Maybe Fabian can make it again: TREK Isofix

Well a heavy option would be to use a mountain bike system like the cannondale scalpel to flex away the pave but treks new Domane looks sweet as a honey bees glory ….

Back when we were speculating on the sneak peek shots ofTrek’s new Domane underneath Fabian Cancellara at the Strade Bianche, we conjectured (is that a word?) that the seatpost and the main frame were separate. And they are. Spartacus himself has been heavily involved with the design process, and the bike “specifically addresses the challenges of rough road conditions found throughout the spring classics courses with a collection of key innovations unlike any available before today”, according to Trek.

The Domane (That’s Do-MAH-nee, apparently, which is latin for “King’s crown” as well as being an anagram of Madone) features a technology which Trek have christened IsoSpeed. It’s a “functional decoupler that separates the ride-tuned seat mast from the top tube”. So effectively the the seat tube isn’t attached to the top tube and seatstays like you’d normally expect, but instead is held in place by a pivot and some kind of elastomer coupling that acts as a buffer between the seat mast and the top tube. Being an elastomer it will act as a damper which also perhaps opens the possibility of further tuning the ride… not that we’d fancy trying to take it out.

IsoSpeed means lots more compliance, say Trek. Twice the vertical compliance of the nearest competition is their claim. Not only that but they claim that it’s even stiffer laterally than the Madone. A bike that’s got a bit more give should be a boon over long rides and difficult surfaces, with the IsoSpeed coupling allowing more fore-aft movement as well as in the vertical plane.

Cancellara’s certainly happy. “When you work with Trek and the engineers it’s a combination that lets you examine every detail and the details that it takes to win the races that this bike is made for are bigger than any other,” he gushed. “The end result of all that work is the Domane and after competing on this bike, winning on this bike, it’s going to be hard to get me on anything else,” he said, although that didn’t stop him swapping back to the Madone for the smooth tarmac of Milan-San Remo.

In the end it’s a comfort bike. A performance-led one. Trek have always maintained that they didn’t need a comfort bike because the Madone was comfy enough and available in different geometries, but they’ve inevitably lost out in sales against the likes of the Specialized Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse and Giant Defy Advanced, and more and more manufacturers are producing performance-comfort bikes now;BMC’s launch of the cobble-friendly GF01 is next week.

Like the Madone 6 Series the Domane boasts an OCLV carbon frame with a super-wide BB90 bottom bracket and internal cable routing. There’s a new Bontrager RXL fork to go with the frame, too. Trek call the cable routing ‘race-optimised’ and interestingly the cables on the Domane all enter the headtube on the same side (something we noticed when we spotted the bike at the Strade Bianche). We’ll be looking to see if that is an innovation that makes it’s way on to the next generation of the Madone – surely due for launch any time now.

The Domane’s geometry is different from that of the Madone. The head tube is just a little taller than you’ll get on an H2 fit Madone – Trek do three different fits, the H1 being the most aggressive, the H3 being the most relaxed. The Domane’s head tube is 17.5cm compared to 17cm on an H2 fit Madone. The top tube is slightly shorter too. You get a slacker head tube angle, an increased fork offset, longer chainstays, a longer wheelbase and more of a bottom bracket drop on the Domane too, which should translate into a more planted, stable ride which is especially useful on rough roads where hitting something hard and jagged on a standard road bike can knock you completely off-line.

Cancellara doesn’t ride with electronic gears; if he did you’d have seen the battery mounted at the bottom of the down tube, basically in the middle of the bottom bracket. For a bike that’s designed to be ridden over the rough stuff that seems like an odd placing to us, being a bit more vulnerable to debris kicking up from the front wheel than the current favourite position of underneath the chainstay.

Other pave-beating touches include super skinny seatstays and an integrated chain catcher; some of the RadioShack Nissan Trek boys would undoubtedly find that useful on the Madone too. Hopefully then the new integrated chain catcher on SRAM Red is detachable – how many chain catchers does a boy really need? Actually, we’re guessing that the one on the Damone is detatchable for those who can change gear without dropping the chain.

The new Domane is available right now in two versions (there’s three on the UCI list), and in another break from the usual the Custom version is cheaper than the Team Edition. quite a bit cheaper as it turns out. You can have a Custom Domane 6 for a mere £3,700 (although you can pay more if you want) while the Domane 6 Series Team Edition can be yours for £8,290. There must be some Unobtanium knocking about in that one. Well, do you want to beat the cobbles or not?

That’s it for now. But if that isn’t enough, we’ve got a man in the area: VecchioJo is currently hot-footing his way across the low countries to ride the Flanders sportive, and he’s even now diverting to Kortijk (picture one of those Union Jack arrows from the start of Dad’s Army) where Trek are currently showcasing the new machine. He should be able to swing a leg over it too, so stay tuned for a first ride soon… if he doesn’t get lost.

Not everyday you get punched off your bike by a car driver

Yesterday I saw a car deliberately block a box junction – I tried to remonstrate that he should keep it clear to no avail. Today on my way to pick up my daughter I saw the same guy parking so I stopped to chat….. ‘excuse me can I chat to you about yesterday …’ next thing I have a hand around my throat and I am punched off the bike …. ‘we will leave it at that’ he said
Err … No.
Took a photo of him and car.

Just gave my statement to officers and hopefully mr angry will get charged with assault …. Difficult with no witnesses but hopefully he has priors so they will take it more seriously.

Road safety: how to negotiate roundabouts

Good advice on the cycle scheme website ….. Something learner riders need to adopt – there is safety in taking the lane …

Negotiating roundabouts by bike is straightforward if you ride assertively and stay away from the edge.

Roundabouts can be quite intimidating on a bike. It doesn’t help that some drivers use them badly, barging into the traffic flow and failing to use their indicators correctly. Nor does it help that the advice on roundabouts for cyclists in the Highway Code is flat out dangerous. Rule 62 says ‘you may feel safer… keeping to the left on the roundabout’. You might, and some cycle lanes even guide you into that position. But you are not safer.

The danger zones for cyclists are the areas immediately in front of the roads joining the roundabout. Drivers entering the roundabout may fail to see you on the roundabout and then pull out in front or on top of you. Or drivers exiting the roundabout may turn left in front of you. Both of these situations are more likely if you’re at the edge of the roundabout – because that is not where drivers will be looking. They’ll be looking for cars in the centre of the traffic lane. That’s where you need to be: take your lane!

The approach

Take your lane. You want to be roughly in the centre of the traffic lane that goes in the direction you want to go in. When you’re still some distance from the roundabout – say, 20 metres – look, if necessary signal, and take up position. Even when there’s only one traffic lane entering the roundabout, this is important. It will prevent drivers racing you to the roundabout and cutting in ahead of you, and it will prevent left-turning drivers who arrive at the roundabout when you do from cutting across you.

As you get closer to the roundabout, ensure you’re in a gear that you can accelerate in. As long as you’re not going straight on, signal left or right for the benefit of drivers behind you.

Turning left

Give way to traffic on the roundabout, joining when it’s safe to do so. Take your lane. This dissuades drivers from cutting across you. Signal left as you approach your exit. Exit the roundabout.

Going straight on

Give way to traffic on the roundabout, joining when it’s safe to do so. Take your lane. On a multi-lane roundabout, take the left-most lane that goes straight on; it will make it easier for you to exit the roundabout and should dissuade drivers from ‘undertaking’ you. Signal left as you pass the exit before the one you’re taking. Exit the roundabout.

Turning right

Give way to traffic on the roundabout, joining when it’s safe to do so. On a two-lane roundabout, you’ll usually want to join the lane closest to the centre. On roundabouts with more lanes, pick the left-most lane that’ll take you where you want to go, which will probably be the left-most lane but one; the latter is where left-turning and straight-on traffic will be. Once you’ve reached your lane, take it. Signal left as you pass the exit ahead of yours, check for traffic over your left shoulder, and peel off left, making no sudden changes of direction.

Assertive cycling

If you drive, you’ll note that these instructions are not really any different from how you’d negotiate a roundabout by car. Bicycles are traffic just like cars are. Act like it and you’ll be treated like it.

Take your lane. In particular, give room to give way markings when you’re on the roundabout. Staying away from the edge makes you more visible and it buys you time if drivers see you late.

Make your intentions obvious: you’re telling drivers what you’re about to do, not meekly asking permission. If drivers know what you’re doing, they can react accordingly.

Getting off & walking

If you’re not comfortable negotiating a particular roundabout, whether it’s a two-lane one or a multi-lane gyratory, don’t. Get off your bike before you reach the roundabout and negotiate it as a pedestrian instead. It won’t add that much time to your commute.

Slippery surfaces

Be very careful at roundabouts after recent rain, when spilled diesel that was dry will become slick, or in icy conditions. You will be turning and you may need to brake while cornering. It’s all too easy to slide off.

For further advice on this and other cycling-in-traffic skills, get hold of Cyclecraft. See

Can I sneak in a ride …

The eternal question for the family man …

Can I sneak in a ride?

  1. Eldest daughter to school at 9am
  2. Father in law coming at 10am to take youngest for a couple of days …
  3. Jolene down to London on the train at 10:20am
  4. Couple of work calls to make ….
  5. G>>A>>P
  6. pick up daughter from school at 3:10pm

Could this be the GAP I SEEK??

EAT KILBRIDE LOOP - mapped out on


Feeling like Number 1

I use endomondo now and again – it is like a Facebook for exercise – mainly to keep abreast of what friends are doing.


They also have challenges that they invite people to take part in … one of these is a calorie count and others allow you to chase goals – i.e. by running 50km or 100km a month.

It is motivating and i am currently doing the 50km challenge although very close to 100km (at which point I get chucked out) …. but nice to see myself at no 1 for a change.

No 1 woooo hoooo

thinking of kiddie transport upgrades …. Circe Helios Bike

For some time now, I have experienced a nagging feeling that a ‘solo’ bicycle is not enough.  Blame the constant, ‘more, more, more’ attitude that seems to pervade society; it seems that these days everything has to be bigger, better, faster than before, and that anything you already possess must by its very definition be inadequate.  But, on closer consideration, I think that my discontent has a more practical cause.

Having cycled since I was a slip of a lad, I have encouraged my daughter to do the same and at nine she is now a pretty competent cyclist.  Now clearly, it would be somewhat unfair of me to expect her to accompany me on her child’s mountainbike as I notch up 60 or 70 miles around the rolling East Anglian countryside, and not wishing to put her off for life, I concur.  But it has struck me that there…

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looks like an interesting book for those that run or are even just thinking about it …..

Books, j'adore

There are some books you pick up and you just know the story is going to be about you. You may know the author so well you feel he or she is a kindred spirit. You may have read the book a hundred times. You may love the topic of the book so much that there’s no room in your heart for anything but acceptance and understanding. I have encountered a number of books like this over the years – these are books that don’t change your life so much as reinforce that the path you’re on is the right one. For me, Bingham’s memoir on becoming an “adult-onset athlete” is one of those books.

I’ve been enjoying his articles in Runner’s World since I started running myself in October 2010, and when I saw that he had a book out, I put it on my Christmas list along with

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Eddy Merckx – new book reveals a heart problem

A new book is out that has just shot onto my buy list …..

Merckx, it is claimed, suffered from non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition closely related to that which appears to have caused Fabrice Muamba to collapse playing for Bolton Wanderers against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Daniel Friebe in Eddy Merckx: the Cannibal recounts an incident during the 1968 Giro d’Italia when Enrico Peracino, team doctor at Merckx’s Faema squad, invited Italy’s leading cardiologist professor Giancarlo Lavezzaro to test the Belgian and another top rider Vittorio Adorni using a then state-of-the-art cardiogram at a sponsors dinner following stage three of the race.

Lavezzaro was shocked to notice that according to the results one of the riders – Merckx – was right in the middle of a heart attack although outwardly the rider appeared to be OK, though noticeably fatigued following a tough stage. Lavezzaro asked Merckx to repeat the test first thing the next morning. The result again appeared to confirm a clear case of non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Merckx’s team and Lavezzaro faced a dilemma. Did they tell Merckx – who to all intents and purposes appeared to be a superfit and healthy 24 year-old, about his condition, or even pull him from the race?

In the book Lavezzaro remembers Merckx “making vague noises about his cardiograms always being funny” but also recalls the Belgian insisting that he would race on whatever the diagnosis. Lavezzaro returned to his home in Turin and fully expected to hear news every day over the next fortnight of a Merckx collapse during race.

In fact the Belgian proceeded to his first grand tour triumph, the first of his five Giro titles, before going on to win five Tours de France. He was also three times the victor in the Vuelta a España, won three world championships and on 19 occasions claimed victory in one of cyclings’s five ‘monuments’ – the one-day classics Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.

“Now,” says Lavezzaro emphatically in the book, “Merckx wouldn’t be allowed to race. At the time we could see that he had a problem but couldn’t make a precise diagnosis without doing a cardiac catheterisation, which obviously wasn’t practical at the Giro. We just knew that he was at risk.

“Later I wrote to Merckx’s doctors in Belgium but they said it couldn’t be anything because he was still winning on the bike. The next year, the brother of the president of Torino football club had exactly the same thing and we went to Houston in the US to get it diagnosed properly, because we didn’t have the right apparatus in Turin.

“It was a non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Nowadays, you pick it up straight away in the electrocardiograms that, for instance, professional cyclists have to pass to get their licence. And someone with that diagnosis wouldn’t be allowed to race. There are no symptoms … but there is a risk of sudden death.

“In 1977, an Italian footballer called Renato Curi with this problem dropped dead in the middle of a match … But no, there were no aerobic advantages and nothing Merckx could feel. There was just this sword of Damocles above his head every time he raced.”

Another tuba loving family

Hum of the city

Last week, while hauling around on the loaner Mundo, we met up with our friends from school who recently bought a Big Dummy. They were interested in the Mundo and we were interested in the Dummy. We all met up at Golden Gate Park on Sunday at Sunday Skate to compare the bikes.

Shirley takes her girls (1st and 2nd grade) to school every day on the deck of the Big Dummy. On weekends, her husband B.D. rides the bike and she rides on the deck, with the girls riding alongside on their own bikes. She says she gets some great videos this way, and it is an awesome sight to see them riding en masse. The ride to school with the kids on deck is mostly downhill, but she’s got to get them back home again, and they live on Lone Mountain. There is…

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VOR – the hardest most extreme sailing race

Keeping up to date on the volvo ocean race. As I sit her on a Friday evening with the wood fire on and drinking a glass of wine I catch up on the Volvo Ocean Race. For me this is an aspect of yacht racing that I never got into myself but which fascinates me in it’s brutal hardship and unbelievable competitiveness ….. Been rooting for Ken Read and Puma since the beginning (and in fact during the last race). At the moment they are deep in the south pacific with 40+knots and GIANT waves crashing all around …. They are hitting 30knots in speed (and that’s with them throttling back to avoid damaging the boats) which on a monohull is pretty freakish. I expect the 24hr record will be broken in the next few days as these 70ft carbon monsters do their designers proud.

Conditions are so extreme on Leg 5 that teams are taking their foot off the throttle, according to Groupama helmsman Charles Caudrelier, who is mindful of the fact that there is a lot more to be lost than won in the Southern Ocean.

Rough Southern Ocean sailing onboard Groupama Sailing Team during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race

“I think there is nothing tougher than sailing through the Southern Ocean on a Volvo Open 70. You’re very badly protected; the boats are very fast and wet. We are in the deep end of the pool” – – Groupama helmsman/trimmer Charles Caudrelier

The boats were averaging around 20 knots boat speed on Friday, and four had notched up 24 hour runs in excess of 500 nautical miles, quick enough but not nearly as fast as they could be going if they were not halfway through a race around the world.

“The only way (to keep the boat in one piece) is to slow down,” Caudrelier said on Friday. “We are far from being as fast as we would if the sea state was good – we could be above 30 knots of speed and we are actually around 20, 25 knots. So we reduce the sail area and nurse the boat.

“I think everyone has slowed down; some more than others. It’s for the guy steering to use his seamanship and it’s strategic too. This surely is the most beautiful leg to win, it’s also the one, which can make you lose the Volvo Ocean Race. If you break the boat here…. Let’s look after her.”

Caudrelier said the waves, some up to five metres, were slamming on deck, and each was colder than the one before. Survival suits, gloves, balaclavas and life-line tethers are no longer optional, they are a necessity in the southern lows.

The 38-year-old Volvo first timer admitted that it was tough going – – the cold combined with the stress of driving blind at night made for extremely testing conditions.

“I think there is nothing tougher than sailing through the Southern Ocean on a Volvo Open 70,” he said. “You’re very badly protected; the boats are very fast and wet. We are in the deep end of the pool.

“At the helm, you’re doing all the work and it’s interesting. You got to play with the waves and the wind, you got to nurse the boat, but it’s not easy. At night you don’t see a thing. It’s stressing too because lots of waves come on the deck. But hey – we are attached and we built a little shield with the sails in front of us: it’s not that bad!”

The inverted Bike Shop

[vimeo w=600&h=338]

Amongst the multitude of bike shops across Manhattan and Brooklyn, 718 Cyclery ( stands out for their unique approach to the business. This is the “inverted bike shop”.

Duathlon Training starts in earnest today

my plan over the next 3 and a bit weeks and the training load as mapped out on my Polar software below

red - don't train
yellow - no hi intensity
green - go do something

Surly Troll and Rohloff Bike builds

Surly troll and a rohloff – great …

while out riding

Time for some more Bike Talk; a part 2 to my initial review.

My Troll’s taken on various incarnations since I first set it up in Costa Rica. It’s that kind of bike; its character lends itself to experimenting with different builds. Run it with discs or V brakes, fully rigid or with a suspension fork, as a singlespeed or with gears (be it conventional derailleurs or an internal hub). Whatever takes your mood, fits your riding style, or suits your pockets.

A couple of recent questions on details of its build have spurred me into listing the parts that currently reside on this chameleon of a frame. Bear in mind that despite the changes and tweaks, the underlying theme has always been the same. At its core, it’s a ‘peace of mind’ build for overseas, dirt road and singletrack touring.

A go-anywhere, ride-anything kind of bike…


Surly Troll

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Trouble shooting – weird Heart Rate spikes, dropouts and how to eliminate them

For those who train with heart rate monitors, you have probably encountered a session where your HR graph just doesn’t make sense. With my garmin it used to start fine then my HR would skyrocket up to the 180’s 190’s and I would be dead if I was there 200’s. With my Suunto – sometimes I would get no reading before it kicked into life …

Suunto no record then suddenly pop into life ...

After you finish your activity and get back to your computer, you’ll probably see something like this – a major HR spike a dropout or even a level no read situation, followed by more normal HR activity: Below is my reading from the Alloa Half Marathon on the weekend with flouro yellow highlights of bits that don’t make sense ….

Frustrated, you wonder if the battery needs changing but then the next time it is fine so you forget about it …but here is a reason why this might be happening.

I presume everyone can put their strap on correctly – that is the right way up and against the skin just under the ribcage …

So assuming that you’ve got it fitted right then let’s look at what typically causes the spike or dropout in HR

1) Are you wet yet?

During the winter months and in the case of Alloa on Sunday the air is often fairly cold, and fairly dry.  This means that you’re less likely to have moist perspiration on your skin (from heat) and even less likely to be generating any sweat right from the start of the workout.  This in turns lowers your belt’s conductivity ability to read your heart rate beats …..   Simply introducing any moisture at all will usually remedy the situation – at least until you begin sweating enough to let sweat do its job.

2) Synthetic quick dry shirts:

At Alloa I was wearing a synthetic shirt as opposed to my ‘normal’ nicer smelling Merino. An unfortunate side effect of synthetics is that they can dry out the body and the skin’s sweat making the belt so dry that it can’t ‘read’ the skin. Another issue is that synthetic material can build up static which can cause electrical interference with the HR belt.

3) Your mum is a gorilla:

I have heard some people of the hirsute variety have more errors ….. you need to be very hairy for this to affect the HR belt but if you are this way inclined … a) shave or groom b) stay swinging in the trees instead of running c) if female remain indoors and plait that hairy back …..

How to lick the problem:

It is pretty easy to fix

1) Sweat it: This first one is a bit obvious – but will explain why the problem often goes away after just a few minutes of activity.  Once you start sweating it improves conductivity.  This in turn makes the HR strap work …. but you still have the earlier misread ….

2) Lick it: This is the simplest option and what I do all the time. I just give the sensors a good gobbing – but hold onto your bogeys for the run.

HR gel

3) Heart Rate Gel: If you suck at licking, then you can instead use electrode gel to improve conductivity.  This is what’s typically used in medical environs for scans and using TENS machines …. it just ensures a good contact moisture seal between belt and skin. They are cheap as chips – about £5 for a big tube that will last years … If it is a dry very cold day and I remember then I use gel on the belt before heading out.

4) Shift the strap:

If you spot a dodgy reading then adjust the strap – a quick shift up and down normally gets the belt to rub against some sweat and the belt normal corrects pretty quickly. Some people shift the strap so it is half on back and front or even all on the back … i have not tried but it seems to work as an option.

5) Replace the batteries:

Finally, it could be as simple as old depleted batteries – most belts use CR2032 batteries so i always make sure I have a handful around ….