real life cycling

3 more reasons you’re doing cycling wrong


You think Chris Froome is British

Chris Froome isn’t British.

He’s a Kenyan born, South African schooled, Monaco resident. I doubt he can recite a single Morecambe and Wise sketch, and probably pronounces Worcestershire like an American.


British Cycling don’t think he’s British. Dave Brailsford doesn’t think he’s British. Rupert Murdoch doesn’t think he’s British. Even Chris Froome doesn’t think he’s British.

It’s been noted before by more prominent cycling journalists than me that, in many ways, it might have made an even better Team Sky story had he been the first African Tour de France winner, rather than the second British winner.

It wasn’t to be.

Just to be clear, I’ve got no problem with ‘old waggly elbows’ riding under the British flag. I’m totally on board with the fluid nature of nationality in a globalised world – the more the merrier, I say.

But still, when it comes the trivial world of sport, he’s not British, is he?

Your favourite cycling shop doesn’t physically exist

It probably has a name like Wiggle, and ruthlessly dominates online retail like the very embodiment of capitalism.

Lots of the things they sell are discounted to the point where you can get them cheaper online than your local bike shop can get them ‘in the trade’. And by local bike shop, I’m talking about those actual buildings you see on the street, staffed by real people, who talk to you about stuff and care about your bike.

Well, the good ones do, anyway.

(And I hereby take this opportunity to plug my favourite good one – The Edge Cycleworks – ironically with a link to their website.)

I understand why you might buy some stuff from an online bike shop – that’s nothing to be ashamed of – but I’m gently suggesting that it shouldn’t be your favourite.

Your favourite should be the one that smells of chain lube and inner tubes, and gives you advice about the best solution for your particular problem.

If your problem is bike related, I mean.

I can’t vouch for the judgement of a bike mechanic in matters of personal finance, or digestive health, for example.

But then again, I wouldn’t ask my financial adviser what kind of bottom-bracket my Italian racing bike needs, and I wouldn’t press my doctor for a prediction as to the winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

So pick a favourite shop, have a chat with them, and spend some money there.

If you don’t, Wiggle will swallow them all up.

The Edge 2

You think the Tour de Yorkshire is a great name for a bike race

What is it that makes the Belgian classics so great?

It’s their sheer Belgian-ness.

They race on cobbles because they have lots of them. The spectators drink Belgian beer and eat frites smothered with mayonnaise, because that’s what you do in Belgium. The ‘Lion of Flanders’ flag flies from every camper van.

They don’t beautify the backdrops, or wax lyrical about the scenery, because they’re too busy celebrating what they’ve got. There’s wind and rain, rutted farm tracks, and vicious climbs with too many vowels; like Karnemelkbeekstraat, and Taaienberg.

If anywhere has regional pride in spades it’s Yorkshire. So why aren’t they flying the white rose instead of nodding and winking to le Tour de France?

The Tour de Yorkshire? The Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay?

That’s just daft.

Or was it part of the deal when getting the Grande Depart back in 2014 that they had to snuggle up to our French cousins at every opportunity?

Either way, the Tour de Yorkshire needs to be less ‘de’ and more Yorkshire.

It should be all Theakston’s bitter, Yorkshire Puddings, whippet fancying, ferrets down the trousers, and forced rhubarb for pudding.

The Tour t’ Yorkshire – that’s something I could get on board with.

(Images: Froome via Wikimedia cc | The Edge Cycleworks by kind permission)

10 comments on “3 more reasons you’re doing cycling wrong

  1. biking2work

    not to mention the general suspicion of t’bluddy southerners! I can see a market opportunity for a mankini/pinnie fusion outfit…or would that be going too far?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. drsmith1985

    Ferrets and trousers don’t seem like a good mix. Just sayin….😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chikashi

    Tour de Yorkshire… daft name.

    I’ve often found that “discounted” prices on Wiggle and Chain Reaction are higher than continental MSRPs. Appalling…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nationality is definitely a synthetic construct – Froome is a good example. Living in France I don’t much care if I’m French or English – or just European. My Belgian Flemish friends are definitely Flemish and not Belgian – all their Lion flags don’t have the red claws of the national lion. My cycling helmets have the English, Belgian and Italian colours and my bikes are Italian and German. It’s one of the great things about cycling that it mixes up nationalities and identities …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Archetype

    I have the had the extremely good fortune to be in county Yorkshire in 2014 and it was surprisingly one of the best places/trips I have ever taken! The Jorvik history, the City Walls, the food, the British history, the Dales, the Shambles, the Castle, Clifford’s Tower, the people! Proper English breakfast’s…

    I mean there was nothing about the trip that was in any way disappointing. I loved it. It was my first time in England and I was rather smitten. Having been to Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland, my expectations were truthfully not that high. Call me daft! But the moment we left Manchester airport I was impressed.
    Hope to get back one day soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awesome, that’s great to hear. As a Lancashire lad I should be rubbishing Yorkshire and full of local pride my MY county…

      It’s a great place though. Proper cycling country!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliantly funny, but No. 2 is also quite important. It’s not virtue signalling to pay a bit more money to a man or woman who has gone to the trouble of opening their own premises, puts up with suppliers, paying rent, maintaining a website and, you know, giving people jobs. You might even have a conversation, offloading all that pent up enthusiasm for the very subjects you mention in your Five Things post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much James. I quite agree, if you find a good shop then use it. Interacting with people in a shop beats the hell out of interacting with a website!


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