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Simpson Magazine – Issue 10

Simpson Magazine – Issue 10

Simpson Magazine – Issue 10: The Milestone edition has just been released. In issue 10, they visit Veneto in northern Italy to find out why it’s the hub of Italian cycle manufacturing. An interview with photographer Marshall Kappel. Breakfast with Cannondale Pro Cycling on the morning of Paris-Roubaix, and they speak exclusively to Alex Dowsett about the season ahead, the world hour record and his charity work. Find out more about issue 10.

Simpson Magazine – Issue 10

Simpson Magazine – Issue 10

The Rapha x Stinner Bike

The Rapha X Stinner Bike

The Rapha x Stinner Bike has been constructed from their own Stinner Select Tubing to produce a frame that is light weight, responsive and strong. The bike pays homage to Los Angeles, a location both brands are closely tied to. This mutual connection to Los Angeles inspired this collaboration and beautiful paint job which took a total of 60 hours to complete! The paint scheme uses elements of the city map of Los Angeles, and is inspired by the classic aesthetic of early- to mid-century LA. Find out more about the project.

The Rapha X Stinner Bike

The Rapha X Stinner Bike

The Rapha X Stinner Bike

The Transcontinental: Race to Istanbul

Two days before the fourth edition of Transcontinental Race begins in Geraardsbergen, Belgium the 2015 #TCRNo3 video has just been released. Prepare to be inspired to ride!

“On the 24th of July 2015, 172 riders arrived in Garaardsbergen, Belgium and raced to Istanbul, Turkey. The Transcontinental is a race like no other. Much like the early days of bicycle racing cyclist ride with no team cars or soigneurs to look after them. It is each for their own taking on Europe’s toughest terrain. Race to Istanbul is a feature length documentary following the highs and lows of the race from the view of the Race Directors.”

The Transcontinental: Race to Istanbul

The Transcontinental: Race to Istanbul

The Transcontinental: Race to Istanbul

Photography by Jonny Hines

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The relationship that exists between cycling and mountains speaks on many levels. For some, it conjures memories of epic duels fought out on Grand Tours. Others may see an opportunity to test themselves; riding climbs that focus decisions down to the simple turn of a pedal. Clearly it’s an important influence for Jonny Hines. Photographer, coffee lover, (occasional) club racer and currently the subject of an exhibition hosted by Manchester’s Rapha Cycling Club.

During a live interview at the opening of his exhibition, Jonny commented, ‘In this digital age, it’s kind of unusual, but good unusual, to see actual printed photographs on the wall.’

Towering mountain landscapes are captured in images of stark beauty; subtle layers of sunlight and cloud dressing the soaring peaks. Ribbons of road draw the eye in and upward; riders caught in repose quietly convey the human effort of traversing roads and trails beyond the ordinary.

And it’s these epic backdrops, with the changing weather adding a constantly shifting narrative, that frame the riders in terms of scale and context. Speaking about his role as a guide for Rapha Travel, Jonny explained, ‘These are very personal journeys. For some it’s the sheer joy of climbing a mountain pass. For others, it can go deeper, maybe following a breakdown of a relationship or the loss of a loved one. I’ve seen grown men break down in tears as they crest a climb.’

Travelling extensively from his London base, Jonny’s work acts as a visual record of rides and races, climbs and descents. When questioned on his influences he simply states, ‘I take photos of people riding, racing and hanging out on their bikes.’ An approach that’s reflected in his relaxed, often candid, approach to his subjects.

More than simply an exhibition of stunning landscapes, these images cleverly capture the emotional journey of the participants, both amateur and professional, as they each individually battle the elements and their own perceived limits to ride beyond what they previously thought possible.

Arrive at the venue by bike and I’ll guarantee you’ll ride home distracted; your head busy deciding which mountain pass you’ll next want to climb.

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The images for this feature were chosen personally by Jonny. For contact information, to view more of his work or to order prints, please visit his Instagram, Twitter.

For information on the exhibition, including opening times, please visit: RCC Manchester

Condor Fratello – One bike?

Condor Fratello

Unless you’re investing in a Brompton, keeping and maintaining bikes presents significant storage issues before you even begin to factor in the patience and understanding of non-riding partners, family and friends. Negotiating a hallway blocked by a lateral stack of wet, oily machines may strain the most amicable of relationships.

So why not simply have one bike? One bike but with a split personality? Commuter during the week before guards and rack are removed for a weekend of road or trail.

Condor Fratello

According to Condor when describing their Fratello, ‘Its inherent versatility makes it ideal if you don’t have space for a stable of bikes’. As they’ve been designing, manufacturing and retailing their own bikes since 1948, I think it’s fair to assert that they’re qualified to make this claim and the reason behind my picking up the phone to book a test ride.

Walking to the Condor store along Gray’s Inn Road, it’s interesting to note that the company has maintained a retail presence on this busy London thoroughfare for approaching 70 years. You can dispense an awful lot of cycling wisdom in that amount of time. And it’s this approach to customer satisfaction that continues under the direction of Grant Young, son of the original founder Monty.

Condor Fratello

My bike, resplendent in a glossy deep purple coat of paint, was waiting in the basement showroom. After a quick check on saddle height and the fitting of my preferred pedals, I was wheeling the Fratello out of the store for my test ride. For a customer not familiar with cycling in the capital, an aspect of the purchasing process that might prove rather daunting.

A non-native may only know London by its main thoroughfares; plotting a route on their planned itinerary by the joined ‘dots’ of the landmarks they are visiting. Venture a little beyond these vehicular arteries and another London is waiting to be discovered. A city of quiet back streets, narrow pathways, cobbled lanes and canal towpaths.

Condor Fratello

And it was as I threaded my way through these quieter byways that I considered the provenance of my ride. With the frame manufactured and painted in Italy, the build continues back in the UK to the specifications decided on by the customer following their initial consultation. This is a bike designed and built to fit the individual; to satisfy personal preferences and riding needs. This particular version had wheels and groupset from Campagnolo with deep mudguards fitted to the provided mounting points and an option for a rear rack. If you’ve ever struggled to fix temporary guards using the supplied elastic bands, then these fixed points are a distinct advantage when it comes to all year round riding.

Condor Fratello

The Fratello was quick to accelerate, easy to maneuver and rode sublimely – the steel frame dulling all but the harshest vibrations caused by surface imperfections. Complemented by quality components and flattering looks that certainly turned heads, I could easily picture the rack removed before a long day in the saddle on a weekend club ride. Or adding a front bar pack for a bikepacking adventure. And that’s the key to the Fratello’s success – it’s versatility. This is a purchase that could seriously be considered for ‘one bike’ ownership.

Condor Fratello

Potential customers may be put off by the price; the ‘higher end’ build pictured here would set you back a fraction over £2000. But I might suggest that they’re possibly missing the point. Included in the price tag of your Condor Fratello is the ‘experience’ of ordering a bike with a unique specification and fit. Included is the time spent in discussion with the friendly and helpful sales consultants as they guide you through the customisation process; each step reflected in the detailed measurements recorded on your build sheet. And that’s before you factor in the 68 years of heritage that are included in every purchase.

The time I spent exploring the back streets of Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell on the Fratello was so enjoyable, I can perfectly understand why they’d discreetly asked for my credit card before I left the store. I was sorely tempted to simply keep on riding.

Condor Fratello

Photography by @openautograph

Tour de France Historical Society – Stage 18 1987

Stage 18 1987

We have have to go to 1987 to draw a comparison with today’s stage 18, 2016. There hasn’t been many Time Trials (TT) on stage 18 of the Tour de France and mountain TT’s are just as infrequent. Modern tours feature less TT’s which seemed to be a traditional staple over the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. 1987 had no less than five! The 1987 Tour de France was the 74th Tour de France, taking place from July 1 to July 26, 1987. It consisted of 25 stages over 4231 km, ridden at an average speed of 36.645 km/h. It was the closest three-way finish in the Tour until the 2007 Tour de France, and was won by Stephen Roche, the first and so far only Irishman to do so.

But it is Stage 18 we must attend to, not only for the comparison but for the rider who won on the day. The 1987 stage was a much tougher affair scaling Mont Ventoux but, it appeared as a summit finish this year on Stage 12, but was shortened by 6 km the day before, after a weather forecast of high winds at the summit (which is common). The stage then finished at Chalet Reynard at 1,435 metres (4,708 ft), with approximately 10 kilometres of ascent up the mountain. This stage also featured a memorable motorcycle-induced crash which damaged Chris Froome’s cycle, prompting him to jog some hundred metres up the mountain – history in the making. 1987 was a race of truth to the top. Mont Ventoux is a mountain in the Provence region of southern France. It is the largest mountain in the region and has been nicknamed the “Beast of Provence”. The race has finished at the summit of Mont Ventoux ten times. The finish line is at 1909 m, although in 1965, 1967, 1972 and 1974 the finish was lower, at 1895 m. The mountain achieved worldwide notoriety when it claimed the life of British cyclist Tom Simpson, who died there on 13 July 1967 from heat exhaustion caused by a combination of factors, including dehydration, amphetamines, and alcohol. It is admired and feared by al cyclists who go there.

Stage 18 1987

Jean-François Bernard was the winner. He competed in the team time trial event at the 1984 Summer Olympics and had the ability to do very well in TT’s. The 1987 saw him win two stages, both time trials, including one on Mont Ventoux. He finished the race third behind Stephen Roche of Ireland and Pedro Delgado of Spain.

He won three stages in the 1988 Giro d’Italia and led the race, but he crashed in a tunnel, injured his back and abandoned the race. A saddle sore and another operation forced him out of the 1990 Tour de France. He never again challenged in the grands tours. In 1991 he joined the Spanish team, Banesto which had two leaders for stage races in Delgado and Miguel Indurain. Bernard helped Indurain dominate the Tour from that point on. Bernard also won the 1992 Paris–Nice. A talented and great French rider who tamed the beast of Mont Ventoux.

He retired at the end of 1996 with 52 professional wins. He is now a consultant for L’Équipe, L’Équipe TV and Eurosport.

Reference
wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Ventoux
wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-François_Bernard
wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Tour_de_France

RNLI x Santa Cruz

RNLI Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz built a bike for the RNLI and it’s as awesome as their boats! Will Ockelton, Global Marketing Director, Santa Cruz Bicycles, worked to bring this custom Nomad “Lifeboat” build to fruition to honour the RNLI and the work they do. Built up with Enve wheels and Chris King parts and with a full lifeboat finish to match the RNLI fleet. Which in our opinion, is amazing.

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The work that the RNLI does deserves a lot of respect. They are he largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well as on some inland waterways.

Founded in 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, the RNLI was granted Royal Charter in 1860 and is a charity in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth II is Patron. The RNLI is principally funded by legacies and donations with most lifeboat crew members being unpaid volunteers.

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The RNLI has 237 lifeboat stations and operates 444 lifeboats. Crews rescued on average 22 people a day in 2015. RNLI Lifeguards operate on more than 200 beaches. They are paid by local authorities, while the RNLI provides equipment and training. The Institution operates Flood Rescue Teams (FRT) nationally and internationally (iFRT), the latter prepared to travel to emergencies overseas at short notice.

Find out more about the RNLI here and donate if you can.

Thule ProRide 598 Roof Mounted Bike Rack

Thule ProRide 598

Sometimes getting from A to B involves taking your bike, by car to point A. There are plenty of options when it comes to attaching bikes to cars but, none better than Thule. There are some obvious caveats here; you need a roof rack, preferably a Thule one. We had both at our disposal. Reviewing the Thule ProRide 598 Roof Mounted Bike Rack was a simple process. That simple process is down to how easy it is to use.

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Over previous versions of this popular bike rack this is by far the best iteration, key points being; Torque indicator (on the frame holder)
Tool free interface, Fully lockable to the vehicle and bike. Fully City Crash tested and TUV approved. We really liked the wheel straps, which are a great improvement and really lock the bike down secure.

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The given time for fitting is five minutes, while it isn’t that quick straight out the box, once you have it ready, on and off the roof rack system is probably five minutes. Putting the bike on the rack itself is easy and takes only two minutes. The main arm that attaches to the bikes downtube gets clamped first and with the torque indicator its near impossible to over-tighten. Next, the wheel straps, that are ratchet operated. They give a solid fix between the bike wheels and the wheel mounts. And thats it. Simple. On and off in no time. Which means more riding time.

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Many thanks to Halfords for providing the Thule ProRide 598 Roof Mounted Bike Rack for this review.

For more info on Thule products click here.

Tour de France Historical Society – Stage 16 1983

Stage 16 1983

Today’s stage is a good comparison with Stage 16 of the 1983 edition. Both were hilly stages but, the 2016 stage is longer and comes after a mountain stage, whereas the 1983 stage was preceded by a mountain time trial, which was the defining moment of the 1983 Tour. That defining moment belonged to one of the sports great riders, Laurent Fignon.

The 1983 stage finished in Saint Etienne and was won by Michel Laurent. St. Étienne was the capital of the French bicycle industry. The bicycle wheel manufacturer Mavic is based in the city and frame manufacturers Motobécane and Vitus are also based here. Named after Saint Stephen, the city first appears in the historical record in the Middle Ages as Saint-Étienne de Furan (after the River Furan, a tributary of the Loire). In the 13th century it was a small borough around the church dedicated to Saint Etienne.

Laurent-Patrick-Fignon

Laurent Patrick Fignon, August 1960 – 31 August 2010. was a French professional racer who rode for; 1982–1985 Renault-Elf, 1986–1989 System U, 1990–1991 Castorama and 1992–1993 Gatorade. His first sport was football and he got as far as playing for his département or area. Friends encouraged him into cycling and he rode his first official race in 1976, which he won. Fignon’s parents did not want him to race, and he raced without them knowing. He won four more races in his first year, but only one in his second year. In this third year, he won 18 out of 36 races. Fignon’s parents allowed him to race, but still thought that he should study.

In 1981, Fignon rode the Tour of Corsica which allows amateur cyclists to ride along with professional riders. Fignon rode an early stage attempting to hold the wheel of Bernard Hinault, the top professional cyclist, and succeeded for much of the race. Cyrille Guimard observed the young cyclist a few days later at the national 100 km time trial team. In May 1981 he offered him a place on his Renault-Elf-Gitane professional team to begin the following year. Fignon joined the team in 1982, along with longtime friend and fellow junior rider Pascal Jules.

Fignon was 21 years of age.

When Hinault, winner of four of five previous Tours, announced that he would not start due to injury, the Renault team was without team captain. Fignon was added to the 1983 Tour de France selection and the team decided to go for stage wins. After stage nine, the first mountain stage, Fignon was in second place, behind Pascal Simon and he was allowed to be team leader. In the eleventh stage, Simon crashed and broke his shoulder blade. Simon continued, and only lost little time the next stages. In the fifteenth stage, a mountain time trial, Fignon was able to win back so much time that he was within one minute of Simon. In the seventeenth stage, Simon had to give up, and Fignon became the new leader. Fignon later said that he was lucky to have won the 1983 Tour: if Hinault would have been present, Fignon would have helped Hinault, as Hinault was the team leader.

At 22 years old, Fignon was the youngest man to win the Tour since 1933.

Reference
http://www.letour.com/le-tour/2016/us/stage-16.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Tour_de_France
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurent_Fignon

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

It can very often feel that road cycling in the British Isles requires equal measures of preparation, fortitude and optimism. Rarely suffering the extremes of heat or cold as other climates; the seasons, though defined in terms of name, often appear to blur with rain a capricious companion.

When considering the commonly quoted, ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’, it’s clear that a premium is placed on items that allow an individual to venture out regardless of the forecast. That the desire to ride, rather than the threat of poor weather, should determine whether you leave the comfort of home.

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

In terms of performance, this attitude poses interesting challenges for clothing designers but the recent introduction of technical fabrics opens up new approaches to riding in changeable weather conditions. Balancing breathability with temperature control, wearability and packable weight is increasingly addressed by season-specific clothing items. And it’s the focused functionality of the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket that’s at the heart of its success on the road.

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

Designed to offer a layer of warmth on a chilly morning before easily rolling up and stowing in a jersey pocket, the weight of this item is key to its practicality. At only 136g for a size medium, the jacket is barely noticeable when worn. Attractively cut from a dark grey, windproof material with a slim, body-hugging fit; the breathability of the mesh back panel avoids any overheating. Worn on a typical British summer morning when temperatures can struggle to reach more than 10°C, it provides just the right level of warmth at the start of a ride before disappearing into a rear jersey pocket as you hit the first hill. An instance of a design deftly balancing form with function.

Equally useful on long descents or cafe stops, the lightweight construction and lack of bulk makes this jacket a practical alternative to arm warmers and gilet. Though not designed to offer protection from heavy and sustained rainfall, the wind-proof fabric means you still stay warm on those changeable days all too common during British summertime when a mixture of light showers and sunshine are served up in equal measure.

Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket

In terms of value for money, this is a premium product with a correspondingly premium price tag. But, as with most things in life, quality comes at a cost and the durable construction belies the jacket’s weight. Cheaper alternatives could be sourced but very often these offer compromises in the quality of the fabric and the carefully considered design features that make this item such a pleasure to wear.

View the Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Wind Jacket as an investment and you’ll have a stylish and functional riding accessory from late spring through to autumn. And while fortitude is often borne of hard-won experience and optimism a state of mind, there’s no better way to prepare yourself for a summer’s ride.

Photography by @openautograph

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