Archive for the 'Weird stuff' Category


Jul 21, 2007

Must. Eat. Goat.


Every cyclist needs to eat. And lots, too. But, for some, this can often come with a weight penalty…

Watch this animated short from 13-year old Shadow Scythe, the son of world-famous blogger The Fat Cyclist.



And place it on your iPod or computer via iTunes right here or as a direct .mp4 download here.



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Jul 20, 2007

Bikes, beer and baby aardvark ballerinas


Bike-friendly beer maker New Belgium Brewing Company of Colorado is currently a few dates into its summer promo tour called Tour de Fat. This is a “ballyhoo of bikes and beer.”

New Belgium is the third biggest craft brewer in the US and is big into bikes. I used one of the company’s TV ads in the Shimano/YouTube bike video competition (which closes August 30th):



New Belgium produces six beers, including the bike-inspired ‘Fat Tire Amber Ale’. The company’s Tour de Fat is an annual “cycling circus”, now in its seventh year.

It aims to increase awareness and participation in cycling as the sustainable transportation alternative. Last year Tour de Fat travelled to 11 US cities, attracted more than 31,000 people and raised more than $166,000.

Chris Winn, Tour de Fat’s coordinator, said: “Tour de Fat is a one of a kind, must-see summer event. People and bikes parade around decorated in outrageous costumes, great musicians take to the solar-powered stage, and fascinating performers entertain with creative antics, all while we raise money for local organisations that support the two-wheeled lifestyle.”

Tour de Fat is free to participants, but money spent on beer and New Belgium Brewing soft-goods goes towards local charities.

New for this year, one volunteer in each city will commit to live car-free for one year, as part of the Car-for-Bike Trade Program. The individual will sign over their car title and in exchange get a hand-built New Belgium commuter bike. The selected volunteer will chronicle the trials and triumphs along their car-free journey. The volunteer is chosen after submitting a video or letter describing themselves and their desire to live car-free.

At the Carbon e-Racer Kiosk participants can see how much they will help the environment by making a commitment to join Team Wonderbike. Team Wonderbike members promise to commute by bike at least once a month for a year.

The Tour de Fat has bands which play from solar-powered stages and that are transported in solar-powered trailers.

And check out the Sprockettes, a minibike dance troupe from Portland, Oregon.

But what about the baby aardvark ballerinas mentioned in the headline? They’re from Circus Contraption, “a potpourri of circus oddities, including whimsical costumes, original music, baby aardvark ballerinas and a beetle tamer.”



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Jul 19, 2007

Tour de France: dog v wheel


Is this the weirdest moment of the ‘07 Tour so far?

A weighty Golden Labrador waddles in front of T-Mobile’s Marcus Burghardt on stage nine. Upon impact the rider’s wheel folds, and the dog walks away, nonplussed.

Get a 16-second clip on your iPod or computer here as an mp4 or here on iTunes.



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Jul 17, 2007

Frank the BMXing Bunny to cream Arctic Monkeys?


Natasha Khan - aka Bat for Lashes - has today been nominated for the Nationwide Mercury Prize, one of the top music awards in the UK. Likened to Joanna Newsom (but without the harp) and Bjork (but without the Icelandic twang), singer-songwriter Khan has a rather wonderful BMX-themed music video for her single ‘What’s a girl to do?’

BMXers in animal masks appear from behind Khan as she rides along. The video was shot in Wokingham. The bunny character looks a bit like Frank the Bunny from freaky US movie Donnie Darko.



Boy, were those BMXers clever to clap in time to the music. In fact, the timings were altered in post-production. And the way the animal BMXers ‘disappear’ behind Khan is also a bit of digital trickery. Mind you, great vid, SFX or no SFX.



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Jul 11, 2007

Monty Python’s ‘The Cycling Tour’


Got half an hour to spare? Watch these three installments of a classic, bicycle-themed episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

‘The Cycling Tour’ was first aired in December 1972. It’s set in North Cornwall, France and the Soviet Union, but was shot in Jersey.

Michael Palin plays Mr Pither, a hapless cycle tourist. It was the first Monty Python episode to feature not a quick skit but a full-length story. This is one of the reasons it’s not so well known.

Enjoy.





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Jul 09, 2007

Cornhill insurance takes pop at cyclists


Do you have any insurance through Cornhill Direct, part of the Allianz Group? Planning on getting any? You might want to read what Cornhill Direct think of cyclists. Perhaps the company thought it was clever to tie in its “market research” about the dangers of cycling to the start of the Tour de France?

Thankfully, a search on Google News shows that the Cornhill press release made it into only one major newspaper – the Financial Times – and only fleetingly at that.

Was the survey conducted with two people in the Cornhill PR department’s canteen in a lunch hour last week? No, the press release said it had a sample size of 2000 people. Most spurious PR-led “surveys” usually try to pass off as genuine by including more precise information than this, such as the date the survey was conducted, the demographic composition of the sample (were they all cyclists, for instance) and which bona fide market research company carried out the survey.

Cornhill Direct’s “new research” contains no such information and this is perhaps the reason why the media – often happy in a lazy sort of way to regurgitate PR surveys – steered clear?

Here’s the press release. Judge for yourself whether Cornhill Direct has an attitude problem with cyclists:

ON YER BIKE

Half of vain Brits are putting their lives in danger by refusing to wear a helmet when cycling, according to new research.

But this could have disastrous consequences as 69 per cent have fallen off their bike at some point - with 14 per cent of those being knocked off by another vehicle.

A lucky 40 per cent walked away with just cuts and bruises, one in ten broke their arm and 14 per cent hurt their leg.


It’s not just cyclists themselves that are getting injured as 16 per cent have hit someone, or just managed to avoid them, when on a bike, the survey by insurance firm Cornhill Direct revealed.

Nine per cent also admitted to damaging cars from getting too close.


But it’s not surprising so many accidents happen as 15 per cent of cyclists say they are distracted from the road by listening to music.


More than one in five cyclists admits to jumping a red light and 14 per cent never indicate to let people know when they are turning.

On top of that the poll of 2,000 people also revealed that almost half of cyclists have ridden on the pavement - despite knowing it’s against the law.

For some unlucky Brits, worrying about injuries or breaking the law isn’t an issue as 18 per cent have had their bike stolen - more than one in ten of those from their own home.

A lazy eight per cent just couldn’t be bothered to get any.

Mark Bishop, of Cornhill Direct, said: ”Riding a bicycle without a helmet is utter madness, wearing one will save your life and vanity is not a valid reason for not wearing one.


”Riding on the pavement and jumping red lights is just asking for trouble. In our increasing litigious society, people will not hesitate to sue a cyclist who causes injury and the damages could run to ten of thousands of pounds.

”Cyclists who are covered by contents insurance have financial protection for causing injury or damage to property and you can buy a personal accident policy which will cover a cyclist’s own injuries.


”The best advice must be to ride responsibly and don’t put yourself and others in unnecessary danger.”

The survey also revealed that a quarter of cyclists think drivers don’t respect them while 62 per cent think ‘fair weather cyclists’ give serious riders a bad name by breaking the law and not wearing a helmet.

There are parts in that bizarre press release that don’t make sense. “A lazy eight per cent just couldn’t be bothered to get any.” Any what?

But it’s wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to pick out the worst bits. It’s definitely worth keeping as a whole rather than cherry-picking.



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Jul 04, 2007

Zidane-hit spoofers produce TdF skit


The French songsters who last year sold 460,000 singles spoofing Zinedine Zidane’s World Cup head-butt are hoping to cash in on the Tour de France with a timely drug ditty

‘EPO I Love You’ is a catchy little number sung in French and Spanish. It’s being promoted by La Plage records and is backed with a nifty Flash-based website with downloadable ringtones.

Featuring lines such as “I don’t want any champagne, I prefer my EPO” and “EPO I love you, thanks to you I will be number one”, EPO Te Quiero is already a hit on DailyMotion.com, with over 54,000 views of a video featuring a bidon emblazoned with the letters E, P and, of course, O.

The erythropoietin-themed song is a follow-up to ‘Coup de Boule’, a tribute to the heading skills of World Cup hero/zero Zinedine Zidane of France. This was also launched on the internet but was uplifted by Warner Music France and published commercially, becoming an instant hit.



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Jul 03, 2007

Sloggi thinks tweaked thong thing is “cheeky”


First rolled out at the Luxembourg prologue in 2002, the Sloggi bicycle-based billboard campaign sure is an attention grabber. In 2002 the slogan was ‘Le Grand Depart’. For London in 2007 it’s roadside cyclesport chant ‘Allez!, Allez!, Allez!’


Click here for a bigger, just-about-safe-for-work pic of the current campaign. A close-up of the Luxembourg campaign poster can be found here, and may not be quite so safe for viewing at work. And if you think those pix are risqué you definitely won’t want to click here for Sloggi’s competition to find the “world’s most beautiful bottom.” However, Read the rest of this entry »



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Jun 29, 2007

Freebies galore as Tour hits town


The riders in the Tour de France whizz past at speed. But it’s a spectacle all day long and it starts with the passing of the caravane publicitaire, a collection of 220 promo vehicles from which 11 million freebies will be disgorged.

The publicity caravan is a mobile carnival, with dancers, 12-ft motorised tea-pots and Aquarel ‘firemen’ who hose the crowd with high-pressure jets of cold water. London has never seen anything like it!



That YouTube video is available in hi-res - suitable for iPods and Apple TVs - in iTunes here.

Here’s what will be handed out over the three weeks of Le Tour:

1 million bottles of Aquarel water
1 million Haribo sweets
600,000 Bouygues Telecom CDs
500,000 SeaFrance pens
400,000 Pik’Croq and Vache Qui Rit samples
300,000 Etap Hotel luminous key rings
200,000 Caisse d’Epargne key rings
15,000 Transport for London bracelets

Some of the products – such as the TfL bracelets – are specific to London, and not all of the France-specific freebies will be seen in London.

Many of the vehicles and promotional floats are supplied by Ideactif, France’s leading ‘experiential’ agency. The agency has just opened an office in London.

Ideactif has designed, and will be operating, experiential road shows for nine brands in this year’s caravane publicitaire.

“Each brand’s experiential event will take place on spectacular and interactive vehicles with theatrical and magical characters and sets,” says Marine de Mascarel, UK sales executive for Ideactif.

The Ideactif brands are: Nestlé Aquarel, Caisse d’Epargne, Vache Qui Rit/Laughing Cow, Nesquick, Transport For London, SeaFrance, Etap Hotel-Accor, Bouygues Telecom and Haribo.



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Jun 29, 2007

UCI bans saddle sawing and lip filing. Really.


Graeme Obree’s biopic The Flying Scotsman gets its UK cinema release today. In the movie the UCI is portrayed as the stern, Teutonic, unbending WCF, the World Cycling Federation. There’s a comical scene where Obree is shown sawing his saddle to meet new WCF tech regs. Well, blow me down, here’s life imitating art…

FROM THE UCI:

To: UCI Teams, National Federations, Road International Commissaries

Aigle, 25 June 2007.
Remarks concerning the technical rules of the UCI –

Two points of the technical rules were specified but without modifying the regulations which exist since the year 2000. It deals with both the following articles:

- Article 1.3.002 refers to the quality standards for the race bicycles, what means that the equipment
which is used was subjected to a series of resistance and safety tests. The norm suggests that the
standardized and identified equipment cannot be modified later on. The actions which consist of,
among other things and for example, sawing the peaks of the saddles or filing the safety catches out
of the forks
are irresponsible acts in terms of safety. By referring to the standards, the UCI wishes to
put all the people interested in front of their responsibilities.

Watch the MGM trailer for one of the acts the UCI is so adamant to stamp out:

This is the US trailer. Get the UK trailer in a more hi-res format at iTunes here.

The UCI also wants to make sure the ‘Mantis position’ is stamped out once and for all:

- Article 1.3.023 is not modified. The diagram which illustrates article 1.3.023 is very clear. The article says that an extension may be added (the diagram - structure 1b – shows that the extension is in the horizontal plane) and that a support for the elbows or forearms is permitted.

When the extension is raised, the elbows (or forearms) become points of support, which is never
permitted and which is justified by safety ergonomic considerations.

On the other hand, the hand position (the point of support, not to be confused with the extension itself
– see diagram - structure 1b -) can be flat (on the extension), raised or even straight depending on the technique used provided that it remains under the horizontal line B in the diagram structure 1b.

To illustrate this explanation, we enclose a picture of a time trial bicycle which complies with the
regulation: the extension is in the horizontal plane; if the extension was raised, the elbows (or
forearms) would give the rider an extra point of support, which is not permitted. On the other hand, the position of the handles (for hand position) is free.

If you have any question or doubt about those points, don’t hesitate to ask me and I will try to help
you.

Thank you.

Jean Wauthier
UCI Technical Adviser

I’ve called Jean Wauthier today to find out if this statement – first seen here – is genuine or a very clever parody. Unfortunately, he’s in a meeting all day.



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