We are thrilled to present a gallery of images by Matthew Stone (@stoneshoots) and show a different point of view to our own feature of the Red Hook Crit London No.2 which took place in Greenwich Peninsula on Saturday 9th July 2016.
The Red Hook Criterium Race Series returned to London on Saturday for the first since its debut in 2015. Greenwich Peninsula was once again host to some of the fastest criterium racers from 39 countries around the world. Now in its 9th year, the Red Hook Crit is the world’s premier track bike Criterium series with four spectacular events scheduled in Brooklyn, London, Barcelona and Milan.
Current series leader and defending champion Ainara Elbusto got off to a great start by winning the first lap prime but had to abandon the race due to mechanical a few laps later. With her main competitor out of the way, Dani King attacked to distance herself from the competition. She proceeded to sweep up the rest of the race and with eight laps remaining had eliminated the entire field, leaving Ash Durban and Jasmine Dotti to battle it out for second place.
During the early stages of the race, there were no definitive leaders. Local rider Alec Briggs of team LaClassica Racing won the first lap prime and in a similar fate to the women’s race, podium contender Daniel Holloway was out with a mechanical. Colin Stickland tried multiple times to breakaway from the pack and eventually managed to do so with Marius Petrache. A few laps later, Stickland managed to distance Petrache whilst further back a group of riders containing Team Cofidis rider, Loic Chetout, were trying to bridge the gap between the leaders. Strickland managed to keep hold of his lead and took his third consecutive win in the series.
Tour de France Rest Days have changed over the years in some respects, in some ways they are as traditional as ever. The obvious thing is the rest. The unseen contract deals going on in hotel rooms as those riders rest, the team swapping, at all levels. What is obvious is the rider in yellow has a huge role to fill on a rest day, traditionally with a copy of L’Equipe in hand, checking out the ‘news’.
Legend has it, Jacques Anquetil, 0n the rest day in Andorra during the 1964 Tour de France, feasted on a slab of roast lamb while the other riders were out for an easy ride and a day of rest. Greg Lemond famously played golf on his rest day. Team Lotto more recently went for a little jaunt on Segways
Most riders though spend time actually resting, often in less than glamorous rooms and such mundane and pressing matters such as washing kit. Although a lot of the team infrastructure now takes care of this. Historically it was up to the rider to look after hit kit and the mechanic, the bike. Certainly true of the mechanic today.
The early editions of the Tour de France had more rest days. Stages often running overnight, so the cyclists were offered the next day to recover from the punishing rides.
The 1911 edition had 14 rest days. It was a gruelling tour, with the longest stage, 470 km long, taking almost 18 hours for the fastest riders to complete. Out of the 84 riders who started the tour, only 28 completed the race. After the introduction of the Pyrénées in the previous edition, in 1911 the Alps were first visited; for this addition, the 1911 edition has been named the first modern Tour.
I am one of those cyclists who cannot seem to work out if they are a weekend road rider, a trail blazer, a cyclo-cross racer or A BMX bandit. To put it simply, I like riding bikes no matter what the wheel size or the terrain – this is not a bad thing. I’m almost certain half of you reading this will have “problem” as me.
If you do suffer from the same “problem” as me – I’m certain your life is filled with the same trivial frustrations. You hear the same algebraic gag about the number of bikes you own at least once a week, you own more bikes than your tiny flat can fit, and you wonder how you are going to afford to service your road bike.
I own currently a comfortable road helmet, a less comfortable aero road helmet, an old stinking skid-lid (skate helmet) and an over the top full-face helmet for BMX racing. Now that just leaves me in the market for a trail helmet, something that will protect my head a little better than a road helmet, something that is comfortable and light enough for a long outing, and potentially most importantly, something that won’t make me look like a roadie out of my league on the trails… Not too much to ask.
There are a vast amount of options and styles for trail helmets on the market, and a vast range in prices too. I was doubting the £55 Specialized Tatic II was up to the task. I was wrong…
The first thing I noticed was the build quality. The in-moulded construction maximises its strength, while keeping weight to a minimum. To me however, the helmet looks and feels tough. The helmet also drops down at the rear quite a lot more than a normal road helmet to offer more protection on the trails, something you definitely want, to inspire confidence when riding technical rocky terrain, or fast single track descents.
The Tatic II is now the most comfortable helmet I own, which seeing as its not the lightest is pretty impressive. The Tatic II comes in at just under 335grams – compared to the weight of my Giro Synthe road helmet (234grams) – but it is definitely the most comfortable. You barely notice it on your head. The comfort of the helmet therefore must come down to its large absorbing pads (of which there are plenty), it’s really good fit and the adjustable retention system at the back. All of which I have absolutely no qualms over. There are plenty of vents too keep your head cool and allow sufficient airflow. Also the detachable and adjustable visor did a really good job at keeping both the rain and sun out of my face.
In conclusion this is a really great helmet. Even more so when you consider its price. It not only ticks all of the trail blazer boxes, it could also easily replace nearly all of my other helmets, easily answering my cyclo-cross and commuting needs. Did I mention it is super comfortable?
Thanks to Cycle Plan for asking us to review the Specialized Tactic 2.
Out on the road, Rapha’s Manchester chapter often gets a shout of, ‘Alright, lads?’ from cyclists they pass. A well-meaning greeting but with an assumption that they are, indeed, all lads. Take more than a cursory glance as the group races past and you’d notice a young lady on a bright blue Giant Propel. British Cycling’s Grace Lambert-Smith is a regular on these rides into the Peak District and a passionate advocate for women’s cycling in the UK. A tenacious character, with a love of adventure, Grace sat down with Headset Press to discuss, among other themes, her love/hate relationship with hills and why she always stops at red lights.
Yes, yes and yes! I live not far from the city centre, work is about 6km away and my rides also begin right here.
Before I came to Manchester, I lived in Adelaide for almost ten years. I was playing hockey and decided to take up running in a bid to get a bit fitter. I then decided cycling would be a great cross-training exercise so I bought a road bike – which I still own – and I’ve never looked back!
I work in marketing in the Cyclesport and Membership Department. My colleague and I are responsible for all the day-to-day communications to our members, the overall member benefit offerings as well as enabling our members to engage with all the events we own.
It can be. When you’re sitting eating your lunch and Bradley Wiggins is right over there. I mean, how do you act cool when Wiggo’s at work? Is it unprofessional of me, as an employee of British Cycling, to go over and take a selfie? Can I do that?
Yeah and I do think about crossing it. But then it’s his workplace – where he can do his job and then go home.
Rapha Hell of the North 2016 / Jay Golian / http://jaygolian.com/
I don’t think I’ve ever thought that far ahead. I’m not a very planning sort of person, a bit fearful of committing to something that far away. Kind of, I’ll do this now and something else later. Heat of the moment sort of stuff. When I first started at BC it was a bit over-whelming, wondering if I’d made the right decision. It was really quite emotional when I first moved over here but then I made friends at work, made friends at Rapha through cycling, got through my first British winter. I still call Adelaide home but it feels good here as well.
Early mornings. I really miss getting up at 5.00 and out on the road; being in the middle of nowhere by 6.30. People don’t really do that here. You can’t even get a cup of coffee that early which I find really bizarre.
Definitely. I think it’s getting better though and I’m really optimistic that one day it’ll be a balanced mix. I’m very often the only girl out on the weekend rides but in the last year of being a RCC (Rapha Cycling Club) member, there have been quite a few women who’ve joined and started riding. And that’s really great. I’m not sure what it’s like in other clubs, but it can be quite intimidating for a woman to join a club and hope she can keep up with all the men. It’s part of my role as a Rapha Ambassador, leading rides such as the Rapha Women’s 100 and Braver than the Elements, to break down that perception at the RCC. I ride bikes to the best of my ability and I feel empowered through Rapha to inspire and encourage other women to ride their bikes too. If I can keep up, then so can anyone.
Rapha Prestige / Matt Randall / http://mattrandallphotography.co.uk
The biggest perceived barrier for women is safety. Yet you’re far more likely to be injured while gardening than cycling. But it can be intimidating. Trucks hurtling past when you’re using the narrow bike lane to the left – if indeed there is one at all – pedestrians jaywalking without looking where they’re going – resulting in my recent crash – potholes the size of a small crater underneath your wheels. It seems like there are never-ending risks but it doesn’t take long to become savvy to road cycling and ride defensively. I still occasionally get drivers who are unpleasant but the vast majority are fine and give me a wide berth when passing.
I’ve noticed that when women first ride in a group they tend to hang back; not trusting those in front. But it’s just a knowledge or experience thing. I remember my first group ride and this woman sat at the back and coached me through what I had to do. You initially question whether you’re doing it right but that’s the same for both men and women. It’s just about learning group riding skills – making a good bunch. And safety in numbers will allow you to enjoy riding solo whenever you want.
I’m a big believer in questioning why you’re not doing something. Whether you go through life thinking, ‘What if…?’ If you want to find the answer, you should get out and do it. Cycling keeps me going and I would be so lost without my bikes. Hey, sometimes I’m lost on them and it’s great!
I’d been looking forward to an announcement like this since it was revealed that they’d finished their sponsorship with Team Sky. It’s the breath of fresh air the women’s professional cycling scene needed. A company that could offer long-term support, it’s a three-year sponsorship, as well as using the opportunity to fine-tune their already high-end clothing range. It was also a great decision by Rapha to put their kit in front of the eyes of a much harder market: women. I think my favourite thing about the sponsorship is that it reveals just how much potential there is for women’s cycling to grow. I already know that women’s racing is some of the best on offer but for whatever reason, media coverage is limited, prize money is much lower and it’s seen by some as an inferior sport to the men’s.
Cheering Paris – Roubaix / Angus Sung
Professionally? Lizzie Armitstead. She’s so gutsy and fights so hard for what she wants. I love watching her race; whether she’s going for the win or supporting her teammates.
Non-professionally? Cath Litherland. Fellow RCC member, my old manager at BC and a great friend. She’s so good at climbing and I want to be that strong! She’s currently in Europe dancing on her pedals up mountains with names I can barely pronounce.
I know hills are good for me so I do them. I enjoy hills when I get to the top but between the bottom and that point, I’m suffering. They never seem to get easier and I’ve been to some dark places climbing some of them. My lowest point was up The Struggle in the Lakes where I simply crumbled. It was the worst experience on a hill I’ve ever had but I’ve since gone back and faced my fear so all’s not lost.
There’s a stigma among some in cycling that ‘compact gears are for girls’. Something I’ve heard said between men. It really annoyed me! Compact gears are for people who need compact gears to enjoy cycling. I’m not going to suffer up hills on standard cranks just because there are unwritten rules and cycling snobs looking down their top tubes at me. I want knees when I’m 50 so I’ll stick to my 50/34, thank you! I also recently put on a 12-30T cassette before I did the Etape du Dales. I can spin up anything now!
Hardangerfjord, Norway / Grace Lambert-Smith
I went to Bergen on a whim. The flights were cheap, it was a long weekend and I hadn’t been over to Europe since I’d moved to Manchester. I booked it, took my bike and explored. I was a bit worried as many people had mentioned that Bergen was a particularly wet city so I was frantically wondering what to pack with a limited amount of luggage to take. There’s a race in Norway from Bergen to Voss and so I used that as a base but switched the route back to front. I got the first train out of Bergen with the weather deteriorating by the time I got to Voss. Luckily, I had an insulated gilet and some back-up full-finger gloves in my saddle bag. It got a little drizzly straight away but eventually the sun came out and I ended up applying sunscreen halfway around. The scenery is stunning in Norway and I can’t wait to go back and do more. Although next time I will take overnight kit with me so that I can go from place to place; settling down wherever I want. The route was 160km in the end and it showcased the natural beauty of a largely untouched landscape. And I love that you can go so far in not very much time. You can do it with driving but not with the same feeling. Without that same sense of accomplishment, that sense of purpose. You don’t earn the view at the top of the hill.
I like versatile pieces that are able to do multiple jobs. My souplesse shorts have to be my favourite. I use them for anything from my 6km commute to 200km weekend shifts. They fit as well as the day I got them and they’re so comfortable. I’m also a big fan of a good gilet. You might be worried there’s a risk of a light shower or a chill in the air as you leave your house but a gilet over the top will solve most insecurities.
You’re talking to a girl who found her love for cycling in Australia. More specifically, Adelaide, one of the driest cities in the country. The British winter takes some inner strength though. It’s cold but often wet too and for a cyclist, moisture on the road acts as air-conditioning. Then add in a bit of wind coming off the sea and you’re well into minus temperatures. My only advice, the same advice I gave myself when I moved back here: if I don’t ride through winter, I won’t ride for six months of every year and I love riding my bike. It boils down to the right kit to make you comfortable: winter tights, merino socks, overshoes, neck warmer, winter hat and layers on your upper body. I must confess though, I don’t think I’ve quite hit the jackpot with gloves!
Hollingsworth Lake / Lisa Stonehouse / http://www.lisastonehouse.com/
I have two road bikes: a 2014 Giant Defy and a 2016 Giant Propel. I love both bikes and they have their uses depending on the type of ride I’m doing. Even though my Propel is classed as an aero bike, I use it for climbing and it’s great. It descends like a dream, which is why I use it for so much climbing. My Defy is my reliable, bomb-proof adventure rig. I use it for commuting, wet weather rides or if there’s a risk of some off-road/gravel action.
I mainly ride in the Peak District or out to the northern hills of Manchester towards Hebden Bridge. I love going to Wales too where it’s so rural and you feel like you’re off the grid between these quaint countryside villages. When I’m back home, you’ll find me in the Adelaide Hills. Iconic roads used in the Tour Down Under are familiar territory for me. Gorge Road, Norton Summit, Old Freeway, Belair Road to name just a few. The views are magnificent. It’s very often sunny and I’m usually out with my friends. It’s the perfect combination.
Top of Corkscrew / Grace Lambert-Smith
I want to do more bikepacking and endurance riding. The longest I’ve ridden is 354km in one day on Rapha’s Manchester to London last year. I need to eclipse that soon with something to the tune of 400km. I’d like to do the Bryan Chapman Memorial next year so that’s on my horizon. And I’m ticking off a dream of riding in the Alps next week, which is really exciting.
Stop. Every single time. And then I always make the point, if a cyclist has run a red light, of catching him up…
It’s always a him. Girls don’t run lights! At least in my experience anyway. I’ll just make a point of catching him to prove that you don’t get any further and it’s like, ‘I’ve been waiting at the traffic lights for 30 seconds longer than you but I still caught you up.’
Love it. I don’t read too much into the numbers as I don’t have a power meter but I just like to know where I’ve been. When I first moved to Manchester I didn’t know where the hell I was going so it was good to upload a ride and go, ‘Oh, so if I’d have gone left….’ It’s just nice to look back, reflect and ask, ‘Have I improved?’
Maybe some people get too obsessed, post too frequently, but you could argue that it’s good things they’re posting. It’s people outdoors, doing what they love, loving what they do – I don’t think you can really criticise that to any degree. I ride bikes all the time – that’s what I do and what I document. It’s just a massive network of people wanting the same things, loving the same things. Let’s all do it together.
Portrait shot taken at Rapha Supercross by Gem Atkinson.
Last weekend from the 1st to the 3rd of July, the first re-edition of the “Concours de Machines“, the French Technical Trial, took place in Ambert, Auvergne, France. For the first time since 1949, nineteen French handcrafted bikes builders gathered for a special event. They took part in the competition with their custom bikes specially built for this occasion. A judging panel made up of cycling professionals, historians and technicians decided between all these builders according to several criteria: the degree of innovation, the technical quality, the reliability, the weight of the machine or the average speed of the rider on the different trials.
The last edition of the Concours de Machines , also known as the French Technical Trials, occurred in 1949. Thus it is the first time of the modern era that a big part of the French handcrafted bicycles builders gather together. On the contrary of the USA and other countries in Europe, it was not just a show but a competition between the bikes in the field. Despite the common theme and the grading scale, the nineteen bicycles were all different and represented the vision and the spirit of each of the artisans.
Today’s stage 5 and that of the 1973 edition were both mountain stages after running through the first five days of flat fast roads. A first chance to see who has the climbing legs, who has the ability to take the GC. A glimpse at best though. 1973 should have seen the return of Eddy Merckx, winner of the previous four editions, at the start. This was partly to avoid angry French fans and partly to please his sponsor; instead he rode and won the 1973 Vuelta a España and the 1973 Giro d’Italia. In his absence, Luis Ocaña dominated the race.
Although he didn’t particularly show himself on stage five, in fact, he had only finished one out of the four previous editions of the Tour de France that he had started, he was not considered a favourite for overall victory, but his ability to win was more than common knowledge. Having already won the Vuelta once and taken the podium on two other occasions. His palmarès before 1973 were substantial and he didn’t let anyone down at the tour. Merckx, who was not competing, had picked José Manuel Fuente, Joop Zoetemelk and Raymond Poulidor for the podium. Ocaña even crashed during the first stage when a dog ran into the peloton! Luis hailed from Priego, Cuenca, Spain but his family moved to Mont-de-Marsan (Landes, France) in 1957. The Spanish newspaper Dicen said Ocaña was “the best time-trialist that Spanish cycling has ever had”. There is much written about Luis Ocaña but he was a tour great and should be remembered as such.
Stage five feature three climbs, Schlucht, Grand Ballon, Silberloch on a 188 km course form Nancy to Mulhouse. It was won by Walter Godefroot with a time of 5hr 12min 19sec. The Grand Ballon (German: Großer Belchen) or Great Belchen is the highest mountain of the Vosges, located 25 kilometres northwest of Mulhouse, France. It is also the highest point of the Alsace French region. It has featured in the Tour various times and first appeared in 1969. It is the only Hors categorie (beyond categorization) climb in northern France and a popular one too. Charly Grosskost broke away and was alone and away on the col de la Schlucht, he was also first over the Grand Ballon and the Silberloch. He was caught and finished 104th. An often told tale in the Tour.
Like many (if not all) editions of the Tour there was doping. The penalties in 1973 were very lenient in comparison to today. Three cyclists tested positive; Barry Hoban, Claude Baud and Michel Roques. All three received a fine of 1000 Swiss Francs, one-month suspension and ten minutes penalty time in the general classification. Poulidor, a favourite to win, crashed, and was taken away with a helicopter on stage 13. All in all a fantastic stage 5 and a fine edition of the Tour de France.
There are few similarities between the 2016 stage and the one held in 1914, both were flat and both were in the Cherbourg area of France (which has hosted over 18 tour stages). From here the tale of 1914’s stage three weaves it’s sadness. This would be the last Tour de France before the First World War. Many riders would go on to fight in the bloody battles and the Tour would not see light until 1919 on the battle scarred landscape of France. One such rider was Émile Engel.
Émile was a French professional road bicycle racer born in Colombes, 5 April 1889. He became a Corporal in the French 72nd Infantry Regiment. Stage three, Tour de France, 1914 was to be his last win. He was disqualified after stage 8 when he was involved in a fight with a race official. Although, in Christopher S. Thompson’s, The Tour de France, A Cultural History; “On expelling Émile Engel for attacking an official in 1914, …Desgrange made a point of rehabilitating the racer in the days that followed his expulsion. There must have been something worthy in his character, maybe it was the frustration of what lay ahead?
It’s hard to imagine what faced Émile and millions of other men that were heading to war, mostly young and uncertain of their futures. This year we remember 100 years since the Somme but, that was two years later and like so many they never even saw the tragedies that lay before their fellow men and fell fighting a battle of untold horrors. Émile was killed in World War I, three months after the Tour de France. He died at Maurupt-le-Montois, north-eastern France. A monument stands there today to remember the Battle of Marne. Today a quiet town and long may it stay that way. Alongside Émile Engel, Tour de France champions Lucien Petit-Breton, François Faber and Octave Lapize died in the first world war. The winner of the 1914 Tour de France, Philippe Thys, would survive the war, and go on for his third victory in 1920. Henri Pélissier, the runner-up, would win the Tour de France in 1923.
The Belgium Philippe Thys won the 1914 Tour de France. Something that you don’t see today, Camille Botte, ranked 15 in the general classification, became the winner of the “isolés” category. The “isolés” classification was calculated in the same way as the general classification, but only the isolated cyclists (not part of a team) were eligible. It was also the start of what is now famous, organising newspaper l’Auto named Firmin Lambot the meilleur grimpeur. This unofficial title is the precursor to the mountains classification.
Providing one of the key contact points when riding in terms of performance and comfort, choosing the right cycling shoes is an important but not necessarily straightforward task.
Combining low weight with a stable, stiff pedalling platform is one of the main goals for cycling shoe manufacturers. Making this package affordable simply adds another complex challenge to the design and marketing process. As Keith Bontrager is often quoted in relation to bike designs, “Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick two.”
Well respected shoes such as the Fizik R1B Uomo, Specialized S-Works 6 or Giro Empire SLX all boast carbon fibre soles with a sub-300g weight but cost in excess of £200. Possibly proving the point that performance comes at a price?
Maybe not. The Bont Riot Road Shoe combines carbon fibre construction with a weight of 280g; all in a package costing less than £80*. Whether a case of grandiose claims from a manufacturer or a genuine bargain, this appeared to be an interesting choice of footwear for a long-term test
With a wide frontal area, the Bont Riot is designed to accommodate the forefoot and toes without the uncomfortable narrowing that other brands adopt. Having previously struggled with this tapered approach, I found the extra room a significant factor in determining ride comfort. Especially on hillier routes with a fair amount of climbing.
Riding in the Pyrenees in temperatures exceeding 30°C, the mesh inserts in the microfibre upper coupled with the toe ventilation holes prevented any over-heating. The shoe was equally practical in winter when worn with an overshoe to keep the elements at bay.
Although the sole is not a full carbon construction – layers of composite are used in high stress areas sandwiched between fiberglass – it has an attractive, almost translucent finish that compliments the microfibre upper. Couple this with a heat mouldable innersole and an anatomically shaped heel cup, then comfort is a key feature of this Bont design.
In terms of performance, while not offering class-leading levels of stiffness, I never felt that power transfer was compromised. The Bont Riot excelled as a climbing shoe where the lack of weight and all-day comfort were much appreciated. During sudden accelerations on a club ride, the shoes were more than equal to the task; never giving a sensation of flex when sprinting out of the saddle.
As for criticisms; this shoe is hard to dislike. When wearing tight-fitting overshoes, the ratchet fastener stands slightly more proud when compared to a Boa ‘rotate to tighten’ design and the front/back split of the black and white version doesn’t quite convince.
Sizing is another issue; especially when buying on the internet. I recommend using the printable chart as this accurately suggested I order a half size larger than my usual shoe size.
But these are minor niggles and over the course of this long-term test the shoe has been a revelation; out-performing designs costing three times the Bont Riot’s asking price.
Lightweight, comfortable and with stylish, understated looks (at least in the all-black version). With an £80 price tag, what’s not to like?
*Price correct on the date of publication.