Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Trois V's drink of choice may be High5 (except for Doug and Jon), but we're willing to make exceptions. TheBikeShow is on the case with locations.
Friday, 25 June 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Monday, 21 June 2010
Here are two songs to help Matt think.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Friday, 18 June 2010
However, a great debate is currently taking place among Trois V about the benefits of carbon, steel forks, and the necessity or otherwise of spending a cycle2work scheme voucher. Into this cauldron of debate enters Dan Craven's (of Rapha Condor Sharp) new steed, which will be seen tomorrow in the Smithfield Nocturne. It is mostly steel. It draws on the Leggero. It doesn't really match the wheels, to my eye at least, and it looks admirable against a fine blue barn.
There's more on the comic's website.
We will also be having a club ride tomorrow: 8 am at the southern meeting point.
Take it away, Ryan:
Thursday, 17 June 2010
2. Buy some tri-bars or aero helmet for Trois Vs' forthcoming 'Tour de France Prologue Time Trial Test and Tea in Regent's Park'
3. Purchase a pair of Dromarti leather race shoes
4. Buy a return flight to Istanbul
5. Purchase equipment for the team mascot
6. Get a cheap, but adequate set of Mavic or Campy wheels
7. Buy some Rapha bib shorts
8. Buy some replacement car keys for your dad, following the incident of the keys at the Tour of Wessex, be aghast at how much replacement car keys cost, and wonder why Rapha bibs don't have a better key pocket
Monday, 14 June 2010
This is not scientifically verifiable, but I calculate that around 60% of all the conversations revolved around my footwear. While fellow team mates in the Tweed Run team teased Simon Mottram of Rapha for that company's lack of a footwear line, there I was, wearing what can only be described as a beautiful pair of handmade leather Italian shoes. With cleats. Treacle and honeyed in tones, slim, with fine, and perfectly-lengthed leather laces, and stitched to perfection, the shoes (Dromarti Race shoes) were just the ticket.
If you want a perfect-looking, vintage styled pair of cycling shoes, then, quite simply, look no further. If you are concerned about comfort and performance, then read on.
Fit: these are Italian. So they are slim (but not too slim). But as they are leather, they should stretch a little. I wear 45 in Sidis. These were 45, and perhaps a little longer.
Fit technology: laces. They've been around for a while, and pretty hard to improve on: light and adjustable. Not so long that they will get caught up anything, and with a nice 'give' in them, so when you tie them, they stay tied. Lots of holes, rather like climbing shoes, so you can tighten and loosen for the perfect fit.
Comfort: the pinch point, as it were. A lot of thought and skill seems to have gone into the heel area, somewhere that I often have a problem (mine are thin and bony). No slippage at all on climbs, and an appropriate level of padding. The uppers are essentially perfect. Right from the start they felt like a glove, and ten hours later, and the best part of ninety miles (there's a long story about why we took so long and didn't finish), they were still comfortable. It was a hot day. I was wearing woollen socks, but they remained cool and comfortable, thanks to leather's innate properties and a judicious amount of ventilation holes.
Sole: It looks like a composite or plastic sole, but there is some carbon in there as well. These are very stiff; there's a small amount of give by the toes, but not quite as much as the Sidi carbon sole. As a result, I got a bit of a tingle in my toes when climbing. Perhaps a few more hours would break them in, but they are certainly soles you could race in, should you wish. The soles also look pretty good, with a good set of cleat points (Look, SPD-SL, toe cleats), and no carbon 'weave', which would be out of aesthetic place.
Practicality: There are bumpers front and rear on the soles, there's a hatched patterns as well, and are well-balanced to walk on with cleats, as much as one can be on cleats. There are also 'normal' soles and SPD versions available, for all-day, all situations wearing (Sportivo, Storica). They weigh a little more than a pair of Sidis, but the beauty of leather has to be paid for somehow. Construction is very fine, with excellent stitching, and excellent leather - they looks like they should last as long as your knees will.
Sounds like Ryan Adams has some new records coming out soon, so here's a kinda-linked in song by Mrs. A, here covered by Slick Shoes.
Sunday, 13 June 2010
We may be hardened cynics here at Trois V, but sometimes the jaded façade cracks just a little bit, and the soft gooey core leaks out. Today's ride applied just such a toffee hammer to my shell at least, and brought out some of the joy of cycling. It also brought to mind the thin line between horror and happiness - more of that later.
A wise move, on Simon Mottram's part, as we couldn't even manage to get to the photoshoot on the start in time (one member was completing his photo release; the other was voiding his bowels). No matter, we headed off.
Given the tweed ethos, we thought it appropriate, and even apposite, to avoid major roads, and seek out minor routes that were the way things used to be. Sadly, an irritable GPS and lack of faith in a paper map led to a bit of a delay around Mitcham, until we got our groove on, and found a delightful route across the north downs.
Alas, a near-tragedy took place, thanks to West Sussex's inability to fill in potholes, and an ambulance had to be called. At the very least, the poor victim was wearing a helmet, after some discussion last night, the conclusion of which was that it would be a good idea. It was.
Now for the science bit: stress and shock causes the body to do various things, including eating up all the sugar it could find. From this point on, we were at the risk of bonking. We did out best, and I managed to get up Ditchling Beacon with some dignity, the Rapha cameraman pointing his videocam in my face the whole way up. I tried to evoke Lance Armstrong's blankness, crossed with the elan of Eroll Flynn. Needless to say, I didn't manage it.
Brighton was a sunny treat, helped by Hannah's cheer and the Rapha coffee van. The Bike Show's Jack took a dip in the sea, and I paddled. Fish and chips were eaten. We decided to celebrate the spirit of things, and to turn the day into a jaunt.
This was accomplished by an ascent of Devil's Dyke (one of our number goes by the online moniker of General Lucifer), and a fine selection of minor roads, tracks and byways. Games of cricket were observed. Amusing cycling signs became photographic opportunities (see above). Gentlemanly banter ensued. Passers by were greeted with waves and doffs of cap. The icing on the cake was the golden sunshine and a pub in Ansty, which was staffed by two friendly barmaids, who appreciated our tweedy attire. Due to the aforementioned delays, and the need to meet various partners, parties and trips back to Leeds, we were forced to take a train for the final tedious forty miles. No matter, we still took on the worst of the hills, cut a good dash for the cameras, and managed a good average speed over a decent distance when things weren't going horribly badly. And in warm tweed.
Back to Rapha Cafe, for a special award of Prosecco, and a very decent party.
Take that, Portland.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Friday, 11 June 2010
Despite yesterday's teaser, Bike Porn Friday will not feature tweed shoes. Or shoes. But don't fret, foot-fetishists: you'll get your day tomorrow. In the meantime:
It's the Schwinn Varsity, ladies and gentlemen! I pulled this one from the website of White Trash in New York City and I'm sorry to tell you that it's been sold.
Other than a crappy ten-speed from Toys 'R' Us, a Schwinn Varsity was the first big-boy bike I ever had. It was a hand-me-down from the son of friends of my parents. It was green. It had lights that ran on a dynamo that you flipped onto the tire. It was awesome. In the summer I rode it to Sunset Pool every single day, pretty much. I pretended I was riding it in the Tour de France. But enough about me.
The Schwinn Varsity is an American classic, or at least the Schwinn website says it is. There was a single gear Varsity, too, but whether that single gear bike developed into the geared beauty you see above, I don't know. I suspect that's what happened, though. If you really need to know, you can visit the Schwinn Forum, and if you do know, you can let everyone else in on it in the comments here. The important thing is, I loved that bike, even though it was too big for me. I think after I was finished with it, my parents handed it down to the son of somebody else.
I'm also fairly sure that an enormous percentage of kids who grew up in the Chicago area rode a Schwinn at some point in their lives.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
I am reluctant to steal the thunder from the forthcoming blog post from a fellow founder member of Trois V, so I shall be swift.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Monday, 7 June 2010
Today's lesson: replacing the brake blocks.
The thing is, when your brake blocks look like this:
they probably aren't stopping your bike as well as they should. They got worn down because you ride in lots of traffic, and because when you're flying down the descent at 40 m.p.h. after climbing the bejeezus out of your legs, and there's a gaggle of elderly and tipsy tourists in the road, it's a good idea to squeeze those levers. So anyway, you gotta replace those bastards.
Tip one: Don't take off your tire. It seems like a good idea at first (easy access to the brakes!) but actually, it's just an unnecessary pain in the ass.
Tip two: Don't take the whole brake off, either. You'll just have to put it back on, and there's several parts in there (at least if, like me, you're running Shimano bike-stoppers; I don't know about other brands, but I'm guessing they all share similarities).
So anyway, you just need to undo that little bolt and slide the pad out. Then you slide the new one in; they're labeled left and right and forward, so even an idiot like me (being able to read is my single marketable skill) can't screw this up. If, like the last time I took my bike to the professionals to have it serviced, your brakes have previously been tightened rather than block-replaced, you may need to loosen the cable to get enough clearance for your bike. Don't be scared by this! It's easy to loosen the bolt and and then retighten it once you've got everything adjusted properly (and thank you to the mechanic at Chamberlaine Cycles in Kentish Town for being utterly uncondescending as he explained this to me this morning; it was a pleasure to have my ignorance magicked away with a simple and polite explanation and smile).
So this picture explains the difference between old and new pads:
And this one shows my new, stop-ready brake blocks:
This is a superfluous (egregious, one might say) picture of my Tour of Wessex medal and the sweetass jersey that I wore around the course:
I also found it helpful to listen to Bad Religion while performing these repairs.
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Bunting for bunting's sake - the Trois V is down with that.