Friday, March 29, 2013

Gunnar Roadie - A Nice Ride - "Sunny Afternoon"

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 Poor ole' Joe with my Gunnar Roadie
It was a nice "Sunny Afternoon" today. The time was around six o'clock in the evening when I headed out for my ride. The temperature was mild and the sun was still shining bright. Traffic was light also. Just a nice evening to go for a ride.

Often my ride are into Davidson County. Traffic is lighter this direction, when riding from my house. I've been riding out this way for over twenty five years now. This ride was a little over thirty miles in length.

I have several different routes I enjoy riding, when I head out on my bike in this direction. Most of my rides always include a few miles on Fraternity Church Road.  My ride this evening took me to the Arcadia community of Davidson County, and then back into Forsyth County and Clemmons, NC on Hampton Road. 

Poor ole' Joe was glad to see me, once I got back in. He had knee surgery three weeks ago today. Recovery is tough for him. He doesn't like to just lay around. A short visit to the backyard was welcome relief for Poor ole' Joe.

Today's ride was especially nice. Lately it seems to be raining when I have enough time to ride my bike. Thank goodness for a "Sunny Afternoon!"

 The video above is riding out of town on Fraternity Church Road.
Music: "I rowed a little boat" by John Lee Hooker 

Cattle grazing in a pasture along Hampton Road in Davidson County, NC.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carlton Reid is writing an important history book. Roads were not built for cars

The book is due out this summer. Click here for more information on the book.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Surly Long Haul Trucker - Commuting to work - Been a long time!

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Surly Long Haul Trucker
Ready for my morning commute to work.
Saturday was the first chance I have had in a long time to commute to work on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. We have had a long cold and wet winter. Cold doesn't stop me. Wet and cold does keep me from riding to work. 

Having places to go in a hurry after work, is what has kept me from riding to work more than anything else. 

The Long Haul Trucker is a true touring bike, but also works great as a commuter bike. Mine is set up with a dynamo front hub. The hub generates power for the front and rear lights. I run the lights even in bright daylight, to improve my visibility to motorists. Having the ability to attach full pannier bags to the rear rack makes bike commuting much easier. I can carry a rain jacket, change of shoes and cloths, and my lunch with room to spare.

I enjoyed finally getting a chance to commute to work. "It's been a long time!" Hopefully I will get to ride into work more in the next few months.

This section of Peace Haven Road had little traffic on Saturday morning, when compared to the amount of traffic it has on a week day.

In the video below, Led Zepplin perform their song "Rock and Roll" in 1973.  In the song they sing "It's been a long time since I rocked and rolled."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lucien Van Impe

Lucien Van Impe
Lucien Van Impe, born October 1946 in Belguim, was a professional bicycle racer from 1969 through the year 1987. He is best known for his ability to climb mountains on his bike.

He gives another great climber, Spainiard Federico Bahamontes, credit for his professional career. Bahamontes used his influence to get Van Imp a contract as a professional, after Van Impe won the climbers jersey as an amateur in the 1968 Tour l'Avenir. 

Van Imp is best known for his 1976 win of the Tour de France and winning the "King of the mountains" title six times at the Tour. His mentor, Federico Bahamontes, was the first rider to win  the climbers competition six times. Lucien Van Imp was critical of Richard Virenque when he broke the record with seven "King of the mountains" titles. Van Impe said he had refrained from breaking Bahamontes' record himself out of respect. 

In 1981 Van Imp was second place in the Tour de France and won the climbers' competition.

At the Giro d'Italia he won the mountain classification twice during his career.

Lucien Van Impe started fifteen Tour de Frances and reached the finish in Paris every time. He certainly would have had more Tour de France victories if so much of career hadn't over lapped with the great racer Eddy Merchx. 

During or after his professional career, Van Impe has never tested positive, refused a doping test or confessed having used doping.

In recent years he has been head of the Veranda Willems professional cycling team. 

Lucien Van Impe lives Impe, Belgium. His house is called Alpe D'Huez after the French mountain where he took the yellow jersey (of the leader in the Tour de France) in 1976.

Lucien Van Impe 1974

Lucien Van Imp 1976

Lucien Van Impe breaking away during the 1977 Tour de France

Lucien Van Impe 1980
Lucien Van Impe 1981
Lucien Van Impe wearing the best climber's jersey in the 1983 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Frederico Bahamontes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gunnar Roadie - First Day Of Spring - Evening Ride - Remedy

Gunnar Roadie

I had to slip out for a short ride this evening. It's already the first day of spring! The weather forecast for the next few days is for colder, windy and rain on the weekend. It was just over 50 degrees this evening when I headed out. I had a little bit more than an hour of good daylight to ride.

Knowing it was going to be a few days before I would be able to get outside and ride, made me appreciate this ride that much more. My route took me just beyond the edge of the city limits.

 I wanted to get in a little bit of a work out, so I did four or five short sprints. There is a stop ahead sign that I have used in years past as a marker for the end of a sprint. I figured out pretty quickly that my heart just wasn't in riding hard.  I ended up just sight seeing for the rest of my ride. 

A nice evening ride after a long day is just like a "remedy." Any ride is better than no ride at all!
Heading in at the end of my ride. 

A good sign to use as a finish line for practice sprints.
The Black Crowes perform "Remedy" in the video above.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Biking Bettys Ride - Easy

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Biking Bettys (Barbie and Blonde) with their new road bikes!

This morning I had the pleasure of riding with two Biking Bettys. Barbie Betty and Blonde Betty both just got new road bikes. They have both been busy running, swimming and participating in spin classes. October was the last time they have been out on the road. 

After a successful half ironman triathlon, Barbie and Blonde Betty, were on their way to do the "Stroke Ride" when Barbie's car was slammed into from behind. They were both without lasting injuries, but Barbie's poor car , bike rack on the rear of her car and both their bikes were badly damaged. The bike rack and both bikes were totally destroyed.

We went on a nice ride around town for about one and half hours. During our ride we took a scenic route through the "Old" Sherwood Forrest and Buena Vista neighborhoods. We passed right by the house I live in on Northriding Road from the age of three till I was twelve years old. We also passed by Barbie's present house in Buena Vista. 

This morning was cool and overcast. But we rode "Easy" and just enjoyed being out for a bicycle ride. We were bundled up and all had flashing lights on the back of our bikes. I look forward to riding again soon with the "Biking Bettys."
Blonde Betty and Barbie Betty dressed in green for St. Patrick's day.

What is Biking Bettys? Well the best way to find out is by clicking here to visit the Biking Bettys Blog.
In the video below the three of us are riding into Buena Vista.
Video music is: "My Friend Betty" by Mark Johnson & Clawgrass

Behind me is the house I lived in for nine years.
The spot where the car is parked in the driveway is exactly where I learned to ride a bike without training wheels.

The Commodores perform "Easy" in the video below.

Lucien Lazarides

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Lucien Lazarides
 Lucien Lazarides (1922 - 2005) was born in Greece, but immigrated to France and became a French citizen in 1929. He was a professional road bicycle racer during the years 1946 through 1956. His first major victory came in 1949 when he won the Dauphine Libere. At the 1951 Tour de France he finished in third place overall in the general classifications. His last notable victory was in 1955 when he won the tenth stage of the Tour de France. Lucien Lazarides younger brother, Apo Lazarides, was also a professional cyclist.
Lucien Lazarides

Friday, March 15, 2013

Gunnar Roadie - A Short Evening Ride - Hurry Sundown

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Poor ole' Joe is resting on his bed in the garage as I check my Gunnar Roadie before my ride.

Daylight savings time is now in effect, and I was finally able to slip out for a short ride this evening. I had to make it quick to get back in before sundown. 

Normally Poor ole' Joe hangs around in the backyard with me, while I pump up my tires and check my bike out. He's recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, which he had just a little more than a week ago. He seems to be doing as well as can be expected, but is frustrated because he can't run around in his backyard.

Friday afternoons and evenings are always a bad time to drive or ride a bicycle. Everyone is in a hurry to get where they are going and excited to get the weekend started. I have a back-road route worked out that cuts through a couple of neighborhoods and takes me to an industrial park. There's not much traffic in the industrial park after 5:00 PM, and especially on Fridays. 

This isn't my favorite type of ride, but it was nice to get in a short ride. Even if I had to hurry before sundown.

The video below is on a side street of the industrial park.
Music: Sundown by Wes Houle

Almost home before the sun sets.
The Outlaws perform "Hurry Sundown" in 1977.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We Were Young And Carefree by: Laurent Fignon

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We Were Young And Carefree, by: Laurent Fignon
287 pages
First published by Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, Paris in 2009

English translation by: William Fotheringham, 2010

First published in Great Britian by:
Yellow Jersey Press in 2010
Random House
20 Yauxhall Bridge Road
London, SWIV 2SA

The book "We were young and carefree" is the autobiography of Laurent Fignon. He was a French professional cyclist, who won the Tour de France twice in consecutive years. Unfortunately he is remembered by many for his second place finish in the 1989 Tour. He lost the race in the last stage time trial to Greg Lemond. The eight seconds time difference between the two was the closest margin ever.

In the book, "We were young and carefree", Fignon discusses the 1989 Tour de France in the first chapter. He gets this part of his life out of the way from the very beginning of the book. He also discusses the aftermath of his heart breaking defeat in the 1989 edition of the Tour. People would often say when they saw him "you're the guy that lost the Tour de France by eight seconds." Too which Fignon would reply "No monsieur, I am the guy that won it twice."

Fignon tells his story from his childhood into adulthood. He goes in depth about his years as a racing cyclist. It is interesting to hear his take on racing, sponsors, teams and fans. 

One innovation of Laurent Fignon's took place while looking for a sponsor for his team. In the past teams were owned and directed by the sponsors. Fignon came up with the idea of a marketing company owning the team and selling advertising to the sponsor. The team would be operated by the marketing company, and whatever funds were left over would be the company's profit. This is exactly what he did with great success when he formed the System U team.  

This is a very enjoyable book for any cyclist to read. It will be most interesting to readers that were followers of bicycle racing in Europe during Laurent Fignon's era. 

Shortly after delivering his manuscript to the publisher, in 2009, Laurent Fignon was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. He died of the disease on August 31, 2010 at the young age of 50 in Paris, France.

Click here to learn more about Laurent Fignon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gunnar Roadie - Beautiful Sunday Afternoon For A Ride - "Live It Up"

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 Gunnar Roadie
 It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon to go for a bicycle ride. The temperature was in the low 60s and there was partially cloudy skies with little wind.

I rode my Gunnar Roadie today. Gunnar Cycles, the company in Waterford Wisconsin that makes Gunnar bicycles, was named after Richard Schwinn's Labrador retriever. Normally my black Lab, Poor ole' Joe, keeps me company when I am either checking my bike before a ride or cleaning it up after a ride. This past Thursday Poor ole' Joe had reconstructive knee surgery, and is laying around recovering. His right knee went out last Saturday night while I was walking him. That is why he isn't in the picture with my bike.
Click here to visit the Gunnar Cycles web site.

 For the past week I have been keeping him company while he has been laid up. I was grateful for the chance to slip out for a short ride while he was sleeping this afternoon. What a wonderful day to "Live it up!"

Poor ole' Joe resting after surgery.

Around 2:30 this afternoon I headed out on my bike for a ride of a couple of hours. I rode out Peace Heaven Road past Clemmons, NC and in the general direction of Lewisville, NC. Once out of traffic I started to do a few over under intervals. 

Over under intervals are when you ride a little beyond your maintainable threshold effort level and then back off and recover a little below your threshold effort level. I haven't been able to ride much at all the last month or so, and it took me a little longer to recover after a hard effort today.
 The video above is riding out Peace Haven Road today.
Music: Home in the woods by: Lightnin' Hopkins

A horse enjoying the wonderful day on Styers Ferry Road outside of Lewisville.

Two more horses on Styers Ferry Road living it up.
 I had ridden through Lewisville and had done several hard efforts and was close to Phafftown, NC, when I came across Chris riding in the other direction. I turned around a caught up to him, and we stopped to talk. We rode off back in the general direction of Lewisville and Chris joined me in a few interval workouts. Then we practiced sprinting a few times, using a stop ahead sign as a finish line. 

I was running out of time and I needed to head home to feed and check on Poor ole' Joe. He was sleeping, but woke up and wagged his tail when he saw me.

I am thankful I got a chance to get out and ride my bike some today and "Live it up."

My friend Chris Culp
Sheryl Crow performs "Live it up" in 2005

Saturday, March 9, 2013

1923 Tour de France

A traffic jam during the 1923 Tour de France

The 1923 Tour de France was the fifth Tour de France to take place after the end of World War I. It was made up of fifteen stages that covered 5,386 kilometers (3,347 miles) and was raced at an average speed of 24.23 KPH (15.06 MPH). The race started out with 139 riders, and only 48 of them finished. 

The bike industry was recovering from World War I and was able to sponsor riders under their own teams for the first time since the war began. They had to combine their resources to sponsor riders under the name La Sportive in the other four years since the end of the war. 

Automoto was the power-house team of the 1923 Tour de France. It had the dominate French bicycle racer at the time Henri Pelissier and his brother Francis Pelissier. Francis Pelissier was a champion cyclist too. 
Francis and Henri Pelissier having some fun during the 15th stage of the 1923 Tour de France.

Having business interests in Italy, Automoto, wanted some of their Italian racers to compete in the 1923 Tour de France. Several of their Italian team members were hired to travel to France for the race. Only one racer made the journey, Ottavio Bottecchia. The young Bottecchia had only turned pro the previous year. Two weeks before the start of the 1923 Tour he had finished in fifth place overall in the 1923 Giro de Italia. Automoto decided the plan to use Italians wasn't worth while with only one Italian making the trip, and they planned to send him back. At the last minute they decided to let Bottecchia ride the 1923 Tour de France. The only French words Ottavio Bottecchia knew when he first arrived in France was "No bananas, lots of coffee, thank you."
Ottavio Bottecchia in his team jersey

There were a couple of important changes made to the rules of the Tour de France in 1923. One of those rule changes was the addition of time bonuses for stage winners. The winner of each stage had two minutes deducted from his time. The other rule change was that the riders would now be able to swap out parts instead of repairing them. They could be aided by team directors and receive parts from them, but they were not allowed to receive them from other riders on their team. The second rule change was made so that the winner would be decided more by the ability of the racer, rather than dependent on good luck. Several times in previous editions of the Tour de France the lead rider had suffered a mechanical which cost him the overall victory. 

The riders were still required to finish each stage with everything they began the stage with. The items they had to carry to the end of the stages included tires that had been flattened and warm cloths they had on when they began the long stages in the cool early morning hours.

Francis and Henri Pellisier had not raced the Tour de France since they withdrew during the 1920 edition. They were both considered by many to be the most talented professional bicycle racers in France. During the 1920 Tour de France both Pellisier Brothers quit the race after Henri was given a two minute time penalty for throwing away a flatten tubular tire after changing it. They had an ongoing fued with the race organiser Henri Desgrange. It was a two way grudge. Desgrange wrote of Henri in his newspaper, L'Auto, "This Pelissier knows nothing about suffering, he'll never win the Tour." Henri Pellisier had won all the other major races in France during 1923 except the Tour de France. In recent years the Tour had been dominated by Belgian cyclists. Desgrange knew that if the Pellisiers raced the Tour de France it would be good for the race and the circulation of his newspaper, L'Auto. Henri Desgrange wrote an article in his newspaper saying that Henri Pellisier was too old to win the Tour de France, and would never enter the race. That same day the Pellisiers signed up to enter the 1923 Tour de France. 

Henri Pellisier repairing a punctured tire during stage 12 of the 1923 Tour de France.

Ottavio Bottecchia's ability was obvious from the very early stages of the Tour. He finished the first stage in second place and won the second stage in a sprint finish. At the end of the second stage Botttechia was wearing the yellow jersey of the race leader. 

The Pelissier brothers, Henri and Francis, showed their domaince in the third stage. The third stage was from Cherbourg to Brest and 405 kilometers (256.66 miles) in length. Henri won the stage and Francis came in second. Bottecchia had a flat tire, but only lost 37 seconds on the stage, and retained his spot as overall race leader.

During the fourth stage Henri Pelissier was given a two minute penalty for throwing away a punctured tire. Bottecchia also suffered a flat tire and the overall race lead was taken over by Robert Jacquinot.

Nothing really changed during the fifth stage of the 1923 Tour de France. The top three places were:

1. Romain Bellenger
2. Hector Tiberghien @ 3 minutes 15 seconds
3. Ottavio Bottecchia @ 3 minutes 54 seconds

The Sixth stage contained the mountain climbs of the Aubisque, the Tourmalet, the Aspin and the Peyresourde. It was 326 kilometers (202.57 miles) in length. Robert Jacquinot was known as a sprinter, but in the sixth stage he was the first racer over the first three climbs.  It looked as if Jacquinot would take over the race leader's position. While climbing the Peyresourde, he ran out of energy and fell off his bike. Jean Alavoine passed him and won the mountainous stage. Jacquinot got back on his bike and finished the stage in sixth place, 16 minutes behind Alavoine. Henri Pelissier finished twenty three minutes behind Alavoine.  Bottechia crossed the finish line  over 27 minutes after the stage six winner. Bottecchia took over the yellow jersey of race leader at this point in the Tour.

Below are the top three places after the first mountain stage of the 1923 Tour de France:

1. Ottavio Bottecchia
2. Jean Alavoine @ 8 minutes 28 seconds
3. Romain Bellenger @ 21 minutes 50 seconds

Henri Pelissier on the Tourmalet during the 1923 Tour de France.

Jean Alavoine went on to win the seventh stage, which was in the Pyrenees mountains. Bellenger, Bottecchia and the Pelissier brothers were able to stay with him this time and finished with the same time for the stage. There were no changes to the overall general classification after the seventh stage.

Bellenger had a bad day during the eighth stage. He lost twenty minutes to Bottecchia and twelve minutes to Alavoine. This moved Henri Pelissier up in the standing to third place. 

The top three spots after the eight stage were:

1. Ottavio Bottecchia
2. Jean Alavoine @ 14 minutes 19 seconds
3. Henri Pelissier @ 22 minutes 8 seconds

The positions of the overall general classification stayed unchanged for the most part up until the tenth stage. The tenth stage was the first alpine stage and contained the mountain passes of the Allos, the Vars and the Izoard. Henri Pelissier planned to attack his teammate, Bottecchia, even though he was wearing the yellow jersey of the race leader. Francis Pelissier was riding with an injured knee, but was determined to help his brother win the stage. On the first stage a break from the field contained Buysse, Alancourt, Alavoine, Bottechia and Henri Pelissier. Pelissier noticed that Bottechia was riding in too big of a gear and attached on the climb. In order to change gears on his bicycle Bottechia would have had to stop and take his rear wheel off and turn it around. He would have lost even more time if he had of stopped to make this gear change. Henri Pelissier rode away from Buysse, Alavoine and the rest of the riders on the final climb of the Izoard. He won the stage and took over the race leader's position of the 1923 Tour de France.

The top three spots now were:

1. Henri Pelissier
2. Jean Alavoine @ 11 minutes 25 seconds
3. Ottavio Bottecchia @ 13 minutes 16 seconds

Francis stayed with his brother Henri Pelissier and helped him win the eleventh stage, which contained the Galibier and the Aravis mountains.  Bellinger was in second place, eight minutes behind them. Bottechia finished the stage almost fourteen minutes behind the Pelissier brothers in fifth place. There was little chance that Henri would not win the Tour after the time gains he made during this stage.

After the last mountain stage of the 1923 Tour de France the top three positions were:

1. Henri Pelissier
2. Ottavio Bottecchia @ 29 minutes 12 seconds
3. Romain Bellenger @ 1 hour 5 minutes 14 seconds

Romain Bellenger winning stage 13 in a sprint finish.

The remaining stages of the 1923 Tour de France were relatively flat and offered little chance of gaining time. Henri Pelliser went on to win the 1923 Tour de France. He saw the talent of his Italian teammate, Ottavio Bottecchia and said after the end of the Tour "Bottecchia will succeed me." Bottecchia did go on to win the 1924 Tour de France.
Ottavio Bottecchia leading the field during the fifteenth stage of the 1923 Tour de France.

The race organizer, Henri Desgrange, was happy to have a french rider win the 1923 Tour de France. Henri Pelissier was the first Frenchman to win the Tour since 1911. Sales of Desgrange's newspaper, L'Auto, went up tremendously after Pelissier's victory.

The top five final places in the overall general classification of the 1923 Tour de France were:

1. Henri Pelissier (Automoto): 222 hours 15 minutes 30 seconds
2. Ottavio Bottecchia (Automoto) @ 30 minutes 41 seconds
3. Romain Bellenger (Peugeot) @ 1 hour 4 minutes 43 seconds
4. Hector Tiberghien (Peugeot) @ 1 hour 29 minutes 16 seconds
5. Arsene Alancourt (Armor) @ 2 hours 6 minutes 40 seconds

Henri Pelissier, winner of the 1923 Tour de France.
Click here for more on Henri Pelissier.
Ottavio Bottecchia, second place finisher of the 1923 Tour de France.
Click here for more information on Ottavio Bottecchia.

Romain Bellenger, third place finisher of the 1923 Tour de France.
Click here for more information on Romain Bellenger.

Hector Tiberghien, fourth place finisher of the 1923 Tour de France.
Click here for more information on Hector Tiberghien.

Arsene Alancourt, fifth place finisher of the 1923 Tour de France.
Click here for more information on Arsene Alancourt.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Arsene Alancourt

Arsene Alancourt
 Arsene Alancourt (1892 - 1965) was a French professional bicycle racer. His professional racing career was during the years 1922 through 1928. His best  results were while racing in Tour de Frances. He is best remembered for his fifth place finish in the overall classification of the 1923 Tour de France and his win in stage thirteen of the 1924 Tour de France.
Arsene Alancourt  repairing a punctured tire, 1928