Cheap chinese aero frames: The 2019 edition

I already thought chinese carbon frames are totally out of fashion, but what goes around comes around. After gravel bikes were the “must-have” trend aerodynamic disc brake bikes are now the latest craze. Slowly but surely the market is responding to the demand. There are several models available from chinese carbon frame manufacturers that can alleviate the itch of buying a Venge, a Foil or a Propel. Some things have clearly changed since the golden years of charbon and worth noting about the latest developments. Continue reading

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Survival strategy: Helsinki Velotour 2018

ImmersbyI signed-up for the Helsinki Velotour sportive’s fastest leaded group and I’m seriously worried I’m in over my head. I’m still hoping I can keep myself protected in the group and tag along at least until half-way. If everything goes amazingly well I just might make it to the finish.  Keeping with the group would require an incredible feat on my part so I need a plan on how to tackle the beast. I would love to end the season in style. Continue reading

It ain’t over…

20180718_201403.jpgIt is still summer, but the short nordic road cycling season is eventually starting to near its end. After the trip to Belgium and a 200km brevet pretty early in the spring I had plenty of early season prep. The hockey playing seems to have transferred over quite well and it hasn’t hurt that I weight 5kg less than usually after the winter. There were couple of rainy weeks, but mostly weather has been amazing. So, at least so far, things have turned out alright with healthy mix of riding both on gravel and tarmac. Continue reading

Review: Planet-X Pickenflick

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I started road cycling on a steel Bianchi and while carbon fiber frames are light I still missed the shock absorbing quality of metal. Carbon fiber is great at filtering the smaller amplitude road buzz, but our local roads are full of potholes and cracks. Titanium and stainless steel do not suffer from the same corrosion problems as vintage steel had so it was just a matter of time I would bite the bait. A year ago Planet-X had their regular periodic sale on their titanium cyclocross frame Pickenflick I could not resist any longer. Continue reading

Review: Custom wheelset from Winow

I ordered a custom carbon fiber wheelset from a smaller chinese vendor last year. The wheels were delivered in the heart of winter 2017 so I have now ridden a whole season with them. The initial impressions were good. The wheels are more or less like I had specified, rims have staid straight and there are no obvious signs of major problems. I ended up having the wheels rebuilt as the alloy nipples keep cracking.  Nevertheless I have been quite pleased with my purchase. The wheels look fast and perform well without breaking the bank. Continue reading

Watching Ronde

IMG_1341Living up in Northern Europe my only contact with professional road cycling is from television. Pretty much the only race that gets any attention in the news here is Tour de France. With stages taking place during work hours and Team Sky’s boring dominance I haven’t found TdF worth the pricey Eurosport channel. I have found the one day races much more interesting and luckily there are plenty of streams from abroad to choose from. Of all the races my personal favourite is Ronde van Vlaanderen. This spring I had a chance to experience the madness roadside.

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Riding Ronde

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I’ve been a big fan of spring classics for a while and this year I finally got a chance to ride parts of Ronde van Vlaanderen myself. April is really early in the season so the goal was just to ride leisurely and do my best in the hills. In advance I was quite apprehensive regarding my form, but everything turned out great and I had one of the best cycling trips of my life. Flandrians are true cycling fanatics and riding the famous cobbled climbs was an experience I’m not going to forget anytime soon.

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Walk back in time

On my trip to Flanders I had plenty of free time and a great chance to soak in the cycling heritage of the region. In addition to the amazing cycling fanaticism of the locals and general atmosphere there are couple of interesting museums to roam through. The Ronde Centrum in Oudenaarde and Koers is Religie in Roeselare were both definately worth a visit.

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Ultimate test of body and soul

20180401_135636Out of the cycling’s spring time classics the Ronde van Vlaanderen has always fascinated me the most. The absolute carnage of each race and the relentless course with cobbled hills is the ultimate test of rider and bike. In the autumn it felt like a good idea to start the season early by signing up to the We Ride Flanders sportive. The plan is:

  • Fly to Bryssels and rent a car
  • Ride the 170km version of the sportive
  • Watch the race and drive to France
  • Ride parts of Paris-Roubaix and practice my religion

Usually by this time of the year I would have had a chance to do at least couple of leisurely rides. This year there is still snow on the ground and I haven’t ridden on road in five months. Even my bike is currently still in pieces. I acknowledge I’m awfully ill-prepared for this cycling monument so the trip is clearly going to be an adventure of epic proportions.