Monatsarchiv: April 2010

Unorthodox Approach Yields Results

I’ll get to the title in a moment but the weather forecast for today was very good so a large group headed out to tackle Matsuhime and O-toge. The Ebisu crowd (James K, Michael H, Graham, welcome newcomers Geoff and Tyler, and Dominic) set off at 7am. Met David L at 7:20 and then off to Tamagawaharabashi to hook up with MOB, Ludwig and Jerome (the 8kg lighter version). The ride to Ome was fast. Geoff was ‚blooded‘ into Positivo Espresso by clipping David’s back wheel and took a fall. With blood on his knee and under his white arm warmers he looked the business. In fact, he and Geoff looked the business at 7am. These two must have juiced in their youth as they have muscles which can only raise the bar within PE. Or perhaps it is the corn-’n-hormone-fed cattle of Down Under (Aus) and Out West (California) that did it. During the on the road interview it was ascertained that Geoff races Category B in Sydney (that’s in Australia for US readers) and Tyler raced in college and races anything and everything nowadays (MTB, cyclo-cross, road…). It’s OK, that’s allowed.
After the compulsory stop to pay homage to the Aurore Bakery in Ome and present the new members to The Purveyor of the Royal Milk Bread, David turned to head home. As we set off towards Okutama there were ominous clouds gathering ahead. I suggested to Jerome that it would be raining in 10 minutes. I was wrong. It rained within 2 minutes. We took shelter at a local station and MOB put a call in to Tom who was far ahead of us having probably started his usual gentle 250km ride at 5:00am. Tom reported heavy rain ahead so we knew sticking to our original plan was pointless. Besides, when has a PE ride ever gone to plan? Ludwig and Graham hopped on the train while the rest of us did a U-turn for home. Within 200m we all had waterlogged shoes. MOB turned off towards Itsukaichi while the others reset their homing devices for the Central Tokyo Club House. The group battled very strong crosswinds & headwinds and never managed to work out the theory of riding in an echelon (difficult on narrow roads with trucks trying to pass) while Geoff set an aggressive pace.
With the wind at our backs we made very fast progress along Komazawa-dori to The Clubhouse (Bondi Cafe in Hiroo – open until 5:00am BTW). We were delighted to see the charming and beautiful waitress was on duty today. I promised myself that I would not repeat what I did after a ride a few weeks ago with James K and Shane when I had 4 beers (recovery drink). I did not do this. I had 5 and so did all but one of the others who was drinking coffee and alcohol free beer. This time however we did order some health food to accompany the beer: pizza, fries, deep fried calamari and something with avocado.
So what is the title of this blog all about??
One of the group on his first visit to the Central Tokyo Clubhouse who speaks Japanese said to our favourite waitress (who thought alcohol free beer is very homo) that he had heard she wears very short skirts and that we were surprised by her full length skirt today. I cringed at this direct approach but was most impressed by her response: „But I was wearing a REALLY short one yesterday and will wear one for you guys next time“. All the cafe needs now is a PE jersey on the wall. It should be noted that Geoff and Tyler have been in the country for less than 10 days and already speak more Japanese than James so go figure who the silver-tongued Lothario might be…
121km, ave speed 27.4km/h, 670m of climbing and 5 beers.

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Rules of the League of Cycling Purity

A general introduction for the curious.

The League of Cycling Purity is an organisation for Proper Cyclists. Where most cycle organisations merely aim to help their members or regulate a particular aspect of cycling, the LCP aims to control all cyclists and bicycles. On the whole it has failed to do this, although it claims great success in maintaining the pitch of bicycle chains at one half inch.

This webpage is not an official publication of the LCP. As you will read below, they are not enamoured with the kind of technological progress represented by the internet. Mass communication for most of the LCP ends with the radio (valve, amplitude modulation) although some members did buy a television for the coronation. The information presented here comes from publications of the LCP and talking to its members.

Rules about members

Members must own at least one bicycle. All bicycles owned by a member must conform to the rules of the League. A member’s cycle house may be inspected at any time without warning by the League’s Special investigation department. For this reason, members are advised to register any impure cycles owned by others in their household, such as wives, children, mistresses and servants.
Cycles are to be mounted in the gentleman’s fashion, from the left, unless the man is left handed or during formation exercises.

Clothes must be of natural fibres, (cotton, silk and wool) or leather. The fit should be close, but never tight. Colours should be subdued and blend in with the countryside. Socks should be black. Woollen knee stockings may be black, brown, green or russet. Waterproof rainwear of nylon or other synthetic material is permitted (rule changed in 1972).

Hair must be regularly cut and never longer than the collar. The preferred hairstyle is the short back and sides, but many members who are thin on top prefer a No. 3 or 4. Long hair is only excusable in the most extreme circumstances, such as shipwreck.
No member may wear a helmet, except when on active service or in a combat zone. (“I’d like to see one of those silly plastic hats stop a .303 round”, said Major-General Jeremy ‘Chuff-Chuff’ ffarnsworthy-Smythe (Royal Artillery) (retired).)

No member may read a new Shimano catalogue without a doctor or trained first-aider present.

Rules about bicycles

Except for the first circle, wheels must be 27”, sprint rims, or (since 1997), 700c.

Components must be approved by the club. Generally this means they should be steel and of english manufacture. Now that there are very few bicycle parts made in the UK, members are faced with the choice of making their own from lumps of metal or using European components. Some Japanese parts are permitted, but very few and definitely no post 1985 Shimano.

Where deraillier gears are used, the control levers must be mounted on the down tube. After a fierce, and, at times, violent, internal debate in 1978 it was decided that it doesn’t really matter whether the cables are run over or under the bottom bracket.

Clipless pedals are not permitted. The LCP is aware of the theoretical biomechanical efficiency gains that result from the centre of the pedal spindle passing through the ball of the foot. Some thought that the 1982 Shimano crank with this feature was a good idea, if flimsily executed. All agreed that is was a better idea than the one known previous experiment in this area, when in 1923 K.V. Brahhamlad-Vinkerton MA (Cantab.) made holes in his feet to accept the pedal spindles. Unfortunately, his garden shed was not as clean as might be desired for performing a major surgical procedure, and gangrene set in. He survived, but lost both feet. After his release from the Bethnal Asylum, he was fitted with artificial feet and continued his cycling, winning the League’s most improved rider trophy in 1933. Needless to say, his prosthetic feet had holes for the pedal spindles. K.V. Brahhamlad-Vinkerton was killed in action in 1944.
Bike shops

As one might expect, cycle shops are important to the LCP. There is an approved list of cycle shops the League regards as worthy of their custom. For simple items such as brake cables or a new bit of rubber for the inside of a Woods valve members will use any specialist cycle shop, though some of the less restrained members will mutter and curse under their breath at the flagrant displays of impure cycles.

The ideal bike shop is to be found on a secondary shopping street in a respectable working class neighbourhood or market town. It will be named after the proprietor, the proprietor’s father or grandfather. The sign will be handpainted by a long dead signwriter, the telephone number will betray its pre-Subscriber Trunk Dialing allocation by giving an exchange name rather than an area code. In the window there will be a sparse, unattractive display, with a discontinued bicycle, some empty parts boxes, obscure tools and unfashionable clothing (e.g. ‘Team Bovril’ or Milk Race).

In 1947 the LCP introduced a grading system for shops. The first class shop only sold goods approved by the Componentry Committee, the Second Class shop sold these goods and a limited range of impure products, such as wider saddles for the fairer sex, and Third Class shops were all others. In 1952 a prohibited list was added of shops which were unsuitable for members to enter. Some shopkeepers complained that they were on this list not because of their merchandise but because they had fallen out with some member of the LCP, perhaps by suggesting that they spend money and stop fondling the Airlite hubs. In 1955 a new category of First Class (exceptional) was added when Mr. G. Harmsworthy opened his shop in Bradford that took things a stage further by only selling things to the members of the LCP. This shop went bankrupt after ten months, partly due to his complete refusal to sell things mail order “I need to see the customers membership card.” It was suggested to him that he only send goods to addresses on the membership rolls of the LCP, but for some reason (sheer bloody-mindedness) he chose to disregard this suggestion.

Today there are no first class shops left in the register, and precious few second class ones. Locally, the second class shops are Common Wheel (Maryhill branch only), Wheelcraft and Willy Bain’s Bicycle Repair. The list of forbidden shops grows rapidly, including Halfords, Evans, Alpine, Edinburgh and pretty much everywhere else you have ever heard of. Special opprobrium is lavished on Kinetics on Bearsden, Glasgow, which has the temerity to sell not only recumbents and tandems, but also electrically assisted bikes. Indeed the owner once rode past a gathering of the LCP on an electrically assisted recumbent tandem, resulting in three heart attacks and one death from apoplexy. After this tragic event, the Ladies Axillary petitioned the local council to plant trees in front of this shop to prevent public decency being further outraged.

There are very few LCP approved framebuilders left, mainly because the artisans approved by the LCP are so good that their work is handed down through the generations. One such is Charles Ralph, who makes the Alves Framesets. His luxuriant growth of beard makes him ineligible for membership, but his knowledge and skill are respected. Members appreciate his total lack of advertising and inaccessible location. His workshop is in a converted goat shed at the back of his house. His house is hard to find without a six-figure grid reference. To get there one takes the Rothes road out of Elgin, doubles back toward Fogwatt, then up a single track country road, then a concrete farm track and finally a rough track to his house. Once there, assuming he is at home and not hiding in the bushes, a prolonged discussion of the required frame will ensure. Mr. Ralph will strongly advise on certain issues, “73 parallel for this frame” but be open on other matters, such as frame eyes. After several hours of looking at tubes and Nervex lugs, a specification will be agreed and a price quoted. Mr. Ralph may become upset if you ask about a guarantee, “It won’t break”.

Decision making within the LCP

The LCP is very secretive about how it is organised. There are various committees, which issue communiques and policy statements, and there may be a central board of governors, but no-one knows who they are. Some hill walkers have reported seeing groups of wool-clad men leaning on the top tubes of their bicycles in circles at the top of remote mountain passes, arguing ferociously. These are assumed to be business meetings of the LCP.

Money

Members of the LCP hardly ever spend money, but when they do they buy the best quality and expect it to last forever.

Old parts

Some members never throw out their old parts, keeping them as “spares”. it is not unknown for members to have to build new sheds to accommodate their stocks of worn out chains, hooked freewheels and chainrings and punctured inner tubes. A few members have been buried with their coffins surrounded by beds of rusting metal and perished rubber.

…continues here theleagueofcyclingpurity.com

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Impressions from my Sayonara Ride

It is very strange to write in detail about one’s own Sayonara ride while one is still in Japan. So I would like to make a few comments here and there only, post some pics and thank everybody who came along and send me off to the far shores of Germany. Still it is hard to write something which hasn’t been written already a thousand times before. But you have given very much to me and I am very thankful for that.
So, we had a good time.

It started as a nice day in spring with the carp streamers high up in the sky. I met some of the PE guys at the Tamagawahara bridge and we rode off to Takao. On the way we passed a cyclist with an exchange frame on the back. Perhaps, I thought, we should re-start the TCC-thread about the proper content of a saddle bag and include „Exchange carbon frame“ I thought before we realized that the bicycle free flea market was hold at Sekidobashi along the way. Just like cycling, the flea market has come a long way, from a hardly noticeable event to more than 100 people attending last Saturday – not bad at all.
We said goodbye to Dominic who was asked to attend a ballet recital of his daughter before she will be send to Borneo where she will live in the jungle with the Aborigines for two years; hence the need for ballet education which will come handy.
And by chance I also saw Zenbiker along the way at the Asakawa. Or perhaps I understood something wrongly. My English is not very good, sometimes I mix up easy words such as „fencing“ and „fanzine“.

The ride was not really leisurely so far, but we took the peaks out most of the time. Suddenly I was alone with Fumiki and (Ko)shu, but we all arrived more or less arrived at the Takao 7-Eleven. Can you see where this picture was „photoshopped“ to get rid of some unpleasant detail?


A huge crowd has arrived already and I was very much impressed by the turnout. Doing my round of shopping at the 7-Eleven, I noticed a small detail at the Weider Jelly Stand.
It seems that nobody so far was interested in Vitamins, Proteins or Beauty, but everybody was preparing himself for a „leisurely“ ride. More energy was much in demand.

We then rode on through Takao, the Showa cemetery (where I once almost met the emperor with the zipper of my trousers open) and along the Jimbakaido to the bus stop at the base of Wada Toge where we assembled the group for the first ever organized time trial of TCC and PE. There was some reluctance first and some riders choose to disappear before we could get started, but overall we manged this quite well and we had a lot of competitive results. James time was very impressive and so were those of James and Tim on their fixies.

Here are some photos which I took at the start of each rider and which documents the various pro starting techniques which are acceptable in Japan as per Japanese Cycling Rulebook paragraph 248 b):

The „Handle is piping hot“ style. It is not allowed to touch the handle before the command to start and Tim also never did afterwards until reaching the top.The „Ground is piping hot „style: It is not allowed to touch the ground ever unless a flat tyre needs to be repaired. Which happens every 20 km.
Zen-like concentration paired with minimum wind resistance in standing position. Headtowel soaks up sweat from extreme concentration.The „I am gone already, cannot possibly wait for your finger to push the shutter“ style executed by Yair.
The Scottish copy of the previously described Hiroshi-Zen starting style. The rucksack is filled with real look stone made out of polyester to increase the awe-factor. Note: More efficient when rucksack is open.
The „When speed is more important than direction“ style.
This style is appropriate for rides from Tokyo to Nagoya or further as proven by Travis.
This is Kim starting – easy to mix up with Fumiki as both belong to the blue men group.
The bike starts to move at 40 km/hr immediately after releasing the brakes. The „American dragster race“ style.
Sorry to say, Steve, but this style is not yet described in the rulebook.
Please note that as usual Mike lines up behind Sergey at the start so that his motivation to overtake him is amplified by a factor similar to the amount of Japanese government debts.
…. as we can see here.

Sorry, there are no photos of Thomas, Graham, Tom, James, Kim and me. Our huge group was then assembled at Wada pass when I finally made it up and much to my surprise everybody was sitting in front of the witch’s tea house. The witch was nowhere to be seen. Really, I never have seen such a sight in my life at Wada. We then continued with a fast downhill and the cumbersome climb through the golf hills of Uenohara. Tom had selected this course to execute his final punishment on me and also in memory of Paul Jason who rode this precise course once.

Nobody was really in the mood to start another time trial up to Kobu Tunnel (OK, I was not in a mood to do so) but nevertheless once David gave the „Go!Go!Go!“ sign everybody started to move up quickly. I was staying with Yair almost all of the time. Already a bunch of guys were waiting at the top when I arrived and the others came in one by one. Steve almost crashed while trying to raise his arms in victory salute. He barely could stay on the road and in order to calm down he went for a pee with fellow Englishman Michael. Which lasted for only a few seconds as the warning shout „Naomi is coming up!“. Steve managed to zip-up and to play the innocent bystander while Michael couldn’t manage to stop.Naomi nevertheless didn’t noticed anything and showed Steve how to cross the finish line not only in style but also straight and paralell to the road. Also I would like to mention that she was also so kind to finish behind me, I guess some form of Sayonara-present. She overtook me once when riding up to Tomin-no-mori and that was when I set my personal best time. Amazingly after a while also the Fixies were arriving. They had the huge respect of everybody that they could do that extensive climbing on their bikes. Still I guess that everybody else thought that theyr were happy to posses 20 speed geared bikes. I like this photo of James with enchanced colors. The bike itself is rather not enhanced. Cool helmet color, by the way.

And then we went superfast down to Itsukiachi in nice duells giving no rest to the wicked. This also continued on the Mutsumibashi road to the Tamagawa, where Ludwig, James, Travis, Yair and me speeded along at 40 km/hr plus. And what did I get for all of this effort? One lousy T-shirt from Israel!No, I was joking, I think it was the perfect present for the day, Thanks Yair.
As this was my Sayonara ride I rode out the next day with Ludwig to Chichibu, but this is another story to be told another time.

L’hitraot.

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Suspicious SUV sighted at Wada


OK, in the photo we can see Ludwig, David and Hiroshi taking little interest in the suffering of Graham on the last meters up to Wada Toge. Not very interesting indeed. But who knows something about the silver-grey SUV trailing behind Graham? I don’t know why, but something make me suspicious … James?

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Official Results of the 1. Omote Wada Time Trial


I will blog later about the wonderful ride yesterday, but I guess everybody is very curious about the time trial results. So I will post them first.

Place / Name / Time / Comment

1. ME 24.12 seconds
2. James 16:06 min
3. Mike 16:29 min
4. Alan 16:48 min
5. Fumiki 16:55 min
6. Sergey 17:10 min
Ludwig 17:10 min
7. Tom 17:36 min
8. Kim 17:47 min
9. Hiroshi 18:48 min
10. Keren 18:55 min
11. Travis 19:04 min
12. Thomas 19:35 min
13. MOB 20:55 min
14. Steve 21:17 min
15. Yair 21:32 min
16. James 23:22 min (Fixie!)
17. Graham 25:02 min
18. Tim 25:59 min (Fixie!)
19. Philipp 129 days 17 hrs 12:34 min (of no riding)

It was fun and one wonders why we haven’t come up with the idea earlier. Also the results were quite impressive – we are a very competitive bunch. To bring them into perspective, please check with the PE blog Togebaka (to the right, #2, the TCC Hall of Fame [Wada Toge East] and the all time cyber cycling list. James winning time of 16:06 min would have placed him in 43rd position out of 457 entries.

I also found a nice uasage for the jewish M size jersey that was presented to me yesterday. I promptly dreamt last night about cycling in Palestine.

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MOB Farewell Ride and Party – Photos

For now, just some photos. Could one imagine a more perfect setting than the Fussa „beer shack“ — complete with shrine, Edo era buildings, Koi-nobori in the flag post, and the most spectacular flowering trees imaginable. Please add your own (or email to MOB, Tom or me and we will do so).

Gathered for the party („James hams it up, hefting his Pinarello“ version):

Gathered for the party („full group except the photographer (David L.) and late arrivals (Jerome)“ version):

After the first 8-10 pitchers:

The signed farewll jersey — this time an Israel national version, as Naomi snaps a photo. We look forward to seeing Michael victorious riding in it in the Berlin road race he will join end-of-May:

Steve regals us with stories of his bicycle ride from England to Japan, via central Asia.

Sergey, Thomas and Ludwig — at one of the convenience stores after Ura Wada, before the „golf course hills“:

Gathering at Takao:

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TdF Dreams

A tremendous find by Dominic ‚The Calf‘ Henderson.

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Saturday Guard Of Honor

Ludwig, Yair and I will be meeting at the Tamagwara Bashi at 9am tomorrow morning to ride up to Takao for the 10:30am meeting point at the Takao 7-11 .

Anyone else riding in is more than welcome to meet us here and ride up together.

See you all tomorrow for what should be a memorable sending off for Michael.

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MOB Saturday Farewell Ride — 10:30AM Takao

Cold but dry,. even sunny weather predicted for MOB’s farewell ride and party tomorrow — see the sidebar on the PE website for details, including the 10:30 meeting at Takao (7-11 in front of the JR station on Rte 20, of course). 

And just because you did not RSVP for the party doesn’t mean you cannot get in on the ride — a classic Wada, Uenohara hills, Kobu Tunnel, Akigawa/Itsukaichi route (the „Paul Jason Memorial“), that should leave us with enough energy for spirited eating and drinking.

I will be leaving my home at 9AM or a few minutes after, for a leisurely ride to Takao.  That means 9:30~35 at Tamagawaharabashi and 9:45 at Sekidobashi, if anyone is riding out in the same direction at the same time and wants to draft behind me.  Please leave a reply if you want us to wait for you. … now back to work.

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Dynamic Fitness on the Move!

Hi All,

As the time draws closer to our departure date business is starting to wind down and the final stages are underway.

Those who would like to have any testing done should schedule to do so. The studio will closing its cycling testing capabilities in a few weeks, all other training will continue till the last week of May.

Thank you all for your support over the time at the new location. Our hope is continue with the services offered her in Japan in Hawaii with future upgrades such as metabolic carts and lactate testing.

Look for us in Honolulu!

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