Mountain Bike Shenanigans

More Penguin Sport
March 31st, 2004

Just managing to squeeze one last update in before the end of the month and I can’t think of a more appropriate way to update than offering some good time wasting entertainment. If you liked the first penguin game check out the latest two additions over at Yetisports.

Manzano has made the move that has been widely speculated to be on the cards, but the shitstorm continues to gather in the wake of his allegations. Cyclingnews has the latest. Drugs don’t seem to be at all prevalent in the female side of the sport. I mean they certainly have some top of the kit, but you never hear much about doping scandals.

People living outside North America choosing to stick two fingers up to the film and music industry and share copyrigted material have for the most part been getting away with it, but that looks set to change:

From: Gilles
Subject: First file sharers prosecuted in Europe

We had been waiting for it for a long time, and here it is: for the first time in Europe, some people will be prosecuted for sharing copyrighted material.

Groups go after music swapping in Canada, Europe

“LONDON — Recording industry associations in Europe and Canada are going after 247 people for illegally swapping music on-line, taking up a
tactic used by music companies in the United States.

The London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said Tuesday that action had been taken in Germany, Denmark, Italy and Canada. The IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, said lawsuits would be launched in more countries in coming
months as part of its campaign against music piracy.”

or

Europe’s song-swappers face court

“The music industry is to take legal action against 247 online song-swappers across Europe in the biggest crackdown against music piracy outside the US.”

For what it’s worth I still think they are going about this the wrong way. I mean look at Sony. I have loads of albums from artists under the Sony label and I have a Sony Net Minidisc which lets me record tracks from CD as well as MP3 and other electronic music files onto Minidisc using Sony’s own jukebox software, but under the current laws it’s all illegal.

What a miserable failure.

Trans Pennine Trail
March 30th, 2004

Some people chose to ride the Mary Townley Loop this weekend and it was a memorable event, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. It was a muddy ride when I rode it last May and attempts to ride it after the recent rain we’ve had were likely to make it challenging.

I went out on Sunday with Steve Makin, Steve’s friend Bill, Jon Woodhouse and the absurdly fit Dave Clark and we rode from Sale Water Park up to Broadbottom and then back. It was mostly along the banks of the Mersey but it was a good distance. The ride down to Sale and back also adds to the distance, especially as I had to go and meet the Sexmidget on the way. It was a good ride and an idea for an Epic later in the year has been hatched.

It has also prompted me to try a carbon bar for the first time. I’ve tried suspension on the singlespeed, but it threw the gemoetry right out and I’ve started to get used to it being rigid. Yet even withe the ti spokes and steel frame and forks there’s a need for just a bit more comfort. I’ll have to see if this does the trick – I’ll post some photos of the latest singlespeed specification in a couple of days.

There’ll be some new kit on show at this years road races as both Mavic and Giro have new works in the pipeline and will be looking to make riders go faster than before. Meanwhile the Manzano debacle has been continuing, but it all seems a bit academic. The suspicion that doping was taking place was always there, it’s just that Manzano is the first rider to talk graphically and openly about what was happening.

For his sake I hope he gets a ride with Amore e Vita because if he was good enough for second in the Spanish Nationals without the aid of drugs, then he’s likely to be good enough to ride well a professional level without artifical assistance. He may not have the same form as before, but on the other hand maybe he will. At least he won’t have to worry about his blood thickening during the night.

Cypress Hill Said
March 27th, 2004

The infamous lyrics “when tha shit goes down ya better be ready” sum up the current situation in the world of professional road racing. As I reported briefly on Thursday, former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano has been saying a lot about his personal experiences with doping and the near fatal consequences they held for him.

Now while it’s obvious why a lot of people would want him to stay quiet or stop talking, he’s been spilling a lot of information and from what I can see has been careful not to implicate other riders specifically. The fact he’s pretty much tarred all of the riders in his team already though isn’t going to make much difference to how the riders are reacting.

Interestingly, maybe it’s the fact that no big names have yet been dropped that has stopped the news from making it into the mainstream media. Most just report that Kelme has been dropped from this year’s Tour and that this follows Manzano’s revelations. After a relatively quite year in terms of doping last year, this year is looking stormy.

This has to be good news:

Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced a tax exemption scheme for bikes, The Green Transport Plan, which could see you saving up to 50% on your bike, and there’s no upper limit on the value of the bike. The only catch, if you can call it that, is that the Inland Revenue’s rules say that the bike must be used “mainly for transport to and from work” but that’s not really a terribly onerous requirement.

More at Bikemagic.

Now buying stuff off the Internet can be a bit of a hit or miss affair, but when you thing you’re getting this and this is what arrives, you’re going to be pissed. In fact you might tell some people you know, who’ll tell all the people they know and the whole thing spirals and then even I’m posting a link to it. The dirty details are here. I think there’s quite a strong case from going and buying certain stuff direct from a dealer.

Not Enough Bikes
March 25th, 2004

I’ve been busy the last few days so haven’t had much time to put together a post. Carlton Reid from Bikebiz has put together a little article on bikes, which has made it onto the front page of Singletrack. The word is that shortages of bikes and components are on the cards for the months ahead, but basically it’s just a summary of what I’ve been saying on here for the last few weeks.

This is just gay and is now even more gay that it’s been edited.

Fox seem to have reprofiled their drop outs, but haven’t been bold enough to make them more forward opening which would have made them less likely to eject disc brake based front wheels that aren’t held securely in place. There’s more here (page not friendly to non IE based browsers).

Kelme are denying doping allegations and will there be a US Postal Sponsored team in next years pro peloton? Find out more at Cyclingnews.

Yorkshire Dales
March 23rd, 2004

Well I spent the weekend in the Yorkshire Dales and despite the wind and the rain it was fantastic. I mean the fact that the car door nearly got ripped off it’s hinges, the rain was horizontal and the Polaris riders (I don’t think I have ever seen so many people with the thousand yard stares on bikes – there were some people deep in the pain cave) around Leyburn looked absolutely buggered by about lunchtime on the first day didn’t seem to matter.

_ Settle looking towards the Three Peaks _ Malhamdale _ Malhamdale _

The way that ribbons of sunlight were racing across the green fields of the Dales just seemed to make the place feel so alive. There’s something appealing about that landscape that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it just makes me think of that big debate between the difference between wildness and wilderness. I think its appeal was heightened by reading James Herriot and sipping decent bitter in fresh air and good company.

_ Coverdale _ Coverdale _ Swaledale _

Prior to this weekend’s big race twice former World Champion Oscar Freire stated:

“Up until now, I’ve always lacked a little something to win at San Remo,” Freire told La Dernière Heure . “A little luck, but sometimes a little lucidity as well. I feel as though I’m riding more with my head now, and who knows, maybe this will make the difference.”

Initially marked as one of the favourites for the Milan-San Remo, he clinched this years La Primavera on the line, poaching the win from Zabel who sat up too soon.

Now Hans Rey is one of those riders in a similar category to Frischnecht, Tomac, Overend, Furtado. In short he’s a living legend. Now I’ve had some communication with him because he’s done a lot of riding in the Alps and has given me some advice on a route I’ve been researching for a few years – it’s a big one and part of a Transalp epic I’m planning. So I was a bit interested to read about this opportunity to ride with one of the sports legendary figures.

The ABG letter from Bikebiz has disappeared having been pulled following a request from one of the parties involved. There is a lesson to be learnt from that debacle.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides