Thank god someone invented the wheel

We're a group of people who enjoy going out and trying new challenges on the bike. And we thought it would be nice to share some of the beautiful stuff we see. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

WE ARE NOW ON A NEW BLOG SITE
AND WE ARE NOW CALLED MASSIFCENTRAL.
PLEASE FOLLOW US ON:

http://massif-central-cycling.tumblr.com/


THE BLOG WILL CLOSE IN OCTOBER 2014



Tuesday, 24 September 2013

/// A short film of our Cycling adventures throughout Europe since we've discovered Cyling ///

video

It's very difficult to encapsulate what one experiences throughout riding through different terrains, weather conditions and people. But hopefully, this will give you a little glimpse as to what we do get up to. Enjoy

Saturday, 27 April 2013

///Amstel Godl/// 200km

Location: Amstel Gold, Maastricht  
Distance: 200km
Difficulty: hard, it's a classic with 200km to accomplish






Finally the Surrey hills winter training paid off as we entered the first event of 2013: 
the Amstel Gold 2013. 

With an extra 50km added onto last year's achievements
we were lucky to have a day without any rain and the sun showing its face towards the 
latter part of the day. 

We all kept together for the first 100km shielding each other off from the high winds, further to which each one of us got stuck into our personal rhythms and split into small groups. The first group to finish passed the line with 8:26 on the clock. 

With the crowd cheering, a semi open road and tarmac you don't mind having a nap on, it madethe day and experience one to remember. No falls nor broken nones which is always a worry. 

I do want to give a special cheers to Neil, who managed to complete 200km with a massive smile within just 4 months of training (he's the one smiling on the pic…)  Well done mate. 

Next year, we'll be trying a new challenge elsewhere, we'll keep you in touch. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

/// Aluminium bike respray ///

Challenge: Get your current bike resprayed
Difficulty: hard for the one doing the job, nerve wracking for me wondering if it's going to look good
Who's involved?: Duncan and his team at Armourtex http://www.armourtexltd.co.uk/index.html
Jess at Onward display http://www.onwarddisplay.com/, Sponsored by InterestingProjects



















Right, so in order to start the year off, I was facing one major question:

Do I buy a new bike as my Alu Giant was starting to show its age and everyone
is craving the Carbon craze.

OR

Do I respray my existing bike and give it a bit of a second wave. The bike is not worth
more than 300 pounds but after having lived through so many adventures together, I could not let it go
so easily, so I went for the bike botox option.

After a good conversation with Duncan at a company called Armourtex in Clapton, we finally decided to go for it and try achieve the look we wanted.

I got put in touch with the right people at Onwards display in order to develop all the decals necessary. Duncan kept me in the loop with developments and updated me with  work in progress photos on a weekly basis. Indeed, it took a couple of weeks to process the work because it had to be done well and
methodically.

As an addition to the respray, you can also get a full service done to your bike. Not only does it look good, it feels like a whole new bike.

Am I happy with the result? Yes, most definitely. If you enjoy a bit of your own creative ideas without having to apply a tattoe on yourself, then applying it on your bike is as good as.
You know when a team of people have enjoyed working on a project. Everything down to the detail has been considered throughout. Even the plastic caps screwed onto the valves match the blue color.

Thank you to everyone involved on the project, I feel like a kid riding without stabilizers for the first time and I'm very proud of what has been achieved.

Oh, and if you are wondering what Mace or MassifCentral stands for, it's a new cycling apparel brand
about to show the light very soon. Keep your eyes open.






Sunday, 6 January 2013

Surrey Hills///Aller, c'est parti pour 2013

We start off the year with a warm up Surrey hills. 
Ryan, Ben and myself had the chance to go through a landscape that 
resembled a haunted movie. A very atmospheric landscape throughout


Friday, 7 December 2012

////Slick////


                                      I think this guy certainly knows how to use a road bike

Sunday, 11 November 2012

London to nearly Brighton /// 53 miles on a cold wintery day

Challenge: Ride from London to Brighton in cold and wet conditions
Difficulty: Medium. Well, it should be medium, but with the cold and the amount of punctures I had,
we never really set into a good rythm so the ride felt a lot tougher








To ben: note the difference between the old and new

We set off with the best of intentions: a good early start through potential rough weather from East London to Brighton in order to meet Alice Will and Rosa for a nice afternoon pub lunch and then back to London on the train: Perfect.

No further than tower bridge did I get the first puncture. This was to happen another 4 times that day on the same spot. As a result, our cycle became a game of stop/start/get cold and we lost momentum and motivation. However, we were gifted with spectacular forest colours from bright reds to yellow. Even the air and smells felt autumnal.

My summer tyre had reached an end of it's short era, the tyre was no more so we decided that the best thing was to finish the trip on the train from Haysworth Heath to Brighton. We had to shave about 10 miles off but we will do it again and complete it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Cornwall /// Falmouth /// Autumn ride 25 miles

Stats: 

Route: from Falmouth to Helford passage and back using the ferry and sipping local ale 25miles
http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5706511
Difficulty: easy/medium
A beautiful coastal autumn ride through the up and down roads of Cornwall passing through lovely
countryside and beaches










My mates Becky and Thom (tallthom) are based in Cornwall. We'd promised a nice weekend together for a long time, so it was rude not to put the bike on the train from Paddington and discover the area with a Sunday ride.

The scenery and hills live up to their promises. After a long night out drinking oysters and beer, Thom, Ollie and myself set off through the country lanes. A perfect Autumn ride with the last summer heat. When we got to Helford, we waited for the ferry to pick us up and we stopped for a Yum fish n chips and a couple ales.

Then back to Falmouth through the coastal road. Thanks all for such a mega weekend.

Massif Central to Geneva /// 270km in 12.5 hours

Stats:

Challenge: Ste Sigolene to Geneva 270km (col du tracol,
Route: to follow
Difficulty: Hard. It all starts roses and it's mostly decent as you head to the vallee du Rhone.
Then starts the long day under heat on the straight flats and you finish on pre Alpine climbs
under 35 degrees beating on your back. A ride that pushes you through a lot of different
emotions..






















































We attempted this bad boy 2 years ago but heavy rain and lack of equipment made us stop
and get the train to Geneva.. We were shivering to the bones..

This time round, things were looking bright and warm. I was going to attempt the ride solo
and complete it in one singular day. The plan was to get as far as possible before the sun gets
too hot. 36 degrees celcius predicted.

Bad night sleep through nervousness. 4:45Am wake up. 5:00AM, and I set off in total darkness
through country hamlets and forests... everything is pitch black and I prepare to sprint if any dog
attempts to race me. It did actually happen and I remember cursing the damn creature as he raced me
up a hill..

8AM: a quick breakfast in Serrieres and about 70km into the ride. This was the easy part and I'm only a quarter into the ride. To follow are the long flat straights (130km) which are OK as long as you feel fresh. On y va... after a couple hours I head north and catch a friendly tail wind. Everything is fine, I feel on top of the world but remind myself never to push on the pedals more than I need to. I just try and keep my steady pace and go economy on each breath. Drink, eat wisely.

I'm 220km into the trip with the hardest 50km to go, with right in front of me a 600m climb on hair pin roads. This would not be a problem at the start of the day but my sense of perspective is already distorted after today's effort and heatwave.

2:30PM, I go for it. It's tough and there is no way I'm stopping to take pictures because I just don't care anymore. I reach the top and cycle through an other few valleys before I finally hit the last hill. At the top of that, I see lake Geneva (5:00PM) .. it's all the way down from here to the finishing line.. The only fuel left is adrenaline... phew..

In a weird way, I enjoyed every bit of that trip. There is something nice about pushing yourself, getting an understanding of how you feel and how you'll cope with the physical and psychological pain.
I always think that so much time on a bike is going to solve my questions. It does not. In actual fact, it just makes me think about the simple things in life, ie water, pot holes, and how big our planet is when riding a bike.. and that's why I like it so much...


Psychologically, no surprises. I knew the last bit was going to be cruel and I managed to spread my energy wisely. I slept well that night and woke up feeling positive pain all over. Eddie Mercxx used to do these distances on a daily training basis.. sick.

Commuter //// Goodbye fixie

A final Goodbye to the fixie bike as far as I'm concerned as my last bike
undergoes its operation to become a good old single speed.

Why no more fixie?

Well, I've tried it out for at least a year and whilst I have enjoyed it, these are the main reasons
why I doubt I'll ever go back to it.

1. Hard on the bumps
2. One break at the front is not enough as a safety net
3. Three wrecked pairs of trousers

Au revoir mon petit fixie, a jamais..
photo taken a Lock7, London




Vitus Frame //// A discovery

Whilst on holiday my uncle explains to me how he used to work in a bike factory
assembling frames and different parts together for professional racers... As an actual fact,
he assembled a Vitus Alu frame and put it into the oven himself for the adhesives to stick together..

The frame is made and all assembled he tells me. It is lying at my Granny's in the cellar and has not
moved in the last 15-20 years... Could this be true? There is one way to find out.. I head to my nan's,
and head for the cellar. There it is, suspended at the back of some nails, a brand new Vitus racer frame,
never used.

I've taken it back to London to get it tested. And hopefully by the new year, this should be on the road. It will however have to be a Sunday bike and special occasion bike. These bikes were never meant to last long as the adhesive tends to brake with consecutive shocks. They would last a couple thousand km before having to be renewed. However, they look beautiful and I can't wait to try it out.

Merci Jean-Loups, j'ai hate de tester ce beau velo...






Massif Central /// Summer rides

Stats:

Day 01: Ste Sigolene to Marhles
Difficulty: Easy
Day 02: Ste Sigolene to Mt Mezenc
Difficulty: Medium
Day 03: Ste Sigolene
Difficulty: Medium

Maps and stats to follow:



















A couple of rides back in the la Haute-Loire. The weather was fortunate and we were
gifted a heat wave. Rides included morning trips to Marhles with my Dad, a solo
challenge to the Mt Mezenc summit via Chaudeyrolles as well as  a
new ride with my friend Jean-Luc Vincent who showed me some lovely new roads towards
Monistrol.

The area is perfect for any type of ride, there are no flats available in the region but you chose your route according to how much you want to push yourself. When the sun is out, the rides are just
beautiful, I go back every year and every time the rides are different.

This was all good training for the big challenge ahead...265km in a day to Geneva








Surrey Hills /// Thank you WIGGO

Stats: 

Time: 2:15 / 2:40
Route: 43miles if this includes a finish on box hill.  http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4395503
Difficulty: Medium. The route has different 5 hill challenges throught a lovely English countryside.
It's very good for starting season training and does not take long to reach form central London.






























ALLEZ WIGGO!!!BIEN JOUE

We returned for a summer session to Surrey Hills (ah yes, back to good old Surrey hills). But this
time one of the big discussions was the victory of Wiggins in the tour de France. Mike put on a couple
of side burns as below.. Well done Wiggo, bout time a brit won it, and well done on the Olympics!!!



Monday, 20 August 2012

The French Challenge /// Day 04

Stats: 


Day 04: Les Croisettes Saleve (1379m), le grand Bornand (948m), col de la Colombiere (1618m) 148km 
Difficulty: Hard.  3 medium cols in a day with different reliefs. The first one is short 
but tough followed by 2no of long but steady hills. it's a long and straight back home
on flats and hard with a front wind. Relaying essential. 






















.














Last day of our French challenge brings us to a second attempt of le col des Croisettes on the Saleve which directly overseas Geneva. Short, steep and painful, this is a category 01 on the tour de France 
charts. We make it up there and carry on the other side, riding through a beautiful road which leads us up to the Grand Bornand. 

There, we have a lunch break and head off for the ultimate climb of the trip. Le col de la Colombiere 
along the easier side. Still, 11km of steady climb in the heat and a difficult descent into the valley as the 
road 's crash barriers seem to be lovely concrete pylons on the side of the road. 

We reach the valley and head towards Annemasse, with a heavy head wind to fight against. This is when you are glad to be cycling with a great cycle companion and our relays pay off massively by switching pretty much every 2-5 km. The previous day's efforts start to pay off, I think we would have 
really struggled to accomplish this had we started off with this. 

We were glad to get back home again and fill the stomachs full of amazing food and wine. Thanks Mom and dad, your welcome is always amazing!!! 

Tomorrow, we rest, pack and set off. This is the end of the French challenge. This was a very physical challenge. I think next year we might be talking about redoing a bit more of a cultural challenge like we did in Vietnam. 

Let's see, we'll keep you in touch. Ciao for now. 

The French challenge /// Col de l'espinouze Day 03

Stats:

Challenge: Col de l'Espinouse (1124m) 84km
Route:  http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5622142
Difficulty: Easy/Medium, Soft climb to the col in a beautiful and hidden country side.
A real feel on how the vegetation changes with Altitude.





 
 

















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We set off again to go further south towards Bezier.
We were most welcome by Jack Harriet Wendy and Bob to a superb
house in a small hamlet called Mezeilles. Bob already had a cycle
route in mind which we happily tried out the next day.

We crossed the Orb river and ascended into what is the southern edge of the
Massif Central. The scenery, the roads, and the change of climate made this
ride spectacular. Again, we were blessed with perfect weather conditions.

This ride was more about the scenery rather than the actual challenge of climbing.
The inclines are gentle and consistent really allowing you to set your own rythm and
recuperate whilst smiling at the view of ever changing sights.

A big thanks to Wendy and Bob who were mega hosts.

The French challenge /// The Mt Ventoux day 02

Stats:

Col du Mt Ventoux (2x1912m), one climb from Bedoin, the other from Malaucene 114KM
Route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5575258
Difficulty: Hard, the Mt Ventoux is a Hors Categorie climb, the first climb felt good, but on the
second, the southern french sun made its appearence and things became a lot harder









Day 02: 

Right, we are off at 7AM from a town to Carpentras to attack the big beast of Provence. 
15km on the flats to warm the legs up and we arrive in Bedoin for a pre climb breakfast. 
I can't apologize enough to the lady serving us: I released a nervous silent and deadly fart 
which gave us a good excuse to get cracking. 

Ben and I set off, the temperature is perfect and there is no wind. We climb gradually taking it 
very easy. We heard so many stories about this climb that for once, we were very cautious and 
expected the worse around every corner. We overtook quite a few people on the way up, which 
in all honesty does boost your moral up in quite a pathetic way (it's not a race, but if it was I would be alright..haha). 

Ben completed the climb in 2hours 10 and myself a good 10 minutes after. It was a good and comfortable climb, so we decided to do the decent and start again, this time from Malaucene. 

After some food and the purchase of a new back wheel, we set off again this time at 11:00AM. 
However this time round, conditions had changed. The southern sun was nicely spreading its heat, and 
the legs quickly reminded us of the first morning's climb. It became difficult. 

But we made it up there (we do not have a timing) and it felt fantastic. 
We would have wanted to do the third climb, but unfortunately, ran out of time as we needed to be 
somewhere before a closure. This is the first but not the last time we do the Ventoux, next time, 
we might try it. 

30 minutes of downhill into Bedoin, followed by a massive pizza for evening meal. 
This is a must do climb but without a minimum of training it would not be much fun. 

Next stop, Bezier. 


The French challenge /// Le Jura, Day 01

The Stats: 

Day 1: Col de la Faucille (1323m), Col du Marchairuz (1449m) 141km
Difficulty: Medium. Individually, both passes are pleasant and not too hard, 
but it's on the flats, from Nyon back to Geneva that you find out if you really 
managed to spread your effort wisely throughout the day. 







We fly to Geneva where we are welcome by my parents and fill up of food ahead of the challenge. 
The first day is a warm up in the Jura region before we pack the bikes and head south to Provence 
(Carpentras) and try out the all mighty Mt Ventoux. 

It's a track we tried out over Easter, but this time the weather and temperature were in our favor, 
and knowing the route always makes it easier in the mind as the effort distribution is a lot easier. 

All in all a good performance with a lovely view onto lake Geneva. Back home we watch the tour de 
France and remain in a state of shock when we compare the pros stats with ours.. (it's the bikes they have of course...). Bags are packed, the car is ready, tomorrow, we head South.