what a find, and thanks to Liz Newbery for this.
a bicycle posters page on FB. one of the best things i’ve seen on FB, in all honesty!
that’s the great, truly great thing about the bike – it just makes you smile, and there’s plenty in these beauties to smile about.
i was not alone in reacting with disbelief when i first read the news from Singapore that the organiser of the Holy Crit race, Eric Khoo, and volunteer Zul Awab were facing hefty fines and up to 6 months in prison after traffic police shut down their event due to a complaint from a local. Singapore is certainly an intriguing city but it is not one in which bike racing thrives, despite there being a substantial number of road, track, fixie and MTB riders.
each year the cycling federation struggles to put on a national road race and time trial championships, having to wrangle with the government to get a permit to close roads.
within this environment, the emergence of a crit series came as a ray of light in an otherwise dingy house. it injected a much required shot of adrenalin to the local scene and meant that people who wanted to race their fixies and single speeds finally had a place to do it.
until, that is, Zul Awab got a phone call from the local traffic police asking him and Khoo to go to the station to ‘help them with their inquiries’. that visit resulted in a criminal charge and a potential jail term. which is slightly ironic, as the Holy Crit was started in the hope of keeping young kids out of trouble.
“The idea behind this whole thing to keep these kids off the streets,” explains Awab. “In Singapore we have gangs, drugs, kids getting drunk at an early age, so we are trying to educate these kids about fixed gear and to get them into this sport. They don’t know about how to ride, about safety, helmets, all that. That was the aim.”
the ide behind the Holy Crit is to give something back to the cycling community and to help deepen the existing culture there. Khoo runs a bicycle store but was frustrated by the lack of spaces available for the people buying his bikes to test their machines.
“The first event was on September 1st last year. Nobody gains a single penny out of this, nothing. Some of the kids are at school. So there’s an entry for of $8US which goes to the winner, every penny.”
but was the event safe? or was it at a time or in a place where pedestrians and other road users were in danger in any way?
“No. It wasn’t at all. It was at 11:30 at night, there were no cars or mopeds. It was in a secluded area, the only cars there were parked.”
on the day when the got the call from the police, Khoo and Awab willfully presented themselves to the police, Awab says.
“Me and Eric went down there to help them and we were interrogated for about eight hours. I was handcuffed and my leg was cuffed too. My mobile phone was confiscated, they took my home computer, saying this was all standard operating procedure. My lap top was confiscated also. And we were just trying to serve our local cycling community.”
now he and Khoo are facing a 6 month sentence.
“We hope of course that won’t happen. The law they are trying to get us on only related to motorised vehicles. We hope, with the prayers and support of cyclists around the world, that it will just be a warning and a slap on the wrist. This whole thing wasn’t about trying to be glamorous or famous, it was just about giving something back.”
i asked him if he had any regrets, his answer was heartening.
“No, not at all. We want this to legalise this, keep it going and we want to keep the race the same.”
i wish them all the best for a suitable outcome to their predicament, and that this event reaches their ambition.
stay tuned here on crankpunk for updates.
if you’d like to leave messages of support for Eric and Zul, I suggest you do that here where they can see it, or alternatively seek them out on FB.
imagine the chafing!
you may remember a fund that was set up following the death of the Kenyan cyclist John Njoroge Muya at this year’s Tour of Matabungkay (Chris Froome was good enough to tweet about the fund last week and donated, chapeau).
the team is still going strong and that’s reflected by the press they’ve been getting. here is an article on the team in The Guardian, click the image below for the link.
“I’m floating around, in Ecstasy, don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time’….
call him Mr. Farenheit…
ever notice how when a politician gets busted for something naughty, like – well, fraud is ok, they can do that, nepotism, check, that’s acceptable, dereliction of duty in the face natural disasters, no problem, rigging the courts to allow their relatives to get reduced sentences, all fine there, facilitating white collar crime, check, fine on that count, bailing out thieving bankers, that’s all kosher, invading sovereign nations for oil, yup, ok there, uh, remote bombings of villages and murder, ah yes, doing their duty et cetera on that one…
ok, um, struggling here for a really terrible, awful crime that politicians actually get busted for – ah! like leaving some semen on an intern’s dress?
well, ever notice how when something like that happens we are encouraged by the fine and never subjective international media outlets and the other *still good* politicians to see the perpetrator as one bad apple in an otherwise rosy apple cart?
or how the same thing happens when young men and women in war zones placed in charge in jails go off on one and take degrading images of their captives? how we are asked to believe that the individual erred but that the system as a whole is essentially ‘good’ and correct?
ever consider how that might be bollocks?
well the same thing is going on right now in cycling. exactly the same mechanism rolls into action. (mechanism, not ‘crime’, let’s make that distinction).
‘wait – are you on about Astana? well come on, they’re Eastern Europeans‘
‘they’ve always been at it, that lot.’
do go on.
‘and Nibali, he’s Italian isn’t he.’
‘well just sayin’, the sport IS cleaner but this lot are just proper bad plums.’
as were, Festina say? or the Spanish?
and half of Garmin?
and Armstrong, Tyler, all them boys?
‘well they had to do it to survive...’
we read about another doping case here, another there and we think – because we are desperately hoping that the bad days are behind us – that it’s an isolated case. this, despite the fact – and i’m not just on about Astana here – that there are positive tests every week in the news.
the dots are there. Astana have, remarkably, in a very short space of time brought a bunch of dots, marker pens and paper enough for everyone to get connecting.
Astana brought Vino with them, he is dodgy as a 47 pound note, we all know that. he’s like the thinking man’s Ricardo Ricco.
has also been the likes of Zabel coaching, Vaughters managing, Bruyneel and systematic doping over more than one of his teams, Kim Andersen and his ludicrous past (8 positives and counting), Rabobank, Sky using the dodgy doc, guy after guy just ‘visiting’ Ferrari, Carmichael still loaded and respected, editors and their journos refusing to join those little dots, and still – STILL! goshdarnit! – we are supposed to think these cases are ‘isolated’?
even Nibali can’t get us to believe that one.
i remember watching him win the Tour and thinking ‘man, please be clean’. and now you tell me how we are supposed to believe not the wild notion that he is above suspicion but that he shouldn’t be – and deserves not to be – questioned about what is going on?
the Italian media broke the story that Astana met Ferrari then went on to categorically state that their Tour winner was not implicated in doping and that indeed he never met the Doc, a claim Nibali has stated more than once in the past, but this whole palava brought back the memory to me of this article on the venerable Cycling Weekly, which said that Nibali did in fact meet Ferrari, and trained with him, wearing all black kit.
the article quotes Ferrari as saying that he sued the claimants, and was awarded an out of court settlement. but you know, smoke + fire + blog = oxygen for the flames. and hey, this is cycling. and yes, it is that ridiculous. if they’d only just start wearing bibs only and smashing each other over the head with step-ladders, it might all make more sense.
in any case, His Nibs is looking not very well right now. what a mess.
of course, if one of our Grand Tour winners from 2014 was to be busted it would merely be an isolated incident.
look the other way folks, there you go, nothing to see here, move along.
and the sport IS getting better, every day, in every way.
i started working with Jake, 42, from England back at the tail-end of August. he’d identified this hill climb event that he was pretty soundly beaten in last year as his main aim for 2014.
he wanted the win this time around however. we had about 2 months to get cracking, and so we did, working on Jake’s power base and stamina whilst beginning to also get him ready for the short, sharp effort that the Maldon Hill Climb Championship required.
but crank on we did, punking a little here and there as we went, til the day was upon us. the night before i remember getting the sweaty palms and the tension i get when i have a race coming up, but it’s always worse when a client is racing!
the next day, some hours after the event and after wearing a hole in my carpet, i received a text from Jake.
well done Jake, you join the illustrious ranks of crankpunk podium snafflers!
The Maldon Hill Climb Championship event was held in Lodge Road, Hazeleigh on Sunday 2nd November 2014.
quick note this one, just to say that more than $11,000 US has been collected in less than a week for the family of John Njoroge Muya, the Kenyan Riders professional cyclist who passed at the recent Tour of Matabungkay.
a quite incredible response, leaving the fund just $9,000 away from the target of $20,000.
the fund will not only be used to help Njoroge’s wife, one year old son and nephews and nieces, all who depended on his income, but also to set up a foundation in Njoroge’s name that will help kids in Kenya to study and to also be coached by the Kenyan Riders.
to see more about the fund, please click on the image below.
Tom Little came on board the good ship Crank Punk Coaching Systems only on August 18th this year, after a season of racing MTB and road in which he felt his stamina and ability to hang in whilst the changes in speed went down were lacking.
we got to work on amending that, something i thought would take a while before it started to show results but Tom, 35, originally from England and now living in Dubai, decided he was having none of that, and went and won his first MTB XC race (the Turn & Burn Dubai XC TT) of the season last Saturday – by over a minute from the 2nd placed rider!
definitely a fast-responder. he worked hard on the longer to mid-range interval work I had him on, combined with long, focused tempo rides and the results are in, and it’s looking like it could be a successful season.
forza Tom, nice work!
Tom rides for the CycleHub/Specialized Dubai team
hot diggety. back in the most amazing place i’ve ever had the privilege to go to. Mongolia. this place gets inside you. it’s the world before we came along and f*&%ed it all up. no fences, no walls, just kilometer after kilometer of nothing and everything. 78 other folk and myself will be lining up in two days time to go ride 900km in 7 days alongside wild horses, past grazing camels and under the watchful eyes of eagles.
three Crank Punk Coaching clients are here too, Chris Hodgson, Erin Colshan and Michael Morrell, so CPCS will be well represented. another CPCS crankpunker here is Willy Mulonia, the man who put the race together (though he’s not riding unfortunately). as the official coach of the race i’m hoping these guys all come home safe and sound.
my journey so far did not feature getting my junk squeezed at the airport, not a mugging, nor influenza, and not even a bout of food poisoning – all of which i experienced last year.
it started with a chinese man feeling my penis and ended with a search for drugs through my luggage. in between there was illness, near-hypothermia, food poisoning, a few punches to the face and a death threat, zero romance and a whole lotta pain. what did i take from all this? that i am a navy f*cking seal when it comes to dealing with the blows (my strange) life can land and, also, that i am not alone on this voyage, as i had for so long speculated – i belong to a tribe, and they are out there. i just had to go to one of the most inhospitable places on earth to find them…
the final magazine article version was a tad less personally revealing, and can be found here.
the Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge. this is what the word ‘epic’ was created for…
(check the website for daily updates and videos – i’ll be, blissfully, out of wifi range for the next week so check the site for updates )
HUGE thanks to my sponsors who make all this adventuring malarkey possible: Lapierre, Lezyne, BLKTEC, 720Armour, Gaerne, Extreme Endurance, CCN clothing and Iris Yeh Travel Services. you guys rock.