We're in the thick of the Giro. Have you found yourself vacantly nodding along in conversations about the race or frowning at the TV as the commentator describes the on screen fireworks?
Reaching the peak of cycle sport fandom can feel like a full time job, involving hours of research and relentless one-upmanship.
Author and cycling columnist Tom Southam has just finished co-writing an autobiography of Garmin-Sharp DS and former pro rider Charlie Wegelis. Tom adds some pointers and tips to our guide on how to be a cycle sport buff (or at least how to blag it!).
RESEARCH THE TIP: The Inner Ring Blog - Lexicon of Cycling
There is no point talking about the Giro when everyone's moved onto the Dauphine. Get a basic calendar that lists the Pro Tour and World Tour races.
Reel off a few obscure facts just to blow everyone out of the water. Learn them off by heart and you can rattle them off whenever you need to impress or shut another buff up.
According to a former coach, cycling TV presenter Paul Sherwen 'never, ever' wore gloves in his racing days.
Lance Armstrong finished last in his first ever World Cup race, the 1992 San Sebastian Classic.
Swiss Rider Thomas Wegmuller once lost Paris Roubaix when he got a plastic bag tangled in his rear derailleur in the final sprint.
Another Swiss, Tony Rominger, holds the record for wins in the Vuelta Espana, with three straight wins between 1992 and 1994, when the race was still held in April.
Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, has a subway station named after him in Brussels.
Frenchman Charly Mottet once won back to back stages of the Tour de France. Not a remarkable feat in itself, except the first was won on a flat stage, when he attacked with a kilometer to go to outfox the sprinters, before taking the second on a mountain top finish the next day.
Knowing a bunch of facts is cool, but if you enjoyed the last 10km, then say so. If you thought Sagan had it wrapped up but he lost, then say that too. Just be mindful you reference a rider that was in the race so not to raise eyebrows from your afficiondo friends.
And, if you make a comment and everyone turns to give you funny looks, just change the subject. Tell them they missed the point of the race where a dog ran out and then walk off.
"Messy bar tape is obvious to even the untrained eye. It screams unprofessional and unprepared. There is every chance it will unravel during a ride and leave you fumbling about, trying to keep it together rather than enjoy the climb." - John Herety, Rapha Condor JLT, Pro Team Manager
If you want to be a pro bar tape wrapper, you must practise until you are totally comfortable with the feel of the tape and how it moves in your hands. If you do it for long enough, you'll be able to wrap with your eyes closed, and even adjust the thickness of the tape in certain sections or for certain rides.
The key points to remember are pretty easy: be precise and firm with the tape, use all the bar tape provided and keep it even.
Begin by washing your hands so you don’t dirty your fresh tape before you’ve even begun the task . Avoid wearing mechanics' latex gloves as you need to feel the tape in your fingers. Make sure that any brake or gear housing is taped firmly to the handlebar.
"Bar tape is hugely personal and can completely change your perception of a bike. It's not only the first thing you see when suffering like a dog - crawling up a climb looking down and trying to find some power - it's a contact point, without a doubt affecting performance in the saddle. I go for plain and old fashioned black cork tape; nothing fancy! Most importantly it matches my bike, a Condor team issue Leggero." - Tao Geoghegan-Hart, 3rd, Junior Paris-Rouabix 2013
"Clean, crisply wrapped bar tape is essential. I love rolling up to the start line of a race with my bike looking perfect, and it's the finer details like bar tape that makes you feel ready to race." - Kristian House, Rapha Condor JLT
"For absolute precision you can use a measuring tape to achieve the same distance of where you want your bar tape to end. After you have decided where you want to cut your bar tape, use a razor blade or knife to mark your cut line. Unwrap the bar tape so you can cut the tape away from the bars. Cut along the line you have created with the knife. You should end up with a straight line perpendicular to the handlebars." Greg Needham, Senior Bike Fitter, Condor
Brooks England launched the Cambium C17 saddle last week. The new saddle is very unusual for the Brooks who are known for their legendary fine leather saddles, all still made by hand in Birmingham, England.
The new Cambium saddle is made of natural rubber and organic cotton - absolutely no leather in this one! The Cambium C17 has been designed offer comfort and maintenance free wear with waterproof properties.
Brooks wants you to put their new saddle to the test. 100 saddles are available for free to riders around the globe and you don't have to be a Brooks aficionado to test it. Click here to register and find out more.
Spike Taylor founded Pro Tool Cycleworks in 2010 after being Team GB's head mechanic for seven years. Based in the heart of Ribble Valley in Lancashire, Pro Tool Cycleworks have been maintaining the fleet of Rapha Condor JLT race bikes for the past three seasons.
It is vital for the riders in the team to have sparkling clean bikes every time they race and this can be day after day if the team is riding a stage race. Cleaning helps identify any maintenance work required that even the rider hasn't spotted.
As such, Spike is well placed to advise on that most masculine of activities: washing bikes! If you are pushed for time, take note of Spike's tip: "Just clean the chain, cassette and rear derailleur. As long as these are taken care of your bike will have a longer life."
"The chain, cassette and rear derailleur are important parts of your bike's transmission. A build up of gunk and grime will accelerate wear on these parts and reduce how smoothly you can change gear" explains Spike. "Spray the chain all over with Muc-Off Drivetrain Cleaner. This will remove any debris and sticky residues that you can't see, and make for a free-running chain."
Shop the items: Muc-Off C3 Lube
Bespoked Bristol promises to be a superb show with some of the best new and established frame builders from the UK and around the world showing off what they have to offer.
We'll be setting up camp in the centre of the show and are excited to see the unique one of frames that UK based builders have created, reminding Condor of where it started for us in 1948. As well as a variety of frame builders there will be wheel builders and clothing manufacturers.
The show demonstrates the remarkable resurgence in interest in handmade bikes that has taken place in the UK over the last few years.
Condor will be displaying our new Stainless Acciaio model, a freshly UK built Paris Galibier as well as range stalwarts including Heritage, Fratello and Acciaio.
Saturday 13th April - 9.30am – 6.00pm
Sunday 14th April - 9.30am – 5.00pm
The Passenger Shed
Brunel's Old Station
Photo credit: Rhys Howells (http://rophowells.blogspot.co.uk/)
Tao Geoghegan-Hart had an impressive ride over the weekend at the 2013 Junior Paris-Roubaix. The talented rider from Hackney took third spot on the podium in a race the preceeds the main Paris-Roubaix race.
A trio containing Hart broke free from the peloton on the Carrefour de l'Arbre sector of cobbles during the 119km race, which traces a route through the final 16 cobbled sectors of the senior parcours. Tao Geoghegan Hart, Mads Pedersen (DEN) and Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL) created just over a one minute over the main field, which was beginning to split behind.
In the final run in, Van Hooydonck 'sat on' leaving Hart and Pedersen doing the lion's share of the work, meaning the gap back to the chase group dwindled as the riders reached the velodrome finish. Pedersen took the win from Van Hooydonck with Geoghegan Hart in third.
Tao commented "Team rode a absolute blinder. All over EVERYTHING! Can't wait to work for these lads in some races this year. This is just the start from us."
Tao has been a Condor supported rider throughout his junior years riding for CC Hackey and GB Development squads using a Condor Leggero and time trial bicycle. We interviewed him a few years ago before becoming a junior rider and you can read the article here.
Take a look at Tao's blog documenting the highs along with the inevitable lows of becoming a professional athlete.
1 Mads Pedersen (DEN)
2 Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL)
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR)
4 Damien Touze (FRA)
5 Edward Plankaert (BEL)
6 Oliver Wood (GBR)
7 Kristoffer Halvorsen (NOR)
8 Nino Honigh (NED)
9 Gustav Hoog (SWE)
10 Justin Oien (USA)
Condor Cycles is operating reduced opening hours during the Easter Bank Holiday.
Wednesday, 27th March - 09:00 - 19:30
Thursday, 28th March - 09:00 - 18:00
Friday, 29th March - CLOSED
Saturday, 30th march - 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday , 31st March - CLOSED
Monday, 1st April - CLOSED
Tuesday, 2nd April - 09:00 - 18:00
A documentary looking at this historic London sporting venue. Herne Hill Velodrome was built in 1891 and later played home to the 1948 Olympic track cycling. As billions of pounds are pumped into the 2012 Olympics, we take a look at the site's recent financial troubles, the campaign to save it and a wider look at cycling culture in Britain today.
Director: Danny McGuinness
Producer: Lucia Dehez
It is a monstrous beast that is designed to get the adrenaline flowing. This bicycle produces an intoxicating sound as the carbon wheels rumble over the cobbles of a quiet London mews where we decided to photograph it.
This is isn't a new model or a trick of the light; it really is a bicycle frame made by hand, by Condor. The frame hasn't come pressed from a mould that was picked off the shelf in the Far East. We built the frame by hand in Italy. Each carbon tube was cut, wrapped and sculpted to form the unusual shape before being baked.
We know it is not to everyone's taste and certainly the mix of Campagnolo wheels and an electronic Shimano Dura-Ace groupset doesn't quite sit right with us but on this occasion we bent the rules to achieve the lightest, fastest bike possible using an electronic groupset.
The bicycle features custom painted Cinelli Ram handlebars with pink/black stripe detailing. A Clavicular single chain ring to save weight and an integrated carbon chain catcher. The TRP brakes are hidden within the fork and chainstay and the battery powering the groupset is concealed within the frame; we've used Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset because the battery is slightly smaller than the Campagnolo EPS battery.
It has been built for Dominque Gabellini to race. He is one of the reasons that Rapha and Condor came together to form the Rapha Condor team in 2006. Dominque is a keen racing cyclist but recently had an operation on his back requiring him to be slightly more upright on the bike, for now.
The bicycle is on display at the Condor store, Grays Inn Road, WC1X
Divine Chocolate have opened a Pop Up in Convent Garden as part of Fairtrade Fornight.
All winter Divine been supporting n0tice and their Keep Cycling campaign to encourage people to keep on biking throughout the winter.
London cyclists can claim a free bar of chocolate when they visit the pop-up shop on Keep Cycling Day - Tuesday 5th March. Just turn up with your bike or helmet to claim your free bar.
Snap your favourite winter biking shots and you can win more Divine chocolate
Visit http://keepcycling.n0tice.com/ for more information.
You'll find Divine at:
71 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DG
25th February to 9th March 2013
10.00am - 6.30pm Monday - Saturday
12noon - 6pm Sunday
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