Just before my previous computer gave up the ghost I managed to salvage a handful of photographs off the desktop and this is three from that selection. They are not the best compositions in the world but they are all I have to show for a camera that is no longer with me. Happy days!
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The Blue and Red is a visual journal from in and out of the saddle and I always enjoy a peep. I especially like the photos that do not feature humans or bicycles, just like these!
Here it is, my daily kick up the arse, thanks to Chris Sleath of Dynamo works.
When it’s raining or blowing a gale outside and I really don’t fancy it, this print beautifully made by hand and letter press that is hung proudly above my mantle let’s me know that if I want to keep this healthy heart of mine ticking, then I should just get on with it… And get on with I do.
For more amazing print work just like this go peep Dynamo.
Damn, for a minute there it had slipped my mind but this edit just reminded me of how much of an awesome time I had at this year’s L’Eroica… Look at my face at the top of the first climb, Never after slogging my guts out have I looked so happy! Must be the wine.
Thank you Le Coq Sportif! And while on the subject I must give shouts out to Mike, Marc and Billy for without them it would not have happened.x
No tricks, no spins, no bullshit. He just rides likes to ride his bike real fast and I like that.
2012 marks the return of Le coq sportif to the roads of the Tour de France. Next summer to celebrate its 130th anniversary, the brand will be supplying all the leaders jerseys- the yellow jersey, green jersey, the polka dot jersey and white jersey.
More than just a partnership, it is also a choice of the heart, evidence that confirms the commitment of Le coq sportif to cycling yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The 2012 yellow jersey is a subtle blend of authenticity and modernity. It incorporates clean lines, fitted sleeves above the elbow, and a flat sewn collar that mirrors the jersey produced by Le coq sportif for the Tour in 1951. The positioning of the logo is directly inspired by the jersey of the Tour 1972, won for the fourth consecutive year by Eddy Merckx
Looking good guys, Bring on 2012!
First, let me explain:
I bought a camera, a Canonet 28 rangefinder 12 months ago from a market in Oswestry and instantly I fell in love with it’s small size and ease of use. That week I ran a film through it and the results were O.K but something was very wrong, I had horrible vertical lines and what looked like half frames over 90% of my negatives and consequently my prints too:
I only paid £3 for it but I was still quite unhappy as I knew what this little beast of a camera was capable of, unfortunately for me those capabilities did not translate through to my pictures.
I thought maybe it was the film, so I tried another. The same results. I thought perhaps it was the lab I was using, so I tried another and yet again, the same results.
At this point I’m gutted and beginning to type ‘canonet’ into Ebay every week to try and find a replacement. There were a few of them listed, but none of them £3. I’m about ready to quit.
I grab my DSLR again and begin using that, but in my opinion nothing can compare to the look and feel of film and also being able to fix a moment in time onto something physical is something that pleases me so once again I grab the Canonet and I proceed to open the back of it. I figure either the shutter is sticking or the rollers have filth in them so I use a small brush and some compressed air and I probe and hope that I can somehow accidentally fix the problem.
It’s 11 months now since I got my mitts on this camera and it’s still acting up but I had just messed with it so I cross my fingers and hope that this time my prints will be crystal clear and free from all unwanted lines and blemishes. I run a test film and low and behold, the results are exactly the same! I still have lines and I still have strange shadows and what look like half frames. A ghost in the camera maybe? I doubt it.
I’m now ready to take this heap of junk and toss it into a fire but I was desperate to take it with me to L’Eroica. The problem is it doesn’t work properly and time is running out for me to find a replacement.
I decide to finally take it to two camera stores with a selection of the dodgy prints to see if they can shed any light on my problem. I got nothing but the web address for a man who could “look at it” for me.
Three days now until L’Eroica and it’s not looking good so I have one last blast at fixing this piece of crap and then, after what seemed like hours of me staring into that back of the camera with a torch and a magnifying glass, like an apple falling onto the head it came to me *rolls drum* all along I’v been shooting rolls of film through this thing and it has no light seals, not anywhere, none!
A quick trip to my local haberdashery and I return with black felt and double sided tape for the DIY repair job. An hour later and I think I’ve solved my problem and just in the nick of time as in two days I fly to Italy for Le Coq Sportif’s L’Eroica. I have just enough time to shoot a roll and have it developed to see the results. These next prints will dictate whether this beauty of a rangefinder ends up either in the fire and burned to death or strapped proudly around my neck in Chianti.
It worked! I win! It’s now fixed and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am, it’s such an amazing little thing, it really is and all for £3 too. If you are ever after a compact, robust rangefinder and you can’t afford a Leica, go for one of these, seriously, they are that good.
Due to popular demand the Spinwell Projects beanie has been repeated, but this time in a much nicer choice of material; Thick, soft Cotton mix.
Spinwell Projects always endeavors to manufacture locally using materials produced on these shores and this piece of headwear is no exception; Spinwell Projects No.4 has been lovingly handcrafted by one man and his machine in Wales.
Perfect for those early morning cycling journeys.
Head over to the store to find out more on how you can get your mitts one of these beauties, while stocks last.
Day one on Saturday sees the flea market come into town, I say flea market it is a great big cycle jumble in English terms. Stretched out either side of Gaiole’s main road this jumble is big and not only is it big, it is good, very good. Everything you ever needed for your period build and all the accompaniments to go with it can be found here. Even the rarest of the rare is on the tables, it seems that the cream of Italy’s cycle merchandise dealers have landed in Chianti for the day to bless all of the hungry with their wares. You simply do not get a selection this good in the U.K.
I could have bought it all, I really could. Had I gone there with an empty suitcase and a full bank account I surely would have at least grabbed a frame or two, and some wheels, and a groupset and then probably most of the other needed components to build a complete. Instead I bought a Gios T-shirt, I figured I should buy something off them considering how much I was lurking around their stall all day, staring at those beautiful blue frames.
Peep more photographs over at my Flickrspot.
Aaaaargh! The Muscles on the back on my right leg begin to seize and I pull over to massage (punch) the pain out but it’s not working. I say to myself “dude, you have only ridden 40km, sort yourself out” as men twice my age crawl past me up this long and windy gravel road. It’s midday on Race day at L’eroica and I’m suffering, my training for this event has consisted of a daily 5km commute and that’s it. Like a fool I believed that since I had taken part in the event previously, this year would be a ‘breeze’. Ha! A Breeze.
It wasn’t a breeze at all, this race is a toughie. I’ve ridden up some hard climbs in my time but they were on modern bikes, with modern components and adequate gearing, on butter smooth tarmac. There’s none of that round here, let me tell you. You’re on a pre 84 bike, mate. That’s usually with 10 gears, with a frame made of Steel, toe clips and straps for your feet and tubular tyres. Now, I love all of that stuff as you probably know but out there all I wanted to do was cry into my handlebars after my hands and wrists had been shattered to pieces by the famed white gravel roads.
Earlier that morning I had felt good and strong, I had my English Le Coq Sportif jersey on and like all of my fellow team mates I felt proud but right now I’m just about cooked.
Unlike last year it’s hot as hell, my body feels like it’s been in a microwave and I need water. My bike (an early 70s Cornale) feels like it’s made of lead pipe and I’m going nowhere fast. I’ve eaten well all day at the L’Eroica food stops, Tuscan bean soup, bananas, apricots, bread and jam, the lot but I’ve nothing left, I’m on empty.
I get back on the bike and press on before anyone else passes me and demoralizes me further. There’s 30km to go and I think to myself “there can’t be much more climbing after this hill, surely”. Mike Routledge of the UK team said later on that day that “ he felt like he’d been climbing so much, he should soon be at the moon” He was right.
I’m faced with a wall of white gravel and in my head I can hear the mother out of the Belleville rendezvous film whistling my pedal strokes like a metronome. One-two-three-four… one-two-three-four. I reach into the back of my soaked LCS merino jersey and pull out some sweets that I had stashed from an earlier food stop and jam them into my mouth, right now I need the sugar. I could need these later on but to be honest, I very much doubt that there’ll be a climb as steep and as loose under tyres as this one.
I wonder where the French team are? My English team partner, Patrick and I had been riding with them earlier but we managed to drop them somewhere after food stop number one but I’m sure, given my performance today they will be along soon. I expect them any moment, all of them in the Blue, Blanc, Rouge of the Le Coq Sportif France country jersey, swallowing me up like a massive wave over a fallen surfer.
I want some Coca Cola, the elixir of life, but it’s Sunday and I’m in the wilderness. It’s not going to happen and I accept it.
Suddenly I see Patrick on the side of the road, he’s stopped for me, and we continue up and over the crest and into the descent. I always feel like I’m in a computer game during descents and this is no exception. Some hate dropping down off of hills, I for one love it. I’m an ex downhiller, I should.
With this decent and all of it’s fun comes a fresh perspective. My legs feel a little better and I no longer concentrate on the pain, instead I focus on my surroundings, Tuscany, its utterly beautiful here. Picture postcard country. So the sun is cooking my body, so what, would I rather it raining and blowing a gale? I think not. So the terrain is demanding, so what, would I rather be cycling in Worcestershire? Nope.
At the end of the day I finished the race with no scrapes or techinicals, I also finished ahead the ever-strong French team. I have no idea on how long the 75km took me, I didn’t care. I had finished and I had a cold beer in my hand. I had that elation coursing through me and I was beaming from ear to ear. Sure, I couldn’t quite get my legs to work but I had nowhere to go anyway so it didn’t matter.
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Now, that was just a taster of what’s to come, I’v plenty more to post from my weekend’s activities in Chianti, so expect more words and lots of pictures!
Special thanks go out to:
Mike Routledge and Marc Chamberlain of Le Coq Sportif UK.
Patrick and Christophe of le Coq Sportif France.
Patrick, my podna from Oi Polloi.
Ed and Brian of Hanon shop.
Beth from Tea and Cake.
Max from Tokyo Fixed Gear.
I must also give a massive shout out to the whole LCS family, UK, Italy, France, Spain all of you, thank you! You all made the experience truly unforgettable.
Woop woop! My first cameo! Ok, so only a few days until L’Eroica 2011 and I’m raring to go… last year was an utter blast and I am once again privileged to be invited out to the event by my friends at Le Coq Sportif.
Peep my report from last year.
The atmosphere the whole weekend was electric, where 3000 like minded, fanatical individuals descend upon Gaiole in Chianti for two days of pure cycling nostalgia. Woolen jerseys and steel bikes aplenty, any man interested in the traditions of the cycle race can certainly find his fill here…
Not only that there’s lots of great food (I’m looking forward to the wild boar pasta myself), lashings of great Chianti wine, coupled with great surroundings… Damn! it’s like a little heaven in Italy for the weekend.
Only a few days now!
Yesterday I was introduced to a man named Camille McMillan. I had heard his name before but, honestly, I wasn’t 100% certain on what this man was known for but I was soon schooled. Camille happens to be serious hot-property in world of cycling photography and I should slap myself for not finding this out sooner.
Without knowing I have been looking and admiring his work for some time, in newspapers, magazines and on countless websites and blogs. Now it seems I can put a face to a name and a name to a photograph.
Camille, along with one of Rapha’s original co-founders; Luke Scheybeler has recently set up ‘The Collarbone’ … A ipad/iphone based app featuring Pro-peloton Photo-reportage. I don’t entirely know what it’s going to be, or look like but after googling and finding their Tumblr it’s quite obviously going to be something of exceptional goodness.