Open ‘er UP

Giro Rosa

The women are half way through the only “grand tour” of the 2018 Women’s WorldTour , the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, also known as the Giro Rosa.

This year, the race returns to the iconic Monte Zoncolan, on the penultimate stage 9, which hasn’t been used in the women’s race in over 20 years. The daunting 11.9-kilometre ascent, with slopes as steep as 22 per cent, could decide the overall winner.

  • Stage 1: Friday, July 6 – Verbania to Verbania, 115.5km – winner
    • Team Sunweb won the opening team time trial putting Ellen van Dijk into the pink jersey of the overall leader, beating Mitchelton-Scott by one second and Boels Dolmans, 12 seconds slower.
    • Sunweb s1ms s1
  • Stage 2: Saturday, July 7 – Ovada to Ovada, 120.3km
    • Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) took stage 2, beating Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) and European champion Marianne Vos (WaowDeals).
    • s21
    • s2
  • Stage 3: Sunday, July 8 – Corbetta to Corbetta, 132km
    • Belgian Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-Scott) won the third stage ahead of the previous day’s winner Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) and Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM).
    • s31
    • s3
  • Stage 4: Monday, July 9 – Piacenza to Piacenza, 109km
    • Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-Scott) won stage 4 ahead of Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) and Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla).
    • s41
    • s4
  • Stage 5: Tuesday, July 10 – Omenga to Omenga, 117.7km
    • American Ruth Winder won stage 5 and became the fourth Sunweb rider to wear the leader’s jersey. American, Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops) was second with Alice Maria Arzuffi (Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias) in third.
    • s5
    • s51.jpg
  • Stage 6: Wednesday, July 11 – Sovico to Gerola Alto, 114.1km
  • Stage 7: Thursday, July 12 – Lanzada to Diga di Campo Moro, 15km
  • Stage 8: Friday, July 13 – San Giorgio di Perlena (Fara Vicentino) to Breganze, 121.6km
  • Stage 9: Saturday, July 14 – Tricesimo to Monte Zoncolan, 104.7km
  • Stage 10: Sunday, July 15 – Cividale del Friuli to Cividale del Friuli, 120.3km

Whilst Ruth and Sunweb hold a commanding lead after the first 5 stages, it is still anyone’s with some pretty tough stages coming up with a summit finish preceded by a 15km climb on tonight’s Stage 6, a 15km mountain time trial on stage seven and the mighty Monte Zoncolan on stage nine

General Classification after stage five:

1. Ruth Winder (USA) Sunweb in 12-39-36
2. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Subweb, at 1-27
3. Lucinda Brand (Led) Sunweb, at 1-33
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-38
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott, 1-38
6. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Subweb, at 1-44
7. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervelo Bigla, at 1-49
8. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Cervelo Bigla,  at 1-49
9. Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla, at 1-51
10. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at 2-00



Bike Review- Open U.P.

OK, hands up who’s heard of OPEN Cycle.


Not many eh.

Who are OPEN?

OPEN is a small bicycle maker, run by a couple of guys called Andy and Gerard.


Andy Kessler is a former CEO of BMC and the International Sales Director of Cervélo.  Gerard Vroomen is a Dutch-born mechanical engineer (he’s gotta be good!) and was the co-founder of Cervélo & the now-defunct Cervélo TestTeam.

Together they have created  a small company that design the bikes they want to ride, they produce them and sell them to like-minded people. It’s as simple as that.

OPEN debuted with the O-1.0 29-inch hardtail in 2012

images (1)

And now have the One+, the U.P. & U.P.P.E.R. GravelPlus frames to the livery.


I came across this brand about a year ago, don’t know specifically when or how I came across it, but it would have been a reference to a reference whilst surfing the net, and fell in love with their grvel bikes, or more  specifically, the OPEN U.P.

IMG_0556 (2)

I think it was the combination of the colour and the beautiful styling. The high gloss orange first hooked me in, a brilliant bright safety orange in a finish that screams class. Hard not to fall for it. And the lines, it took me a little to wrap my head around why it grabbed me. It was the overall balance, the beefy forks with oodles of clearance promising me adventures on many different surfaces up in them thar hills.

IMG_0541 (2)
Look at that clearance -look at the fork – looks like a pair of Popeye arms, slim but strong shoulders, hands wrapped around the axle, daring you to throw what you can at it.

The slim seat stays that looked like they’d smooth out the bumpy trails.

IMG_0462 (2)

Not to mention that quirky bottom bracket / chain stay, looks busy but purposeful.


Australian Distribution


Eighty One Spices are the Australian distributors for OPEN bikes (as well as some other boutique cycling brands including Liteville, Syntace, Tune and SQ Lab. Krischan is the owner of Eighty One Spices, who are based up in Meadows in the Adelaide Hills.

The Bike

Krischan from Eighty One Spices lent me his personal OPEN U.P. for three weekends, a great opportunity to try it out on a number if varied surfaces.

IMG_0454 (2)

Not only that, 3 sets of wheels and tyres were provided to allow me to try out the bike in different conditions. All Tune disc wheels, with:

  • Road: Schwalbe One 28mm 700c
  • 700c: Schwalbe G-One 40mm
  • 650b: Front Racing Ralph 2.25 / Rear Thunderburt 2.1″

All were set up tubeless, even the road tyres.

The U.P. (Unbeaten Path) is a bike designed for the road and gravel. The medium frame weight is 1,100g. The dropped driveside stay allows fitting of a true road bike chainring combo while still having enough clearance for a 27.5 x 2.1 mountain bike tire or a large volume 700c (29er) tires, up to 40x700c.

SRAM Force 1 clutch rear derailleur paired to a 10-42t cassette and a 42t single chainring

The Rides

Ride 1 – Road ride with Schwalbe G-One 42 mm gravel tyres

I hadn’t actually received the road tyres at this stage, so I had to head off on my first weekend with the bike on the Sunday group ride with the gravel tyres.  Our Sunday rides mostly start at one of 3 standard locations, this one being at the bus stop (at the top – that’s an in joke) of Greenhill Road, so I took off from home a tad earlier to allow me to sneak a few pictures of the OPEN U.P. on a block of land up for sale on top of Greenhill Road.

Have a look at that view – absolutely stunning. A beautiful winters day in Adelaide – perfect one day……..

IMG_0456 (2)
This is looking back down onto Adelaide. This block of land is for sale at around 750k. 20 minutes from Adelaide. Can you believe it. Grand Designs is waiting for you to call!.

IMG_0457 (2)

IMG_0458 (2)
The tree line depicts Greenhill road as it descends to Adelaide

IMG_0459 (2)

I think it would be fair to say that I would jump at the chance to build on that Block of Land. For all you readers in Melbourne or Sydney, this is worth around the $750,000.  And it’s already cleared and levelled for a house.  I suspect there is no power, water or sewerage, but that’s only a minor matter.

IMG_0461 (2)

So the tyres weren’t the best for a road ride, but they did the trick on the day, but left me desiring the delivery of the road tyres in a few weeks time.  I was a little concerned the gravel tyres would be sluggish on the twisty hill roads, but the Schwalbe G Ones rolled well. The bike was nicely balanced and it’s stiff and responsive on the bitumen, one of those bikes that, you know, when you take it for a spin it just feels right, you become a zen master of the road, at one with nature, just taking everything in and not worrying about how the bike was going to handle the next off-camber undulating corner.

Coming back to Adelaide for the coffee stop at Base Camp had us riding up and over Mt Osmond. The walking trail on the Northern side of the golf course was beckoning. What a great opportunity to jump over from road to single trail and catch up with the lads at Base Camp a few minutes later. Despite the rider skills, the bike was sure footed following the descending walking trail and didn’t feel out of place.


And that block of land – it’s still for sale –

Ride 2 – Trail ride (Fox Creek) with 650b wheels with 2.25″ Racing Ralph on the front and 2.1″ Thunderburt tyres on the rear.

I had ridden past the Fox Creek trails many times on the Adelaide – Lenswood – Gorge Road loop, but never had the inclination to ride the mountain bike trails until now.

Krischan suggested I give the trails a go, and so I did, although not without some trepidation.  This little duck, with his Wednesday Legs Lycra, felt a little intimidated setting off on these unknown trails. Surrounded by upwards of 40 mountain bikers riding these trails, some blitzing the technical descents with ease. I must have looked hysterical descending some of these descents. Foot out, brakes on, limping from bend to bend on steep technical descents, and one one corner falling off.  All my fault.

IMG_0537 (2)IMG_0539 (2)IMG_0541 (2)IMG_0542 (2)

IMG_0544 (2)
Forest mushroom – man made paint scheme matching mother natures colour scheme.

IMG_0546 (2)IMG_0547 (2)IMG_0548 (2)IMG_0549 (2)IMG_0550 (2)

IMG_0551 (2)
The stunning view back a cross to Kangaroo Creek dam

IMG_0553 (2)

IMG_0554 (2)
Whoa boy!
IMG_0555 (2)
The view looking back down on Fox Creek Road

IMG_0556 (2)IMG_0557 (2)IMG_0558 (2)

IMG_0560 (2)
Admiring the view from the Uraidla Bakery

Whilst I only rode on the trails for not quite a few hours, I was amazed at the quality of the trails so close to Adelaide. The 650b wheel with the mtb tyres, matched onto this gravel frame were a match made in heaven. Even before I started the ascents, the bike felt at home riding across the carpark, but came into its own once I hit the trails. The extra grip and pneumatic cushioning gave me confidence to push myself up to my (albeit low) limits. I loved it. Nice and light t get me up and around the loose trails, but stiff, sturdy and confident on the trails.

Ride 3 – Road ride with 28mm road tyres

The ride that takes in a climb up Greenhill, across to Norton and then back down Norton Summit Road (Is that the Old NSR or new NSR? I  can never remember which is what). It mixes a longish steady but challenging climb, undulating roads across the top and a descents which mixes the bad surface with good, lazy sweeps with tight bends.  This is my yardstick for any new bike. It gives me a chance to test its climbing (ie how slow it can go without toppling over) and how relaxed and confident I feel as I make my way down.

So this is the loop I ended up doing after I ran into a small problem and couldn’t joining up with my mates for the Sunday morning ride. The dreaded flat tyre, but with no pump, no sealant shot (Krischan had provided me with a oneshot sealant bottle, but I hadn’t packed it). That and my bloody CO2 canister was back in the garage.  Rookie mistakes Doh!

So after walking back home which was fortunately only a km or so away, and a quick fix of the tyre, it wasn’t long before I was back out on the road back up Greenhill road.

The U.P. managed to balance maneuverability against calm stability. Achieving that balance can be difficult. I’ve ridden bikes that wanted to go anywhere but straight and bikes that absolutely didn’t want to turn

IMG_0569 (2)IMG_0571 (2)IMG_0573 (2)IMG_0574 (2)IMG_0575 (2)IMG_0577 (2)IMG_0580 (2)IMG_0581 (2)IMG_0585 (2)IMG_0587 (2)

IMG_0589 (2)
SQ Lab seat

What can I say except that the bike felt equally at home on the bitumen as it did on the dirt and gravel. Beautifully light for climbing, stiff and responsive across the top and back down the sweeping bends down the other side of  Norton.

As you know, I am a rider of no repute, but like the 32 teeth on my Scott Solace, so I was   keen to try a 1x drivetrain on the OPEN U.P..  I was pleasantly pleased with the range of gear selections riding in the Hills. Whilst i didn’t try some of the steeper hills Adelaide has to offer, I had no difficulty on Greenhill or Old Mt Barker road coming up towards Stirling, so i don’t see there would be too many hills a 1X wouldn’t work for me. In fact the only time I was looking for another gear or two was on the descents where I was able to get up a bit of speed, the 42 x 10 just couldn’t give me that top end speed. But to me that;s not a big issue.  The convenience of a 1X drivetrain and 1 less moving mechanism is the big drawcard for me, so can definitely see at some stage in the future a new steed with a 1x drivetrain.

Handing it back – sigh

Like all good reviewers, and me, the bile should be handed back in the same condition it was received in. So on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon, i pulled out the ALDI bike stand and gave the bike a scrub.

A few little extras i haven’t mentioned previously.   The  rear derailleur is clutched, meaning you can open the  derailleur up and “lock” it in place allowing the easy removal and re installation of the rear wheel. Nifty eh!

The second extra was the clever fitting of the Syntace X-FIX key into the rear Syntace X-12 through-axle system.


IMG_0592 (2)IMG_0593 (2)

IMG_0595 (2)
Pulling the Syntace X-FIX key out of the rear axle

IMG_0598 (2)

IMG_0599 (2)
clutch engaged

IMG_0603 (2)IMG_0606 (2)IMG_0607 (2)IMG_0609 (2)

IMG_0613 (2)
Bottom bracket with the offset chain stay

It’s not cheap, at $8,499.00 for the 4.0 orange complete build, and that’s not including the build itself, but it is a great bike, and if you believe in N-1,  then you could buy this bike with a set of road, gravel and 650b wheels and tyres, and  there you have it, effectively 3 different bikes, less storage space required in te garage, and an absolute stunner to boot.

Big sigh.

Thanks Krischan, Eighty One Spices and OPEN Cycles.


Oh, and somewhere in France there’s a bike race.

The following from my favourite cycling website – Steephill TV

Team Presentation

Team presentation of the 2018 Tour de France 2018Team presentation of the 2018 Tour de France 2018Team presentation of the 2018 Tour de France 2018Team presentation of the 2018 Tour de France 2018

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stage 4

105th Tour de France stage-4Tour de FranceTour de France320-04-photo-finish105th Tour de France stage-4


Lawson Craddock is the dude who crashed on Stage 1 and fractured his Scapula and suffered lacerations to his face got some on-the-fly patching from the course medico and  finished the stage, unsure about his future on tour.

NOIRMOUTIER EN L'ILE/FONTENAY LE COMTEscapular-fractureLawson-CraddockgKel5cAsQ_yuC3L6RLZXVQ.2560_Lawson-Craddock

Well, as of Wednesday, he’s still riding.

This tweet from Lawson.

A lot of hard work and sacrifice went into making EF Education First – Drapac powered by Cannondale’s Tour de France team for 2018. I came into the race extremely motivated for a great month of racing. Unfortunately, this all went pear shaped when I crashed during the first stage fracturing my scapula and having a cut above my eye that needed stitches. I fought on for the next 50 miles to finish the stage before an X-Ray revealed my injuries. Not being one to give in, I told myself that I wouldn’t stop the race unless it was absolutely necessary. As extra motivation I have decided to give $100 to the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation for each stage that I finish. I have truly been blown away by how many people have offered to donate as well. It has been overwhelming and extremely motivating to continue this race.

This money will be directed towards the Alkek Velodrome which is where I got my start in cycling. The outdoors concrete velodrome has suffered during the Texas heats, and especially by Hurricane Harvey in September of 2017. Please help us put them back on track, and support the next generation of cycling! Everything and anything helps and is greatly appreciated.

As of 11 pm Wednesday night (Adelaide Time), he had raised a fantastic $38,376.  You can donate here.


Till next time

tight spokes


2 thoughts on “Open ‘er UP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s