Archive for June, 2007


Jun 30, 2007

Hovis: backing cycling since 1900


As mentioned previously, Hovis has ponied up £1.5m to sponsor the London Freewheel ride. In the 1990s the bread brand supported the National Byway with £500,000. But the support goes back further…

In 1900 Hovis produced a cycling map series at a scale of 5 miles to 1 inch. The maps were published by G Philip and Son, for the Hovis Bread Flour Co, Macclesfield, Cheshire, and the co-sponsor was the Cycling Components Mfring Co, Birmingham. This series continued for 25+ years.

In 1973, Hovis returned to its roots with what became one of the all-time classic TV adverts, a delivery boy freewheeling down a cobbled northern hill.

In fact, the ad was shot on Gold Hill of Shaftesbury, Dorset. The director was (Sir) Ridley Scott. He later went on to direct Bladerunner, Alien, Thelma & Louise, and Gladiator.



However, the Geordie 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 YoueTube last year but has been taken down for copyright reasons. It can be found on the DVD of Scott’s first commercial movie, The Duellists.

Scott’s bike advert was once voted the favourite UK telly advertisement of all time.

The original boy on the bike, Carl Barlow, then 13, is 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.’

Like many classic adverts of the 1970s, the Hovis ‘Bike’ advert was produced by iconic advertising agency Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners.



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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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Jun 27, 2007

World’s biggest fixie spotted in London


Yesterday, on BikeBiz.com, I covered the great news that central London is to close its roads to cars on Sunday September 23rd. The Hovis London Freewheel will become an annual celebration of cycling in Britain’s increasingly bike-friendly capital city.

Sign up for the event here, the London Freewheel website is really good. You get sent an HTML email with a mocked up newspaper saying ‘Another big name signs up…’ Registered riders also get sent real-world goodies like bells, reflective vests and packs of Top Trump cards.

It’s hoped 30,000 riders will take part. The event is costing £1.5m to stage, and nowt to enter.

At yesterday’s official press launch Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq was hugged by London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Behind them is the world’s biggest fixie, the model maker capturing the London zeitgeist perfectly. Not too sure about the front suspension, mind.


There’s a bigger pic here.

Konnie Huq was the first person to sign up for the ride.

“I bike into the TV centre from Ealing which I’m proud of,” she said.

Ken Livingstone revealed the family reason why he’s not a cyclist:

“I’ve never had a bike - we were too poor.”

He also quipped that he’d be mugged if he was spotted, awheel:

“There is a small problem with the Mayor cycling through London after charging people congestion charges. It could be a life-threatening experience.”



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Jun 27, 2007

Man accused of loving his bike a bit too much


A Scottish man has been charged with screwing his bike. But he’s no mechanic.

The Sunday Mail says Robert Stewart, a 51-year old from Ayr, is charged with simulating sex with a bicycle and continuing to do so while naked from the waist down in the presence of two female cleaners at the hostel where he was living.

Stewart denies all the charges.

The cleaners allege they discovered Stewart bonking his bike when they walked into his bedroom. Stewart claimed it was all “a misunderstanding” after he had too much to drink.

Bizarrely, just such a bike-bonking scenario was used in a viral promo for loveyourbike.org, a Manchester Friends of the Earth campaign. A man is discovered lubing his bike in a way not generally recommended. Click play on this very rude video, if you dare:



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Jun 26, 2007

Le Tour updates website, plugs YouTube clips


ASO’s official Tour de France site at www.LeTour.fr has been given a complete and very snazzy makeover. It includes a click-through to the official YouTube clips from the world’s biggest and best annual sporting event.

Bizarrely, the YouTube user ‘letourdefrance’ doesn’t allow third-party embedding so I can’t place the vids here, but I can link to them.

The most popular of the vids is a 3D fly-through of the full route, including the rising of an exploding, phallic Big Ben.

The Tour from the air is a melange of fantastic helicoptor shots.

It’s not the cyclists who are highest on drugs, it’s the designers of 15-ft motorised teapots, as you’ll see from this ‘discover the Tour caravan’ promo.

Talking about drugs, the YouTube ‘clip du Tour 2006′ starts with the drugs scandals which marred the start of the 2006 Tour. This is the video shown at the official route unveiling earlier this year.

Don’t understand French? Good, just watch the pretty pictures. Mind you, in a couple of places you can hear Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

The video ends with the infamous mirror shattering sequence when the 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis is presented with his final yellow jersey. As always, trust but verify…



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Jun 25, 2007

White paint saves lives but avoid the A682


A short section of road in Lancashire tops the list of Britain’s most dangerous roads, and has killed or seriously injured nearly 100 people in the last decade, according to the latest assessment report by the Road Safety Foundation for EuroRAP.

Of course, it’s not the roads that are dangerous, it’s the drivers. Roads are slabs of concrete or strips of tarmac, they don’t tend to maim or kill without a third party being involved. And this is normally a speeding motorist.

According to Dr Joanne Hill who heads the Road Safety Foundation’s research, a further 16 road sections present a persistent “medium to high risk” to road users, resulting in 10 times the number of deaths and serious injuries of the country’s best roads.

“The good news from the survey is that many of Britain’s authorities Read the rest of this entry »



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Jun 24, 2007

100% British, 100% clean


It’s great news that Britain’s Mark Cavendish and Roger Hammond have been named in T-Mobile’s preliminary Tour de France squad.

With fellow Brits Bradley Wiggins and David Millar among the favourites for bagging the London prologue, it could be a very British start to the first week of the Tour de France.

After the time trial prologue the first few stages are usually won by sprinters, and Mark Cavendish is on top form at the moment.

Here’s a helicopter shot of the final sprint of the Scheldeprijs one-day race in Belgium, held in April:


Cavendish beat world-class sprinters like Robbie McEwen to grab that victory and it would be surprising if T-Mobile didn’t choose the Isle of Man rider in its final nine. T-Mobile’s Head of Sport Management Rolf Aldag has choose nine from the following thirteen riders:

Lorenzo Bernucci (Italy), Marcus Burghardt (Germany), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Bernhard Eisel (Austria), Andreas Klier (Germany), Linus Gerdemann (Germany), Bert Grabsch (Germany), Giuseppe Guerini (Italy), Roger Hammond (Great Britain), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Axel Merckx (Belgium), Michael Rogers (Australia) and Patrik Sinkewitz (Germany).

To date only Michael Rogers is guaranteed a place.



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Jun 24, 2007

Quickrelease.tv vids to date


Here are all of the Quickrelease.tv videos uploaded to YouTube:



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Jun 19, 2007

It’s official, motoring is “barely human”


Tacked on to the Vatican’s ‘Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People’ issued earlier today there’s a long treatise on the responsibilities of Christian drivers.

There’s also a Ten Commandments for Motorists, including “On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.”

Cycling gets a few brief mentions – nothing specific about jumping red lights being a sin - but the Vatican is aiming fairly and squarely at motorists.

The new treatise is published by the Vatican Publishing House. It has some jump-out passages.


In addition to traffic congestion, people are directly exposed to dangers deriving from other related problems, such as noise, air pollution and intensive use of raw materials…It is a good idea to call for a commitment to avoid unnecessary car use.

Those who know Jesus Christ are careful on the roads. They don’t only think about themselves, and are not always worried about getting to their destination in a great hurry. They see the people who accompany them on the road, each of whom has their own life, their own desire to reach a destination and their own problems. They see everyone as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. This is the attitude that characterises a Christian driver.

When driving a vehicle, special circumstances may lead us to behave in an unsatisfactory and even barely human manner.

The domination instinct, or the feeling of arrogance, impels people to seek power in order to assert themselves. Driving a car provides an easy opportunity to dominate others. Indeed, by identifying themselves with their car, drivers enormously increase their own power.

The free availability of speed, being able to accelerate at will, setting out to conquer time and space, overtaking, and almost subjugating other drivers, turn into sources of satisfaction that derive from domination.

Cars tend to bring out the primitive side of human beings, thereby producing rather unpleasant results.

Obviously, careless motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians do not wish for the fatal consequences of an accident they cause, nor do they intend to harm the life and property of others. However, as these consequences are the product of a conscious action, we may rightly speak of moral responsibility.

Drivers’ Ten Commandments


I. You shall not kill.

II. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

III. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

IV. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.

V. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

VI. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

VII. Support the families of accident victims.

VIII. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

IX. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

X. Feel responsible towards others.


Surely this decalogue for drivers can be boiled down to just Number IX?



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