Friday, 15 August 2014

Gearing up for L'Eroica Britannia 2015

I've just picked up this mid to late 80's Vitus 979 (in fairly rare 'bronze') on eBay. 
It comes with vintage 105 downtube shifters and rear derailleur, but an Ofmega oval triple chainset. 

Although I bought up the Holdsworth with a view to restoring it for L'Eroica I couldn't resist the Vitus having seen the one used by my friend Andy Bell at L'Eroica 2014. 

Possibly the lightest bike used at L'Eroica

There's plenty of info on the net about the Vitus 979 but they're famous for; being one of the earliest widely available aluminium frames, being lugged and glued, and being used by cycling legend Sean Kelly. Oh and they're apparently a joy to ride. 

Check out the 'bronze' anodised finish!

And as for buying too many bikes? Pah! The Holdsworth and the Vitus were great value, and there'll now be two awesome vintage bikes stored in the in-laws garage in Suffolk (one 56cms frame, one 59cms frame), meaning two people can hit the rolling hills. Very sociable!

I'll be continuing work on the Holdsworth restoration at the weekend, preparing it for a full service at The London Cycle Workshop. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Inner Tube Recycling

Ever felt a pang of guilt when you've discarded a perfectly decent inner tube after a puncture rather than patch it up for later use?
Heard of any councils offering a rubber re-cycling service? Thought not. 
But all may not be lost. 
Today I visited a 'marché nocturne' at Meyssac in the Lot region of France, and spotted a table of bags, rucksacks and other items made from recycled inner tubes. 
BackToBag offer 'Original bags made from inner cycle tubes - strong, waterproof 100% recycled product'.

They're made by Annemieke Bod, Dutch born but a French resident and they're sold on her website (which may be under repair at the moment - watch this space). 

Messenger bag:

Tool bag at 15€


Sunday, 3 August 2014

L'Eroica Britannia Weekend

The Team:

Joe Quill (1956 Mal Rees)

Andy Bell (1984 Vitus 979)

Craig Bell (1984 Holdsworth)

Jim Dutton (1977 Koga-Miyata Gents Tourer)

Amongst our number the tandem 10 mile time trial record holders, Joe and Craig. 

My teammates all rode proper old school pre 1987 racing bikes, as per the rules. I was on a heavyweight 'Gents Tourer' which, while awesome on the Strada Bianchi, was a bit of a disaster on the climbs. Craig and Joe bestrode Holdsworths, whereas Andy used one of only two aluminium bikes allowed, a Vitus 979. Incredibly light and appropriately colour matched to 'Fosters blue'. 

Pre race line-up:

And in the heat of the action:

Finish line relief:

Blessed as we were with fine weather the 60 mile ride provided a reasonable challenge for our team, although I suspect that a couple of our number could have handled the full 100 miles without too much of a problem. 
The route directions were spot on, the feed stations well stocked and the glass of Pimms (or sparkling wine) with fine sandwiches at Chatsworth House was a real treat. 

Post race refreshments:

What an incredible weekend. Many beers, many miles, great organisation, great companions. 

And if you were overtaken on the hills, chances are it was by someone like Team Peugeot!

Team Bell finished a creditable 327th.  Probably.