Ventoux

Damn damn damn, I’m excited…

Mont Ventoux

All photos were taken (by me) on various adventures around Jonquieres, Bedoin and Mont Ventoux in Provence during 2011 and 2012. I’ll see you back there on Bastille day, the 14th July 2013…

Fans Backed Womens Cycling

While part of professional cycling implodes, shall we turn our attention to something more (ahem) positive?

When I Grow Up I Want To Ride Like Marianne Vos

Back in July, after returning from the Tour, I stood in the pouring rain in the newly opened London Olympic Park watching The Greatest Cyclist In The World be pushed all the way to the line by a vegetarian from West Yorkshire. Enthralled, excited and motivated, I rushed to the Olympic Park Megastore to buy a Great Britain branded cycling shirt and vowed to buy a road bike. I wanted more. The Olympic Velodrome opened and Queen Victoria stepped off the throne to be succeeded by a young pretender from just up the M11. But I still wanted to see more. So I stood in the baking Kentish sunshine at Brands Hatch and unashamedly cried as Sarah Storey destroyed not only her own race field, but also that of the mens’ race that started 3 minutes in front of her. I sat in Look Mum No Hands with a lump in my throat watching the Road Race World Championships as The Greatest Cyclist In The World won the rainbow stripes, thinking how privileged I was to be watching her race. Thinking about how I would tell my children about watching her in the same way as my Dad told me about watching The Cannibal. Having lost my way with football, having got tired of the air of suspicion that hangs over men’s cycling, I realised I had found a sport that truly moved me. I wanted more. I needed more. Much more…

But the joy of this discovery was overshadowed. I found articles about Emma Pooley having to consider retirement because of the lack of support she was getting. I went to watch an event at the historic Herne Hill Velodrome where the lack of female cyclists entering was openly criticised. I read Sarah Storey imploring more women to get involved in cycle racing, so I nervously entered a sportive. And I trawled the internet looking for more women’s Pro Cycling events I could go and watch, but they just weren’t there. So I asked for help…

Tweet from Sarah Storey

Which is when I discovered #fansbackedwomensteam and #fansbackedwomenscycling, an intiative started in part by an article on Cyclismas by Stefan Wyman from Matrix Prendras about the role of fans in women’s cycling. This quote spoke particularly strongly to me:

“In many ways, women’s cycling lacks history; certainly compared to the men’s side of the sport. This era of raised interest in women’s cycling is a chance to make a new kind of history for the sport, in a new, interesting and socially inclusive way.”

The opportunity for a community based model for cycling really excites me, something inclusive and accountable to the fans but also a fantastic opportunity to give these talented sportswomen the platform and audiences they deserve. And to give us more of the fabulous, enthralling women’s cycling that I am so desperate to watch.

The Fans Backed Womens Cycling project is continually evolving, but I strongly suggest you follow Stefan Wyman and #fansbackedwomenscycling on Twitter for progress. This is a massive opportunity for cycling fans, to take back pro cycling from the dominance of dodgy Texans, dubious media magnates and questionable governing bodies and make it in to something that is true and exciting and ours. All of ours.
My magnificent Marianne Vos T shirt, pictured above, is by Freebird Velo

The Last Day of Summer

This summer was the summer of bicycles. Well it certainly was in our house. With a Brit firmly ensconced in a Rainbow, in early July we headed off to France to follow the Tour. We hung around on road sides, we collected tat from the Caravane, we saw a British man in Yellow, we cycled through roads lined with sunflowers and looked longingly at Ventoux. I came home and bought my first road bike while the rest of the country tried to grow ginger sideburns. The Olympics and Paralympics continued to fuel the fever. So last week’s Tour of Britain felt like an appropriate end – a cycling race for a country gone cycling mad.

We rather jealously watched the growing crowds on the television and on the last day of the Tour we headed off to Surrey Hills to get one last look (perhaps) at those Rainbow stripes. The Aussie was a volunteer marshall on the Category 2 climb on Crocknorth Road and some friends and I found a perch on a rather well placed disused railway bridge. Here are a few rather shaky instagram snaps…

An appropriate T shirt for the day – roughly translates as “Everyone is crazy for the Tour”

Off to the Surrey Hills

Head of the race

The head of the race

Cav leads the peloton

And the back of the race heading up Crocknorth Road

Surrey Hills beer

All this spectating is hard work

There was a stage win at the end for the Rainbow in front of record-breaking crowds and a British pretender to the cycling throne winning the GC. It was a fantastic day out with some wonderful friends and I started considering of a third bicycle for my collection… Possibly the perfect cycling end to the cycling summer.

London 2012


Spent two amazing days in the sun at the paralympic road cycling at Brand Hatch this week. Sarah Storey! David Stone! Zanardi!

I could go on and use far too many exclamation marks. Here’s a little montage:

Top to bottom and Left to right: Crowds from all over the world gather on the straight; Very British spectators; Ello ello ello; The curve down to the final straight; A coach from the french team takes a ride; Sarah Storey wins gold.

As always you can see my whole London 2012 set on Flickr. I really don’t want the Paralympics to end, thank goodness the Tour of Britain is starting today to let us down gently…

Tour de France 2012

Photo montage - Tour de France 2012

Shall we throw a little cycling in to the mix? Here’s a little taster of our trip in July to see the 2012 Tour de France:

(L-R) Cignale, The finish in Metz, Lake Annecy, Metz, Waiting for the Tour in Provence, Big screen, More big screen in Metz, Beer in Luxembourg, ‘Careful now’, Mont Ventoux and I, J’aime les fruits, and no Tour de France montage is complete without a sunflower shot.

The whole flickr set can be found here.