Thursday, 24 July 2014

'Heroes of Cycling' Le Grand Depart 2014

Now where were we? Ah, yes...

To celebrate stage 1 of the 2014 Grand Depart, The Stephen Neal Group hosted a Grand De-Party at Platform North, The Factory Building, Victoria Avenue, Harrogate, HG1 1DX.

The exhibition was dedicated to raising funds for the Dave Rayner Fund & Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Yes, OK, so I bought another cycling T-shirt, and cap, and wristband... It was all for a couple of great causes.

This astonishing pop-up exhibition displayed beautifully a collection of vintage and modern bicycles. There were some true legends beautifully displayed here...

Let's start with...

Tom Simpson

Tommy Simpson: 30th November 1937 - 13th July 1967.
The first British rider to wear the yellow jersey - 1962.
Bike frame number 286.
The display was perfect and very peaceful. People stayed with Tom's bike for long time, often lost in thought.

Barry Hoban

Woodrup 1960's. Frame number 286.
No records exist for bikes built by Woodrup Cycles before 1973 due to a fire, however both Barry Hoban - the rider, and Ian McLean - the frame builder, have verified it'a authenticity as one of those from the 1960's finished in Mercier team colours for the Tour de France. Damaged and returned to Woodrup Cycles to be repaired, Jim, an employee at the time, rode it until it was sold to Chris Forbes in Otley. Restored to it's present glory by Chris it was eventually sold to Bob Garside - who was very generous with his time and told me so much about the history of this beautiful bike and his astonishing collection - in 2010, its current owner. When can I visit, Bob?
With Barry Hoban - Yorkshire Cycling Legend & true gent.
Here's Barry Hoban, dispelling a few myths, interviewed by Ned Boulting in 2012...

Beryl Burton

Jackson: frame info' needed?
Beryl Burton dominated women's cycle racing in the UK, setting numerous domestic records and as well as winning more than 90 domestic championships along with seven world titles. She set a women's record for the 12-hour time-trial which exceeded the men's record for two years!

Burton won the women's world road race championship in 1960 and 1967, and was runner-up in 1961. On the track she specialised in in the individual pursuit, winning world championship medals almost annually across three decades. She was World Champion five times (1959, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1966), silver-medallist three times (1961, 1964, and 1968) and took bronze in 1967, 1970 and 1973.

In domestic time-trial competitions, Beryl Burton was almost unbeatable. She won the Road Time Trials Council's British Best All-Rounder (BBAR) Competition for an astonishing 25 consecutive years from 1959 to 1983. In total she won 72 national individual time-trial titles.
In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles - a mark that surpassed the men's record of the time by 0.73 mile, and was not superseded by a man until 1969! In the process of setting this record she caught and passed Mike McNamara who was on his way to setting the men's record at 276.52 miles and winning that year's men's BBAR!

Beryl Burton also set about 50 new national records at 10, 15, 25, 30, 50 and 100-mile distances; her final 10, 25 and 50 mile records each lasted 20 years before being broken, her 100-mile record lasted 28 years, and her 12-hour record still stands today.

Her prowess led to the rare distinction, for a woman, of an invitation to compete in the Grand Prix des Nations in 1967.

"I don't feel that I've got anything special about me. I've just got two legs, two arms and a body, and a heart and lungs."
7 times World Champion  - Beryl Burton, OBE.

More to come, including the legendary and utterly charming Ken Russell, winner of the 1952 Tour of Britain whilst riding as an 'independent' (no team), and his Ellis Briggs racing bike.

1952 Tour of Britain winning bike by Ellis-Briggs
Ken's Ellis-Briggs with his 1952 Tour of Britain Winners jersey.
Ken, 84 & Renee, Harrogate, July 2014

Friday, 18 July 2014

Le Grand Depart 2014: Your Bike Shed and Yorkshire Heroes

The day finally arrived - Le Tour de France Grand depart 2014. A 190.5 km rolling stage from Leeds to Harrogate.

The road painters were out early, despite the drizzle.

The A59, near 'HQ Hughes'.

A gentle pootle along the River Ouse ...

"You shall not pass!"
Past the station and through the ancient Micklegate ...
Cycling through the Micklegate - a glorious sight awaits.
Greeted by a band... and their lone groupie from Japan (she was there all day!)
The crowds gathered  - after we accidently 'opened up' a little early by barging straight in!
Your Bike Shed - a cafe/workshop devoted to all things bicycle. I rest happy!
Indoor bike parking for over 20 bikes - what a difference this makes to a relaxing espresso.
Tim, his training  bike and winter wheels (I'm jealous!) He drove over from Lancashire, parked his car up and rode 50 miles in. Top chap & one of Britain's best amateur triathletes. He had lots of good tips on getting your better half to embrace the obsession!
er, 5 minutes before opening! The staff are fantastic (and very patient.)

Perks of early arrival - The delicious Full-English at Your Bike Shed, York
The delicious early breakfast at the excellent Your Bike Shed - and what a warm & genuine welcome Martin, Adele and all their gave us - in York's historic Micklegate saw us through the short stroll to the railway station, via a quick T-shirt exchange (my medium slim-fit proved far too optimistic) at York Cycle Heaven (a must visit for you Brompton fans.)
Cycle Heaven, York station.
We even managed to beat the crowds at the station - just.

Waiting for the York-Harrogate Le Tour Special - it soon got very busy.
Now, the plan was this... Find the finish line, walk down the road to the '1km to go' banner, set up for the day - we were there to cheer Michael Hughes and the Marie Curie cancer Care Power Peloton - and watch Cav take the stage an the maillot jaune. Things didn't exactly to to plan! The crowds were astonishing in number and gloriously cheerful in manner.
The Tour Makers did a wonderful job - always with a smile.
By 11 am it was already several Tifosi deep along ten's of kilometres of the rout. We couldn't get near. The team split up with most gently wiggling their way to the roadside and me taking a stroll around the rather lovely city of Harrogate.

This is as close as I could get to the legendary Betty's Tea Room.

The not-so-happy face of consumerism - perhaps they've just seen the prices!

The entire county seemed to have been covered in homemade wool bunting. Fabulous stuff.

The jolliest purveyors of fine Yorkshire street grub.

A Manchester couple grab the last remaining crowd free space.
With the peloton about an hour away the excitement and atmosphere was electric.
But where to watch? What to do? Ooh, an invitation to nibble, look at old bikes and watch the stage has just been thrust into my hand - my retro jersey and cap have come to the rescue. A new plan - mid-stage tactics replaces pre-stage strategy!

Heroes of Cycling: Pop up Exhibition... coming soon in the next post.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Knight of Sufferlandria


- 11 Sufferfest videos ridden back-to-back -
17 hours
248 km
almost 6000 kCal
15 bidons
4 avocado wraps
4 large glasses of chia seeds in water
1 Tex-Mex thin crust pizza
1 BikeFood energy gel
1 Cliff Bar
2 Chimpanzee energy bars
4 bananas
1 espresso

4 changes of kit!


from so many people
A snap shot of Mike's Sponsorship page this morning.
Such great people. You know who your are.
A special 'Chapeau!' too ...


Anna, Heather, and all the incredible team at
The UK's newest and coolest cycling site!

And so it began...

It all started at 10 am - New Zealand v England Rugby and the 2 hour 'It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time' kicked it off!
My thinking - start with a long one and all the remaining videos will seem to be over in flash!
This worked until 1 am when time seemed to slow.

The 'Pain cave' at 11am... easy peasy lemon squeezy!
The minion kept its beady on me throughout (thanks to my student Nanne for making him/her... who knows!)
My domestiques - yellow = rides completed. The Italian = suffering to come!
2 pm and all's well after a quick kit change... little did I know!

12 hours later...

2 am and in the middle of my 9th video.
There are still two to go!

Below you can see my randomly drawn sequence  - Recorded on

Click HERE to visit my Trainer Road career page

Thanks again for all your support... the Tweets and facebook events page comments and updates really kept me going.
I could not have done this without your help.

Thank You.