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
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
Living 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.
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.
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.
Out 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.
It is Thursday so here are few unedited videos of your truly cycling in Gran Canaria. The first two videos riding down GC-200 (close to Tasarte and Veneguera) is probably the best downhill riding I’ve ever done on road. Although the magazines always praise the smooth roads in Canary islands on the videos you can clearly see cracks on the roads. Despite the risks involved it was much more fun that coming down constant switchbacks on Serenity (GC-605) for example. Coming down from Pico de Nieves in rain and cold was not much fun either.
Riding up to Roque Nublo (GC-600) From Ayacata was probably the hardest uphill I’ve ever done and you get the sense of the gradients involved in the last video below. You can see the beginning of Serenity climb at the end of second video, but in all honesty that wasn’t too bad. I have a video of riding up Soria still somewhere, but this time I will spare you from the slow torture of shaky videos of me weaving uphill. This time it will just be the noise rattle and wind that will annoy you. Feel free to put on some good background music… Continue reading
Living in Finland half of the year is dark and gloomy. Some kind of lighting solution is thus paramount to staying safe while cycling. In the town there is sufficient light to see where you are going so you just need to stay visible. I have had plenty of different lights over the years and they always fail sooner or later. What I hate most is having to change the batteries all the time and I was really happy to find Reelight‘s offerings.
- No batteries or dynamo needed
- Fairly expensive and all models were not available locally
- Light is not all that bright
- Combo-pack includes both rear and front light
I decided to buy the City Supreme Reepower kit for my son’s bike so I don’t need to worry about him forgetting to turn on the lights. The lights were easy to mount and have stayed sturdily in their place despite hitting the trails multiple times. So all in all the lights have served our family well and I can recommend them. There is lot of promise in the self-powering technologies.
Even though I’m still not all that serious about cycling I have found it a good idea to plan ahead a little bit. The upcoming events help me motivate myself during the long off-season.
- Start season early with 170km Ronde Vlaanderen sportive (end of March)
- Pirkan yöpyöräily 140km sportive (night in mid-June)
- Kauhava-Kokkola ride and/or Pukkilanharju 300km brevet (July)
- Turku Touring sportive 240 or 300km (August) or Helsinki Velotour 155km in 36km/h group (End of August)
So next year the idea is to up the ante a bit. No official goal for distance, but 5k would be great and I would still consider 3k a good accomplishment. If the local hipsters are up to it I will surely attend their track races and fixed-gear crits.