Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday File: 'Keep Your Eyes Out For The Little Fella', Paris-Tours: Watch It!, 2015 Giro XC: Unpaved This Way

The final world tour race of the season, Tour of Beijing, is featured on the quirky, eclectic and always entertaining Back Stage Pass. It's always interesting to discover something new and Back Stage Pass delivers. Here's their full race review with emphasis on the talented duo; neo pro sprinter Caleb Ewan and climbing sensation Esteban Chaves. 

Storm clouds: UCI president Brian Cookson decided not to continue the event and disbanded its organizer, Global Cycling Promotion. Back in 2011, this race was launched after the UCI backed Global Cycling Promotion was given WorldTour status. Suspicious times...

Back then the GCP was founded by then UCI president Pat McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Vebruggen, received preferential treatment to be fast-tracked to WorldTour status and debut.

Waving goodbye...
Philippe Gilbert (winner), Dan Martin (2nd),
Esteban Chaves (3rd, best young riders classification winner).

Paris-Tours was a raucous affair. It was long, at times with dicey slippery roads. For some riders, very nervous times just trying to stay on the bike...

Classically dangerous...

Exciting news: The 2015 Giro d'ltalia announced the Cima Coppi...

A painterly image of the monster, Colle delle Finestre...
2178m, 18kms long & look closely... unpaved!
via Giro d'Italia

From time to time, I'm more than happy to mention something non-cycling...

Last Thursday evening, Carolle and I thoroughly enjoyed the classic play, 'A toi, pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou.' Written by Quebec icon, Michel Tremblay. It's currently playing at Theatre la Seizieme in Vancouver. Performed in French but, thankfully, has English subtitles to help the French challenged audience (like myself). For me, I enjoy French plays and Studio 16 has recently included english subtitles. This is the 40th year of the Francophone Theatre la Seizieme, and if you are in the Vancouver area, please support them by enjoying their plays. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Dynamic Duo & Red Dots Cycling Today Only: FREESHIPPING

The top 3 on GC. Martin wins the stage now in second, Esteban Chaves (third),
Philippe Gilbert (leader with one stage to go).

Dynamic riding from Ryder Hesjedal to set up a rewarding finish for Dan Martin to win the Queen stage of the Tour of Beijing. Hesjedal attacked on the final climb and it was up to the rest to expend energy. With 2km remaining, Hesjedal was caught and his partner took advantage of the winning opportunity. Another win by the dynamic duo!

The Heron
photo Red Dots Cycling

Red Dots Cycling is celebrating Thanksgiving Day. For all online purchases, just use coupon code: FREESHIPPING 

Valid worldwide until the end of day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tour of Beijing: Extreme Riding

Unsafe to ride?
Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Watching the shorten stage 2 highlights from the Tour of Beijing, the cyclists are riding a difficult race made even more difficult by breathing in the dangerous smog. Which begs the question...

When is it too unsafe to ride?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday File: The Heron Cycling Cap Soars, 1952 Alpe d'Huez, Andy Schleck & The Monument Man

Simpler times: steel lugged frames, wool jerseys...
A rare color image from the 1952 Tour. 

Perhaps one of the pinnacles of personal achievement during the Golden Age of Cycling rests on the glittering performances of Fausto Coppi. I'm referring to the 1952 Tour. It sure is rare to find a color image online, however I discovered a wonderful non-action image of the 1952 Tour (above). The 1952 Tour was evolving and growing and  Henri Desgrange and Co. included these notable firsts:

a. Three major mountain peaks were introduced; Alpe-d'Huez, Sestriere and the Puy de Dome. Fausto Coppi was utterly dominating he duly won these three mountains stages. Coppi (5 stages) was a force in himself and after the Sestriere stage led by almost twenty minutes. Organizers had to scramble and doubled the prize money for second place creating two races: the campionissimo ...and the rest.

b. For the first time tv pictures from the Tour de France...

The Heron flying to the top of the Alpe d'Huez.

Introducing the new classic: The Heron Cycling Cap
from Red Dots Cycling...

The Heron Cycling Cap,
now available here.
photo Red Dots Cycling

To coincide with it's sponsorship deal with Tuscany's famous L'Eroica, Bianchi launched a range of vintage inspired bikes. Named for the famous velodrome in Milan: The Vigorelli...

The 2010 Tour champion, Andy Schleck announces his retirement at the age of 29. I have respect for the classy rider and it's unfortunate he's forced to bow out due to his nagging injury. 

"I will not be a cyclist in 2015. It hurts."
- Andy Schleck

Monument Man...

Dan Martin winning Il Lombardia in dramatic fashion.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marinoni: Fire In The Frame, Vancouver Film Festival

Q & A with Tony Girardin & Pepe.
photo Cycling Art

I'm still reeling after the Marinoni documentary at the Vancouver Film Festival on Saturday afternoon.

Carolle and I decided to go early, and thankfully we did. I was so surprise of the huge response. In fact, the line up stretched around the corner and down to the end of the block. I joked that fortunately it wasn't the usual rainy October day and as soon as I said that I looked up and saw a VIP...

I'm convinced most people had no idea who was the white haired gentleman but I did recognize Giuseppe Marinoni being ushered by director Tony Girardin making his way down the line. The man of legendary stature in the cycling world passed by me and I'm not one to leap out and get in his face for an autograph or handshake, I tried to hold my excitement out of respect. After he passed beside us I'm sure Carolle saw me turn giddy. It was my close brush with cycling greatness. Before the film started, there was a brief introduction and two questions were directed to the audience... "Who's a cyclist? & Who owns a Marinoni?" The response; unsurprisingly a huge show of cyclists' hands and notably a large number of Marinoni owners. Impressive.

The opening scene was the perfect tonic to get my anticipation into high gear. Girardin is talking to a cantankerous Marinoni busily brazing a frame and complaining the filming was too stressful. I like Marinoni already. According to Girardin, the movie was set around his 2012 lead up towards his world hour record attempt for his age group (75-79). Cleverly, Girardin included as much of his life as possible. One of my enjoyable scenes is Marinoni, as joyful as can be, hunting for wild mushrooms.

I only knew of Marinoni as the frame builder and little else about the man before this wonderful documentary. My discovery was in 1987, spending my hard earned savings on a custom steel frame from Velocity Cycles in Edmonton. You see, Marinoni was an accomplished racer in Italy and raced in Canada. He eventually married and settled in Québec in the 1960s. After his cycling career, he returned back to Italy to learn frame building from one of the best, legendary frame builder Mario Rossin (head frame builder for Colnago) who went on to start his own brand, and Ciocc. Marinoni opened his own shop in Montréal in 1974. And by the late eighties, he already had a loyal and growing following amongst amateurs and pro cyclists including Steve Bauer, Connie Carpenter and... Jocelyn Lovell.

Marinoni smashing the hour record on the same track bike he made for Jocelyn Lovell.

Jocelyn Lovell won numerous national and international track titles. In 1974, five national titles in the same year. In the film, the defiant Lovell dares any rider to do the same. Tragedy struck on August 4, 1983, Lovell was hit by a truck, while on a training ride. His injuries made him a quadriplegic. The tie in is that Marinoni built his 1978 Commonwealth Games record track bike, the same one he decided to use in his record attempt. As Marinoni journeys back to Italy to successfully achieve the record, wonderful moments are many as he reconnects with his birth country.  It's outstanding to watch him beat the hour record. For me, the heartful moment is the visit by Marinoni to Mississauga to visit Jocelyn Lovell. Up till then, they have never seen each other since Lovell's accident.

My passion and love for my faithful Marinoni bicycle has been unwavering since the beginning. After watching this film I've embraced a new level of appreciation for my Marinoni. Thanks to Tony Girardin for crafting a superb and intimate portrait on the life of Giuseppe Marinoni: the master frame builder and world hour record holder. An inspiration to us all as the man that passionately lives his life on two wheels.


1. Simone was in the audience, quiet and omnipresent support to Giuseppe. In my opinion, she is the quiet pillar of strength for Cycles Marinoni.

2. Now, in it's 40th year, and after over 40,000 frames built, Marinoni continues to create sought after distinctive steel frames. He currently builds the limited 40th edition steel lugged frames, sadly the last run he will make.

3. The film was first release at Toronto's Hot Docs Festival. Jocelyn Lovell was at the premiere. And, the film was so popular it was invited to the Vancouver Film Festival. This November it screens in Montréal.

4. Distribution strategy is set for this Fall. Hopefully, a dvd is upcoming for everyone to see it.

5. Marinoni turned 77 on September 30 and celebrates his birthday by riding twice his age. He rode 154 kms.

6. He says he is still surprised by the reaction to the film.

7. Marinoni set the hour track record (75-79), 35.728 km at the Montichiari velodrome, Italy. He plans to set the hour record, in the over 80 category, in 2017 at the Milton, Ontario velodrome.

8. Giuseppe and Simone had to fly back to Montréal for work Monday morning.

"What makes me proud is when someone comes here with one of our bicycles - old or new - and says they are happy with it."

- Master Marinoni.

The beautiful 40th Anniversary SL!

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