theCyclingBrief Weekly

Epic RIdes! Epic Tech!

Epic RIdes! Epic Tech!


Fold those wheels up for me, would you?

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January 26, 2018



Crazy tech, crazy long rides, a crazy cool cycling movie, crazy cold weather, and the start of the UCI World Tour. Let’s roll…

It’s cozy under this electric blanket

Need little ride motivation? It’s never too early to start dreaming about the next big ride.  50? 100? What if that next ride included not just a water bottle and some gels on your back, but luggage, tent or B&B reservations, and a whole lot more.  Whether you are a Septuagenarian attempting Britain’s End-To-End ride, or want to turn fly fishing into an endurance sport, they made the long trips.  There’s a lot to learn from them. If you’re looking for more of a base camp epic trip, you could do worse than heading to Tenerif, the largest (and volcano-dominated) island among Spain’s seven Canary Islands.








With annual temperatures ranging from 68-80F and 365 days of sun per year, Tenerife’s perfect weather, affordable accommodations and cuisine, plus epic climbs will provide a great target for your training. Speaking of which, expect to see the likes of pro riders from Team Sky and Astana, who train there. Need help getting ready to train for the big climbs…check out this guide to get you in shape.


Then again, maybe you want to keep it short, fast, and … a bit different. That’s what ultra-endurance round-the-world record holder Mark Beaumont settled on. He’s looking to break the Penny-Farthering hour record this June (a bike otherwise know as that old-timer bike with the huge front wheel). The record 23.5 miles, held by Frederick J Osmond, has stood since 1891! Well done Freddy!


Paper or plastic…? Can you just fold those wheels up in a bag for me?


Tech Trends in 2018 are largely following what continued in 2017, but there are a few concepts shaking (or should we say folding) things up. Take for example the Revolve folding airless road tire. Who needs a spare tube and tire when you’ve got the whole thing in your pack? Looking to keep your head up but still love to see your stats? Smart glasses, like these Solos $499 or the Garmin Vara Vision $399, are breaking into the market, even with some pros. While yet another expensive addition to your cycling habit, you can fairly claim “its all about safety” right?


2018 bike trends (the bikes themselves) largely continue with what was rolling in 2017. With the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum race bike weight limit, all things aero have become a huge focus of bike manufacturers. And many of these advancements are trickling down from the highest end Pro Tour bikes to even endurance and gravel bikes. Fatter tires (those 25s are so skinny!) , 1X/no-front-mech drive trains, disc breaks, and gravel bikes continue to gain popularity. Pro Team Aqua Blue will be the first Pro Tour road team to ride sans a front derailleur, and many teams are adding disc breaks this season.


Like it all, you say…

…then you can get all of it in one bike, the  3T Strada aero. It’s a light weight, aero-designed gravel bike, with disc breaks, nice fat (for the road) 30mm tires, and a frame that only accepts a 1X drive train.

Just a cool $3800 for the frameset.



That’s all cool, but can’t you just power me up?

Ebikes are having their moment. With the surge of bike shares in major cities across the US (and even more so around the world), city dwellers are increasingly seeing ebikes as part of that mix. Generally, the bikes are powered by a combination of human pedaling and small rechargeable battery-powered motors.

Over 35 million ebikes were sold in 2017, according to Navigant Research. And many millions of bikes (e and otherwise) are part of bike share systems in the US and globally. Not only is it more environmentally friendly and healthy exercise, it also may be faster than jumping in that cab or Uber












Of course, if you don’t have an ebike share near you, and you feel a bit ambitious, you could do what Rafe Husain did…build your own. Rafe wanted something light (30lb or less), fast (30MPH), and with long range (30 miles). Not a bad combo for under $1,500!

Hate waiting around for that battery to charge?…no problem! French company Pragma Industries uses a hydrogen fuel cell (in a 2-liter tank) to power its ebike. Instead of hours of recharge time, you’re ready to go in the time it takes to fill the tank. But priced at over $9,000, and with very limited hyrodgen filling stations in, like, any neighborhood, it may not quite be ready for prime time.

I did my miles…can’t I just Netflix and chill?

Yeah, and what better way to chill than with a cycling-based movie, that just got Oscar nominated, and is on Netflix. Icarus. If you haven’t seen Bryan Fogel’s amazing documentary, it’s a great and unexpected dive into one of sports biggest scandals.

While many of us who follow cycling are disappointed (and maybe disillusioned) by the current Salbutamol controversy, Icarus provides a sad reminder that doping reaches sports far and wide.  And in some cases, is state sponsored. On Amazon…amazing.


Synopsis ( Intending to prove that sports doping testing can be rigged, amateur bicyclist Bryan Fogel contacts Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the anti-doping laboratory that tests Russian Olympians. As Fogel tries to beat the tests, he becomes closer with Rodchenkov and uncovers the biggest scandal in modern sports history, thereby exposing both of them to physical and legal danger.


“Bryan Fogel could be considered either daring or foolhardy for his initial plan. But his work with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov is levelheaded, and his documentary illuminating.”

– Ken Jaworowski, The NYTimes
“Fogel sets out to prove that he can shoot himself full of anabolic steroids and other banned substances, boost his best time, and then slip through the gauntlet of anti-doping tests.”
– Peter Debruge, Variety 


This Week Pro Cycling*

The World Tour Rankings for 2018 kicked off this week with Daryl Impey sitting on top with 585 points after his surprising victory at the Santos Tour Down Under. The 33 year-old’s victory was the most important of his career. “It’s still hard to believe,” said the first South African rider to win at Santos. He currently ranks 70th on the rolling average UCI World Road Rankings. It all came down to a strong 2nd place finish in the punishing stage five (of six) finish at Willunga, following his other strong placings in previous stages. Richie Porte, who won stage 5 and finished second overall at Santos, sits #2 in the World Tour Rankings.


*UCI World Tour Rankings reset annually and are a subset of all UCI Pro Races. UCI World Road Rankings are a rolling average, and include all races on UCI’s road calendar.

  We’ll close out with this….just this.



‘Til next time…




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