Posts Tagged ‘event.’

L’Eroica! L’Eroica! L’Eroica!

October 25, 2011

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

L’Eroica 2011 and a Canonet 28.

October 9, 2011

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.

And now some shots from my trip to L’Eroica last week with Le Coq Sportif. All of the following photographs were taken using my repaired Canonet 28;

See the rest of the Canonet group here.
Peep the Le Coq Sportif L’Eroica photopool here.
For more of my black and white photo work peep my Tumblr.

Spinwell for Le Coq Sportif. Notes from the strada bianchi.

October 4, 2011

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.

- – - -

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.

Peep more at the Le Coq Sportif facebook page.

You can also read my account from last year’s event here, and here.

ToB Stage 3 [Stoke]. Photographs in B+W.

September 14, 2011

Yesterday morning I went along to Stoke for stage 3 of the 2011 Tour of Britain and this is a small selection of the snaps I took whilst there.

It was a great day and the atmosphere was awesome. I must also say that the team village at the depart was in a fantastic location compared to last year. This year it was situated in the beautifully green and picturesque Trentham gardens so big shouts to the organizers for picking out such a great spot for the teams and spectators alike.

More photos to come…

L’Eroica 2011. It’s coming.

September 11, 2011

Just under three weeks wait until this years L’eroica and once again I’ll be travelling out there to Italy with Le Coq Sportif to document the weekend’s activities.

If you don’t yet know about this fantastic annual event then it’s about time you did. Last year’s L’Eroica -my first- was an absolute eye opener for me and you can read all about it here.

Mora at L’Eroica Ciclismo.

Rapha 2011 Gentlemans race. The “sufferfest”.

July 20, 2011

There are great juxtapositions in cycling: the tougher the ride, the greater the rewards; the further you go, the more unknown places you will discover. Combine these and you have the 2011 North East Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. A 134 mile chain of beautiful scenery, grueling climbs, and challenging surfaces through little known areas of Eastern Pennsylvania.

At 7:30AM on May 21st, the first of 20 teams, each comprised of six riders, departed on a journey. Starting and ending at the iconic Lehigh Valley Velodrome, this could only become a memorable day. Of these 20 teams, only nine completed the entire racecourse with all six riders. Some teams finishing a man down, while others had to take a short cut to finish before sunset.

All 120 riders shared the feeling that this was the most grueling and, at the same time, beautiful ride they had ever done.

More at Rapha.

Le Coq and the London open.

July 20, 2011

This summer, iconic French sportswear brand Le coq sportif shall become an official sponsor of the London Open 2011 Bike Polo event. The event shall take place from Saturday 30th – Sunday 31st July on Hackney Downs, East London.

Bike polo players from around the World are invited to compete at the tournament which follows the European and World Championship tour and is the final event of the summer. Around 60 teams are expected to compete at the London Open 2011.

As an official sponsor, le coq sportif shall be showcasing a selection of L’Eroica product and vintage imagery from past cycling events within a le coq sportif area, celebrating the brands rich heritage in cycling and deep French roots. Outside, a le coq sportif pétanque court will be found along with a seated area, where event supporters are able to either relax or participate in mini games of the much loved French game of boules, which originated in Southern France back in the early 1900’s.

Last year’s bike polo event was attended by over 1,000 people, including players, supporters and families, local residents and passer-by’s. This year’s attendance is set to rise as the site increases to hold three purpose-built polo courts, marquees, a family and spectator picnic area, a range of food stalls, a secure locked bike area and referee stands.

Like bike polo? Get involved. I’m sure the Birmingham teams will be in full effect! Work permitting I’ll be there at the side lines armed with an air horn and a big set of lungs.

Le Coq Sportif.

London Hardcourt bike polo association.
Birmingham bike polo.

Brooks Penny farthing race!

May 9, 2011

In 2011 Nocturne and Brooks England will bring Penny Farthing racing (properly called ‘Ordinaries’) back to the streets of the City of London. Competitors from across the globe will descend on the historic Smithfield Market to battle it our across two action packed races:

RACE 1: The Brooks Penny Farthing Sprint
The sprint is all about speed and quite simply the fastest gent or lady to race the 1 mile distance will be the winner. Fast and furious, this will be the perfect build up to the main event.

RACE 2: The Brooks Ordinary Trophy
With an illustrious history the Grand Old Ordinary Trophy will once again be decided on the streets of the City of London. Our daring riders will race for 30 minutes and 5 laps across the challenging London circuit as they bid for glory and the coveted trophy.

Well this looks like fun!

More.

At the ride in, Birmingham.

April 19, 2011

‘At The Ride-In, Birmingham’

Inspired by the Drive-In movies that we attended in …America and in collaboration with friends and colleagues, Nimble would like to present an afternoon of picnics, discussions and bike polo followed by an evening of film screenings.

The site is open from 4.30pm for picnics, information stalls and goodies. Inside screenings will begin to loop at 6pm, outdoor screening starts at 7.30pm. Secret screenings and further timings to be announced, films include:

Two Arrows, D’Acciaio (of steel), A Throw of the Dice, Copenhagen Cycles, Red Light Divide, Bike Kill, Vive Le Tour, Bike Polo Manual, We’ve Got It On Tape, Cuts from Red Light Go, Cuts from Ride the Divide

Super, rad and awesome! Tomorrow is my Birthday and so long as I am not buried under a mountain of cake I’ll be going…

More.

Mavic Roubaix.

April 15, 2011

Spinwell for Rapha’s HOTN.

April 12, 2011

Rapha’s 2nd running of the North London ride event celebrating the famous Paris–Roubaix road race held on the same day in Northern France. 100km through darkest Hertfordshire including 20 gravé sectors. All finishers were treated to free beer and frites and big screen Eurosport to watch Johan van Summeren become king of the cobbles.

The full flickr set is now up!
Go peep.

Rapha’s Hell of the North 2011. Done.

April 11, 2011

There they were, blasting along gravel roads, the odd bit of pavé and what were meant to be ‘mud tracks’ and not a grimace in sight, not even the hint of one. To be honest hell looked pretty good to me. Even a fellow who had encountered 4 punctures in his first 50km was as chipper as Gene Kelly underneath an umbrella. Hellish? Hmm, *looks left to right* not round here.

Hold tight for a full report and a stash of photographs over at Rapha later this the week.

Big thanks go out to Joe and Kieran.

Rollapaluza Midlands is coming!

April 6, 2011

Yes indeed. The time has come for all midlanders to show what they are made of.

Rollapaluza was in town last summer but it was in a: the afternoon and b: in a shopping centre so it doesn’t count… but this time, being in a boozer and in the evening we are on for a right showdown so all you folks from Birmingham and surrounding areas – Prepare your legs!

Details:
ROLLAPALUZA NATIONAL SERIES – BIRMINGHAM
THURSDAY 28TH APRIL 2011
THE RAINBOW COURTYARD, HIGH STREET DIGBETH

Qualifiers from 6 – 9pm with prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd men’s and women’s.

Yikes!

HOTN Part deux.

March 9, 2011

The route is up on the Rapha blog and I am pleased to say that this year I’ll be going along, but not to ride it, oh no I’m way to chub for that. No I’ll be snapping pictures of muddy faces and punctured tyres.

If you fancy entering this free event in North London go here to the registration page and put your name down and remember… “Belgian style hospitality at the finish” Which means you get to watch Paris-Roubaix live while eating frites ( chips ) and drinking beer. Lovely.

Bespoked Bristol.

February 18, 2011

A lot of you may already know this but:

Bespoked Bristol is the UK’s first handmade & boutique bicycle show celebrating the craft of beautiful bicycles. The event will showcase the talents of independent makers and designers of bicycles, small-scale makers of premium products, components, clothing, bicycle accessories, and media.

Bristol is the UK’s first Cycle City so is the ideal place to host the show which will be a focal point for makers and customers to come together and discuss and share ideas. Awards will be up for grabs, including the most beautiful bicycle and product of the show.

Above you will see a lovely piece of craftmanship by Tom Donhou who will be exhibiting at the show and it’s actually my pal Sparky’s BB too… Nice work chaps.

Bespoked takes place on 10th-12th June at Paintworks, Bristol and I will most certainly be attending.

For a full list of exhibitors go peep. You won’t be dissapointed!

Gordon Johnson vs Giordano Turrini 1971.

October 18, 2010

Found.

Spinwell for Road.cc.

October 18, 2010

I wrote some words about my recent trip to L’Eroica for road.cc and the piece has just gone live! So if you fancy a read about the perils of riding along wet chalk, go take a peep.

L’Eroica, meaning ‘The Heroic’ is a race held every year in Tuscany, giving up to 3000 like minded, fanatical individuals the chance to ride and race on the ‘Strada Bianche’, the famous white gravel roads of Chianti and to spend two days wallowing in pure cycling nostalgia. In true heroic style only pre-87 bikes are allowed. So there are no auto-indexing gears – this is golden era cycling where shifters are mounted on the down tube, where tubular tyres are also favoured, alongside chrome, cloth bar tape, solid colour paintwork and water bottle holders that attach at the front and where the woolen jersey reigns. Any man interested in the traditions of the Italian cycle race can certainly get his fill here.

Read the rest.

Chasing Legends.

October 8, 2010

The trailer to this film looks immense and I am totally looking forward to seeing it on the 21st Oct. You too can watch this film at a cinema near you on the same date. Check this link for details on where it will be screened.

There also seems to be somewhat of a pre screen shindig being organized by the good chaps of Birmingham Fixed Gear, check this link for more details on that.

Looks like it’ll be a great evening!

L’Eroica 2010. Spinwell for Le Coq Sportif.

October 5, 2010

What a weekend. Unbelievable, awesome, rad, mega, ace!

Having never been to L’Eroica and only having seen pictures on the internet I didn’t fully know what to expect but what came was among the best all-round cycling experience I have ever encountered. 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.

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.

If you are unhappy to ogle pantographed cranks and embroidered jerseys all day then you can visit the museum, where books, posters, videos and actual race bikes will greet you. Maybe taste and buy some local meat, fresh pasta, wine made in these hills, the food here is, well it’s just the absolute epitome of rustic goodness. This is, after all a cycling ‘holiday’ so it must be approached as such, take your time, see the sights, chat to the locals and the not so locals. Sometimes trying to speak to someone about your passion for cycles and cycling can be tiresome, remember though that every one here, each of the 3000 are more than happy to exchange verses on the virtue of the spoked wheel and tubed frame for they too are here for the exact reason you are.

The evenings see most people go off to their hotels or chalets to eat food and wine bought that day but we saw Le Coq’s Citroen HY van, looking fabulous in red, white and blue crank up the soundsystem for a grappa fuelled ipod party, but not after food with the stars. A sit down dinner with speeches from Italy’s cycling greats, it was like come dine with me with Fausto Coppi, yes, these were very old men.

Day two sees the cycle race along the fabled white gravel roads and Le Coq Sportif, my hosts, did a perfect job of organising cycles for everyone ( I rode a Campagnolo equipped 1977 Paletti ) and the registration procedure was just seamless. You need a number on your back, one on your bike and a stamp card and you are good to go, good to enter ‘race mode’ or ‘sportif mode’ for a day jam packed full of excitement and surprise. Depending on how your legs feel you can choose to ride either 38km, 75km, 135km or 205km but every one will be as pleasurable an experience as the next. Should you have any technical difficutlies someone will be along to help you out soon enough, such is the kinship on the road.

The roads ridden upon are made up of mainly white gravel paths called the Strade Bianche, fairly narrow in width and rutted like an ice ravaged mountain pass these roads are not to be taken softly. I have never ridden them but I can only imagine it to be like the cobbled straights of the paris-roubaix. Hang on tight, it’s going to get bumpy!

Along your way you will find a handful of food stops fully stocked up with local edible delights and alcohol too should you have the stomach.

Is it a race? Is is a ride? Who knows? But there are all levels out on the road, from the locals who hurtle past you and the vintage service car in front like a roller coaster coach direct and unrelenting to 90 year old men in full woolen suits being pushed up hills by boys half their age. This ‘race’ is legendary and I now know what the fuss is about. The moment tickets go on sale next year, I am buying one, or two.

Big thanks go to:
L’Eroica.
All the team at Le Coq Sportif. Check out their blog.
Matthew Sparkes of the Guardian
Andrew and Phillip Diprose the brothers of The Ride Journal.
The lovely gents from Hanon shop
And everyone else involved. Thank you!

Find many, many more L’Eroica images on the S P I N W E L L Flickr spot.

L’Eroica 2010 Moving images.

October 4, 2010



Not long been back from this, an amazing trip and currently juggling writing up my report and editing photographs.
In the meantime get your chops round these movies and if you look closely you will see me somewhere looking cool as ice in Black wayfarers.

Huge thanks go to Le Coq Sportif for inviting me out and making it all happen, you guys did an absolutely stellar job, to my roomy Matthew Sparkes of the Guardian, to Andrew and Phil of the Ride Journal, to Woody of Tea and Cake for being an awesome host, to the guys from Hanon and to everyone else involved. Thank you!


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