i like this
Last night I was stopped by a police officer who asked me: ‘Is your bike engraved?’. The only thing that came out of my mouth was: ‘No, it’s not engraved, it’s personalised’. The response was good enough and I was allowed to continue my trip.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson will lead the UCI for the next four years following a UCI Congress at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio replete with plot and intrigue the likes of which the historic building has not witnessed since the power struggles of the republican faction and the Medici family at the turn of the 16th Century. He defeated incumbent president by 24 votes to 18, a resounding margin in the light of earlier expectations that the vote would be too close to call.
The events that formed the background to that historical period underpinned Machiavell’s Prince, written 500 years ago this year, and today Cookson acted on advice from the Flornetine statesman, who once had an office in this very building, in that work – “It is better to be impetuous than cautious” – as he cut short arguments between delegates regarding the validity or otherwise of McQuaid’s nomination and suggested they go straight to a vote on the presidency.
Speaking after his victory, Cookson said: “It is a huge honour to have been elected President of the UCI by my peers and I would like to thank them for the trust they have placed in me today.
“I have said throughout my campaign that we must embrace a new style of governance and a collegiate way of working so that a new era of growth and commercial success for the UCI and our sport can begin.
“My first priorities as President will be to make anti-doping procedures in cycling fully independent, sit together with key stakeholders in the sport and work with WADA to ensure a swift investigation into cycling’s doping culture.
“It is by doing these things that we will build a firm platform to restore the reputation of our International Federation with sponsors, broadcasters, funding partners, host cities and the International Olympic Committee.
“Ultimately this is how we grow our sport worldwide and get more riders and fans drawn into cycling.”
By acceding to the top spot at the UCI, Cookson will have to step down as president of British Cycling, the organisation he help rescue from the brink of bankruptcy in 1997.
“My election as President of the world cycling federation – the UCI – means that I can no longer continue as President of British Cycling,” he went on.
“I am sorry to leave an organisation which I have seen make extraordinary progress over the last 16 years, but I am absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring about the changes that cycling needs worldwide.
“I know that I am moving on from British Cycling with the organisation in fantastic shape, and I am already looking forward to the challenges ahead as President of the UCI.”
Earlier, delegates had voted 21-21 on whether or not to adopt the controversial proposed change to the UCI Constitution that would have allowed a presidential candidate to be nominated by any two national federations.
That amendment, proposed in July by the Malaysian national federation and intended to be backdated to apply to today’s election, would have meant that McQuaid would automatically have been eligible to stand for today’s vote; having had nominations from Cycling Ireland and Swiss Cycling withdrawn, he has since been nominated by the Thai and Moroccan federations.
McQuaid insisted that he is a member of both those federations and that his nominations by each were made before the 29 June deadline and comply with the UCI’s Constitution – or at least, his interpretation of it, backed up by a legal opinion obtained by the UCI from international law firm Baker & McKenzie.
After hearing a lawyer explain why McQuaid’s nomination was believed to be valid, delegates rose to speak for or against it and the issue was due to go to a vote on whether the incumbent president could stand until Cookson made his dramatic intervention and suggested they should go straight to the issue of determining who should be president for the next four years.
It was a gamble, one that paid opff handsomely, and one that Machiavelli, who had in his mind when writing the prince an ideal ruler who could unite an Italy torn apart by factional in-fighting and threats from outside, would have approved of.
* If you had an engine to power the hydraulics rather than grinders, you could sail the AC72s with 4 people rather than the crew of 11 they now sail with.
* There is really only one trimmer on board and he controls the wing. The helmsman controls the cant and rake of the board with buttons on a control pad in front of him but only has 3 seconds of stored power before he has to “throw bananas” into the grinding pit i.e. ask for more hydraulic power.
* They have seen 47 knots as the top speed so far but expect to see the 50 knot barrier broken in the Cup match.
* The boats go directly downwind 1.8 times faster than the wind. So if you let a balloon go as you went around the top mark you would easily beat it to the bottom mark.
* There is only 4 degrees difference to the apparent wind from going on the wind to running as deep as you can.
* If you lost the hydraulics while the boats were foiling they would be completely uncontrollable and would most likely capsize.
* It is faster to find the strongest adverse current going downwind because the stronger apparent that is then generated translates into more speed than if you were sailing in slack water. (Warning – this takes a bit to get your head around)
* When sailing downwind you look for the puffs in front of you not behind you.
* It is actually quite dry on the boats, unless you make a mistake and come off the foils, as you are flying a couple of metres above the water. Waves have almost no impact on the boat when foiling.
* In strong wind you carry negative camber at the top of the wing to “reef” or de-power the wing.
* All crew carry personal tackle so they can effectively rappel down the netting if the boat capsizes.
* Gennakers are only used below about 8 knots; the jibs only provide about 3% of the lift up wind.
* The foil on the rudder generates about 800 kg of lift with the rest coming from the center board foil to lift the 7 ton yachts clear of the water.
* The centre board foil’s tip comes out of the water so it effectively works like a governor on an engine i.e. as the board generates too much vertical lift it comes out of the water, the area is thus reduced so it goes back down etc until it finds equilibrium.
This poster is possibly the coolest thing seen for a while. The 24x18in illustration features the evolution of the humble bicycle, with 75 bikes spanning from early boneshakers to the latest state-of-the-art mountain bikes and road racers. One mistake was not having a brompton as the folding bike
Each print will be signed and numbered by the artist from an initial run of 500, and costs $27. The poster is printed on 100 lb archival recycled stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, pressed on an offset lithographic press with vegetable-based inks in Flatlands, Brooklyn. You can get yours here
The Sabbath Silk Route is a load lugging all-rounder that creates its own niche by using a titanium frame. Thoroughly practical but we suspect most buyers would prefer to start with a frame and make their own component choices.
Titanium framed touring bikes are a rarity, probably mainly because they tend to be regarded as a luxury in the relatively traditional world of pedal powered haulage, but also because most of the big name titanium frame builders tend to demand a higher premium for their wares than British company Sabbath. Based on a £1199 frame (some outlets include the fork at that price) this complete Silk Route shows that a titanium-framed tourer can be had for a UK average month’s salary.
The Silk Route is a fairly recent addition to Sabbath’s range, which has been slowly evolving over the past six years. The frame is designed in the UK and built overseas to keep costs low. It’s nicely designed and well finished, with a practical blend of plain gauge tubes biased towards luggage hauling durability rather than minimum weight.
The frame on its own weighs 3.65lb/1.65kg (size dependant), which is fairly hefty for a titanium frame, but the resulting stability in ride feel when loaded front and rear is precisely what’s required on a bike like this. If you’re not looking for a haulage bike you should probably look at one of Sabbath’s lighter, butted-tube models.
All Sabbath’s frames use the well regarded 3Al/2.5V drawn tubes (the figures refer to a 3% aluminium, 2.5% vanadium mix in the titanium alloy). There are six models in the range covering racing, touring, everyday or sportive use and the racy models use lighter butted tubes.
While the Silk Route is designed for touring, its long wheelbase, easy-riding geometry, Surly steel fork and big tyre clearance make it suitable for steady trail use as well as ideal for rough roads. There’s enough room for 38mm tyres if you feel a need for bigger treads than the 32mm Continental Touring Pluses fitted, and the 36 spoke wheels with Mavic 319 rims and Shimano LX hubs can take a fair bit of punishment.
A Brooks B17 saddle is a nice touch on a bike like this too, and a reminder that Brooks’ saddles, while not light, are still among the most comfy seats around.
There will be riders who’ll baulk at dropping £2199 on a Shimano LX/105 level bike with a workmanlike steel fork, trouser-guard equipped crankset and middle of the range finishing kit, but if you’re attracted to the idea of your new bike being based on a titanium frame you’d be hard pressed to build a rack and mudguard equipped tourer with decent wheels and a Brooks leather saddle at this price.
You can remove that trouser guard if you don’t like the look of it and Surly’s steel fork is fitted because it’s one of the best off the peg touring forks on the market, with threaded eyelets for every rack type and the sort of stability, combined with the thick plain gauge steerer tube, that justifies its relatively high weight.
Handling was rock solid, even riding hands free with front and rear loads. We’re not particularly recommending this but it’s a great way of testing stability on touring bikes and a great way of getting your loads spread properly assuming the basic geometry is fine. Another good front end stability test is being able to brake hard without fork flutter with an outer cable guide mounted on the upper part of the head tube: many bikes with cantilever brakes need the cable guide to be mounted on the fork crown.
The Silk Route could be an ideal starting point for riders who like the idea of owning a utility rather than race focused titanium frame. But we can’t help but think that most of those riders would prefer to make their own parts choices. A few of the parts on the Sabbath just don’t look at ease on a £2000+ bike. But that’s probably missing the point. You could find yourself paying this much for a frame alone from some of the more established titanium frame brands, and you’re still getting a tough maintenance free frame that won’t rust.
All Sabbath framesets can be built with different component parts and custom finishing options so the details on our test bike are not set in stone. Its ‘bright brush’ titanium finish with subtle, almost invisible, sandblasted graphics is practical, and part of the appeal of titanium is that it’ll buff up like new year after year.
Tubing shapes of the Silk Route include curvy rear stays for extra heel clearance, a biaxially ovalised top tube for lateral rigidity plus big weld contact areas at the seat and head tube and an oversized, ovalised down tube.
All the tube profiles are said to be designed to improve stiffness and stability when hauling loads, and our ride experience bears this out. Long chainstays ensure that panniers stay clear of your heels, and Sabbath say it’s built to carry up to 35kg: the test bike rack, a fairly basic Tortec model, is limited to 25kg.
There’s are three sets of bottle cage bosses (one set underneath the down tube) and threaded rack mounts, all welded rather than riveted into the frame, and in keeping with the traditional touring bike approach there’s even a pump peg on the head tube for a frame sized pump.
Our test bike weighed in at almost exactly 28lb/12.6kg without pedals. There is masses of bar/stem height adjustability and in addition to the components we’ve already mentioned the finishing parts included a standard Shimano LX touring crankset (with removable trouser-guard), 105 3 x 10 gear mechs and 105 shifters, Pro seat post, stem and compact handlebar, SKS ‘guards and LX cantilever brakes.
The gear range was more than adequate for the most mountainous terrain, the wheels were well built and the geometry and riding posture emphasised comfort and stable control at both low and high speeds. The head angle on the medium frame is 71.5 degrees, the seat angle is 73.5 and the horizontal top tube length is 56.5cm, with a 54cm (centre to top) seat tube and a 15.5cm head tube.
Don’t expect a sturdy long wheel base bike like this to feel as lively as a steep angled race bred model. Snappy acceleration or sprightly handling will never be highlights, even if you strip the touring gear off and fit skinnier treads.
But there’s something incredibly soothing about a bike like this once you’ve got it up to speed, with big sweeping turns on long descents being a real highlight. That said, slow speed traffic riding is also incredibly confident, with the long front centre meaning no mudguard toe overlap if you make sharp turns. Our month of riding uncovered no unpleasant foibles, loaded or unloaded.
A thoroughly practical titanium touring bike, both utilitarian and potentially superior in durability to the traditional steel framed approach and more comfy than most aluminium framed options. Most riders would probably start with a frame alone and equip it to suit their particular needs.
Gary McCourt leaves an earlier court hearing.
Solicitor General Lesley Thomson had sought the review after Gary McCourt was sentenced to 300 hours of community service following his conviction for causing the death of Audrey Fyfe by driving carelessly.
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AUSTIN (AP) – Justice Department lawyers urged a federal judge to allow the government’s fraud lawsuit against Lance Armstrong to continue, arguing the U.S. Postal Service was tainted by its sponsorship of his team while he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
The Postal Service, which insists it didn’t know about a team drug regimen that was exposed last year by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, is permanently linked to what the government lawyers called “the greatest fraud in the history of professional sports” in court records filed Monday night.
Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis first sued Armstrong in 2010 under the False Claims Act, which allows whistle-blowers to get a share of any money recovered based on their disclosures. The Justice Department joined the lawsuit in February, announcing it would seek at least the $40 million the Postal Service paid to Armstrong’s team and additional damages that could push the total closer to $120 million.
The government claims Armstrong violated his contract with the Postal Service and was “unjustly enriched” while cheating to win the Tour de France. Six of his seven titles came under Postal Service sponsorship.
Armstrong has urged the court to dismiss the case, arguing the government was aware of doping rumors surrounding his teams and could have canceled the contracts. Armstrong finally confessed in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January.
A federal judge has scheduled oral arguments for Nov. 18 in Washington on whether to let the case proceed.
Armstrong argues the sponsorship gave the Postal Service exactly what it paid for: Tens of millions of dollars’ worth of publicity, exposure to more than 30 million spectators at international cycling events and hundreds of hours of television coverage.
The Justice Department countered Monday that the Postal Service would have canceled the deals if it knew about the cheating. Justice Department lawyers also insisted the statute of limitations has not expired on pursuing a lawsuit over contracts that were signed in 1995 and 2000.
Armstrong previously tried to negotiate a settlement, but those talks fell through before the government announced it would join the Landis lawsuit. Settlement talks could resume as the case proceeds to trial.
Also in Monday’s filings, Landis’ attorneys sought to bring financier Thomas Weisel further into the lawsuit. They filed a sworn statement from a witness who said Weisel helped Armstrong concoct a backdated prescription to escape a failed drug test in the 1999 Tour de France. Weisel was principal owner of Armstrong’s team at the time.
So far, the federal government has not joined the portion of Landis’ lawsuit against Weisel, who has asked the court to dismiss it. Part of Weisel’s defense is that he was not named in the 1,000-page USADA report released last year.
But Landis’ attorneys submitted Monday a sworn statement by former team masseuse Emma O’Reilly. In it, she names Weisel as one of the architects of the backdated prescription scheme. Weisel’s name had been redacted from the version of the affidavit used in the USADA report.
Landis attorney Paul Scott declined comment. A message was left Tuesday seeking comment from a lawyer for Weisel.
wiggo loses out on TT
The XLM 29 combines new school features with old school Merlin mojo for a magical riding experience.
Though many people remember the mid-’80′s classic “Back to the Future” as a movie starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson, car buffs are quick to add the film’s inanimate star to the list–the iconic DeLorean DMC-12. Clad only in stainless steel, the car’s bodywork spoke volumes of its performance and craftsmanship, exuding a certain so-good-it-doesn’t-even-need-paint confidence.
At about the same time, craftsmen in Massachusetts began turning out similarly confident, bare-metal performance machines–handbuilt titanium bicycles under the Merlin Metalworks moniker. And while the brand faded into relative obscurity over the last decade-and-a-half, their new mountain bike frame–the XLM 29–has us very happy someone found Merlin’s flux capacitor. That “someone” would be the guys behind online bike retailer Competitive Cyclist who bought the brand in February 2011, then were bought themselves by Backcountry.com a few months later. Backcountry also saw potential in Merlin.
“Merlin is one of those classic brands people have a great deal of affinity for,” said Backcountry.com Marketing Director Adrian Montgomery. “The XLM 29 is the first product we created since the acquisition and we really wanted it to be worthy of the Merlin name.”
The XLM’s tapered headtube highlights the bike’s craftsmanship and build quality.
Though our test ride at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo was short, it certainly feels like they got it right. The beautifully crafted hardtail 29er’s oversized, double-butted 3Al-2.5V titanium main tubes provided torsional stiffness that belied the ride’s silky demeanor. On Bootleg Canyon’s rocky, rolling terrain, the XLM felt deft and confidence-inspiring even on trails probably best suited to dual-suspension trail bikes, though line choice definitely mattered. A smartly spec’d pair of 2.25-inch Schwalbe Nobby Nic tubeless tires inflated to the mid-20 PSI range helped mitigate the sketch factor.
As-ridden, with its 70-degree headtube angle when running a 100mm-travel fork, our test bike landed squarely on the cross country end of the spectrum. Switching up to a plusher 120mm fork would put the XLM in hardtail trailbike territory, raising both the front end and bottom bracket slightly towards a more laid-back geometry. Plushing it out even more with tires up to 2.4-inches wide and adding a dropper post–easily found for the 31.6mm inner seat tube diameter–gives the XLM just that much more rally bike versatility. Short–and curvaceously sexy–17.5-inch chainstays make for a sprightly climber no matter what the configuration, as did the bike’s light, 18-pound curb weight.
In line with the XLM’s futurist leanings are a host of other modern framebuilding touches, including a PressFit 30 bottom bracket shell, a 12 x 142mm thru-axle rear end, and an IS standard rear disc brake mount that verges on sculpture. Perhaps not so futuristic–thankfully–is the employment of US craftsmen in Arizona to handbuild these bits into finished frames.
Merlin added this beautifully crafted rear disc brake mount to the package when updating the XLM. In person the parts border on sculpture.
While our test rig featured a fittingly high-end build kit–SRAM XX-1 drivetrain, Rock Shox Sid fork, Industry Nine wheelset, and Thompson cockpit components–custom configuring your bike online component-by-component makes the Competitive Cyclist buying proposition pretty cool. CC’s slick–dare we say futuristic–interface shows you what your ride will look like, how much it weighs and what it will cost you…which, with a frame-only price of $2650, will likely be quite a bit. But to paraphrase Doc Brown “if you’re gonna ride a time machine of a bike, why not do it with some style?”
Merlin XLM 29 Frameset
- Type: 29-inch mountain bike frame
- Frame material: 3AI-2.5V titanium
- Fork travel: 100-120mm recommended
- Rear axle: 12×142 mm
- Head tube diameter: 44mm
- Bottom bracket: Pressfit BB30
- Front derailleur: 34.9mm clamp-on (top-pull)
- Seatpost diameter: 31.6 mm
- Sizes: M (17.5″); L (19″); XL (21″)
- Weight: Titanium (L): 3.6 lbs/2,000g
- MSRP: $2650 frame only
For more information visit merlinbikes.com.
I love my brompton
When I got the news of my promotion I bought a folding bike. But not just any folding bike: a Brompton. How come? Because it’s the only folding bike with a child seat, that’s how come. No bike will enter our lives for years to come unless it can haul the small.
I would advise the potential purchaser of a Brompton+IT Chair to be very sure that they are going to be okay with a lot of attention from strangers. And I do mean a LOT of attention. It’s not something that I was expecting. This setup stops traffic of all kinds. Jaws drop. People run over to see your bike. People in San Francisco are typically extremely cool in the face of the unusual. Piano bike? Sequined gold hot pants on a drag queen sashaying through the Financial District on a weekday afternoon? Bike Friday triple tandem?…
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OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this madness hasn’t ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and “only” needs four more.
This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn’t been looking too happy at press conferences lately.
Here’s the video (HIGHLIGHT) for yesterday, in case you haven’t stumbled across it elsewhere:
Both wins were wire-to-wire, but the Kiwis got very close for a while in the first race. Oracle has firmly established that they can foil like bandits upwind when conditions permit and their tactics and crew work continue to improve overall. If day one of the series were today and I were making bets, I’d have to pick them.
Which reminds me… if Oracle repeats with a double win today, that jury decision docking them two races at the start becomes determinative.
That would truly suck.
Bikes have become the “new” accessorize, yet very practical. You have the old fashionable Hermés or Crecent, or the new sporty ones from Bianci. All very fashionable. If you are going for the old classic stuff, take a look at Brooks website and pimp it up with some leather details.
Designed for the spaces between pavement and singletrack, Niner’s latest is–as evidenced by the skinny tyres and curvy bars–a departure for the brand. The RLT 9 (or Road Less Traveled… 9) is an aluminum-framed, carbon-fork’d ride designed to take the shape of your dreams. That is, if your dreams combine drop bars with rough roads and smooth trails. Billed as a 29er (sort of), monster-cross machine (yup), occasional cyclocross racer (sure), and gravel grinder (why not), the disc-equipped bike even sports the rack and mudguard mounts to serve as a super-commuter or even a light touring bike.
Low-pro disc and rack/fender mounts.
The RLT 9′s aluminum frame is designed and shaped to meet “Niner’s ride quality standards” and the 27.2 seatpost will aid fat tyres in keeping things comfy. A PF30 bottom bracket shell can take big-spindle’d cranks or be paired with Niner’s new BioCentric 30 eccentric bottom bracket for singlespeed use. Internal shift cable routing is standard and Di2 compatibility (complete with seatpost charging port) readies the frame for an eventual electronic upgrade.
Fat tyres, reflective sidewalls.
“Fire Road Geometry” gives the RLT 9 longish chainstays, a low bottom bracket, and a slackish head tube- all of which should make for a stable ride on bumpy roads. While it isn’t intended as a ‘cross racer, there is no reason not to run with the Niner on your shoulder from time to time. Build-wise, the company looks to have done a killer job with the two kits. The $2,000 RLT 9 105 comes with a Shimano 105/Tiagra drivetrain and Shimano cable discs in the lovely “Industry Gray” (blue) shown above. The $3,000 RLT 9 Rival pulls out the stops, adding Stan’s Iron Cross wheels, a SRAM Rival drivetrain, and SRAM hydraulic disc brakes in a classy mint/cream. Framesets will be available for $1,049.
Niner bikes are distributed in the UK by Jungle Products.
Dutch cyclist, Sebastiaan Bowier has broken Sam Whittingham’s International Human Powered Vehicle Association record at Battle Mountain in Nevada, clocking 133.78 kph on Sunday to go 0.6km an hour faster than the Canadian when he set his speed of 133.28 kph in 2008.
Whittingham had first set the record in 1999, going on to beat his own top speed on five separate occasions.
The new IHPVA record was set by Sebastiaan Bowier, riding the VeloX3 recumbent jointly developed by students from the Delft University of Technology and the VU University Amsterdam.
The 23-year-old, one of two cyclists working with the project, set his new record on the very last record attempt run of the six-day event, which also saw Britain’s Graeme Obree set a new IHPVA record for riding in the prone position.
It’s the third year running that the two Dutch universities have attempted to set a new record, and team manager Wouter Lion said: “We knew that the technical and the human aspect of the race were right today. We knew it was possible and it is amazing that is actually happens. And he did it with difficult head wind.”
The team’s other rider, Wil Baselmans, himself set a speed of 127.43 kph, making him the third fastest man in the history of the event. Like Bowier, his speed was set over a 200 metre timed stretch following an 8km run-up.
Lion added: “It was incredibly exciting. We had 6 days to break the record, but in the beginning we found some technical problems. We spend a couple of nights to solve everything. When you break the record, after three evenings of bad weather, at the last possible chance, it feels incredible.
“From the data of the record attempts earlier this week, we noticed a big problem that prevented the VeloX3 bicycle to reach high speeds.
“The computer simulations showed that the bike should have gone a lot faster than it did and after a thorough analysis of the data, the problem turned out to be an aerodynamic problem.
“When pedalling at high power inside the VeloX3, the outer shell turned out to deform slightly because of the force.”
Students working on the team were able to resolve that issue the day before the successful record attempt.
“Compared to an ordinary bicycle, our design only has one tenth of the air resistance,” Lion went on.
“We also make use of a special coating from Akzo Nobel which they use in Formula 1, which gave the VeloX3 extremely low resistance.
”It is not only thanks to the students and the cyclists, but also thanks to the companies that helped us, such as our main sponsor Post NL.
“They have supported us from the start of the very first team to show that the Netherlands really loves their bicycles. That is something we can be proud of.”
All pictures credited to team photographer, Bas de Meijer