The Art Of Climbing

The able-legged mountain goat that is Phil ‘The Danger’ Deeker has written a wonderful guide to the art of climbing. A stunning sphere of cycling that comes unashamedly easier to others, but is something  simultaneously and universally appreciated by each and every cycling enthusiast. The reward and accomplishment of conquering both the physical and mental mountain-scape is the ultimate elixir in cycling (or it is in this girls humble opinion) Anyway, here’s a sneaky photo I snapped of Phil looking ever the dandy in Italy this Spring. I suggest you head on over to the ‘Art Of Climbing‘ feature and enjoy.

Get Well Soon James!

Just a little note to say “GET WELL SOON YOU F**KING HERO” to a girls’ best friend, JR. Some knuckle-head driver knocked old Jimmy-SM off on the commute and now he has a mashed up collarbone. Look on the brightside James, your shoulder is gonna be PRO with all that shiny metal pinnage in. And dont forget, Blame = Claim = New Fraaaaaaame!

JR, Waller Pain Day 2012

Capo Cipressa Jacket

Now, it might not seem the most appropriate time of year to bring to you ladies attention a super bit of kit i had on test this early springtime. Forgive me for that, in part I have not gotten round to penning my thought on the item for a good month or two due to being busy and well, just out riding, and secondly, admittedly I only wore the garment from March-late April, so its not been at the front of my mind, however I have finally found time to share my thoughts on a top-tech jacket that most wardrobes will have space to accommodate.

Admittedly Capo is a brand I didn’t have a massive amount of awareness of until last year or so. Known widely state-side and down under, their kit is minimally and stylishly designed, you wont find cluttered logos or hideous colour-schemes in their line-up, just a well executed understated style. Capo produce a host of club and team kits in the states, and unbeknownst to me I was actually already in possession of a very comfy pair of armwarmers from their via the excellent Elcyclista.

The jacket is an incredibly svelte number, crafted in a fabric Capo has termed ‘Shark’. Consisting of a thin but closely yarned fleece lining, backed by the exterior layer of a matted wetsuit-like windproofed lycra, the jacket is definitely on the ‘race-fit’ side of the fence, offering a really flattering profile when zipped up. Bonus points already! Think of it as the women-friendly equivalent of Rapha’s Pro-team jacket; a race-cut insulating outer layer designed simultaneously to afford a breathable and windproof front panel.

Reflective piping flocks the rear panel joints, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a high-vis piece, its stealthy and ninja-like with its completely black colour. Stylish attire indeed for the day, but this wont be ideal for commuting on darkened streets come evening time. Team with a high-vis gilet or such should this be the case would be my advice.

Two large pockets provide ample storage for ride food and phones/camera etc. No internal pump pocket or such, but they do keep their shape under load extremely well, and don’t sag in that unsightly way that other jerseys can be prone to. 
The jersey is an ideal 3 season outer layer, teamed with either 3/4 or tights and a thick baselayer in the winter. Retailing at around £150 (although I have seen these floating about in online sales recently) the jacket is a minimally-stylish staple thats manufacturing quality means it should last quite a few seasons. I teamed it happily with the rapha 3/4 bibs during an extensive test throughout late March/early April and it performed admirably giving ample protection from wind and drizzle. Id say look to employ the jacket ideally at temperatures below 12 degrees or so.
Capo will also be involved the the really cool Rêve grand tour project, which sees a group of 6 US based ladies take part in a punishing 3479KM ride shadowing the 2012 Tour de France route. Hopefully the weather will stay nice enough for the gang they wont be needing the Cipressa jacket 😉
Capo is available in the following places 

A Few Good Rolls

And its back in business. Neglecting the bike over the first few months of 2012 in order to complete a charity half marathon, these past few weeks its been ‘All about the bike’ again. And what a welcome return it was! I enjoyed a handful of really good riding, catching up with friends and feeling a world more comfortable pushing it, thanks in no small part to going and getting my feet sorted out at Cyclefit. 

 A nice hilly tarmac chase in Surrey to ease me back in the game with the sartorial guru 
We took an undiscovered turning and found a peach of a climb on a SMCC roll
Which then turned into a sick 2k bridleway/gravel track. Perfect for a Flanders day ride!
At the weekend I rode my 3rd HOTN with Rowlandi. Great fun, read about it here
And i spent some time sucking this guys wheel in RePk apres work – I dont actually know him but he looked pretty damned pro. So thanks for the cheeky draft I was getting 😉

Bespokery

This past weekend I visited the very lovely ‘Bespoked’ handmade bicycle show in Bristol. Making a day of it I set out with a very good chum for a wonderfully sunny daytrip, taking an early morning train out from London. The exhibition showcased some great UK framebuilders complimented by different stands encompassing the many different spheres of the current cycling scene. 
There’s no denying that cycling has become more popular than ever, with many different builders popping up over the last couple of years. One only has to browse the internet for proof of such a burgeoning scene, and on a daily basis im consistently amazed at some of the beautiful and lust-worthy bikes and kit popping up all over the place. Bespoked, making its maiden voyage into the world of bike lust with a roaring success of a show last year, returned bigger and better, with a whole host of exhibitors showcasing some delish bikes & fodder.

First to greet visitors at the top of the entrance staircase was a collection of extremely anticipated builds. This year marks the efforts of Rapha to globalize their unique ‘Continental’ programme, and at Bespoked were 4 of the frames to be used in the UK continental rides. Ricky Feathers bike, that Max Leonard will throw his legs over for the uk rides also won the ‘Best Road Bike’ category for the show, and its really not hard to see why! Lush detailing, and as you’d expect from the Perrn St mob, that timeless black with a dash of pink componentry.

The three other frames garnered much attention, with Donhou building a disc braked steel beauty, complete with wound up forks, Brian Rourke crafting a beautifully proportioned frame for the towering rider Graham, (and curiously unlike most large frame sized it actually looks fabulous) and the Robin Mather displayed, with its funky decal. 

The UK continental project will see six talented riders undertake a series of quintessential rides across the British isles, documenting the landscape and weather fluctuations of our country in the typically rapha-esque aesthetic. Watch their website for more information as the rides are undertaken.

James points out that only one bike used any pink on the framework, in a small and eloquent tribute to a sufferer of breast cancer. Unfortunately I blurred the detailing of this meaningful gesture.

The Brian Rourke stand contained a lot of lovely frames, and their race ready beast built up was one mean machine! My friend James is collecting his custom rourke this weekend, and having kept us in the dark for 6 months about the colour scheme, we couldn’t help but wonder if his frame was sat perched upon the wall, staring back at us.

The show had loads of race bikes built using steel, it seems the material has truly made a resurgence, and some of the builds were light indeed.

It was also great to meet Richard, the man behind the Urban Hunter webstore. Iv always been a fan of their, as they seem to stock some really cute trinkets and lines that are exclusive to them (I think they are the only people to be punting those super euro Salice glasses). 

They had some nice things on display at their stand, with some nice racey Italian bits to some serious courier bags for the fixie dudes.

Rowland and I had our hearts stolen by a custom brand called Legend, creating by the man who was the brains behind the Viner bikes. I lusted after a scarlet matted carbon peach, whereas Si fell for a cheeky Ti number…