Category: Uncategorized

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



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.


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), 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

Cheers folks, and crank on!

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

cycling posters! thanks Liz!

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.


HolyCrit organiser & volunteer facing a year in jail: Zul Awab interview

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.”

Zul Awab, left, and Eric Khoo

Zul Awab, left, and Eric Khoo

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.

Kenyan Riders team in The Guardian newspaper

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.

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Astana do not exist in a bubble – this is evidence that ZILCH has changed

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?

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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

uh huh.

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?

well yeah.’

and half of Garmin?

and Armstrong, Tyler, all them boys?

well they had to do it to survive...’

uh… huh.

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.

Dr Michele Ferrari, centre, was, according to Usada, in charge of supervising blood transfusions

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.


Crank Punk Coaching Systems: Jake Folkerd-Hobbs hill climb victory

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.

“i won.”

bad-a-bing. awesome!

well done Jake, you join the illustrious ranks of crankpunk podium snafflers!

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Jake Folkerd-Hobbs in action


The Maldon Hill Climb Championship event was held in Lodge Road, Hazeleigh on Sunday 2nd November 2014.