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


Global Snippets

It’s been a tough last month and a bit which has had me out of Wednesday Legs action, unfortunately, but I’ve come out the other end relatively intact and able to get back into posting something for Wednesday Legs.

Whats kept me put of action i hear you ask.  Work has been hectic with trips to New Zealand and Port Macquarie, as well as EOFY client requirements for project delivery.  And on top of that throw in a back injury, man-flu and a house shift – phew. Oh, and i think i cracked a rib over the weekend…….it hurts when i laugh, sneeze and cough…..FFS.

If anyone is interested, we are selling our house in Norwood, the auction is this Saturday, further details here.  

We’ve moved into a rental for the time being, and will sort out the next phase in our lives once we know ow much we have to work with.

So, on with the show.

Tour de Legacy

A few weeks back I was invited to attend the official launch of the Tour de Legacy.



Tour de Legacy was first launched in 2013 as the brainchild of a handful of passionate and determined Adelaide cyclists in conjunction with the Legacy Club of Adelaide (Legacy). The first two editions included the likes of 17 time Tour de France finisher Stuart O’Grady and Patrick Jonker.

IMG_0641IMG_0639IMG_0636 (1)

Now in its third edition, the significance of the 2018 Tour de Legacy is to
commemorate the final year of the Centenary of the ANZAC, 100 years since the end of WWI, with a ride throughout the various battlefields of the Western Front in France and Belgium. It is a time to honour the service and sacrifice of the original ANZACs, and the generations of servicemen and women who have defended us.


A century ago, the Australian Cycling Corps rode into war as part of the Australian Imperial Force. Fighting on the Western Front in France and Belgium during World War I, they were initially used as despatch riders. However, during the later periods of semi-open warfare in 1917 and 1918, they conducted reconnaissance and patrolling, operating similar to a cavalry.

Although not used as a fighting unit, they were regularly exposed to artillery fire and attacks by hostile aircrafts. Approximately 3,000 men served in the Australian Cycling Corps.

This year, they will pay tribute to those who cycled into war by bringing Tour de Legacy to the centre of it all. They will cycle in honour of those who selflessly sacrifice themselves in the line of duty, to protect us and our freedoms.


In particular, this ride will be held in honour of Lieutenant Colin Hales, a South Australian soldier who was sadly the only officer within the 1st ANZAC Cyclist Battalion to lose his life during the war.

The cyclists of Tour de Legacy will retrace the ANZAC’s steps throughout battlefields across the Western Front in Belgium and France.

Beginning November 2nd 2018, the riders will travel for over eight days between two continents and across four countries, covering over 900 kms in total. The riders will retrace the path of the original ANZACs throughout battlefields on the Western Front in Belgium and France.With the added intensity of riding through the chill of a European winter, this will be a testament to our cyclists’ determination, bravery and camaraderie – a true tribute to the ANZACs and their incredible strength and dedication during the war.


Launching from London with a Royal send-off, the group will ride 900 kms over 8 days before attending the Centenary Memorial Service at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux on Remembrance Day, November 11 2018.



All funds raised will help Legacy support the families of those injured or killed during or after their defence force service. As November fast approaches, we ask that you partner with us to support the legacy of those who have sacrificed so much.


I was an invited guest at the launch of Richie “Rich” Staunton, the Tour de Legacy Manager. As you would expect, Richie is participating in the ride, and is on the lookout for sponsorship, so please, if you want to help the cause, sponsor Richie, or any one of the other riders riding the TdL. The link to Richies donation page is here:

Or, if you want to go one step further and provide support to the ride there are some very unique opportunities available as shown below.


All donations are tax deductible too, so given we’re at the end of the financial year donating will also help your tax return… 😉

Lastly, the below trailer summarises what they are doing brilliantly.

Please give generously  Tour de Legacy


Flinders Ranges Outback Epic 205km MTB Race – October


Here in SA is an epic race through the Flinders Ranges, one that until recently I hadn’t paid much attention to. The Flinders Ranges Outback Epic is one of the most remote races and arguably the longest point to point race in Australia.

The loop, created by local land owners, takes you through private properties as well as national park land, and covers sections not normally open to the public. It links parts of the Mawson Trail with an existing network of old pastoral trails on each property. It follows the 205km Flinders Ranges by Bike signposted tourist ride through the Wilpena Resort, Rawnsley Park, Willow Springs and Gum Creek stations.


The race has three distances, the whole 205 km loop, or the 109 and 64 km races that all start remotely and finish at the Wilpena Pound resort.

The Epic 205 must be finished within 16 hours.

The categories are:

Epic  205
UNSUPPORTED – Male & Female 1st place for 18-19yrs, then 10 year age groups from 20-29yrs & onwards to 60+ = 12 trophies.

SUPPORTED – Male & Female 1st place for 18-19yrs, then 10 year age groups from 20-29yrs & onwards to 60+ = 12 trophies.

Gravel Grinder 1st-3rd Male & Female = 6 trophies.

SUPPORTED RELAY TEAMS – 1st male, female and mixed = 12 trophies. 2-4 riders


Epic 109
SUPPORTED – Male & Female 1st place for 16-17yrs, 18-19yrs, then 10 year age groups from 20-29yrs & onwards to 60+ = 14 trophies.

Gravel Grinder 1st-3rd Male & Female = 6 trophies.

Epic 64
SUPPORTED – Male & Female 1st place for 14-15yrs, 16-17yrs, 18-19yrs, then 10 year age groups from 20-29yrs & onwards to 60+ = 16 trophies.

Gravel Grinder 1st-3rd Male & Female = 6 trophies.


Being an unsupported race other than hydration, taking on the maximum 205 km creates challenges for fuelling, so make sure you have done your research and tested how your body handles your fuel if you take this epic on.

Heres a great writeup from a few of the competitors in 2014 from ambag – – willett-and-klein-earn-flinders-ranges-outback-epic-titles

If your looking for someone to organise almost everything for you, escape goat based here in Adelaide can sort you out – – flinders-ranges-mountain-bike

Tour Details

  • When: 
    Next trip:- 7-12 Oct 2018
  • Accommodation: 
    5 nights twin-share accommodation in comfortable outback properties
  • Transport: 
    Pick-up/transfers from Adelaide via our trusty & comfy van
  • Meals: 
    5 breakfasts, lunch all days, 4 dinners (meals in Melrose not included)
  • Activities: 
    4 days of riding the Flinders Ranges by bike loop, one extra morning ride at the MTB mecca of Melrose


Cape Town – South Africa


The biggest bike race in the world, the Cape Town Cycle Tour is an annual 109 cycle race in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the first event outside Europe to be included in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Golden Bike Series.

14492_CTCT ROUTE MAP_2018

The Cape Town Cycle Tour, with as many as 35 000 cyclists taking part, is the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. The Cycle Tour forms the last leg of the Giro del Capo, a multi-stage race for professional and leading registered riders.

downloadCycle-TourCycle Tour 1cape-town-cycle-tour-view-900x473

It is traditionally staged on the second Sunday of March.



Spain – Galicia


Galicia is a very hilly region with a few high mountains on the NW corner of Spain.

The Ancares National Reserve is one of the most beautiful areas in the whole of Spain. It is stunningly remote, untouched and with incredible scenery.

Elsewhere in the region, most climbs are short or rolling. There are some really enjoyable ascents, but nothing comes close to Ancares in terms of high mountains.

Elsewhere the scenery is generally very green and picturesque, but it is rare to get really spectacular views into the distance. One exception to this is the climbs close to the stunning, wild coastline.



Road quality is mixed throughout the region. Some roads are in excellent condition, while others are very rough surfaces. Most climbs have little traffic on them. The best climb in the region – Ancares – is usually completely empty.

The main airport in the region is in Santiago de Compostela. It is also well connected by train to Madrid and Asturias Airport is just a short transfer away from Los Ancares.

The region gets a lot of rain along the coast. In land it is considerably drier (more so the further east you go). You are still likely to get more sunny than cloudy days here though – particularly in the summer months, which is the best time to visit.

One of the stand out climbs in Galicia region is the Mirador de Ézaro, which is one of the steepest climbs in professional road cycling, with gradients up to 30%.

It has been used several times as a stage finish in the Vuelta a España, with winners here including Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno. The gradients are the defining feature of the climb, but it also offers fantastic views looking down on the village of Ezaro and the Atlantic Coast – include the cape at Fisterra.

Capture 3CaptureCapture profile

Mirador de Ézaro is one of the steepest climbs in professional road cycling, with gradients up to 30%. It has been used several times as a stage finish in the Vuelta a España, with winners here including Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno.

Joaquim Rodríguez

The gradients are the defining feature of the climb, but it also offers fantastic views looking down on the village of Ezaro and the Atlantic Coast – include the cape at Fisterra.


Mirador de Ézaro is open throughout the year.


Japan – Shimanami Kaidō


The Shimanami Kaidō is an epic, 70-kilometer coastline ride, also known as the Nishiseto Expressway, that links Onomichi in Hiroshima (on Japan’s main island, Honshu) to Imabari on Ehime (on the island of Shikoku), crossing the six islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

The Shimanami Kaidō island-hops through rolling green hills and mountains, sleepy towns, and misty coastlines offset by dynamic structures like Kurushima-Kaikyō, the world’s longest suspension bridge.


The route attracts cyclists from all over Japan, particularly for the annual Setouchi Shimanami Kaidō International event, aka Cycling Shimanami, a race up and down the highway.



Dirty Kanza

The Dirty Kanza 200 (200 miles – 322 km) is a gravel road bicycling challenge that takes riders over some of the best gravel riding in the world in the Flint Hills of east central Kansas.

The course is a single-loop route through the Flint Hills region of east central Kansas. This area, once home to the Great Kanza Nation, is quite scenic and rich in history, but also very rugged and remote.

Started in 2006 by Jim Cummins and Joel Dyke, the event remains a grass-roots event, organized and managed by folks who are passionate about cycling, and done so for the primary purpose of providing life-enriching cycling experiences for our event participants.

The first edition saw just 34 riders, but today the Dirty Kanza 200 sells out fast and is limited to 2,200 riders. The K200 is a grass-roots event, organized and managed by folks who are passionate about cycling, and done so for the primary purpose of providing life-enriching cycling experiences for our event participants.

The entire course is on open public-access gravel and dirt roads, with some blacktop roads from time to time. Some of the roads receive little, to no maintenance throughout the year and can be quite primitive in nature.

This years 2018 event held earlier June was won by Ted King, in a time of 10:44:22, for an average speed of 30 kmph – ouch.


Other male podium climbers were Joshua Berry, 10:54:33, and Geoff Kabush, 11:04:55

The top place on the Womens podium was taken up by Kaitlin Keough (who races on the pro cyclocross team) in a time of 12:09:27, for an average speed of 26.5 kmph.


With Amanda Nauman, 12:28:20 & Alison Tetrick, 12:31:12 finishing out the podium spots.

“I threw up three times and I peed my pants so those were pretty low moments,” Keough said.


If you are interested in participating at some time in the future, have a look here:

Oh, and some great photos here from the team at Cycling Tips –


And some of the bikes from the Dirty Kanza

Kaitlin Keough_s 46cm SuperX in all of its post-Kanza grit and glory
Kaitlin Keough_s 46cm SuperX in all of its post-Kanza grit and glory
Keough used Quarq's Tire Wiz to monitor her tire pressure
Keough used Quarq’s Tire Wiz to monitor her tire pressure
Ted King rode to his second Dirty Kanza victory aboard Cannondale's SuperX cyclocross bike
Ted King rode to his second Dirty Kanza victory aboard Cannondale’s SuperX cyclocross bike
SRAM's Force 1 drivetrain featured prominently at this year's race
SRAM’s Force 1 drivetrain featured prominently at this year’s race
Matt Acker's DKXL winning hot pink Warbird
Matt Acker’s DKXL winning hot pink Warbird
Veteran endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch used her experience to ride away with the women's win in the DKXL aboard a Niner RLT 9 RDO
Veteran endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch used her experience to ride away with the women’s win in the DKXL aboard a Niner RLT 9 RDO


When 170 kits is barely enough


Some of you would know of Lee “Hollywood” Taylor, the larger than life cyclist over in Melbourne.  I found out from this Bikechaser posting that he has 170 pieces of kit.

Lee runs a podcast called ‘The Hollywood Hour’ and has a fabulous Instagram account.

Have a look at the following video as Lee takes the viewer inside his cycling wardrobe.





Till next time

tight spokes


Raining fire in the sky

Le Tour de Yorkshire

Word on the street was that more than two million spectators took in the four days of spectacular cycling action in the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.


images (1)

images (2)

images (3)


Stage 1


Stage one of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire was a 182km ride from the East to the South of the county, and 450,000 people turned out to watch  Harry Tanfield (Canyon Eisberg). made history with this win, becoming the first UK and, to the delight of the county, the first Yorkshire rider to win a stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.1a7f2654d1b7801707d1c1d90e81e9c678272cfd7dcdf1af1a94c9185344ca5711d88ec61563c301f56bdb33626b4b470729fb2d983c7042e42c3cda


Stage 2


Magnus Cort Nielsen of Astana Pro Team powered his way to victory at the first ever summit finish of the Tour de Yorkshire and once again the Yorkshire crowds came out in their thousands to cheer on the riders.

600,000 spectators lined the route of a tough, yet stunning, stage today that saw the both the mens’ and womens’ teams ride from Barnsley to Ilkley and conclude with an iconic climb finishing on the famous Cow and Calf summit.


Stage 3


The third stage, one of ‘market towns’, saw the riders pedal along 184km of the county’s most beautiful landscapes on their way from Richmond to Scarborough; and the crowds were amazing from start to finish.

650,000 spectators lined the roads on a day that saw the sun beam down on God’s Own County and add to the magic of an already iconic stage with the finish on North Bay.

Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) and blue jersey wearer, Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) battled for the line with Walscheid taking the win on the third day, his first win of the season and Eduard Prades Reverter (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias) in third place.

file-7 (1)ab2_2059_am31253dcctjwpx0aam4ggwinner-sw2_6941

Stage 4


Stephane Rossetto was king of the road on stage 4. The Cofidis Solutions rider produced a spectacular performance, riding over 100km in a solo breakaway to take stage 4 on the Headrow in Leeds; the start point of the Grandest Ever Grand Départ of the Tour de France just four years ago.

Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) was crowned the overall winner of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire as he finished second in a thrilling sprint to the line that included title rivals, Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) and Eduard Prades Reverter (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias).

file-6 (1)file-7file-62018 Tour de Yorkshirefile5file2-1ab2_4013

oh, and guess what’s heading to Yorkshire next year?



The 2019 UCI Road World Championships – September 2019.

The Championships will include a wide range of men’s, women’s and junior races, which take place over nine days. Harrogate will host two circuit races and the other races will start in locations in right across the county.



yorkshire-dalesSubSubRegion_3imagesgordon-bensonOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA80ec943c1b34d9a59aad7e26d3bbb8ac

It’s gonna be stunning.

This weeks Business of the Week – Rodeo Labs



Who are Rodeo Labs and what do you do?


Rodeo labs is a small group of dedicated riders at the core of a more broad dispersed community. At our core we love riding bikes, making bikes, and surviving to tell stories about it. I run the company and spearhead a lot of our initiatives with the support of some great collaborators – whether that be on the community side, the bike development side, or the back end of the business side.

TD Blue frame_170607-1_preview

What is the story behind the Rodeo Lab name and it’s existence?


Rodeo started as a very informal, very unstructured team of riders in Denver, Colorado in 2014. We formed as a backlash against what was predominantly a very rigid, racing driven road bike culture. We didn’t find the rules of the sport to be very enjoyable and we just wanted to ride bikes our way without anyone telling us what to do. I think a major decision when you participate in a culture is whether or not you want to be a part of the flow or if you want to shape your own flow. Rodeo is the latter.

Rodeo evolved from the team into the company through inertia. We experimented a lot with ideas because we were curious what was possible. Bad ideas died and good ideas flourished to be point where the team could no longer just be a loose group of people having fun. We had to evolve into a company with a bit of structure in order to justify the time and resources that Rodeo seemed to want and need. You can’t make bikes and develop products as a hobby, so Rodeo grew up a little bit along the way.



Who are the people behind Rodeo Labs and what part do they play?

I think a lot of people on the outside looking in think Rodeo is bigger than it is. Maybe(?) they see the output of what we are doing and think there is a small army behind it, but there isn’t. Rodeo was run out of a 120 square foot office from 2014 to late 2017. We kept overhead low and relied on collaboration with a network of dispersed people to make it work. I’m the hub of the spokes. I have a business partner Glenn who collaborates on generally making good decisions  – or at least if we make bad decisions we try to do it knowingly! Jenn keeps track of the details, builds, inventory, and the chaos in the office.


We collaborate with a half dozen engineers and designers as far away as Japan when we’re working on our bikes. Generally we’re fairly location agnostic and prioritize working with good people and getting the ideas in our head out into the real world. We work with a local shop SloHi Bikes whom we share a building with to build all of our custom bike builds. We work with a single wheelbuilder in Portland , Oregon (Magnetic Wheel Co) to do all of our wheel builds one at a time. Everything about Rodeo is modular and everything is a measured effort. If there is a new task that needs to be done I first look for friendly, skilled, and most of all trustworthy people to add to our equation. There are no luxury perks, fancy offices, sprinter vans, trade shows, travelling demo programs, advertising campaigns, or any other thing that would add to overhead or make us less manoeuvrable.

You have some fine steeds in your livery, how do they differ from the mass production steeds in the market?


That’s a tough question. I think high level our bikes aren’t incredibly different from a lot of what is out there – now that the entire economic engine of the bike industry seems to be focused on the emerging “gravel trend”. Our bikes are built around fun first and versatility a close second. We want to make bikes that fulfill the implicit promise that we make with them. Do they make you faster? No. Are they aero? No. Will they make you more pro? No. Are they fun? Yes. Are they adaptable? Yes. Are you a bit more likely to try something new and have a great time on them? Yes.


We do not develop anything about our bikes based on industry trends. If the bike industry is the sun then Rodeo is the smallest moon orbiting the smallest planet in the solar system. We’re still part of the overall conversation and we’re excited to be a part of it but very little of the glow of the sun hits us. We develop our bikes based on the inspiration we draw from riding the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are incredibly challenging and rich for inspiration on what an adventure bike needs in order to be successful.


If we ride over a summer and have some take-aways about what we want our bikes to do differently we roll that thinking into the next iteration. We tend to iterate pretty frequently and I think we’re a bit more adaptive than a larger company might be because larger ships are slower to steer.


About 80% of the framesets we make are built into complete bikes by us. 100% of those bikes are custom specced as a result of a real conversation with each customer about what they want the bike to be. The level of attention and detail that we put into each bike is unique, and even though we don’t customize each frame’s geometry and layup for each rider our end product strives to be the best expression of the bike that each rider will have fun on and enjoy.


Ultimately I would say that if you buy a bike from a mainstream brand you’ll get a more calculated, superbly executed machine. Almost in a robotic way. If you buy a Rodeo you get a bike developed and executed entirely in passion, and you’ll get a bike with a healthy helping of story and soul.

Master Edit.00_00_25_05.Still007_preview

Our bikes lean towards experimentation and towards jamming in as many features as we can into each design. The “Lab” in our name is not titular. Our bikes are about asking why and what if and then learning from the results.

What is your material of choice, and why?

On a personal level I love a good carbon bike because I love a lighter, more nimble overall feel. Four years ago I might have been arrogant about that and looked tersely at the steel bike cult. But the steel bike cult is quite loud and passionate and they’ve genuinely given me an education in keeping feel, durability, and function front and center.

We didn’t develop our steel Flaanimal because I believed in steel bikes.


I was skeptical. Why would anyone chose to ride a heavier bike that might be susceptible to rust? But a half dozen key people in our community kept asking for it and finally I listened to the wisdom of the mob and decided to give the project a chance to prove itself. What I’ve learned is that steel is just as fun as carbon. The two can be very different and I would recommend different materials to different people regardless of price. The more profound thing I’ve learned is that when you are on a good ride the bike and the material that it is made of tends to fall away entirely and become background. The experience, the friends, the surroundings – those are the end game for Rodeo. We do not seek to elevate the bike or the bike’s material above what you do and where you go with the bike.

A simple question and no doubt the answer can be complicated, but what is the trigger for the decision to come with a new bike design?

The trigger for developing a new bike design is when the current bike design can no longer keep up with the demands that you are making of it. I’ve often wondered if some day we might plateu at Traildonkey 5.5 or some such thing.


What if we over time iterate to a point where the bike just makes us happy and does what we want it to do? What then? Do we come up with a manipulative engineering or feature stunt to drive sales or interest? No we do not. I’m not sure that The Perfect Bike is somehow attainable as a set goal but there is a point of diminishing returns isn’t there?

What if at some point we make a bike so good that we can take a year or two to let off the R&D pedal and we can focus more on riding further and telling better stories, or maybe we can focus more energy on how to contribute to the culture of the sport. That sounds high-minded but Rodeo does not have a bunch of shareholders that it needs to please. We can balance profit and soul as we see fit.

Even as is Rodeo is a stable, profitable company to the extent that it provides a real living to key people and contributes to its surrounding economy. So instead of chasing new features and increased sales through iterative bike designs we should instead focus on preserving the integrity of the core company, community, and brand.

What are the key principles behind the Rodeo Lab name?

Our motto is “Ride. Explore. Create”


If we succeed at doing that then we’re doing it right. Each of those things flows into the other almost like the classic recycling symbol.

What are the key steps between the time when you decide a new design would be a great idea, and delivering to the market? And probably more important, how do you decide on the colour schemes?

Bike design is relentless, grueling cycle. The basic steps of: idea > drawing > prototype > testing > refinement > testing > production hurdles > release are pretty basic but NOTHING ever goes as planned.

Designing an adaptable bike that works in a spectrum conditions and with a spectrum of parts is mostly about trying to avoid your own blind spots. What I find fascinating is that nobody has all the answers. Engineers have huge blind spots. Ideas people have blind spots. Sometimes cold hard engineering is the wrong way to solve a problem, and taking an intuitive approach results in a more elegant execution.


With regards to colour schemes honestly I just design what I like and hope other people like it too. I’ve been designing things for a long time and I never want to be arrogant about it but I think I’ve seen enough ideas work that I trust my intuitions enough to follow them. I very much try to keep the designs of anything we release rooted in something about our story or team culture so that the designs have a sense of continuity over time.

On Flaanimal 4.0 I designed two generally agreeable color options in blue and orange and then I designed one much more risky idea with the brown / celeste. I made that last color to make myself happy because I don’t wanted to feel like Rodeo takes risks. To my surprise the brown and celeste Flaanimal has been our most popular color. It was the quickest to sell out and it is currently the most backordered color. I would have never guessed at that being the outcome.

With our 3.0 Flaanimal we had a beautiful powder blue color as an option and it was the runaway success.


I remember when I started thinking about 4.0 my only rule was that we wouldn’t repeat that powder blue because it was too safe to just repeat ourselves, to expected. If Rodeo looks backwards for color or design ideas or plays it safe then we’ll start to look like so many other bike companies. To me that is a fate worse than not selling a lot of bikes.

Are all your sales in the USA, or do you sell overseas as well?

We will ship a frameset or a bike anywhere. Often overseas sales are limited by shipping costs or tariffs in the importing country so someone usually REALLY has to want one of our bikes to buy it from overseas. We are exploring international distribution for EU right now so that we can get costs down for more people but we’re taking it really slow and we’re intentionally working with passionate guys who are not industry veterans so that we can try to find a way to do it that works in the context of our ethos.

Does your crew have any interests outside of cycling?

 Does taking photos of cycling count? We love to try to master the art of taking photos out on rides. Photography is an endless challenge and it is a big part of how we’ve told our story since day one. I think a common theme is that everybody has big personal lives outside of bikes with a lot of other interests.


I have a wife and three kids and nobody else in my family is really into bikes as a passion. and I think that is true of a lot of people at the core of our team. I think that helps keep us from being too much of a mono culture.

It appears that you have ridden quite a few challenging trails, do you have any favourites? Why?

 Instead of rattle off the iconic Colorado trails that we love I should direct people’s attention towards Steambat Springs, Colorado. No matter what type of bike you ride there is world-class riding to be had there. For people who like to ride a single bike across a bunch of different terrain types in a single day it is hard to beat Steamboat. Ride a path to the road, the road to the gravel road, the gravel road to the trails, etc etc.

My current personal obsession is Colorado’s high alpine offerings usually accessed via trails and mining roads. The world above 11,000 – 1,3000 feet (3962m) is some of the most sublime, challenging terrain I’ve ever ridden. I cannot shake the lust for those views and those huge days where you feel like you’re seeing some of the world’s most beautiful sights and you were transported there on your bicycle.


Denver is a city that is changing quickly as it grows but it is still fundamentally a city that is small enough to be fairly sane while being large enough to have a cultural center of gravity. It has great metropolitan activities and it is nestled against a mountain playground that cannot be fully explored in a single lifetime. The sense of nearly endless mountains is what makes me happy here.


What major challenges and problems does Rodeo Labs face?

Rodeo’s fundamental challenge is dealing with its own success. It is extremely difficult to keep up with the pace of growth that we’ve seen in 2018. We’ve continually run out of framesets, rims, forks, and build components because we under-estimate the demand. But the flip side of that is that when you put a product into production you have to make a confidence bet. How popular will it be? How much capital can you risk on it? Rodeo is not debt financed so we are conservative with our output. That conservatism can mean a lot of missed sales opportunities.

Another major challenge is the time that it takes to bring a quality product to market. We almost always under-estimate how long everything takes to make and sometimes we end up disappointing customers with delays that they weren’t told to expect. Each time you make a mistake you try to learn from it and move forward. Thankfully our customers and supporters tend to be extremely understanding and forgiving when we communicate truthfully about mistakes that we make.

The overall difficulty in all of this is that once again a lot of people think Rodeo is bigger than it is and there isn’t a lot of built-in understanding on the customer side when things down flow smoothly. People are pretty well-trained in this culture to fork over money and be gratified quickly, and Rodeo has asked a lot of customers to just be patient and bear with us this year. Thankfully they have!

What are the major issues facing cycling over the next 5 years?

As someone running a company that I consider to be a small moon orbiting a distant planet orbiting the bike industry I’m not sure I’m qualified to diagnose the ills of the industry at large. But I will say this: I hear a lot about the industry grappling with bike shop struggles, cashflow struggles, major changes to distribution models, or declining sales. I know all of that is happening but we are experiencing the opposite.

SloHi the shop we collaborate with on builds seems to be doing great as a bike shop and just opened a second successful location.

Shop logo

If “bike shops are in trouble” how it possible for shops to buck the trend? I feel like both Rodeo and SloHi are running good, stable, healthy companies by genuinely loving what we do, genuinely listening to our customers, adding value through the culture of our brands, and carefully managing how we run our business based on what works for us not based on “that’s the way things are done”. Keep in mind our goal is not to build a monolith bike brand. If you want thoughts on how to do that then you should speak to an industry veteran. High level I really should try to over emphasize that I can only speak to what I see working for us.


Denver, Colarado – The Mile High City

300 days of sunshine, a thriving cultural scene and natural beauty combine for the world’s most spectacular playground.
Denver is near the mountains, not in them. The Mile High City is located on high rolling plains, 20 km (12 miles) east of the “foothills,” a series of gentle mountains that climb to 3,300 m (11,000 feet). Just beyond is the “Front Range of the Rocky Mountains,” a series of formidable snowcapped peaks that rise to 4,200 (14,000 feet).
The mountains dominate the city. The picturesque mountain panorama from Denver is 225 km (140 miles) long. There are 200 visible named peaks including 32 that soar to 3,900 m (13,000 feet) and above.
Denver has a population of 682,545 while there are nearly 3 million people in the metro area.
The mountainous area of Colorado is six times the size of Switzerland, containing  15,449 km (9,600 miles) of fishing streams, 2,850 lakes, and more than 1,000 peaks 3,218 m (two miles) high.
The road to the top of the  4,346m (14,260-foot) peak of Mount Evans is the highest paved road in North America.
There are so many options when it comes to cycling in and around Denver. climbing up the Rockies on road or trail looks absolutely awesome.
Whilst there are many rides to choose from, and from my local knowledge of Adelaide Hills, I suspect the locals have their own favourite rides that probably shit all over what I have been able to find on my brief search researching for this article, but that being said, the following 7 Classic Colarado rides look stunning.

Length: About 30km one way
Top elevation: 4,3002m


Length: 44kms one way
Top elevation: 4,306m
Overview: Perhaps the most challenging ride in Colorado


Length: 77km one way
Top elevation: 3,704m

trail ridge

Length: 30 one way
Top elevation: 3,686m


Length: 24km one way
Top elevation: 3,250m


Distance: 56km loop
Top elevation: 2,023m

nat mon.jpg

Distance: 88km one way
Top elevation: 2,834m

 Trawling through the Rodeo Labs Journal, there are so many I have yet to dive into, however I did find this haven’t yet read through them all, but I’ve grabbed a few words and photos from this ride writeup which have left me salivating.
Words by @kaizergilroy, Photos by @denvercx & @kaizergilroy

Firstly, a grab from Wikipedia: Mount Evans is the highest summit of the Chicago Peaks in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,271-foot (4350 m) fourteener is located in the Mount Evans Wilderness, 21.6 km (13.4 miles) southwest by south of the City of Idaho Springs in Clear Creek County, Colorado.

The peak is one of the characteristic Front Range peaks, dominating the western skyline of the Great Plains along with Pikes Peak, Longs Peak, and nearby Mount Bierstadt.  Mount Evans dominates the Denver Metropolitan Area skyline, rising over (9,000 feet).

I was pulled out of my morning reverie by a text from Peder – “Evans today. Interested?”


With some snow on the ground, slicks would be unsuitable – my 45s would be perfect.

It turned out that Peder couldn’t have chosen a finer day, with Denver in the 70s, Echo Lake in the 50s, and the summit of Evans somewhere between 30-32° with 20mph winds.


As time and pedal strokes were not at the forefront of our minds, we exchanged stories and revel in the beauty of slowly winding our way up to 14,000ft.

Riding through the drifts was not any easier as they required loose body English and power akin to riding through a sandpit in a cyclocross race.


The clear skies allowed you to see for miles, Denver was visible on the plains to the east and the other peaks glistened to the west in their snow white caps.


We certainly stole some candy out of the mountain jar. It is a rare day that the weather is nice enough for a summit of Mount Evans in late November.


Revelling in what we had just done, it was smiles and heat at full blast on the toes all the way down to Idaho Springs.




And if that hasn’t inspired you to grab your bike and head over to Denver, here are some more great photos  – @denvercx


And here’s a pretty cool Colorado website, Out There Colorado

We are storytellers and local experts. We aim to inspire, inform, and guide you as you seek meaningful experiences beyond the screen. We are a small but mighty team of 7, bolstered by an incredible group of collaborators and contributors from across Colorado.

Together we’ve climbed 85 fourteeners, we’ve skied over 1000+ days, we’ve lived in Colorado for over 92 years, and we’ve spent 100’s of nights under the stars. We explore, we seek, we yearn for more, outdoors. We are storytellers, programmers, entrepreneurs, designers, conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts.


Out There Colorado

Note: In the mountaineering parlance of the Western United States, a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet (4267 meters).  This link takes you to a website dedicated to bring you information about the Colorado 14ers


Well, I am now champing at the bit to get to Denver – so any cyclo-tour operators looking for some “journalistic” help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



Oh, and there’s some race called the Giro going on somewhere.

till next time

tight spokes





Rogaining is an outdoor treasure hunt, like no other. If you’re the type who enjoys the ‘great outdoors’ via the TV at the end of a treadmill, then rogaining probably won’t be your thing.

The aim of the game is to race against the clock in teams to find the most controls and gain the highest points. Teams travel on foot*, armed only with the course map and a trusty compass. The new kid on the block of rogaining is velogaining.


In order to gain points for a checkpoint teams must record their visit to that checkpoint using the recording device provided by the organisers.  see here for the rules of rogaining.

Velogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation for teams travelling on bike. The object is to score points by finding checkpoints located on the course within a specified time. Checkpoints may be visited in any order.

Every team has a different idea of how they are going to tackle a velogaine. Some are out to win and find every control out on the course – if they can. Other teams want to head to the hills to enjoy mountain-top views. Yet others want to hit the flatter areas and discover hidden gorges and explore river beds; immersing themselves in nature. That’s the beauty of rogaining. The setters provide the location and teams get to choose their own route, pace, and adventure.

The 2018 Velogaining event took place last Saturday, starting in Dutton, approx. 6km north of Truro, they hit the back roads and track networks north of Truro.


Capture 5

And here’s the link to the Velogain route map if you want a better quality printout.


Looking at the results page, I was surprised by the number of competitors.

Capture R3CaptureR1CaptureR2

And here’s a brief write-up of the event from the RHOFO team.

Race report – Saturday the 21st of April saw representatives Gerbil and Spurticus of the dirty RHOFO branch shirking their responsibilities and heading North to Dutton, just outside of Truro for the running of a four hour Velogaine in the surrounding area.

What is a Velogaine you ask? Basically, it’s a navigational event in which you have checkpoints to collect and a time limit in which to collect them. Before starting you are presented with a map showing the checkpoints and you need to work out the most efficient way to collect them. Checkpoints have different values. If you collect them all (clear the map) then your place is determined by who clears the course the quickest. If you return over the alloted time then you are penalised points for each minute that you’re late.

Good weather greeted the team and sign in and map collection was completed quickly. Upon receipt of the map Gerbil quickly pulled out some unusual instruments, tea leaves, his lucky rabbit foot and a half used tube of KY, and then began chanting and mixing. Spurticus was quite sure he wanted none of it and took a chance for a toilet break. Upon returning, none of the aforementioned items were present and a highlighted map of our course with a list of instructions had replaced them.

The start was reasonably cruisy with the team finding themselves taking a completely different course to the vast majority of other teams, of which there 34. Confident of his divining abilities, Gerbil continued to bark orders and the team set a cracking pace and set about clearing the Southern check points. Once complete the team headed to the Northern check points battling a head wind, but looking forward to the boost it would give on the way South back to the finish line.

Roughly 60 kilometers in the team decided to pick up an out of the way but high value check point as pace had been good and time seemed to be sufficient. Shortly after the collection Spurts decided to die as only Spurts can and things backed off a little. Still, the team was on target to clear the map.

The final check point required going through the finish line and then back again. The team looked strong for the final leg, collecting the controls and turning around to find a team not far behind on the road. Assuming they were also on their way to clear the map, one final burst was mustered to check in to the finish with just under 10 minutes remaining and their map cleared.

Unfortunately Rogaining have a tradition of reading the results of every freakin’ competitor from last to first, so the wait was long, and tense. The tension built as the results got into the top 5. Gerbil knew the result would be solid from experience, Spurts was just happy to not be yelled at anymore.

Results were in, the team placed second in the whole competition, one of only three teams to clear the map. They were the first MTB based team to come in, only to be beaten by a team equipped with cyclocross bikes, and cleaning up a few other cyclocross riding teams in the process.

A productive day at the office due to some strong riding and excellent course planning.


Spring Classics

With the Tour Down Under a distant memory, the Spring Classics have come and gone in a blink of an eye, wrapped up last weekend with the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Mens and Femmes.


Anna van der Breggen won 2nd edition of the women’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège ahead of Amanda Spratt and Annemiek van Vleuten.

Annemeik van Vleuten
Annemeik van Vleuten
Anna van der Breggen
Anna van der Breggen
Anna van der Breggen wins the LBLF
Anna van der Breggen wins the LBLF
Amanda Spratt and
Amanda Spratt and Annemiek van Vleuten


Capping a monumental springs classics season for Quick-Step Floors who have had 12 different rider tasting success this year, Bob Jungel won this yeas LBL.

Bob Jungels won the 104th edition of Liège–Bastogne–Liège ahead of Michael Woods and Romain Bardet.

A sample of some great photos and footage snippets from Steephill TV below, or you can see the full suite here – 


Liege - Bastogne - LiegeLiege - Bastogne - Liege

104th Liège - Bastogne - Liège 2018
A classic  photo of the climb cote Saint Roche in Houffalize ote

Liege - Bastogne - LiegeLiège-Bastogne-Liège 2018321-0f63c2ea-c15f-4f69-9028-ebcc1caac065Liege - Bastogne - Liege

You can catch some other great photos here at Rouleur.

Meanwhile, over in Switzerland

100-rattenberg-von-oben-1-Tour of the Alps 2018, stage-1Tour of the Alps 2018, stage-2Tour of the Alps 2018 - stage 4Tour of the Alps 2018 - stage 5120-Pentaphoto_120793Tour of the Alps 2018, stage-1130-Pentaphoto_120962Tour of the Alps 2018 - stage 5Tour of the Alps 2018, stage-2Tour of the Alps 2018 - stage 5Innsbruck, Seegrube, Blick auf Innsbruck und Patscherkofel

2018 Tour of the Alps overall podium 2nd Do- menico POZZOVIVO- 1st Thibaut PINOT - 3rd Miguel Angel LOPEZ MORENO
2018 Tour of the Alps overall podium 2nd Domenico Pozzovivo- 1st Thibaut Pinot – 3rd Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno


275 Deviation Road Carey Gully

Saw a For Sale sign on this property on last Sundays iPib Mystery ride as we were heading South towards the Uraidla bakery.

Now you would all know that living in the hills, to me, would be 7th heaven, however i have a wife and daughter who like life ot far from the city, so riding in the hills is a win win compromise for me.

But, just have a look at this.


The house looks presentable, but at $625,000 with views like this, and only 20 minutes from town by car, 40 minutes by bike (a little bit longer going the other way), if you were looking to set up house/shop on the Adeladie hills, how could you go wrong.


On an allotment with 4.6 acres, with panoramic breathtaking views looking back out over the Mt Lofty ranges, with a little imagination you could set up an absolutely superb outdoor entertainment area. Imagine wiling away an autumn evening with your mates, a few local Uraidla brewery ales in your esky,  some roo on the bbq and the sun setting over the hills to the west – how sweet would life be.

For those living interstate and looking for a cycle change, how could you resist. Really.

The fabulous Adelaide Hills for riding, wine regions at your doorstep (Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Barossa all within a half hours max drive, the city 20 minutes away and the beach just over 30. Just wow.

Views from inside the house are just as superb, so if it’s sweltering outside, or frigidly cold, a seat inside would be just outrageous.

4 bedrooms, open plan living,  slow combustion heater & a split system air-conditioner, great bike storage with the 6.8m x 5.2m (approx.) shed, 100,000 litres of rainwater storage supplies ample water to the home.

Whats holding you back.



Road Raise – its a wrap!

You would have heard all about the Road Raise cycling charity event for 2018 early April – well they all successfully completed the ride from Adelaide to Melbourne, chapeau to all who rode and all the fabulous support team. Volunteers – most events just wouldn’t happen without them.

It was pleasing to see both the mainstream and social media platforms really get behind this crew and rev it up.

Steve Sanders, who I had the pleasure of riding with when i did my cyclo-tour of France last year with George from Unique Cycling Tours (Steve was one of the support teams members – invaluable).

IMG_5839 2

This is Steve’s wrap-up of the road raise event.

Hello again

I sit here on a Sunday afternoon looking back at was an amazing experience and one that I was proud to be a part of. Our group rode 1100 kilometres over 7 days in fine weather, with great team spirit and most importantly raised over $235,000 for charity.

Again we were joined by two young CanTeen members, Hannah and Angus, both who have embraced and been assisted by this organisation. Their stories are personal and I feel it not right I talk on their behalf but what I did witness with Angus showed care beyond his young years.

At our team dinner in Mt Gambier we were joined by some local members and their parents. Sitting next to me was a mother and her son, Janet and Caleb – who is in grade 5 at a local school. Janet has cancer with a prognosis that is not rosy and Caleb, being raised by only his mother and with no siblings has a future that can only be described as uncertain. Angus spoke at length with Caleb and for a few hours made a positive impact and formed a relationship that hopefully gives Caleb some comfort – after all, Angus has been in that position too. I had seen plenty of courageous acts in my working life when with the Crows but this was very moving and emotional.

I guess what this did for me was give me an understanding that yes, I like riding my bike but it was a deeper and more worldly view I now have about why we do this ride. Canteen is a fantastic, caring and supportive organisation and I thank you for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to witness all I did. It’s not to late to help and for the last time I attach a link to my fundraising page.

Kind Regards,

Stephen Sanders

That’s an amazing amount Steve et al – well done.


Got me thinking about getting involved for the 2019 event……..





Oh, I still find it hard to believe I was cycling over in France just under a year ago. That’s me in the centre left  on the Unique Cycling Tour’s main page – just wow!



Gravel Riding around the Barossa

I’ve always had in the back of my mind a desire to explore some of the dirt roads in the Barossa Valley





Quick fact – Who thought the name Barossa Valley linked back to something Prussian or Germanic?

I did – until i was doing a little research for this posting.

Apparently the Barossa Valley derives its name from the Barossa Range, which was named by Colonel William Light in 1837. Light chose the name in memory of the British victory over the French in the Battle of Barrosa, in which he fought in 1811. The name “Barossa” was registered in error, due to a clerical error in transcribing the name “Barrosa”.

The Barossa Valley is bounded by two ranges – the Western Ridge which is part of the North Mount Lofty Ranges and the Eastern Range which is part of the South Mount Lofty Ranges. The southern extension of the Eastern Range is also known as the Barossa Range.

It was the Southern end of the Barossa Range around the Williamstown that I wanted to explore last Saturday.

What a beauty it turned out to be.

Parking the car in Williamstown, heading North with the gravel bike I had the intention of trying to find out if the fire racks on the maps were navigable.

Within 5 minutes I got held up by something I haven’t seen for a long long time – A  cow Crossing. After a few minutes of waiting for the startled cows to cross the road, the farmer came out to create a gap for me to cross through. Friendly people around here – all smiles and a friendly wave.


A No Through Road, now that’s a challenge.  The map on my phone showed it turning into a fire track and connecting up with grave roads on top of the range.


So gravel turned to dirt


Which turned to fire trail with a few obstacles


A doer upperer at the end of the track. I reckon I could have gobne a little further, but it was all up and no visible tracks from creek where I came to the end of the made trail. So back I went.


And onto Trail Hill Road. The first of the “real named” roads taking me a cross the range.


The biggest surprise of the ride was a fabulously smooth bitumen climb on the eastern face of the range on Trial Hill Road.

Starting at an elevation of 358m, it climbs only 89 m over only 700m at an average gradient of 12%. The bitumen is superbly smooth, its hard to believe a climb this good is out in the middle gravel heaven.  (I don’t think this has been Everested yet.)


Its got a lovely stone wall from the hairpin up to the lookout.


A nice sweeping switchback.


With the bitumen finishing at the Steingarten Rad, which is a blue gravel road across the top of the range and back down towards Rowland Flat.


Look at that view. Stunning.

The strava segment is this –


From here I turned back to Trial Hill Road and resumed my track east towards Pewsey Vale before wrapping back south west towards Williamstown


Picking up the Heysen Trail


Crossing Springton Road and hading into Mt Crawford Forest was a turn up for the books.  I wasn’t intending to take to forest trails today, but something was calling, and before I knew it, I had hit the end of the trail and blocked by a few barb wire fences and a river.


Alison Hope, born Roxburgh Scotland, 1821.


Allison’s resting place is a long way from her original home



The dilemma was – do I turn around and backtrack, or do i have a look to see whether I could walk through to the rail on the other side.

Yeah, ok, it was a day for adventuring……


Fortunately for me the river was dry, allowing me to navigate across over to the trail on the other side and resume my ride.


Love the sign –


Unbeknown to me, the JDRF ride was also on today.


Finished of with a nice coffee and a slice of orange and almond cake at the Williamstown bakery.

A brilliant day.



And the rest of the valley and eastern ranges beckons.



Business of the Week – Will Ride

Will Ride store

  • What is Will Ride and where are you located?

We are an adventure brand targeting sustainable mountain bike activities in recreation, tourism, transport, and high performance. Located in Stirling, Adelaide Hills, specialising in e-bike sales and service, e-bike guided tours, e-mtb hire, and mountain bike coaching and advice. We are licensed National Parks tour operators and accredited coaches.



  • What makes your shop unique?

We are Australia’s e-performance specialists in e-bike sales and service, E-mtb guided tours, and E-mtb hire. Pedal assist bikes, not electric motor bikes. There’s a big difference.

With five legalised bike parks within 20-30 minutes of the store, we are able to take you on an E-Bike tour of the Adelaide hills highlighting hidden legal trails.

Our tours are designed specifically to cater for the interests, fitness, experience and time that suits our clients.  From two hours to two days, with or without accommodation, and for individuals and small groups, we organise tours to meet your needs.

Our tours use our 2018 Giant dual suspension Full E+ E-Bikes making them a great option for groups of different ability and fitness.  It is also an excellent way to try an E-Bike and see if it is what you want.



  • What is the story behind Will Ride and how long has it been in existence?

We have been open for 6 months now. Our mission is to expose people to e-bikes in a positive way. To get people to understand where the bikes can take them. These bikes arn’t just for old people or injured people. They can be used for high performance, skills training, heart rate zone training, and much more. The concept started a few years ago from seeing what these bikes were capable of in places like the Swiss Alps.

  • Who are the people behind Will Ride and what do they do?

We are a small store, but have a huge support group and a strong team at Will Ride.

I did my apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic with Cavpower, and prior to that I was lucky enough to race on the Downhill World Cup circuit. I have a passion for Adelaide Hill’s, and now for e-bikes. I want to share my passion with others new to the sport, and show them that mountain biking isn’t as dangerous as people think, if you have the right advice and correct bike setup.

IMG_0101 (1)

At the Will Ride store in Stirling, we have our dedicated and passionate staff Roger and Kane who are both bike nut’s! Importantly they both have background’s in car mechanics, and high performance racing. I feel this is our edge. We all strive for perfection and all feed off each other’s ability to troubleshoot and find better ways to improve the way we do things. We also have Troy Brosnan, who needs no introduction. Troy and I run the MTB coaching clinics.


  • Can you provide a brief cycling history of yourself

I started riding when I was 14. We grew up riding and building on a dirt rd we lived on with my friends in the Adelaide Hills.

I worked my way up as a junior racing SA and Australian national DH rounds. I won the U19 Australian DH MTB series and was selected on the Junior Australian team in 2007 in Scotland.

I was fortunate enough to then be selected on the Senior Australian team in 2009 in Italy, and went on to race on the World Cup circuit for 4 years. Every day riding and racing was surreal. It was my dream. I got my first factory ride for Pivot global team in 2009, they made me a custom big bike to suit my lanky arms and legs! However, shortly after signing in the off season, I flared up my re-occurring back injury. I spent 8 months back home in rehab and went back to race the next season, however, my back wasn’t 100%, and I couldn’t confidently ride a full World Cup weekend fast, let alone back it up each weekend. Retiring so young was the hardest thing to swallow, but I am grateful to still be healthy enough to ride for fun now.

  • What are your team’s interests outside of cycling?

We all love bikes and all have a passion for sharing our trails with others. Roger and Kane and both active guys. Roger has a race car background working on a high end Porsche team, so loves tinkering! Kane is a professional photographer. Kaneophoto known to most! His shots are incredible and you will see him out at most state, and national bike events.


  • What are your favourite cycling routes?


In ADL Winter, Eagle MTB is great. The wet sand just grips up so well!

In ADL Summer, Fox creek. Hard pack clay makes for high speed riding!


Bright, Mt Beauty, and Thredbo have the best gravity fed, natural Downhill tracks.


Verbier Switzerland, Morzine France, Val di Sole Italy, Maribor Slovenia.

  • What bikes do you have in your garage?
    • Giant Full E+ e-bike
    • Giant reign Advanced 0 enduro bike
    • Giant STP hardtail
    • Giant TCR roadie
    • 2019 Rocky Mountain Powerplay e-bike
  • What do you like about Adelaide and why – can be cycling or non cycling related?

I think we have the most accessible riding in the World. Road, MTB, CX, BMX. It is all within 30 minutes. I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that has the variety so close together like Adelaide does.

  • What major challenges and problems does Will Ride face?

For us, it is trail advocacy and education around e-bikes and mountain bikes. There are so many people who have worked so hard to legalise trails for mountain bikers. We want to educate people how to ride in the parks and share the trails with others. We do this through our guided e-bike tours. I am a downhiller at heart, and love riding down a hill at pace, however, I now know where you are allowed to do this, and where you aren’t. Cleland is a perfect example of this. Riding slow, acknowledging other trail users, respecting the trails, and respecting closed trails are just some of the rules that must be followed when riding in these parks, or it is quite simple. Riders will be locked out of the parks in future.


  • What are some of the more popular bikes or projects coming through your shop?

I am really excited for the future of e-bikes. Some smaller brands are making some unbelievable e-bike systems like Rocky Mountain, which just gets you wondering where the big brands will get to in terms of design and innovation. I love continuous improvement and technology. E-bikes are evolving so fast and we see new technology every week. I cannot wait to start building up the e-bike tourism side of the business. The tours are perfect for families, couple dates, birthday presents, or just if you want to test an e-bike. We refund the tour or hire price if you go ahead and buy an e-bike through us.

ebike diagnostic tool

  • What are the major issues facing cycling over the next 5 years?

MTB trail access, e-bike education, safety for all riders on roads. Emergency access for helicopter and ambulance personnel into MTB parks.


Have a look here if you want to find out more information about eBikes from Will Ride.



What can I say – another Epic posting.  Please do me a favour, forward this on to two of your friends, and ask them to do the same.


till next time

tight spokes



Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: