Wednesday, April 28, 2010


View Kuala Lumpur in a larger map

I'm celebrating leaving my job (last day today) and also my birthday by buggering off to Malaysia for the next week. 4 days resting in KL followed by a revisit to the Smokehouse to Keep it Colonial in Bukit Fraser for an extra 2 days riding. So, no bikes and buildings of the web variety for a little while, but plenty of the real stuff.


5 years after the event, I just discovered my graduate thesis was published in Blueprint! It's funny because I remember the Blueprint editor emailing me, but I was in Skye on holiday with no access to my emails and by the time I got back I thought I was too late for the print deadline. I passed it by as one of life's little lost opportunities. But low and behond, by the power of the tinterweb, it turns out they must have published it after all, and some kind fellow has scanned the article for me. Fun memories, designing my carbon fibre fork legs in the sky...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Circle of Life

Those of you who know me will most likely know that as a general rule I'm a bit of a magpie when it comes to bike parts. Moving to Hong Kong has certainly curtailed aspects of this behaviour, and I've had to adapt with storage solutions that I'm already starting to grow out of. Those of you who know me really well will also know that I have a wedding that is eating into my bicycle budget a little and these things combined have meant I've had to sell a few bike bits. A hard thing to do for a man like me- bikes are more than lumps of metal, they hold memories of times past. Even if they're crap, like my Ribble, this was the first bike I ever won a race on so I associate it with good times. I'll do a series recapping on all the 'dead and alive' bikes I've owned past and present, but for now, soak up this excellent diagram courtesy of tears for gears. First to go was my Yeti 575 frame. This has made my wife to be happy, but me a little sad. I know that in time another frame will 'appear' and I'll have to slowly release it from the bike room, I mean spare room, and pretend it's an old one (worked with my Corimas). I guess I was less emotionally attached to the Yeti than some, and the fact I snapped the carbon rear triangle twice (replaced on warranty) didn't do much to endear it to me but I still won some races aboard this machine and I had some great times on it (note no longer 'him'), including riding an off-road coast to coast across the Pyrenees. So, it was hard but it is done and now I move into the 9 o'clock position. Next up is a set of Ksyrium wheels, but they're easy to move on in my mind as they're clinchers and as such are inherintly evil. Midday will come...

Japanese Chain Ring

I paid a quick visit to the Luma show in TST this weekend. Some really nice stuff on display and good to have a chat with Louis. He was talking about a new shop on Queen's Rd. Central, which would be very cool, but what caught my eye the most was this chain ring with a nice etching pattern. It's custom made in Japan by one of Louis's mates- no websites or anything commercial like that, but I ordered one all the same, just for fun. I'll find a bike to put it on in time...

Monday, April 26, 2010


[FRAME] Chapter Five from FLWRIDER tv on Vimeo.


Mixed feelings after yesterday's Team Time Trial. We went into the race knowing we were missing some of our strongest riders (especially Colin), but also knowing that the main competition, Champion Systems, were missing some of theirs too (though they still had the Tonks), leaving the race quite open. If we could hold together over 4 laps of the hilly Bride's Pool course then we stood a chance. Alas, big Erich (2nd right) was having problems on the descents with his TT bike (speed wobbles) and was struggling to hold pace on the downhills. As the resident speed monster on the flat it wasn't like we could leave him behind, and he certainly won us more time than he lost with his power, but once we lost TJ and Roberto after lap 1 it was going to be a very hard task to win the race, especially when we saw Champion Systems in tight formation on the descents. As it was, we finished 2 minutes down in 2nd place with a time of 1.35.26, a good result considering we were 3rd last time. By logical progression next time we need to try and move up one place more, which I'm convinced we can do if we field our strongest team, but we might have to wait a while. On a positive note I was climbing well and felt as comfortable as one can expect when you're riding a TT- as the saying goes 'it's meant to be hard'.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nathan Rd

Rode home with as little public transport as possible from this morning's Team Time Trial in the New Territories (more on that later). This involves a stretch going down Nathan Rd through one of the highest population densities in the world- Mong Kok. It's not for the faint hearted and it's not my idea of cycling heaven, but it is good fun!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chai Wan

View Larger Map

I quite like the day before a race, as it's a good excuse to have a lie in, then go out very steady on the bike, pop a camera in the back pocket and do a bit of exploring. Today I discovered the Chai Wan Masjid & Muslim cemetery, hidden away down a concrete path, where I took this quick photo looking across the hill side. It's quite a mad bit of hillside with the tower blocks (many in cruciform arrangement) so close, but I really like the way how all the graves appear as contours for the hill on the satellite imagery. Don't think there'll be much time to appreciate the view in tomorrow's team time trial...

Friday, April 23, 2010

McFaul vs. Luma

OK now I'm really looking forward to this weekend's Luma event. Great graphic.

“Bicycle Show” x "Cycling For Education 2010"

Good to see this event going ahead.

"The Bicycle Show” of Chung Yung Cycle and Luma Sports Fashion, co-hosted by Sowers Action Cycling For Education 2010, will be held from 24 April to 5 May, 2010 at Sport X Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

About The Show

The event aims at showing cycling in Hong Kong as an eco-viable choice in the areas of fashionable art, health and wellness, green transportation, and as for this event: fundraising for child education in China. The McFaul Sportswear Collection, created by celebrated British contemporary art designer John McFaul in collaboration with Luma, will also be presented during the event.

The Bicycle Show

Bike aficionados should not miss this show where Cycle will show off their 15 latest and greatest world class bike selections with some are limited editions, such as the recently UCI “Milan-San Remo” World Champion winning bicycle GIANT TCR Advanced SL.

Along with many shiny frames will be displayed, custom bicycle maker Luma also brings us a boutique but singular collection of its two-wheel masterpieces, each are delicately designed in compliance with rider’s physicality, riding style, terrain and preferences.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Paul Smith vs. Stelton

Kitchen ware for Architects!!! Nice simple forms, shiny and a bit colourful.

Shek O

Got up at silly o'clock to do some sprint intervals with the guys this morning. Legs were still a bit heavy from the weekend so I couldn't win all the sprints, but the steady ride out to Shek O afterwards made it worth getting out of bed. This is the view coming down the descent as the sun is coming up.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tour of East Taiwan Race Analysis

This weekend's race in Taiwan went OK- not great but OK. I had a bit of bad luck at crucial stages of both races. Full report is up on The short story is that on Day 1 I made it over the climb in the lead group but a crash in front of me going into the final corner put me out of contention for the minor placings having decided that breakaways weren't a good idea given the hardest stage was the next day. Day 2 was all going well for me, again making it over the main climb in the 2nd lead group until an untimely puncture as the race was kicking off put me out of contention (the dip in the blue speed line on the 2nd graph). A final breakaway attempt failed as I blew up on the last climb, feeling the efforts of my chase to get back on after the puncture. 

It'd be quite easy to be disappointed by this, given the amount of training, travel and organisation I've done for this race- to have all that wiped out by someone else's crash, a flat tire and a slow wheel change is very demoralising, but as the saying goes 'that's racing'. It's doesn't always go as you hope and you have to try and draw on the positives. Looking at the analysis graphs from the race I have to say I'm pleased that I was able to dig deep on the climbs with some very high Zone 4/5 anaerobic threshold efforts, which take a lot out of you, but the fact I was able to do these efforts, even on the 2nd day shows my form is good. I can also read that given the races (not including neutralised sections - marked with a lap counter) were run at average speeds of 42 and 41kph I  was able to hold a fairly low heart race for much of the race which shows I'm learning energy preservation skills, which is what stage racing is all about really- using as little energy as possible to conserve for when you need it. It's all a learning process and with a bit of luck and some harder training I think I could possibly do something in this race, which is about as high a standard as amateur racing gets in Asia. Had I known the score with the sprinters jersey I might stand a better chance with that, but when you've not idea what the difference is between a sportive feed station marker (run at the same time as our Elite race) and a 1km to the sprint sign it's pretty tough (learn Chinese?!?). Hopefully I can carry this form into some smaller races and get a result other than 'finished in the pack'. Some photos below:

Tour of East Taiwan Photos

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm Off

To race the Tour of East Taiwan so no more chat from me for a few days.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Colossi Team Bike RR

One of my little background projects as part of the team is working on the concept for team bikes. The idea is that club members who are 'loyal to the cause' are able to get 'team issue' custom frames at a reduced rate from Jan in Shenzhen. When we talked about this initially everyone was quite keen to have something quite subtle to match in with our kit (as modelled here), taking a slightly retro feel with a few contemporary twists, such as the integrated headset and seat post (seeing as it's tailored to fit, why not?).

The black colour scheme seemed obvious, then I looked back to the likes of vintage Colnago for the simple down tube panel in white with a 5mm red stripe set off by an extra 2.5mm white stripe.

Another idea as an input from Matt was a pair of red stripes where the seat stay meets the chain stay, this time 4mm. I'm quite happy that this is all that is needed. Perhaps a 'Jan Kole' signature would also be nice but that is Jan's call. Hopefully everyone in is happy to sign this off this a principle and we can submit the design to Jan for further refinement.

As part of the project I also thought this was a good opportunity to get a CAD replica of my current Ridley so I know all my measurements and angles for future frames, or for further refinement if I want to change anything. I thought it would also make the design look more realistic and easier to assess in terms of detail. It's taken me at least three goes to get this right, starting with the base geommetry Ridley supply then adding in some industry standards that they don't, then measuring and re-measuring to finally get there. Of interest was the fact not all the Ridley figures were correct (top tube length being longer than I thought for one). I've also been surprised by how much of a difference very small changes can make visually. I put many of these things down to the fact my Ridley is a semi compact monocoque design, but interestingly having finally got there with the measurements it looks like 'my bike', despite being very different in execution. It might be a while till I'm able to see the reality and have one built (darn weddings soaking up my $$$s) but I'm pleased to have the numbers there and to feel I have a better understanding of bike geommetry.

Comments / feedback welcome. I think a slightly bigger downtube logo would be nice but I'll save that for Jan's experience and it's also dependent on tubing diameter, which is frame specification defined. I'm thing Columbus Niobium Spirit myself. Now onto the TT bike...

Edit: check for our latest track bike version of this initial idea.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hill of Morphie

Pleased to hear my old boss (& professional practice tutor) of Paterson Architects has been shortlisted for the 2010 RIBA awards for their Hill of Morphie house in Aberdeenshire (top left on the above). I've seen a bit more detail on the project and it looks like a wonderful space to live in. I like their philosophy of "turning our client's requirements and aspirations into experimental and appropriate spaces without resort to profligacy or wilfulness".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big Leg Emma

This detail is truly bicycle craftsmanship of the highest order- it actually seems a shame to put a wheel in. Onto my mental list of frames I'd love to own but cannot afford goes a Pegoretti Big Leg Emma. I don't think I need a test ride to tell me that oversized Niobium Columbus Spirit is the ideal frame material for my all day distance road bike (poor excuse for trying to justify an extra bike) but perhaps not in baby blue...

Koxvold in Kowloon

My friend Marie sent me this great link to a very talented photographer called Jason Koxvold. He has a real ability to capture industrial landscapes in a very calm and seductive way. This image, cheekily included in his 'units of production set' is the sort of very evocative image of deepest Kowloon that is much harder to achieve than one might think. They also remind me of The Wolf.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Little Big House

Not everything that comes out of Australia is brash and unrefined. They do produce some  buildings of real beauty like this:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Trench

Time for the one day race of the season for me- Paris Roubaix. Lots of build up going on out there in what is shaping up to be a Boonen vs. Cancellara classic Classic. My money is on Boonen- the man has to win something this year to justify his Belgian celebrity status. There's a good photo gallery going on in the cyclingnews forum but I thought I'd post to this somewhat more evocative piece of writing from one of my new bookmarks:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sartorial Man Cave

I love this man cave of the sartorial variety.

Harry in the Lift

Here's a fun photo of Harry in the lift. An unusual sight for most Hong Kongers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Book on Flandriens

Never mind rims fit for a Flandrien (Flandrian in English?!?), how about a book on them- Stephan Vanfleteren: Flandriens

Kissena Middle Finger

One of the more unusual blogs I follow from afar is Kissena track racing. I first got wind of Kissena when I was randomly thinking about moving to New York after finishing University. Of course, a concern in moving to such a big city was the riding available. However, after a bit of research I'm convinced New York isn't a bad place to be as a cyclist. There's plenty of criteriums, there's the legendary Gimbels road ride on Saturday mornings and the track scene is very healthy thanks to what goes on at Kissena. There's even some urban mountain biking not to be sniffed at. I like the attitude of the Kissena guys- it reminds me of the Edinburgh trackies that I used to enjoy riding with in the Tuesday night track league. This photo accompanies one of the Kissena guys posts on overpriced modern cookie cutter bikes and is well worth a read:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

No Sitting

Those OMA Eurotrash popsters have obviously been spending too much time in their 'studio' (makes office sound more acceptable when you're there past midnight) and not enough time outside since arriving in Hong Kong. Haven't they realised that you're not allowed to sit down in public places in this city? Only this weekend I was urshered along for daring to take a breather on some steps in the Cultural Centre by one of the army of jobsworthies patrolling the place. This one will look great once all the 'slippery floor' signs and 'beware of trip' signs are up. Ai yaaaa...

Flandrian Flags

A new facebook group to join- 'The Chainstay'. Some nice flandrian flags from 'De Ronde'.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Red Capital Club

Another Beijing tip- the 'Red Capital Club' hutong restaurant.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rims fit for a Flandrian

Good to see the old box section tubular rim still has a pace in the pro peleton. One of the things I love about the Classics is the technology taking second place to reliability, though I noted Cancellara still finished on Zipps yesterday. Nice (marketing) luxury if you're getting new wheels each race.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Peripatetic Pedaller

Picked up this blog from the HKMBA forum- nice site of an mtb guy in Malaysia who seems pretty handy with a lense.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Big Egg

I was putting together a Beijing Google Maps highlights package for my parents, who visit next week, when I came across this photo on flickr. The accompanying text is so matter of fact it's very poignant:

The residents who live nearby, they will move to somewhere after the construction is over.

View Beijing in a larger map

Industrial Retro Chic

With all the swoopy carbon fibre and alumunium hydro forming going on these days in the mountain bike world, I'm thinking it could be a good time to go back to the industrial look. This beasty is a 20 year old design but it still looks fresh to me. I'm also willing to bet it'd take a lot more off road abuse than most of the current bikes out there.