitt, build a compelling case for the changes they suggest. Every step of the way, millimeter by millimeter, they ask for rider feedback and listen. It’s impressive. Mark’s session lasted 90 minutes and it was focused almost exclusively on shoe fit and cleat placement. Sitting on the floor a mere three feet away I got my second insight into the man. It’s not easy being Mark Cavendish, when everyone (including me I suppose) wants a little piece of you. He sat quietly on a massage table with paper notebook and phone while a bike was being setup nearby. We made eye contact and he told me he liked my shirt (A Rapha Nocturne T). Thanks I replied and asked how he was doing. Then I heard the fit center doors open behind me and twenty or thirty media being ushered in to watch and that took me by surprise. They crowded around the fit platform firing away, close but respectful. I watched as Mark seemed to withdraw into himself just a little and I wondered how I’d feel if 30 people turned up to watch me get fitted for a pair of shoes. Again we made eye contact and I whispered, “Is it like this every day” to which he nodded and told me it was. It may be part and parcel of the bargain, but it’s no less difficult to deal with at times. I wondered how I’d have coped with that level of scrutiny at 25. He seemed to be doing rather well for a guy who’s a complex mix of shyness, confidence, humility and bravado. Just as he harnesses all his energy for that final surge to the line, I felt him reining in his emotions to focus on the single task at hand. When the fit began he was totally absorbed in it. He followed Scott Holz’s developing fit argument closely and responded with detailed feedback on precisely what each leg, foot and toe were feeling. That feedback invariably matched perfectly with what the fit team was recording and with the biomechanics of the small adjustments they were pursuing. I don’t have anything like that intimate connection and awareness with my bike but I do understand it in terms of the golf swing and more specifically the golf grip. When you really can play, and I suppose my one-time single digit handicap constituted being able to play, your sensitivity through the grip can often predict the outcome of a shot. Sometimes you put your hands on the club, and know with an almost frightening certainty you’ll hit a great shot. The same is equally true for bad ones.

When the various moves gelled Cav recognized it immediately, and he was done. Later, with his public responsibilities taken care of, he appeared on a pump bike during Tejay’s fit and proceeded to lark around the room. Bunny hopping onto the stage, hopping around like a trial’s rider and generally riding with the exuberance of a kid. It had all of us in the room smiling. After a few laps and some big grins he spun around and off he went. The rest of the team were in fine spirits too. Monday a small group of htc men and women followed the photo car over to a local coffee shop for some java and more casual imagery. Tony Martin flatted just before the shop and with no follow car it was pure luck I had a tube in the car and Specialized’s Chris Matthews had a pump. With help from a teammate Tony changed his tire and we got rolling again in a couple of minutes. Tuesday Bernie Eisel and company were in the warehouse sitting on handlebars and riding little bikes backwards until Mr. Eisel took his movie star good looks in search of a forklift scissor truck. He drove that around like he’d been doing it all his life. When I saw him this morning we joked about him having something to fall back on if this bike thing doesn’t work out. -Thanks Mark.


Yesterday I was invited to visit the Velodrome at the Olympic Village in London which is nearing completion well ahead of its 2012 deadline. The Velodrome has been designed by Hopkins Architects and is beautiful! You can see from one of the photographs the magnificent wooden exterior and also its amazing shape. The inside shot shows the track which is covered right now to protect it whilst the work is being finished. The building somehow already has this tension and excitement about it so I can’t imagine how amazing it will be once the games start. The atmosphere should be magnificent!

BLACK GOLD Valarie Felix


STAMP COLLECTION BY CYCLE ENTHUSIAST SIMON LAMB. “its amazing the thing you forget and find months later, im off to ebay to expnad my collection”

QUEEN VIC Victoria Pendleton at the UCI World Championships. Photos : Veeral Patel The sprint event is the hardest discipline in track cycling because it is pure one-to-one combat. The margin for error is minuscule… a mistake could be anything as small as blinking, or looking over the wrong shoulder for a split second. Do that and the race will be over. In my experience, the person who makes the least mistakes wins. You have to watch your opponent so closely and analyse every slight movement, every twitch, as an indicator of when they are going to make their move. And that isn’t easy. There is so much pressure, you have to concentrate really hard, and remember you don’t do it just once – you have to do it as many as 12 times in a day. It’s a best of three race at some stages and if you lose a heat you are gone, simple as that. Do races get physical? Well, they shouldn’t, but they do sometimes. There are elbows that can touch, a little bit of leaning over, some people will try anything to get some tiny advantage or to put you off your rhythm. It’s the psychological part that is probably tougher. Before a race, everyone walks around in the warm up area like they know exactly what they are doing. I always think of it like that swan thing, in that up top you have to be completely calm and cool, but underneath you are paddling frantically with nerves and excitement. Everyone is always staring at each other. Sometimes people will do it on the sly; they check out your legs or how you are breathing, looking for a weakness. Others will look at you directly and try to stare you down. Then you get some of the Eastern Europeans, the really butch ones with moustaches, who will actually spit at you to try to wind you up. Basically, what I try to do is to walk about with my head up and my shoulders back, telling myself: “Yeah, I’m the best. Look at me… I can beat you all.” The good thing for me, though, is that having been triple world champion in 2007 and a double world champion in 2008, everyone looks at me differently. Not only does it give me confidence, but they also know I’m the number one – I’m the girl they’ve got to beat.

I love that. When you know your opponents are looking at you wzand thinking: “Oh shit… do I have to ride against her?” Before a race, I listen to music to get psyched up. I also have a mental warm-up strategy, where I go through how I am going to do in the race, boxing off the negative thoughts and focusing on the positive elements. I also run through how I am going to race – what tactics I’m going to use against a specific opponent, and also what options are available if a different scenario unfolds… basically a Plan B. Of course, it helps that most of us know each other. We have detailed reports and videos of the other competitors, so I always know how someone will ride, what their strengths and weaknesses are. It really helps to know if your opponent likes to blast off early, or if they prefer to hang back and counter-attack. You only need to look at their splits to know if they’ve got a great jump and a crap finish. And then you try to ride them the opposite way. What makes me laugh is that loads of people watch the sprint on TV and think: “What the hell is going on? They aren’t sprinting!” But that is the initial cat-andmouse phase. When we really go for it, then they get it. And don’t forget the sport has changed in recent years… There was a time when two cyclists would ride up the bank and just stop. In those days it felt like they could stall up there for hours! Now you can only stop for 30 seconds and if you don’t move, you can get disqualified. At the end of the day, though, it is one against one, and I’m the top dog. Come the Olympics, I aim to prove that once and for all. Victoria Pendleton. Manchester, UK. Victoria is an English world champion track rider. As told to Paul Henderson.

Clara Henriette (FR) warms up on the rollers, being mentored by her coach before the womens sprint finals.

Clara (FR) in the blocks taking focus as she steps up again Victoria Pendletone (UK)

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ON THE ROAD The Cyclist by Louis Macneice Freewheeling down the escarpment past the unpassing horse Blazoned in chalk the wind he causes in passing Cools the sweat of his neck, making him one with the sky, In the heat of the handlebars he grasps the summer Being a boy and to-day a parenthesis Between the horizon’s brackets; the main sentence Is to be picked up later but these five minutes Are all to-day and summer. The dragonfly Rises without take-off, horizontal, Underlining itself in a sliver of peacock light. And glaring, glaring white The horse on the down moves within his brackets, The grass boils with grasshoppers, a pebble Scutters from under the wheel and all this country Is spattered white with boys riding their heat-wave, Feet on a narrow plank and hair thrown back And a surf of dust beneath them. Summer, summer — They chase it with butterfly nets or strike it into the deep In a little red ball or gulp it lathered with cream Or drink it through closed eyelids; until the bell Left-right-left gives his forgotten sentence And reaching the valley the boy must pedal again Left-right-left but meanwhile For ten seconds more can move as the horse in the chalk Moves unbeginningly calmly Calmly regardless of tenses and final clauses Calmly unendingly moves.

photos : Tim Kolln

INTERVIEW: MARK RIELY We’re in the home stretch now. My Enigma Eulogy frame is packed up and in the capable hands of the men in brown, hopefully winging it’s way to California for delivery early next week. As numerous posts have documented all the components (and some tasty options) are ready for the build. Mykle Kong, Tech Manager and Bill Ruffner, the owner of my LBS, San Jose Trek, will both be taking part in a special build event I’m going to cover in words and pictures on Velodramatic. I think it will be fun and informative. Jim Walker and Mark Reilly of Enigma were fully engaged and friendly partners from start to finish of the bespoke design process. Yes, there is no shortage of great builders here in the U.S., but if you want something a little less common on this side of the pond, you couldn’t go wrong working with these two knowledgeable gents. Call Enigma... and Jim or Mark invariably answers the phone. From the US dial 011 44 870 874-6975 Mark Reilly is regarded as one of Britain’s preeminent designers and frame builders. His twenty years of experience and particular affinity for titanium’s subtleties are at the heart of every Enigma. He kindly took some time out of his day to answer some questions about his beginnings/ development as a bicycle designer. How did you choose bicycles (or did they choose you). Were you a racer, enthusiast or grow up in a family that rode bicycles? Bicycles chose me I think, I fell in love with them at school. My best friend was a racer and it rubbed off on me in no time at all. I am very mechanically minded and hounded my friend to sell me his bike, he gave up in the end, I bought the bike, a Claud Butler 531, for £20.00 and there it started, it was stripped down in no time at all and painted (pillar box red) in the family garden the same day. I did eventually race in my mid twenties winning only one race! How much riding and what kind of riding do you like to do now? Do you ride to work? I only test ride bikes at the moment but do plan to start riding regularly in the summer.

How did you begin your career as a bicycle designer? Did you come from an industrial design program or apprentice with other frame builders? I am self taught, straight from school I started building frames, its what I always wanted to do. A couple of years in I opened my first shop and was very lucky to employ one of the best frame builders in the world and of all time in my mind, Ron Cooper. The shop closed after a couple of years due to a bad economic recession and I left the cycle trade and went to university to study electronics and mechanical engineering. At the time I designed and built a turntable and speakers and was going to market these but bikes drew me back and I left uni after only two months and was back making frames! The first frame you designed/built couldn’t have been titanium. How did you come to specialize in that material? At some point I was approached by a company called DNA and they wanted me as a consultant so we made a deal and formed a company/brand called Omega DNA. DNA were making MTB frames at a facility in Russia, they had no knowledge of road frames and so I came on board to handle that side of things. I went to Russia for a short while and saw how they made Titanium frames and gleaned most of my knowledge of the material and how to work it there. Where in Russia did you travel? Was there anything interesting about the Russian craftsmen... I’ve heard some of the Russian expertise with titanium came from work in the Soviet space and aircraft industries. Did Vodka play a role in the welding process? Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. The DNA plant was actually inside a submarine plant, it took an age to get permission to allow us access, we didn’t see anything other than the bike frame factory though. Vodka played a part in dinner in the evenings as the Russian agent gave us some local brew! Is the recent emergence of the steel-frame Elite a return to your roots? We have been making steel frames for Omega customers for quite a while now, people that have had my frames over the years and really love steel, so we thought why not bring a contemporary steel frame into the main range.

Who paints the frames for you? The frames are painted by Dave Crowe at Colour-tech, I’ve known Dave 15 years, he’s quite a character and a brilliant sprayer. At Enigma you have a production facility in Taiwan, how much hands on assembly, finishing do you do now? Again, is the Elite (steel tubes) a chance to keep your hand in on actual frame welding/construction. We do all the design work of course and final finishing such as bead blasted and polished logos. The Elite gets me away from the PC and a chance to be really creative whilst getting my hands dirty, there is something very special about actually crafting something. When designing a new bike model, do you begin with a set of ride characteristics and then build towards that spec with a series of prototypes tweaking the tube combinations OR is your inspiration more visual/holistic and that ultimately dictates the ride? At this stage how many prototypes does it take to arrive at a production model? I have built up a wealth of knowledge over the years, having built for many teams, Pro’s like Sean, National and World champions, I draw on this to create new models. The prototypes never need tweaking, usually we are confident enough to go straight into production! The visual side of things is of course very important, I always try to keep things very contemporary whilst at the same time adding a timeless quality, which is hard when you have to make the bike ride exceptionally too! Cycling publications give Taiwan credit for some advanced technology when it comes to bicycle fabrication. The welds on Enigma frames are beautifully rendered. Are they welded by hand or robotically? Do you exchange information electronically from your software with Taiwan? All the frames are hand welded. I use my software to send all the building plans, the factory then produces an autocad drawing for us to approve.

The Eulogy and Effusion introduce carbon seat stays, chain stays (Eulogy) into the mix. How difficult was it to effectively mate the two materials? Since carbon forks are de rigeur, was incorporating carbon in the rear triangle a nod in that direction? There is a special process used to mate the materials and it is hard to get the mixture of carbon and titanium right. Which of the Enigma models do you ride yourself ? Effusion when I can. Which gruppo do you personally prefer and why? There is only one groupset for me, Record! It’s a dream to work with, beautifully finished and engineered. I am definitely a Campagnolo fan, always have been. Jim’s bicycle business experience runs deep, is it easier to focus you attention on design without as many business distractions? Its far easier focusing mainly on design. Have you designed a unique “Enigma” for yourself, or your family? The LAB single speed I designed for myself to scoot around the streets of Brighton. Without giving too much away... what’s next on the drawing board for Enigma... you’ve done a cyclo cross LAB bike, any chance that might become a regular in the line up? I can’t say but we do have three new frames about to launch, Eikonic, Ethos and a very special limited edition, limited to 25 Worldwide. The Eulogy hasn’t even arrived yet and I’m already intrigued to learn about the new Enigma models beginning with the requisite letter ‘E’. - Thanks Mark

PAINT JOB By Taliah Lempert


cycle culture magazine celebrating the findings from several well known bike blogs. (unfinished)


cycle culture magazine celebrating the findings from several well known bike blogs. (unfinished)