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Thursday, 12 February 2015

High Atlas - A Bonus Trip

Riding the High Atlas - I got More than I bargained For...

I don't really consider myself to be well travelled but my bikes have taken me to many amazing places but none more so than Morocco.

Its 2000 - 15 years ago now ! I had got my first decent bonus at work and blew some cash on a Mountain Bike Holiday to ride across the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The trip looked amazing and combined my love of cycling, mountains and photography !

I must have been fit back then as I rode the 70 kms a day off road carrying a 35mm SLR camera, tripod and a spare lens ! Plus my spares etc ! That was despite the fact that the days were fully vehicle supported - I don't believe in slumming it on the bike - I like to do the best riding I can and enjoy it!!

I rode a steel KHS hard tail, with V brakes and terrible forks on reflection but It was always in tip top shape and ready to role. I always had hand built wheels on to mavic rims.  I lived in Sheffield at the time and rode up to 8 hrs in a day at the weekend (i was single) so I tended to go through a rim about once every 6 months ! I learnt to descend better purely to save cash!

The high atlas was a truly amazing place - to today its the best riding holiday I have been on, Riding through vast valleys where Star Wars was filmed, 18km long climbs off road, huge descents, sleeping on the roof of a Gite under the stars.  Getting chased by people in villages and laughed at because in their culture a t shirt is underwear! Letting the kids ride your bike and wondering if they will come back only to see them turn around at the end of the village - they have never been further !

Its a vast dusty but strangely beautiful landscape once away from the crazy bustle of our arrival city - Marrakech.  The riding was tough but mostly on vehicle width "roads".  It wasn't a technical trip but you get a real sense of remoteness and as a point to point trip a sense of a achievement moving through the landscape.

What I didn't realise however, was that this trip would prove to be a life changing event.  There was a girl on the trip - riding an obscure bike to me Handsome Dog - fully teched up with Pace Carbon forks and all the toys ! She wasn't fast but rode steadily all day without seemingly struggling or pausing conversation ! That is with the exception of eating which she did on a very regular basis it would appear ! Eventually we got chatting and i found myself sliding down the group to chat to her as much as I could before riding off to take more pictures !

The woman in question is of course my Wife now and that trip seems a world away from our life now  but it remains the foundation of our lives together and a shared passion.

Today with two young kids, riding together has been a challenge, riding with the kids is great fun though and we have already had some amazing adventures together mostly in France - our youngest riding quite far even when he was so little he had a balance bike and would climb into the trailer and sleep for miles after tiering himself out!  But as the kids are getting bigger and with a new T130 in the fleet, Mrs T is getting back into her riding - In fact as she now works for Cyclist Training Limited, its pretty much compulsory ;-)  Last year we enjoyed the Vendee and this year we will explore the Jura with me fitting in a few hours on the road every few days.

So that one holiday changed my life and built my cycling family and I am grateful for that. So if you are looking for something to do over the summer but are not sure - my advice is booked that trip to in a group and you never know what might happen next !

And of course if you need a bike for that big adventure - then I know just the place ;-)

Happy Valentines day !




Monday, 2 February 2015

The Great car con (which is the safest)

One for the urban warriors amongst us..... worth a watch

This recent episode of Channel 4's Dispatches is definitely worth a watch. In one part program they carry out an experiment to see who is exposed to the most NOx pollution. What do you think the answer is - the car passenger, bus passenger, pedestrian or cyclist?


http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/on-demand


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Carbon Virgin


Carbon Virgin !

So I have never ridden a carbon - I have had a Titanium, and the luxury of a Bespoke Reynolds 853 and 953.  But finally curiosity has got the better of me and I've taken the plunge and bought a carbon frame.  I have specced it up in Campag Chorus with fulcrum Racing Zeros and it comes in at a respectable 7.2 KG.  The informed will note that its not a top end carbon frame, but its a Derosa and they don't do "cheap frames" like many brands and it gets rave reviews. 

I wanted to see how it compared to my 953 which in the same spec weighed in at 7.6 KG.   I am told that it will be stiffer at the BB and in the right places - and we shall see.  

Part of my decision was purely form over function I am slightly ashamed to admit  - it looks super bling and I fancied a bit of flu yellow in the fleet! 

Either way I look forward to giving this a good test over the spring / summer with trips planned to the Liege, The Jura and hopefully a fleeting stop at the Alps to take on Galibier ! So I will let you know.  

But for now I think you will agree this is a good looking piece of kit ready to roll when the mercury finally rises and the gritters are put to bed - Allez!





Thursday, 15 January 2015

Run Velo, Run

Strava nuts may have noticed the occasional run popping up on our club section ( some with faster times than others, no names mentioned Im injured Ade cash, I never train Chaz, and I don't Im not really running this year Martin)and if it isn't a club member running faster further harder than me then its one of your wives.

and those that don't well to be fair you should.

It is with all this in mind and the fact that the just isn't anywhere local to buy decent running kit we've launched our in store running section.




And Just Like we've made sure we can offer you the best in the bike world with Whats Mountain bikes Trail Bike of the Year and Best Hardball for the past three years were starting by doing the same with our shoes by bringing the Editors choice Trail running shoe from Pearl Izumi with shoes for both men and women road and trail.


So start running round the block now so come post Feb you can join us on one of lunch time runs.

Stepping Up

CTL has been busty developing its own Pedestrian training courses for use in early years and reception , Key Stage 1 and keys stage 2 to offer out to schools and local authorities.

This has been made possible by recruiting  local aauthorities head of Road safety Richard Clark last year from Stockport. Richard has many year of experience as is a leader in his field of road casualty reduction and promotion of sustainable transport.


following lots of ground work pre Christmas the products are now live and being delivered with some fantastic feedback already and some real impacts already taking place.

The product has now gone live with training sessions being delivered and planned across the West Midlands and in the North West, following a session yesterday at the willows Primary Richard Clark who is lead on the scheme gave the following quote -





"Over the past few days instructors from CTL have been working with the school to provide pedestrian training to all children in Reception and Year 1. This was very well received by the children and sets a good foundation for walking safely to school with parents and for independent travel when the children are older.
When delivering the training it is obvious to instructors that children who regularly walk to school have greater road safety awareness than those who do not. This training aims to actively encourage more children and parents to walk to school. The school is a very active partner in this project and with further help from CTL hopes to reinstate a walking bus. "

If you like to find out more or to book your schools sessions then call CTL on 01785 818193 or e mail peter@cyclist-training.co.uk.

Pedal Smoothly @ Stoke On Trent 6th Form College



January saw CTL & Velo launch a brand new interactive product, the Fabulous Pedal Smoothly which has already been busy with smoothies been made by Pedal Power across the Stoke and Staffordshire.


Pedal Smoothly is fantastic fun for all ages - public, private, charity or corporate events. 

The bike blender really stands out in a crowd, on its own or will draw an audience in to compliment other activites.  The bike blender is an amazing and interactive way for your clients and guests to create delicious fruit smoothies using pedal power alone.

Here's a few pics of it in action yesterday at Stoke on Trent 6th form college.
 

Pedal Smoothly is driven by pedal power and needs no electricity - great for any location!


 
Pedal smoothly is fun for everyone

 

 

Hire a bike on its own, with ingredients or with a staff member - we can also provide workshops that focus on wellbeing, exercise, nutrition and sustainability.


 
 
 

Velo Ride Planner

Following publication of the Velo shop rides, Martyn B and I have got together to schedule some more Sunday cafe rides around these over the year plus a few other key dates.  Schedule is below and will be posted to the Facebook Page as events in due course.  We thought a bit more structure around ride dates would be useful especially for those members that work shifts.

These rides are open to all members and operate a strict no drop policy.  All rides plan a cafe stop unless otherwise stated or agreed on the day. There are some fairly challenging rides here so a good level of fitness is required.

If these look a little challenging then the Sat Ride which operates from the store every Sat at 9 am for 2 hrs is a good place to start upping your fitness.

Cheers.

Jon