Schwalbe redesign their racing Ralph

The Racing Ralph gets a new tread pattern this year along, and will utilize the cross-country PaceStar Compound. The new profile has rearranged the knobs, and should give a more consistent feel (* for me this is important of sliding on my arse with the slightest amount of mud on the tyre – grip goes instantly with no warning), with better transitioning and traction.

The 29er profile was also tweaked, and is more spread out then the 26er, to take advantage of the big wheels larger contact area. They did a major overhaul on the casing, changing it from 67tpi to 127tpi, giving it a more supple feel, and losing 30 grams and decreasing the rolling resistance by 20 percent. The new tires are certainly light, coming in at 455 grams for the 26×2.1, 495 grams for the 26×2.25, 495 grams for the 29×2.1, and 535 grams for the 29×2.25 size. The tires are all tubeless ready (except for the Performance series), and come in a slew of version and sizes, including 26×2.1, 26×2.25, 27 1/2 x 2.25, 29×2.1, 29x 2.25 and a big wide 2.9×2.35. The TL ready tires have some optional sidewall versions, such as SnakeSkin and DoubleDefense, and they even have hand-made tubulars. They also added a 4Cross edition of the Racing Ralph using the new GateStar compound with SnakeSkin sidewalls and come in a 26×2.25 sizing. The GateStar is a combination of the PaceStar for the center section, and the downhill VertStar for the shoulders, giving it great usage for 4Cross, SuperD and Enduro racing.

A confusing mix all with the same name …..  more info here 

Here is just part of the dizzying variety on offer. Do you think they need to make the difference clearer?



British and Irish cities suck in the european index of cycle friendly cities

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin are amongst the most car dependent in Europe. The four capital cities of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom plus Dublin in the Republic of Ireland are among the worst of 13 major European cities surveyed by the Campaign for Better Transport Car for its Car Dependency Scorecard 2011. Only Rome, in 13th position, was found to have more reliance on the motor car than London, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast, which respectively occupied 8th to 12th place.

The scorecard ranks cities on 16 indicators grouped into five main areas – car use, public transport service, public transport cost, side effects of car use and cycling/walking – with each indicator ranked individually then combined with the others to provide an overall score.

Stockholm emerged as the least car-dependent city of the capitals surveyed – Copenhagen, for the record, wasn’t among those studied – scoring well on all indicators other than the cost of public transport. The modal share of walking and cycling was said to be particularly high despite the city’s poor climate in winter.

The Swedish capital was followed by Helsinki, Prague,
Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam
and Madrid on the list.

At the other end of the scale, the cost of public transport was the one issue on which Rome scored highly, although the network itself, and issues with reliability and coverage, among others, dragged it down. The Italian capital was said to have a particularly poor record for road safety.

The cost of public transport in London, plus poor air quality and levels of congestion, contributed to the city’s poor performance and are expected to be topics that feature in the mayoral elections next year.

While cycling was seen as an alternative mode of transport in all the UK cities surveyed, the study’s compilers said that uptake was low and singled out air pollution, the expense and low uptake of public transport and levels of congestion as factors behind their low ranking.

On the positive side, London scored well for low car ownership, Edinburgh for journeys on foot, Cardiff for road safety and Edinburgh for passenger satisfaction with public transport.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, comented: “Car dependency damages communities, affects our quality of life and has huge environmental consequences, so the UK cities’ poor standing should be of major concern to politicians.

“To catch up with the best in Europe the UK Governments need to recognise the economic benefits of good air quality and road safety, and ensure public transport, walking and cycling are comparable to car use in terms of cost, journey time and quality.”

The organisation outlined a umber of steps it believed UK governments should take to address the problem, but pointed out that currently, cuts to local bus networks have left many people without local transport and that train fare increases above the rate of inflation will prevent others from using that form of transport.

The recommended measures are:

  • Making public transport fares affordable, with smart cards valid on different modes and operators
  • Improving public transport journey times through bus priority, and investment in trams where appropriate
  • Giving pedestrians and cyclists real priority over other vehicle traffic, including at junctions
  • Supporting a good public transport network during off peak times, including evenings and weekends
  • Recognising the wider factors which affect car dependency, such as planning regulations.…

Fast Wednesday: Stick and Carrot Technique

Roger ‘4 Minute’ Bannister

Room 101, the hate half hour or the running interval session as it has come to be known. Five kilometres in half an hour three of which are done in the style of a fat Robert Bannister all sweating, heaving and eye-popping.

I casually say to my running partner Douglas,”I did six of these last week. Let’s go for eight this week.” By the time we’ve completed one interval I make the executive decision that six will be more than adequate.

The Route on Glasgow Green

For this weeks painful experiment we chose Glasgow Green. At first glance Glasgow green appears to be flat. Let it be known to anyone attempting an interval session, unless you are running on a bowling green nowhere, I repeat, nowhere is flat. The slightest gradient becomes the north face of the Eiger and even flat surfaces begin to take on hill like properties.

The Charts. NB: 3rd interval nearly killed us!

On the charts ‘Fast Wednesday’ you can see that our attempt at jogging between intervals didn’t last long. I hold myself fully responsible for that second executive decision. We did stick to our guns on one of missions. In fact we excelled ourselves in the final part of the exercise routine which was to Jog in a westerly direction for the full 5k then walk in a north easterly direction towards West Brewery and replace all the carbs that we’d just burned off. This we did in the form of a pint of their finest Hefeweizen which lasted all of two minutes and had to be chased with a further pint of St Mungo’s. We did get some funny looks. The pair of us sweating profusely in our running gear pushing through the crowded bar carrying huge pints of beer. With that reward I am actually looking forward to next weeks half hour of suffering.

Mmm… beer in the sun.

[This post originally appeared on Findlay Napier’s blog]