Theatre Thursday: How Far can wool take you

How far can wool actually take you? That was the question Cima Coppi, Galen Lofstedt and I debated when laying down the story for this film. Over a few Spanish pinchos and Mahou lagers Lawrence, one founding member of Cima Coppi, recounted his early days riding from Sweden to Spain on only his single speed bike and in his wool sweater. Or his adventures in Italy riding each stage of the Giro at the crack of dawn before the professionals hit the road for the day, all done in his one wool sweater. Indirectly this really served as product testing that later laid the foundation for the company that Cima Coppi has become, a humble, custom fit wool cycling garment company based in Asturias, Spain. This inspired Galen and I to create a film that paid homage to these stories and the distances wool can travel. In the film we hope that you get the feeling of never ending pursuits of adventure all in one custom made blue wool sweater.

None of this film would have been possible if it weren’t for the support from Cima Coppi. To clarify I hunted them down and demanded that we make a film together because I love what they stand for and their belief in an old but still very effective material called wool.


I have a confession

Well you know Rapha – that expensive cycle clothing brand – that is the middle class lycra lout smudge mark on cycling …. well I have a confession.

I have a few items – the team jacket is incredibly warm and i have a brevet long sleeve and vest modeled here by someone prettier than me.


I also have their 3/4 bib which serves me through the scottish winter. and ahem also a cyclocross short sleeve ….


So today I got a 30% off email so I bought some more … I find myself more attracted to their cyclocross jackets and jerseys as i think the colors and patterns are more eye-catching for road use (and being seen by car drivers)

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and as i said I got another 30% off ……

Lastly I would say it is top quality gear that is super comfy, well made and is yet to show any sign of wear …..

Theatre Thursday – Rapha Core Film

they do nice films they do


Rapha Core offers the essentials in performance and functionality. Consisting of a cycling jersey and shorts for men and women, the collection is nothing more and nothing less than the basics, perfectly crafted to set the new standard in everyday ride wear.

The fantastic cycle clothing line you have never heard of

from peleton mag

February 2, 2015 – Last summer we were lucky enough to ride the Eddy Merckx Gran Fondo in Italy. The 135km route near Veneto covered three serious climbs, including the massive 1316meter San Valentino. We learned three things – most Italian riders have three percent body fat, climb very quickly and almost universally wear fluro-yellow

We saw pretty quickly that the majority of those kits were made by an Italian apparel start up named Alé. It has the same meaning and pronunciation as the French word Alléz, and means the same thing, ‘Go!’ or ‘Come on!’ It’s the most common word heard on European roadsides as the peloton streams by.

Alé was launched at Eurobike back in 2013 and is now coming to the states. How can this start-up hope to gain a foothold in the crowded apparel market? Becasue they aren’t really a start up. Alé is the first consumer brand from APG, an apparel maker with over three decades of experience in cycling. Until now it had remained behind the scenes making apparel for some of the biggest and most well respected names.

Castelli_thumbHow big are they? The numbers are mind blowing. The company cranks out 130,000 pieces of apparel every month, they make custom clothing for over 9000 teams, clubs and events. Alé’s parent company has helped develop some of the most cutting edge technology in apparel. It’s been perfecting the latest fabric craze, carbon yarn, for more than five years.


Alé’s Entry Level Plus Kit

Not surprisingly Alé comes out of the gate with an impressive line up. It consists of three main lines, Plus, Ultra and PR.R. Plus, Alé’s entry-level gear, features fairly simple patterning and a roomier sportive style fit, while still featuring very breathable, light weight fabrics not typically seen in entry level apparel. Ultra provides a slightly more fitted cut with very technical fabrics including micro-perforated Lycra and carbon infused rear panels.


The Alé Ultra Kit

PR.R stands for Pro Race Research and, as the name implies, represents Ale’s pinnacle developed hand-in-hand with its professional squads. It’s a very fitted, race cut made with ultra light 130gram micro-perforated fabric called ‘Finezza 44’ up front and a quick dry, carbon infused rear panel. On initial fitting the standout feature of this jersey appears to be the fit. The fabric’s quality of stretch is incredible. It removes much of the anxiety from choosing which size to wear as you will likely find both your usual size and a size down will fit very well. While PR.R certainly hugs the form it is much more forgiving of a few pounds of winter weight than typical Italian race fit apparel.


Alé’s top of the line PR.R kit.

Alé makes all its own chamois tailored to four different kinds of riders. They have a 2H (two hour) a 4H, 4H women’s and an 8H chamois. The professionals ride the 8H, which features a denser pad, not a thicker pad. All of these three lines can be made custom for your team, including wind tunnel proven skin suits. The rest of Ale’s line is extensive with base layers, warmers, jackets for all conditions, vests and a breathable, thermal, water resistant line called Klimatik.


Where Alé seems to be very far ahead of the curve is pricing. It’s Plus entry level kit is $110 and $120 for jersey and bibs respectively. The Ultra’s only increase price by $15 for the bibs and $10 for the jersey. Even the PR.R line avoids the astronomical prices we see many the brands charging at $150 and $160 for jersey and bibs respectively. That makes Alé’s top of the line kit less expensive than some brand’s bibs. If the qualiy is as good as Alé claims, this ‘start-up’ is sure to generate a fast and loyal following.

Peloton will be riding the PR.R line and some examples from the Klimatik line. Stay tuned for a full ride review.

How close do cars get? and does wearing hi viz clothing make a difference?

highvisjacket2If you feel like some drivers will pass too close no matter that you wear and that you’re being given less space on the road than you used to, a new study says you’re right, and indicates very strongly that you’re not safer if you wear high-vis in the daytime.

Researchers from the University of Bath and Brunel University found that no matter what clothing a cyclist wears, around 1-2% of drivers will pass dangerously close when overtaking. They also found that compared to Transport Research Laboratory findings in 1979, drivers today on average pass 61cm (2ft) closer to cyclists – 118cm compared to 179cm.

The researchers conclude that there is little a rider can do, by altering their outfit or donning a high-visibility jacket, to prevent the most dangerous overtakes from happening. Instead, they suggest, if we want to make cyclists safer, it is our roads, or driver behaviour, that need to change.

The research was conducted by Dr Ian Garrard from Brunel University and the project led by Dr Ian Walker from Bath University. Ian Walker is famous as the sometime wig-wearer who discovered in 2006 that cyclists are afforded more space by drivers if they appear to be female or are not wearing a helmet.

In this study, the two Dr Ians were trying to find out if drivers gave cyclists more room depending how skilled and experienced they looked. They expected that drivers would give more space to a rider who seemed inexperienced and less space to a rider who looked highly skilled.

The range of outfits worn during the research

Dr Garrard used an ultrasonic distance sensor to record how close each vehicle passed during his daily commute in Berkshire and outer London. Each day, he chose one of seven outfits at random, ranging from tight lycra racing cyclist clothes (signalling high experience) to a hi-viz vest with “novice cyclist” printed on the back (signalling low experience).

He sometimes also wore a vest that said he was video-recording his journey, or a vest modelled on a police jacket but with “POLITE” printed on the back. He rode the same bike, in the same way, every day and over several months collected data from 5690 passing vehicles.

The vest that mentioned video recording persuaded drivers to pass a little wider on average, tallying with anecdotes from helmet-cam users that drivers behave better when they know they are being recorded. However, there was no difference between the outfits in the most dangerous overtakes, where motorists passed within 50 cm of the rider. Whatever was worn, around 1-2% of motorists overtook within this extremely close zone.

Dr Ian Walker said: “Many people have theories to say that cyclists can make themselves safer if they wear this or that. Our study suggests that, no matter what you wear, it will do nothing to prevent a small minority of people from getting dangerously close when they overtake you.

“This means the solution to stopping cyclists being hurt by overtaking vehicles has to lie outside the cyclist. We can’t make cycling safer by telling cyclists what they should wear. Rather, we should be creating safer spaces for cycling – perhaps by building high-quality separate cycle paths, by encouraging gentler roads with less stop-start traffic, or by making drivers more aware of how it feels to cycle on our roads and the consequences of impatient overtaking.”

The researchers point out that while they found that wearing high-visibility clothing made no difference to the space left by overtaking drivers, they did not try to find out if it made cyclists more visible at junctions or at night.

However, they note that there is surprisingly little evidence that high-visibility clothing for cyclists and motorcyclists offers any safety benefits in daytime. This would further support the idea that there is no easy fix for riders’ safety from asking them to wear bright clothing.

The reduction in average passing distance between 1979 and today “could be a result of greater traffic volumes since the 1970s,” say the researchers, “or reduced levels of  bicycling which mean that the average motorist is less likely to have experience of bicycling themselves, and so is less understanding of a bicyclist’s needs.”

It occurs to us that it could also be linked to the increased width of modern cars. A 1979 Ford Escort Mk II was 1570mm wide (5ft 2in) while the modern equivalent Ford Focus is 1823mm wide (5ft 11 1/2in). However, Ian Walker points out that there was no difference in passing distance between wide four-wheel drive vehicles and standard cars in his 2007 study.

The paper – The influence of a bicycle commuter’s appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities: An on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, high-visibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom – will be published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.


Training for the Strathpuffer 24

Yesterday was told to do a longer ride and then taper for the race …. but surely tapering involves training i thought to myself ……

Went out in the sleet with a 2 degree C temp and my summer cycling gloves and summer shoes on. Now call me stupid but i have proper waterproof mtb boots but still with eggbeater cleats on from 2 years ago …. and gloves are gloves right.

I should have picked up the hint when my Garmin Fenix failed to lock on until I had done over half my ride …

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By the time the screen above started recording – I had lost all feeling in my thumb and forefinger … my feet were frozen and where i was stopping to open gates on the west highland way the snow had forced into the SPD pedals and frozen solid so that i was forced to bang the pedals to dislodge ice and i was even contemplating urinating on them to get them working again.

But rohloff great in all weathers as usual – bike fine … old raceface jacket warm, snug face warmer worth every penny but I was in pain on my return and my fingers took 3 minutes to thaw to be able to undo my camelbak clasp – how pathetic.


So today bought:

1 Sealskin Winter gloves

2 SPD cleats for winter shoes

3 Neoprene covers for summer mtb shoes and for road bike …..


Just got to get spare brake pads now and I will be grooving ….