Monday, 1 October 2012

Cycle Show 2012....

Girls usually don't get it. Us boys sometimes need a firm fix on the latest stuff out there. The new super-shiny stuff that we simply can't do without, the must-have accessories, the cool gadgets. And here was the chance to take a good look before whipping out the plastic at the local bike shop. We were visiting the Cycle Show at Birmingham's NEC.

Gary considers a Lotus for his collection
As we queued to get in it was noticeable that there was an abundance of middle-aged men falling for the lure of Lycra. Women were outnumbered by about 5 to 1 in my estimation - why is that? why is it that more men than women are so keen to emulate the new holy trinity of our nation: Queen Vic, Sir Brad and His Royal Hoyness? Is it just men who dream of  a Boardman aerodynamic AiR bike and a wind-tunnel tested helmet, the Pinarello Dogma or the Colagno Ferrari - then there's the Venge or the Condor Lotus - a lottery winner could leave this place poor.

The exploits of Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy may be the spur, the signal to pump up the tyres, oil the chain and pull on the padded shorts. But even before our pedalling superheroes set about acquiring their gold medals and winning the Tour de France, cycling has been growing exponentially in this country. No wonder it has reached the point when some are calling it the new national sport. And the evidence was here, on full display.

Paul trys on a new helmet
The excitement was considerable as the doors finally opened - there was a definite rush to get in and get round isles. Gary and I wandered round gazing with awe - there were some beautiful machines on display. Wonderful retro styled models, crafted from steel and leather and with gleaming chrome. Then there were the cutting edge, hi-tech, sophisticated models of the 21st century, sexy, sleek carbon, light as air and with electronic gearing. Then there were the fixed-wheel bikes, With a fixie, there's no coasting. When your bike's in motion, so are your legs. (Hardcore fixie riders don't even run brakes, they simply use their superhuman thighs to decelerate and eventually screech to a halt.) Single-speed bikes only have one gear too, but that gear is mounted to a free-wheel that'll let you coast -- an indispensable feature if you live near any hills. You'll be able to tell a fixed wheel rider, quads like bands of spring steel. We noticed a stand with a stationery bike offering a virtual ride against the clock with the route showing up on a large TV screen. It looked like a real film as a man from the crowd attempted to break the record on a 1 kilometre climb - it doesn't sound much but by the time he had finished he had a face that looked like a burst haemorrhoid - and he was nowhere near the record.

I tried the 'Wattbike' a revolutionary stationery training bike - ideal for the winter months. The helpful man pointed to the digital display, he was talking a strange language, pointing at ever moving ellipses and encouraging me to up my cadence - the bike felt good - real almost - but after about a minute I felt drained. We wandered round to watch the BMX display, tattooed teenagers with rasta hairdo's flying and spinning almost up to the roof - impressive.

For four hours we wandered around - I think we covered most of the exhibits - we came out talking of dream lists and the problems of storage - it was an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning

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