Category Archives: Cycling kit

Owen P – 2011 winter ‘sponsors’

I’m a bit late this post, but after last year, I thought I’d do it again. Owen P is proud to announce newly signed sponsorship deals for the 2010/2011 winter period.

Winter ride, Dollarbeg

For heart rate monitors he is sponsored by tonydeebo, a bike-obsessed world traveller who very generously sent his old Polar S625X HRM/bike computer. A nice bit of kit that will enable Owen to take training to the next level and make the most of riding time when baby no.2 arrives.

Training programme has been planned by Donald Maclean, a workhorse cycling coach and volunteer who devotes many hours of his time to the Wallace Warriors, the incredibly successful youth section of Stirling Bike Club. Donald is working towards his British Cycling level 3 qualification. As far as I know, the only other coach in Scotland with this qualification is Mark Young, who has worked with Endura Racing and the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team.

For 39-tooth chainrings and 9-speed cassettes John Galloway has provided support. John is a former velocast presenter and has some great chat to share on twitter.

For 9-speed derailleurs I thank twitter. To my shame, I have forgotten the name of the generous someone who posted me an nearly new Tiagra mech for my winter bike refurb.

Jim aka cowspassage cut me a great deal on some 9-speed shifters. Worth a follow on twitter if you fancy some witty banter.

Plain black Gore Bike Wear bib shorts by were provided at a very attractive discount by Pete at Flying Fox Bikes. The Gore kit is simple yet functional, a quality that appeals to The Scottish Cyclist.

Flying Fox mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX, Stirling / Clackmannanshire

Obree’s 2009 hour record bike

I have had the photo below, (by Andy McAndlish, originally published in an article on bikeradar) on my desktop for a while and the moment had been lost to blog it. Sometimes you have to be quick, which is why I try to stay away from race news and results.

But I have started listening to old episodes of the Velocast again (still available on podomatic), and in episode 10 they discussed this bike, albeit with aero bars.

(Photo: Andy McAndlish)

There’s another great shot of Obree riding the bike if you click through to bikeradar, showing his outstanding aptitude for innovating to find an extremely aerodynamic position. He used his trademark custom parts to get an aerodynamic position, but within the “new” UCI rules, which aim to keep bikes within the style of Eddy Merckx’s 1972 record.

Velocasters Scott and John covered Obree’s attempt on the hour record, which at 43 years old would have been a great challenge, but alas the machine did not work on the velodrome bankings as expected, which hit Graeme hard. He was advised to abadnon the hour attempt.

The bike remains though (and I wonder where it is now). It has a Selle Italia Flite saddle with a purple fluffy cover reminiscent of some sort of muppet. The Reynolds 653 steel frame catches the eye, with it’s 1-and-1/8 inch tubing that is very thin-looking by today’s standards. Added to this are aluminium time trial handlebars that were hand-whittled by Obree for for three months! And some custom pedals, again hand-whittled! The sort of obsessive attention to detail that made Graeme such an amazing time trialler.

More shots of the bike

Bikeradar interview with more great pics

Children’s Bike buying guide

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I thought I’d post this buying guide for children’s bikes, courtesy of Andrew Abbess of Stirling Bike Training.
[edit]- additional: Andrew is @stirlingbiketr on twitter.

Having done bike safety checks on hundreds of kids bikes I know what is important to look for. Here are the 5 most important questions you need to answer when buying that new bike.

1. How heavy is the bike?
Cheap kids bikes are often so heavy that the child struggles to pick the bike up when it falls over or is laid down. Or the children cannot lift the front wheel off the ground to lift it over a kerb. This means that riding is very hard work. As a result its not fun and can put the child off cycling. The bike will hardly get used – eventually you will find it at the back of the shed still looking brand new and your children will have outgrown it. A bike that hardly gets used is not a bargain.

2. Does the bike fit the child?
Can your child get a foot on the ground when sitting on the saddle (both feet if they are learners)? Can they stand in front of the saddle with both feet on the floor and straddle the top tube? If they can’t do both of these the bike is too big so get a smaller one which does fit.

3. Are the brake handles scaled for children’s hands?
Many cheap bikes for children aged over 10 use adult size components (because they are cheaper) but children often can’t get more than the ends of their finger tips onto the brake handles. This means they are not able to put enough pressure on the brakes to stop the bike in an emergency. Mum or dad might be able to put the brakes on but it’s the child who will be riding it. It is best if the child who is going to be riding the bike does a brake check before purchase, or have an adult try the brakes only using their little finger – that is the equivalent of a child’s grip strength.

4. How many gears do you need?
Few children at primary school will manage bikes with gears on the rear wheel and on the chain rings by the pedals properly. Get a bike with a wide range rear block of about 8 gears and single chain ring at the front. They will more quickly understand how to use gears and have fewer mechanical problems.

5. Do you need really need suspension?
All your mates have a bike with suspension and full suspension “must” be better. But it is fashion and peer pressure that is driving the move to have suspension on most kids bikes. Be suspicious of suspension on cheap bikes, especially rear suspension. Cheap suspension is often of such poor quality that the only thing it does is add weight to the bike. You do not need a suspension to ride on around town on off road Sustrans type paths or forestry tracks. Look at what cycle cross rides do on a suspension free cyclo cross bike.

I went for Isla Bikes for my kids. They were not cheap but are excellent quality and good value. They hold their value and I have a waiting list of people wanting to buy them second-hand when my kids have out grow out of them. Most importantly the kids love them, and when their mates who have cheap, heavy, suspension laden bikes have a go their eyes light up and they shout “this is great, it’s so fast, it’s so light….”

You will find lots of detailed advice about buying bikes for children and cycling with children in the CTC Guide to Family Cycling.

David Millar’s ‘Bat Wing’ skinsuit

I’m not hugely into time trialling but this item, heard on the Joe Beer podcast, and about Scotland’s top pro racer was interesting. I also hadn’t heard or seen it anywhere else so thought it was worth posting.

At about 55:50 on this podcast, coach Joe Beer talks about ‘aero going bonkers’ at the 2010 Tour de France. Items included Lance Armstrong’s ‘burner’ rear mech and Dave Millar’s ‘Batsuit’. Co-host Martin Crocker commented that his wife noticed that Dave Millar seemingly hadn’t pulled his skinsuit on correctly. In fact it was a special cut to create a smoother line between the body and the arm area.

57 David Millar - Garmin
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New Orange Five in Stirling

MTBcut, an online mountain bike TV producer, have created a video exclusive showcasing the new Orange Five.

The vid features MBR’s Alan Muldoon talking things over, trials superstar Danny Macaskill hill climbing, and DH ripper Joe Barnes cutting through the rocks.

Apart from the fact that the Five is adored by a lot of mountain bikers I know, this vid also piqued my interest because it features one of my local trails, Dumyat, a hill in Stirling. The way Danny Mcaskill gobbles up the big rocky steps is awesome to behold, but it’s good to see he’s human as he loses the back wheel on the dry, gravelly descent.

The testers also make short work of Glentress’ swoopy berms, but it was the display of skills on the natural trail that really impressed me in this video.

Thanks to Stu Thomson of MTBcut for the video. It’s running a bit slow on this blog- please allow it a few moments to load up- worth the wait- or try going to the 2011 Orange Five sneak peek on the Orange website, or the MTBcut facebook page.

Exclusive* — new Team Sky aerodynamic technology

Chris Boardman has thrown British Cycling’s Dave Brailsford’s theory of marginal gains out of the window and made a monumental leap forward with a drastic step change in aerodynamic technology.

Intensive wind tunnel research and the genius of Team Sky’s “boffins” have led to massive advancements in wormhole technology that will see the aerodynamics of the future applied to the new Pinarello Dogma. The bike, which has been kept a guarded secret and will be unveiled for this year’s Tour de France, is tipped for near light-speeds. It is predicted that when if team Sky rider manages to get in a breakaway on one of these bikes, he may cross the Flamme Rouge before the peloton even leaves the neutralised zone.

*to the Realpeloton podcast episode 10

Changing the bars on my city bike

I’d like to change the bars on my hybrid bike to make the position more upright. The reasons are to make it easier to see around me, to have a higher point of view and to make it more comfortable for cruising around at a lowish speed.

Ridgeback Meteor front end

I’d like to have bars like this:

Mini Brolley

Or maybe this:

Bike and Stuff

Velo Orange seem to be the place to go but are the parts ‘too nice’ for what I am wanting. Tried the local bike re-use centre but they didn’t have anything. There’s the Left Bank bar, “a bit wild” at a full 49cm wide.

Or the Montmartre bar, a narrow, 42cm center-to-center item.

Any thoughts on this? Compatibility is the main issue I’m concerned about. I’m a bit of a need to get calipers to actually measure the bars maybe.

owenp announces 2010 sponsorship deals

Stirling cat 4 racer Owen Philipson has announced sponsorship deals for the 2010 season and beyond.

Owen’s deal with headwear supplier Garmin-Slipstream was ‘wearing out’, and a new deal was quickly agreed with Craig Hardie of Hardie Bikes, Cairneyhill. Below Owen is seen sporting the new headwear at the launch in his garden in Stirling.

New Hat

New headwear sponsor Hardie Bikes

Owen seeks to build lasting relationships with local, national and international sponsors, and at the launch he made another exclusive announcement. For 2010 his jersey sponsor will be Stirling Bike ClubFlying Fox Bikes. Unlike the Hardie Bikes deal, Owen will be paying for the privelige of wearing the Flying Fox logo, but some side benefits have been mooted (free coffee and a discount in the shop in Alva).

Owen also receives assistance from Bike-Pure for wristbands and headset spacers. A reciprocal deal made in 2009 continues into 2010, which saw Owen supply photography to the anti-doping campaigner.

Owen is planning a moderate schedule for the 2010 season in Scotland, balancing training and racing around family commitments. He said: “I’m targeting the Super6 B races and one or two other cat 3/4 races. The cat 4 Lothian Flyer is also a race I feel I can do well in.” He is in confident mood after stepping up a level to train with the Stirling Bike Club ‘fast guys’. “If I can learn to hold my position at the front of a race, there’s no reason I should aim to win one. It’s a lofty ambition but you’ve got to aim high.”

International exposure is also guaranteed for sponsors with one week of riding in the Pyrenées scheduled for July. Sponsors will also benefit from leveraging the local market with occasional family trips to the park, swimming pool and swings.

New Trainer

Above Owen is seen training for the 2010 season, on a tacx turbo donated by generous clubmate/benefactor Paul A. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for shoes – Owen made the mistake of buying black shoes in 2008 and is pictured commiting the ultimate black shoe/white sock style sin.

Pick of the week: old rags

Oily rag, originally uploaded by Owen P.

My Velocast-style pick of the week is “Old T-Shirts”.

Old T-Shirts are essential for bike maintenance. They can be used to clean and polish lightly dirtied bike parts, with or without soapy water. After that they can be used for the thick mucky crud that ruins an old toothbrush or a proper bike cleaning brush in an instant. Slipping an edge in between the cogs and pulling it back and forth is a good way to get dirt out of those hard-to-reach areas.

Furthermore, this helps me to weed out the T-shirts in my wardrobe that just refuse to die.