My Cycle To Work Scheme – Rapha Jeans

When cycling to work, I like to choose practicality and functionality over style and no substance. When the guys at Rapha sent over their jeans, I was excited. A pair of stylish jeans cut for the commute, what could be better than arriving in style?

The problem with riding in every day jeans is that they don’t breath overly well, they’re not suitable if it rains and they’re generally uncomfortable on the bike. Not ideal for the commute but nice for the office… the jeans which Rapha sent over are designed to be good for both, so here’s what I found out.

  • Comfortable?

H1-16-DJO01XX-Premium-Demin-Original-Navy--angleKinda, yeah. Almost cyclists will share this issue I have, my thighs are generally too big for the jeans which match my waist, meaning I have to make a compromise somewhere, generally going a size or two up.

I had high hopes that these Rapha jeans would take that in to consideration and cut the thigh slightly wider. I’m not saying I have hill crushing thighs or sprinters legs but I did feel that these jeans were just a little too tight on the leg when I got them off and on. This also made them feel a little hotter once I got pushing the pedals too.

However, on the saddle, they felt much better than it does in normal jeans. No rubbing or chaffing and a little bit more breathable.

  • Weather proof?

H1-16-DJO01XX-Premium-Demin-Original-Navy-back1These jeans are a little bit smart, they let your legs breath out and do a fairly good job at resisting the wind blowing through them and freezing your thighs.

Added to that they’re slightly water resistant, able to keep the spray and light drizzle from soaking in to the denim. Instead the beads of water are visible on to of the denim which you can brush off.

As you can imagine, this is a huge plus especially on the damp days where you can be left at your destination soggy and uncomfortable in the wrong choice of jeans.

  • Rapha… they cost a fortune.

H1-16-DJO01XX-Premium-Demin-Original-Navy-half-upWell, it’s all relative really, isn’t it? Ever heard the saying ‘buy cheap buy twice’? Well that really is true. You could buy cheaper jeans over and over and end up spending more money than what you would than if you spent your money on a decent pair.

Yes, Rapha does have a bit of a mark up at being prestige and expensive. I’d say that was true in the pre-2013 years. I didn’t think they were worth the money then as their stuff just was not durable. After their work with Team Sky I think there has been a real push to improve this. You can see that from their road riding kit and it’s carried across to their city range too.

In saying this, buy within your means, don’t rack up a credit card debt then blame it on me because you can’t afford to pay it off.

  • Would I buy a pair?

H1-16-DJO01XX-Premium-Demin-Original-Navy-reflectiveMy everyday jeans are Levi’s. I buy them because they’re durable, wear well and I know I’ll get my money’s worth out of them.

Same here with these Rapha jeans, buy for purpose and durability, not cheap and twice.

 

 

 

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SVEN – The Traveling Bike

Folding bikes are becoming more and more popular and it seems like every train you get on now, somewhere there’s a Brompton folded away and its owner looking pleased as punch their going to get home before you.

_B4A3269But how about this from bike builders SVEN. This bike doesn’t fold but dissembles and packs in to its own box! Wallop, no more big hefty flight boxes which are going to cost you the earth in baggage, this bike clicks apart, forks and all and goes in to its own specially designed foam cut box to make sure everything goes in perfectly, every time.

On top of this, the bike is much more than just a travel gimmick, this SVEN bike is a very serious bit of kit. Cyclists who want to take their bike on adventure holidays is becoming more and more popular, not only in the UK but around the world. People are setting off in to the unknown, getting on bicycles in foreign lands with tents, clothes and provisions packed and setting off on a world of adventure. What this bike does is make that more accessible, with one small tool the bike can be dissembles and assembled with ease.

What’s more about the SVEN bikes, they’re unbelievably unique to the owner. Each bike can be specced out specifically to the owners wants and needs. The bike starts off with two options, a sturdy hard case to pack in to or a more practical backpack. Both cases are in built within airline standards so that the SVEN customer doesn’t incur extra baggage charges. How nice of SVEN. Talking of baggage charges you must be thinking weight, right? Well, the weight of the bike varies dependant on your wants and needs but it will weigh between 17lbs and 25lbs that’s just short of 8kg and a bit over 11kg in old money._B4A3248

The bike does look just beautiful though, it gives a nod from the old classics but has disc brakes, gears on the brake levers and talking of gears, you can pretty much put whatever gears you like on the bike. The guys at SVEN are super accommodating, they predominantly will fit Shimano gears on to the bike, but if you want something more exotic, all you have to do is ask.

So, what’s the cost? Well, they’re not cheap! Again, depending on what style and bike and additions you have the price of the bike varies but you can expect to pay between £2,500 and £5,000 for just the bike, without the backpack or special hard sided travel case. That’s a lot of money! To have the bike adapted for travel is a £600 additional charge and for the hard-sided carrier comes in at £400 with the Bicycle backpack costing you £200.

If you went all out on this bike it’ll cost you around £6,000 all in. That’s a lot of money, you could buy a few bikes for that, I guess you can put a price on beauty.

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Merckx restoration – Part 1: The Setup

Eddy Merckx, a name which everyone in cycling knows, the hard Belgian who won Grand Tours for fun and made everyone else look like amateurs.

On top of his ability on the bike after his retirement Mr. Merckx carried on his good name by creating beautiful steel frames that were provided to teams in the peloton. These classic steel frames can be worth a fortune today, if in good condition and of the right era.


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Imagine my disbelieve when I go to take the rubbish out of my East London flat and there, in front of me is an Eddy Merckx bike. Sitting there a little bit worse for wear desperate for some TLC. No quicker was the rubbish thrown out, the bike was back up on my balcony looking a bit happier to be in the sunshine. I couldn’t believe my luck. A Merckx frame and it’s just begging to be restored. Lucky me.

I quickly set about the research of the Merckx frame desperate to know what year, model, how the bike should look and how to restore it. However a few things didn’t quite add up. I couldn’t quite figure it out…

Frame numbers are on the bottom brackets of a Merckx bike, I found a really useful website that would allow me to see which classic Merckx I had. Wonderful. However, the frame number on this Merckx didn’t match. ‘What’s going on here?’ I thought, is this some sort of super rare Merckx?

A bit of history for you – in the 1970’s Eddy wanted to cash in on his name, he wanted to produce more bikes than his factory could. To facilitate this along came British bike manufacturer, Falcon. In February 1973 they released a series of frames which were ‘approved’ by Eddy Merckx, each bike sold a lump of money would go to Eddy for allowing the bike to carry his name and Falcon would get the rest, good for the goose and the gander. What was the case though is that a lot of these frames were cheap, build them quickly and cheaply, sell them for as much mark up as possible to cash in on the Merckx name. The steel was of a lower quality, it was heavy and the only thing that made this bike a Merckx, not a Falcon, was the decals which were stuck on the bike.

What I had sat on my balcony was a Falcon. A sheep in wolfs skin. A Falcon in Eagle feathers. I had been duped.

Enthusiasm knocked and feeling slightly subdued I wondered what to do. I could just take the bike back down to the bin store, no harm done, leave it there for the next person to be passionate about it. Then I realised – this is still a bike, an awesome commuting bike. A bike I could still do up and be proud of. It actually has its own little interesting story. People still buy knock off Piccasso’s thinking they’re the real thing, right?

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So – over the next few weeks / months I’m going to be turning this slightly rusted, Merckx approved frame in to something I can be proud of and you dear reader can follow the story here. Right from getting the parts to its first finished ride!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas as the restoration progresses and of the whole idea! So tweet me, comment on Instagram, comment, like and share on Facebook and also below.

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The Red Hook Criterium

London, July 22nd – fixed gear street racing returns to the iconic Greenwich Peninsula with Rockstar Games Red Hook Criterium. tornanti_cc-rhcl2-190901-2526

Free to spectators you’ll see some of the best men and women on a fixed gear bike, hammer around the streets from 12:00 in the afternoon until 21:30 at night.

Originally the Red Hook Crit (RHC) began in Red Hook, Brooklyn, USA in 2008. Expanding to Milan in 2010, Barcelona in 2013 and further on to London in 2015, this year is the third RHC in London.

In the women’s race, 2016 winner and Olympic gold medalist, Dani King will be back to try and retain her winning title.

tornanti_cc-rhcl2-214541-1288Brakeless fixed gear racing on the street like this isn’t common, more usually found on the boards of a velodrome. The men will race for 30 laps around a 1km circuit, while the women will have a 22 lap race around the same newly designed loop.

The rules are simple, track bikes only, if you’re lapped you’re out, first across the line wins. The heat races will set the grid position for the first 85 riders, riders 86-105 will then go in to an 18km race where the top 10 advance to the main event, the previously mentioned mens 30km race or women’s 22km race. tornanti_cc-rhcl2-211039-9877

The schedule for the day is as follows:

Men’s Heat Races 12:00 – 14:30

Women’s Heat Races 14:30 – 15:30

Last Chance Race 17:00 – 17:30

Women’s Super Pole 17:30 – 17:45

Men’s Super Pole 19:00 – 19:15

Women’s Criterium 19:30 – 20:30

Men’s Criterium 20:30 – 21:30

Podium Ceremony 21:30

If you fancy yourself some super quick high octane racing then get yourself down to the Greenwich Peninsular on July 22nd.

 

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Smith The Route Helmet

The chaps at Smith sent us pedal pushers over one of their ‘The Route’ helmets. When they did, they asked me which colour I would like, their charcoal black or bright orange. Using this for the commute I chose bright orange and I’m glad I did. I’m convinced the colour got me noticed on the road and stopped me from being hit by a car turning right and not looking. I’m not saying that is the reason you should buy this helmet, what I am saying is think what purpose you’re buying your helmet for. Be it weekend Road riding, track racing or on the commute, colour and type should always play a part.

“The Route helmet represents a movement within Smith to bring the award winning technologies found in our popular Overtake helmet to the everyday rider.” Said Graham Sours, Smith Helmet Category Manager. “We ride on the road and commute by bike and these new models exemplify all of us as cyclists in our own unique way”. So let’s see what Graham is talking about shall we?

  • Who are Smith?

In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. For over 50 years, SMITH has pioneered advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.

  • Comfort

This Smith helmet comes with MIPS technology, this is basically a plastic layer between your head and the inside of the helmet.

This layer helps to reduce the tension which the helmet can put on your head. When you tighten your helmet it’s not just the inner band on the helmet that tightens but the whole of this layer meaning the pressure is spread all around your head and not just at the band contact points.

All added up this makes the helmet extremely comfortable for a longer ride and you don’t have that classic head strap mark across your forehead when you take it off, that’s a plus!

The MIPS® lining also reduces rotational forces that the brain is exposed to during oblique impacts to the head.  When combined with MIPS®, the helmet liner is separated from the head by a low-friction slip plan that allows the head to slide during impact and may reduce instances of traumatic brain injuries.

  • Ventilation

There certainly are 18 large air vents on this helmet and the all important vents at the back to allow the air to flow over your head keeping it cool. It also includes anti-microbial X-Static performance liners with Reactive Cooling, ultra light single layer webbing, and a VaporFit™ adjustable system for increased comfort and it works!

I have to say, the times I wore this helmet I always felt nice and cool and arrived where I needed to be a little less red faced.

Another area where The Route scores well.

  • Would I buy one?

Yeah, I would. I think the design is good, it cools well and is very comfy to wear.

It’s much more of a commute helmet over one for a weekend road warrior, as it’s not as sleek for some. However it’s durability, comfort and the bright orange is great for the commuter in the hot summer months!

The Route is available in many colour choices, for £129.99 with MIPS technology and £109.99 without. My advice, spend the extra £20, it could save your life.

Well done Smith.

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Erdinger – Performance enhancing beer

img_1626Have you ever been on a long summer ride and at your half way point had the thought “I really fancy a beer, there’s nothing I want more right now than a beer. I can’t I’m cycling, I cannot drink and ride, that final climb will kill me off. Better got for the coffee instead.” It’s the right and safe choice.

Well intrepid cycler, we’ve been searching the shelves of our local supermarket and we are pleased to bring you this, Erdinger Alkoholfrei. Yes, your pigeon German is correct, alcohol free.

Why am I telling you about Alcoholic free beer though? You’ve seen all that before, well, in Germany (where else?) this was launched as a drink for athletes. That’s right back in 2001, Erdinger has been doing the rounds in endurance sports circles.

Sounding like an early bit of soft drink propaganda as being a performance booster, each 0.5 litre bottle has 125 calories and can help preserve normal muscle activity, reduce tiredness, promote physical and mental performance and have positive effects on the cardiovascular system.

img_1629With no chemicals, artificial colourings, aromas or indeed any other additives, this cold, crisp beer will help you conquer that final climb with vigour… Apparently.

Josef Westermeier, Marketing and Sales Director of Privatbrauerei ERDINGER Weissbräu said, “With ERDINGER Alkoholfrei, we have an excellent beverage which tastes fantastic, contains numerous healthy and purely natural ingredients, and is isotonic. The ideal drink therefore for athletes and people with an active lifestyle.”

An isotonic beer, well Josef, we will raise a bottle of Erdinger Alkoholfrei to that. Cheers.

 

 

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – Gtech eScent electronic mountain bike

When the guys from Gtech got in touch with us here at Pusher of Pedals, asking if we were interested in riding their brand new Gtech eScent, the answer was a resounding yes. If you’ve not seen our review on their hugely impressive road bike, you can see it here, but for now – the eScent.img_1599

First off let me tell you, I’m no mountain biker and this review is purely about the ride to and from work which I’ve been doing on the eScent, you can find one of my rides on the eScent by clicking this link here. In general, on the road, I found it comfortable, easy to ride and with the battery in it’s “Max” setting an absolute breeze.

img_1601The Gtech eScent is said to be a bike for seasoned mountain bikers or beginners to the sport whether your on the trail or using it, as I did, to commute. with a 36v high torque motor governed by a built in computer, the bike knows when you’re lacking on power and gives you that extra little boost to help you either up a climb or down the road. It has Shimano gears, big old RockShox on the front, hydraulic disk brakes and huge 27.5″ tyres add to that a 36v Lithium battery for 30 miles of cycling and you’re well on your way.

So let’s take a little closer look at what the Gtech eScent is actually like on the 9 miles from Notting Hill Gate to my flat in Bow.

  • First Impressions

img_1598They’re mixed, as a road biker, the bike looks huge, feels slightly awkward and just doesn’t feel right. However, that’s a road rider, not a bike rider. It’s impressive to look at. Just look at those huge 27.5″ tyres which are 2.5″ wide for added grip off road, the monster Rockshox and the disc brakes. I’m not a huge fan of disc brakes in the pro peloton (I won’t get in to it) but on the road commuting they can be a life saver, out on the trails equally so.

Gtech seem to have looked at what makes bikes good and applied that to the eScent.

  • What’s it like to ride?

One of the good things about this bike is that Gtech send it to you pretty much ready to ride. You take it out the box, twist the handle bars in to the correct position, tighten them up, adjust the saddle and away you go. This pretty much allows you to show your bike off instantly and when people ask the inevitable “can I have a go?” The quick release on the saddle means you can give them a quick yes and send them on their way.

But on to ride comfort…

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Huge tyres and RockShox suspension.

Comfy, as you’d expect from a bike which has front suspension along with seated suspension. The big chunky tyres also add a good bit of bounce meaning that on the road you’ll have one of the smoothest commutes, ever.

The bike feels well balanced too, handling feels light and easy and considering the bikes length and size, it’s sharp when it comes to steering. The extra little shove from the electrical motor makes taking your hands off of the bars easy and gives you a little bit more confidence.

  • Hydraulic disc brakes…

These are powerful brakes, very, very good. Being hydraulic they feel very smooth, the added bite from the disc means you can stop on a six pence from the bikes cruising electronic speed.

On the trails it means you can easily snap the back end round with one of the best skids you’ve done since you were 7 years old. It’s so much fun.

On one of my commutes home I had endless joy coming across horse guards parade, letting the electronic motor taking me up to full speed before snapping the back end round and seeing the dust cloud I created. I don’t think the guards were too pleased though…

  •  This electronic motor?

It’s the same motor which is in the original Gtech bike, why redesign the wheel? It’s high power and torque is great for assisting you up the climbs. Let’s not get this confused. This is not a bike you turn the motor on and just go, the motor on this bike is for assistance. To make it work you must pedal! Granted, you don’t have to put much power through the pedal, in fact the less power you put in, the more assistance you’ll get from the motor.

It works by a very clever little computer chip reading the effort you put in and adjusting the motors power accorodingly. All you need to know is it works and it works very well.

  • Gears? On an electric bike?

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Yeah! Shimano gears at that! Only on the rear though, being a mountain bike, there’s only one gear on the crank and it’s relatively small.

When on the flat road, you find yourself wanting a few extra teeth to enable you to get a bit more speed.

On the rear though the derailleur makes sure that you snap in to gear quickly and with minimal effort.

img_1608The cables are also internal, mostly, so that they don’t get covered in mud when your out on the trail. Smart thinking. I say mostly because they have to pop out somewhere and they do so, near the bottom bracket. Most Road internal gears come out on the rear fork, I understand these coming out where they do though. This is where the motors cables comes out leaving holes in your frame to a minimum and not reducing its strength.

  • How long do you get on that battery?

Of course, that depends on how you use it. You can ride the bike like a normal, everyday bike with the battery turned off. This just means you get not assistance from the motor. But the bike is heavy, it’s 19kg. Which ever way you cut it, that’s heavy. So maybe on the downhills you’ll have the battery off but on the uphills, you’ll probably want to turn it on!

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.57.38

If you’ve opted to turn your battery on, there are two modes to choose from, ‘Eco’and ‘Max’. Gtech claim you can get 30 miles out of one charge. I’d be inclined to believe them if you left it in its ‘Eco’ mode. The ‘Max’mode though will drain your battery quicker.

The battery has been redesigned from the old one. It now has a much, much more user friendly LCD screen, displaying what mode the battery is in and how much charge is left. It still has a big green on button but the charging has been changed. Instead of plugging a cable in to charge the battery the battery now has its own housing unit which it stands in charging away.

I have to say, the battery is so much more easy to use, there’s no more trying to shield the lights from the sun to see what mode your in. The bright LCD display has vastly improved userbility.

  • Would you buy one?

The question I would ask is, what ami buying one for? The trails or commuting?

Commuting on it I always felt a bit embarrassed, it’s like driving a Land Rover Defender through central London each day. You’ve got this amazing machine fully capable of all this off road capability and I’m cycling down the CS2 fully tarmaced and smooth… a little bit pointless really.

Looking at the £1,895 price tag, this may discourage me further form the point of buying on for the commute. There is, however, no denying that this is a wonderful machine and people do buy Land Rovers and drive them in the city… I’d be very tempted.

 

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Cycle To Work Scheme – Brompton O Bag

Just when you thought your Brompton couldn’t get much better or handier you stumble across the Brompton O Bag, it’s not new but it’s certainly welcome. The guys at Edinburgh Bicycle Co have helped me out here and sent a blue bag to match my Brommy, perfectly. They have a whole load of Brompton stuff and you can check out their range by clicking the link here.

img_1535This bag made my Ortlieb for Brompton, hence it being an ‘O’ bag – standing for Ortlieb, it’s amazingly versatile and as thought through as the Brompton on which it goes, you do need to buy a mount for the bag to make sure it hangs off your beloved folding bike though. Alternatively you can carry the bag over your shoulder, messenger style.

  • All style no function?

 

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These dray bags attach to the back of the O Bag

You know us here at Pusher of Pedals – when commuting we generally go for function over style but this bag has both in, well, erm… bags. It’s got a 20 litre carry capacity, and two extra attachable dry bags, these will solve your no water bottle issue as both with easily hold a 750ml water bottle.

 

Inside of the bag there is room for your laptop, a holder for your keys and other little pockets too. Plenty of room for all of your stuff.

 

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They’re size 10 shoes with a 13″ MacBook

 

 

What else, the reason Brompton approve this bag so much is because Ortlieb are market leaders when it comes to waterproofing. You could be out in the spray of the road all day and all your electrical good inside would be nice and safe. The attachable dry bags again are an excellent thought for your phone or other stuff you want to keep dry.

Added to that the inside is soft, so you feel happy sliding your laptop in and you just feel like the bag will keep everything happily.

  • But is it comfortable?

When it’s attached to the front of the bike, there’s no need to worry about the comfort. The weight is barely noticeable though so that’s a plus.

When it comes to comfort

  • £200 though…

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Yeah, I hear you on this one. I really do, it’s a lot of money especially considering the

original outlay for your Brommy. Actually, when you compare it to that, it’s quite cheap.

I can’t defend the price, all I can say is the bag is brilliant.

If you’re a bloke, don’t tell your partner you’ve just spent £200 on a bag as that will just be permission for them to do so as well.

  • Why this over a backpack?

 

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This is the attachable block without the bag

Well it’s just a bit more convineint isn’t it? Save you turning up somewhere with a sweat patch on your back because of a backpack. You can just holster the O Bag on the front of the Brommy and away you go.

 

When you get to the other side, the messenger style of the bag comes in to its own, allowing you to slink it over your shoulder. There is also a comfortable top grip for the bag if you don’t fancy it over the shoulder.

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The little lever on the bottom there releases the bag.

 

We should say here that the messenger strap is detachable, perfect for when there is rain in the air. You don’t want to have to have a soggy strap over your shoulder!

You can easily fit your daily essentials in there and a pair of shoes and socks if you need a dry pair. Depending on how big your feet are you could always use your dry bags…

  • How easy is it to attach to that little rack thing?

So easy, just slots in to place. Next question.

  • Would I buy one?

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If I was buying a Brompton I’d more than likely get this bag as well, I’d buy them both at the same time so the cost doesn’t seem as much. I don’t think I’d buy it afterwards, the stumbling block of £200 would put me off.

Absorbed in to the price of the bike and if you were commuting each day… so worth it. Rain or shine you’ve got a great bag.

 

 

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In interview with former British Road Race Champion, Hannah Barnes

Monday the 12th of July marked the return of the Zwift Academy, lauching from Rapha’s flagship store on Brewer Street, London. On display was not only some of the finest clothing Rapha had to offer but also some of the best riders in the female pro peloton, former British Road Race Champion Hannah Barnes and 2016 ZWIFT Academy Winner Leah Thorvilson – try getting that right after a few complimentary drinks.

The ZWIFT academy was spoke about at length and you can read about that by clicking here. For all of you who didn’t click on, here’s what Hanna

h and I spoke about.

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  • Improving women’s cycling

Me: It’s no secret that the men’s tours have waaayyyyy more coverage than any women’s race. Be it a road race or a time trial the men get the lions share when it comes to TV coverage.

I asked Hannah what can be done to increase the popularity of women’s racing, should women’s racing try and break off and have its own deprecate races or try and tag on to the men’s races to try and boost coverage and make it cheaper for broadcasters.

Leah and Hannah
Hannah with Leah Thorvilson
Hannah: “It’s hard because there’s fans already out there watching men’s races and it’s really hard to compete. It was at Liege we were racing and at the finish line they were showing the finish to last years men’s race. I’m thinking ‘Ah, that would have been such a good opportunity to see our race broadcasted.’ So I think it’s better if we’re completely out there on our own. The women’s tour which has just finished – a five day race just for us. To see all the fans and crowds and t

he TV all there to see us race. I think that’s really encouraging for our sport.”

And I’m inclined to agree, if you’re going to make a stamp for your sport and try and showcase it the best. I understand the temptation to go before a men’s race where the cameras will already be and to break away from that is a complete risk because if it fails, there’s lots on the line. In order to grow as a sport there needs to be more women’s races and tours of their own. Not be at races where they’re showing something else at the finish line…

  • The British Road Race Jersey

Me: Did you feel added pressure putting on the British Road Race Champion Jersey?

Hannah: “I wouldn’t say added pressure, but it certainly motivates me. When I’m out training I’ll see a reflection in a window or I’ll look down and see my white sleeves. I’ll honour it and I’m proud to wear it, I feel pressure when I’m racing anyway so it’s actually quite a treat to wear it.”

  • The future for Hannah Barnes

Me: Where do you see yourself in two years time?

Hannah: “Oh I dunno, finishing the women’s tour race on the podium is something I’m quite proud of. I’ve got a great team supporting me, t

hey have a lot of confidence in me which is really encouraging because I’ve always lacked in confidence in my abilities. To have them supporting them supporting me and really wanting me to push and improve is great. I’m in a really good environment to do just that.”

A true political question dodge here by Hannah, she’s barely going to give away her long term goals though is she! She’s 24, current Road Race champion and fresh off the podium from the women’s tour. She’s doing alright, I’d say.

  • The future of Women’s Cycling

Me: Where would you like to see women’s cycling in the next few years?

Hannah: “Coverage, coverage, coverage. A lot of people say wages and money, for me, I don’t do it for the money I do it for the coverage. For me my mum and dad and family can’t watch me race like they used to be able to when I was a junior. I’m racing all around the world. Racing at the Women’s tour was great because they were there to watch me and I would just be able to love it if they were able to watch the race if they’re not able to be there in real life.”

I have to say I completely agree, more coverage is only a better thing for the sport, racing is racing and great races are great races. Why doesn’t women’s races get the same coverage as the mens? Which lead me to this question.

Me: Are the organisers doing enough?

Hannah: “Yeah, I guess so, I mean they’re putting on La Course, I think they’re trying new things. You only have to look at the Hammer Series which is what I think is one of the best few days of racing I’ve ever seen.

 

  • Advice for beginners

Me: I had to ask Hannah what her advice would be for old and young in getting in to cycling. As a sport and also a pastime.

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Hannah sharing a joke about the first time Leah got on a time trial bike and asked where the brakes were.
Hannah: “Ride in a group, if you’re riding on your own and struggling, it can be really hard to keep yourself going. It’s hard because it’s a really expensive sport, I think that if you have really nice kit it helps you feel good and if you have a nice bike and it rides good. There’s all those combination that helps you feel better. If you have a bike which doesn’t feel nice and it’s set up wrong for you then it’s going to give you all sorts of aches and pains and you’re not going to want to go and get out on it.

For me, bike fits are really important. There’s a lot of people you can see who have just bought a bike and got on it, not thought about saddle height or handle bars or anything. That can give you all sorts of back ache, if something is painful to do then you’re not going to do it.”

  • Mixed cycling events at the olympics

Me: I don’t know whether you’ve heard but at Tokyo 2020 there will be mixed events, with men and women competing along side each other in athletics, swimming, table tennis and triathlon. I put it to Hannah about a mixed track team maybe.

Hannah: “I don’t know if it would be such a great thing, living with a professional male cyclist (Team Sky star of the future, Tao Geoghegan Hart) we train together sometimes but our abilities are massive. There’s not many sports where there is such a big gap, as in cycling. I don’t know how it would work to have a mixed event.Hannah-Barnes-Canyon-SRAM-2016-salute-sprint-pic-Allan-McKenzie-SWpix.com_

I’ve always wanted to do a mixed madison, that could be fun… There’s no way there could be a road race. I mean I could beat Tao in a sprint… but not after 200km of racing.”

There you go, you heard it here first, Hannah Barnes can out sprint Team Sky rider Tao Geoghegan Hart!

Chatting to Hannah was refreshing, it was great to hear the thoughts of a young aspiring rider, great to hear the insights on the female peloton and where she would like it to go and how she enjoys riding. On top of that though, she’s a nice person, in my professional career I’ve worked and spoken to a lot of celebs who get lost in money and lose that motivation. Ten minutes with Hannah I knew she wasn’t in professional cycling for the money or the fame, that was just a side effect. I could tell that she was in it for the passion of the sport and just doing something which she loved.  Keep up the good work Hannah!

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Tour de France – Team Sky’s and KASK

At this years Tour de France Team Sky have taken their head protection up a notch with the help of their Italian helmet supplier KASK. They will be using KASK’s new VALEGRO helmet which will be launching later in the year.

KASK_VELEGRO_ASSIEME BIANCOChris Froome and the boys will be looking to make it a third in a row and a very, very impressive fourth Tour de France victory for the Kenyan born Englishman. While doing so in the high mountain top finishes and on other key stages of the Tour, they will don KASK’s Valegro, which, like KASK’s other road helmets has been designed in combination with Team Sky. It brings cutting edge ventilation system, its super lightweight compact design, its superb fit and rider comfort.

With 36 air intakes, resulting in a head-to-pad contact area up to 70% less than some conventional helmet designs, VALEGRO’s temperature management performance is one of the best in the peloton – keeping Team Sky’s riders cool on the hottest of climbs and longest of stages on the Tour.

KASK_VELEGRO_ASSIEME NERO

KASK have taken what they have learnt from the development of their Infinity aero road helmet and the time-trial Bambino Pro, add to that the feedback from the Team Sky riders on their performance and how they behave – all of this has been applied to the development of the VALEGRO. The profile of the VALEGRO’s polycarbonate shell has been tested, re-tested and then refined by the KASK engineers in a wind tunnel to get the best possible cooling performance.

By having 36 air intakes, the eight of the helmet has also been dramatically reduced, down to a measly 180 grams, it’s not only the ventilation which has allowed this though, new advanced materials and a brand new moulding technology has enabled KASK to be able to produce this helmet. Weight being high on the list for top level athletes. They don’t want to be carrying a bag of sugar on their head up the alp climbs!

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The front of the new VALEGRO looks aggressive and the ventilation is clear to see.

VALEGRO’s new breathable and quickdry padding, including a 5mm layer of fast-wicking material that takes moisture away from the rider’s head and moves it to the helmet’s outer shell, contribute to a helmet that’s comfortable to wear, all day, and especially on those long, tough, hot climbs through the Alps and Pyrenees. Along with unique features such as new frontand rear sunglasses garages, VALEGRO takes rider comfort to another level, leaving little distractions from the race itself. Like all KASK helmets, the VALEGRO is designed, manufactured and tested to the highest safety criteria, so top level racers can concentrate in the job in hand – hopefully winning Chris Froome another Tour de France title.

The KASK – Team Sky partnership is one which has been going since 2010, an amazing achievement from a company which has only been going it’s self from 2004. LEt’s not forget that Team Sky have won four out of the last five Tour de France titles. Meaning this helmet has come through a thorough bred of victory and race expertise.

The VALEGRO will be available to buy from December 2017, nice and cooling for your winter riding…

KASK_VELEGRO_RETRO_NERO

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