They may still be testing the syringes used by riders in the 2009 Tour De France but that hasn’t stopped the organisers announcing the course for the 2010 edition. And it’s a cracker. I didn’t much care for this year’s figure-of-eight route with its anticlimactic ascent of Le Ventoux and total neglect of northern France which – with Brittany – is really the home of cycle sport à la Francaise. 2010 makes up for the omission with a Grand Départ in Rotterdam and four days winding along the roads (and over the cobblestones) of northern France, before branching east into the Champagne region.
Then come the Alps and an extended stay in the Pyrenees, climbing le col du Tourmalet not once but twice, in honour of the centenary of the first time Le Tour featured the climb back in 1910. Of course it was not uncommon for holidaying cycle tourists, men and women both, to ride over the Tourmalet and the other cols of the Pyrenees years before the Tour ever did. So potent is the self-mythologising of Le Tour I expect to tire of commentators informing me that Octave Lapize was the first man to summit the Tourmalet on a bicycle.
But back to the opening weekend, which strikes me as offering a great opportunity for a little jaunt across the Channel. Bike Show contributor, Bob Dylan buff and sometime journalist Matt Tempest has already expressed his delight at the prospect of “watching the Prologue in Rotterdam with a big fat one” (by which I assume he not referring to a Dutch version of the Camberwell Carrot but to the splendid hookers immortalised in Jacques Brel’s Amsterdam). And who am I to disagree? But how to get over there for all the fun? Continue reading
I went to the Cycle Show yesterday looking out for the big themes that will help define cycling in 2010. I tend to glaze over in of the forests of identical crabon road bikes and hydraulically-enhanced mountain bikes, so if you want the latest on road and MTB, I’m afraid you’ll need to go elsewhere. Last year’s show proved that the fixed wheel craze had well and truly entered the mainstream with every bike company and their sister coming out with pared down ‘urban fixies’, some bringing the aesthetic of the flamboyant trick bike to the established form of the entry-level Langster and Pista. The fixed wheel bikes are still there this year but in much smaller numbers. What I found most interesting in this year’s show was the rennaissance of the hub gear, with Sturmey Archer leading the way. Continue reading
Today was trade/media day at London’s annual Cycle Show at Earls Court. Among the most talked-about new exhibits was the long-awaited Sturmey Archer three-speed fixed wheel hub, the S3X. In the craze for all things fixed, Sturmey’s ancient ASC, a three-speed fixed hub that went out of production in the mid 1950s, has been selling for enormous sums on Ebay and for a few years now it has been rumoured that Sturmey would bring it back into production. The S3X is now ready to roll. Continue reading
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the House of Commons Harriet Harman is ‘helping police with their enquiries’ about a minor car crash in which it is alleged Ms Harman committed two offences: driving while talking on a mobile phone and leaving the scene of a collision without swapping contact and registration details. Both are serious offences, the latter carrying a potential 6 month prison sentence. Ms Harman has form here. In 2003 she was fined £400 and banned from driving for a week after being convicted of driving at 99 miles per hour on a motorway, 29 mph above the speed limit. In 2007 she received a £60 penalty notice for driving at 50 mph in a 40 mph zone. As The Times reports today, Ministers convicted of traffic offences have traditionally had to resign their ministerial careers, though these days it does seem to take a lot more before ‘honourable’ Members to do the honourable thing. As the row continues to rumble on, perhaps there’s an opportunity to turn it round to her own benefit. Continue reading
I love listening to the radio. And I love podcasts because they mean I can listen to my favourite radio programmes from around the world whenever I want, plus the growing number of high quality podcasts that are not radio programmes, like Philosophy Bites, Ruby’s Chicky Boilups and the Hackney Podcast. I’ve recently made a fantastic discovery that is allowing me to listen to podcasts on the radio. Continue reading
Boris Johnson is London’s first cycling Mayor and he has put a ‘cycling revolution’ at the heart of his programme of government. As well as the Cycle Hire Scheme, Mayor Johnson has announced plans for what he has dubbed ‘cycle superhighways’. There will be twelve superhighways, each offering “safe, fast, direct routes to central London from the outer boroughs”. But there are growing concerns that the plans are being watered down. Continue reading
Riding with Amy Fleuriot, a young British fashion designer who’s Cyclodelic range of clothing and accessories is offering women a more stylish alternative to the typically drab clothing sold to cyclists. This is the final show in the current season. Thanks for listening!