Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A somewhat redundant bit here, as if you know about The Velocast, you already know about their new team kit. But on the offchance that you don't, John and Scott have teamed up with Shutt Velo Rapide and Rocket Fuel Style to offer a sportwool jersey and hand made cycling cap respectively.

Quite a lot of shows and forums do kit, and it tends to be nice, but usually fairly run of the mill synthetic jerseys. I'm quite excited to see Velocast going for something as nice as the Shutt jerseys - sportwool is a really practical fabric for cycling. Merino (its main constituent) doesn't stink the way synthetics do, and manages your temperature much better. (Sometimes riding in synthetic jerseys you'll be forever donning & removing gilets &c to try & stay comfortable - that just doesn't seem necessary with merino). It's pricey (although Shutt's prices tend not to be that much more than a decent quality polyester team jersey) but nothing else is quite like it. If you've never owned a merino / sportwool jersey, this offer is a good opportunity to pick one up & give it a whirl. If you have owned one, you'll know already of course.

The other thing you should be excited about is the people they're using - I've spoken about Shutt before, they're good at what they do, and take a pride in it (they also source and manufacture here in Britain). Rocket Fuel have a similar attitude to their work, and have done really nice bespoke caps for cycling teams, as well as offering a range "pret a porter".

There's a page showing the proposed designs, and information on how to express your interest here.

(Oh, and if you don't know about the Velocast, and have the slightest interest in cycling, you can find the podcast, which will make you happier than a cyclist with a garage full of bicycles, here).

Another Monkey favourite returns this week, Resonance FM's "The Bike Show", presented by Jack Thurston. OwenP (whose blog you should be following, it's better than this one) reviewed The Bike Show as part of his round up of cycling podcasts. For me, the joy of the Bike Show is its coverage of different topics within cycling, from bike jumbles, to camping out to follow the Tour of Flanders, to pressing issues like LGV safety in the capital. Jack's a great presenter and interviewer, and his show is well worth listening to.

Cosmo has an interesting take on the action so far, in this piece "Maybe all Grand Tours Should Start in the Netherlands";
"in real-world wind tunnels, cycling’s as much about Spider Sense as anything else. Finding your way onto the right wheel; anticipating nervous moments and getting a good position before the battle starts; knowing which splits will take care of themselves and which you should bury yourself closing—these are the elements that get Grand Tour champions through the first week."
Time will tell, I guess, but my personal take is that the Giro's organisers have made these first stages a little too chaotic. Whilst I'm no fan of the sort of "freeway" racing we sometimes see, there has to be some kind of middle ground that leaves the riders less susceptible to caprice than stage 2 and 3 seemed to.

Cyclingnews has this round up of the favourites' performances, from the Gazzetta Dello Sport. I can't help thinking that they're fundamentally underestimating Sastre. One of his qualities is the way he creeps up the GC seemingly without anyone noticing - added to which, he seems a thoroughly nice bloke. Whilst that latter quality isn't something that matters too much in racing, it's a quality that's endeared him to this monkey - I hope to see him do well once the race hits the mountains.

I was also gutted for Christian VandeVelde, who's out of this year's Giro following a crash (fortunately not as nasty as last year's). There's more detail over at Team Garmin-Transitions' site. I can't help thinking that I should stop picking VdV for my fantasy Giro team, as I seem to be jinxing him.

Whilst there's been a degree of outrage about a certain Mr. Vinokourov getting into the Maglia Rosa, he has, at least, served the full ban he was given, and no one's made any exceptions to get him a pro-tour ride ahead of time. I'm not sure it's reasonable of us as fans to expect the returning rider to be repentant and penitent as a condition of allowing them to race.

Which isn't to say that I wouldn't rather have seen someone else in pink, but the way people have been talking, you'd think Vino had an EPO drip attached to his bike, or something.

Sort of on the topic of the Giro, I'm finding it very difficult to become enthused abotut he Tour of California, in this first year that it runs at the same time as the Giro. Maybe it's different for folk in the 'States, but it looks a bit second string compared to a race with as long a history as the Corsa Rosa - hopefully I can get into the swing of things once racing starts.

Pavé blog has a nice round up of stuff that they didn't have chance to post in the spring.

Not sure I agree with him about the new "trend" in cycling photography - personally, I'd call that underexposed, although it's of a piece with the "hipstamatic" iPhone app in that it fetishises the limitations of poor lenses and expired film stock. The irony of the B&W shot is that black and white film is so forgiving of hamfistedness that you'd have to try hard to underexpose as far as the example pic seems to. Ilford's HP5+, a monkey favourite, has to be seriously mishandled, or poorly scanned to lose so much shadow detail - knowing that makes the new style seem terribly affected, somehow.

Bike Commuter blog has a worrying piece about some local legislation being proposed, HB971 into which a provision has been inserted;
"Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles bill. The bill also allows local governments to permit mopeds, golf-carts and other motorized vehicles on sidewalks and trails."
the thought of being forced by law to use some of the poorly thought out, even more poorly maintained and downright dangerous strips of green paint that pass for cycle infrastructure in the UK fills me with dread - unless that in Florida bucks this trend, this is a worrying development. The article provides a link for concerned Florida cyclists to contact their governor on the issue.

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