Gary Fisher Q&A

Gary Fisher: @lancearmstrong u need Action Wipes

The other weekend Gary Fisher was in London buying yet more snazzy duds but he also appeared at a screening of Klunkerz, the mountain bike history documentary. The next day I interviewed him for his views on transport bikes – audio and story here – but at the screening I recorded his answers from a detailed and entertaining Q&A session.

Click on the image of Gary on his Superfly 29er for the sound or subscribe to the Quickrelease podcast in iTunes.

This is the original trailer for the Klunkerz move:

And this is the brand new trailer:

Here are some keyword highlights from the audio above:

George Lucas. Grateful Dead. BMX cruiser class. 29er bikes. Panasonic 32lb bikes. Gearboxes. Girls looking good on bikes. Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Steel v alumunim v carbon. New tech: 10 years of failures. Dashing Tweeds. Living in the same shack as W.C. Fields. Carved tokers. Avenue of the Giants trail, California.

Gary Fisher: “I could have been a frame builder, I know how to braze but I didn’t want to get into metal therapy, I wanted to build a company that covered the earth with bikes.”

Plain MP3.

Riding with the Cannibal

Coppi Bartoli races passes old guy on a Bartoli bike
The 2009 edition of Giro warm-up race Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali kicked off yesterday. Grand Tour riders Cadel Evans and Damiano Cunego are on the five-day race, which takes place in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.

I watched this race in 2005, staying at the bike-luxe Perla Hotel in Riccione, start town of the race known locally as just ‘Coppi e Bartali’, named for Italy’s favourite road champions.

I took the pic above of an old guy watching the race pass. I love the fact he’s astride a beat-up Bartoli.

The 2005 event was also memorable for me because I rode with the Cannibal. Eddy Merckx was getting back on the bike after a period of tubbiness. He was still fast.

Eddy Merckx with Robin Barton

I was on the ride with fellow travel writer, Robin Barton. Great writer, rubbish action photographer: he never managed to grab a shot of me with Eddy. So here’s one of me descending a Tuscan hill on the same trip. It was a press trip organised by Italy Bike Hotels, a group of roadie-friendly hotels, mostly on the Adriatic coast.

Me on a Tuscan descent

[Audio] Gary Fisher on transport bikes

Gary Fisher in his Dashing Tweeds cycling suit

At the weekend I caught up with cycling legend Gary Fisher, one of the founding fathers of mountain biking. Gary was in the UK to lead some rides at Chevin Cycles of Otley. He rode his trademark 29er, but earlier that morning I grabbed Gary at breakfast and dragged him into a hotel ballroom to record the audio below (also available on the podcast on iTunes). We didn’t talk about wheel sizes, we talked about transport bikes.

You can follow Gary Fisher on [I’m here. 600 bike pro riders, shops, mags, blogs etc here].

The audio was recorded in a hotel ballroom, just after breakfast on Sunday. There had been a wedding reception in the room and it had been cleared of furniture. We sat on the floor; apologies in advance for some of the popping and rustling, that’s either Gary slapping his thighs or me wriggling on the carpet. Next time we upgrade to a table…

I also recorded Gary during the previous night’s screening of Klunkerz, the MTB history movie. I’ll release that audio next week.

Gary Fisher on his Superfly, Chevin Cycles, Otley

The YouTube of docs…but with bells (and lots of whistles)

YouTube’s genius was to translate a multitude of clashing video formats and mush them into Flash, a cross-platform format most any computer can handle. has done the same for non-movie files. If you produce PDFs, Word docs, Powerpoint presentations and other files that otherwise remain static on your machine, you could load ’em to and get flippin’ beauties.

Strida designer Mark Sanders sent me and Bicycle Design’s James Thomas a link to some PDFs and Powerpoint files of his ‘Blue Ocean’ presentation at the Taipei trade show. Downloading a PDF and reading it in Adobe Preview is sooooo 2008. Converted to Flash, and given the Issuu touch, Sanders’s documents now jump from the page. Click on full-screen to get the full effect.

Issuu is where I’ve parked the sampler for the Bike to Work Book (it’s had 51,000 views so far). Snow Books created an Issuu account recently and placed on there a teaser chapter for my ‘Family Cycling’ book. Many big-name publishers are now placing their books and mags on But it’s not just for the mammoths, the minnows get to play, too. Digital democracy. God, I love Issuu.

Can you tell?

Google Streetview captured me on a bike!


Google Streetview launched in 25 UK cities today, including Newcastle on Tyne. Type in your postcode, zoom in to a favourite street and then drag the yellow stick-man to the location you want to take a virtual bike ride along.

I’m so glad I was captured on a bike and not my car. It’s also a town bike, with a basket on the front. Thing is, Google Streetview is a car-conspiracy. It’s images taken on roads only. We need a Google Streetview Bike! This could capture the beauty of car-free rides.

Come on, Google, get your arse into gear!

Flick through and salivate

‘Cycling in the Netherlands 2009’ is by the Bicycle Council of the Netherlands, Fietsberaad. It’s full of great pix and wonderful stats.

Spotter: David Hembrow

£20+k F1-inspired bike to be unwrapped next week

In December 2007, I provided info on a data-capturing super-bike. Then all went quiet. I got the odd teaser email but nothing worthy of passing on. Until now. BERU f1systems, the makers of Factor 001, have sent me the following info.

The world’s most advanced bicycle to be unveiled
Factor 001 – the definitive version of the innovative new road bike using
Formula One and biometric technology – about to break cover


A high performance bicycle, created and built by motorsport precision
engineering specialists, BERU f1systems, will be revealed at the launch of
the Science Museum’s new free exhibition “Fast Forward: 20 ways F1TM is
changing our world” next week (March 11th). Factor 001 – a ground-breaking
training tool combining innovative design and advanced electronics –
promises to challenge the way athletes and serious enthusiasts use the
bicycle and undertake fitness training.

Factor 001 is the result of a creative project to explore the transfer of
design approaches, technology and materials from Formula One (where BERU
f1systems is a supplier of various components such as electronics and
composites to every team) to mankind’s most enduring invention. The bike
is a lightweight (under 7 kg including all equipment) carbon fibre
monocoque structure, designed using the same powerful modelling and
analysis software used to build Formula One cars. The on-board computer
and performance monitoring system, incorporating various motorsport-grade
sensors, a GPS and a radio transmitter, are integrated into the handlebars
and throughout the bike. Factor 001 boasts what are believed to be many
firsts for the cycling world:

• Multi-channel electronics package which provides unique ergonometric
data collection, logging and analysis capabilities; can correlate
biometric data from the rider, physical force data from the bike and
environmental data; developed with feedback from professional athletes.
• Carbon ceramic brakes provide endless, exact braking performance at any
• Almost all original parts; key components designed and manufactured
in-house from Formula One-grade materials.
• Fully integrated structure using BERU f1systems’ Wire-in-Composite
patented technology; load sensors, wiring, batteries, sensors, control
cables and lines for the hydraulic braking system are all fully integrated
into the composite during construction, to give unparalleled efficiency and
durability with a clean, uncluttered appearance.
• Twin-spar frame reduces sideways frame flex and preserves rider
• 8-spoke monocoque composite wheels deliver high lateral stiffness and
robustness for everyday use.
• Bespoke made-to-measure frame (to within 1mm); each customer to
experience Formula One-style ‘seat fit’ process.

“I am very pleased that what started as a ‘clean sheet’ design exercise to
showcase our expertise in composites and electronics has delivered such a
beautifully styled, scientific training device,” says John Bailey,
managing director of BERU f1systems. “Athletes and their trainers now have
access to performance enhancement capabilities that are the norm in
top-level motorsport, and individuals interested in an exclusive, high
end, differentiated bicycle now have a serious alternative.”

Factor 001 will appeal to professional and semi-professional athletes
competing at the highest levels in cycling and other sports; as well as
personal trainers, fitness camp organisers, and affluent fitness training
enthusiasts. One of the key benefits of the bike for riders is its ability
to collect laboratory-quality data, while being ridden outdoors. BERU
f1systems is already in talks with various sporting bodies about future
applications of the data measurement software. Factor 001 is available to
order from BERU f1systems now. Pricing will start at under £20,000 while
the full version with the software package will cost in excess of £20,000.

Final cover for ‘Family Cycling’

Thanks for all the great feedback. Here’s the final, final, final cover for ‘Family Cycling’ from Snow Books of London.

The design is done, the cover is done, the text has been tweaked. Soon, the book goes to press and then nice shiny copies will be available from April 6th.