Category Archives: Cycle: Road & Track

Team Astana and Limar at the Giro d’Italia

Limar provide helmets to the Astana professional cycling team who during May competed in the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia. The team use Limar Ultralight+ helmets and also have the option of 007 Superlight Aero helmets (below) for time trial stages. Feedback from the world’s top cyclists help Limar develop and improve their innovative helmets.

Limar 007 Aero

Stage ten of the Giro was the first of two individual time trials and Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez impressed taking fourth place wearing the 007 Superlight Aero which helped him average 46kph (28.59 mph) for the 40km stage.

The eventful queen stage of the Giro was stage 16 (Rovetta to Bormio) featuring a double ascent of the Stelvio. Early in the stage the famous Passo del Mortirolo had been named as the “Cima Scarponi” and it was Sanchez who crossed the summit first and moved into second place in the King of the Mountains classification.

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Respecting Scarponi

Team Astana’s Giro d’Italia was tinged with sadness after the team tragically lost their colourful road captain Michele Scarponi, who was set to lead the team, in a road traffic accident two weeks before the tour started. Astana raced with eight riders and as a mark of respect to Scarponi, they did not name a ninth rider replacement for him.

After winning the “Cima Scarponi”, Luis Leon Sanchez said, “I’m honored to receive this special prize in honour of a team mate, a friend and a great person. I took to the podium but I think it is well deserved by the entire team. Each one of us gave 100% and more to honour Michele.”

Astana Giro team

The Astana team fought hard throughout the three-week Giro to honour Michele Scarponi and for the young, promising Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov, in his first Grand Tour, it was extremely hard.

Zhandos finished the queen stage a long time after the winner having raced for over 7 hours: “I’m destroyed, really, really tired!” said the Kazakh. “At the moment I’m just focused on rest and recovery, but it has been an important experience for my future. I’m happy that Luis Leon was able to win the award on the Scarponi climb, it is a very good thing for our team,” he concluded.

Sanchez was perhaps Astana’s stand out rider in the Giro – alongside Dario Cataldo – and for much of the three-week race he was in second place in the Mountains classification, but unfortunately couldn’t catch Sky’s Mikel Landa.

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Countdown to the Tour de France

Astana, led by Oscar Gatto, also joined Limar’s other professional team Direct Energie racing at the Tour of Belgium. Direct Energie’s Bryan Coquard won the opening stage sprint wearing an Ultralight+ helmet (below) whilst Sylvain Chavanel narrowly missed out on winning the individual time trial using the 007 Superlight Aero helmet.

Both teams now start their final preparation races ahead of the Tour de France in July. Astana are hoping that their Grand Tour leader Fabio Aru is fully recovered from the injury, which prevented him from racing the Giro, and he can challenge for the top honours in Le Tour alongside team mate Jakob Fuglsang. The countdown begins!

Limar DE Ultralight

Limar Helmets

Best Bikes and Routes for a Family Cycling Holiday

Family cycling holidays are a fantastic way to spend some time together in the great outdoors on two wheels.

With the warm weather approaching, we’ve put together some recommendations to help each member of the family get the right bike for them – as well as some of the best cycling routes in the UK to try them out on.

For Mum – Ribble Sportiva Carbon Disc

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When you’re planning to ride long distances, comfort is paramount – and that’s why we recommend the Sportiva Carbon Disc. Lightweight but strong, with a carbon fibre bladed fork to reduce road buzz, it’s built with female-specific geometry in mind to ensure it places as little strain on your body as possible.

A short wheelbase and top tube makes the Sportiva Carbon Disc responsive and easy to control, while flat mount disc brakes makes quick stops easier than ever. The bike that Total Women’s Cycling loved is more than up to the challenge of a family holiday!

For Dad – Ribble CX5

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The Ribble CX5 is a bike for all surfaces, making it ideal for long-distance cycling holidays with the family. From solid asphalt to bumpy mud tracks, it’s built to comfortably absorb shocks from a variety of surfaces so you can keep going for longer. 12mm Thru axles front and rear lend a stiffer feel with tighter control.

While designed as a cyclocross bike, you don’t need to be a competitive racer to enjoy the CX5 – it’s a versatile and practical enough to shine during gentle rides with the family, or just the daily commute to work too.

For teenagers – Ribble CGR

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CGR stands for Cross, Gravel and Road, and that kind of versatility is ideal for the teen in your family – who’ll probably want to use it for much more than a family holiday! The CGR is built on a lightweight aluminium frame, with a carbon forks for a comfortable ride, while powerful disc brakes mean safe stopping is always at hand.

With full coverage mudguards ready-fitted, it’s also ideal for keeping teens (mostly) safe from dirt even if they venture off-road. A great, affordable all-rounder, the CGR is a great way to introduce younger family members to the difference a good bike can make.

Best cycling routes for a family holiday

When planning a family cycling holiday, it’s important to choose routes that match the fitness and ability levels of everybody. You probably want to avoid road traffic as much as possible, and unless you’re all experienced and confident cyclists, try to keep hills and challenging stretches to a minimum.

We’ve highlighted a few of our favourite family-friendly routes in the UK below – but do a bit of digging and you’ll find many more!

Camel Trail, Cornwall

This 18-mile trail is great for all ages, with beautiful scenery and plenty of stops for a pub lunch or a picnic. Running along a disused railway line from Padstow to Wenford Bridge, the route is light on traffic and mostly level, making it perfect for families with younger kids.

Along the way you’ll pass two protected areas, offering an opportunity for a bit of wildlife spotting, as well as shaded woodland stretches and the edge of Bodmin Moor.

Manifold Way, Staffordshire

Offering spectacular views of a limestone gorge in the Staffordshire Peak District, this sheltered nine-mile track is mostly level tarmac all the way. The track runs from the sleepy hamlet of Hulme End to Waterhouses. Apart from a 1.5-mile stretch along a B-road, it’s mostly traffic-free.

The route passes by Thor’s Cave, a natural cavern set high up in a limestone crag, as well as an ancient Bronze Age mine and a spooky railway tunnel – great for kids with a taste for adventure!

Hadrian’s Cycleway, Cumbria

A much longer route for more experienced cyclists, Hadrian’s Cycleway (aka Route 72) is still very family-friendly, although caution is advised on the occasional stretches of road. The coast-to-coast route is 174 miles long and can be completed in three days at a good pace, or four or five if you’re taking it easy and seeing the many sights along the way.

As well as the famous Hadrian’s Wall that the route follows, other attractions include Carlisle Castle, Newcastle’s Black Keep, the Bath House at Glannaventa and Lanacost Priory.

Three Parks Trail, South Wales

This trail is 13 miles long, but forms part of the much longer Celtic Trail so it can easily be extended. Completely traffic-free, mostly level and passing through three gorgeous country parks, it’s ideal for families with younger kids or older family members who prefer a gentler, more scenic ride.

The trail begins at Sirhowy Valley Country Park, passing over the mighty Hengoed Viaduct and on through Parc Penallta, where the High Point Observatory offers great views over Caerphilly. It finishes at Taff Bargoed Summit Centre.

TEAM RIBBLE: Share your rides and ride with new friends with the Team Ribble Strava Club

If you’re a ‘Strava addict’ then why not join your fellow Ribble bike owners in the Team Ribble Strava Club? As we go into winter there is no better time to show us your dedication in clocking up the miles and climbing.

You might only be ticking over with weekend riding or knocking out the miles in a daily commute but share it with us and see where other Club members are riding.

Ribble Valley

If you are interested in the leaderboards then we have some serious riders in the Ribble Club putting in over 20 hours of riding a week, long rides over 100 miles and breathtaking amounts of climbing. Look out for our current top dogs – Mark from Blackpool, James Ward from Leeds and cyclocross racer Richard Haughton from Kirkham – who are putting in some serious riding at the moment.

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Strava’s global community

Strava, for the third year running, has just published its annual End of Year Insights report for the UK, providing an unparalleled insight into the behaviours and trends of the UK’s cyclists. The tens of millions of members of Strava uploaded an astonishing 9.6 activities every second of every day in 2016, up from 5.3 activities per second in 2015.

The average UK cycle ride on Strava in 2016.
The average UK cycle ride on Strava in 2016.
Here are the other 2016 Cycling Highlights:

– Globally, cyclists shared a total of 161 million rides in 2016; 27.4 million of those in the UK.

– 223,376 rides were recorded as commutes each week in the UK.

– Male cyclists recorded an average 41 km per ride, while female cyclists averaged 34 km per ride.

A further measure of Strava’s social community is the kudos, where members give praise to another’s activity. Strava saw 1.3 billion kudos given worldwide, with 183 million kudos within the UK. An impressive 51 million photos were also shared worldwide, with 5.4 million images shared in the UK alone.

How the UK compares on Strava

In terms of cycling countries, the UK only lags behind the much (averagely) flatter Netherlands for average cycling speeds. The cycling mad Netherlands leads with a 26.92 kph average for male cyclist with the UK just behind with 25.61 kph.

We look forward to seeing you in the Team Ribble Strava Club.

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GUIDE: Britain’s best velodromes – where to ride track in the UK

Ride at the UK’s top cycling centres

British cycle racing hasn’t always been the huge success story that it is today and, like many great sporting feats, the results of London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics came after years of preparation, dedication and investment.

Britain’s velodromes naturally have played their part in this success – both past and present – and their place within cycling’s rich folklore should never be downplayed.

But where and when did the first velodromes spring up? Are they still used today? And if so, are they the places where Britain’s gold medalists honed their craft?

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The early velodromes

One of the world’s first velodromes was built at Preston Park in Brighton, a 633 yard long track that opened in 1877. Portsmouth velodrome soon followed, featuring a single straight joined by one swooping curve.

The materials that were used in the early velodromes differed from track to track, as did each circuit’s functionality. While some were built specifically for cycling, others were built around the outside of running tracks, providing extra lanes for runners to train.

Throughout the history of the Olympics, many velodromes were used – all of which differed in size, length and technical aspects. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the length of velodromes were standardised, a factor which resulted in the reason why today’s events take place on a 250 metre track, as opposed to the various lengths that were used throughout the 20th century.

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UK’s greatest tracks

Although some of the early velodromes may have closed their doors, there are still many great velodromes here in the UK and the number of facilities continues to increase. Just take a look at some of the tracks below.

Lee Valley VeloPark – now arguably the most famous velodrome in the UK the Lee Valley VeloPark, in east London, is the track where Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott rode to victory during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Manchester Velodrome – the home of British Cycling (the sport’s governing body), Manchester Velodrome is the place where some of the nation’s finest Olympians have trained over the years. Located near the Etihad Stadium, the velodrome is also open to the public  – just make sure you book well in advance if ever you fancy a few laps!

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The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – while the Manchester Velodrome may be home to British Cycling, the Scottish Cycling team can often be found training on Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Again, this track is open to the public, which is handy for any cyclist looking to build their fitness.

Herne Hill Velodrome – is one of the oldest tracks in the world, built in south London in 1891, and for decades was the home of the famous Good Friday Track Meeting. In 1948 it hosted the track cycling events at the London Olympics and it is still a very popular track for training and racing today.

Newport Velodrome – The Welsh National Velodrome opened in 2003 and was used by the British track cycling team for its pre-event training camps ahead of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also been crucial in developing a string of talented Welsh cyclists such as Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas.

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Remembering Leicester track

While the tracks above highlight some of the best UK velodromes today, it’s worth remembering one of of the great velodromes of the past.

The Saffron Lane Velodrome – an outdoor stadium that once played host to some of British Cycling’s most memorable moments – was a 3,100 seater velodrome located in Leicester. The Leicester track hosted the UCI World Championships in 1970 and 1982.

Unfortunately, the opening of the new Manchester Velodrome hastened the end for the once glorious Saffron Lane track which eventually closed its doors in 1999.

Take a look at the map below to see where all the UK’s velodromes are located and to find out more about which notable cyclists have trained where.

Ribble launched the new, exciting full carbon Eliminator track bike during the 2016-17 track season. Read all about it here.

 

Name Location
1 Caird Park Dundee
2 Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome Glasgow
3 Meadowbank Velodrome Edinburgh
4 Tommy Givan Track Orangefield, Belfast
5 Middlesbrough Sports Village Middlesbrough
6 Richmondshire Velodrome (Richmondshire Cricket Club Velodrome) Richmond, North Yorkshire
7 York Sport Velodrome York, North Yorkshire
8 Roundhay Park Leeds, West Yorkshire
9 Quibell Park Stadium Scunthorpe
10 Long View Leisure (Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park) Huyton Knowsley, Merseyside
11 Manchester Velodrome (The National Cycling Centre) Manchester
12 Forest Town Welfare Mansfield,Nottinghamshire
13 Lyme Valley Stadium Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
14 Derby Arena Derby
15 Aldersley Track Aldersley,Wolverhampton
16 Halesowen Velodrome Halesowen, West Midlands
17 Carmarthen Park Carmarthen
18 Maindy Stadium (Maindy Centre) Cardiff
19 Newport Velodrome (Newport Velo) Newport
20 Palmer Park Stadium Reading
21 Gosling Sports Park Welwyn Garden City
22 Lee Valley VeloPark Leyton, East London
23 Herne Hill Velodrome London
24 Poole Park Track Poole, Dorset
25 Bournemouth Cycle Centre Bournemouth,Dorset
26 Calshot Velodrome Calshot
27 The Mountbatten Centre Portsmouth
28 Preston Park Brighton, East Sussex

 

 

 

 

GUIDE: Get a grip with 8 of the best Autumn, Winter & wet weather tyres

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Now that the dark nights and wetter conditions are here, in the UK, we’ve put together this handy guide to eight of our best tyres for autumn and winter riding.

Once the wetter, harsher weather arrives, road surface conditions can deteriorate making bike handling trickier without the right tyres and the risk of puncture higher.

Invest in a new pair of road tyres for the winter and they’ll keep you riding right through to springtime.

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Continental GP 4 Season

Available in three widths – 23, 25 and 28 mm – the GP 4 Season from Continental is one of the very best wet weather tyres out there.

When I canvassed opinion from fellow staff who commute to Ribble throughout the winter months, our chief Product Tester Andy simply replied, “4 Seasons, 4 Seasons, 4 Seasons!” He added, “I got 4,000 miles out of the last set. They have really good grip in all conditions, especially the wet damp roads and good puncture protection.”

Personally I’ve also successfully used them in an alpine Etape du Tour to minimise the puncture risk and maximise cornering grip should I be caught in a downpour. The GP 4 Season is a truly versatile tyre and it will serve you well right through the winter.

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Michelin Power All Season Folding Tyre

With the Michelin Power All Season, its grip that is the focus of the fabled French manufacturer’s performance claims. These great tyres are also available in three widths (23, 25 and 28mm). The thick tread contains Michelin’s Aramid Protek Plus puncture protection layer.

Road.cc were impressed with this tyre, “The tyres feel supple and I found my favoured spot at around 95psi, which gave a cushioned, luxurious ride while still allowing me to spin along at what I fondly imagine to be a good pace.”

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Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather Twinpack

A grippy, competition tyre for extremely cold and wet weather conditions, the Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather features Vredestein’s newly developed XWS compound developed for low rolling resistance and outstanding grip.

Cycling Weekly call these “good all year round” and road.cc were “impressed by their sure-footedness.” Also available in three widths (23, 25 and 28mm).

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Schwalbe
Schwalbe Durano Plus Folding Tyre Twinpack

The SmartGuard protection belt made of elastic rubber achieves an unusually high level of protection for a racing tyre but the flip side is that it makes this a heavier tyre – which is perhaps not a really bad thing in the winter months.

The dual compound ensures optimum adhesion, even on the wet rides of autumn and winter. Schwalbe call this “the most puncture-proof racing tyre there is” and it’s available in 23 and 25mm widths.

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Continental GatorSkin Folding Tyre

The Gatorskin is famous as a hard wearing, puncture protected tyre designed for fast riding and commuting. It’s probably the most popular road bike tyre in the UK with cut-resistant Duraskin and Kevlar-reinforced layers.

The slick tread for exceptional grip in both wet and dry conditions which makes it such a winter favourite.

Once known as the Ultra GatorSkin before the new GatorHardshell was introduced there is a 25mm width option which adds some extra comfort to your ride.

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gatorhardshellContinental GatorHardshell Folding Tyre

If you’re a fan of the GatorSkin then you can take it to the ‘next level’ with the Continental GatorHardshell for even more protection. These road tyres are practically bulletproof or at least I cannot remember ever having a puncture whilst using them – they are perfect for winter when the last thing you want to be doing is changing a tube at the roadside.

According to Road.cc the GatorHardshell “should reward you with exceptionally long life, puncture resistance, a very comfortable ride at speed and very good value for money over the life of the tyre.”

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COMMUTER & TOURING TYRES

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Schwalbe Marathon Rigid Tyre

For a less racy bike or a rougher commute you might want to consider the ever-popular Schwalbe Marathon. The Marathon’s highly elastic GreenGuard puncture protection layer is 3 mm thick and one of the main reasons that this durable tyre is commonly used on touring or adventure bikes.

The Marathon is a legend, a good solid commuting tyre available in a wide variety of sizes.

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Continental Touring Plus
Continental Touring Plus Rigid Tyre

The commuting tyre for those riders whose only concern is puncture protection is the Continental Touring Plus. This extremely tough puncture-proof layer is virtually impenetrable to stones, glass and thorns.

Like Schawlbe’s Marathon the Touring Plus is a popular touring tyre with a fast rolling central tread section. Between the tread and the carcass, a puncture protection layer of highly elastic special rubber is practically impenetrable and successfully defies all foreign objects from getting to the inner tube beneath it.

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