Life is an ultramarathon

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Monday, February 14 2011

Giro di Sicilia 2010

I am still recovering from the PTL to some extend. A new-grown toenail replacing the one lost during the event is now slightly in-grown. I've already stopped climbing a while back. And now it looks like I'll have to take it easy on the run too... With the Hyde Park Relays and the Cambridge Boundary run planned in 2 weeks. Grumble, grumble...

To occupy myself and change my mind, a few pictures from the Giro Di Sicilia with Valentina last Autumn. The route is available on GoogleEarth or GoogleMaps.

Ultra idle...

Friday, November 21 2008

Cyclists revolution

A rather strange scene happened this morning as I walked in. On busy High Street Kensington, a SUV (these things seem to always involve SUV) started to turn right to take a small side road. A cyclist riding at decent speed came in the opposite direction. Apparently not a good enough reason for the car driver to wait, who carried on crossing the opposite lane. As the bike didn't appear to be willing to slow down and give away his right, the SUV eventually stopped, completely engaged in the opposite lane. But with enough space for a bike to pass in front of it.
The cyclist started to pull slightly to his left to go around the front of the car. But oddly straightened up at the last second and went straight into the SUV's front wheel, from its side. I was a bit confused by what had just occurred. The cyclist could have gone around the front of the car. Maybe he thought the car wasn't stopping and tried to pass it from the back? The cyclist shouted at the driver, who was probably happy to be secure in her big SUV, a window away from all troubles: cyclists crashing, people shouting, ... The cyclist eventually cleared the road and went a bit further to check his bike. Everything looked fine, and when I asked him whether he was alright he answered positively with a big smile! He had clearly headed straight into the car to show the driver that she was wrong.

A couple of years ago, as I was working in Grenoble over the summer, I used to cycle to work every day. I had a mountain bike, which means high position, good breaks and decent stability. That allows you to ride fast, as you can take quick decisions. The trouble being that car drivers don't realise you ride as fast as them if not faster. Or they just don't care. Many times I got my priority denied. Several times I shouted at the drivers, but this hasn't obviously the slightest effect. My frustration grew higher and higher every day. At the end, I thought that the next time I was denied the priority in a roundabout I would ignore the car and just go straight into its side and break its mirror. This never happened, but today I noticed I wasn't the only one which such thoughts.

At the end of the day, many drivers don't care about cyclists or at least don't realise how fast bikes can be. There is no easy way to change that, shouting and lecturing is useless. When people simply don't care, a bit of physical contact (even if it's only between two vehicles) helps them remembering there are other human beings out there. That's why bumping into the car seems a decent solution, if not actually the only option. Eventually careless drivers will realise. If not because they feel guilty, at least because they'll have to pay for their mirror and/or scratches. Which will be much more expensive than the average commuter bike (*). The essence of an individual revolution...

Ultra radical cycling style

* And as they were legally guilty, their compulsory third-party insurance must pay for the damage on your bike.

Monday, April 28 2008

Profile bars?

Most people strongly recommend the use of profile bars. A minority, however, say they're useless unless you're an elite cyclist (aerodynamic considerations indeed become more important with higher speed) and argue people only mount them on their bike as a statement - "I'm a triathlete".

In the quest to tune my bike into a more efficient, triathlon-like machine, I've therefore tried to adapt profile bars. I finally gave up with the Oval A710 previously installed, as they were too uncomfortable for my arms. I recently replaced them with the Profile Jammer GT, apparently more suitable for long rides. They're higher and feel better in the arms. But I don't really have a good feeling with them: it feels like my lower back is supporting most of my upper body weight (when my forearms should help) and I can't drive as much power from my legs.
Profile jammer
I have a feeling it's because I have relatively long legs and the bike frame is fitted for that. Thus, the handle bars are a relatively a long reach, and the profile bars worsen that effect. The good point if this hypothesis holds is: I'm low enough on the bike and don't really need profile bars. That would make my bike lighter. So profile bars or not? I may try to take pictures of my riding posture to take a decision.

Ultra aerodynamic decision to make.

Monday, September 24 2007

Bike upgrade and repair

I've performed the first upgrades on my bike. I've changed the pedals for the Look Kéo Classic
Look Keo Classic
and I've added the Oval A710 extension bars.
Oval A710 aero bars
The bike seems decently equipped to me now, I don't plan to change any more parts in a near future.
Following a fall due to the pedals, I also had to change the rear derailleur hanger.

Ultra minor bike changes.

Monday, November 20 2006

New bike

I just bought a new bike, hoping it won't get stolen as fast as the previous one. It's pretty much the same, though, slightly better maybe. Anyway, I'm not an expert in road cycling, I just bought it to train my endurance with less impact. And also because I still have this ironman idea in mind. I may add a triathlon bar and clipless pedals later on.
Decathlon Sport 2
Decathlon Sport 2

Ultra ...

Thursday, November 16 2006

"Lycra louts face fine"

This is the title of an article published in Hammersmith and Fulham News, the paper of our "zero tolerance" city council. Lycra louts refers to the cyclists riding on the pavements. They may now be fined £60. Hereafter is a transcript of my answer as I feel like it won't be published in the next issue...

Good afternoon,

I would like to give you my opinion about the article on cycling published in H&F News.

I'm mostly a pedestrian and definitely agree that bikes shouldn't be allowed on the pavements. However, giving a fine won't change anything; the cause of this problem must be solved. Cyclists don't ride on the pavements for the sake of annoying pedestrians. Cyclists must be given a chance to ride safely.

When you see how many cars are parked on the cycling lanes such as on Lillie road, and how dangerous it is for cyclists to overtake them, I understand why some may prefer to ride on the pavements. On top of that, these cars often generate congestion because the buses can't pass by easily. Why doesn't the police fine or even remove those cars ? They're a annoyance for other cars, for bus commuters, for cyclists and for pedestrians that have to face those cyclists. "Zero tolerance" seems to be your motto, why this doesn't apply to these cars too ?

I read Cllr Smith says disrespectfully "it is only a matter of time before [someone is] seriously injured by one of these lycra louts". He just proved himself that this has not happened yet. But tens of cyclists die on London's streets every year, and that's a fact, not a vague supposition.

Risking a £60 fine or risking to die under a car ? I think the choice is obvious ... The fine won't change anything. Clear up the cycling lanes, build new ones and cyclists won't ride on the pavements anymore.

Subsidiary question: how do you prove your bike's ownership ? I don't know many people carrying their bike receipt while commuting.

Thank you for your attention if you read so far.

Best regards,

Ultra lycra lout too (when I run ... on the cycling lane because pedestrians are too slow ;) )
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