lunes, 27 de septiembre de 2010

Save Herne Hill Velodrome!

On-going campaign to save Herne Hill Velodrome in London. The velodrome has been run during all these years by the VC Londres, a cycling club that has done an sterling job in promoting track racing among young people. The estate owners renew the lease of the property on yearly basis. This type of short-term lease has prevented the granting of any substantial funding either from the National Lottery or British Cycling Association to undertake the long over-due renovation works of the facilities.

Now VC Londres and all other users of the velodrome are seeking for a long-term lease which will eventually make possible the required investment to resurface the track and repair the stands of this fantastic and unique cycling venue.

Further info can be found in their face-book group 'save the velodrome'. Go there to express your support. Apart from regular training ground of many track cyclists in the South London area, the velodrome also has an off-road circuit and during the season host a series of other cycling related events like jumble sales, antique bicycles exhibitions and races and the traditional Good Friday cycling meeting, usually attended by many pro track racers from all over the UK. Further info of all activities taking place at the velodrome can be found here.

A picture of the velodrome in its height days during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Ninja Alleycat - Madrid, 25th of September

lunes, 19 de julio de 2010

What a muppet!

And this time I'm talking about myself. When cycling last Friday I took a spill and landed heavily on my right shoulder with this nasty result: a grade 2 collarbone dislocation.
What this means is that I have now to wear a sling and keep my right arm immobilized for at least two weeks while the slightly strained ligaments recover and the collarbone moves a bit downward and returns to its former position. What a bummer! I was planning to build my 29er in the next two weeks and do some serious riding during August but I think that, for the time being, such plans are to be postponed until I recover completely from this stupid crash.

lunes, 17 de mayo de 2010

Repent All Ye Sinners, The End is Very Nigh!

As can be read in John 42:17 and Bike Snob NYC alerted us not long ago, the impending Armageddon of the fixed-gear world, my dear friends, is coming upon us much sooner than anyone had expected. Lo and behold this picture that have recently appeared over the interweb!
Yes, it's true, you've guess'd right: the Four Skidders of the Fixed-Gear Apocalypse are back in town! Coming down the street near you with their awfully colour-mismatched 'steeds'. Be afraid, my friend, very, very afraid!
PD: Although I haven't read Bike Snob NYC for some time, I was dead sure he couldn't have missed this story: here you go, today's entry on his blog about Mormons riding fixed.

lunes, 19 de abril de 2010

Track Cycling Portraits

An amazing picture of former US racing cyclist Rebecca Twigg whose professional career spanned the 1980s and early 1990s. She won several US national championships and was six times world champion in what was -doubtlessly- her favourite discipline, the individual pursuit.

This portrait by Annie Leibovitz was part of a photo assignment of Olympian athletes commissioned by the magazine Vanity Fair and certainly succeeds in capturing simultaneously the beauty, dedication, sacrifice and expectations which always accompany the practice of any sport at a professional level.

A truly inspiring picture! Pity I couldn't find a better resolution image....

miércoles, 10 de marzo de 2010

Specialized Epic gone, Salsa El Mariachi in!

Finally I decided to sell my Specialized Epic 2006. While its handling and performance is more than correct, I never become fully 'attached' to this bike in the same way as I am to other bikes I have built myself over the years.

There is no doubt that this is an excellent XC bike as I could regularly do almost 1/3 more kms than with my other fully rigid MTB, feeling much less tired at the end of a long ride. This is certainly down to the comfort and absorption provided by the full-sus. The downside, however, is that I don't like the way that modern suspension 'contaminates' the steering and overall handling of the bike, not to mention the extra-weight added. This bike can roll over almost anything you might find in your path, but I do miss the more precise steering and general 'alertness' about what the the bike is doing that you are required to have when riding a full-rigid. Likewise, the hydraulic brakes have a tremendous stopping power, ideal for long and abrupt descents but certainly an overkill for the kind of XC or 'single track' riding I do regularly.

The other reason which finally put me off this bike is the inability to do any mechanical maintenance of some vital parts without having to buy a whole new set of specific tools: a) the new hollow BBs have a small life-span compared to traditional tapered ones and it doesn't take too long before they start to make creaking noises once their relatively small bearings start to wear down or get dirty with sand or grit, b) the hydraulic brakes are excellent but a pain in the arse in terms of maintenance -thanks Jeebus for the new Avid BB7 mechanical system which finally got rid of all the cumbersome process of bleeding, removing air bubbles in the system, and adjusting hydraulic disc brakes, c) the front and rear suspension forks are just the same story, great to have it there for extreme MTB riding but difficult to service without buying a whole set of expensive tools and oils and following complicated owner's manual instructions.

Yeah, I know, it is just a matter of time and of trial/error to learn how to do these maintenance tasks, etc.. But for my part I was not very excited about the prospects of having to study a front suspension fork manual, spending the equivalent of a new fork in getting all the tools required to do it myself, and then take apart / put the whole thing back together only to find out that it works much worse than it originally did... So, at the end, every time I needed to have any of these things checked, the bike have ended up going to the LBS for a service. I don't like this. Neither I like to be overcharged for a bike service.

After this relative short cycling experience with the presumed major advantages afforded by modern MTB technology, I finally decided that I want to go back to basics with my new build and purchased a Salsa El Mariachi frame. The original plan is to build it first as a single speed (I already have a 26" Kona SS) and, then, if I like this 'big wheels' thing so talked about these days, will probably upgrade it to a 1x9 and perhaps fit a front suspension fork. What is certain is that all components are going to be of the best quality I can afford and serviceable by myself. The rule of thumb, in this case, will be : keep it simple!

Some pics of my former Specialized Epic can be found here in my Flickr account.

The new 'steel is real' frame I purchased at a relatively good price (ex-demo) is this:

Hopefully I will be able to source most parts in the forthcoming months to have it ready to ride for this summer!!