What's going on in the curly bar world? CyclingTips Digest showcases articles from our sister site, CyclingTips. In each installment, you might find endurance coverage, power-to-weight ratios, gravel bike tech and, of course, lycra.
The UCI just gave its highest award to this crackpot dictator
By: Iain Treloar
Last week was a big week for Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the president of Turkmenistan. The former dentist had a packed schedule of days full of adoration from his constituents, and rousing parades along the highways of the glitteringly white, eerily quiet capital city of Ashkabat.
These long days of celebration were Turkmen Carpet Day (yes, really) on Sunday, International Children’s Day on Monday, and World Bicycle Day on Wednesday. This last milestone was feted with typical autocratic flair: a massive parade of 7,400 unmasked and non-socially-distanced cyclists – because Turkmenistan claims no cases of coronavirus – to the unveiling of a massive monument titled ‘Bicycle’. It was a day to wave flags, and release thousands of balloons, and ride bikes, and sing songs. It was a day to honour Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Great Protector of Turkmenistan, the self-proclaimed motherland of Neutrality.
Now. Let me paint you two pictures of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty review: Suspension makes it better
By: James Huang
The new Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty is basically the same as the standard Topstone Carbon, but now with a suspension fork and a switch to 650b wheels and tires. The changes sound modest on paper but the difference you feel in the saddle is far greater than you might expect, and while that Lefty Oliver fork adds a fair bit of weight, it more than makes up for it in terms of capability and sheer fun. More importantly, it arguably makes for a more balanced and cohesive machine than the standard version.
If mixed terrain is more your style, the standard Topstone is still the better choice. But if your idea of gravel riding leans more toward the off-road end of the spectrum, this is the Topstone to get.
Modernize your outdated 15mm thru-axle bike with Forkmods
By: James Huang
It’s an all-too-common scenario in the era of rapidly changing bike “standards”: Adrian Hodgson was recently looking to replace the wheels on his 2016 Trek Domane 6.9 Disc, but he had few good options. Despite the bike only being a handful of years old, the 15 mm-diameter thru-axle format used on the existing fork and front wheel had already been replaced by the now-dominant 12 mm one, and most wheels were already only being offered in the latter size.
“All of the wheels I looked at were fine if you had 12 mm but the choice was very limited if you had a 15 mm fork,” he said. “I Googled for hours on a number of occasions and even made contact with Trek and DT Swiss, who made the bike and standard hub components in the first place, but neither they nor anybody else could sell me something. My choices were either, buy a lower-spec wheel (which I did), or buy a new bike with a 12 mm fork.”
Temperature doping: Are there optimal conditions for indoor training?
By: Jason Boynton
More riders than ever have turned to indoor training in recent months as the world continues to battle with COVID-19. While riding indoors offers much of what outdoor riding does, there are clear differences. The thrill of descending, the joy of being out in nature, the simple pleasure of going somewhere — none of this is possible indoors. And no matter how good your indoor fan is, the wind in your face inside can never really replicate the real thing.
As it turns out, the amount of available cooling while riding indoors might just affect your cycling performance. Which raises an interesting question: Can you adjust your indoor riding conditions to give you the edge in your next e-race?
Say you had access to several years worth of training data from a bunch of male and female pro road cyclists. And say you went through and meticulously analysed that training data to determine how the training of elite males and females differs. What would you expect to find?
Would you expect that men train harder than women do? Would you expect the opposite? And how would you define “harder” anyway?
As it turns out, a handful of Dutch researchers did have access to several years worth of training data, and did take the time to analyse that data in detail. The result is what they claim is the first “detailed quantification of the training demands of female pro cyclists”. The results are quite interesting.
Hands gripped my nose tightly while another firmly covered my mouth.
I madly clutched and clawed at my assailant, but the vice-like hold remained. In a panic my legs jolted out as I woke suddenly, gasping for air in quick shallow breaths, my heart pounding in my chest. My time at high altitude was taking its toll. I was in a state of constant exhaustion, however in a cruel twist, every time I started to nod off I would slip into a recurring nightmare about either drowning, or being suffocated. Just being at this altitude was taxing – but that was nothing on what we had planned.
New SR Suntour GVX fork revealed: Is suspension for gravel about to boom?
By: Iain Treloar
Gravel suspension is having a moment. With the release this week of Cannondale’s Topstone Carbon Lefty, along with existing offerings from Specialized, Fox, MRP and Lauf, there’s a growing range of options for riders who want a bit of cush for their mixed-surface riding.
Now, SR Suntour is joining the party with the announcement of a new telescoping gravel suspension fork, the GVX. And while the fork is in itself moderately interesting, there’s a much bigger story here: SR Suntour is one of the world’s biggest suspension suppliers for bike manufacturers, which suggests that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more suspension-equipped gravel bikes in the coming years.
The many bikes of Tom Pidcock: Road, CX, MTB and gravel
By: Dave Rome
Triple threats aren’t limited to the entertainment industry — they exist in the sporting world too. There are many examples of triple threats in cycling, those riders that seamlessly transition from one discipline to another while eating the specialist riders’ lunch in the process.
Mathieu Van der Poel (MVDP) and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot are perhaps the most obvious examples of the current-day cycling triple threat. But they aren’t alone: Peter Sagan is obviously in a similar realm, as is Marianne Vos, while Aussie mountain biker Jared Graves has stood on the podiums of BMX, enduro, downhill, 4x and even cross country events. But there’s another name that should be on this list of versatile elites, an up-and-comer who’s been following a similar trajectory to MVDP for a number of years: the young Briton, Tom Pidcock.
A balancing act, a wallaby, and a ride into the light
By: Iain Treloar
There’s a wedge of bush – a kind of island in suburbia – running over a freeway tunnel near my house, crowded with dense scrub and cut by two creeks. At the southern verge, a rough trail drops from the paved bike path and takes a serpentine route through the gum trees, over a patchwork of raised roots and clay the colour of dijon mustard.
At the bottom of the descent, four trails converge. One follows an old wire fence overhung by creepers back up to the bike path. One plunges sharply to a rocky creek crossing where the earthen banks are crumbling into the water. If you go straight, it’s rougher again, a series of tight dirt berms and ruts leading to a gully. Over the creek there is a utilitarian wooden bridge framed by tyre-shredded mud at either end.