It always amazes me when I have the time to stop and think about it, that after all the technological advances in bicycle manufacture, we’re still using bar tape. You’d think someone would have invented something better by now.
Then again, there’s something delicious about taping up a pair of bars and heading out for that first ride before they get all grubby. There’s a sense of history, a golden thread, or at least a white thread, running through the ages, from rider to rider, bike to bike here to us today. And as you begin to ride, the smoothness of the new tape under your hands is an absolute delight. It makes me wonder why we don’t change it more often.
Brooks is a name that stands alone as a legend in cycling. The word legend is easily tossed about, kind of like the word epic, but in some cases, the word does in fact fit the subject. In this case, it's no exaggeration or cliché to call Brooks England a legend. The company builds a product that is designed to not only stand the ravaging test of time, but stand as a beacon of refined style on your bike. They're not for everyone, but for their devout followers, they’re what truly remarkable saddles are all about.’
When Specialized decided to launch their 2012 Amira, they certainly did it with style. The location chosen was that of the longest running women’s stage race, held in the mountainous Northern region of Spain otherwise known as Basque country. The Eumakameen Birra (meaning women’s tour) is a four day event that is considered one of the most difficult races in Europe. When Specialized formed a partnership with HTC Highroad this year, it saw cycling legends like Judith Arndt, Ina Teutenberg, Evelyn Stevens, and Amber Neben racing on the 2011 Amira. So what better way to review the 2012 model, than ride it on the roads that these girls will be racing on.
It doesn’t feel like three years since Giant released their TCR and Defy range of bikes. A lot has happened since then, the Taiwanese company in my opinion completely and utterly lost its ‘dag tag’. I remember years ago having a friend who worked in a bike shop that sold Giant saying he would never have one. He said they’re ugly, and they’re like a certain part of your anatomy, i.e.; everybody has one. That friend is now riding a Giant TCR and wouldn’t have anything else. In fact, when I told him I was going to the release of Giant’s new range he was genuinely excited, wanting to know what they would have in store.
If you wanted to visit a hotbed of Australian cycling, you could do far worse than head to the Principality of Monaco a few kilometres east of Nice on the Mediterranean coast. A large number of cyclists make their home in Monaco, not only for the obvious tax breaks, but also due to the vast amount of fantastic cycling to be had. The city itself is a playground of the super rich, but ride for 20 minutes or so into the hills and you’ll find yourself in a world of switchbacks and quiet country roads.
As a young junior on the Aussie MTB scene, it was startlingly clear that Cadel Evans had something special. Picked up by Team Apollo, he excelled at both downhill and cross-country, although XC was his forte.
As a multiple national champion in the junior ranks, his lap times were often faster than the best of the elite men. He then collected a silver medal at the 1994 U19 WorldMTBChampionships and at just 17 years of age finished fifth in the senior ranks at theCairnsround of theUCIWorld Cup—this kid had one hell of an engine under the hood!
The Power Breathe K3 describes itself as ‘the world’s first intelligent digital breathing trainer’. It is designed to increase breathing muscle strength and endurance to improve fitness and reduce breathlessness during high-intensity activity. Basically, it promises to improve your sporting performance by strengthening the muscles you use to suck in the big ones … and all by spending just a few minutes each day breathing into an automated mouthpiece.
Compression wear has been big business recently, and there are a lot of well known manufacturers on the market. Despite this, there still seems to be a lot of confusion out there in the marketplace as to whether it works or not. One of the grey areas is how much compression is ideal both when you’re exercising and when you’re recovering. It goes from the extreme compression of hospital grade support stockings, right down to the budget compression wear available at certain supermarkets and department stores. We all know that compression garments feel good to wear and even if they aren’t doing a lot, the feeling of having certain muscles contained while riding certainly feels great. Often the people who we should look toward for guidance only serve to muddy the waters. For example in 2009 the AIS conducted a study the results of which suggested that compression garments made a significant impact during recovery but very little during actual competition exercise. Several months later, the AIS was sponsored by a compression and sportswear company and we were told that their athletes would gain a significant edge using this product during competition. Well…
For many people, finding a good bike for their kids to race on can be a problem. You don’t want to spend a fortune for something they’ll grow out of, but at the same time you still want them to have something decent to ride and race on. Enter the Avanti Giro 650. This bike is a scaled down version of Avanti’s popular entry level Giro series. These bikes have an upright geometry based on the top of the line Cadent series. The adult sizes have the same geometry as the Cadent, however the 650 has a 71 degree head angle due to its smaller size.
One of the perks of Cycling Hubby’s dabble in the world of international cycling is, unquestionably, the amazing places he has been fortunate enough to travel to. Needless to say, his collection of stamps in his passport is looking fairly impressive at the moment. Prior to this, Cycling Hubby’s experience of international travel existed solely of a family trip he took at the age of 11, so he is not what you would call a veteran traveller. This has meant that with his debut back into the world of international travel, Cycling Hubby has had a fairly easy ride. For those of you who have travelled, you can appreciate the energy and time it takes to plan and prepare for a trip. Cycling Hubby is blissfully unaware of this whole process, as everything is done for him when he is touring with the team. All he needs to do is wait for the call that tells him which airport he needs to be at and when. The most difficult part of Cycling Hubby’s travels is his responsibility to pack his luggage.