Watch Danny MacAskill’s new film Home of Trails

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Danny MacAskill goes on an epic trip with Claudio Caluori across Graubünden AKA ‘The Home of Trails’.

Graubünden has been nicknamed “The Home of Trails”, no other alpine region in Europe has as many trails in such a small area – over 17,000km of rideable paths stretch across the mountainous region. It’s the ultimate mountain biker’s playground.

The alluring call of endless trails also drew Danny MacAskill and Claudio Caluori to the region. Legendary trials biker Danny broke onto the scene in 2009 with his viral Inspired Bicycles video, followed by numerous viral hits such as Wee Day Out in 2016. Claudio has established himself as a cult figure in mountain biking with his hilarious UCI DH course previews.

Watch their epic trip to Graudbünden in the video below:

 

 

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(Bike) Speed Dating at The Bargate!

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The ‘Get Cycle Savvy’ team will be at The Bargate this Saturday, 7th April 10am – 4pm.

They’ll be working with the amazing teams at Cycle Experience and YoBike who will have a range of bikes available to try out – such as hybrids, mountain bikes, electric and folding bikes – to help you determine which is best for your everyday journeys!

They’ll also have bike balance obstacle courses, freebies, and a perfect opportunity to speak to the experts and take some wheels for a spin!

Find them at The Bargate on Saturday 7th April, 10am – 4pm.

Learn how to ride the cobbles

Cobbles

With the Tour of Flanders now past and Paris-Roubaix coming up, it’s worth knowing how to ride the cobbles. British Cycling’s guide gives you tips on speed, gears, positioning and more:

Speed is your friend

Don’t be tentative but try to increase your speed and attack the cobbles as the extra momentum will carry you over the lumps and bumps more smoothly. Try to add some sustained hard 3-5 minute efforts into your long rides or include regular Ramped VO2 intervals into your training.

Gear up

Try to ride flat, downhill or gently climbing cobbled sectors using your big chain-ring. This will maintain chain tension, reduce chain slap and prevent your chain jumping off. A compact chainset and a wide ranging cassette will help you to manage this even when you are tiring.

Look ahead

Pick your line, anticipate the actions of riders ahead and look where you want to go. If there is a big gap in the cobbles or an uneven edge you want to avoid, don’t look at it but where you want to go to avoid it.

Be first

When you hit the cobbles, the best place to be is on the front as you will get a clear ride and won’t have to contend with riders falling in front of you. Do some route research, check where the cobbled sectors are and tape this information to your stem. You will then know when to try and move up through the field.

Be last

Unfortunately, with big sportive fields and everyone else wanting the front spot, being on the front can be hard. Another option is to slow up, let the group you’re with go ahead and give yourself a bit of space. Also, if you watch the pros, you will notice that they leave larger than normal gaps on cobbles and you should adopt this tactic too. Assume that the rider in front of you is going to crash and give yourself enough space so that you have at least a chance of avoiding them.

Keep relaxed

Don’t tense up and don’t try to fight the bike. Grip the bars firmly but also keep your arms and upper body as relaxed and loose as possible. Let the bike flow underneath you, correct itself and don’t over react to small slips.

Tops or drops

Your hands are more secure either on the bar tops or down on the drops. It is recommended that you do not ride on the hoods as it is very easy for your hands to bounce off.

Stay on the crown

Although often the bumpiest, on cobbled roads, the crown is usually the best place to ride. The cobbles will be less broken up, will tend to have less mud on and there will be fewer gaps as fewer vehicles will have passed over them. Avoid the cambered lines on either side of the crown, especially if the cobbles are wet or muddy.

Avoid the verges

The verges may look smoother and tempting but there are often deep wheel swallowing holes hidden by puddles and puncture causing flints and debris that has washed off the cobbles.

Steer with your hips

If you need to alter your line to pass a rider, keep your speed up and initiate the change in direction positively with your hips. Don’t try to turn by using your handlebars as you are far more likely to experience a front wheel slide or catch it in a gap.

Recover in the wheels

Between the cobbled sectors, try to regroup and sit in the wheels to recover. It can be tempting to try and push on when you hit the smooth tarmac but you are better saving your energy for the next sector of pavé.

Practice

If you know that your event has rough sections or cobbles, practice riding them in training. Canal towpaths, converted railway line bike paths and forest fire roads can all be suitable for honing your “off-road” road bike skills. Also consider including some mountain biking and/or cyclo-cross in your training to develop your bike handling skills.

Get on your bike

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Some people cycle to get fit, some to commute and some just for fun. The My Journey Southampton website has a host of information about getting out and about in the city on your bike, improve your cycling skills and bike maintenance if yours needs some TLC. Go check it out for more info.

Don’t own a bike? The YoBike is now in Southampton. A large-scale dockless bike-sharing system offering riders a seamless, hassle-free experience. By using a mobile app, riders can find and unlock YoBikes at parking spots around the city and ride them from just £1 per hour. Find out more here.

The British Cycling website Letsride lists HSBC UK Breeze Rides for women and HSBC UK Social Rides, plus lots more information on cycling. Find out more here.

London cyclists playground in Regent’s Park

Every morning groups of cyclists gather to ride the park’s Outer Circle. As cycling gains momentum in the city, more circuits might flourish:

It’s half past seven on a mild October morning, just getting light, and I am waiting with my bike at one of the most tranquil spots in central London, under a canopy of trees on the Inner Circle. Hidden away inside Regent’s Park, the Inner Circle is a circular road where my cycling friends and I are to rendezvous before setting off for an hour’s training.

“Training” might be overstating it. Right now I am not in training for anything, nor to my knowledge are the others – Lewis, Charlie, and Graham. We are here to play.

I see Lewis approaching. Pretty soon we are quorate and the ride can begin. The four of us head to the Outer Circle – Regent’s Park’s perimeter road, measuring a little under three miles and for many years now an unofficial cycle training route. A wide thoroughfare where greenery abounds and vehicles and traffic lights are relatively scarce, it is a unique facility in central London, which amounts to a secret cycling idyll.

Not that it’s so secret any more. I started making bike trips to Regent’s Park more than 10 years ago. In those days, cycling of this kind was a relatively obscure subculture. Now it’s mainstream and in pre-work hours the Outer Circle is thronged with men and women on two wheels.

Pay a visit any time between 6.30am and 8.30am and you’ll see us – dozens and dozens of Lycra-clad figures on our not-inexpensive road bikes, riding mostly in groups, some as big as 20- or 30-strong. We aren’t going anywhere. We’re riding the circuit, getting our heart rates up, feeling the speed, revelling in the sensation, trying to improve, or just stay fit. The ride is an end in itself. It serves no outward purpose. It’s the very essence of play.

Regents Park Outer Circle

“Regent’s is an arena,” is how Graham sees it, “replicating in miniature the aspects of a much bigger ride.” It has fast stretches, corners, changing vistas, even a climb – the drag up the east side when travelling anti-clockwise, the direction the vast majority of cyclists choose because it is the safer, inside option.

The south east corner of the Outer Circle – the point closest to the Euston Road – is, for my group, where the lap begins. Then it’s up the east side drag – you can really hurt yourself on that stretch – before the road flattens and bends to the left and takes you past London Zoo, then dead straight and flat for about 500 metres through a long left-hander past the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House, and descending to the Regent’s Park mosque. The final stretch passes the top of Baker Street, runs parallel with Marylebone Road and then it’s back to where you started.

How fast was that one, you wonder? You won’t know until you’ve checked your Strava tracking app at the end of the ride. What you do know, as Graham says, is that the park is beautiful and there is camaraderie in the group. As with the parkour phenomenon of urban running, in which the obstacles of the built environment are turned to advantage, so it is with cycling and Regent’s Park. The Outer Circle wasn’t laid out with cyclists in mind. We discovered it, we saw its potential, we shaped it for our purposes, turned it into our playground.

The game we invented has its rules. Strangers hook up all the time. My group will jump on to the back of other groups. Other cyclists will jump on to the back of us. Most of us reckon we know how to conduct ourselves riding in tight groups, which is much the most effective way to ride at speed. No random braking, maintain your line, overtake smoothly, do your turn at the front. Or if you don’t want to do a turn on the front – if the pace is just too high – then stay on the back.

Cycling Regents Park

The way that one can coexist with people one doesn’t know – in close proximity, in a state of mutual cooperation, mutual dependency – is what raises Regent’s to the level of social experiment. I will latch on to someone’s wheel and for a few minutes we are as one, this stranger and I, until one of us drops off, or a bigger group forms or, more prosaically, someone’s time is up and they have to go to work. Partings are generally unspoken but from time to time there’ll be a “thanks” or a “nice work”.

Another rule is don’t jump red lights. The red-light jumpers aren’t “one of us”. They’ll be the commuter cyclists. Even though nearly all of us are going on to work afterwards, we are not commuter cyclists. Not for the duration of our Regent’s Park session, anyway. We occupy a separate realm. On one of the very rare occasions when I witnessed “one of us” jumping a red light, the offender got a telling-off from a fellow cyclist. The dream is of a clear round in which the five sets of lights – three of them pelican crossings – are all green. It rarely happens.

Regent’s Park is a kind of cycling utopia. It’s not like cycling anywhere else in London. But could that utopia spread? The future of London travel can only involve more cycling and less driving – or at least less driving by human beings, which itself must make cycling safer and more attractive. Project forward 10, 20, 50 years and only one scenario seems possible – a London turned into a fully fledged cycling city.