Category Archives: Amateur cycling

Amateur cycling on The Drum-Up: connecting you to Scottish cycling culture.

Vlog 003: Dig In At The Dock cyclocross 2017

I recorded this video at the last ever Dig In At The Dock Cyclocross race in Bo’ness at the end of February 2017.

The race had grown to become a very big, successful and popular event – one of the biggest races on the Scottish calendar, with arguably the best atmosphere. It was much loved and will be missed. The organisers are stepping down after it has perhaps become a victim of its own success, with a tented village, band, printed programme and great course features to set up, and several bags of dog dirt to uplift before the race.

Luckily Davie Hamill isn’t stepping back from race organisation entirely, as he explains towards the end of this video. It’s quite long, which in itself is an homage to Davie’s own video blogs. See if you can spot any other tributes to the original ‘Dig In’.

2017 Dig In At The Dock B Race Cobbles

I’ve covered Dig In in various ways over the years. Check out this other content:

Podcasts
Scottish cycling podcast 6: Dig In cyclocross and marketing events
Scottish cycling podcast 5: cyclocross with Dave Hamill

Blogs
Q&A: looking forward to the 2014 race
Davie Lines – The (fire)man who would be king

Videos
2013 race promo video
Au revoir to the Dig In videos
New series of Dig In videos 2012

image copyright Andy Gerrie

Scottish cycling Podcast 8: Live Broadcasting and Crit UnderThe Castle

In this episode I gave my thoughts about live broadcasting at Crit under the Campus, a closed road circuit race held at Stirling Town Centre. I did live Twitter and Periscope broadcasts at the race and shared my tips about how best to use technology to live broadcast your event.

I hadn’t recorded for a while and wanted to get this out – just my monologue thoughts. I have one longer interview to come soon.

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Sam Robinson: the cyclist, the road race and all the results

The All Bikes Scotland facebook group is brilliant. It’s so good, that if I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d buy it and rebrand it as The Drum Up Scottish cycling FB group.

It is driven by Harry Tweed Jr, who posts historical images of the Scottish cycling scene going back to the 50s, with the occasional shot from before the war. Harry’s consistency has encouraged lots of others to post their own historical images and memories – a thriving example of social media at its best.

Martin Knox posted this image of Sam Robinson, courtesy of his son Jim Robinson, who has a memorial race named after him – a tough hilly race through the Trossachs which is arguably one of the classics of the Scottish calendar. I have always been intrigued by the names behind the memorial races and feel that many entrants to these events are oblivious to the characters behind them – one of the original aims of this blog was to record and spread these stories.

Sam Robinson Glasgow racing cyclist

Sam was a member of the Glasgow Nightingale continuously from the late 1920s until his death in 1973 at the age of 68.  The Sam Robinson trophy was donated by his son Jim and Jim’s brother-in-law in 1975 on the occasion of the first event. Jim plays an instrumental part in the running of the club today. Running continuously since 1975, this year sees the 42nd edition of the event organised by the “the Gales”.

Click here for details of the 2016 race.
Full historical results below:

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How to run a twitter account for your cycling club

I’ve been on twitter for a while now, and have been involved in the twitter account for Stirling Bike Club. This account has really taken off in the past two or three years and I thought I’d share some tips on how other clubs could do it succesfully.

Why do it?

You can use twitter to spread the word about your cycling club, grow your membership, create or improve a sense of community amongst the members, promote your events and other uses.

Don’t go on twitter just to go on twitter or your account will drop like a stone – it’s good to start out with a few specific aims.

To begin with, I aimed to follow any club members who were on twitter and any notable local cyclists. At that time, we were talking Scotland-wide, but these days many more people are on twitter. The aim was to build an audience and a community that would become self-sustaining.

Cycling Past

Conversation and community

To state the obvious, perhaps, social media is best when used socially. The big brands and personalities might judge their performance in the thousands followers and hundreds of retweets but for a cycling club, the numbers will be small. I usually cringe when people talk about their followers on twitter. Rather, success should be engaging in useful conversations and building an online community.

Anyone who sent me a tweet or replied would be engaged in conversation – this helps the person running the account to get to know people. After a while, your twitter community will take a life of its own and people will be having their own conversations. Continue reading

Instincts, crashes and cyclocross starts

Sometimes it’s all about instinct. This striking image, capturing Chris Barr about to the deck at the Strathclyde round of the Scottish Cyclocross series, conveys many things for me.

cyclocross start crash

The unbridled instinct of the improver, bursting with enthusiasm and gridded at the front, to sprint full gas but underestimate the treacherous conditions and potholed surface.

The instinct of the seasoned racer, well-versed in the rough and tumble of Belgian racing, to anticipate the chaos and take a wide line to avoid potential chaos. The reactions kick in, to resist grabbing a fistful of the brakes, shift your weight on the bike and squeeze past the danger.

The instinct of the photographer, Mike Bishop who shoots a range of sports, to position himself near the bottleneck, sensing an incident may happen at the bottleneck formed by the gate.

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Wardell on ‘portage’

Rab Wardell opined on the technique of ‘portage’ – or carrying your bike, to the non-cyclocross aficionado – for the Dig In at the Dock 2014 race programme. With summer cross races now underway and thoughts moving towards the approaching season, I thought I’d revisit this with a new angle.

Portage – it is what separates cyclocross from all other disciplines of cycling. Lesser disciplines of cycling, one might argue. I’ve seldom heard a more eloquently phrased explanation of how this can inspire a lifelong love of ‘cross. I overheard one of our humble race organisers recalling a childhood memory to the Simon Burney. ‘Ah mind wotchin’ some ‘cross race on Grandstand, aboot 30 years ago! Ah wis just a lad and ah mind seein’ these guy fae Belgium an tha’ jumpin’ oer bits ae wid an’ tha’. The next day ah wis runnin’ roond the wids wi’ a road bike an’ ae’most got hypothermia. Quality likes! Thats the real deal…’

‘Yeah…’ Simon agreed.

I don’t think that anything in Scottish Cycling can compare to that moment you cross the burn at the ‘Tosh after 55 minutes, ready to shoulder your trusty steed and face that b*tch of a run-up one final time. Whether fighting for the victory, surviving the race, finishing for your first time or getting the better of your mate, one thing remains the same. As you try to slot your feet into the ankle deep, cold, muddy footholds. Digging your toe studs (if you’re lucky enough to have them) in the soil and push off, propelling your protesting, wheezing body and mud clogged, heavier-than-ever bike closer to the summit. It is incredibly painful. Horrific even.
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Scottish Road Champs, and the last Davie Bell

I heard on the Cycling Podcast  this week that this weekend’s road champs will also be the final edition of the Davie Bell road race.

Pocast host Richard Moore has been invited in a VIP capacity as a former winner. It’s a monument of Scottish cycling with a roll call of greats including Robert Millar, David Millar (no not that one), Jason McIntyre and pretty much everyone else who has had any success professionally or at the top of the amateur ranks.

“How come I didn’t know about this?!” I wailed. Chris Johnson did great publicity for the race in previous years, especially when the gravel sectors were included and when there was an appetite to step up to National A or even Premier status.

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Hat tip to Robbie Hassan

Robbie Hassan announced recently, on his blog, that he was hanging up his racing wheels.

Robbie was a Braveheart funded U23 rider who moved to Spain to race full time and have a real go at making it as a pro bike rider. He is someone who I have followed since getting into road cycling in 2008 and starting this blog so I wanted to tip my hat to his career, even if it has ended before he reached the goals he would have wanted.

The impact of a 12-week knee injury on top of struggles against health an allergy setbacks have led to the decision to call it a day.

As I followed the local racing scene in 2009 and 2010, Endura were dominating with a strong squad of all the best Scottish riders including Oliphant, Hand, McCallum, Lines and Creber. I celebrated any club rider who could get a result against them and got myself into trouble once or twice trying to stir up light-hearted banter on twitter that got taken badly.

Robbie Hassan
Disappointed with 5th in the Scottish champs 2010 behind 4 Enduras  Continue reading

Davie Lines – The (fire)man who would be king

Orinally published in the Dig In At The Dock 2014 programme in January, this piece, by David Hamill, looks back on Davie Lines’ 2013 cyclocross season and celebrates his choice as honorary reigning Scottish series champion.

Bike racing is a cruel sport. Most people who race bikes never win and those who do win will more often lose. Losing (or not winning) is something even the best bike racers need to get used to. It’s part of the sport. The history books don’t provide a great deal of discussion about who came second, third or fourth. If they did Davie Lines might be a bit of a legend.

Davie Lines works as a firefighter in Edinburgh and also races bikes for Starley Primal. If you were to assign Davie a specialism in bike racing it would probably be criterium road racing. As a past Scottish champ he’s got plenty of results to back this up. But to badge Davie a crit rider is to do him a disservice. He competes on the road, on the track and in cyclocross and he does this all at a very high level.  Continue reading

Dig Deep Coaching – cyclocross race tips

Dig Deep Coaching logo

Dig Deep Coaching comprises former pro riders Stephen Gallagher and Dan Fleeman, with Mandy Collie providing business expertise to the team.

The company works closely with National cyclocross champion Ian Field, who was up in Fife recently for a two-day training camp organised by some of the Team Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique people.

Ian Field & Eddy van IJzendoorn

Dan and Ian released a webinar entitled ‘Cyclocross Season – Time To Get Ready‘. The 1-hour presentation comprises audio and slides covering a vast array of tips to get more out of your cyclocross racing, including equipment choices, skills drills and training sessions.

I have always enjoyed absorbing as much of this sort of information I can during the past 5 years racing. While it’s always enjoyable and sociable to just go out and ride with clubmates, I found that doing working on my own (to heart rate, although power is better) with specific training sessions, and focusing on structured high intensity interval sessions allowed me to get the best race fitness while juggling the finely balanced work/family/cycling equation.

Tips from the Two Johns Podcast, Coach Joe Beer Podcast and Joe Friel’s website added to my knowledge over that time and I highly recommend the webinar above. If you want to take things further, Dig Deep Coaching offer 6 and 12 week training plans for cyclocross.

A friend of mine, based in rural Aberdeenshire, found that his connection speed was too low to run the webinar, so for his benefit and that of others, I’ve summarised the key points below. Continue reading