Lotus Condor – Update

Super-snapper Andrew Ferraro, reader of this wee blog and fellow Acciaio rider recently snapped a few frames of this special edition Condor Leggero crafted for car-makers Lotus.
The bike marks the beginning of a really interesting collaboration between the firms, with Lotus able to offer some incredibly specific engineering knowledge to produce some exciting new innovations to the world of Condor bicycles. 
Although on first inspection the design looks a little like the infamous rapha ‘imperial works’ colourscheme with the whole black and gold vibe, this is a happy accident…. it was actually designed in homage to the Lotus Formula 1 machine, which is apparently soon to accompany this snazzy bike at the showroom.
Both Condor and Lotus, formed in 1948, share a passion for the production of lightweight racing machines, so this seems like a really cool partnership, with both companies utilising their knowledge of material and design to offer up something a little cooler than the Spesh X McLaren offerings. The focus im told from my Condor ‘Secret Squirrel’ will be “Efficiency on a bicycle, performance gains and a bike that everyone can ride, not just a pro.” With an emphasis on affordability and performance… it seems to be a match made in heaven. There’s every possibility in 2013 you will see some cool specialist fruits of this hook up… I for one await with baited breath! For now enjoy some pics shot by Andy Waterman….

Condor Tennant & Clancy Specials

Condor have produced these amazing one off custom bikes for their star track riders and olympic hopefuls, Andy Tennant and Ed Clancy. Claire has very kindly hooked me up with some images to share of the beautifully painted frames, with Andy opting for the stealth bomber number, and Ed riding the dream (or nightmare) inspiring ‘Scream’ by Edvard Munch! 

The lush paint-work is the handicraft of the talented Chris Grove, of Performance Race Art, who has undertaken two very diofferent design briefs and delivered truly unique bikes for top-class riders. Check out their website for the insane custom designs they produce. I have to say im a fan of the Clancy’s ‘Munch’ bike, just because its so unique and off the wall, but also its executed really well! 

Royal Kilometers… A Tale Of Two Riders

radio four’s today programme switches on at 6am; or to be more precise, at 5:50, since the digital alarm is ten minutes fast. i, on the other hand, sleep ten minutes slow, so allowing for the international dateline, i have no real idea when i awoke to the sound of impending matrimonial bliss.
the mighty dave t and i do not favour fuss and palaver. we could live happily ever after without fol de rol, even if it is taking place several hundred miles and several million quid south of here. don’t get me wrong, we are most grateful to kate and wills for the day off, but since they were never likely to join us for a bike ride, it seemed only fair that we reciprocate and leave them alone to their nuptials.

the theory goes thus: we will be the only two individuals not glued to either television or radio, and able to pedal unfettered along the highways and byways of the principality. we are, however, not without feelings, not immune to the sense of occasion that allowed for a day off in the first place. so we began the morning with a celebratory cappuccino.
strictly speaking, i’m the only one to benefit, for the mighty dave is a pensioner (he must have told you at least once?), and every day is a day off. those benefits were happily accepted, at least until the lunchtime ferry traffic defeated the point of holidaying on the island of manana and raced past with rumbling exhausts.
our allegiance to the crown was further demonstrated by the affixation of union jacks to both seatposts, that the sheep and cattle lining the lower slopes of the glen road would not mistake this for just any old bike ride. but first to the essentials. of the little i heard on radio four this morning, all eyes were metaphorically on the dress, so it seems only fair to abate the concern prior to pedalling into the wide blue yonder.
i had chosen a nice little black number with short sleeves and red arm warmers, matched with semi-shiny shorts of the bib variety. these were accessorised with some natty richard sachs socks and a renner sport cap. on an occasion such as this, nothing less than tan leather shoes seemed seemly. the mighty dave was clad in the red white and blue of a rapha tour of britain jersey.
our major concern was perhaps being caught up in a street party somewhere near ballygrant village, but our fears came to naught (along with the notion of any street party), and a most enjoyable 70km were covered with nary a hitch, and blissfully royal wedding free. a celebratory lunch of cheese and tomato chutney roll, tray bake and a complimentary digestive biscuit was accompanied by yet another soya cappuccino. the mighty dave elected to dine at home, where a traditional arbroath smokey awaited.
my royal wedding bike ride was not yet over. there were far more windy kilometres (a 45kph breeze) to be undertaken off round by kilchoman distillery, islay’s atlantic coast and a veritable slog along the belgian road past ballinaby.
you really do have to feel sorry for those hard at work during the day, when surely the carbon, steel or aluminium called vainly from the bikeshed; those who missed out on glorious blue skies and the sound of a chain clicking through the jockey wheels.

did you enjoy your day miss atkinson?


Dear Brian – 

My alarm crudely buzzes buried beneath my pillow, its harsh tone ringing in my ear at the ungodly hour of 4am. You see its the 28th of April – it is the day that Wills & Kate are to be married, and im about to undertake a day of (dare I say it….) ‘epic’ editing….
I roll myself out of bed, bleary eyed, and begin the morning ritual of cross checking my equipment bag whilst simultaneously co-ordinating a very modest hair and make-up effort. All aided by an extra large cup of Colombia’s finest beans in liquid form.
I grab my bag and down jacket, and begin to walk to the train station – destination Westminster. As the sun slowly rises and dawn breaks, Im sadly too tired to appreciate how lovely this dear city can look at this time in the morning. 
A solitary cyclist rides past on the bridge. I am momentarily overcome with enormous jealousy. I knew that as a national bank holiday, many of our two wheeled fraternity will be taking to the lanes of Surrey, Hertfordshire and Kent to spend a day at the pleasure of the royal family, dancing along the pedals, whilst the only thing that will be dancing for me today will be my eyes across the screen!
I hop aboard the first Upminster bound train, and not surprisingly found it was awash with blue, red and white. Young, old and everyone in-between sit and stand excitedly in the carriage. Flags clasped in closed fists, flags worn across the backs of many and too many novelty hats than I could count lucidly (hey it was 5:20am!).
Arriving at my destination (a small satellite office set up opposite the Abbey) I again made a beeline for the caffeine supply, and took my place at my editing desk. The time was 6am…. this was going to be one long day indeed!

 With over 40 photographers shooting that day, the enormity of the task soon dawned on the editing team – this was going to be one super heavy day indeed. 

As we waited for the first images of the day to hit, I tortured myself by looking at photos I had taken the night before of my beautiful new Condor Acciaio (Bianchista says – expect a ride report this week after a thorough test in the Yorkshire Dales). I imagined rolling out to eat up some tarmac on the beautiful steel addition to my stable with friends in the Surrey hills, but my thoughts were soon interrupted as the opening images began to file into the server.

Breakfast comes and goes – marked by a quick journey from my seat to the croissant tray and back – all the time work filing in. Images of the day begin to tell the story, and with so many of the businesses best photographers posted in many weird and wonderful positions (including some balcony and rooftop hero’s) we soon amass a plethora of fabulous pictures, and thus the eventful day was beginning to take shape.
Lunchtime came and went so fast, my hand never leaving the mouse, photoshop actions firing off left, right and centre. My screen filled up with a constant stream of pictures; guests, fans, the procession and finally the cars. The cars! it was revealed Miss Middleton (the moniker she would soon be exchanging for rather a more grander title) looked elegant in a beautiful laced McQueen number. The ladies in the office (myself included) became excitable I don’t mind admitting. Everyone loves a fairytale wedding and this was certainly shaping up that way.

There is not much more to say about the day. A blow by blow recant of the wedding details is not needed. I worked and plugged away moving incredible pictures of an event so important, not just in its stature, but in the fact that if only for a day – the whole nation was reunited and forgot all the problems and hassles and politics. It was simply – just a joyous occasion.
We wound down at approximately 8:30pm – and began the laborious task of packing down the equipment ready to ship back to HQ that evening. Im sad I missed out on some good riding that day – but I cant be too sad as it was an extraordinary day in the office so to speak.

And thus my day ends as it began… with a tired stroll across Hammersmith Bridge to the refuge of my warm comfy bed, comforted in the knowledge that the chance to pedal will come as soon as I awake the next day. All sense of tranquility is soon restored, what a day!

Should you wish to read more about the adventures of Islay’s most sartorially-estute cyclist & blogger – I implore you to head on over and spend some time in the wonderful world of the Washing Machine Post 

Rapha & Paul Smith

Iconic British designer Paul Smith has collaborated for a few seasons now with Rapha, producing exotic special limited edition items that seems to appear and disappear from the current range only to become extremely sought after on the second hand ,marketplace, thus is the desire to own these specially commissioned products. Paul Smith has put his twist on items such as team issue printed wallets, leather summer mitts, and this season sees a whole capsule range launched cataloguing a wide range of clothing and accessories for those keen on something a little different. In the below video see Sir Paul chat with Rapha about all things cycling…

Check out this notebook from Paul Smith, scoop now and use a free shipping code until Tuesday FREESHIPNOV30. A wicked little stocking filler, perfect for taking notes at work or even logging training progress…

James Straffon – ‘Art of Cycling’

Founder of the excellent online space ‘No Endevour’, James Straffon will hold his first solo exhibition, aptly entitled ‘Art of Cycling’ from the first day of November at the Frameless Gallery in Clerkenwell, London. James lists design clients as prestigious as The Royal Opera House, Tate Modern, EMI, and The Royal Academy of Arts, but it is his recent collaborative endevours into cycling -themed art with Paul Smith and Condor Cycles that have really captured the two-wheeled audience. Frameless details his exhibtion as >
Focussing on the visually-rich narrative of cycling heritage, Straffon explores this theme via paint and collage on canvas, often incorporating carefully selected items of rare and unusual cycling ephemera; employing a ‘pop art approach to capturing the multi-faceted legacy of the bike’. 

The exhibition will run from 1-7th November.

James Straffon – The Art of Cycling
1 – 7 November 2010
Frameless gallery
20 Clerkenwell Green, Islington, London, EC1R 0DP