Whilst committed fashion slaves tnight now eschew spray-on cycle shorts. the Tour de France - which finished on 23 July — has given even recreational cyclists a convenient excuse to pull on their team tops. squeeze into their lycra shorts. adjust their caps and tighten their anatomically designed mitts.
In the battle to win space on domestic roads. cycle fashions and fluorescence contribute to achieving the necessary psychological edge over car drivers too lazy to look into their mirrors.
In the battle to win cycle race competitions such as the Tours of France. Italy. Spain and Switzerland. plus GB‘s very own Kellogg's 'I‘our. sponsorship and its evil accomplice. advertising. has already reached epic proportions with no chance of remission.
('onservative estimates suggest that it costs something in the region of £2 million to operate a team — with its 15 or so riders. managers. mechanics and masseurs — fora season. and with the exception of teams such as BI I. cycle manufacturers can hardly compete at this level.
Raleigh have re—entered European competition in association with the supermarket chain. Systeme ‘U'. and even Peugeot have relinquished independence by hitching themselves with who specialise in children‘s clothing. Last year's 'I‘our de France winner. Pedro Delgado. rides for a team principally sponsored by an Aluminium Foil manufacturer (Reynolds); and Englishman. Sean Yeats. rides fora team whose sponsor. a US convenience store chain. advertises its opening times (7-Eleven): Glaswegian. Robert Miller. winner ofthe King ofthe Mountains in 1984. has returned to Peugeot after brief spells with hi-fi and TV people.
Panasonic. and Fagor. who make domestic appliances.
Unable to qualify or win a wild card entry for this year‘s Tour de France. Britain's Ever Ready outfit will be desperate to find a place on the Kellogg’s Tour. which kicks off in Dundee on August 29. Whereas some continental sponsors might choose to limit their involvement for this event. it would be commercially foolish not to flash Ever Ready's team strip in front of a home crowd.
When operating a professional cycling team demands a financial input that would make your common or garden multinational baulk. it is not surprising that the racing bikes
themselves incorporate any technological development which might win a few inches over the competition. While an outlay of£500 will get you a very respectable racer indeed — for example. a Peugeot Ultima 653 or a I Ioldsworth Professional — the machine ofyour dreams might cost just a shade more. Composite materials. such as carbon woven with kcvlar and boron. are now standard in the construction of the best frames. A carbon composite frame — such as the Kestrel 4000. which you can pick up for £1250— is lighter and stronger than any steel alloy substitute. In
order to reduce energy being dissipated through lateral movement in the bike. you will be looking for a frame which is stiff. moulded in the one unit (jointed tubes are a
source of weakness) and acrodynamically-shaped.
Disc wheels will also contribute to the aerodynamic quality of the bike. Spoked wheels create extra air turbulence. though they tend to be lighter and easier to steer than the discs. Therefore. the recommendation is at least to put a disc on the back of the bike for time trials and ﬂat terrain. Should weather conditions be really calm.
Mike Wilson follows in the tracks of cycling sponsorship and puts together his ideal mac _ ;
Thanks to Bed Holmyard and Richard Peploe it ‘. j i i atthe Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op. =
Bike: Peugeot Ultima 653, £559.95.
top: Castelli Tour de France, polka dot. Kin f 6 oi the Mountains. £27.95 a . Shorts: Assos H Shorts. synthetic . 2/ \
Helmet: Bell Guest. £31.95. / Mitts: Tour de France.
polka dot. £7.95. Shades: Oakley Iridium Blades, £69.95.
All available at
Edinburgh Bicycle , Co-op. 5/6 ’ tits-"ar- ’ ' Alvanley Terrace. 10;, i
then you can risk using a disc for the front as well. A single ‘fluid dynamic disc”. by (‘ampagnolo will add about £1300 to your bill. and a couple of Dura Ace Sprint spoked wheels can be found for about £135 each.
When it comes to pedals. no self-respecting professional will be wearing anything but clipless ones. Initially developed by Look. manufacturers ofski bindings. they afford a greater degree of safety when there is a need to separate yourself from the bike. say when falling to the ground. Assuming that last year’s 'I'our de France winner. Pedro Delgado. is worth copying in this respect. then a pair of'I'ime Magnesium pedals for a £100 will probably suffice.
Back to aerodynamics. and the next consideration is the handlebars Following (ireg LeMond’s remarkable time trial performance in the final stage ofthis year‘s 'I‘our de France — where he overcame a 50sec deficit to win the overall title by Ssec - the use of "I‘riathlon bars' might become (ft’ rigeur for those races where individuals set out on their own and cycle against the clock. In order to slim the shape of the rider. and relax the upper body. these new bars consist of conventional racing bars with a forward extension so that the rider can assume a tuck position. just like the downhill skier. Unfortunately. many competitions prohibit their use because braking is not so easy and the aerobars have the capacity to impale other riders. A set of Scott bars will put you back about £45.
Moving onto gears. chainsets. brakes and sundry other items. a cool £500 will get you a Dura Ace 8 (iroupset. produced by the company Shimano.
Essential accompaniments to your £4000 fantasy. should include a pair of Oakley shades (to protect your eyes from the wind. ultra-violet rays and the inevitable collection of rubbish which is expelled by a large group of riders) and a tear-shaped smooth helmet.
()fcourse. no amount of flash gear will compensate for general lack of fitness. Bearing in mind that there is obviously a law ofdiminishing returns to any expenditure. the only way to keep up with the Delgados. Da Silvas. Fignons and Millers ofthis world is to include in your training schedule a good 400-odd miles of cycling a week.
Free Bike Hire tor a week. See back page.
58 The List 28 July — 10 August 1989