gangster ride

Olympic Fever!

So, the Olympic road races are behind us, and what races they were! Team GB ultimately didn't have luck on their side when it came to the Men's effort, with a strong break managing to pull away and ultimately motor it to the finish. Vino was a shock result for me, but he was strong and hungry and worked well with a spirited looking Uran. The only thing I find annoying about Vino's win is he is going to retire, thus depriving us of four years worth of lairy golden euro-bling bike swag (ain't that right Sami?)
The race was pretty good, with everything from a wandering dog, Gilbert having a dig and of course Cancellara hitting the deck, taking the corner like a 4th-cat Hillingdon smashfest in the rain. I watched from my screen at the Olympic Park where Im currently on assignment editing. Obviously they put me as the go-to girl for the cycling events, so I pretty much had a ball seeing the race unfold and waiting for the images to spool onto our servers.
Our guys shot some really nice stuff, the gallery from the men's race is here.
One thing that sucked was all the media jocking on Cav for somehow 'failing'? typical bullshit from press that doesn't cover anything to do with cycling 99% of the year, but ever since Wiggo took le tour seems like Britain suddenly woke up and decided they are cycling experts haha. Anyway id say it was a valiant effort by all riders, at the end of the day GB didn't get a guy in that break and it was strong enough to stay away and launch the medals from. This is racing and that's the way the cookie crumbles! What was pretty ace was seeing the throngs of salivating fans lining the course. From Boxhill to Buckingham Palace the winding roads out to Surrey, the appetite was palatable for impassioned fans to show their support for the riders. The mood was one of pride and excitement, but to see these kind of crowds on the roads that us capital-based riders frequent was something really special indeed...
And so onto the ladies race.. what an exciting race it was! With only two ascents of Box, it made for a good race with plenty having a dig at pinging off the front. The race was made 'epic' by the arrival of a monsoon like shower, in total contrast to the med-like conditions of the gents the day previous. With a break of Vos, Lizzie and Zabelinskaya hitting out with around 50k's to go back to the finish on the Mall, an exciting and tense 'will they wont they' survival kicked in, with me shouting at the screen! Of course Vos is indeed the strongest rider, and I couldn't have been happier for her to take the gold. I get continually p*ssed that she seems to get pipped every worlds... in my eyes she is without a doubt the greatest female cyclist to walk the planet. Bold statement yes I know, but look at the range of terrain and events she can smash. Lizzie was amazing to keep right up there with her, and it was only the Dutchwoman's strong finish that managed to hold off the GB charge with a few feet in it max! 
So yeah, all massive credit to VOS for being a total machine.... The bad-ass sdudes over at Vicious Velo wrote a really good piece about the ladies road race, and why is kicked so much ass. I suggest you head there and give it a read. The images I edited for our guys for the ladies RR can be perused here.
With the TT's coming up on Wednesday, it could be quite a wide open race. Personally I think we might see a shock result, someone such as Gustav Larsson might put in a good showing. With Cadel out, Cancellara possibly hurting after his mishap in the road race, and Tony Martin perhaps burning a few too many matches riding at the front on Saturday it could make the performances of these heavyweights a little more human. We will see!
Dav Craven climbs up Box Hill
Olympic fever has arrived in the UK, and we are extremely privileged to be hosting such an incredible event. So get behind the athletes and show your support, big shouts out to my amazing 6 year old nephew in Sheffield for his inspiring window display! 


Would make such an awesome commuter backpack...

Lotus Condor - Update

Super-snapper Andrew Ferraro, reader of this wee blog and fellow Acciaio rider recently snapped a few frames of this special edition Condor Leggero crafted for car-makers Lotus.
The bike marks the beginning of a really interesting collaboration between the firms, with Lotus able to offer some incredibly specific engineering knowledge to produce some exciting new innovations to the world of Condor bicycles. 
Although on first inspection the design looks a little like the infamous rapha 'imperial works' colourscheme with the whole black and gold vibe, this is a happy accident.... it was actually designed in homage to the Lotus Formula 1 machine, which is apparently soon to accompany this snazzy bike at the showroom.
Both Condor and Lotus, formed in 1948, share a passion for the production of lightweight racing machines, so this seems like a really cool partnership, with both companies utilising their knowledge of material and design to offer up something a little cooler than the Spesh X McLaren offerings. The focus im told from my Condor 'Secret Squirrel' will be "Efficiency on a bicycle, performance gains and a bike that everyone can ride, not just a pro." With an emphasis on affordability and performance... it seems to be a match made in heaven. There's every possibility in 2013 you will see some cool specialist fruits of this hook up... I for one await with baited breath! For now enjoy some pics shot by Andy Waterman....

Northwave Extreme Tech MTB Shoes

These past few weeks at at bianchista towers we have been wearing a frighteningly lurid pair of the high end mtb shoes, the 'Extreme Tech' model from Northwave, with sleek looks and styling straight outta Italia.
Now whilst the colour may not be to everyone’s taste, (admittedly the model tested served quite a shocking compliment of neon yellow and a burnt neon orange tone) the 'Extreme Tech' is also offered in a classy looking white version, great for those old school euro-cycling fans who believe any deviation of glowing white shoes to be an inexcusable strike against ones name (teamed with fresh white socks natch!)
Recently a similar pair of fluo-slips have been spotted gracing these fair feet, also from Northwave. I purchased the base-end Sparta model a couple of months ago with the intention of racking up the commuting miles on these cheap and cheerful numbers, with between 14 and 26 miles daily clocked up on my journeys between home and work. Both ridden in size 39 (UK6) it made for a good contrast and comparison in ride features from both models. The fit is definitely more refined on the extreme tech model, the comfort difference was pretty huge.
The Extreme Tech is crafted out of a one-piece upper, eliminating seams from the construction. Not only this, but the upper is made from an incredibly supple and comfortable fabric, that feels not dissimilar to wearing a high end leather sneaker, the sort that gives a little but maintains its shape and suppleness. The upper is made from a light leather-like material, and utilizes Northwaves ‘BioMap’ system – creating a shoe that compliments the biomechanics of the pedalling motion, from the footbeds to the arch supports.
Another bonus is the drizzle resistance of these shoes. They really do take a long time to soak through, great news for the days when caught unaware without overshoes. Ideal for those of a dirty disposition, mtb’ers and Cross’ers will dig how easy the shoes are to clean – a simple wipe with a wet cloth is all that’s needed to get them glowing again.
The shoes fasten with a combination of a padded ankle strap, micro adjustable via a sturdy exterior buckle, and the tightness can be dialled in to the inside of the shoe, for those with smaller feet like myself, requiring a little tightening to secure the foot.
Above this lies a boa-style click fastener, monikered the ‘SLW’ in layman’s terms its Nothwaves ‘Speed Lace Winch’ system. The easy grab click allows you to tighten the wax coated Plyamide 'Dyneema' cord to the exact flavour to suit. I found they seemed to run a little smoother and easier than the boa system found on other shoe models, certainly smoother after a few good soakings. The little red click latch unlocks the winch for easy loosening.
So how did the shoes ride? Well the carbon sole provided excellent power transfer, I noticed riding up a big hill on my fixed gear the day after switching from the nylon soled equivalent that the soles were super stiff when pedalling, meaning I was able to eke a little more out with ease when powering up the hill. The sole has a carbon section injected into the outer, made up of a natural rubber unit, so everything in contact with terra firma is hard wearing and resilient. I could potter about in these shoes fairly comfortably, and during Wimbledon I pretty much hiked around a mile at the start and end of each day across a muddy golf course to fetch my steed. 
There are two removable studs for cross junkies to use as they belt around the rough stuff. There’s also a nice welded piece of protection around the toe box area, keeping that delicate upper from scuffing, something Im forever seeming to do as I unclip and scuff curbs in the city.
I found it hard to wear the meshed sparta model after trying the extreme tech, such was the level of fit the upper provided. It has even trumped the road shoe I currently hold on a high mantle, the specialized S-Works shoes… so much so the pennies are being saved to purchase the road version once my s-works bite the dust in a couple of seasons.
The shoes can be hunted down and found for around £200, in both road and mountain bike SPD versions, in a few different colourways. Overall id give these shoes a 9.5/10, such was the comfort of the upper and the quality to which the components are made (the dial-up buckle system was particularly impressive, even after a few wet outings – it ran as smooth as ever, and was easy to use with the nice shaped handle).

Leggera Silk Scarves

Spied over at aerodynamique...


A Manual for Speed: Driveway Time Trial 2012

The Art Of Climbing

The able-legged mountain goat that is Phil 'The Danger' Deeker has written a wonderful guide to the art of climbing. A stunning sphere of cycling that comes unashamedly easier to others, but is something  simultaneously and universally appreciated by each and every cycling enthusiast. The reward and accomplishment of conquering both the physical and mental mountain-scape is the ultimate elixir in cycling (or it is in this girls humble opinion) Anyway, here's a sneaky photo I snapped of Phil looking ever the dandy in Italy this Spring. I suggest you head on over to the 'Art Of Climbing' feature and enjoy.

Steve, Sauris

Get Well Soon James!

Just a little note to say "GET WELL SOON YOU F**KING HERO" to a girls' best friend, JR. Some knuckle-head driver knocked old Jimmy-SM off on the commute and now he has a mashed up collarbone. Look on the brightside James, your shoulder is gonna be PRO with all that shiny metal pinnage in. And dont forget, Blame = Claim = New Fraaaaaaame!
JR, Waller Pain Day 2012

Pista Pursuita

I spent last night changing the steering on my pista, I had been riding some nice light old 3ttt handlebars with a traditional bend, and a little trigger finger front brake (its a fixed commuter so iv actually only ever run a front brake), but fancied a change as i seem to be spending more and more time commuting about the place these days. A chance sale on components over at chain reaction sealed the idea, and I fancied giving a fun little pursuit style a blast.
The clear jelly Cinelli tape is lush, nice and spongy. Would look cool with a type of decolage done underneath on the handlebars, a la James Straffon shoe style.

New S-works