Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!


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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Not Riding with The Fear

Earlier this month I posted about Riding with The Fear. Well, The fear has gone as I fully expected it to.

I have aclimatised to the conditions on my way too and from work.

The problem is, now The Fear has gone, I tend towards Captain Scarlet Mode where a feeling of indestructability creeps back in.

Best I be a bit careful until Spring I think otherwise I will find myself suffering from adhesion again.

I have been warned!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The start of a beautiful relationship

I took Raffa out for his first shakedown this afternoon.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Cannondale R800 and will continue to enjoy riding him but, the difference I noticed riding my new Wilier today was unbelieveable.

Simple things like the stopping power of the brakes! I don't know yet what it is that makes the brakes on Raffa so effective but I came close on  ore than one occasion to doing a front wheel bunny hop when grabbing a handful of front.

The stiffness of the frame around the bottom bracket was very noticeable too.

I think the biggest difference however was the wheels. Raffa is fitted with Fulcrum Racing 5's which are a revelation in comparison to the Gipiemme Grecal Parade wheels fitted to my 'Dale. So much stiffer! The anount of wheel rub I suffer when climbing out of the saddle on the 'Dale has to be experienced to be believed. They look the Mutts Nuts but, having 16 spokes front AND rear makes them a bit too flexible in my experience.

It will take a little while to get used to the slight differences in riding position between the Cannondale and Wilier but I think we will have a long and meaningful relationship.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sexy new bike!

I have got a new bike!

Allow me to introduce you to Raffa-


Racing Division? I think I will be the weak link!
Raffa is a 2013 Wilier Izoard XP with a carbon fibre monocoque frame, Fulcrum racing 5 wheels and a mix of  Simano Ultegra and Wilier componentry.

Wilier Triestina is an Italian company with over 100 years of cycle manufacture history. They currently provide bikes for Team Lampre (easily identifiable with their blue and pink kit) in the pro peleton.

Raffa, being an Italian bike, is named for my wife's favourite Italian, Raffaele De Vita who plays on the wing for our football team, Swindon Town FC.

I picked up Raffa on Saturday morning and have not yet had the opportunity to ride him. Hopefully the weather will hold out this weekend and I can get some miles in to perfect the set up.

I'm so looking forward to it

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Riding with The Fear

What is The Fear?

Well, for me, The fear is that feeling if impending doom you get for no rational reason when you set out on a ride. I get episodes of The Fear on occasions and some of these occasions are as reliable as the seasons. They are this reliable because they coincide with the seasons, or at least the changing of the clocks.

Up to the day the clocks go back to signal the start of Winter, I am riding to work at dawn and home in daylight. The clocks going back an hour generally means that I am riding to work in daylight and home at dusk. It is the dusk bit that brings on The Fear. I might be riding in a hi vis jacket and lit up like a part of a Roy Nearey vision with that classic 70’s 5 note riff playing in the background on a Moog synthesiser but, I know from my driving experience that as the light starts to fail, it takes some time for the car lights to overcome the gloom enough for a driver to see clearly enough.

In addition to the gloom situation is the Weather. As autumn (fall to you left pondians) progresses, the conditions outside result in everything being coated in dew and moisture. This early season slick on the roads can be quite greasy meaning that negotiating routes where I was previously able to throw my bike through bends with abandon, I have to remember to ease off and take it slower else I hit a slick patch causing me to crash and burn. To add insult to injury, the moisture, mixes with the falling leaves which are then macerated by passing vehicles shod with Mr Dunlop or Mr Goodyear’s finest, resulting in a chutney that coats the road and forms a nice, slick carpet to catch two wheelers unaware.

There is also the onset of the early season frosts. This freezes the aforementioned moisture coating on the windscreens and other glass on the cars on the road. Responsible motorists clear this before they drive off to work or to take little Johnny or Jenny to school but, not all motorists are responsible. Sometimes they only have time to take out a credit card, clear a credit card sized slot in the frost before they drive off, barley able to see the end of their bonnet (hood) let alone see me in my Roy Nearey vision mode. This frost also has a habit of turning wet roads into ice rinks.

There are things you can do to combat The Fear though.

Know your routes. My regular route has a section of road, a little dip with a slight turn which has a distinct camber. The apex of this turn is at the bottom of the dip and is regularly wet with runoff from the garden adjacent. I know to be wary when approaching the wet patch.

The best thing you can do about The Fear though is to just ride. I have experienced episodes of The Fear for many a year. I ain’t dead yet!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Movember and DopeGate

A couple of things today.

Today is 1st November. For the last few years, this date has seen the launch of Movember.

I have decided that I will grow a V for Vendetta style Mo and beard as seen on the mask from the film.

Careful shaving starts now.


I have been taking my time and carefully considering the case put forward by USADA against Lance Armstrong.

Prior to the release of their evidence against him, I considered myself a believer, not thinking that he had partaken in any form of doping. I had believed that he had achieved the results he had through hard work and phenomenal athletic ability.

I now find myself feeling duped and deceived. The case against Lance seems to be strong. Not only that he doped, but that he also orchestrated a programme of systematic doping amongst his team in order that they were able to lead him to his results.

To dope or conspire with a team to run a doping programme is inexcusable. It is cheating. Not only has Lance dashed my beliefs in his honesty, he has involved others that I looked up to as sportsmen of character- George Hincapie, Dave Zabriski, Bobby Julich. I was stunned by the revelations.

I should have known better however. The clues were there. Tyler Hamilton. Floyd Landis. I should have seen it coming. I didn't however.

As a result of the revelations I had another consideration to make. My LiveStrong band-

I have been wearing the band since about 2005. I bought it to support the LiveStrong foundation that Lance set up to support the fight against cancer. A very noble cause. I realised however, that my continued wearing of the band was more a sign of my respect for Lance Armstrong and his sporting achievements.

This respect has gone so, with the help of these-

I did this-

Not much of a response I know but, I don't feel quite so dirty now.

Thanks Lance, for nothing.