Posts filed under Uncategorized

Route 11: Tokyo, Japan - “Ura-Onekan Ride”

Route via Ichico - Ura-Onekan Ride - Tokyo, Japan

What do you call this ride? 

“Ura-Onekan Ride”
A lot of cyclists choose main “Onekan” road which has wide and reasonable hill and good for quick training. However, you could find real fun side of “Onekan” on the back street of main road. We call it Ura-Onekan, which means Onekan Backstreet. You could find many great photos at here with #uraonekan in Instagram. There is a square road mirror next to a rice field stands about 18km from the start and it’s called #ichicomirror. Find out more photos with #ichicomirror on Instagram!

The Start and goal place is a convenience store called Lawson, Japanese convenience chain stores. This Lawson is the meeting spot for many cyclists and also great place for meeting new cyclists. The start is located about 20km away from central Tokyo and easy to access with bike or trains too.
There is a super-delicious bakery caffe called “Cicoute Bakery” at the halfway point (34.5km from start).

Why this ride? What are the features? 

Ura-Onekan has completely different scenery from typical picture of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Here, you could find unpaved gravel roads, farm roads and village scenery. There are so many short and steep hills which remind us “De Ronde”. This unusual experiences much far from metropolis Tokyo always stimulate our curiosity.
We normally choose Ura-Onekan for first half of the ride and use main Onekan road for the return. Main Onekan are busy street but not too dangerous. We just need to remember we should keep riding left side of the road and one row peloton on busy road.
Mr.Adachi has first made a route including Ura-Onekan, the motif is the “De Ronde”, and opened to the public. Since then, people has enjoyed finding and customizing their own route including Ura-Onekan.

When is the best time to ride this route?

You could enjoy this route from early morning to the night, although you need more than 200lumen light at the night, through four seasons. If you would like to visit a “Cicoute Bakery”, it’s better to leave the start point 8~9 O’clock in the morning to arrive the caffe just after the opening time. Generally we don’t recommend to go outside and ride a bike during noon in August, which is a hottest month of the year. You won’t be able to catch up the opening time of the caffe but early morning or twilight ride is recommended during Summer.


What suggestions would you offer a visitor riding this route?

There are great dirt side roads in the first half of the route and you could dare to divert your way. You could ride everywhere in Uea-Onekan with road bikes if you have any off road bike skills. We’ll take you to the any side roads If you have a chance to ride with us.

 

Cicoute Bakery
3-9-5-101 Minami-osawa
Hachioji-shi
Tokyo
192-0364
Tel: 042-675-3585
OPEN 11:30–18:30, CLOSE Mon&Tue
http://cicoute-bakery.com

Lawson Inagi Tsurukawa Kaidou
432-1 Yanoguchi
Inagi-shi
Tokyo
Tel: 042-378-7020

Posted on April 2, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.

Route 11: Melbourne, Australia

 [Route 11 is a new series for Speedbloggen. We will be sharing great rides from around the world that you can do in a couple of hours, should you find yourself in the area, and grab a coffee or beer after. For Speedvagen owners there is a special bonus. All of the authors are fellow Speedvageneers and have generously allowed me to make email introductions. So, now you'll know where to ride and better yet, where to finish! You might even end up with a riding companion or two. Of course, you're also welcome to share a ride. Just email me, tom [at] vanillabicycles [dot] com for details.]

Route via Andy Rogers - Melbourne, Australia - Mt Pleasant Loop

Mt Pleasant2_Andy Rogers

Not very far out from the city, Mt Pleasant Road is a nice winding road that runs through the back streets of one of our outer North-Eastern suburbs. The suburb itself is quite populated but this particular road almost feels like a country road with minimal vehicle traffic. Very popular with cyclist as you could imagine. The ride out there and back takes in a few nice quieter back streets with a couple pinchy short climbs to warm up the legs and get the lungs heaving. There's also a little section on the way back that takes one of the main roads which lends itself to a good sprint fest to get some friendly competition vibes going on.

Start and end point are at a favourite café of mine; Short Round. Great coffee and a delicious menu. Good mix of some undulation but enough break to have a chat and nothing too full on so you can definitely enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

Route Details

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.51.12 AM
Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 10.51.12 AM
Posted on December 31, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Pinstripes, Cartoons, and Wild Beasts

The SPEEDVAGEN National Kit, our first product designed in Japan.

[Pre-Order Here, Ends Wednesday October 1st]

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"I love the Japanese aesthetic. Perfection melded with playfulness and a compulsion toward the iconic. I've been looking for a way to bring these aspects of Japan into what we do. My respect for the Japanese goes beyond the aesthetic though, into their ethic and culture of perfection. Honor through bringing something (everything?) to it's pinnacle. " -Sacha White

There’s something about Japan that’s always captivated us, and with half of the Speedvagen cross team based there, we have a strong connection to the country. The opportunities we’ve had to travel, race, and learn with the SV Japan crew and their extended community stand as some of our favorite memories on (and off) the bike. Our friendships and experiences there, combined with our love of the Japanese commitment to design, have had us looking for the chance to design a component of the Speedvagen universe in Japan in for some time. We wanted an opportunity to bring our team ethos to life, infused with a combination of the unique Japanese aesthetic and our own focused commitment to detail and craft. This limited edition Speedvagen kit is that project.

Representing a fresh, fun and distinctly Eastern take on the Speedvagen approach to bikes and style, the design comes from SV Team Member Masashi Ichifuru, a good friend and member of the extended Speedvagen family. Ichico, as he’s known, has worked for some of Japan’s most well known animation houses, and is a talented graphic designer and photographer, as well as a lover of espresso with an enviable collection of hand made bikes. We asked Ichico to create a kit that felt connected to the way we ride and race—to how we approach bringing together the ideas of speed, friendship, and riding tough, without losing sight of taking care of fellow racers—and laughing at ourselves when appropriate. (Which is fairly often, frankly.) We think he nailed it.

For the kit’s design, the SV shield gets re-imagined with a bold kanji character taking the place of the numeral 11. According to Ichico, “Unicorn, written in Japanese kanji character, is Ikkakujyu or ‘single horned beast.’” Ichico took the ‘beast’ part of the kanji character for the image, telling us it has the same meaning as the word "animal," but with a wilder nuance. In his words, “In the same way the number "11" in the shield represents taking it further, in order to “take it to 11” the wild in you must come out and take over.” We couldn’t agree more. The kit’s stripes come from Ichico’s desire to create a clean, simple look that strongly represents the vibes of the team. To symbolize the relationship between the two halves of the SPEEDVAGEN family, Japanese and American, he created a bold and playful graphic component across the pockets, mixing the SPEEDVAGEN letters with the Katakana Japanese alphabet. The result is simultaneously vivid and simple, deftly balancing elegant execution with a sense of pure fun.

Taken together, the kit is a physical manifestation of the things we love about being on our bikes together. As Ichico said in a conversation about this project, “I love it when people and things come together perfectly at the last minute, as if a great script writer plotted it.” Or, as they say on the A-Team: I love it when a plan comes together.

ABOUT THE KIT For the jersey and bibs themselves, we turned to our friends at Castelli. Long time supporters of our SV race team—not to mention cross-town neighbors—Castelli is committed to making superior race kit. Their blend of decades-old history and modern material development echoes our own desire to bring craft principles together with the best possible ingredients.

The jersey is Castelli’s Team jersey, which has a race cut and features a full-zip closure. This limited edition run will feature an SV badge zipper-pull, to complete the design.

The bibs are Castelli’s Team bibs. They feature a race cut, with a KISS 3 pad for a comfortable ride on the road or on the cross course.

As far as versatile, easy-to-love pieces go, a solid wind vest is pretty much at the top of the list. Castelli’s Wind Vest is made with Windshear™ fabric for an extremely lightweight piece, that’s  breathable enough to keep you comfortable while offering excellent protection from wind and light rain. It features two zippered side openings for easy access to jersey pockets, and packs down small so you can take it anywhere.

For something so simple, the arm warmer can certainly be a ride saver. Paired with a vest, they help extend your comfort zone by at least 10 degrees (not scientifically proven). Casetelli’s Lycra® Arm Warmers feature an anatomic cut for a close fit that won’t constrict muscles or motion. Made with a classic gel gripper that has some stretch, they stay put without grabbing.

Posted on September 22, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Cross Down Under

mwcc-cx-19jul14-3370 curtes
mwcc-cx-19jul14-3270 curtes
mwcc-cx-19jul14-3270 curtes

Down under the cross season is well under way, in fact the New South Wales state championships is coming up next Sunday! Speedvagen Family Racing team member and photographer, Jeff Curtes, splits his time between Sydney and Portland giving him the best of both worlds and an extra long cross season, May - January!!

Right now he's putting his head down and gritting his teeth preparing for a kick ass season in the states. And its working, he took home a top ten in the Elite A's at the Manly Warringah Cycling Club event last weekend. This is what he had to say;

"Fast and dry and super fun course.  Had a great start and rolled top 5 for first half lap and then dropped my chain in traffic at a slow spot…lost 5 guys and the chase was on!  Love that. "

Next week he'll make the 3-hour trip to Newcastle for the state championships. With a podium step in his sites for the masters A race we know Jeff, and the rest of the team, is going to be in top form this season.

It's tough to get shots of Jeff racing because he's usually the one taking the photos. Many thanks for Joshua Nicholson at Riding Focus for these shots of our man in Australia taking it to 11!

mwcc-cx-19jul14-3099 curtes
mwcc-cx-19jul14-3099 curtes
Posted on July 24, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Speedvageneers: Mountains

SV MT Japan

Cyclists love mountains. They're beautiful, they're painful. We seek them out and accept the challenges they throw down in front of us. We conquer them, over and again, each time they rise up and lash out again. Still there is no more peaceful feeling than cruising the tree lines.

SV MT Norway
SV MT Norway

We've had a number of great shots pop up on Instagram recently from around the globe and I wanted to share a few of them here. Share yours with us #speedvagen

Svolvaer, Norway via @rolfenlorentzen

SV MT Norway2
SV MT Norway2

Stord, Norway via @speedvagenist

SV MT Utah
SV MT Utah

The Wasatch in Utah via @utehopkins

SV MT Diablo
SV MT Diablo

Mt. Diablo in California via @msb2tg

SV MT McKenzie2
SV MT McKenzie2

McKenzie Pass, Oregon

SV MT Japan
SV MT Japan

Nobeyama, Japan via @ybs_nobeyama

SV MT Italy2
SV MT Italy2

Near Sauris, Italy via @jobunt

SV MT Koppenberg
SV MT Koppenberg

The Koppenberg via @passioniciclismo

MarkBayer Mt
MarkBayer Mt

@markbayer somewhere beautiful.

Jobunt Dolomites
Jobunt Dolomites

@jobunt in the Dolomites, Italy.

TinaB Mt Bachelor
TinaB Mt Bachelor

@earthquaker4 taking in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.

Posted on July 10, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Concerning Tiny Bikes: Part 1

[Note: I'm reposting this from a couple years ago because it's just a great read for anyone that thinks they'll never have a bike that fits. Sam now has two Speedvagen, road and cross, and crushes on both!] People think I'm pretty hard.  Super tough and gritty and all that.  It's easy to see why, especially if I have some stubble, which I totally do a lot of the time.  In fact, if a stranger had to describe my whole vibe - my thing, if you will - I'm almost positive that the word they'd use would be "street."  Hell, if I had a half-link for every time somebody mistook me for Omar Little from The Wire, I'd probably be able to make one of those weird half-link chains by now.

I have a secret, though, and that secret is that I am...  not that hard.  Not always, anyway.  It's a tough pill to swallow, I know, but it's true.  Take, for instance, the fact that instead of stuffing my backpack full of my warmest kit in preparation for a cold, wet, snowy, totally tough-guy edition of the beloved Banana Belt series, I am still in my underpants, sitting in a recliner chair, wrapped up in a fleece blanket with snowflakes all over it, thinking about what kind of snacks I might want to eat today.

Here's the thing though:  I'm a little dude, and little dudes just aren't meant for the cold.  Science says so, even; Bergmann's rule, and all that.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, better learn yerself.  So that's my excuse, and with the whole field of heat transfer on my side, I think it's a good enough one for me to not forfeit my super-hard status by sipping hot chocolate and nibbling on pastries instead of racing.

Anyway, that long intro was really just a way for me to work in the fact that I am a little dude.  Did you get that out of it?  I hope so.  And the reason I wanted to set course for the topic of my size on Speedbloggen, is that I wanted to talk a little about the issues and concerns of finding frames for people shaped like me.  Let's do that, in list form.

1)  Top tubes are too long.  It's sometimes tough on a stock frame to even find top tubes as short as 515mm, and that's not even all that short.  If you think 515mm is short, you don't know from short, suckah.

2)  Seat tube angles are too steep.  I may be small, but I'm not proportioned weird or anything, so the oh-so-common 75+ degree seat tube angles put me way too far over the bottom bracket unless I use 25mm+ setback seatposts, and slam my saddle all the way back.  Some stock frames in the smallest size can make it almost impossible to even get 50mm of saddle setback.  And jacking up the seat tube angle just puts that already-too-long top tube even farther out in front of me.

3)  Handling is compromised.  Probably in an effort to avoid toe overlap - a genuine concern for many folks, but not a big deal on a race bike, in my opinion - it's really normal to see the smallest size of stock frames have really slack head tube angles.  That by itself isn't necessarily a problem, but when a company just uses one fork with one offset across its whole size range, you get little (and big) bikes that don't handle well.  I worry that my tiny brothers and tiny sisters that have never had a custom bike, or at least a properly designed stock race bike, don't even know how lovely a bike can steer.

4)  Please don't tell me I need 650c wheels.  It's a normal thing for folks with the luxury of fitting on mid-sized bikes to say that people under "x" number of inches tall should just be riding on smaller wheels.  I suppose there's probably some merit to that, and I don't think a different wheel size should be out of the question, but those people need to keep in mind that I buy and borrow from, sell and lend to people who ride 700c wheels pretty much exclusively.  If us little folks don't ride on 700c wheels, we can kiss goodbye our chances of getting a usable wheel from the wheel car, or finding sweet deals on tires.  And the gearing consideration with a different wheel size is a whole 'nuther can of worms entirely.

So you take all those things and add 'em up, and it can be a real hassle to get a satisfactory bike.

On my first real race bike, a Bianchi road something-or-other in the smallest size they offered, to get my fit into the comfort zone, I ended up having to use a 65mm stem.  I don't know how many of you out there have spent time on a road bike with a stem that short, especially those of you who have also ridden with longer stems for comparison, but I can tell you it's not super ideal.  With your hands that close to being in plane with the steering axis, really little inputs translate into bigger changes in the direction of the front wheel, and you end up with a more nervous feeling ride.

Then on my first cx bike, an older XXXX (names have been removed to protect people's feelings), to avoid toe overap (I'm assuming), the designers chopped the head tube angle out to 69.5 or 70 degrees, if I recall correctly, without pairing the frame with a different fork than the other sizes, which all had much steeper angles.  45mm fork offset on a 70 degree head tube angle does not a wonderfully handling bicycle make.  The resulting trail value ("trail" being a topic worthy of a whole post itself) you get from a setup like that is gigantic; well above the range one would consider "neutral."  It was a revelation when I tried a different bike and realized that cyclocross bikes didn't have to steer like that;  ultra slow, and always feeling kind of floppy and sad.

I can also recall trying to help my mom (tiny as well) pick out a cyclocross bike for herself a few years back, and having a hell of a time explaining to her why the 47cm Redline Conquest actually fit bigger than the 49cm.  See, the top tube on the 47 was something like 5mm shorter, but the seat tube angle was a half or a whole degree steeper, which pushed the front of the bike out and the result was a 47cm frame with a longer reach than the 49cm, if only by a few mm.  It felt like they were trying to trick us.  You see the smaller number on the frame sticker, and if you don't draw it all out, you'd never know that the frame isn't really any smaller!

It seems pretty bleak for those of us down in <48cm land, but it doesn't have to be.  By learning myself a bit on geometry stuff and working with awesome, knowledgeable builders, I've ended up with 3 custom race bikes now that are all just amazing, and I really think my Speedvagen is going to be even better still, on account of some new-to-me design philosophy/ideas we landed on during my fitting.  Gone are the days of mini stems, wonky front ends, insulting geometry charts, and countless fit compromises.  Custom bikes solve real problems for real little bike racers, for reals.  For reals.

And when it comes to tiny custom bikes, Sacha's got his shit together some solid ideas (and a much cleaner mouth than I). For Tiny Bikes: Part 2, I'm planning on asking him some more specific questions regarding little frame geometry (and maybe some medium and big frame geometry too), and digging a bit deeper into the geometry of my own custom bikes that makes me love them.  It's a fascinating topic, I think, and if any of y'all readers think so too, we'd love to get some questions from you in the comments!  Oh indeed.

XOXO,

The Tiniest Sprinter

Posted on July 3, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

What’s up with the 2014 Surprise Me?!

Everything in this shop is an evolution. New ideas that build on little, or big things which have been successful in the past. Here, Sacha gives some insight into the design and process involved in creating the 2014 Speedvagen Surprise Me! scheme.

About a year and a half ago (late summer 2012) I took a photo of a team bike in the process of being painted. The top tube was masked with the name Curtes (for team member Jeff Curtes) with masking for the US flag next to it. The frame and the masking had been sprayed with metallic gold paint. The next step was to remove the mask and reveal the color below it. What I got a glimpse of in that photo though, was this 3D effect that showed the outline of the graphics as a result of shadows cast. This was new, subtle, textural, and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

Since then, we’ve done a bunch of samples trying to replicate that look, but in different colors and also with a clear coat over the top for protection. While the 3D effect added some dimension it was very subtle and I thought we might be able to layer some color(s) and then sand off the top layers to various depths and reveal hits of the different colors underneath. The test samples ended up being a lot more abstract and organic looking than I had imagined, but I liked it. It was fresh. Admittedly, I can probably credit some of the inspiration for this look to my ’71 Volvo 142 that needs a new paint job, but looks like a hotrod where the top coat has been worn to primer. Anyhow, I knew that this was not just the look for the next round of SM's, but that this raw graphic style would make it's way into much of what I do from here on out.

Volvo surf

Taking an existing paint scheme or technique and freaking it out a bit has often yielded good work. The newest of our standard paint schemes is Horizon. It isn’t graphics heavy, but it is bold and and stripe-y and colorful, like a race bike ought to be and the way the three colors stack up offers a ton of cool combinations.

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This year's Surprise Me! paint job is a culmination of all of the above. We've used different tones of our signature sky blue on top and bottom, as a classic and beautiful base. From there we used a paint worn pattern of Speedvagen shields on the center stripe and distressed other graphics as well. It is this graphics treatment that makes the impact.

photo (19)
photo 5

Each SM! in this run is different; something that we’ve never done before. On each bike the underlying colors of the center stripe are going to be unique to that bike. And the graphics pattern, being that they're all hand laid by humans, are one-of-a-kind, too.

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photo 1
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Posted on June 26, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Everesting Report via Andy Rogers & Caz Whitehead

Everest-91

9022m. 283kms. 15h 27m. 52 repeats.

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Everest-16

We awoke at 1:00am to a cold and foggy morning. After a good night's sleep I was nervous but ready to tackle what lay ahead of me. A short drive out to Yarra Glen and I was ready to start my Everesting attempt with nothing else standing between me and the biggest ride I've ever ventured on. 3:00am, I started my first ascent. Freezing cold with only the beam of my light and the strong glow of an almost full moon to guide my way. Pedal stroke after pedal stroke I became more familiar with the road, trying to keep my mind focused on the now-and-then and away from the daunting task of what was still to come. After 3-hours and 15 repeats riding alone in the dark, the sun finally started to peak its rays across the surrounding mountains. The warmth raising my body temperature and my spirits. I'd already experienced my first low point with my body convinced it should be asleep and one block of 5 reps being significantly harder than the others so the sun was a welcome guest.

At 3000m I was joined by my first familiar face. Plenty more would come and go over the next 11-hours but all would spur me on and keep me from talking myself out of finishing. 4400m. Never would I have thought a cup of tea would be what would pull me off the brink of failure. My body aching and my mind tired, I sat in the back of our beat-up 90s hire car, feeling the warmth of a hot cup of tea flow through my body, all the way to my already beaten toes bringing with it a wave of invigoration.

Everest-45

I found out the hard way that the 'Death Zone' isn't called that just to be intimidating. It definitely lives up to its name. From here (7000m) to 8500m the going was tough and slow. 13-hours of riding and my body had had enough. No more did it want to climb. The up and down, up and down and the steady stream of traffic flying past me had taken its toll on my mind and all I wanted to do was stop. But how could I. The sun was long behind the enveloping silhouettes of the mountains. The familiar faces that had been keeping me company had thinned to three. But I had to keep going. 5 repeats - just keep going. 4 repeats - just keep going. 3 repeats - just keep going. 2 repeats - just keep going. Just once more. I had to talk myself through the last 500m. But it worked. After 18 long hours I reached the peak. I took a 'what-if', grabbed it by the horns and conquered it and it was probably the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished.

I don't know if I were to do this again if I'd do it differently. To be honest, I don't think I could do it again. The climb I chose worked for me. 2.7kms. 6.3% avg. 173.5m per rep. Some of you asked me what gearing I used. What training I did. What food did I eat. These things definitely played an important roll but I think it's important you're doing whatever you can to be as comfortable as possible - physically and mentally. The gearing I used was the same gearing I use pretty much every ride. Standard 53/39 crankset and an 11-28t 11spd cassette. This is what I'm used to and having a familiar ratio definitely made me feel comfortable. If the gradient were any steeper I definitely would have considered a compact but everybody's preferences will change.

Clothing was just layers. The Vanilla Workshop was kind enough to kit me out in one of their fantastic Castelli team kits. I also went into it with a base layer, arm warmers, long-sleeved jerseys and a jacket. With a starting temp of 0 degrees celcius, I was wearing a lot but just gradually removed layers as needed. As long as the kit is comfortable and you have a few layers you'll be fine. I had a spare set of shoes and knicks just in case I needed the mental kick of fresh clothing but didn't need to utelise it in the end - fresh chamois cream was a Godsend though. In terms of food/hydration, I made sure I was eating constantly. I made an effort of eating proper food all day. I had bars and energy balls in my pockets for during the reps but had jam sandwiches and bananas in the car for breaks, and salad sandwiches twice for a larger meal. I had one gel with 7 repeats to go. Eating was important. When you're riding for 15 hours you can't afford to get a hunger flat so you just need to eat constantly. The same goes for drinking. One bidon of water, one bidon of electrolytes. Drink often. Eat often.

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If I could give one piece of advice it would be don't overthink it. You'll psych yourself out. Sure, it's an immensely daunting task, but it's just riding your bike. I broke it up into blocks of 5 repeats. After each block, I would have a break at the car, have a stretch, something to eat and start the next block. Not only did it mean I was getting off the bike frequently and giving my body a break, it meant I had smaller targets in my mind rather than thinking about how many more of the 52 repeats I had left to do. I wouldn't have been able to do it if I was thinking of that all day. In terms of training, I didn't really do anything specific. I was riding a lot and spending quite a few hours a week on the bike but that's all I did. I know a few people who did 4400m rep rides in preparation which I'm sure helped but I personally believe it comes down to time on the bike in general. Make sure you're riding your bike frequently and you'll be okay.

The other big piece of advise I can offer is support. I was lucky enough that my climb was relatively close the the city so I had people coming out and doing repeats with me most of the day. It helped keep me distracted. It helped keep me smiling. It's amazing what having someone tapping away at a climb next to you can do. But finally, pick a climb that works for you. If you're good at short and sharp, pick something short and sharp, but if you prefer long and gradual, pick long and gradual. I know this sounds obvious but people get caught up in finding a 'perfect ratio' of distance x elevation gain. There's no point if an 8% gradient doesn't work for you.

Everest-91
I want to say a massive thank you to The Vanilla Workshop and Castelli for supplying me with a kit and being a great support during the whole endeavor. Another huge thank you needs to go to all of those people who supported me on social media letting me know they were watching and cheering me on and especially those who came out and rode with me. I honestly couldn't have done it without them. But the biggest thank you needs to go to Caz, who was there with me the entire day, making sure I was fed and hydrated, snapping some amazing photos and generally keeping my spirits up. She is amazing.

To those of you whom I've inspired, just go and give it a shot. There's no point sitting at home tossing and turning around in your mind whether you can do it or not, you just need to go try and maybe you'll be surprised by what you're capable of; I know I was.

Cheers!

Andy

Posted on June 17, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

Everesting

Andy Rogers 1

[Andy Rogers is a photographer and cyclist living in Melbourne, Australia. He joined the Speedvagen family last year and has been making us proud ever since. Here, he makes his debut on Speedbloggen. You can follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @FameAndSpear] Processed with VSCOcam with g1 preset

Everest. The name alone inspires excitement and fear into most, but  into a few it's a Siren's song. Looming 8848m (29092ft) above sea level, Everest stands as the highest point on our planet. Many people have endeavoured to scale to the summit and a very committed few have accomplished this mammoth task. Pushing the limits of the human body to the extreme, attempting to climb to the summit of Mt Everest is seen to be one of the most physically and mentally demanding things we as humans can attest to accomplish. 

Everest. Something about the fear, the inspiration, the mythology surrounding this mountain caught the attention of Andy Van Bergen, one of the faces behind a Melbourne cycling 'cult', Hells500. The Hells500 bunch have become well known in Melbourne, and around Australia, for their love of climbing mountains and their tendency to take things to the next level - and then some. Each year Andy will devise what he refers to as 'The Hells500 Epic'. Varying year-to-year, the Epic is a challenge curated to test to limits of cyclists in the hope of proving to themselves what they can accomplish on a bike and as a reward, be honoured by the 'grey stripe', a variant of the Hells500 jersey reserved exclusively for those with the personal strength to complete an Epic.Andy took things to a whole new level earlier this year when he announced what would be the next Epic; Everesting.
The premise; in a single ride, one must complete repeats of the same climb until they have climbed the equivalent of Everest. 8848 vertical meters. But only the first to complete a particular climb would go down in the Hall of Fame. Everesting isn't about who did it second or third or seventeeth. "History only remembers firsts." With a day planned, ambitious cyclists Australia-wide began putting their names down on climbs hoping to again, prove to themselves what they were capable of. The Everesting day was a massive success with 65 riders heading out to tackle their own chosen Everest. Due to the success of the initial day, Andy made Everesting a permanent addition. Since February 27th, 70 completed Everest rides have been logged. Most in Australia but spanning the world with New Zealand, England, The USA, Norway and most recently Russia having their own inductees.

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I myself have been tossing the idea around in my head. Which climb would I do? Long and low, or short and high? How would my body cope? Could I even do this? A few weeks ago I decided there was no point spending my time feverishly running over these questions in my head because I would never find the answer. The only way to know for sure, was to try. So on the 11th of June I will attempt to Everest my chosen climb. Cat 3. 2.7kms. Avg. gradient of 6%. 181m gain. With estimations, to reach my goal of 8848m, (I will climb ~9000m just to be safe) I will require 49 repeats. 266kms. An estimated riding time of ~12 hours. This will be longest ride I've ever attempted and the longest time I'll have ever spent on my bike. Previously my largest and most challenging ride was in December of last year where we rode Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo in the Victorian Alps. This was 8 hours of riding time, 190kms and 3300 vertical metres. To say I'm nervous is an understatement. Not only will I be facing a serious physical challenge, I feel the bigger battle will be the one I have with my mind; trying to keep myself distracted from the numbers that will try and find their way into my head.
If I complete this daunting task, I will be the youngest person worldwide to Everest (21) and, as far as I'm aware, the first of the Speedvagen family. Whether or not I succeed is yet to be seen but hopefully my tale will stand to inspire the rest of our wonderful Speedvagen family to go out and push themselves to places they never thought they could take themselves.Check back for a write-up on my ride as well as some photos. Let's see how this all turns out.

Take it to 11!

Posted on June 9, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Speedvagen Integrated Cross Stem

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2014 Speedvagen Integrated Cross Stem

A few years ago, while we were working on a batch of Speedvagen 'cross machines, we noticed how clunky the traditional cable hanger system was. It seemed like such an afterthought, never really meant to be a part of the bike, just this sort of booger hanging off the nose of an otherwise really slick racing machine. I guess that next step was kind of like wiping the nose of the traditional cross bike. In that moment we think 'cross bikes grew up a bit. Maybe now they're just anxious teenagers with too much energy. A little like the U.S. 'cross scene these days, making a move to be a more well recognized and legitimate as a sport instead of a hobby.

That year we started talking to our old friends at ENVE about what we could do to clean up the typical 'cross cockpit. They worked with us over the next year to design, develop and test our new stem prototype. What we got was a lighter, smoother stem reinforced where it matters and tested for integrity.

Testing in-house is one thing, riding it, hard, that's another. We put the stems on our team bikes for a couple of seasons and made more refinements based on our teammates feedback. Their experience was that it essentially eliminates front-end chatter while braking. The additional benefits that came with smoother cable routing, lighter braking action and 51g weight savings rounded out an improved rider experience.

In 2011 we offered the stems as an upgrade on our Speedvagen cross machines and most of our customers opted for them. We started to think that this could be a stand alone component.

Last year we did a couple of custom stems for our friends Ty and John. Ty got a Mudfoot scheme and John, the metal head that he is, went for black-on-black. All reports have been full on stokage!

This is the first time that a Speedvagen component is being offered separate from the frameset and we’re stoked to offer something that we feel brings real value to all 'cross racers.

If you would like to know more about our stems you can check them out here.

Posted on June 5, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.