The London Bike Show
The show displayed everything from shiny bikes and expensive gadgets, to basic commuter clothing and outdoors equipment. It was wonderful to see so many new ideas from independent organisations breaking through onto the scene.
My pick of pretty things
My personal favourite item of clothing had to be the dainty “Bow-Peep” finger-less gloves on the Ana Nichoola stall, complete with bows and an array of colours. It’s great to see people making a stand about the lack of good-looking women’s clothing. It seems to me these days that I can either look like a racing whippet in lycra, or a postman in baggies.
Businesses like Ana Nichoola are trying their hardest to cover the market of people who want their own style, but with the comfort of technical cycling clothing. The gloves are a good example of this; an item that looks casual, but in fact has well-thought our form and function.
As the day drew to an end, the crowds thinned due to torrential snow and threats of delayed trains, however, the CTC team soldiered on right through to the evening’s races. This included the usual male and female elite Nocturne races and criteriums, but with the added fun of a penny farthing and folding bike race.
The folding bike race was dominated by Bromptons with over 50 entrants in the 2-heat races. As with Brompton Championships, entrants were expected to wear office attire, such as shirt, tie and non-lycra bottoms, and dash for the finish lines like mad-men late for work. It’s always a great spectacle and I’m surprised by the amount of handling that comes with a folding bike.
Although the final heat was also dominated by Bromptons, the winner, Keith Henderson (who also succeeded in beating suited riders to the line in 2008, 2009 and 2010) was on a Tern folding bike. Teammate, Kane Headley-Cummings, also squeezed into the top 10 on the same bike. Proof that performance is in the rider, not necessarily the bike, when it comes to speed.
The most important race of the whole weekend was, of course, the media race on Thursday. This is a little-watched race that sees the writers and publishers of cycling-related publications get together and race for pride. Two CTC representatives and I confidently rolled up to the start-line with heads full of strategies and team tactics. All of which were discarded as soon as the gun fired. The new tactic; survive! Being the only female in the group I knew I wasn’t going to win, but I didn’t want to lose either.
Thankfully, Colin Murray of BBC 5Live's BeSpoke was on hand to take this position, despite being given a brand new Team Sky skin-suit made by Rapha, a £10,000 road bike and having a dedicated ex-professional race supporter on hand. Colin ambitiously squeezed onto the frontline next me (to the left in the photo) and ask me for tips.
I gave Colin Murray some cyclocross race tips; go in to the corners steady and wide, and come out of them accelerating. He nodded knowingly and swiftly sunk behind me in anticipation of the gun. Unfortunately for Colin, this advice was muddled around towards the end of the race where he came out wide and hit a barrier taking out another rider. Both were well and were both smiling afterwards.
I crossed the finish line with burning legs and lungs in a respectable 13th place, but still two laps down from the leader. CTC Training Manager, Greg Woodford (pictured in our blue CTC Merino jersey), proved he’s not just an old tourer by coming in one lap down in 7th.
But the hero for me was ex-CTC employee, Chris Jubb, who now works for the London Cycling Campaign, who rolled into 4th place despite never racing a road bike in his life.
Oh, and I should mention the winner, by 3 seconds was Andy Waterman for Privateer. I must say, it’s worth doing a race to prove how hard your body can work in 30 minutes, but group riding skills are sorely needed unless you plan on time-trialling it on your own.
And, of course the other highlight of the show was the launch of Team CTC.
As always, the CTC were on site to show the world who we are and what we do. We had great interest in membership, as well as a wealth of compliments from existing members. If you were one of them, thank you so much for coming to see us!