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Still exploring

One thing I love about riding around my local English countryside is stumbling across stuff I didn’t know existed. Like this evening, riding a couple of miles south of Withington, I found myself stopped on top of what I now realise was RAF Chedworth – an airfield built in 1942. From the ground there wasn’t much to see, the airfield is now a farm but from where I stopped I could see concrete strips still visible on the ground:

And from the air, you can see the road I was on cuts straight across one of the runways:

I don’t know why I get so excited about old airfields, but this just about made my day. Some dude has even explored the nearby woods and found tons of broken down airfield buildings next to this site. Awesome.

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Sonoma is for lovers…of f@#%ing awesome hills

Imagine 1,500 square miles of green countryside. Everywhere you turn there are beautiful hills with oaks trees sheltering sleek black two-lane roads. The temperature is perfect, and the agricultural land is primarily given over to vineyards. What traffic there is generally sticks to the major arteries, and the remaining roads – the really cool ones – are deserted. There is 75 miles of coastline that resembles Cornwall, or south-western Ireland, and immediately to the east of the beaches are tumbling mountains dotted with sequoias. If you happen to find yourself in these hills, astride your horse, you’ll be utterly spoilt for choice: smooth pavement winds through the mountains, dipping into foggy canyons and climbing over toothy peaks. You get to know your shifters better on these roads than anywhere you’ve ever ridden before. Some of the climbs, like Annapolis Road and Skaggs Springs, seem to go on forever, switching in and out of the trees. The descents are terrifying. You can ride for hours and not get very far on the map, but your legs will feel like they’ve been through the grinder. This is what Sonoma offers. I haven’t ridden the whole county, nor have I ridden the whole state by comparison, but what I have seen puts any other riding to shame. If I could convince my family, I’d move there in a heartbeat.

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Etape Hibernia

In a couple of weeks I’ll be riding the Sky Ride Etape Hibernia, 85 rain-lashed and windswept miles of rolling, rough Irish roads on the Western coast of County Clare. I’ll be doing it along with a few guys from my place of employment, and a handful of our clients as a bit of a “jolly” only with some pretty hard bike riding involved.

My boss went out to Ireland to film a recce of the route a few weeks ago, it’s rough hand-held footage but I’ve done my best to tidy it up in the edits and split the film into four pieces. You can see the first three parts on our dedicated Etape website if you’re interested…


Joseph Gordon-Levitt breaks some glass…

Thanks to the perceived “coolness” of fixed gear riding and bike messengers, Premium Rush, a hollywood film is currently being filmed starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s rumoured to be a re-make of Quicksilver.

Today apparently he went elbows-first into an NY cab during filming.

Keepin’ it real.

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two of my favorite things

Fueling up on coffee to power through a bike ride? Sure. Using your bike to power a coffee shop? Now you’re getting interesting. Comprising two bicycles, a fold-up coffee bar, and a hand-cranked grinder, Kickstand Coffee is a mobile shop that aims to provide “the best possible cup of coffee to community events in [New York City] with the smallest environmental impact possible.”

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gyro wheel – forget the training wheels…

In my quest to teach my daughter the fine art of riding her bike without training wheels I came across Gyrobike. Gyrobike’s concept is to remove the training wheels and incorporate a gyroscope inside the front wheel. Thereby keeping the balance of the bike subdued to where the little rider can get used to the feeling of pedaling and working on their balance. I like the fact as well that it introduces the idea earlier so they don’t rely too much on the training wheels… If this option is taken, I will keep you updated of the progress. Crossing fingers…

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The best fans.

It’s a given that cycling in it’s many forms is “the best sport”. That’s not really up for debate, but I think there might also be a case for the sport of professional cycling also having the best fans. Talking the Tour de France as my example, I’ll attempt to demonstrate.

The Basque Fans
They situate themselves high on the climbs of the Pyrenees, and they seem to tread the thin line between going absolutely bezerk at every cyclist, and not quite knocking them off their bikes. You can’t imagine them getting any more excited, until you see how they react when an Euskatel rider is storming up the mountain in front.

The Borats
I’m not even convinced these guys are cycling fans, but they’ve been sporting their mankinis by the side of the road for a few Tours now and I think those ‘taches are actually real so they deserve a mention.

This woman on a horse
I love it when you get someone on a horse riding full pelt alongside the peleton. I makes a great shot from the helicopter too. And it appears to amuse the riders. You never see this kind of thing in football, or Formula 1.

These sumo guys
Not content to just run alongside the Shlecks, these guys even manage it with inflated sumo suits acting as a sail. I wonder weather the guy drafting him took a turn up front.

Lampre fan
His cycling shorts go down over his knees. He’s wearing socks with sandals. His jersey doesn’t cover his belly. He has camel toe. (Or is that moose knuckle). He is awesome to behold.

Lance’s biggest fan
Hard to miss this guy, his flag is larger than most bed sheets, and when you watch him run alongside the peleton, it’s hard not to wonder which poor rider is going to lose an eye.

The Tour Devil
The most iconic and long-serving Tour de France fan, Dieter “Didi” Senft is visible on every stage if you keep your eyes peeled. He jumps so high! What a ‘ledge.


A video is worth 10,000 words….

AMGEN Tour of California – Stage 1 – El Dorado Hills 2010 from Kurt Rummel on Vimeo.

I must say this was truly awesome to be so close to the action…

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I don’t know where I saw this first but it came from here, of all places.

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meet the bike

There was going to be a ride and a camera in my jersey pocket. I thought it would make sense to clean her up and take her photo up at Beals Point, the turn-around point of my regular ride and introduce everybody to her. And perhaps I’ll still do that a little later down the road. But I think this speaks more to why I love my bike.

into the clear blue

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