Category: Uncategorized

Taiwan Local Bike Shop Extraordinaire

Due to the excellent T-Mosaic bike shop having moved location, my default LBS is now the Author Bikes shop about 4km from my house here in Taichung, Taiwan.

This place is massive, and in all honesty I’d be quite happy to live here. They have three levels in the store and another two above, one that holds a meeting room and the top one an apartment. I was told that it was designed along similar lines to the Storck HQ in Europe.

You may not have heard of Author Bikes, they are from the Czech Republic, and have been going for 20 years now, quite popular in Taiwan and their racing team operates out of this store too.

The store has a huge sales area over two floors, and the basement houses a big mechanic area, a gym, a roller room with custom build support/lockers. a club room, power shower and bike cleaning area. A pretty sweet set-up, though how they make their money I have no idea!

A few hastily taken images here for you to get the idea.

 

 

CrankPunk to partner with Velocite for 2015

Awesome news, Velocite, the makers and purveyors of fine bicycles are to be my sponsor for 2015 on the road and on the dirt!
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I’ve known Victor and Jessica Major for a good few years now and we’ve always talked about working together, so it seems the recent Chinese New Year looked down on us auspiciously and made it so, and so, I’ll be cranking through their range from now til this time next year, and possibly beyond.
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Soon I’ll be getting on this intriguing machine, the Velocite Syn.
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The Velocite Syn

It’s a design that has drawn extremes in reaction, personally I am a fan (and I already said that before we talked about a partnership for this year, for the record), but as ever the proof is in the pudding, so expect a review when I’ve put a thousand Ks or so into it. However, if it’s anything as stiff and fast as the Velocite Magnus that I rode and reviewed years ago when I was editor of a Japanese cycling website, it’s gonna rock.
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 Speaking of the Syn and how it came about, Victor pulls few punches:
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“The Velocite Syn started off more cautiously. I wanted to replace the Geos [Velocite’s ultra-light race bike], but relatively early into the process I though “f#ck it” and went nuts. I decided that playing it safe is not aligned with our mission and vision and that here was a chance to concentrate everything that we know into one product.
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“I did not know how far to push the design however as the bike consumers are very conservative and the entire industry is in the yoke of the UCI Luddites who do their best to destroy the sport by keeping it all, including the technology, firmly in the 20th century.
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“With the Velocite Syn design [we show] that it is possible to challenge the status quo and that thinking outside of the box, while risky, can be rewarding.
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“Making the Syn was also important to Velocite as it serves as a visible signal that we are capable of pushing the design parameters and very likely the performance beyond that of well regarded incumbents. “
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UCI Luddites, destroying the sport… as you can see crankpunk and Velocite agree on some key points.
The Magnus, stiffest bike I've ridden to date

The Magnus, stiffest bike I’ve ridden to date

Velocite will also be supplying me with their Flux carbon MTB, which will be carrying me across the wilds of Mongolia at the Mongolia Bike Challenge once again this year. Yeeha!
Velocite Flux MTB

Velocite Flux MTB

What’s in the future for Velocite? This, says Victor:
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“To be a bicycle industry design and technology leader. Become the default choice for any customer seeking the highest performing products. For style and stories about heritage and alternative science they are welcome to go elsewhere, Velocite cannot and will not please everyone.”
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‘Cannot and will not please everyone,’ how true I know that to be…
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I’d like to say a huge thank you to Victor, Jessica and all the staff at Velocite, let us crank on.
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Jonathan Vaughters graces Twitter with a description of crankpunk as a “talentless wanna-be writing [a] self-promotional blog”… Compliment accepted

A Twitter spat. My first. And with the mighty JV. I am honored.

Some back story…

It’s no secret that I feel that all former dopers – all – should not be welcomed back in any capacity whatsoever into the fabric of cycling, be it as managers, coaches, team owners or administrators.

I also feel that the UCI has to work to foster an environment in which teams are encouraged to and feel perfectly at ease with adopting employment policies which mean former riders and doctors that were/are considered tainted are no longer able to find work within the sport too.

This would mean no Riis, no Vino (well he might be off soon enough), and no Jonathan Vaughters. I’m not the only person to think this way by a long shot, however opinions like this are not often aired on CyclingSnooze nor on any of the other major sites and magazines, because if they were then these media outlets would lose access to quite a few teams and they may lose advertising booty from the team sponsors.

You also have certain former dopers now in management running or on the board of ‘important’ committees and organisations. The oft heard claim is that these former dopers know how to steer the sport along a new course because they have been there, done that.

Or been there, done this, and that, and yeah a bit of that, oh and yes, a shit load of that! And so on.

The problem here, as many can plainly see, is that you have former cheats supplying their own, often-changing narrative, one that justifies their doping in the first place (‘Everyone was doing it’ – not true) – a doping that was uncovered either at the time or years later yet never was confessed to until their pants were already down and their d**ks in hand – that therefore justifies the wealth and status they acquired with it – and finally justifies their position in the sport now (‘I was there, I am sorry, but let me help!’).

It is, as my Gran used to say, a proper bag of bollocks.

If you want to read more on my opinion of Vaughters and these others being in the sport, read here and, if you want to know why I think he should be out of Change Cycling Now, read here. It’s not the first time JV and I have ‘chatted’, previously we were going to have a chat on the phone but it never quite worked out, with, as far as I can recall, nothing but work getting in the way for both of us.

Which brings us to Twitter.

Earlier today I saw a little tweet from Vaughters about how he wished to invite two guys to listen to a talk he was giving in London about something connected to cycling and doping.

I then asked via a tweet if that was after the talk on dopers managing cycling teams.

Vaughters then replied with this:

Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters) tweeted at 10:03 pm on Mon, Mar 02, 2015:
@crankpunk101 It was going to be right after the talk on talentless wanna-bes writing self promotional blogs.
(https://twitter.com/Vaughters/status/572396774544969729?s=03)

The original I either can’t find or has been deleted, but here is an image of the tweet in Q:

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Let’s take a look at this, a little more closely… Well, we don’t have to get too close do we.

It’s the Omerta again. ‘Shut up please, your opinion does not coincide with the reality I have constructed so please go away.’

Self-promotional? I can take that, there is an element to that in all we do, and yes there is that here in crankpunk, ego is as ego does, but the points I am making – we are making, meaning a large chunk of cyclists – remain to be answered.

As for the comment on Twitter – thanks. Compliment accepted.

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Postscript

Jonathan Vaughters apologised for his original tweet on Twitter which I read after I posted this and asked to talk. I stand by the article above though, and will be arranging an interview shortly, watch http://www.crankpunk.com for that.

The story of American doping in the 80s: The Olympics, Eddie B, and his “product”, our old friend Lance

This documentary looks at doping in the 80s in the USA, it isn’t cycling-specific, though it is cycling-related as it deals with doping on a systematic and institutionalised scale, nothing most of you won’t have known already but that may be enlightening for some.

Almost comical is the recounting of how many athletes suddenly started wearing braces as a result of taking growth hormone, which makes the jaw grow.

Yeah, growth hormone is a wonderful drug…

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Check out the athlete at 22.52 saying how “people had the impression that we were all on drugs at the Olympics, but no! They were all gone, we hadn’t done them in months – it was just training.”

And remember the guy earlier in the film saying that an athlete on steroids could allow and athlete to lift their max twice a day whilst they are on the drugs, whereas normally it’d be once every three days. Hmm, ‘just training’ huh?

This all brings us to the shady Edward ‘Eddie B’ Borysewicz, the USA team cycling coach under whose direction the US team won 9 medals in the ’84 Olympics. You will hear in the doc reference being made to ‘keeping up with the Eastern Europeans’, well, Eddie B brought the ‘knowledge’ of how to do that with him when he left Poland to work with the budding US Olympic riders in ’78.

Interestingly, Eddie B claims Lance Armstrong as his discovery, not Chris Carmichael’s.

From Wikipedia:

 Eddie Borysewicz resigned as coach of the American national team in 1987  partly because of disagreements with members of his squad. He started his own amateur team in 1988. Sponsorship by Sunkyong, a Korean electronics firm, ended after a year and Borysewicz sought a replacement in Montgomery Securities. Its chief executive, Thomas Weisel, agreed to a team of 15 that included Lance Armstrong. That team, after several sponsorship changes, became the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams for which Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times before those victories were vacated in 2012 after the USADA ruled that Armstrong doped during each of those victories.

Borysewicz claimed Lance Armstrong as his discovery and not that of Armstrong’s later coach, Chris Carmichael When Carmichael said of his work at the US federation that he wished he had “five Lances,” Borysewicz replied,

“Why doesn’t he (Chris Carmichael) produce Lances? That’s his job. And anyway, Lance is not his product. Lance is my product.”

Ouch!

Enjoy.

Martyn Ashton, riding again, inspiring as ever

If you’re looking for inspiration look no further than Martyn Ashton. Paralysed in a fall in 2013, the British rider barely stopped to feel sorry for himself before cracking on in rehab and then getting out and trying every single sport he could.

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You can check out his report on his first year post-accident, it’s uplifting stuff. Next time you can’t be bothered to go ride you might want to just read this stuff, it will change your mind.

A friend of his recently adapted a motorcycle with electronic stabilisers so that he could get back on a motorcycle again, the result looks awesome.

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There’s a great interview with Martyn over at the Red Bull website, well worth a read.

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Speaking in an interview on Road.cc last year, Martyn spoke about how his love for the bike was driving him to find ways to get back on it.

Ashton writes that he has “battled with those demons, looked for replacements in other sports, realised they don’t offer me a new direction.” But he doesn’t want one. A man whose life has revolved around riding bikes, he says he is determined to get back on a bike.

“I know what I must do next,” he writes. “I don’t need to find new sports to replace bikes. I need to get back on one, I need to ride with my mates, enjoy the outdoors and the terrain that is out there for me to ride. I don’t know how I will do it but I know I must because that’s who I am, that is what I do. Ride.”

Crank on Martyn.

Marijuana to enhance cycling performance? (& not just for downhill MTB kids)

Yes, apparently this might be happening. An article in The Guardian this week cites a report in The Wall Street Journal that an increasing number of ultra-marathon nutters runners are lighting up the doobies in training and pre- and post-race.

“If you can find the right level, it takes the stress out of running,” says Avery Collins, a 22-year-old professional ultramarathoner. “And it’s a postrace, post-run remedy.”

The right level… So, presumably not the level where you end up stuck on the sofa playing video games for 22 hours a day eating delivered pizza and MaccyD BigCracks whilst putting on 22lbs a week then.

“The person who is going to win an ultra is someone who can manage their pain, not puke and stay calm,” said veteran runner Jenn Shelton. “Pot does all three of those things.”

The Guardian article backs up the claims by runners that it helps them perform, stating that:

“A 2012 study funded by the National Institutes of Health…  found that exposure of up to seven “joint years” (ie 365 joints and/or pipe bowls) did not diminish lung function. That study actually found that marijuana users performed better on a lung function test – by a microscopic margin – than nonsmokers, possibly because of smokers’ “training” with deep breaths and holding smoke, the researchers said.”

But before you head down to the local corner for a dime bag, note that the jury’s not out on this one. The article goes on to state that:

“…marijuana “does have an effect of symptoms of chronic bronchitis”, Dr Donald Tashkin of the University of California said, including “cough and sputum” that develop when smoke irritates the lungs. “There are other potential risks that have not been confirmed,” he added, such as a possible associations for pneumonia, particularly for people with compromised immune systems, since the psychoactive chemical THC found in cannabis suppresses the system.”

But with some NBA players saying that 40-50% of athletes in the game are smoking weed, and the New York Times saying that could be as high as 60-70%, combined with the loosening of marijuana laws around the USA and indeed all over the world, it’s not too massive a leap to think that this is happening in other sports also.

The Journal article states that:

“In a nod to the growing acceptance of marijuana as a recreational drug, the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2013 raised the allowable level of THC—the drug’s active ingredient—to an amount that would trigger positive results only in athletes consuming marijuana in competition. That essentially gave the green light to marijuana usage during training, not to mention as a stress reliever the night before a race.

Hmm. So, is it cheating? I’m not that keen on PEDs as you may have noticed, but recreational drugs, no problem, as long as you are affecting no one else and keeping on an evenish keel, whatever floats your boat is fine by me. Yes they can be destructive but so can Krispy Kremes, and yes they can be rather interesting, as can… well, unlike Krispy Kremes.

God Bless America! And ganja! Cos how else could this thing possibly have happened...

God Bless America! And ganja! Cos how else could this thing possibly have happened…

THC and the reported effects means it’s not exactly EPO, and yes, riders and runners and other athletes are people too and they need to relax, but it doesn’t sit well with me this one. It sounds like these guys aren’t even actually smoking it for the sheer fun of it all, but because they believe it makes them better competitors.

Imagine if they legalise this and you get someone who gets all the bad side effects from dope, such as the clawing, feverish paranoia that comes with it, but the poor guy is in his room with a 6ft bong going slightly bonkers because everyone else is doing it.

Beta blockers block pain receptors right? And they are banned in most sports. We’re also moving into Therapeutic Use Exemption territory here too, where riders use pain killers by dint of permission from the authorities for an ailment (or not… possibly) which means they can ride on when they would otherwise have to stop – something again I don’t agree with.

So yeah, I feel like a party pooper here because a) some drugs are fun as long as they don’t make you give oral sex with scabby strangers in alleyways to get hold of them or turn you into Rob Ford (which is almost the same thing), and b) because I really like reggae. B

ut yeah – I’m gonna have to drop the trousers at this soiree.

Humbug.

click below to see the video report on this.

http://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/iframe.html?guid=540E2E9F-D35A-464A-9BE3-E15CD8E605BC

 

 

 

Vandevelde to be president of new North American Pro Rider Association. Huh?

Seriously, I did not make this up.

Christian Vandevelde, he of  le dopage Americain, is to be the president of the new Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC).

At the time he received his suspension (6 months, bless, received for ‘admitting’ he doped on US EPOstal), he whimpered:

“I’m very sorry for the mistakes I made in my past and I know that forgiveness is a lot to ask for. I know that I have to earn it and I will try, every day, to deserve it – as I have, every day, since making the choice to compete clean. I will never give up on this sport, and I will never stop fighting for its future.”

Vandevelde’s so special he gets his own page on Dopeology.

Vandevelde's roll of honor

Vandevelde’s roll of honor

Whatever you think about him returning or receiving only 6 months, surely a former doper who only came out and ‘confessed’ because his boss (JV, another former doper, see where we are going here?) told everyone he had, isn’t the best choice to represent all North American pros?

Even if you’re kinda ok with all that trimmed suspension garbage?

What do the non-dopers think of that?

Yowzers. Beggars belief.

But then when Gianni Bugno, top doper of the past, is the head honcho of the world pro association (Cyclistes Professionels Associés), should we really be surprised by anything?

The answer is no. Angry, yes, surprised, no.

And well done to CyclingSnooze who yet again report this stuff without whiff of even the faintest opinion.

Awesome work guys. Surely you should get Liggett on board, you’d make cosy bedfellows.

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Bugno’s rap sheet, again from the excellent Dopeology.

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Lee’s Lowdown on PEZ: the bicycle in war

Third installment of my weekly column over on PezCycling News, this one is about the use of the trusty old bicycle during wartime, from pre-1900 to just last year, when a bike was loaded with explosives and lots of sharp nasty things and used to kill 45 people at a market in Kandahar.

Yeah. Nice huh.

There is hope though, as the bike has been used for very good things during war too. Read on to find out how and when.

Click on the image below to access the article, thanks!

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Crank Punk Coaching Systems: Official provider of coaching services for the 2015 Tour of Friendship R1

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Crank Punk Coaching Systems is proud to announce the beginning of an official partnership between CPCS and the Tour of Friendship R1.

As of January 1st 2015, CPCS will provide an exclusive training package available to all participants in the 2015 race.

On offer is a 1-2-1 Plan, as well as a special Tour of Friendship Training Plan that is available to participants in the race for just US$6.99 a week.

The Tour of Friendship R1 is Asia’s top amateur stage race, held each year in Thailand under the guidance of Dr. Titaree Tanakorn. I’ve raced the event twice, once back in 2010 where I won the opening 7km prologue and took 5th overall, and in 2013, where again I won the opening prologue over the same course and won the Yellow jersey to claim the overall title.

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in Yellow at the 2013 Tour of Friendship R1

Thanks to those experiences, I know how to prepare for the unique challenges of the Friendship tour and how to help guide you to be in the best possible condition for the race, which this year will be held from May 2nd to May 6th.

On offer is a special 20% discount on the 1-2-1 Coaching Pack, which features an initial 1 hour Skype call, fully personalised week-by-week plans designed around your goals and time schedule, delivered via your own account (provided by CPCS free of charge) http://www.trainingpeaks.com, all supported by weekly catch up calls.

Also on offer is the Tour of Friendship Training Plan.

This is a pre-written plan that can be amended very easily to suit any time schedule. The TOF Training Plan comes with detailed notes on how to gain maximum benefit from the schedule and how to understand the process, meaning that the rider is not only getting stronger and faster, but actually learning as they go along how to train themselves effectively.

There is an initial Skype call provided too to help the rider become completely familiar with the workings of the plan. This consultation call will be provided free of charge. There is a 4-month, 3-month and 2-month version of the plan available.

This is a plan written with my extensive knowledge of the race itself, of racing in high temperatures and humidity, of coaching and of working with a variety of abilities and time schedules. It’s a plan that works, and is offered at this special deal price to participants in the 2015 event.

If you’re planning on racing in the 2015 edition of this hard but fantastic race and need some advice from someone who has trained to win this event and been successful, please feel free to get in touch, either via ‘Contact’ here, or via leerodgers202@gmail.com.

Cheers folks, and crank on!

Finally, check out Dave Christensen’s great video of this year’s race here below: