Friday, 23 December 2011

Xmadus Friday Laps

Doug to add his Bentley song here:

[why do cars drive so close?]

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Protection


Some nice policemen turned out outside of the office today.  They were surprised that the Croissant wasn't made out of crabon given how light it was, but rolled up their sleeves and poured all sorts of UV acid onto it, kind of like sprinkles, but with a secret code.  And gave me this flashy sticky to put on near the bottom bracket.  The Croissant now looks very nerdy, but is all protected from bike thieves in preparation for the Rapha Festive 500.  I suspect it will, however, fail at both.

Nonetheless, Flotsnoo!

TroisV!


Friday, 2 December 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Let's Get Itchy - the Tweed Run

Probably the best-ever view of a Cycle Superhighway



Saturday saw yet another Tweed Run.  Better attended than the Monticello Tweed Ride, it must be said (yes, report still to come), but open to (misplaced, one feels) accusations of selling out, Dr Matt and Friend of the Trois V, Emily, rented a bike from the friendly Adam at Cloud 9 Cycles, and undertook a twelve mile metropolitan cycle ride, with, it must be said, a bit of style.  We enjoyed the tea, admired the bravery of the marshals, and tittered at the self-regarding Made-in-Chelsea folks (who seemed harmless, and arguably will make tasty snacks come the post-Euro apocalypse, which is now eight days away).

Meanwhile, a club ride of some sort before Christmas is the current aim: I'm itching for lycra.

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!



Friday, 18 November 2011

Bike Porn Friday: One from the archives

In light of the removal of the multitude of railings around Camden Town, be careful where you lock your bike.  And be careful where you leave your note and what you write, as this shot from earlier in the year reminds us.


Flotsnoo!

Trois V!


Friday, 11 November 2011

Bike Porn Friday: exotic dishes


(With apologies to vegetarians).  2/3 of the Trois V met last Sunday for the Epping Loop. However, Dr Matt played the internationally recognised 'get out of a long ride' card, by offering Dr Doug - potentially suffering from a hangover - with an 'out'.  We agreed that the Loop was off the table, but that Laps were firmly placed on it.  These we did, which underscored how out of shape I was, or at the very best, how much my cold stopped was sapping any form I might have.  We also noted the many people making their way to Regent's Park mosque (and later discovered it was Eid).  

Negotiations took place, and the Alpine Villages, with a latin side, decided upon.  This transpired to be a good choice, as at the top of Spaniards' Lane was mostly closed for traffic.  We could try out our sprint train, although we lacked Hudson for the final launch.  However, Doug did the business, and sparked the flashing 30 mph sign on the roadworks.

This then gave me the excuse for the above, from Made in Camden: Baked eggs chakchouka, spicy tomato, chorizo, feta. Yum. 

Flostnoo!

Trois V!


Friday, 4 November 2011

Bike Porn Friday: bone shaking

The week has witnessed two remarkable events: 1) Dr Doug has been relieved, for once, of his BPF duties, and 2) as the Dos Posada illustration above hints, it's been the Día de Muertos. We even had a departmental outing to the Mexican Miracle Paintings at the Wellcome Collection (which included all sorts of accidents depicted in a naif style; but no, we were glad to note, bicycle snafus). It was also an excuse for a bottle of Pacifico.

But wait! Something else remarkable happened this week. The Trois V has another potential junior member, as Dr Matt has a newly minted nephew. Welcome, Aidan!

More to come: a report of the Monticello Tweed Ride, an account of the return to the Epping Loop this coming Sunday, and after 26 November, more London-based tweed action. Any tips on where to get a good bike for Emily, friend of the Trois V is also welcome. Some sort of Pashley mets Charge is the current front-runner.


Flotsnoo!

Trois V!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Flower Power!

This bicycle was parked outside the public library in Deal, Kent a few weeks ago:



Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Hipster Knitters!

Another episode of Bike Porn Friday from my time in Portland, Oregon, courtesy of some hipster idiot who like really probably could like use like a job or something?



Friday, 7 October 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Yet Another Sign!



Imagine a world, not so very far away from this one, and yet oh so very far, a world that looks much like this one, to the point that at first you think you haven't gone anywhere special. Cars whiz by, people walk on the sidewalks, cyclists pedal over the bridge...

...But wait: lookit how wide that bike lane is! And hang on: what does that road sign say?

Automobiles are required--by statute--to yield to bicycles? And there's a big old sign saying so? Is... is this heaven?

No, it's Portland.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Stay Hungry; Stay Foolish

Some words of bike-related wisdom and a drawing by a young Shannon Kesey, the daughter of the Merry Prankster, from the pages of the Whole Earth Catalog (well, the Last Supplement thereof). This, of course, has been in the news. She doesn't, naturally, mention the use of the Cyclemeter app, but that's just one example of where thinking different(ly) may take you.


TroisV!

Flotsnoo!



Monday, 3 October 2011

Ride of the Falling Leaves

On Sunday Dr Matt and Dr Doug rode the Ride of the Falling Leaves, organized by Dulwich Paragon and Mosquito Bikes.

As we rode down to the Herne Hill Velodrome for the start we discussed the possibility of doing the 80 km route instead of the full 110 km; we didn't have to decide until the actual fork in the road which one we'd do. The weather was hot and humid, and neither of us was feeling particularly fresh-legged; 80 km might be more useful, in terms of training/fitness than slogging through an extra 30 km just for the sake of saying we did it. I think both of us were thinking to some degree of our ride to Whitstable on the hottest day of the summer, when 12o km of pretty much flat riding turned into a quest to drink as many liquids as we could just to maintain sanity. And this ride, we knew, was not going to be flat.

We won't spend time talking about the logistical organization, because it was exemplary: low-key and efficient. Nice job, organizers! Not long after arriving at the velodrome, we were passing through the electronic gates and... onto the velodrome track! The sportive started with a lap of the track. If you've never ridden on a 30-degree banked curve, well: it's weird, and fun, and a little scary at first, and frankly, we would've gladly spent the whole day riding around and around and around. Surely a club field trip is on the cards at some point?

Anyway, off through London, in a gang of about twenty or so riders. There was a brief run-in with an overly aggressive Land Rover driver, but otherwise it was smooth sailing and before long we were out in the countryside, and pelting along at a pretty good clip. I can't speak for Matt, but despite the reasonable pace (in fact, getting out of London, a large number of riders seemed to be taking it unusually slowly; normally your humble TroisV riders are not the quickest on the road and yet we were passing people like it was our jobs (which it isn't)) my legs still weren't feeling all that spectacular. After about an hour of riding, we once again discussed and decided to take the 80 km turn when it presented itself.


Your Heroes are ready to depart.

The route was fun; some rather hairy descents on narrow and gravelly lanes (well-marked with warning signs, it should be said), long albeit gentle uphill drags, long albeit gentle downhill drags, farmland to the left of me, farmland to the right (here I am, etc.), the sun warming up (we started riding about 8:50 am). We fell in with a more or less consistent group; they seemed to outpace us somewhat on the flat, but we usually passed them going up the climbs. The other riders were friendly and chatty and my (our?) legs started to feel a little bit better. At some point I looked at my odometer and saw we'd cycled 73 km, and first started to think that maybe we'd missed the 80 km split. A little while later Matt said he'd begun to think we'd missed it; I checked the odometer: 93 km.

And not long thereafter we hit Toys Hill. Toys Hill is rated 7 out of 10 by Simon Warren, author of 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. A significant stretch of it is 18% grade. Back in December 2009 Dr. Doug had to walk his bike up part of it. We climbed. Actually, Toys Hill was really hard, especially having covered that much distance already, but it was only the beginning of a series of tough climbs that really only finished when we'd hit the outskirts of London. The series of climbs was broken up by the feed station (marked by a gleeful sign that said: FEED!), which featured water refills and delicious apple cake. We only stopped long enough for two bottles of refill and two slices of cake, and jumped back on our bikes. Soon enough we were climbing yet another steep hill (not sure what it was called [Sundridge Hill - Dr Matt], while a patient driver followed us all the way up to the top, and a couple other patient drivers waited to descend until we'd passed. A few riders came off their bikes and walked this climb; I came pretty close to my limit, the outsides of my quads in particular aching with a ferocity that made me wonder whether the muscles might just pop out of my skin and lie down in the ditch. I should point out that this pain was a different type to that I experienced on the Urban Hill Climb a couple months ago; nonetheless, I think that experience helped to get me over the crest.

Once we turned towards London (and gulped down a couple energy gels), and knew there were only about 10 or 15 km to go, the pace picked up and once again we fell in with a pretty like-minded peloton (some of the riders were the same ones we'd been more or less riding with for most of the day) and though the last couple of hills through urban trafficky red lights busses seemed a bit cruel, we sailed into the cricket ground where the route finished in good spirits, and glad that we'd done the long route after all. On the way into London we realized that we were going to have a more than respectable time, and so it was: 4 hours 20 minutes, which was well beneath the silver time of 5:30, and not all that far out from the gold standard of 4 hours. The TroisV is pretty damn proud of the TroisV.

Here's the cyclemeter stats:

Route: Ride of the Falling Leaves
Activity: Cycle
Google Maps URL: http://maps.google.com/?q=http://share.abvio.com/ef63/4f39/4d7b/3dd4/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20111002-0841.kml
Shortened Google Maps URL: http://j.mp/nSJEql
Import URL: http://share.abvio.com/ef63/4f39/4d7b/3dd4/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20111002-0841.kml
Started: 2 Oct 2011 08:41:01
Ride Time: 4:07:26
Stopped Time: 14:40
Distance: 104.01 km
Average Speed: 25.22 km/h
Fastest Speed: 73.72 km/h
Ascent: 1093 meters
Descent: 1060 meters
Calories: 3260
Official: No

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Bike Porn Friday: wiggly bits

Summer holidays bring presents, and to Dr Matt comes this, from the fjords of Norway. If Slartibardfast rode a bike, this would be it:



Stay tuned for a report on the upcoming Ride of the Falling Leaves.

Flotsnoo!

TroisV!

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Bread Man




All last week (and the first two days of this week, with only Sunday for a rest day), my friend Alistair was delivering bread by bicycle for the e5 Bake House in Hackney. Normally he does it three days a week, but he was filling in for somebody, so it was a daily job last week. You can find out more here, on Alistair's running blog. Anyway, on Friday, with the sun shining, I decided to tag along and watch one man and his 200 kg payload bust a move around Hackney, showering its many (many, many) cafes with breadstuffs.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this lumbering behemoth of a delivery bicycle. Until I saw it, I'd secretly entertained the notion of asking if I could take it for a spin. When I saw it (empty) sitting in the front of the cafe area of the bakery, I immediately quashed the thought: that machine is ungainly. In fact, it's so ungainly, that riding behind Alistair, I got a very good lesson in the physical phenomenon of inertia; with every little adjustment he makes to his path, you can see the tendency of the fully-laden bike to want to continue in the line it was going. For the first twenty meters of our delivery route, this tendency alarmed the hell out of me. It was like watching a drunk lumber slowly down the road.

But then I realized that Alistair has been riding this thing around for a few weeks now, and probably knows what he's doing. I enjoyed watching people on the pathways of London Fields: hearing Alistair's ringing bell (he rings his bell quite a lot, because his bread-laden bicycle is not the most nimble of machines, and he's a real danger to the daydreaming park-goer), people look up with annoyance-plastered faces, only to see what's coming towards them, and jump out of the way, while at the same time, their expressions relax as they process the novelty of an enormous breadbox attached to a bike.

Here's Alistair loading up his delivery vehicle:


I'm not going to rehash details of where we went and how long it took and all of that: Alistair has covered that himself on his own site. However, I was somewhat surprised by the number of boutique cafes scattered across Hackney. I mean, I know all the hipsters and "artists" need places to park their fixies and lounge, but damn: there's one that sells Danish furniture, there's another that designs lighting, there's one that looks cool but I only saw it from across the street, there's another run by a woman studying to be a nutritionist, there's the one by Victoria Park, next to the fish shop, there's the fish shop, there's the one run by the architects, there's the Turkish grocery, there's Hackney City Farm, there's the pub just off Columbia Road, there's the Italian cafe just around the corner, and there are several others. To be fair, not all of these places were cafes; some were restaurants (one's a city farm!), and they by no means were all hipster/douchebag hangouts (in fact, I'm not sure any of them really were; well, actually, maybe one of them was). I particularly liked seeing some of these places in a state one doesn't normally: when they're getting themselves organized for the day. It was also nice to ride around for a couple hours (it's also a total lollygag when you're on a road bike and you're following a guy who, with his machine, weighs in at 200kg), getting work done (or watching it get done, anyway), and then still have the end of the morning and the whole afternoon stretching in front of me, to get some (of my own) work done. Another thing of note: van and truck drivers seem to give a man on an ungainly delivery bike a hell of a lot more respect than they give the average idiot on a bike on the London streets; for the most part, they rarely tried to pass, except when there was a ton of space, and also allowed him to turn in front of them, and generally just gave him the respect and space that all cyclists really should receive, but don't. There was one bus driver who seemed unnecessarily furious at Alistair's 13.5 mph average speed, and Bethnal Green Road felt like a kamikaze run, but those were exceptions to the rule.

The thing is, though, spending two hours trailing behind a bicycle full of freshly-baked bread really makes you hungry, because as he cycles around, Alistair leaves in his wake a vapor trail of sourdough. And for some stupid reason, I didn't bother buying a loaf of bread before heading off. I'll have to cycle back down there soon and make amends.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Bike Porn Friday: French Ticklers!


Avid reader Bas sends photos of these two bikes, which he photographed while hollerdaying in France:

That's one long chain, monsieur!

This one has pretty flowers:
Reddish-orangeish seems to be the bicycle color of choice in rural France.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

I think this frog is on drugs:

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cargo Bike Audax

For those of you not already in the know, Alistair, TroisV pal and father of the Junior Member, is delivering bread every day this week on a big cargo bicycle. You can read about it here. Dr. Doug will be joining him on Friday, riding not a big cargo bike, but his trusty Kona Zing, as some sort of safety-steward-outrider-something-or-other.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Beer Goggles!

Someone known to our regular reader (hi, Mom!) makes rearview mirrors out of bottlecaps. I can't remember if it's a cousin, or someone married to a cousin, or one of those cousin's or cousin's spouse's best friend, or what. The important thing here is that someone who likes cycling and beer as much* as the TroisV has found a more useful way of combining his favorite activities than we have. The idea is you hook the little mirror on your sunglasses.

Here's a photo:


And here's a link to his website:

http://www.lajollavelo.com/beerview/

Reason number 8 is probably most in keeping with TroisV tradition.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

*almost as much

I thought about going with "Rearview Mirror" by Pearl Jam, but, uh, you know, Mojo's so much more fun.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Another Sign

I feel like this is more like Bike Sears Catalog Underwear Page Friday, but anyway, here's a photo submitted by faithful TroisV member Jon:


Whatever. It's the weekend.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What Would the TroisV Do?

Bradley Wiggins tweets (for it is a verb):

"How do you play it? Conserve 3rd or throw everything at winning at the risk of loosing all? stupid or brave? What would you do?"

There's no lemon drizzle cake for coming third, is all we'll like to add (and wonder what's in Cobo's recipe)

TroisV!

Flotsnoo!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Sign o' the Times!

Time, energy and enthusiasm permitting, I may get around to writing a post, with lots of photos, about what it was like walking around two exceedingly cycle-friendly cities in the Pacific Northwest of my birth nation. In the meantime, here's a street sign warning the cyclists of Portland, Oregon of the dangers posed by tram tracks:



Flotsnoo!
TroisV!




Wednesday, 31 August 2011

What I Bought on My Summer Vacation

During my recent Stateside visit, I happened upon what I thought was a cycle shop but turned out to be a clothing boutique--for cyclists. I mooched around for a little while, and bought these:



They have cotton string mesh backs and the palms are nicely padded. And look at the base of the palm: that's Kevlar (TM or (R) or whatever)! That's right, everybody! My palms are bulletproof! The woman who ran the shop informed me that for some reason all of the cycling gloves that arrive in her shop seem to be made in Pakistan. Discuss amongst yourselves this fact.

Across from the shop was this:



Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

More Tales from the Patisserie

Dr Matt is back from his fishing trip to the Swiss Alps, and is in search of refuelling. Remembering that M&S take Euros, he made his way to what remains of the riot-torn high street, and came across this:

But the pound in his pocket (or, rather, the Euro in his musette) went for this option instead:



Trois V!

Flotsnoo!



Friday, 19 August 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Gone Fishin'!

The TroisV is semi-spread across the globe, with Dr. Matt heading to Switzerland to ride up some mountains with Team Bike, and Mr. Jon vacationing in Seattle, and Dr. Doug coincidentally also in Seattle, participating in* his cousin's wedding. Coincidentally, Jon has been in Seattle for a while already, and sent along a picture confirming that Doug's bike is world-famous:


He was also tickled to learn that Shimano, makers of bike components, also make fishing reels:


What Jon doesn't realize is that some members of the TroisV were reeling in perch and walleye and northern pike using Shimano fishing gear long before he even knew how to ride a bike.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!



________
*"participating in" = "drinking all the beer at."

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Penny Farthing!

Yeah, we're all feeling a bit lazy after all this heat, so here's a picture of a bunch of penny farthings racing around at the Smithfield I mean London Nocturne a while back:

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

All right; I tried to post Billie Holliday, but embedding was disabled, so I tried Sarah Vaughan and the same thing. Here's Bing:

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Urban Hill Climb: Somebody Has to Finish Last


I've elsewhere attempted to replicate the experience of "racing" up Swain's Lane during the recent Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb, so here I want offer a few more descriptions and thoughts of the evening.

First of all, as the day progressed I started to get more and more nervous. I finally jumped on my bike around five o'clock and rode around a little in the clearing drizzle to warm up and settle myself a little on my way to the sign-in. It turns out I wasn't the only one; Damian (00:02:11.390) of CS Grupetto, who rode up after me, said he had to leave work early because he couldn't stand the building anticipation/nerves. Atmosphere at the sign-in headquarters was relatively relaxed and very friendly. The biggest task seemed to be figuring out how the hell to affix the race number to your bike.

From HQ I rode with Damian over to the starting point, and chatted a little about our goals. I'd already realized from looking around at the other riders signing in that my primary goal should be to complete the climb, which had some kind of relaxing effect on me. The people gathered at the starting point were in good spirits, too--in fact, one of the best things about the Hill Climb was the friendly atmosphere, from the competitors to the organizers to the onlookers.

Anyway, eventually Tom (00:01:50.480) of Rollapaluza CC was sprinting up the hill on a time trial bike, which meant that I was next. I hereby apologize to the guys at the start for climbing on my bike earlier than necessary and making them keep me balanced for a full minute. I was nervous! And then the hand was in front of me, and the countdown was going from five and I was off.

In retrospect, I did a lot of things wrong. I've climbed Swain's Lane a lot of times, since I live around the corner from it, but I've never ridden up it as fast as I possibly can (as one of the organizers said to me when I was chatting to him later, "Why would you?"). I'd spent a lot of time beforehand trying to decide how to do my gears. Should I start in the small chainring and just spin it out at a high rate, Lance Armstrong-style? Or should I start in the big chainring and shift down when I hit the steep part after the cemetery gates? I opted for the latter; in retrospect, the former might've been smarter, for a couple reasons: one, my quads were just starting to burn when I hit the gates, and I think I would've had more energy for the steepest part if I'd been in a lower gear; two, my shift into the small chainring was anything but smooth, which disrupted my rhythm and momentum somewhat.

Sometime as this was all going on, Dr. Matt was doing this:


The result of which was this:

One can see that I'm bent over too much; if I'd straightened my back a bit more I could've pedaled and breathed more efficiently. Whatever.

The next thing I did wrong was, as my legs really started to sing with pain, and my lungs started to heave with the effort, and my vision went tunnel, I forgot that I had more gears left to drop. So I ended up pedaling somewhere in the middle of the gears, when spinning more would've been a whole lot more efficient, and probably kept me from near-collapse and pretty much total bonk on the part where the gradient drops as you head for the last stretch to the finish line.

While I was suffering through that final stretch, and seriously thinking I might not make it, somebody on the sideline, sympathetic to my plight, began beating out a cadence on his thighs. I was semi-aware of his movements, and realized that I needed to pedal in time to the sound. I concentrated everything on that sound for the rest of the race, and I'm pretty much indebted to that guy for getting me across the line.

I crossed the line, rider number two, in second place, and held onto it for less than a minute, when Damian crossed the line. From there it was a slow and steady slide to the bottom of the pile, beaten by riders on Bromptons, by Leo (00:03:03.170) of Flying Pigs CC on a Boris Bike (it's not all bad; Leo got some free beers for beating "a roadie, in lycra, with gears"), by men, women and children. I finished with an official time of 00:03:13.190. I'm kind of disappointed; I'd hoped to come in under three minutes. So I may have to try again next year, after I've forgotten all the agony. In the end, I placed fifth from the bottom, ahead of two youth males and two senior females, and dead last of the senior men. At the awards ceremony (complete with podium girls and boy) when the prize for "Dead Fucking Last" was announced, I actually got nervous, thinking of the distinct possibility that my name might now be called. Here's the full results.

Before the awards ceremony I ran into Julian "Crusher" Cunnington (00:01:57.220) of Condor Cycles, who recognized the Key Lime Pie as the bike that he sold me. He was pleased that I'd bought a jacket in the same color as the bike. I felt a little sheepish about having ridden so slowly.

The Urban Hill Climb is far and away the most painful thing I've ever done. I knew way ahead of time that anaerobic events are not my specialty, and never have been, but I don't think I was prepared for quite how taxing this ride would be. At the end, I couldn't see straight (I literally could not see straight), was hyperventilating, my legs throbbed with pain and felt numb at the same time, and basically didn't work for a little while, and I looked like this:


and this:


I'd definitely broken through some new layer in my pain barrier, and I feel somehow more confident going up hills these days. Swain's Lane looks a little different now (I went out the next day and rode a route that finished by going up it again; it was a strangely semi-surreal experience, less than twelve hours later). Most of my riding is long, medium-paced rides, and I don't consider myself a particularly good or fast cyclist, just kind of average. I think the Urban Hill Climb showed me that this is a pretty accurate assessment. I suppose in the General Classification of cycling life some people are overall contenders, some are in for the green jersey, others go for the polka dots, and some are domestiques. I guess I'm one of the latter. But then again, that's not so bad. Is it?

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Special Services

Dartford Tunnel Cycle Service bus

What, might you ask, is this image above? It's not a bicycle, for sure. Of course, the signage give it away: it is one of the few images of the doomed London Transport County Area Dartford Tunnel Cycle Service double decker buses, with room on the lower deck for our two-wheeled friends, and space on the top for jaunty cycle touring type, which ran as a service under the sea.

Lack of use meant they were pulled from service on the tunnel between Essex and Kent in the early 1960s.

The same thing happened to the bridge that runs atop the tunnel nowadays. Or at least Drs Doug and Matt failed to locate the Crossing Point, where one summons a land rover to ferry you across the cycle-starved new bridge, in advance. Instead, we resorted to the traditional purple line route to Whitstable (the Wuss Table), with Shaw consulting his iPhone like Frodo nursing his precious (a habit he will stop). Nonetheless, we got there, the train arriving after 112 km into Whitstable a 30 kmph rather than the recent 40 kmph triumph. It was hot, we were tired, and Doug had his lungs filled with phlegm. We arrived at the beach in time to find Friend of the Trois V during the annual Blessing of the Sea service. Sorry, Whitstablers: Doug was not Satan, despite appearances.

Thusly, the compass ride sequence was 50% completed, and wound up with a recovery ride today. And we leave you with the Bike Porn above.

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

D'Itching Ride

Dr Matt is feeling the fear in advance of late August's trip to the Italian and Swiss Alps. With this in mind, I've taken a week off work and planned to shock the system into some semblance of shape. The initial idea was some sort of compass ride programme, with a 100 miles or km to the north, 100 miles or km to the south, 100 miles or km to the east and 100 miles or km to the west.

The croissant and I started with a ride to the south. I've always been taken by Matt Seaton's description of cresting Ditchling Beacon, glimpsing the sea and turning back to London (in part in a distancing of the writer from the only ride for charity mentality that has come to dominate so many people's views of cycling). Perhaps I would do this perhaps I would reach Brighton and ride a long the coast a bit, or perhaps I would take the train back.

A late start didn't bode well, and the legs felt heavy. But good time was made, and a reasonable route through Brixton taken. After an hour, the croissant and I were south of Croydon, having taken in Ikea and the Battle of Britain memorial. At Purley, we did better than the Gentleman's Team Time Trial Tweed Ride, and I found the glorious track across the common and hilltop road, presenting vistas to the north and south, meadows all around, and then a steep, wooded series of descents to the plain. Feeling pretty good, and even enjoying the hills I kept finding, I pressed on, finding pleasant routes like the well-named Cogman's Lane, and noting that the road outside of Hayward's Heath was still unrepaired, with the same deep pothole that brought down a Tweed companion still lurking for the unwary.

As always happens, on the approach to Ditchling, I began to feel weary. I passed the garden centre, which offered succour to Dr Doug on our first trip to Brighton, and slugged a gel. Then it was Ditchling and the Beacon.

It seemed like the worst ever climb of that particular hill. Perhaps I was out of shape, lacking fuel, or perhaps I had pushed it too hard to get there. Still, I pressed on, and realised that it was being alone that made it all the harder. I counted the turns, and took in the view. Then, I was at the top, and paused by the sign left from the Ditchling Devil audax last weekend.


Out of drink, I asked if beverages were sold at the ice cream van at the top. No, it leads to litter, was the apologetic answer. This was no time for Mr Whippy, so, I glanced at the sea, and turn the bike around, with a slow, but reasonably graceful descent. I had decided to see how far back I could get.

Supplies at Ditchling, then to Hassocks (of the Puncheur fame). Here, I took on another gel. I managed to squirt (or other verbs) it all over my arm and leg, leaving blood red goop to set. I wiped the stuff off my arm with what I thought was grass, but there must have been a creature or unpleasant fauna: welts and scratched appeared on what amounts to my bicep. It was now D'Itching Ride.

Then along an A road to Burgess Hill and other places. It was the beginning of the school run, and so not the most pleasant of riding, but good time was made. But I had enough, and turned off at Crawley Lane. Lovely, but oh so steep. Back through Copthorpe, watching the planes come into Gatwick, up over the ridge, and then down Church Lane at Bletchingly. Here, I was desperate to avoid the mountain I had descended south of Purley - and found White Hill Lane into Caterham on the Hill. 'On the Hill' should have been a clue. And yes, dear reader, I put my foot down to take a swig from the bottle kindly filled in the kitchen of the Post Office in Bletchingly.

Eventually, we were on the road to Purley, Croydon, Norwood, Streatham, Brixton, etc etc (amazed at how zippy those tiny street cleaners are). And then cruising up Regent's Park, deciding to spring home, and passing each and every rider like a complete dick. But we were home, 9 hours after setting out. The cyclemeter gave up with 5% battery, but the croissant had carried me 180km, and 1,200 metres of climbing.

(Stats before it conked out:
Ride Time: 6:21:50
Stopped Time: 1:30:18
Distance: 155.02 km
Average: 24.36 km/h
Fastest Speed: 62.64 km/h
Ascent: 1212 meters
Calories: 4846)


So, to celebrate, I went to the Hawley Arms for a pint. And, because of the wake going on upstairs (and one of the guests), confirmed that we had met in Sainsburys a couple of years ago.

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Storytime!

Today's Bike Porn Friday is a narrative approximation of what it was like to participate ("compete" might be too strong a word) in the Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb yesterday. A more considered report, possibly with pictures of Doug looking agonized, will follow next week or something. You should be able to find Doug's time sometime today by clicking on that link. It was undoubtedly slow.

Okay. One minute to start. Okay. Okay. Clip in. Okay. Thirty seconds. Okay. Okay. Don't fall off as you set out. Okay. Fifteen seconds. Okay. Here you go, okay, okay. Ten seconds. Okayokayokay. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Off. Whoops back tire slipped on the starting pad, whatever, I'm off okay lower part is easy stick with this gear actually you could go one bigger okay yeah stick there not too hard don't blow it all on the bottom okay yeah one gear lower yes this is okay starting to feel a little burn stay like this there's the cemetery gates get ready to shift into the little ring and really go what the fuck is that guy on the microphone really saying I'm "really suffering?" what a dick, no I'm not! --not yet, anyway just ride, Doug, ignore it, ride, shift whoops gear slip okay no biggie didn't jar just ride okay yeah ow yeah, ow, okay back into the saddle for a bit ow yeah okay back out crowd yelling crowd yelling okay okay yeah down okay yeah there's Jon yelling can hear his voice can't see a thing but the road yeah okay okay yeah okay it's gonna tilt back down here where's the finish ow god this is even more painful than the steep part ow yeah okay there it is finish line why is it getting further away? ow ow ow ow okay ow ow okay ow ow ow ow okay okay okay you're done! ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow I taste blood.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

We like Dino Jr around these parts:

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Getting Shod - and Club Song!

Dr Matt's Shimano touring shoes have served him well since 2007, but a recent Thames foreshore mudlarking expedition kind of underscored that they were on their last legs. Sadly, no offer of some Dromarti Sportivos to test, instead a trip to Condor Cycles supplied this fine pair (no. 257):


Thank you Quoc Pham. A review of the Tourer will follow, after Dr Doug's forthcoming triumph on the hills of north London (and Galibier watching). And if he does, we can sing the new Club Song!
Trois V Club Song (mp3)

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!



Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hill Climb

On Thursday, Doug will be representing the TroisV in the Rollapaluza Urban Hill Climb. Yay! He does not expect to win. Details can be found here:

http://issuu.com/rollapaluza/docs/uhc2011

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Getting it up

The Tour has hit the mountains, and the Trois V has in hommage hit the hills of North London (literally in the case of Doug's water bottle, or 'bidon'; metaphorically, if you imagine the rear of a Mini as a mountain, and the front wheel of the Key Lime Pie (KLP) as the front wheel of the Key Lime pie. But fear not, no pastries or their chefs were harmed, dear reader(s)).

In contrast to the What Stable? run, Doug had done a lot of preparation, and came up with a challenging but also enjoyable course through the hills of North London, including some unattempted climbs, such as the wrong way up (that is, up) West Heath Road. We knocked off Regent's Park, Swain's Lane (slow but steady - we look forward to 18:31 next Thursday), WHR (hard, then easy), before heading to Crouch End and Ally Pally (Dr Matt finally found some form at this point). Then East Heath Road (highlight, Doug finishing his drink, announcing, 'I wish I could just throw it to the roadside like the Tour riders', followed by the bidon jumping out in said fashion and Doug scrabbling around to retain it. I cycled slowly up the hill at this point). At some point, during the first descent, a Mini in front of the KLP slowed, and the Pie slowed into it. For a second, I thought that its rider might come off, and almost rode into him as well, but all was well, and it was all just slow-motion hommage to the current inability of Tour riders to stay upright.

One and a half hours, perhaps 300 meters of climbing, a reasonable average speed, and 1300 calories used up later, we adjourned for showers and the collection of Joe, who was work shadowing me. Thinking that important life-skills should be included in the penumbra, I had taken the precaution of a furlough from work, and we installed ourselves in Look Mum No Hands, after a convoy through town (noticing two Yellow Jersey-jersied women handing out flyers) and proceeded to consume milkshakes, pies, cakes, a beer, coffee, ice coffee, water, and observe the finally-exciting stage of the Tour, as the Tourmalet was ascended by Geraint 'Welsh Steel' Thomas, who gave us all a fright, twice, by trying to ram cars on hairpin descents. He deservedly won the courageous rider award. And we even saw the Shlecks do something.

Joe was also hard at work, observing freelancers at work, and producing what I feel is a most excellent summer Trois V kit:




IMG_0916
Flotsnoo!

Trois V!


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What Stable?

So on Sunday Doctors Matt and Doug decided to ride out to Whitstable, on the Kent coast and known for oysters, there to join "Friends of the TroisV" Emily, Katie and special U.S.American guest Judi for a swim and some beer and some food. Matt researched the route; Doug did nothing in preparation.

Anyway, we set off from the Midway Meeting Point (Pratt Street) at about 7 a.m. and barreled past TroisV HQ, saddened to know that Jon and the mascot were not there (or so Jon claimed; has anybody ever heard of a place called "Devon"? He missed out on a midweek hills ride to something called a "Glasgow". The London streets are pretty empty at that time on a Sunday morning, so it wasn't too long before we were over London Bridge and pacing past the Royal Naval College and Greenwich Park, where horses will jump over hurdles during the 2012 Olympics. Somewhere between these points Matt remembered to turn on the cyclemeter so we'd have a boatload (get it? Naval College? Boatload? Anyone...? Try the veal!) of stats.

We were delighted to discover that not only does Thamesmead actually exist, but there's an East Thamesmead, a North Thamesmean, a South Thamesmead and also a West Thamesmead, and that each of these Thamesmeads, along with Dartford, is ludicrously well-signed from the A-roads. There are also lots of bike lanes along the A-roads out there, though I imagine that during rush hour they don't make things any more pleasant on the commuting cyclist.

So but anyway, we made a few minor wrong turns, one of which was caused by our naive (and really, insanely stupid, based on previous experience with NCR 4) faith in National Cycle Route 1, which led us to a dead end behind a supermarket that smelled of bread. We wasted little time in correcting our route (if memory serves, this happened in the also well-signed town of Erith) and cranking along our merry way. And good thing too, because what I've yet to mention is that this ride was a race, and we had only a few hours from our departure time before the Southeastern HS1 train, like the HTC Highroad train, would organize itself and take up the chase. We wanted to arrive in Whitstable before our ladyfriends.

Onwards! There were a few hills along the way, including the wonderfully named Knee Hill, our first climb of the day, and a climb, Matt later confessed, would have been avoided had we not diverted from our route out of London towards Kent earlier on. Whatever! We climbed like champions!

In Rochester we saw a submarine, and somewhere before then we saw a Hindu temple of some kind. We got a little baffled in the area of Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham, which kind of blended together in a mass of A-road. From Rainham we diverted along a winding B-road, which was a lot of fun and on which we saw a lot of other riders (all going the other way). We began to "do the math" on our approximate position and how long we'd been riding and started to realize that we had a decent chance of arriving before the 12:38 train, as long as we kept up our pace, which we thought was pretty good, and didn't get too lost, which is always a possibility with the navigationally challenged TroisV.

When we hit Faversham we realized that barring accident or a series of punctures, we were going to finish way ahead of the train. We felt giddy. We decided to push hard anyway, just to see how well we could do. We still hadn't seen any signs actually pointing to Whitstable. But then we did! The B2040 to Whitstable! Let's follow it! And follow it we did. Though we followed it a little too far, because we weren't supposed to follow it as it turned into an A-road. So after an unnecessary climb we turned around and coasted back along our path, turning up Head Hill and cycling on to Goodnestone, to Graveney, and at a T-intersection, a sign pointing to Whitstable, 5 miles (8 kilometers in TroisV distance) away. We cranked up the pace--or as some of you might prefer, "put down the hammer"-- and traded the responsibility of taking the lead, watching the sea, pedaling hard, keeping our speed up around 40 kph for the final push to the sea, then along it and into Whitstable. We toodled down the high street, stopped to buy some snacks and drinks, then found a picnic bench with a view of the sea and a pub that serves pints of the local ale.

The train was--or those who were supposed to take it were--more disorganized that of HTC Highroad, and so we had over an hour before we trundled up the road and waited on the platform for not the 12:38, but the 13:08 arrival at Whitstable:



The rest of the day was spent swimming, drinking more beer, and eating ridiculous amounts of food before catching the train back to London. Here's a photo, taken after swimming and beer and food:



Here are the stats from Matt's cyclemeter. He started it late, so it's a little off (my on-bike computer said 124.55 km and average speed 27.2 kph) but not too much. Also, I don't believe the top speed for a second; I'm blaming GPS interference for that one:

Finished Cycle: 10 Jul 2011 11:46:55
Route: The Whit's Table
Google Maps URL:
http://maps.google.com/?q=http://share.abvio.com/0538/b03a/4d4b/5253/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20110710-0700.kml
Shortened Google Maps URL: http://j.mp/orE3dQ
Import URL: http://share.abvio.com/0538/b03a/4d4b/5253/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20110710-0700.kml
Ride Time: 4:13:09
Stopped Time: 33:11
Distance: 108.59 km
Average: 25.74 km/h
Fastest Speed: 79.34 km/h
Ascent: 173 meters
Calories: 3290

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Rim Job!

A regular reader writes:

Marty and I saw this "sculpture" on Pleasant Hill Road in Freeport, Maine.
We thought it might have Bike Porn Friday potential. It is made of bicycle rims. Not sure what creature it is supposed to be.



Here's some rock:

Friday, 1 July 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Words! Words! Words!

So, uh, well, because none of the rest of the TroisV feels like posting anything, and I don't feel like looking up some sexybike photos, and because various things have been going on, here's a long description of various activities.

First, Dr Matt's book has arrived, and with it, the TroisV heads officially into print:



Moving swiftly along, on Saturday evening Dr. Doug attended dinner at the home of the Junior Member. This meal was notable for its delicious quiche (real men eat it) and equally delicious raspberry meringue. Calorific! It was also notable for the Junior Member being pleased to don his official club jersey for the meal, but then being a bit too shy (at first) to actually sit down at the table. The shyness quickly evaporated in favor of (in what I feel is true TroisV spirit) hurling abuse at the other official member at the table. Flotsnoo!, Cosmo, Flotsnoo!

Anyway, on Sunday Dr. Doug headed out with the Junior Member's mother, and follower of this very site, Isobel, on the Cycling Club Hackney's weekly Early Risers Ride. It was a biggish group, which split into two once we'd reached Epping Forest. The riders were nice people, the weather was sunny and hot, and I for one had a really nice time and will be joining them again down the road. Here's the stats from the ride, including a map:

Finished Cycle: 26 Jun 2011 11:11:08
Route: New Route
Google Maps URL: http://maps.google.com/?q=http://share.abvio.com/ef63/4f39/4d7b/3dd4/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20110626-0806.kml
Shortened Google Maps URL: http://j.mp/mkrVwq
Import URL: http://share.abvio.com/ef63/4f39/4d7b/3dd4/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20110626-0806.kml
Ride Time: 2:22:25
Stopped Time: 42:32
Distance: 60.94 km
Average: 25.67 km/h
Fastest Speed: 51.84 km/h
Ascent: 295 meters
Descent: 304 meters
Calories: 1883

The Key Lime Pie received multiple comments, but not one of the Hackney Cyclists commented on the fetching club jersey, which I wore with pride. How disappointing.

The Doctors wore themselves out on Wednesday evening with a glorious hills ride up West Highgate, Swain's Lane and the Alpine Village, and Dr. Doug played at being a bike courier Thursday and Friday (today!), first delivering something called stroopwafels to City Hall, before running into an old foe:



and then today meeting Dr. Matt's sister and brother-in-law to deliver some keys and collect a ticket. For both of these deliveries, Dr. Doug saw fit to wear his U.S. Postal cap.

Time to rest and listen to rock.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Victorian Alps!

Today's Bike Porn is a video, courtesy of Dr Matt's favorite embrocation provider, and it features an old Australian telling some stories, as well as a bit of riding:

Click here for your Bike Porn Friday Video!


Warning! There is one reference to the "Tour of France" in that video.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Rainy Day Doctors # 12 & 35

Dr Matt and Dr Doug decided to ride some pre-work laps of good old Regent's Park this morning. The meeting time was 7:45, the meeting place was the Meeting Place. It was one of those mornings on which it's impossible to figure out how to dress; it wasn't warm, but wasn't cold and it was threatening to rain but might hold off long enough to get the laps in...

...It did not "hold off long enough to get the laps in," although it did "hold off long enough to get a lap in," before a spit turned to a drizzle turned to a downpour, before letting up a little, before pouring even harder. "Shades of Wessex," we told ourselves, fondly remembering a day of broken derailleurs, torrential rain, meager snacks, Cheddar Gorge and Alfred's Tower. There's some sort of "eat foods of London" event going on in the park this weekend, and preparations for the preparations were underway, which meant vans and vans and trucks and trucks parked along the stretch of the inner circle that we use for the RP Sprint Series. So it was a handful of lackluster laps. At the start the final lap, the water started to trickle down to my foot, and by the halfway mark, my feet were completely waterlogged. Then it was off for home, where Dr Matt planned to shower, dry, and then get on a bike and cycle to work in the rain. For Dr Doug, it meant up to Swain's Lane and then home, to shower, dry and not leave the house at all because term has ended. I hasten to add that I am actually doing work today (albeit procrastinating at the moment).

Anyway, up Swain's Lane, in a dark downpour. It was an odd sensation, with the streetlights on and the sound of rain pounding the leaves overhead, but very little water filtering through. Near the top, the driver of a large white van parked near the top looked out his window and said, "Almost there, mate!" I sputtered by reply; it was the end of the steepest section of the climb.

But I love it when people shout or speak encouragement, which happens regularly but not what I'd call often, when I'm climbing Swain's Lane. I love it for two reasons: one, the friendliness is nice, as friendliness usually (always?) is; two, it makes me feel a little smug, because I ride up Swain's Lane regularly and what I'd call often.

Anyway, today was one of those days on which you have to keep reminding yourself that all the kilometers count.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Jailbait!

One later afternoon over the winter I was walking through a salubrious part of the London Borough of Camden (actually, it was a side street near the Kilburn High Road), and spotted this bicycle innocuously locked to a post:



Note the note attached to it. I had a closer look:





It seems that locking your bike to a post on a quiet street is the sort of crime that Camden will bust come hell or high water. Better leave your bike unlocked and prey to thieves than to risk the vicious slide from bicycling citizen to recidivist.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Never fear, imprisoned cyclist! Phil is here to lead the way out:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Quest for Speed

The father of our Junior Member has begun blogging about running, here:

http://questforspeed.wordpress.com/

The TroisV does wonder, however, how one can get around without two wheels. We'll be reading regularly to find out whether this kind of ambulation is possible, and whether we've used ambulation correctly in that sentence.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bike Porn Friday: The Past is a Different Country

Ah, memories. It seemed like yesterday was only... yesterday. So, let's pretend it is, and bike porn Friday is still ripe for the reading.

You may recall Doug's delight at his Key Lime Pie. It is a splendid, green machine. An imitation is surely the surest form of flattery. So, we present the Independent Fabrication Factory Lightweight:



There was a nice review that I sent Doug. But I can't find it at the moment. The Key Lime Pie still takes the prize with its fine alloy componentry.

Meanwhile, more green bikes over on Bianchista (I can never really tell the difference between green and bluey green...). Those croissants are taking over.

Flotsnoo!

Trois V!




Friday, 27 May 2011

Bike Porn Friday: German Orgy!

Last weekend Dr. Doug traveled to Münster, Germany for the wedding of a friend. Münster is the place where the treaty that ended the Thirty Years War was signed, as was the treaty that secured the independence from Spain of the Netherlands.

Münster is also the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital of Germany." The town is quite literally littered with bicycles. In some places the sidewalks were unpassable due to the number of bicycles locked up on them. Rusted out bicycles gave the impression that people had simply forgotten where they'd parked. Cyclists were continually zooming around the roads and bicycle paths. Here's a picture of a bunch of bikes around the corner from the hotel:








Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Mt Baldy and more Lemon Drizzle news!

Although there is some sort of cycle race going on in Italy, the non-Eurosport subscribing members know nothing about it (and we suspect that the Eurosport-subscribing member is not watching, if only due to the execrable commentary).

However, ITV4 brings us relief with the very entertaining #ATOC, or Amgen Tour of California. Radioshack seem to have taken their (and almost ours) mind of 60 Minutes with a brutal performance on the hills, with a fine GC win for Horner. More interesting, perhaps, for the Trois V was the great coverage of the ascent of Mt Baldy, a col (actually, it's not a col as you have to turn around and come back down) that I now want to climb. Meanwhile, here's a salute to 'uncle of the Trois V', who's been there already, and without the ridicululous fools who dressed up in Sumo suits, etc. (ok, it's a different mountain, but you get the point): http://www.troisv.cc/2010/05/assault-on-mount-mitchell.html

Closer, to home, we are also pleased to have the excuse to talk about Victoria Pendleton and Lemon Drizzle cake in the same sentence.

Flotsnoo!

TroisV!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Monkey Trouble

People sometimes wonder what it looks like to see the TroisV speeding around lap after lap of Regent's Park, or descending a sharp hill on the Epping Loop, so last time out, we had a camera crew follow us. You're welcome, Mom!



Flotsnoo!
TroisV!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Key Lime Pie!



Here you go, everybody, the newest bicycle of the TroisV. It's the much-trumpeted "Key Lime Pie," a 2010 Condor Squadra. Why yes, that is a Campagnolo Centaur groupset. Why yes, those are Mavic Aksium wheels. Why yes, everything else on there is porntastically expensive. Why yes, those are the cheapest water bottle cages they had. Why yes, Dr. Doug is sucking in his gut. He'd better get riding.

Flotsnoo!
TroisV!