Beckham’s Boyzilian mainstreams bloke’s leg waxing

Funny, but there’s not one mention of cycling in the Guardian’s recent leg waxing article for men.

However, those male cyclists who want their quad and calf muscles to look their best can rest assured that their desire for depilatorial perfection is now almost normal.

According to The Guardian, more and more men are wandering into salons for wax treatments.

Full on Brazilian waxes – a bikini-line wax with knobs on – are not yet popular with men (why ever not?) but clean legs are definitely in, says The Guardian.

“Most of my clients are men…They come from every walk of life and profession – accountants, stockbrokers, teachers, boxers, models – but I’ve noticed that a lot of my clients are in the building trade…A year ago I was doing three men a week. Now I am doing three men a day. I don’t know why it has suddenly become more popular, but when people come in they do mention David Beckham. Now that celebrities like him are open about waxing, it makes other men feel more comfortable about it.”
Kim Lawless, Brazilia Waxing Studio in Upminster, east London

RANDOM CYCLIST LEG WAXING VID (warning: includes grown man cussing, he should have sugared, instead):

Pix: Taken at the Cape Argus Pick N’ Pay Expo in South Africa.

Specialized announces Innovate or Die winner

The winner of Specialized’s Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Contest is Aquaduct, a mobile water filtration trike.

The contest challenged participants to create a pedal-powered solution for offsetting climate change. There were 100+ qualified entries submitted via YouTube.

One of the comp judges Rich Silverstein, founding partner at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners,said: “It’s up to the next generation to solve the mess we find ourselves in today. The success of the ‘Innovate or Die’ competition gives me confidence that they have the imagination and creativity to succeed.”

Aquaduct was the brainchild of five California-based design students who wanted to address the 1.1 billion people in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The pedal-powered machine transports and filters water without burning fossil fuels or wood, both of which contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions.

All of the comp winners receive Specialized Globe bicycles. Specialized and Google have already partnered to equip Google’s main Mountain View campus with 350 Globes.

Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard said: “We will continue partnering with businesses, non-profits and city governments to implement bike-share programs with the like-minded goal of decreasing CO2 emissions. Let’s all get out of our cars and onto bikes.”

Dan Reicher, director of Climate and Energy Initiatives for and former US Assistant Secretary of Energy, and a competition judge, said:

“The diversity, creativity and potential impact of the proposals was impressive. I was interested to see if bicycle powered technologies could help address global problems like climate change and water pollution. These proposals convinced me that human brainpower can harness muscle power to help solve some of our biggest environmental challenges.”

Lock it or lose it

Or lock it and still lose it?

At the weekend I witnessed a bike thief busting into a great number of locks. In truth, he wasn’t a thief, I’d asked him to demonstrate his lock-busting techniques for my camera.

I’m writing an article for Cycle, the CTC magazine, on how to protect your pride and joy. I’m not going to reveal any of the results here, that has to wait for the mag to come out, but I witnessed at first hand why it’s critical to ‘fill your lock’ with bits of bicycle.

If you use a shackle lock, make sure it’s a tough, short one. Get down low and lock the frame via the chainstays and bottom bracket. Use another lock to secure the front wheel.

This video from Dutch TV shows a reformed bike thief at work. He’s using simple tools and brute force.

Using similar tools I was able to replicate his results. At the weekend I was shocked at how a meaty, expensive lock with a Gold Sold Secure rating could be breached in seconds even by a weakling like me. Some other locks were impossible for me to crack, but they could be snapped by my pretend thief, who was meatier than me.

And a bottle jack takes no strength whatsoever, although I saw it defeated by the defence given above. Don’t scrimp on your bike lock. A hardened steel shackle with a shaft diameter of at least 16mm cannot be cut with street tools and offers effective protection when used defensively: don’t just secure your top-tube, that leaves too much space for a bottle jack.

The fear of bike theft is a huge disincentive to would-be bike purchasers. Actual bike theft is a huge disincentive for existing cyclists.

In today’s Daily Telegraph there’s a report about the growing problem of bike theft in China. Nobody wanted to nick Flying Pigeons but the latest breed of Chinese bikes have street value, so walk.

Up to four million bikes were stolen in China last year. To counter this, all new bicycles in Beijing will be given registration numbers from this weekend on. The numbers will be logged with the names and identity card numbers of their owners. Could a bike tax be far behind?

Happy Birthday RSA

Ridley Scott Associates was 40 years old last week. It was founded by Geordie Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner, Alien and Gladiator and currently working on ‘Nottingham’, a Robin Hood remake.

Scott’s break into the big time came in 1973 with what became one of the all-time classic TV adverts, a delivery boy freewheeling down a cobbled northern hill.

However, the director’s first film was ‘Boy and Bicycle’ (1965), starring Scott’s father and Tony Scott, his brother. This was shot on a budget of £65 using a 16mm cine-camera, borrowed from the Royal College of Art in London, where Scott was a student.

The film follows a boy as he decides to play truant and visits various locations around a northern seaside town on his bicycle. The film was on YouTube last year but was taken down. However, a short snippet has reappeared:

The full short can be found on the DVD of Scott’s first commercial movie, The Duellists.

The Hovis ad featured the cycling talents of Carl Barlow, then 13, now a 48-year-old fireman.

He said: “It was pure fate that I got the part as the Hovis boy. I was down to the last three, and it turned out that one of the two boys couldn’t ride a bike, and the other wouldn’t cut his hair into the pudding bowl style – it was the Seventies after all. As the only boy who could ride a bike and would cut his hair, I got the part.”

The ad is also famous for its soundtrack. In Britain at least, Dvorak’s ‘New World’ symphony – rearranged for brass – says ‘Hovis’ and ‘good, old, plain Northern values.’

Giant Pringle saves newts

Newts notwithstanding, the 2012 London Velodrome is going to be “unique, not just in this country, but internationally,” said Richard Arnold of the Olympic Delivery Authority. He was talking at British Cycling’s recent National Council Meeting.

Depending on your bent, the new Velodrome looks like a horse’s saddle (a ‘saddleback’, said Arnold) or a Pringle. Whichever way you look at it, it’s visually stunning.

Arnold said there’s a see-through layer of glass at public concourse level, allowing views both out of the Velodrome into London and into the velodrome at track level for those passing by.

Here’s a video fly-through of the Velodrome. Check out the see-through trackies:

Tour de France route vid on YouTube

The parcours for the 2008 Tour de France was unveiled in Paris last week. As per last year, ASO has produced a snazzy route video and loaded it to YouTube.

There are no snarky mirror shatterings, Floyd Landis will be happy to hear, and no mentions of any of Le Tour’s problems in 2007. Christian Prudhomme is stamping his authority on the race, and is clearly hoping for a new start for the iconic race.

‘Bike Freedom’ nominated for top travel award

Vélib’, the new cycle rental programme in Paris, has been shortlisted for a British Guild of Travel Writers Overseas Tourism Award and is through to the final round of voting by members of the Guild. The Award will be announced at the Guild’s annual dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel on Sunday 11th November.

The scheme – it stands for velo and liberation, ie bicycle freedom – was proposed by BGTW member Anthony Lambert.

In praise of the scheme, and cycling in general, Lambert said:

“Is there any better way to explore a city than by bike? You see more than you do when walking because you’re looking ahead instead of down in case of you know what. You can cover the ground more quickly in boring bits, never feel disinclined to stop to look at something interesting, and you work up a healthy appetite for dinner. It saves going to the hotel gym, causes no pollution – and now in Paris it’s virtually free.

“In July the city set up 750 stations and there’ll be 1500 by the end of the year, with 20,600 bikes. Numbers are particularly dense around Metro and railway stations. Computer terminals at Velib stations have a choice of 8 languages and you can have a one- or seven-day subscription, costing just €1 or 5, using your credit card. You choose a bike from those on the screen and away you go. The first half hour is free so you can cycle, park at another bike station, and then take another bike. It’s €1 for the first additional half hour and rises more steeply after the third half hour. This encourages a high turnover of bikes, and avoids competing with bike hire companies who hire for longer periods. Paris has 371km of bike path and more are being

“The scheme has already been a huge success. Winning this award would send a signal to other cities that this is the way to go.”

Here’s a video of how the scheme operates:

And here’s a video – called Velib Freeride – which shows the bikes being ridden down steps and in a BMX park. The on-board dynamos look trés chic in the night-time scenes:

By the end of August the 10,000 bikes were sharing 60 000 rentals per day, which means each bike is being rented in average six times a day, a huge success for the scheme.

The Vélib’ bikes are provided FOC to Paris by SOMUPI, a firm owned by JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising agency. In return for the bikes, Paris gives JCDecaux beaucoup advertising slots around the city. Due to the success of the scheme other cities around the world, including London, want to get on board.

The other nominations in the BGTW’s ‘Globe’ category are Historic Jamestowne and the Cancun Regeneratikon project. editor Carlton Reid is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Guess which scheme he just voted for?

Spot to demo belt-drive bikes at Interbike

Over on there was this story on Orange’s belt drive prototype. This bike wowed industry execs with its solid carbon belt drive manufactured by Gates in Dumfries.

Spot Bikes of the US also has a belt-driven bike, and it’s also a carbon belt drive from Gates. 30 of these bikes will be at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo and they’re sure to be booked solid.

This Spot video was only finished yesterday and is airing it on the internet for the very first time (although it was pumped out to podcast subscribers first, of course):

Later today, and, will be shown around the Gates factory in Dumfries and there will also be a test ride of the Orange prototype. Watch out for a video real soon. Belt drive transmission could be the future. There are some interesting comments about the Spot bike – and pluses and minuses of belt drives – on

DVD treat: The Flying Scotsman

The brilliant biopic about Graeme Obree may not have reached too many cinemas but it’s going to be a sure-fire DVD hit for cycle sport fans across the globe.

The Flying Scotsman movie is released on September 18th in the US but Brits have to wait until November 7th. Click on the wee link above to pre-order the DVD from Amazon.

The movie trailer below is from MGM Studios and features the US voiceover. To get the British version go to the slot on iTunes or download direct from here.

Seen the movie, now want to read the book? The Flying Scotsman: The Graeme Obree Story is a tear-jerking, inspirational biography, available through Amazon by clicking the above book title.

Shimano/YouTube comp: the shortlist

The bicycle short video competition had a whopping 134 entries by the close of play on August 30th. These 134 have been whittled down to nine. The finalists will be judged at Interbike by Tour de France TV commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll.

The other judges are Kozo Shimano, Interbike’s Rich Kelly, and the illustrious members of The-Spokesmen podcast, including David Bernstein of the Fredcast, Tim ‘Masiguy’ Jackson, Donna Tocci of Kryptonite and Tim Grahl of the Crooked Cog Network.

The competition videos had to be short and had to be “TV adverts extoling the virtues of bicycling to a mainstream audience. So, go light on the Lycra. No techie stuff. No Critical Mass protest vids. No art installations. Just great images of cycling that could make Joe and Joanna Public get out there and ride…for the sheer fun of cycling.”

A number of the entries were spoof videos and because these were so good they have been rolled into a category of their own.

THE SHORTLIST, part 1 (in no particular order)

Bike it, you’ll like it:


Transport for London ad:

Amsterdam: The Bicycling Capitol of Europe:

WeJustWorkHere2 (SantA Cruz Bicycles):

NFTA1 (Bike to work, Netherlands):

THE SHORTLIST, part 2 (spoof vids, again in no particular order)

Cycling – Jolly good fun:

10% percent less:

Cyclists live longer:


The competition winners get Shimano schwag, including top-end components. The competition is also sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Co. of the US, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale. A video of a New Belgium TV ad featuring cycling was used in the Shimano/YouTube competition video:

Well done to those on the shortlist, commiserations to those video-makers who didn’t make it through. An announcement about the winning entries will be made from the first day of Interbike, September 26th.