Where to Watch the 2018 Tour de France?

Reaction to the announcement of the 2018 Tour de France route has generally been positive. With both a cobbled and a gravelled section, Alpe d’Huez, the Tourmalet, a super short 65km mountain stage in the Pyrenees and a lumpy time trial on the penultimate day, it’s an inventive and exciting parcours.

With so many iconic stages that refer back to the Tour’s heritage, the question is, where’s the best place to head to if you want to watch the riders in the flesh? Is it the Vendee and the beautiful west coast, the cobbles on the road to Roubaix? Or should you head to head to the Alps or Pyrenees?

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Captain Smith, Cycling Artist and Philosopher

Sam Smith doesn’t really fit the stereotype of a bike riding artist, illustrator and philosopher. Six foot three inches tall, large framed and with closely cropped hair he’d probably look more at home on a rugby pitch than perched on the saddle of a skinny road bike.

But his talent as an artist is unquestionable. His recent watercolours depicting scenes from the Vuelta a Espana were immensely popular and sold out quickly after he released them for sale at the end of September. He has an uncanny ability to, not only capture the physical features of the riders, but is able to distil the very essence of the emotion and drama of the day, including details of crazy fans on the side of the road and boldly splashing swathes of paint for effect.

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Le Ride: Movie Retracing the 1928 Tour de France in UK Cinemas

"I don’t think you know what you’re letting yourself in for and, if you did, you wouldn’t do it."

That was the advice Phil Keoghan got when he first proposed recreating the 1928 Tour de France route and schedule on vintage bikes. His film, Le Ride, documents the madcap journey he undertook with his riding partner Ben Cornell in 2013. It’s now being distributed across the UK by Demand Film this November.

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Amateur Dopers: “All this for two saucissons and three packets of chips”

This weekend an amateur, third Category, 43 year old bike rider was apprehended by a local gendarme in Dordogne, South West France. He was found to be competing in a junior race with a 250 watt Vivax motor in the seat tube of his bike that drives the bottom bracket.

Suspicions about the rider had meant that he had been tracked for some time because his “ability to climb hills was striking.”

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A Tribute to Peter Sagan in Words, Pictures and Videos

When the Peloton raced into the small Abruzzo town of Chieti in March of 2012 of that year’s edition of the Tirreno Adriatico, the spectators were surprised that it wasn’t their favoured son, Vincenzo Nibali who crossed the line first. It was, in fact, an impudent youngster of the same Liquigas team that passed his team leader in the closing stages. It was Peter Sagan, at only 22 years old, who blew the field apart as he gave an awesome display of power and speed, climbing hard on the rise to the finish, and taking the top podium spot.

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Il Lombardia 2017: the Romantic Classic

The world championships may be over but, fear not, there’s still a massive race still to be fought for and won. Il Lombardia, the romantic classic will see a star studded cast of climbers and puncheurs battle it out on Saturday 7th October.

It’s one of monuments, the five most important one-day races of the year, along with Milan - San Remo, The Tour of Flanders, Paris -Roubaix and Liege - Baston - Liege. It may not be the oldest of the Monuments, but it’s certainly the most romantic, nicknamed “la classica delle foglie morte” or translated to the slightly more prosaic, “ride of the falling leaves.”

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Where and How to Use Bikeshare Schemes in UK

Bike share schemes may not be at the 2 million mark that China can boast, but we’re seeing more UK towns and cities embrace this easy, cheap and environmentally friendly way of getting around. London started the trend with its ‘Boris Bikes’ but our provinces are catching up fast. Here’s a round up of where in the UK you can hire a bike.


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Thoughts on Mark Beaumont's Circumnavigation

As Mark Beaumont comes to the end of his extraordinary round the world cycle, one day ahead of schedule today, I’m caught in two minds. On the one hand you can only feel admiration for such an epic feat of endurance cycling. He’s covered 18,000 miles, riding 16 hours a day since the beginning of July. He met his target of covering 240 miles a day and has endured physical and mental exhaustion to get there.

On the other hand one’s left with a feeling of, well…what’s the point?

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What's the Ideal Height for a Professional Cyclist?

One of the most popular riders to emerge from the peloton this season has been the Irishman Conor Dunne who races for Aquablue. At 2.04m tall he absolutely towers over many of his fellow riders. Conor, nicknamed ‘El Alto’, was the winner of this year’s Lanterne Rouge at the Vuelta Espana, the award given to the last placed finisher of the race.

We wondered if height can ever be an advantage to a cyclist in the same way that it can be beneficial in other sports. Clearly, the important figure is the power to weight ratio a rider can produce. But is there an ideal height for cyclists?

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Froome Conquers Vuelta but not the British Public

As Chris Froome secured his fifth Grand Tour victory yesterday, and only the third man in cycling history to achieve the Tour/Vuelta double in the same year, he could be forgiven for looking on enviously at his rival, Alberto Contador. The Spaniard riding his last race may not have even made the podium but the Spanish public’s love and adoration for him could not be denied.

It seems that whatever Froome manages to do, and his success to date has been astounding even compared to cycling greats like Merckx, Hinault and Anquetil, the British press and public remain underwhelmed. What should have been front page news was relegated to today’s Sports pages, and even then, was deemed by many editors to fall below the importance of the news that Crystal Palace have sacked their manager.

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From 7 Hills to 7 Passes, the Cycling Adventure of a Lifetime

With the increasing popularity of bikepacking there are quite a few people who have succeeded in crossing the entire planet by bike. At the moment Mark Beaumont is on track to beat the world record by circumnavigating it in 80 days. He does, of course, have the benefit of a back up vehicle and a team to support him.

But most round the worlders aren’t record breakers – they want to do it unsupported and their motivation is to view the planet from the best position you could possibly get – from the saddle. Ride Velo were inspired when we came across Becycling.net a website set up by a couple of Italians called Daniele and Simona who are pedalling across the world in support of World Bicycle Relief which provides bikes for students, health workers and private enterprises in inaccessible parts of the world.

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Luciano Berruti: a Tribute to the Face of L'Eroica

On August 13th of this year, Luciano Berruti, died at the age of 73, doing what he enjoyed most in life – riding his bike. With his handlebar moustache, sparkling eyes, and cheeky grin, he will be best remembered as the ‘face’ of Eroica, the vintage cycling festival that began in Gaiole in Chianti but has now spread to all four corners of the globe, from Uruguay to Japan.

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The Torino-Nice Rally: a Test for Man and Machine

The last few years have seen increasing popularity of unsupported ultra cycling or bikepacking races like the Transcontinental or Japanese Odyssey. The concept is that competitors can choose their own route as long as they hit certain checkpoints. The Transcontinental has grown from a small event with only 30 competitors, to 350 riders taking part this year, racing 4,000km across Europe in just seven to ten days.

If the idea appeals to you but you’re a bit nervous of tackling several thousand kilometres in a limited timeframe, not to mention competing against some of the best ultra cycling stars around, like Emily Chappell, there is another option.

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Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel: a Romantic and Poetic Homage to one of Cycling's Greats

Cycling biographies can, let’s face it, be a bit of a bore sometimes. More often than not they’re an extended catalogue of a rider’s palmares and it can be difficult to get under the character’s skin. I’ve dutifully ploughed my way through many of those as I try to bone up on my cycling history, but it’s rare that you get an essence of the romance and poetry of bike racing.

Well, romantic and poetic are exactly the adjectives that spring to mind with this compact and concise book about Jacques Anquetil, the controversial cycling star of the 60s, told through the eyes of the novelist and cycling fan Paul Fournel.

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Brighton to Exeter: a Bikepacker's Tale

It was the first big climb of the day. Earlier on we’d spotted it on the map of Dorset – a chevron marking a particularly steep section. As the road began to rise, a 17% road sign announced the gradient we were going to have to attempt. I looked up ahead to what really seemed like a wall and wondered if I’d be able to get up this one. It would have been tough on my light skittish road bike, but here I was loaded down with 30 kilos on the back of my touring bike.

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A Rookie's Guide to Bike Packing

Ok, we're not claiming to be experts here or anything - we've not gone head to head with Mark Beaumont round the world or just returned from a 5 year stint alongside Super Cycling Man or anything. No. We just did our first bike packing adventure along the south coast of England, which is pretty tame, I admit. But we did learn a few things along the way, useful tips for genteel explorers cycling a few hundred miles to visit family and camping along the way, sort of thing.

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Bye-bye Bertie

So farewell Bertie. After 14 years as a professional Alberto Contador has decided to bow out of bike racing. We can’t wait to see him at the Vuelta for his final race where it won’t just be the Spanish fans cheering him on. An outright GC win looks unlikely but he’ll be a good bet for a stage victory.

Now in the twilight of his career, he is remembered for his panache and swashbuckling attacks in the mountains, the pedal dancer who won many a battle on the slopes of forbidding mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees. That distinctive style as he rose out of the saddle, weaving from side to side as he dropped his rivals remains a defining image.

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Simon Warren, King of the Hills

When Simon Warren first published his “100 Greatest Cycling Climbs” back in 2010, he probably never dreamt that it would spawn a whole series of guide books about climbing hills on a bike. He’s now the author of twelve separate publications which cover all the regions of the UK as well as Belgium and famous climbs of the Tour de France.

He was appearing at the Chiltern 100 Cycling Festival last month where he was signing books and chatting affably to all and sundry.

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Bespoke Cycle Touring from Oxford Bike Works

We’re in the 'between' season - post Tour and pre Vuelta, many of us feeling bereft having devoted so many hours glued to the telly for the best part of July. For us, the only diversion to compete with the tussle for the yellow jersey is pipe dreams about cycling touring, or bike-packing as the serious aficionados call it. 

So gripping is this fantasy that it actually took us into the wilds of Oxfordshire to meet the owner of Oxford Bike Works, Richard Delacourt. For those not hooked on adventure cycling blogs, Oxford Bike Works is literally the only serious provider of proper, hardcore bikepacking steeds, favoured by legends such as Tom Allen and Anna McNuff (look them up if you’re not in the know!)

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