CadenceTV puts new spin on turbo sessions

Bored with your turbo DVD? Want to join others for live spinning sessions? The gym workout gurus at Cadence Cycling and Multisport Centers in the US have launched CadenceTV.

This is “an interactive video platform that allows cyclists to train and participate in live group workouts from a remote location.”

For twenty bucks a month for coached athletes CadenceTV will stream live video of Cadence’s two-time daily indoor workouts conducted at Cadence Centers in NYC and Philadelphia. Viewers will also be able to access a library of archived cycling training sessions.

This “enables clients to have real-time access to a scientifically developed training program with professional cycling coaches and virtual classmates of varying cycling abilities.”

Brian Walton, Vice President in charge of coaching said: “We knew we needed a way to connect personally with our Cadence athletes who couldn’t train regularly at one of our centers. CadenceTV solves that problem and keeps members on track. Because the sessions are dynamic and accessible in real time, athletes stay engaged and challenged by their training programs.”

CadenceTV is a browser-based programme. A demo can be watched here:

Need to squeeze in some turbo riding in deadtime, such as watching peewee soccer? Click on this:

Touchline dads watch their soccer sprogs from turbo trainers

OK, I admit it. One of these football fathers is me:

My kids are sport mad, which is good. But it means I spend a fair bit of time outside watching dull training sessions. Matches I like, it’s the training sessions I find less than stimulating. And when it’s blowing a gale off the North Sea, even that second set of thermal undies isn’t enough to fight off the cold. The kids are running around, warm and toasty. The dads are stamping their feet and hiding under fleecy hats.

One of the other dads just so happens to be a cyclist, and we’ve long joked about bringing turbo trainers to our Saturday morning football sessions to do something warm and practical. It would be a major undertaking to get kids out of bed, dress them in their football kit and then pack a bike and turbo trainer, too. But with a move to a new footballing venue – which just so happens to be the site of the relocated Newcastle Phoenix junior cycling club – it’s now easy to fit in a turbo session.

I ride to the venue with my son. He does an hour of cycle training and then gets changed for 90-minutes of football coaching. While watching him I can get in a quality hour of going-nowhere-cycling. Class.

From Romans to Rockets

Had a bit of an epic ride on Monday. Brian Smith, a fellow coach at Newcastle Phoenix cycling club, said he had a free day and would I like to join him on a ride.

It was cold and wet, and forecast to stay that way all day. I suggested we explore a small corner of the Spadeadam Wastes, close to an evocative section of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

We started at Birdoswald Roman fort. I wanted to follow a submerged Roman road by using the SatMap GPS device for bikes (this uses OS maps, a review will follow).

The route was a toughie, it took two hours to ‘ride’ the first 10 miles. Close to the end there was a river that had to be waded. This was the first ride I’ve been on with Brian. He might not want to let me choose the route in future…

The route went close to RAF Spadeadam, which isn’t marked on OS maps. This is one of Europe’s top two electronic warfare testing bases. There are ‘do-not-enter-or-you-are-breaching-Official-Secrets-Act’ signs on the tarmac road leading to the base, but no such warning signs on the severely under-used bridleway skirting the site.

Why the rockets in the headline? In the 1950s, Spadeadam was the testing site for Blue Streak, the UK’s would-be intercontinental ballistic missile. Had it not been cancelled, it might have also gone on to become the start of Britain’s space programme. Don’t laugh, it was seriously considered at the time.

The RAF base is littered with dummy tanks and aircraft to make it look like a Russian airbase from the air. NATO jets use the base for electronic jamming training.

This is probably the only bike ride in the UK where you can cycle close to Russian surface-to-air missile launchers. There’s even a hamlet called Moscow.

Brian was on a Specialized MTB. I wanted to see if I could cope on my Kona Jake-the-Snake cyclo-cross bike. I could.

After this punishing short ride, the historical resonances continued. We took tea (in fact, hot choc and a fruit cake) in the faded Gilsland Spa Hotel. This is famous for being the location where, in 1797, novelist Sir Walter Scott proposed to his French wife.

More pix on this slide show, check out the Scotchlite flashing on the Altura jacket.

Click for Animoto-created slideshow on YouTube:

Cycling is fashionable

In the 1980s, cycle clobber had its fifteen minutes of fame. Lycra skin shorts – sans padded inserts – were considered cool. The BBC’s I Love…1987 programme said: “Cycle racing has always been regarded as a rather nerdy occupation, so how [cycling shorts] became fashionable is beyond comprehension. Some regarded cycling shorts as a huge turn-on, as they revealed even more than the hotpants of the Seventies. But that was until even the hugest, most cellulite-riddled backside was squeezed into neon-coloured skin tight Lycra.”

Being fashionable is good for selling hot cakes but stock goes stale quickly because fickle fashionistas need to be surfing the next wave not waddling around in past-its-sell-by date Spandex. Hardcore cyclists are in it for the long term and don’t particularly want cycling to become fashionable again. Cycle fashion shows such as last year’s Pret a Rouleur and Hackney’s Heels and Wheelsshow staged on Valentine’s Day would be anathema to them.

But the world of fashion doesn’t care what we think. In fact, fashion labels are quite happy to ride roughshod over underground bicycle campaigns. For New York Fashion Week – sponsored by Mercedes Benz – DKNY released a load of orange bikes into the wild, chaining them to lamp-posts. Not Orange as in belt-drives and Patriots but orange as in Dulex. The fashion label’s painted bikes were meant to “get people thinking and talking about bicycles as a healthy and fashionable way to get around the city.”

The campaign enraged bicycle advocates because it seemed to mirror the placement of white Ghostbikes across the city, symbols of fatal car-v-bike smashes. The Gothamist blog called the campaign “misguided and terribly executed.”

A DKNY commissioned video on YouTube rubbed salt in the wounds:

This vid features two ‘supermodels’ fighting with a cardboard car and actually riding the despised orange bikes. You’ve got to love the line ‘If supermodels can’t solve the world’s problems, then I don’t know who can,” but DKNY’s attempt at street cool didn’t generate much heat outside of bike blogs.

However, the publicity stunt allows me to remark that fashion designers seem to be disproportionately attracted to cycling.

Fashion designers Jeff Banks and Sir Paul Smith are avid roadies. Smith’s company has sponsored cycle teams, and Banks Jnr owes his love of cycling to Banks Snr:

“My dad was a racer before the war. He bought me an Italian racing bike when I was 11, and I suppose I’ve never looked back. There’s not a major col in the Alps or Pyrenees that I haven’t climbed. I suppose I do it for the sense of achievement you get when you complete rides like that. It’s amazing.”

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood co-created Punk and she cuts a dash on her daily cycle commute in south London. Because of her extravagent dress sense she’s pretty much unmissable but the giveaway is the wire-haired fox terrier in the basket.

Wayne Hemingway, the co-founder of 1980s label Red or Dead, famous for its recycled denims, is so pro-cycling his new company even markets a bike shed and a folding bike. The Shack-up bike shed is lower than a garden shed, can hold four bikes and there’s a compartment for garden equipment or bike stuff. And want a Hemingway bike to put in the shed? Cough up a deposit on flat in a social housing scheme, the Road Runner folding bike is only available in quantities of 250 and is targeted at housing developers. At fifty eight quid a pop the Road Runner is no looker, and is light on innovation, but it’s all part and parcel of Hemingway’s desire to get more people on bikes.

He helped to design a new housing development in Gateshead, the pro-bike Staiths South Bank. It’s Britain’s biggest HomeZone and has a bike pool facility for residents.

Another fashion designer with his head screwed on right is Giles Deacon, the British Fashion Designer of the Year for 2007. He has expensive tastes (favourite hotels: Hôtel Costes in Paris, the Principe di Savoia in Milan and the Chateau Marmont in LA) but he’s still a down-to-earth Cumbrian lad who knows bikes are best. On Sunday he told The Observer: “I adore London and, if I have time off, I’ll just explore the city – visiting exhibitions. I like cycling everywhere. I have done so since I moved here 20 years ago.”

But my favourite fasionista is GQ columnist Scott Schuman. His massively popular and worryingly addictive blog – The Sartorialist – is dripping with good taste. It features smartly dressed folks from cities around the world, all photographed by Schuman and with just the shortest of captions. Click on the ‘bicycle’ tag and you fall into a world of beautiful people on bikes, from “All Cute Girls in Europe Ride Bikes Everywhere, Wearing Cute Clothes, All Day!” to The Very Personification Of A Sexy Summer. Oh, and there are some pix of men, too.

I think Schuman’s personalised approach to what’s truly fashionable is eye-opening. And his liking for bicycles is welcome. As a bunch – and I know you’ll say ‘speak for yourself, mate’ – cyclists are not always the best looking clan out on the streets. Fluoro yellow isn’t terribly becoming and polystyrene prophalactics give you helmet hair. The Sartorialist shows it’s possible to look classy and still ride a bike.’s vodcasts are back!

If you’re a subscriber to the video podcasts you won’t have had any fresh vids since November. Sorry about that, I’ve been busy on a whole load of other projects.

To make up for it, I’ve today posted two videos. They were both done on lo-res video cameras but look really good on an iPod screen. The first video is a better quality version of the Nicole-Cooke-at-the-Team-Halfords-Bikehut launch which I published to YouTube yesterday. Watch until the end for the arrival of bike cops, preventing BBC TV news reporter James Munroe from filming in the Royal Parks.

The other video is a sub-30 second short called SMIDSY (sorry, mate, I didn’t see you). I published a lower quality version of this to YouTube a few days ago. For the iPod version (ie not available on the YouTube channel) I’ve now added a little bit of extra footage of the LED-clad cyclist and also changed the music. It’s now set to Tchaikovsky’s Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite.

Click to open the podcast on iTunes. The .M4v files can also be played directly here. Playback requires Quicktime. The SMIDSY video is here.

There’s also an audio-only podcast from the press conference, available as an MP3 here or via iTunes. Audio features interviews with Chris Boardman (talking about new elite, time trial frame etc) and Paul McClenaghan on Halfords, plus the press conference speeches of Nicole Cooke and Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling.


To you and me, this lit-up-like-a-Christmas-tree cyclist is pretty darn visible. But perhaps not to your average motorist, hence the well-worn phrase: “Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you.”

SMIDSY is usually uttered when some daft driver has knocked you off your bike at night even though you’re dripping with LEDs and smothered in Scotchlite.

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.’

Podcast interview: Belt drives on bikes

Over on I’ve done a number of news stories on carbon synchronous belt drives for bicycles.

At Eurobike Orange showed prototypes of its belt-driven MTBs and city bikes. At Interbike, Spot, via Carbon Drive Systems, created waves at the demo days with a fleet of belt-drive singlespeeds.

Before Interbike I spent some time at the UK HQ of the Gates Corporation, exclusive manufacturer of the PolyChain carbon synchronous belt drive. This is in Dumfries, Scotland.

After signing non-disclosure forms and taking a tour of the factory’s pristine PolyChain manufacturing unit, I interviewed David Arthur, a senior engineer at Gates, and Michael Bonney of Orange. Some of their words made it into a double page spread magazine article on belt drives. I also produced this video:

However, at the time I didn’t do anything with the audio interviews. I’m putting that right here and now. Subscribe to get the podcast here from iTunes or get it as an MP3 download here. Bonney and Arthur spend eighteen minutes discussing the benefits of belt drives on bikes.

For the most part, belt drives will be most useful for city bikes but Bonney also discusses how DH MTBers are already finding belt drives make them go faster. And Arthur makes a plea to British Cycling: evaluate these 99.4 percent power efficient belt drives for use on track bikes.

Perhaps with belt drives this chain-snap wouldn’t have occurred?: – Watch more free videos

Mind you, the chain snap – which occurred in training on the Manchester track – didn’t seem to hold the rider back. The riders, including Jody ‘Snapper’ Cundy, went on to win the world title in the Team Sprint.

Video spotted

25-minute Interbike show now available

Here’s a a three-minute taster of the full 25-minute TV programme, broadcast all over the Interbike show floor by

Host: Carlton Reid.

Guests: David Bernstein of The Fredcast, Uwe Weissflog, Interbike’s European PR officer; John Denson of Serfas and Allen Richburg MD.

Topics: The growing popularity of urban cycling in the US and the UK. The prototype Serfas electronic saddle testing units for bike shops. The winners of the Shimano/You Tube competition.

The full show is only available via the podcast site on iTunes or as a direct .M4V download from

Wash and lube vid oozes on to Oz mag DVD

The wash’n’lube video produced for Weldtite has been placed on Bicycling Australia’s first cover-mounted DVD.

This video appeared first on YouTube and has had 27,000+ views to date. YouTube is lo-res but the DVD version is saved in a much higher resolution.

The video was placed on the Bicycling Australia DVD by Jet Black Products of Oz, Weldtite’s antipodean distributor.

The mechanic is Paul Chapman, a Geordie who just so happens to be moving to…Australia. He leaves for his new life in December. If any Oz bike businesses would like to employ one of the North of England’s most popular bike figures, drop me an email at

Paul started out as manager at Steel’s of Gosforth and later set up his own shop, Cyclelogical of Jesmond.

All of the Weldtite-sponsored maintenance videos can be accessed here.