Supercycle stars can be followed with web apps

Alan Shearer, Adrian Chiles and the other five riders on Sport Relief’s Supercycle 335-mile two-day bike ride from Newcastle to London are now just 100 miles from the BBC TV centre where they appear live tonight.

It’s great to see brilliant use of Web 2.0 features so followers can track their progress. On the update section of the Supercycle microsite there’s live GPS tracking, Twitter updates, Flikr photosets and YouTube videos, such as this one:

Shearer says his bum hurts, naturally, and both he and Chiles have hit the deck, but the riders appear to be going strong and the challenge should make good TV tonight.

Footballers are mega puffed after 90 minutes of play so any sporting activity longer than two hours is going to be new to Shearer. He’s always said he hates endurance events so it will be interesting to see if he sings the praises of cycling tonight.

If so, it could encourage others to try much, much shorter ‘challenges’: such as cycling one mile to the shops instead of driving there…

Rasmussen is in great shape, says Bush

But not that Rasmussen. No, the bicycling prime minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

He’s just been showing President Bush that Danes are great on their bikes. The two world leaders took a couple of spins around the MTB trails on the President’s ranch in Texas.

The obligatory official press conference even kicked off with bikes:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Welcome. Thanks for coming. A couple opening statements, and we’ll answer two questions apiece.

Mr. Prime Minister, we’re really thrilled you’re here. Laura and I love having you and Anne-Mette with us. Pretty good guests when you can have a meaningful mountain bike ride at sunset, and then at sunrise, and the man not even break into a sweat. You’re in incredible condition, and I really have enjoyed my time with you — my time when we talked, and my time when we rode.


PRIME MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Let me, first of all, express my gratitude for your invitation to visit your ranch in Crawford. My wife and I are very pleased to be here. We have had a rewarding stay — and a challenging stay, I must say. (Laughter.) You made me work very hard out there on the terrific mountain bike trails on your wonderful ranch. And I can’t imagine a better place to spend time, talking and enjoying time with good friends. And I can’t imagine a better symbol of the close and strong ties between the United States and Denmark.

186 miles is tough day-challenge for celeb newbies

Back in January I revealed that Toon Superstar Alan Shearer and Match of the Day 2 frontman Adrian Chiles would be riding to London from Newcastle in two days.

News of the charity ride has now gone official.

Former England footy captain Alan Shearer and TV presenter Adrian Chiles will ride 335 miles in two days to raise funds for this year’s Sport Relief appeal. Sport Relief describes the ride as “gruelling.” On day one the duo will ride 186 miles: from the Newcastle football stadium to the West Brom stadium.

“They can expect excruciating saddle sores*, severe back ache and cramps in muscles they never knew they had! And that’s just by the end of day one. All the experts have told Alan and Adrian that they’re crazy to even attempt such a challenge.”

OK, some diehard roadies think nothing of 150 mile Sunday rides. In the snow. Back before Sunday teatime. But to mere mortals, 186 miles is an unthinkable distance to do on a bike and it’s excellent that Shearer and Chiles are up for the challenge.

And just take a look at the close-up of Adrian Chiles’ legs. He’s now got a set of quad-protruding legs. He’s clearly been training hard. Wor Alan’s legs don’t look quite so chiselled: perhaps because he’s only done 50-mile training rides to date.

Sponsor the pair here.

* Hopefully any saddle soreness will be lessened by the fact the pair are riding with bikes and kit supplied by Specialized, including Body Geometry saddles.

Cycling is fashionable: should we be worried?

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: “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 tomorrow’s Heels and Wheels show in Hackney would be anathema to them.

Fashion designers seem to be disproportionately attracted to cycling.

Jeff Banks and Sir Paul Smith are avid roadies. Smith’s company has sponsored cycle teams.

Vivienne Westwood co-created Punk and she cuts a dash on her daily cycle commute in south London. Because of her extravagant 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 can hold four bikes. Want a Hemingway bike to put in the shed? Cough up a deposit on a 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 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.”

One of the most influential fashionistas of the moment 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.

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 prophylactics give you helmet hair.

The Sartorialist shows it’s possible to ride a bike and look classy doing it.

Like me. Er, never.

The celebs who cycle

The list of cycling celebs has been updated. New to the list are:

Celebral footballer Graeme Le Saux, a recent convert to CXing.

Movie star Daniel Day-Lewis.

US Democrat Barack Obama. OK, this is potentially weak one. All he’s said is that he’d be pro-bike should he be elected to office. But he’s stick-thin so could be a closet cyclist. And there’s always this pic of him on a trike.

It’s funny, the handlebar tassles make it look as though the US senator for Illinois was a pre-release wearer of charity wrist-bands, as popularised by Lance Armstrong.

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.

Alan Shearer to ride for Sport Relief

It’s great to hear that Toon legend Sir Alan Shearer OBE MBE is to ride 350 miles from Newcastle down to the BBC TV studios in London. In a day and a half.

It’s to raise cash for Sport Relief, but it’s not a one-off. The idea for the ride came when Lord Shearer told Match of the Day 2 presenter Adrian Chiles that he’d taken up cycling. Chiles – a chubby Brummie – was then persuaded to get on his bike and join Shearer.

Should retail billioniare Mike Ashley appoint Lord Shearer as co-manager of Newcastle United FC, it would be great to see the new cyclist make cycling into an everyday part of a footballer’s training. Most managers make sure their players stay away from bikes (too many chances of injury?). Luxury car loving footy players are not going to arrive at training grounds on carbon-fibre superbikes but as part of a fitness regime, cycling is excellent.

Just don’t fall off on cinder tracks, as Kevin Keegan did at Bracknell in 1976 while filming for European Superstars.

Fix your bike, land modelling contract

Andre Birleanu is no bimbo. He speaks five languages, his parents were top-flight lawyers and diplomats and, before his break into the world of modelling, he was studying criminal law as well as forensic psychology.

He rode his bike to the John Jay Criminal Justice Academy in New York City. No doubt cycling is how he developed his amazing six-pack (hmm, well maybe not). On one fateful day he was outside school fixing his bike when Calvin French, then artistic director of Boss Models NY, walked past and spotted Birleanu’s potential, as brawns not brains.

The biking super-model is becoming a famous face in America and Brits get a chance to see him starting Sunday 20th Jan, 9pm, on MTV ONE. He’s one of the brainiest contestants on America’s Most Smartest Model, a competitive reality TV series.

MTV puts beautiful models to the test! Throwing them into a house to carry out experiments and IQ tests to decide who will win the dubious title of ‘America’s Most Smartest Model.’ If cruel tests on gorgeous models offend you, then don’t watch it.

Here’s the viral video for the show. It’s a pseudo-protest ‘against model testing’.

Niki Gudex and other riders star on Cyclepassion calendar

Some people are now collecting the German Cyclepassion calendars. I get sent press copies each year – the 2008 calendar is the third – but they’re quickly confiscated by my wife. Dunno why, it’s just the high-end bikes I’m ogling.

The year the calendar features photographs of fast women such as Irina Kalentieva, the 2007 Russian MTB champion, and MTBer and model Niki Gudex. The chain wig, above, was modelled by Sweden’s Emilia Fahlin of the T-Mobile team.

There are blokes on display, too, albeit mostly clothed. Except, that is, for MTBer Ralph Näf of Switzerland. He’s photographed in the bath with a model. Richie Schley of Canada was shot in the Continental factory in Korbach, Germany. He’s pictured wearing jeans and a jacket: the models are wearing Conti-designed rubber swimwear.

The calendar is spiral-bound, big at 40cm x 68cm, and and printed on 250g silk paper. It’s produced by Anke Wilken of Mannheim, a self-confessed “bike widow”.