Last week I posted my Bucket list, and I need to update it as i missed something major.
- Buy a bespoke bike.
- Ride the lightest (road) bike in the world.
- I also had a recommendation to add the the Tour of Tasmania to the list. 6 days around Tasmania on a bike for the National Road Series sounds superb.
- And hot off the press, is the third in the ever growing 3 Peaks family – Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain.
Starting and finishing on the Devonport foreshore, the 235 kilometre circuit takes you to the heart of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park as you tackle the ascents of Union Bridge, Echo Valley, Cethana Road, Cradle Mountain and Spellmans Road.
Event date: Sunday 1 Nov 2015
Entries open to the general public: 9am (AEDT) on Saturday 7 March 2015
On the 3 Peaks front, I’m heading over with the crew, but this time I’m heading over for fun not for the grind. I’ve been training with the Alpine Suicide Squad Mk III, but I haven’t been putting the extra yards in, and it has been showing. Unfortunately the last 3 weekends have been extremely hot, and each of the rides had to be curtailed early. Last Saturdays training ride was torturous. Coach Road, Knox Terrace, Kensi Lookout, Greenhill, Cleland, Forest Range and a raft of other smaller hills for a gain of 2,630m over just 74km. Ouch.
What I am looking forward to is a Saturday Ride down and back up Falls Creek whilst the team are resting for Sundays ride. And then the reverse drive on Sunday to meet the team at Dinner Plain will be a stunner.
Well, they did it again, after the 2009 image of naked lady riding bike (ala v pendelton), the 2011 image of black silhouettes of cyclists riding on the back of a naked woman, and the 2014 woman ‘riding’ a ‘bike’ made of three other women, this year they have taken inspiration from Sagans podium to “promote” this years event, which is on this weekend. Really? Are the classics hear already?
Ronde Van Vlanderen (Tour of Flanders) evening
From 9.30pm – 1.00am, Sunday 5 April 2015 at the Belgian Beer Cafe, Ebenezer Place, Adelaide, South Australia
This meet saw the aussies depart Paris after a 11-medal haul including 4 gold.
Anna Meares has become the most successful women’s track cycling world champion in history by claiming her 11th gold medal at the UCI World Track Championships at Frances new national velodrome in Paris by taking Gold in the keirin on Sunday, breaking France’s Felicia Ballanger’s record
So what is a day in the life like when you make your World Championship debut, break a national record on the way qualifying fastest, then win your first world title in front of a packed Paris Velodrome?
Cycling Australia prepared a video of a day with Bec Wiasak as she prepares for and wins the Individual – This and other videos of the Aussies at the Tracks can be seen here – Cycling Australia
I am partway through reading a book i really thought was going to be lame, but it has pleasantly surprised me. Authored by Rob Penn, the book is Rob’s quest to build the perfect cycle.
It’s All About the Bike takes a spin around a number of small-scale cycle componentry builders from around the world. Rob selects and then visits each and every one of the component builders he has chosen. Interspersed with his visit discussions are brief discussions on various aspects on the history of the bike and major influences on it’s development.
Chris King, Brian Rourke, Alfred Milward Reynolds, Cino Cinelli, Tullio Campagnolo, Stronglight, Steve Gravenites are just some of the names floating through the book. Some you should know, some you may know, and others have long left this mortal coil that you will have no idea about.
A fascinating book and one well worth a read, although it does have it’s quiet and dull moments, but you plough through these to get to the gems.
Got me thinking though about bespoke bikes, and what is happening out there beyond my window. Appears there is a strong community of builders, but they are slowly fading away as the cheaper mass produced hi-tech frames and componentry are getting cheaper and cheaper. Not saying its a bad thing because it has brought high quality cycles down to the masses, me included. But there are some passionate builders out there that deserve your attention if you have the time and money to at the very least have a look at.
What is it about bespoke bikes that make them so tempting? A couple of paragraphs from Robert Penns book probably best answers that questions.
It was a beautiful bike, of course, but something significant happened when Brian jumped on to it, catching his weight on the pedals and his shoulder against the wall. The bike changed. It fitted Brian so perfectly that it came alive. It responded to his every move, as he shifted his hands briskly around the handlebars and transferred his weight back and forth….
The point was made when Brian stepped off the bike, swung it round and wheeled it across to me. It was breathtakingly light, well balanced and delightful to hold in my fingers. But when I hopped on to it as Brian had done, there was no transformation. It didn’t look special under me. I didn’t feel special on top of it. Although Brian and I are the same height and roughly the same weight, we are physically different in many other ways. Our arms, torso, shoulder, leg and thigh measurements are unlikely to be the same. It was Brians bike.
Here are just a few of the bespoke bicycles that are out there in the market. Go on, give them a look.
Brian Rourke framesets have been hand made in Stoke on Trent England since 1972 we have been synonymous with made to measure racing frame having hundreds of major race wins including World and National titles.
The Brian Rourke frame-building philosophy is simple.
If your feet, hands and bum are in the right place, on a well balanced bike and if you want it enough, you will find success.
One of Wednesday Legs readers is raving about his new delivery
In 1937 Giuseppe Daccordi founded a small company for the construction of bicycle frames, that immediately after the Second World War, was addressed solely to the production of high quality and precision; as the frame for racing bikes.Joseph has handed down to his son Luigi its experience and fussiness so that, even today, the company continues with the traditional precision Daccordi always outstretched toward the research of the highest quality and perfection.
(sold by Norwood Parade Cycles)
A self confessed bike nerd for a decade now, I have always spent my time restoring and rebuilding vintage and custom steel bicycles. Almost 4 years ago I had a major cycling accident which almost cost me my life. After a long recovery and plenty of time to think, my passion for cycling was stronger than ever and my conscious decision to persue frame building was made. Three years of hard work later Rogers Bespoke is taking orders.
Rogers Bespoke is based in Adelaide Australia
Drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Luxury handmade Italian Bikes … We warmly welcome you to Scappa.
As the most exclusive bike manufacturer in the world, it is our concern to not only meet the highest quality standards but also the perfect customization options. Each Scappa bike is unique. Be it geometry, design and color choice every bike is designed to the wishes of the customer down to the last detail.
Scappa, which was founded from Gernot Mueller in 2010, has steadily evolved. Starting as a pure carbon specialist Scappa has greatly expanded with respect to the choice of materials. Now aluminum, steel, titanium, stainless steel are all feasible for the different Scappa bikes. A Scappa bike is unique, sporty, elegant and above all fast.
Stuart O’Grady is the Australian distributor, check out his website for info on the bikes www.stuartogrady.com.au .
You’re very unlikely to know anything about Scappa… but should get to know because this bike is something special. This Italian brand was founded in 2010 by Gernot Mueller, a man with some 27 years’ experience at the top level of the cycling industry.
The mission was a simple one – to create the ultimate. It had to be handmade, state-of-the-art, superlight and bespoke, with the luxury experience of buying a supercar, something that probably isn’t entirely alien to anyone that doesn’t choke on the price.
- Pros: Handling, stiffness, compliance, weight, bespoke sizing and colours, exclusivity
- Cons: Selling all your other possessions to buy it
So far Scappa is a small company but it’s growing surprisingly fast. The range already includes an aero-road and a TT bike (neither of which seem obvious places to start because of the intensive aero R&D required), alongside a sportive steed, a women’s road machine and a hardtail mountain bike. Titanium and steel road frames will follow, plus a track bike and an urban range. On top of that, Scappa already has its own stem, seatpost and bars (fitted here) and in the works is a saddle and complete wheel range. It’s all designed in-house and is, of course, super light.
The Purosangue (it means ‘thoroughbred’ in Italian) is the flagship, a featherweight race bike as pure in its design as its name suggests. There are no token aero features nor fussy bump-absorbing kinks or hinges – you get round tubes and straight stays. Within that package, though, is great attention to detail: the head tube tapers from 1.5in at the lower race for steering fidelity, the chainstays are beefy and the seatstays are pencil-thin all the way to the seat tube.
The claimed frame weight is a barely-there 630g – and that includes around 80g of paint because it has three full layers to get this deep finish. If you don’t like this paintjob (it is rather divisive), fear not; you can have literally any hue you show them to match.
The claimed frame weight is a mere 630g – a sub-5kg build is therefore possible
That frame weight undercuts everything we know of: the new Trek Émonda, Cannondale SuperSix Evo Nano, AX Lightness Vial, Cervélo RCA, Scott Addict… A sub-5kg build is possible if you choose the very lightest components.
What none of those frames can offer, though, is bespoke sizing. Scappa can, because its frames are made by hand to order using a tube-to-tube process rather than a mass-production friendly monocoque. We sent Scappa our tester’s fit data and they built a bike that fits beautifully. We say this a lot, but bike fit is so important to get right and it will never be better than with a bespoke frame.
Our test bike is built with appropriately high-end parts: Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, Rotor 3D+ cranks, tubular Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels and Scappa’s own carbon bars, stem and post. It totals 6.0kg…
The Macini brand has been part of the South Australian cycling landscape for decades. With a strong focus on the racing cyclist, the Macini name grew to be a recognised brand name all over Australia, both on the road and at the velodrome. In the early days, Macini frames were crafted locally in Adelaide by a talented frame builder and long time cyclist. Both stock frames and custom made frames were made to order and were available in road and track models alike.
As the reputation developed and success followed, the best racing frames were sourced from around Australia and now all over world, to keep up with the demand to exacting standards. Tradition is important to us.
Macini Bikes have always been held in high regard with the racing cyclist. The brand has been extremely well known in South Australia and has supported both individuals and cycling clubs not only in Adelaide, but all around Australia.
Today, Macini Bikes are absolutely dedicated and committed to offering cyclists the very best bikes and components available. It is our mantra to not only to supply these items, but to be a supplier of choice where customer service is paramount. Tradition and reputation is the key of any first tier cycling brand and Macini will continue to follow this model staying true to its values, heritage and the strong legacy.
Handmade in Portland – Renova are a bunch of engineers/designers who chose wood as the material of choice for bicycles because of its excellent engineering properties. Their craftspersons who hand make these bikes have some serious training and varied experience from guitars to fine and production furniture, and of course bikes.
Renovo was founded by Ken Wheeler whose background includes the design and manufacture of the Wheeler Express, a composite, 4 place airplane and a variety of projects before that. He was joined by his son Stuart who is a carrier-qualified pilot flying the AV8B Harrier vertical takeoff tactical fighter.
Renova use computer-aided machines to create the sustainable frames and finishes them by hand with wood personally selected by each customer.
These bikes look stupendous, hand crafted masterpieces. How could you not love something that has been built with such care and attention.
And what about that belt!
Bike riding has taken me up more than anything in my life, I’ve lived and breathed it since I was a young boy; I understand what it is to become one with the bike. That feeling comes from refining technique through decades of passionate obsession.
I spent many years racing road bikes, I raced in Europe, the UK and Australia, I had a stint on the Australian National Team.
To get the very best from myself, I always wanted to perfect the bike, to be sure that every last drop of energy I was pouring into the pedals was being converted to forward movement. That despite the bike being as light as it could possibly be, it handled so well that every corner was carved to the limits of the tyres adhesion with utter confidence. That every bump was a friend, not a foe, so you got to the finish line still fresh enough to battle out the sprint, and that your body was up to doing it all again the next day.
I lived in Oxford in the UK for some years, and was always happy to be surrounded by comfortable utilitarian bikes, especially as they were respected as part of the culture and history of the place. I felt the same way in Amsterdam.
It’s a pleasure to see Sydney embracing the Bicycle as daily transport, almost daily I see the numbers swell. The tremendous sense of freedom a bike gives, its efficiency, its simplicity, its practicality. But more than anything the sense of well being a rider feels every time they feel the wind on their face, the blood pumping through their body, and that still thrilling to me sense, of feeling like a low flying bird.
I’ve been designing bikes since 1989.
The Pacific Northwest has an extremely vibrant hand built bicycle scene that creates a very unique and dedicated bike culture.
Their goal is to create amazing unique bikes that their customers can connect with and make them want to ride more. Their lineup reflects their own personal needs and passion for steel bikes, whether it’s racing cross, heading for an adventure in the mountains or just going downtown to grab a beer.
Cyfac’s founder, Francis Quillon, began as the frame builder to cycling’s greatest stars. Cyfac started as a simple workshop atelier building framesets for the greatest French stars of the 1980’s. Laurent Fignon, Thierry Marie, Thierry Clavreyolat, Charly Mottet, Marc Madiot, Richard Virenque.
Through the decades he also built for more of the sport’s legendary greats, including Chiapucci, Pantani, Vandenbroucke, Miller, and more.
As the real frame beneath a sponsor’s paint, Cyfac creations were chosen for their precision craftsmanship, quality, and fit. Technologically- advanced and dependable, each frame was built to withstand the demands of hard grit European racing and training.
Cyfac was the first builder to TIG-weld aluminum frames, making the lightweight aluminum frames for Claudio Chiapucci and Marco Pantani and others.
Nestled in France’s picturesque Loire Valley, Cyfac has been expertly crafting bicycle frames for more than 30 years. Drawing inspiration from the world-famous vineyards and epic cycling lanes of our terroir, their artisans infuse each frame with a time-honored attention-to-detail and passion for cycling.
Creative dissatisfaction. That’s the origin of the Mosaic Cycles enterprise, one born from a desire to see a bike transformed into an engine for self-expression, personal achievement and years of amazing miles. Founder Aaron Barcheck imagined as a child, planned as a teen and then gained competence from active apprenticeship in his twenties. Elevating his skills to the level of Master Builder at a frame maker, Aaron diligently prepared to make his vision relevant to a new generation of riders. Not coincidentally, there’s a value story embedded in this journey to excellence.
Much like the legacy makers of fine timepieces, motor vehicles and precision hand tools, the enduring sensibilities of Aaron’s vision demanded an alternative philosophy. Objects that precisely obey without being dainty or delicate. Mechanisms that rebuff the natural elements, continued use and the expectations of demanding owners. Design aesthetics which command attention by virtue of their striking simplicity. These are the three attributes upon which Mosaic Bespoke Bicycle was imagined.
No. 22 Bicycle Company was born out of a desire to strike equilibrium between enjoyment and performance. We build bicycles for the rider who appreciates perfectly tuned ride quality as much as stiffness and low weight—the rider who loves to ride for riding’s sake.
Our point of departure is frame material: we fell in love with the ride of titanium and named our company after it. We then took to the task of sweating details of fit and finish. Our frames are based on carefully considered geometries and tubing profiles. We use the highest grades of titanium tubing available, build our frames in the United States with our veteran craftsmen, and confidently back them with our ten year warranty. We carry this meticulous approach through to our clean-lined and contemporary finishes that showcase the beauty of raw and anodized titanium.
No. 22 is still a young brand, but we are spurred on by the number of passionate cyclists that agree with our approach. With our current lineup we are proud to be producing more bikes that make the destination second to the journey.
With a million other bike companies out there to choose from, why in the world would someone choose to buy a Ritte?!?
The easy answer is choose Ritte because you passionately feel that you simply can’t go on without one in your life. Choose it because looking at our bikes makes you feel funny; makes you weak in the knees and filled with lust for an inanimate object. Choose Ritte because you want something different that sets you apart from the pack; something that says you’re an individual.
Okay, so basing a major purchase on a purely emotional reaction isn’t exactly prudent, which is why our bikes aren’t just the pretty airhead at the bar. Every frame in our lineup compete at the top of their category in terms of engineering, materials, build quality and performance. The same goes for our carbon, stainless steel and alloy creations. And if you ever have any issues with the frame you’ve bought we will do everything we can to make you happy as quickly as possible.
We have a complex relationship with our bikes and most of our customers do to: to us they’re art and utility, a personal expression and simple brutish tools. Our bikes are born from equal parts passion and logic. We design only what we personally want: a high-end carbon racing thoroughbred, a comfortable, subtle stainless steel steed, a down and dirty alloy cross rig, a streetable track bike and brutally snappy time trial beast.
We’re not out to topple the mega brands: we ignore market trends and try not to pay much attention to what the other guys are doing. We don’t advertise much because our bikes speak for themselves and their owners are our best reps. And all we can hope is that enough people like what we do enough to help us keep our lights on.
Blog of the Week – Brutalist Parking Garage
Link here – Brutalist
What can I say?
I WANT A BESPOKE BIKE…………………….
I hope I have inspired one or two of you to have a closer look at bespoke bikes when you’re next in the market, particularly the local and Australian builders.
till next time