Drew Bezanson’s Uncontainable

I was more of a BMX street and flatland man myself rather than a park rat, but park skills still deserve some kudos. This however is taking park and ramp riding skills to a whole new level! Totally mad. Loving the helmet cam view of the tricks too. Be sure to watch it in HD and right until the end…

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Wireless groupset from SRAM

SRAM’s long awaited wireless electronic groupset has been spotted on Kristin Armstrong’s time trial bike at the USA Pro Challenge last week. The groupset still has no public release date or even a name, but it’s another step forward.

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From the photos released on Bike Radar it looks like the shift buttons on the extensions and base bars connect via wires (yes, I know) to a junction box, which then transmits the signals wirelessly to the front and rear derailleurs. The junction box also has it’s own buttons, but it’s still unclear what these are for (looks to me to be another shift point although I’m not sure why you’d want or need them there).

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A single button on each side controls shifting. One side shifts the rear derailleur up and the other side shifts down the cassette. Pressing both buttons at the same time shifts the front mech in either direction. The shift button “pods” look like they could easily be retro-fitted to older style bars that aren’t designed for modern electronic groupsets.

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There’s been a lot of negativity towards wireless groupset tech, but I personally think it could be an interesting step forward, especially for time trial and triathlon bikes.

1440216293412-135zj0sujryah-700-80Wireless would be a bonus for anyone riding an older or non-internal-di2 ready frame. It keeps everything out of the wind and negates any messy external electric wires taped to the frame.

Now I don’t think I’d ever go electronic on my road bikes, but on the TT bike it makes more sense. Shifting from both the base bars and extensions would be an advantage on lumpier courses and climbs. Hopefully we’ll see this come to market later this year or early next year. Shimano also have patents for wireless groupset technology so expect to see something from them too.

Arguable performance benefits aside, having ridden a few  electronic groupset equipped bikes it’s undeniable  that the “tap, tap, tap” of electronic button presses and the “zzzt” sound as the mech instantly selects the next cog is just so damn cool…

NEW UPDATE! First look video from the GCN guys!

Pokljuka Climb, Slovenia

This is a Catagory 1 road climb in Slovenia starting from just outside Lake Bled and rising up through Triglav National Park to the Triglav Pokljuka Sports Centre and also a ski resort near the top.

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As it winds it’s way up the mountain, the road rises for over ten miles and 2500 feet at an average gradient of five percent. There are a couple of signposted 12% and 18% sections and a max gradient of 20 percent. Triglav Pokljuka Sports Centre has a cafe at the top, but there’s not much of a view.

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Lake Bled is a fantastic base for road cycling, mountain biking, hiking or just lazing around the incredibly fairytale-like lake. There are also plenty of other adventure sports such as white water rafting and paragliding available to book from the town.

On the day I cycled traffic was minimal and the road surface smooth apart from some damage repair closer to the summit. My attempt was on a mountain bike I hired in Bled so I really, really must get back to Slovenia one day with my road bike. There’s plenty of other challenging climbs through the Julian Alps I still need to ride!

Cycling in Slovenia

As I’m currently “between jobs” I’ve been doing a bit of travelling around Slovenia . So far it has been great, if a little on the toasty side at times! Earlier in the week my wife and I hired a tandem and rode along the Slovenian coastline to Croatia, passing through olive groves, vineyards and the salt flats. By 11am it was registering 40 deg C on my Garmin!

f76cbda9-46fe-442f-bd77-ce86571867d1At the moment we are at Lake Bled, at the base of Slovenia’s Julian Alps. I tried to hire a road bike but they were all booked so had to settle for a clunky, beat up mountain bike. Guess I can’t complain for €10/day.

While April was out paragliding this morning I rode up one of the mountains to the ski resort and sports centre at the top. For the ten mile climb I was cursing not having my road bike, but at the same time glad of the mtb’s low gearing. Some of the 18℅ drags near the top were real leg sappers! Luckily there’s no shortage of hearty recovery food and beverages to be had here.

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4c4a1fdd-f722-4d7d-96a5-bc30a35e98ecOh and April is now a “proper” cyclist – finding out the hard and painful way that the European’s cable their brakes to the opposite levers! First time using disc brakes too! She went right over the bars and ended up with the bike on top of her. Always the trooper though she was back on and riding again the same day, although I think in future we’ll stick to the tandem. She’s developed some monster bruises on her legs also to go with the road rash.

Got a couple of days in the capital Ljubljana before travelling west to Treviso (Italy) which is the birthplace of Pinarello!

Time for a change

Change is in the air for me. For the first time in over 15 years I am no longer working a government job and will be moving into a new field, down a totally different path. I’ve been in a similar job (but in different places) for almost ten years since moving to the UK so I am certainly due a change. Sometimes you’ve just got to shake things up a little.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– Andre Gide

It’s totally different to what I was doing, so it’ll be quite the shock to the system to begin with. Longer hours and less holidays, but it is a door into the cycling industry of sorts! I’ll be commuting by bike as much as possible (more I will have to, rather than able to) which should see me getting some decent mileage in as a bonus too.

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That does mean less time for things such as this blog (although I will continue) and my weekend cycling might take a hit if the commuting wears me out. I am quite sad to leave my old job behind, I did very much enjoy it and it was incredibly rewarding some days, but it’s time to move on to pastures new. I very nervous AND very excited at the prospect so hopefully I’ve made the right decision!

“When in doubt, choose change.”
– Lily Leung