Tuesday 27 December 2011

"This is insane"

And that's just the commentary!

An exhibition of bike handling in appalling conditions.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Kelly's Classics

I've been watching old videos of some of Sean Kellys early Classic wins. He really was some rider. It's hard to imagine one of todays specialists being able to win any combination of San Remo, Roubaix, Lombardy and Liege, especially in the same season.

His domination of Paris-Roubaix 1984 was truly phenomenal.

For no reason, other than I'm sitting here morphing back into the teenage fan I was back then, I decided to find pics of his classic wins and post them for your (and my) enjoyment. I managed to find all except Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1989, so if you know of a good pic of that, post a link below.

Probably my favourite cycling pic of all time. Kelly outsprints Van Der Poel,
Lemond and Kuiper to win his first classic at the Tour Of Lombardy 1983
Kelly dominates the 1984 Hell of the North, Paris Roubaix, towing Rudy Rogiers
to the velodrome before easily out-sprinting him.
Just weeks later, Kelly out-sprinted Anderson (obscured) and Lemond
to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1984
He finished 1984 with a win in Blois-Chaville (now Paris-Tours)
1985 was a leaner year but he still out-sprinted the rest to win
the Tour of Lombardy on the track at Milan.
1986 started well when Kelly won his first Primavera, Milan-San Remo
It got even better when he added Paris Roubaix, finishing away from the
velodrome for the first time in years.
After a couple of lean years Kelly regained his form and took La Doyenne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege again in 1989.
It was another two years before he easily sprinted Martial Gayant for the
1991 Tour of Lombardy 
The third best Classics record of all time was capped off with another
Milan-San Remo, ahead of his old rival Argentin, in 1992

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Scalextric Velodrome

If we ever needed proof that the success of the GB track cycling team is capturing the public imaginations here it is.

Scalextric, the famous car racing game, now comes in a velodrome version with two GB clad riders who can race each other around a banked track.

I assume you can do head to head sprints and inidvidual pursuits but I'm not sure a keirin would work too well!


Wednesday 19 October 2011

Good interview with Nicolas Roche

Nico gave a very intelligent and insightful interview with Off The Ball presenter Eoin McDevitt on Dublins Newstalk radio station last night.


Wednesday 31 August 2011

Dublin City might actually work! - Or maybe not

After yesterdays pleasant surprise to see a team of workers cleaning up the bike lane along East Wall Road, I was full of anticipation as I rode towards it this morning. I was looking forward to rolling along a pristine, smooth and shiny surface, laughing out loud at the ease and safety of my exclusive, truck-free route.

OK, so I was a little bit over-optimistic. If my Dad had been there to oversee the sweepers I think they'd have heard "You missed a bit" quite often. Don't get me wrong, anything is an improvement over what it was like but is half a job worth the effort?

While the big piles of grit are gone, and the large pieces of the broken up red surface that littered the first section have been removed, there is still a large amount of gravel and grit in the lane. Maybe, with drivers eyes, the team doing the job thought they'd made a huge difference, but unfortunately the tolerance of a bike tyre is not quite that of a car tyre. Even a small amount of gravel and dirt can be enough to bring a bike ride to a halt. Cycle lanes require a higher standard of "clean" than roads. That standard wasn't met.

The problem is now that there might be a similarly long interval before the lane is swept again so we can't even hope for an incremental improvement over time.

Worse still, the removal of the dirty top layer has highlighted just how poor the state of the red bike lane surface really is. Riding it this morning I could feel and hear whole sections rattling loose, obviously not bound to the concrete underneath. Over another cold winter most of that will be worked loose and the lane will be back to where it was two days ago.

So Dublin City Council, I do appreciate the fast response and the effort you put in, but I was brought up to believe a job is always worth doing right. You've let yourselves down on that score.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Dublin City might actually work!

A couple of days ago I discovered an online portal which provides citizens of Dublin the means to report any relevant issues they may have to the city authorities, creating a "Service Request" for Dublin City Council. All part of their "aim to provide a high-quality, efficient and courteous level of service to all of our customers".

Call me cynical, but it looked to me like one of those aspirational "initiatives" our public services like to spend tax euros on, but with no real commitment from those behind the scenes who need to actually implement the services promised.

As it happened, I did have a pressing issue that had been annoying me for some time. This issue related to a bike lane on my morning commute. For those who know Dublin, its the southbound path on East Wall Road, between Tolka Quay Road and the East Link Bridge. This particular lane is unridable in places due to the, literally, piles of grit and dirt strewn about, not to mention the timber sheeting and rocks lying about in it and the broken surface. As a result cyclists are given the choice between risking punctures and bike damage by riding in the lane or risking life and limb riding on the road alongside the trucks coming off the ferry at the nearby docks.

So, more in hope than expectation, I reported this last week via the service portal. The portal swallowed up my request, showing a reference number on screen, but without an email confirmation or any formal acknowledgement of receipt. That's them making sure they're off any legal obligation hook, I thought to myself at the time.

So, imagine my surprise this morning, less than a week later, to find that I couldn't ride on the bike lane in question, not due to further deterioration but due to the team, yes team, of council workers hard at work sweeping and cleaning. Several men with brushes AND a road sweeping machine were busily clearing the footpath and, I hope, bike lane.

Obviously it won't be until my next bike commute that I'll be in a position to assess the quality of their work, and the ridability of the bike lane. Even so I have to admit I'm impressed with the speed of the reaction and their apparent commitment to actually providing a service.

So, for now, a qualified well done to Dublin City Council.

If you have an issue you'd like to report to Dublin City Council the portal address is http://www.dublincity.ie/YourCouncil/Pages/isupport.aspx

Saturday 27 August 2011

Irish National Hill Climb Championships 2011

Here're pics and results from last nights National Hill Climb Champs, 2.5 km of gut-busting agony up Kilmashogue Lane, in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. It was tiring just walking up!

The title was won very convincingly by Mark Dowling of Team Dectek, with defending champion Ryan Sherlock having to settle for silver. Bronze went to this seasons time trialling revelation, Damien Shaw of Lakeland Wheelers.

Distance: 2.50 kms / 1.55 Miles 
Winners Speed: 21.29 kph / 13.24 mph 
1 Mark Dowling (Team Dectek) 07'02" 
2 Ryan Sherlock (Sportactive) @16" 
3 Damien Shaw (Lakeside Wheelers) @29" 
4 Eoin Elliott (Thinkbike.ie) @31" 
5 James Davenport (South Dublin) @48" 
6 Paul Griffin (Earl of Desmond) @51" 
7 Brian Ahern (Orwell Wheelers) @56" 
8 Robbie Bryson (Lakeland Wheelers) @01'05" 
9 Geoffrey Robinson (Bray Wheelers) s/t 
10 Stephen Clancy (Limerick CC) @01'09" 
11 Ross Collins ( UCD) @01'14" 
12 Frank Billings (Lucan CRC) @01'19" 
13 Niall Brosnan (The Edge) @01'25" 
14 David Peelo (Murphy Surveys) @01'26" 
15 Hugh Mulhearne (Carrick Wheelers) @01'33" 
16 Paul Dolan (Irish Road Club) @01'35" 
17 John Lynch (Murphy Surveys) @01'40" 
18 David Wherity (McNally Swords) @01'41" 
19 Colm Ahern (Orwell Wheelers) @01'42" 
20 Diarmuid Collins (Orwell Wheelers) s/t 
21 Sean Downey (CycleWays CC) @01'43" 
22 David Walsh (Slaney CC) s/t 
23 Eric Downey (U/A) s/t 
24 Patrick O'Brien (Orwell Wheelers) s/t 
25 Mark Kiernan (Murphy Surveys) s/t 
26 Richard Felle (Thinkbike.ie) @01'44" 
27 John Kelly (Dublin Wheelers) @01'46" 
28 Odhran O'Caoilte (Bray Wheelers) @01'47" 
29 Odhran Connors (Barnardos) @01'51" 
30 Shane O'Neill (Orwell Wheelers) @01'55" 
31 Sebastian Roma Rakos (Chile) @02'00" 
32 Chris Grieve (U/A) @02'02" 
33 Shane Hurley (Barnardos) @02'05" 
34 Melanie Spath (CycleWays CC) @02'06" 
35 Peter Doyle (McNally Swords) s/t 
36 Daniel Baiassi (Ravens) @02'10" 
37 Andras Gercsenyi (Bray Wheelers) @02'13" 
38  Jamie Noone (Sorrento CC) @02'20" 
39 James McCluskey (IMBRC) @02'27" 
40 Frank Dunne (Slaney CC) @02'28" 
41 Patrick Reilly (Moynalty CC) @02'40" 
42 Colm Ferrari (Bray Wheelers) @02'49" 
43 Colm Dillon (Cycling Pursuits) @02'54" 
44 Ross Campbell Grogan (Lucan CRC) @03'07" 
45 Justin May (Epic MTB) @03'09" 
46 Fergal Cummis (McNally Swords) @03'13" 
47  Fergus Whelan (Lucan CRC) @03'18" 
48 Chris Bellew (Orwell Wheelers) @03'26" 
49 Kieran McGlynn (U/A) @03'43" 
50 Vinny Cronin (World Wide Cycles) @03'45" 
51 Anne Dalton (Orwell Wheelers) s/t 
52 Roisin Kennedy (Lucan CRC) @03'49" 
53 Niamh Stephens (UCD) @03'51" 
54 Pierre Rodgers (U/A) @05'56" 

Bronze medallist, Damien Shaw

Frank Billings

Winner, and new Irish Champion, Mark Dowling

Paul Griffin chasing another title.

Defending Champ, Ryan Sherlock, looking sleek but was
beaten on the night, taking silver.