Wanna ride with Gary Fisher? For a week?

Well, here’s your chance. The MTB legend is the headline guest on a 363-mile tour through Portugal in September.

The trip is scheduled for September 3rd to 10th and is being organised by the A2Z Adventures tour company and Bicimax, a Portugese bike shop.

Riders get picked up at Lisbon airport and are transferred by van to the starting point at Castelo Novo in the Beiras, Centro de Portugal region

Gary Fisher was one of the founding fathers of modern mountain biking. The clip below is from Klunkerz, the MTB history movie by Billy Savage.

At the end of the clip, Fisher says: “Cycling is this beautiful connector….between what you need to do, what you have to have to do…and just going out and having some fun.”

Sir Paul Smith meets David Millar

It was the mutual admiration society as the English fashion designer met the Scottish pro cyclist before the London prologue of the 2007 Tour de France.

Paul Smith is hugely into cycling and his company recently partnered with Rapha to produce an ultra-expensive merino wool jersey to celebrate the Grand Depart from Londres.

Incidentally, following David Millar’s long breakaway during yesterday’s London-to-Canterbury stage it turns out the planet will be the richer. The Saunier Duval-Prodir team has pledged to plant trees in Mali: one tree per escape-kilometer. Millar therefore earned 150 trees for Africa yesterday.

Photo by Bill Davies

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:


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.

Phil Liggett at Le Tour in London

‘The voice of cycling’ can be seen on this (shonky) video shot at County Hall, London, on Thursday 5th July.

Sorry about the sound quality and the lack of a light: the digital recorder and the spotlight died on me as I was about to do the interview.

Phil Liggett was one of the guests at the opening of photographer Graham Watson’s exhibition of Tour photographs. The great and the good of cycling were there. So was Pat McQuaid of the UCI.

I asked Phil about his tip for the ‘GC’ winner (GC = general classification, ie yellow jersey). I also asked for Phil’s thought’s on a lack of a No. 1 dossard. Floyd Landis has almost been written out of the Tour’s history books, and Phil’s not impressed…

There will be more Quickrelease.tv videos of the Tour de France in London over the next few days, thanks to the support of Ultimatepursuits.co.uk. Subscribe to the Quickrelease podcast to get videos downloaded automatically to iTunes and other podcatchers. There’s a direct link on the right.

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.

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, Continue reading “Sloggi thinks tweaked thong thing is “cheeky””

Cheapie airline provides inflight Tour de France TV coverage

Before Euro cycling fans get too excited the cheapie airline is American. But what a service! As well as inflight TdF coverage, those who fly with a bike in July get extra airmiles!

Flying is bad. It wrecks the planet and cheapie airlines are to be shunned by right thinking Earth lovers. Er, but an exception can be made for JetBlue Airways.

Cycling fans travelling on the low-fare airline in July can tune in to daily coverage of the Continue reading “Cheapie airline provides inflight Tour de France TV coverage”