I get to meet some awesome people in my line of work. Today, one of those incredible human beings was Paul Pritchard. He came in today so we could kit him and his team out in our merino wool thermals and active/outdoor wear in preparation for their upcoming cycle expedition!
Paul is a life-long adventurer. Back in 1998 while climbing the Totem Pole (one of Tasmania’s most famous rock formations) Paul was struck on the head by a falling boulder. He lay on the cliff ledge for over ten hours, bleeding and broken, as his climbing partner ran 8km back to base for help. The accident left him a hemiplegic and changed his life forever. He basically had to learn to walk and talk all over again.
But he has never let his injuries curb his adventure spirit. Years of recovery and rehab later, he has since completed a trike expedition across the Himalaya from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Everest Base Camp and most significantly, returned to the rock which almost finished him – to finish what he started – succeeding in climbing to the top!
Tasman Peninsula rock formations, including the Totem Pole
Next month Paul and his team will set off on a 2100km cycling challenge which will see them pedal their trikes from Australia’s geographical low point (Lake Eyre) to it’s highest, the peak of Mount Kosciusko! Not only that, he’ll be doing it on a TANDEM trike – accompanied by a blind stoker – alongside his team of other disabled adventurers. People really are amazing.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to take my bike down onto the Tasman Peninsula for a ride along the coast and into the hills. It was one of those rare and perfect early winter evenings. Still mild enough to have the legs out, not a drop of wind and hardly a car to contend with.
It’s not often enough I get out on the road these days and this ride certainly reminded me of what I am missing out on!
During the summer the roads down on the Peninsula are jammed full of tourist rental cars and badly driven camper vans, but outside of peak season you can almost have the place to yourself. It really is a little slice of island paradise. If it weren’t for the fading light I could have ridden for hours, but in the end I rolled back to the house with a shade over 51km on the Garmin, three Cat 4 Climbs, 28kph average, two Strava KOMS and one absolutely stunning sunset to finish off the ride. Some days life is just ohhh so sweet and it makes you thankful to be alive. #keepthosepedalsturning
So I’ve been on holiday in Vietnam for a little while getting away from it all, hence the lack of new posts. There’s a few coming don’t worry, but for now here’s an image that popped up on my Twitter feed:
Turbo training: You’re doing it wrong…
In almost a polar opposite to my recent power training post, I also absolutely love riding tandem bikes. It’s simply what cycling is all about once you strip away the fast ride politics, the endless number crunching, the Strava files and training plans. Being on a tandem is about getting out there and having fun just enjoying the journey together.
My wife isn’t a sporting cyclist so riding a tandem allows us to cover much, much more ground than if we were on a bike each. Probably five times as much at least. All with a smile on her face and as you know – happy wife happy life!
The photo above was taken during a laid back ride through the vineyards and lakes of Hungary a couple of years back. Such a beautiful country. There’s nothing quite like exploring pastures new by bicycle. Plus she can take scenic photos, read maps or guidebooks, pass up glasses of wine, etc. All from the back seat! #winning
Sometimes though the tandems on offer at the local cycle hire shop are not exactly high tech machines! This particular one below we hired in Slovenia. I had visions of it busting in half with any out-of-the saddle climbs! It did the job though and got us to Croatia and back – even though it was close to 40 degrees C that day. As you can see from the photo I am resting in the shade after some hard graft on one rickety looking contraption…
A hot day for a tandem ride on one strange looking machine.
Sometimes us tandem cyclists even travel in packs! One of my favourite tandem rides was the inaugural Woking CC Tandem Club Ride, where six of us tandem enthusiasts took to the quieter roads of Surrey and Berkshire in search of the finest tea and scones on the county. It was a fantastic day out on two wheels. Needless to say if I had a little more storage space (and Tassie wasn’t so lumpy) I’d buy a tandem tomorrow!
Woking CC Tandem Club Ride – Outside the cafe stop in Windsor Great Park.
Yesterday thanks to work I took a trip to the London Bike Show to check out this year’s latest and greatest cycling releases. I’d never been to the London show before so was really looking forward to it. A short car journey and three trains later I arrived at the ExCeL Centre around 1pm.
First call was the Specialized stand to see the S-Works Venge ViAS. I’d been hankering over a peek at this bike and it did not disappoint. I will admit to not being a fan in the past, but this version has totally changed my opinion! I’ll have a more in-depth feature for the Venge ViAS in a future post.
From there I did a quick (okay, very slow) few laps on the Street Velodrome, where I almost crashed when I clipped the exit during my timed two laps and got my ass handed to me by a 12 year old kid! That going around in small circles at speed is harder than it looks…
Another highlight was sampling the different flavours and brands of energy bars on the market. We stock many brands such as Torq, Honey Stinger, Mule Bar and SiS but to be honest I’d never tried many of them! I still much prefer to make my own ride fuel. At least then you know exactly what is in them. The ever expanding Mule Bar range was by far the tastiest.
There were plenty of high end road and mountain bikes on display for punters to ogle over. I was particularly taken by the growing number of titanium offerings, plus the Argon 18 range of aero road and time trial bikes. Lets just say there was no shortage of serious cycle porn on display! Clothing, accessory and component brands were also well represented with the likes of EDCO, Continental, Mavic alongside smaller independent brands all mixing it up for a slice of the consumer pie.
One day I will have my own Van Nicholas titanium beauty!
I was a bit disappointed not to see any SRAM eTAP on display (apparently there was one bike on the Pinarello stand) or Rotor’s hydraulic groupset. Also I didn’t see the new 9-series Trek Madone, the closest competitor to the Venge ViAS. Apart from that, all the usual suspects and high end brands were present. If you’re at a loss for something to do this weekend, the London Bike Show may just be the ticket!
After my fair share of commute miles back and forth on the Ribble, I thought it was about time I pimped out my commute bike. There’s always room for one more horse in the stable, right? I’d been eyeing off one of these babies for a month or two since seeing our expert mechanic build a few for customers. Staff pricing made it a bit of a steal so I just HAD to have one!
It’s technically a cyclocross bike, but don’t worry I won’t be riding any of that dirty muddy cross stuff! I’ve dialled it similar to my summer road bike and switched out that chunky CX wheelset for my svelte Fulcrum Racing 3’s shod with Conti GP 4 Season tyres. The Ultegra Di2 shifting (although only 10-speed) is totally lush!
So now my “summer” bike has Shimano 105 and my “winter/commute” bike rocks super sexy Ultegra Di2. Haha! #pimpmyride