The Vicious Cycle: A Taste of the Track

“You know, bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance,” I said. “it’s a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground. I’m going to call that the Bicyclist’s Philosophy of Life.” ― Susan Vreeland, Clara and Mr. Tiffany

A bit of eye candy to get your week rolling…

The Vicious Cycle

Here’s a beautiful bike from my old homeland of South Africa. You can own a limited edition piece of history for a surprisingly affordable price.

The Vicious Cycle is built on a 1980s track frame from the World Track Championships. It’s made of Reynolds 653 and Columbus steel, stripped down repainted and coppered, and built from scratch with components from Brooks, Cinelli, Campagnolo and 3T. The tri-spoke carbon wheels were custom made for the Vicious Cycle. You can get it as a fixed rear hub or coaster brake.

The Vicious Cycle

If you want one you’d better act fast, there’s only 10 available, you’ll need to hand over $4,800 to secure one of these. Learn more and order your Christmas present here.

Superman for the Masses: The Bird of Prey Bicycle

Is this the fastest bike you’ll ever ride?

Bird of Prey Bicycles think so, and bill it as much. Bird of Prey offer custom, superman-style bicycles for the masses. Now you too can be like Boardman.

The Bird of Prey is the brainchild of architect John Aldridge but it languished in anonymity until bike builder Russ Denny built a prototype in 2010, and thus began the journey from vision to reality.

The bike was launched in September 2015, and Bird of Prey are now taking orders.

The Bird of Prey Bicycle sports a 60 tooth rear sprocket driving a 36-11 up front.

Key Benefits of the Bike

Bird of Prey say this bike is:

  • the fastest bicycle for racing & triathlons (if it’s legal! -Editor)
  • Aerodynamic
  • Have a low center of gravity
  • Great for cross-training
  • You’ll never go over the handlebars
  • End your lower back pain or discomfort
  • Custom fit for exactly for you

The bike frame is aluminum, no word on the weight. It sports a 60 tooth big ring and a 36-11 cassette. Bird of Prey say the 60T is easy to turn and the position does not inhibit high cadence spinning up hills.

The Bird of Prey: Gets You Low and Aero

Questions About the Bike

I have not ridden the bike but from looking at the radical position I wonder if the “easing of back pain” might be replaced with stomach or hip discomfort.

There may also be additional stress on your neck as your torso is now more horizontal than on a traditional bike. At the very least I think the bike would take some adapting to.

What would be really interesting is to do some testing for aerodynamics, speed, climbing, etc. Bird of Prey claim that you can apply more torque in this position so the 60T ring is easy to turn. Well that’s really interesting, how about some numbers?

Learn more about the Bird of Prey Bicycle

The Most Active Cycling City in the World Is….

This does not surprise me. When I was over in London last year, we took a walk to a local pub. My daughter and I counted the cyclists we saw on the way there and on the walk back. We counted over 110. Most of them looked like commuters.

Cyclists in London at Trafalgar Square
Cyclists in Trafalgar Square London. Photo by author, July 2014.

They are everywhere. There’s no shortage of cyclists in the center of London mixing it up in Trafalgar Square, thick with taxis and buses. We also came across a string of cyclists in a mid-week time trial on a rainy day out in the country.

My local city, Charlotte, much much smaller and much less traffic, and with very few cyclists comparative to London averages 1-4 deaths a year. The bustling, chaotic and sprawling London which is thick with cyclists has had just 8 fatalities so far this year. That seems mighty low.

I rode in London in the 90’s while living there, commuting to work, but it wasn’t smack bang in the middle of the city, though my wife and I took a few weekend trips into a busy part of town. We were a bit nervous at first but got over it quickly and I don’t remember any close calls, not like here.

Certainly the cycle lanes contribute to safety, but I’m pretty sure the sheer number of cyclists on the road dramatically raises the awareness of drivers, and makes them more cyclist-sensitive. Whereas here, they look but don’t see.

What you see is strongly influenced by what you’re looking for, and around here most drivers are just not expecting a cyclist, aren’t looking for them and consequntly don’t see them.

And when they do see them, reactions vary from: from curiosity, “OMG! WTF is that?” to amazement, “cool, look a cyclist!!” …and to anger, “What the hell is this kid doing with his toy on the roads?!!”

I’m sure there’s many lessons we can learn from London.

London Crowned as Strava’s Most Active Cycling City


Ivan Basso Pulls the Plug, Levi Loses a Rider

Basso Pulls the Plug

After an aborted Tour and cancer treatment, Ivan Basso (Tinkoff-Saxo) pulls the plug.

“Every athlete knows that his light will not shine bright throughout his career,” said Basso, who won the Giro in 2006 and 2010. “Inevitably, at some stage it will start dimming and it’s the sign of a wise athlete to know when the moment has come to turn it off.”

Emergencies Mar Levi’s GranFondo

Fun rides can be extremely dangerous. I’ve done a lot and seen quite a bit. Unfortunately Levi’s GranFondo on Saturday saw more accidents than usual… 16 emergency calls, 5 people transported by ground ambulance to local hospitals, 1 by REACH helicopter.

Tragically, one rider never made it.

Edward Lund, a rider in Levi’s GranFondo, was killed on Saturday when he lost control on a descent with some tricky corners. It sounds like the organizers took all reasonable precautions. But no matter the circumstances; it’s always up to each of us to ensure our own safety.

“Muhney [the rider behind Mr Lund] heeded the advice of a course marshal who had warned him to be extra careful on that stretch of the course, and he was “a little harder on the brakes” because of it, he said.

One of the challenges of that stretch is that alternating strong sunlight and dark shade made it difficult at times to see the shady curves, he said. But he added that organizers appeared to have tried to compensate for that with a number of road flares.”

More on Levi’s GranFondo on Saturday: