Vaconsoleil 2011 Pro Bikes

New Prendas Ciclisimo Caps

Prendas recently took delivery of 3 new colourways of their classic biretta. The pink one looks particularly natty in the flesh, perfect for complimenting a ninja-style black lycra ensemble! A snip at only £7.50, scoop here

Rapha & Paul Smith

Iconic British designer Paul Smith has collaborated for a few seasons now with Rapha, producing exotic special limited edition items that seems to appear and disappear from the current range only to become extremely sought after on the second hand ,marketplace, thus is the desire to own these specially commissioned products. Paul Smith has put his twist on items such as team issue printed wallets, leather summer mitts, and this season sees a whole capsule range launched cataloguing a wide range of clothing and accessories for those keen on something a little different. In the below video see Sir Paul chat with Rapha about all things cycling...

Check out this notebook from Paul Smith, scoop now and use a free shipping code until Tuesday FREESHIPNOV30. A wicked little stocking filler, perfect for taking notes at work or even logging training progress...

Bike Fit with Cadence Sport

A few months ago I visited ex-professional rider Adrian Timmis of Cadence Sport for a bike fitting, to address various issues I had been having over the 12 months previous. First, allow me to give a little background into why I went for the bike fit in the first place.
Iv suffered a strange radiating neural pain in my left leg for around 14 months now. It started as a strange hamstring-like twinge, then moved down to my calf, then manifested itself in a numb foot and a general feeling of discomfort right the way from my hip joint down to my toes. Having being in physiotherapy for quite a few months, they suspected the problem was actually due to disc issues in my L4/L5 spinal section, that was putting pressure on the main sciatic nerve, and in turn creating these incredibly painful, but phantom, leg pains. Its worth noting a later MRI indeed confirmed these issues.
So after around 8 weeks off the bike due to work commitments during the summer, I returned wanting to address my on-bike comfort issues. I was determined to tweak my position and get some advice so that I can alleviate as much discomfort in my leg as I can and ensure Im getting the most possible out of my riding.
So with this in mind I decided after reading a few glowing reviews of the Cadence Sport bike fit I would like to give it a punt. The price comes in at £100, which seems pretty good for a bike fit, I believe Specialized BG fits are a shade more expensive, with a full Retul system fit proving an even bigger hit on the wallet. The great part about the price, is that Adrian is currently doing an offer to which I snapped up, offering not just a comprehensive dynamic bike fit, but also a pair of customized heat-moldable Sidas footbeds to boot (insoles on their own weigh in at £40, so its a cracking deal on paper). 
For those of you not familiar with Adrain Timmis, Cadence Sport head honcho, id suggest you should have supreme confidence in his advice and fitting, given that Adrian is an ex-pro of massive pedigree, riding for the iconic Z-Peugeot team and also Raleigh-Banana. His palmares includes finishing the Tour de France, racing epic classic such as Gent-Welgevem, Amstel Gold, winning stages of the Milk Race and even Cross & MTB wins at national level. He has worked as masseurs for national teams and coaches to a really high level, currently coaching pedigree riders like Graham Briggs on Rapha Condor Sharp.
The bike fits take place at Adrian's home just off the A38 near Derby. Having been up visiting my folks in Adrian's old training ground of Sheffield, I found a window in my diary that looked perfect to head and have the fit. The sat-nav guided me there with great ease, unlike the traffic which seemed to taunt me (maybe I just noticed it more as a cyclist and very-rarely car driver).
Adrian greeted me and we headed into the working area. A turbo was set up, with all manner of exciting insoles, cleats, saddles and other goodies attached up on the wall. I couldn't help noticing a wicked photo on the wall of him on the Champs d'Elysée with non other than the legend Fignon in the frame... instantly impressed :-)
First we sat down and had a good old natter, about my riding, my back/leg issues and Adrian's unfortunate collarbone incident. I instantly felt at ease and as if I was catching up with an old cycling buddy, supping coffee whilst eagerly listening to riding tales. 
Firstly I had my Sidas moulded insoles made up. Adrian recently supplied the very same insoles to two of my favorite riders, the very classy Downing brothers. So I guess what works for the big boys might actually help me a little! The insoles are constructed of a few different pieces of material, differing in density and thickness. They were laid on some strange inflatable platform and I had to assume a funny ski like stance to allow them to corrrectly mould to the riding shape of my feet. The stand then inflated and deflated, perfectly shaping the insoles to the contours of my feet, ensuring they had the fit of a dainty slipper. Check Deano out having them done, looking ever the pro!
I purchased after market oven-moulded insoles from SOLE at the beginning of 2010, and I have to say they were the biggest waste of £35 I could have imagines. They were hard, felt very uncomfortable and worst of all, added so much thickness to my sidi's that they actually caused them to be far too small for me, crushing my feet. So its fair to say I didn't expect much from these insoles.... and I have to say I couldn't have been more in the wrong. Adrian told me they seemed to fit Sidi's really well. They slipped into my Genius 6.6 shoes like a dream, being super low profile they made no difference to the fit. The top of the insole is made out of some kind of soft suede like material, and I have to say for how hard the underside felt to touch, they were extremely plush when pedaling in them. I was so impressed with them, so much so that I transfer the insoles out into my mtb SPD Sidi's when commuting throughout the week.
So with the insoles in place our attention turned to the cleats. I ride Speedplay Zero pedals, meaning I have free float on my cleats, a great feature should you a) know how to tune it or b) need it in the first place! I showed Adrian that I had a tendency to quite badly over pronate on both feet, a little more so on the left. He removed the cleats and wedged them with a LeMond purple wedge, aligning my knee and hip more-so. 
I then took to the trainer and warned Adrian that my right leg would go crazy at the bottom of the pedal stroke, its something I became acutely aware of on the Hell Of The North ride, when someone pointed out to my friend riding behind that my right foot was 'Going Mental'. It did indeed go berserk at the bottom of the stroke, twisting in a really OTT manner. This was actually solved by locking out the float on my right leg completely. After sorting the cleat into its natural position, by locking out the float my strange little 'disco-dance' of my ankle was completely eliminated. The float was then adjusted on my left leg (weirdly have quite a bit on the left in contrast to the locked out right leg) and my pedaling definitely seemed less labored and a little smoother.
Adrian then got out some big protractor-looking type things and set up some super cool looking lasers shining in lines across my knees, in order to track angles. My saddle fore/aft was moved forward and conversely my saddle was raised almost 2 centimeters. Things were starting to fall into place now, and it definitely felt a more natural position. 
My handlebar tape was then unravelled and then and Adrian moved my shifters up the handlebars. This was probably one of the biggest revelation to me. Suddenly I found I wasn't outstretched in the bars at all, and holding the hoods was such a comfortable position. It really did make a massive difference, and certainly in conjunction with sorting out my pedaling, it really felt like another part of the jigsaw falling into place.
Adrian warned me not to overdo it on the bike and to ease into the new position with more smaller rides to allow my body to adjust to the changes he implemented. The next day I went out for a very relaxed 50k or so. The feeling was incredibly. I found myself pedaling with a much needed efficiency, and the power I was able to turn in the gears was significantly improved from before I visited.
I was massively impressed for the price paid. I paid more than this for another fitting service in London, which my cleats were adjusted beautifully, but several key issues on my bike weren't looked at. I think the value is incredible when you factor in the insoles and the comfort they will provide. I mean £100 these days is what we would happily throw away on a nice winter cycling jersey, so why not use that money to invest and enhance your comfort and enjoyment on the bike.

Adrian can be found online on twitter, his website Cadence Sport, and also he is offering some excellent training tips and advice on his new Cadence Blog. Its not often you can get fitted by someone who knows so much about their craft because they rode at the highest level themselves, and id heartily recommend the fitting service for riders of all levels, whether your seeking more power for racing, or like myself, more comfort on those longer weekend chaingangs.

Bike Lust

Julie Racing Design

A very individual looking bike from Julie Racing Design. Id be curious to see how this rides! the back endlooks quite striking. Im sure some will say over-engineered, but hey, if you can build it, why not?

Basic Winter Intervals For Garmin Devices

I have uploaded a collection of aerobic interval sessions from my Garmin 500 to share with anyone wishing to kick start their winter base training. I use them on the spin bike, could be used on a ride in a controlled area like maybe Richmond or Regents park circuits. They are by no means uber scientific or for seasoned racers and elite riders, and they operate purely on HR zones (alas I am not training with power.....yet!). I am by no means claiming to know anything other than a few basics when it comes to hr training, so these workouts would be ideal for fairly fit novices/amateurs looking to boost their performance over the coming months. A nice kick start to some very basic training, each workout ranges from 50-60 minutes in length. Enjoy and check out the screenshots below for details of how to import them onto your Garmin workout compatible device (.FIT files). Should you encounter any problems feel free to email me and I will happily email the zip file.
1) Download the .zip file from here -
2) Open your Garmin device in drive mode
3) Then open the 'Garmin' folder inside
4) Then finally drag all the files from the zip folder into the 'Workouts' folder on the Garmin
5) Eject the Garmin device from the computer, power down then up again, the workouts should now be available, on the 500 device head to the 'Training' menu, then 'Workouts'. Simply select the workout you wish to do, then click 'start/stop' to commence the workout. Enjoy! 

'The Heat Is On'

Selle Monte Grappa

Bargain of the Day

Wiggle have the carbon Innovations Road Air 2 mini pump for a pocket change £9 (that's over a score off RRP) here over there now to scoop 

Rapha x Paul Smith Specials

Spied over at the Yatsugatake Bicycle Studio flickr spot, Im not sure if these are Asiapac special editions or forthcoming items from the new range. Either way they look colourful! 

Wheel Lust

Mavic Reflex CD rims & Dura Ace hubs via Luxe

Oversocks Bargain

Big Maggys Prendas oversocks available for £5 over at Prendas CiclisimoMatching socks are also reduced...

Ritte Bosberg


Autumnal Miles

I had the pleasure of heading out for a nice long ride into Surrey this past Wednesday. The temperatures plummeted, and it was truly oversocks and glove weather. I also had the pleasure of putting the new Rapha Ladies Softshell through its paces, watch out for a full in-depth review in the next week or so. I enjoyed the spoils of a Bakewell slice atop of Box Hill as my reward. Happy to finally chalk up some autumn cup points as it were...

Compression - Prendas Ciclisimo Style

Over the past week or two, bianchista HQ has been testing out some of those rather curious looking compression socks from the very lovely Prendas boys. 
Im sure many of you have noticed the rather in vogue trend of wearing special recovery garments post ride, usually in the guise of knee length socks or full length tights. Many claims are staked by manufacturers of said garments..... improvement in recovery, injury prevention and even improvements in output. But is it to be believed, or is it simply a case of marketing hype and merely a passing fad to which we will all look back upon with a wry smile in a few years time?
The Prendas socks are constructed from a mix of the fabulously space age sounding Lycra Energy and Skinlife Meryl fabrics, and come in black, with a comfy padded heel and toe area, making them very comfortable indeed for a post ride laze on the couch. The theory behind the socks is the tightness they fit with. Its this feature that provides the graduated compression, that in layman's terms, pushes the blood back to the heart and helps flush lactic away from tired calves. 
I wore the socks after various rides, between 2-5 hours. I was initially sceptical of the claims, but as soon as I was home, I drank my usual protein drink and then pulled on the funny looking socks, reminiscent of something from my high school PE lessons. I tried to keep them on as long as I could, on a couple of occasions even popping them back after a bath and sleeping in them.
After the first session of wearing the socks (after a 4 hour Surrey ride) I was very impressed. I'm not sure if the effect was psychological, but my legs definitely felt lighter and fresher than when I do my usual big ride and crash out without the socks. I noticed about a 40-50% reduction in how tired my legs would normally feel, and I was able to get out on the bike the next day go just as hard. I wore the socks after a week of riding in the park every day prior to work, with some sessions being hard interval rides, that edge I felt the socks gave me was so very welcome indeed. The socks can be worn inconspicuously under work attire, meaning when sat at the desk they can get to work and reinvigorate knackered legs.  
Once again Prendas manage to smash through the value for money barrier, offering the socks for a shade under £15, great considering other compression specialising manufacturers are whacking a tenner on top of that price. I was also impressed at their sizes, with two different calf sizes available to ensure the right compression is yielded. 
For the price of £15 I would highly recommend these socks. Whilst the subtle edge that I felt they gave me could even be explained away as a placebo effect, for the price offered, they are definitely worth a punt. So many pro riders are pictured wearing the socks post racing, that anything the pro's do for an edge must have some sort of reasoning behind it! Il leave you with a pretty good endorsement of the product from champion cyclo-crosser Helen Wyman post Koppenberg win....
Prendas Compression socks are available in various sizes at £14.95

The Handlebar Graveyard

Is in a cupboard in our hallway.... upto 6 pairs now! Lord knows how the heck we have acrued them.... bizarre!

US Gran Prix of Cyclocross