Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Small & Interesting in China: Sutherland Hussey

Small and interesting are two words that seem somewhat at odds with Chinese and Architecture, but it does exist. I'm going to try to do a few postings on people doing interesting smaller scale structures on the mainland over the coming weeks. First up is Sutherland Hussey, an Edinburgh practice who are starting to make moves into this market. The top image is a gateway building for a ski resort near Chengdu, while the next is quite a major new commission for a museum also in Chengdu. 11 million people aside, I'm starting to think there may be more than one reason (the food) to make it the Sichuan capital one day???


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shenzhen Bay

I raced in Shenzhen Bay today which was a figurative kick in the goolies on two counts. First, I cramped like I've never cramped before at 180bpm winding up for a sprint about 500m from the line. The cramp was in both of my groins, which left me unable to pedal or do anything other than stand by a tree until I could twiddle back to the start in 1st gear. That is some serious salt loss in 1 1/2hrs racing in some serious heat. Disaster. 

Second, I like to think I have a vague idea of what is going on in the Architectural world on my doorstep. Last time I was in Shenzhen on this course I didn't even clock this building site next door, let alone realise that they are constructing what can only be described as an awesome 30,000 seat stadium, gymnasium and pool. I cannot believe they built what is shown in the above photos in 6 months- insane. China really just never ceases to amaze me- the speed of construction and the fact this is just another project for them. Shenzhen is undoubtedly exceptionally high on the places I would least like to live but talk about diamonds in the rough. Insane. I still don't know the architect but I gleaned the below project render (which sells the scheme a bit better than my mobile phone photos) from skyscrapercity.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Guess where this is- India? Morocco? No- it's Kaiping in Guangdong province. Need to go and check these out some day.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Style Icon: Richard Sachs

Reading all the 'Tour tech' from this year's tour has left me quite cold- sure there's plenty of nice bikes knocking about but I'm not looking at them in the way I might have looked at some of the bikes of years gone. A Specialized looks like a Trek which looks like a BBox Colnago. And as all the pro-tour bikes become more and more homogeneous I thought it would be a nice opportunity to do a sort of anti-bling style posting on one of the guys from the old school who seems to take from that fashion dictum of black never goes out of fashion. Except with Sachs it's red, white and yellow- in skinny steel. 

Of course, another famous dictum is 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' and so Sach's frames really haven't changed for the past 10+ years, yet his wait time for a frame is rumoured to be 10 years long. This is the sort of formula that doesn't wash with the big boys, but that's what makes him a style icon in my book- this man is the ultimate self styled anti-style icon. His marketing is limited to an obscure cyclocross team, yet when the the Museum of Art and Design decide to do a 'Bespoke' exhibition they call up this man. The below is an example of what they are displaying.

It shouldn't work, but it does. There's nothing flashy about the paint job and he's hardly the only guy out there who can build a nice steel frame. Yet a Richards Sachs just holds a mystique that few other frame builders can match. And when it comes down to the man himself you can't fault the no nonsense philosophy devoid of any BS. This rapha interview is probably most revealing about his personality, and the following are words to live by:

Epic for me is about food and how riding makes me feel. If I know I can eat anything I want and still be ahead of the game, whether it’s weight or calories or good tan lines. Tan lines become important when summer roles around, you come back and take a shower and you can see the difference in the mirror when you’re naked. These things are important. If I go out and come back feeling like I didn’t earn a donut or a pastry, then what’s the point of riding? So epic comes when you drain yourself so completely, somewhere along the line, that you can start eating whatever you can find. Most people wouldn’t understand that, but cycling is a vain sport.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chinese Ronchamp

Watching Le Tour on telly this past week even my long suffering anti-Tour other 1/2 couldn't help but be stunned by the backdrop of France in the summer. Glorious chopper shots swooning through the mountains and the obligitory sunflower shots speak of a slower pace of life where there is no smog and landscapes reveal themselves in glorious HD. Quite the contrast to China... 

With this in mind I thought I'd do a quick post on the now defunct  Chinese Ronchamp in Zhengzhou. Note how the French original (top) has colour, life and beauty. Then note how the Chinese copy is grey, colourless and looks like a Communist power station. It's easy to dismiss this copy cat culture as harmless and a bit of fun, but when it's done this badly how does anyone benefit? Word is the copy was destroyed once the Corbusier society found out about it (which may or may not be true) but really, some things should just stay in France.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hapless Maillot Jaune

A few thoughts on yesterday's talking point of 'should Contador have waited for Schleck?'. 

1./ Schleck was clearly crossing the chain in a strange gear combination when he dropped the chain so it was his fault. 
2./ Schleck had to get off his bike twice to fix it so it was his fault. 
3./ If Schleck's descending was up to scratch then he would have bridged the 10 second deficit on the descent (think Il Falco saving his pink jersey a few years ago through excellent descending skills)... so it was his fault.
4./ The Tour already waited for Schleck once this Tour after he crashed, and if it wasn't for which he'd never have had the jersey at all. So he's already very lucky.
5./ That's racing. People are comparing this incident to Ullrich waiting for Lance back in the day after Lance caught his bars on a spectator's bag. That wasn't Lance's fault- sorry to be harsh but in my opinion this was Schleck's making and it exposes his deficiencies as a rider- he falls off a lot, he's not a top class descender and he clearly can't fix a mechanical. Harsh but fair!


Nice rooftop bar at the 'East' hotel in Quarry Bay. That's my office in the top left of shot.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mad100 Monkeys

This morning I got a bit lost riding the MAD100 after I took a wrong turning. Trying to turn a negative into a positive I did a little exploring and headed up what is know as 'monkey hill', though I didn't take any pictures of the monkeys in case they attacked me. It's quite mad to think these pictures were taken about 2km as the crow flies from one of the biggest container terminals in the world. Also, while I'm not a monkey fan but it's still shocking to read the mainland Chinese are busy killing monkeys at this site, presumably to eat monkey brain.

View Hong Kong bikesandbuildings in a larger map

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Disraeli Gears

Tinternet Campagnolo retro heaven mixed with lots of random stuff like this gold Zeus 2000. Oh yes, this IS how derailleurs will look in the 21st Century!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

3 Generations

I recently got sent through an excellent vimeo of '3 Generations of Freeriders' bombing through Scotland, including some excellent footage of Peaty & Co. descending the Isle of Skye's Quiraing. This remains one of the most stunning places I've ever visited and I'd love to go back with a bike, but I still can't get the pronounciation right and hence it will remain as the 'queer ring' in my head.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alfa Squiggle

Squiggles in the sky by the man you call if you want to hang a car in the sky- Mr Gerry Judah. I rather like.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peak Sunrise vs. Sunset

View Larger Map

We've had some extraordinarly clear days in HK this past week or so, and I wish I'd taken some nicer photos than the above with a proper camera. But, as the saying goes the best camera is the one in your pocket and I always carry my phone with me when I ride.

The top photo was taken this morning at sunrise, just after cresting the top of the Peak (Victoria Peak Garden) looking out South-West towards Lantau *yes, that is Lantau*. The other photo was taken just before sunset climbing the Peak looking out to the North-West over the other side of the hill. When you see the mentalness that is Central against the calmness of the sea and the islands in the top photo it makes the two photos look like they are taken several miles apart, but they're pretty close- just the view from different sides of the hill. Which is one of the things I love about living on Hong Kong island.

Monday, July 12, 2010


It's not very professional to cast dispersions about your former employer on the internet but maybe it's OK to quote someone else:

"it looks less like a structure parachuted in from the future, than the shell of an old expo whose excitement has long since faded."


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sporttracks Training Load 1st 1/2 2010

I've posted before on how I use the Training Load plug-in on SportTracks to help analyse my training on the bike as a way to review and also to plan my weekly hours / intensity. I wouldn't say I plan my training to the nines but I try to keep an eye on the above rolling graph as I find it gives me a good indication of my fitness and also lets me know when to back off before a big event. Basically the blue graph represents how fit I am and the green is your freshness so the higher the blue line the better, then just before a big event you want the green to overtake the blue but not go too far over as that means you're just getting unfit. 

The point I wanted to make was that it is amazing how closely this graph mirrors the events not only in your training, but also in your general life. The only race I've won this year came a week after the peak of my fitness (the blue line) just after my solo Malaysian epic. I was worried going into this race that I may not be fresh enough but it turned out OK.

On the flip side sometimes life takes over and your training takes a hit. For example new job, crazy deadline & even crazier weekend trip to UK with resultant cold after = less than satisfactory HK Champs performance (14th place overall but dropped on the first climb). I was asked before this event how I knew I'd go like a bag of spanners- I knew because the graph doesn't lie.

1st Half 2010 Stats:-
5010 kms ridden / run
66,500 m ascended
232 hrs 45 mins wasted

Osaka Chapel

Just some more cool sh*t from Japan.


Mr T

Originally uploaded by VertigoCycle
Here's a head tube badge to be proud of! I was put onto these guys after a bit of hub gearing chat with the The Peripatetic Pedaller, but I thought this was more fun. If you're interested, you should definitely check out Joe's custom 6 speed rear hub on his Malaysian Maverick- food for thought.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


View Larger Map

Mr stupot sent me through this photo. A fine name for a town if ever there was one.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Go Geraint

OK, I lied about asking who needs Paris Roubaix when you have Edinburgh's Old Town. However, can we have more cobbles in Le Tour please? What a cracker of a stage, and can I just bask in the following for just one moment:

General classification after stage 3

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 14:54:00
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:23
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39

The performance of the Tour so far for me, Geraint rode with the cycling club of my uncle in law in Abergevenie, which I think is kind of cool, and for a Brit it's pretty rare to have spurious links to someone who might actually be quite good. I'll save my Wheelers links on that front for another time... Oh, and Michael Barry's blog entry from the day is well worth a read.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Folding Kilo

Who needs Paris Roubaix when you have Edinburgh Old Town? Fresh in from our Edinburgh correspondent is the news from this weekend's Rapha Nocturne event, including the link for some nice richardx shots. It's good to see the folding bike race is not unique to Hong Kong and the results make interesting reading, though I've never seen a Kilo Master's World Record Holder win on such a machine- could bring a whole new meaning to the term folding bike. Come on Bruce! 


Walmart Afgan Style

Good to see the updates coming in from bob's afghanistan adventure. Some golden aches around the corner as well Bob?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cracked Campag

I've been getting some real creaks from Mr Ridley recently under load. I usually take this as a plead for some TLC so yesterday I had a few hours to investigate and I think I found the source- a cracked spider. Must be all that power I put down! There are times when being a cyclist feels a bit like 'here's my wallet, yes please, just take some more $$$ from me'. Grrrr.

Bank of China

Nice trip up the Peak topped off with some fun snaps including this one of my favorite HK skyscraper. Proper creative innit!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cavendish Plein Champs

Thanks to Mr.P for sending me through this Cavendish T that I'd probably buy if the postage wasn't more than the T-shirt. Thought it was also a good opportunity to get my Tour predictions down before the start. I wasn't far off last year but this year looks a little trickier. So, here goes:

A. Schleck


Polka Dots

Oh, and as much as I'd like to run with Lemond's predictions for Armstrong's performance I think he'll sneak into the top 5, largely thanks to this message from Snoop.



Some classic HK riding this morning spare a bit of buffalo crap on the road. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Rapha Backlash?

Rapha is certainly a bike brand that splits opinion. It's quite easy to write off the brand as Rapha = poser, something that I can relate to, especially when they send through marketing brochures of male models pretending to ride fast up an Alpine climb without a helmet. It just makes you want to kick them in the balls really. I'm also of the opinion that the kit does not really justify the price given the quality and fit on offer (yes, I have tried some on) though there are people who get on with it and I'm not going to hold it against them if they have the $$$ to burn.

But then on the other hand the base philosophy of providing bike clothing that doesn't make us look like complete flouro freaks to the general public is a good thing. Also, I love their printed publications- rouleur is head and shoulders above any other cycling magazine, and despite the above I think they've contributed a lot to cycling in the past few years. 

The latest of those contributions is the new Rapha shop and cycle club, which I have to say sounds like a good thing- somewhere in Central London where you can watch the Tour must be positive, and the idea of exhibitions and of course a coffee shop is all good stuff. Getting featured on monocle (they've been in the print magazine also) must also help bring exposure to our sport. But then again, somehow the idea grates a little. Bike clubs should be about bringing people together to ride and race, about bringing through juniors and youth (how many juniors can afford rapha kit?!?). Associations with sponsers is a reality and generally a good thing, but buying into a clothing brand to this extent just smacks somewhat of chavs in Burberry, no? I think they may just have become too popular for their own good with this one.