Archive for April, 2010

April 30, 2010

Greg Curnoe

There are few people who can draw, or paint, a bike well. Greg Curnoe, a Canadian artist who was also a keen cyclist, was able to do just that. The photograph below was taken by Greg in his studio. Leaning against the bikes hanging from the wall, is a serigraph on plexiglass of a Mariposa bicycle made for Greg by my father in the 70′s. Greg made ten serigraphs of the bike  and one hung in my Dad’s shop for years (it now hangs in their living room). As a young boy it drew my attention for its colour and simple, clean lines. The simple beauty perfectly captures cycling and the efficiency of the bike. The photo below hangs in our apartment in Girona, Spain, along with a Curnoe print of another Mariposa. I love the photo as it somehow captures cycling and tells a wonderful story: the used tubulars, the track bike, the city bike, the racing bike, the spare wheels, the pump and the box of parts.

For more on Greg Curnoe: http://bicyclespecialties.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html

And: http://twoseriousbikes.blogspot.com/2010/02/mariposa-bicycles-job-worth-doing.html

April 26, 2010

Beyond the Cover, Le Métier.

Select pages of Le Métier. The Seasons of a Professional Cyclist.

April 19, 2010

Le Métier. The seasons of a professional cyclist.

On a cold rainy winter day, while I was climbing a mountain in solitude, ideas were floating through my head as my heart rate increased with the effort. I thought about the ride. I was alone on a road in the pouring rain. It was a moment in the life of a cyclist that the public doesn’t see. There are thousands of such moments.

Camille McMillan, a photographer who is also a good friend, and I had just finished working on a project together. His photos are unique and we had worked well together.

At the top of the mountain I pulled over and sent him an SMS. “I think we should work on a book that will tell the story of a pro cyclist’s life. The book will follow him through the year. With your photos and my words I think we can tell a story that hasn’t been told and give people an understanding of what the life of a pro cyclist is all about.” Moments later he wrote back. “I’m in.”

Before he became a professional photographer and I a professional cyclist, we were childhood friends. Camille’s father, Rhett, rode in a local club in London with my father. They were best friends and with cycling as a common passion. Camille and I grew up immersed in bike magazines and books. And, as a result of all of that, we see the sport similarly. Due to that childhood friendship there was a level of trust, which allowed us to work more honestly and intimately.

Camille followed me as often as possible through the cycling season. He spent time in my home, in the hotel room, in the team bus, and followed the training rides. Many of his photos capture the moments in a cyclist’s life that are routine to us but are exceptionally abnormal to most people.

To attain the level of fitness necessary each rider in the professional peloton has committed his life to his bike. The roadside spectators, the media and the television audience, who watch us from a distance, cannot see the professional cyclist’s commitment, suffering and sacrifice. We have told this story in Le Métier. The seasons of a professional cyclist.

The book is on sale now: http://rouleur.cc/le-metier and will be released 29.04.2010. Below are some snaps Camille took late last week of the printing presses in action.

April 9, 2010

Paris-Roubaix Pre-Ride Video

Three days prior to the start of Paris Roubaix the team drove to the Arenberg forest to ride the course. From Arenberg it is roughly 100 km to the finish. Each of the 17 remaining cobbled sectors is separated by less than 10 km of tarmac. In Arenberg the race becomes relentlessly difficult—the 100 km that follow the forest are perhaps the hardest 100 km in professional cycling. The vibrations beat the cyclist’s body, his muscles are torn from the effort and his eyes burn from the dust.

The cobbles were relatively dry when we rode them although there were a few muddy sections where puddles had formed or tractors muddied the road. In the video, you can see the riders slipping and sliding on the slick sections. The crowds were already gathering in anticipation for Sunday’s race and the media was out to photograph the protagonists testing their legs and their equipment on the cobbles.

The countryside the course crosses is grim but comes alive for on race day. The video captures the fields that are open to the wind. The grey clouds which blow in from the North Sea look ominous. The spring air in northern France is damp and cold.

In an ironic twist we ended up finishing our ride with Saxo Bank, as we were both out on the parcours at the same time. There are few sports where rival teams will chat in training three days prior to the big event. In cycling, rivals are friends and there is a shared respect that somehow transcends the race. And, despite those friendships we will battle with them until the bitter end on Sunday.

April 6, 2010

Training, The Photo Tour.

Here are some pictures from this weeks training leading up to Paris-Roubaix. I’ve also included a few pictures of Flecha’s Roubaix specific bike, notice the seatstays.

April 5, 2010

Flanders, Paris-Roubaix

Here’s a gallery from the past few days. You will find a few pictures from before Flanders, and then the task of prepping tires for Roubaix.