Testing your wheels in the early hours

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider doing a bike stand

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – There are people who like to ride at odd hours. Like after midnight. But if you want some peace and quiet….

“I try and ride a lot, but it has been a bit less now because it is cold… Continue reading

When craft beer plays with the famed Molteni name

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Malteni beer at the Ghent six day event

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Mixing two classic Belgian ideals – craft beer and cycling.

I managed to get to the Ghent Six Day exhibit at the museum this week. A chance to see the heritage of the six day,film, images, posters that date back into the 1930s.

And then, at the museum café, a chance to have artisanal beers that had a little fun with the Molteni name – Molteni.

The sense of humour extended to a jersey on the wall in the same colours and fonts as the jersey made famous by Eddy Mercks.


Bike touring and the unexpected time alone

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Touring cyclist with bike and panniers

©Barry Sandland/TIMB- Solo touring and the inevitable selfie

“I tried my hand at a touring again, this year. Upgraded the bike to touring standards, loaded the panniers and headed out. You think it’s going to be easy, riding slow and steady. Instead, it was headwind after headwind. Even when I turned around for the return, the wind did an about face and I had even more work to make the pedals turn around.” Continue reading

Hailstorm rider

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Fixed gear Motobecane bike messenger

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Caught in the hailstorm, this Motobecane looks ready for the cyclocross circuit. And the single gear makes it all the nicer to look at.

Caught in the hailstorm yesterday: “It is totally ridiculous. I was riding all day and I was kind of OK, and then I thought, ‘My day is done and I am going home’ – and bam!” Continue reading

Prepare for cycling in Newfoundland and you are ready for anywhere

@Barry Sandland/TIMB - Bicycle at the Belle Island ferry

@Barry Sandland/TIMB – Resting the bike at Portugal Cove and the Belle Island ferry before the final climb home

There may not be many cycling routes in and around St John’s. You tend to find a few routes and then click into repeat mode. But there are advantages. Some of the scenery is incredible – almost enough to draw your eye from your front wheel.

In the decade I was riding a bike seriously in Newfoundland, there were certain realities. Newfie cyclists know two road levels. You are either riding uphill or downhill. The flats are few and very far between.

The Portugal Cove ride, the one pictured, has a constant procession of hills. Long drags, short cliff faces, rolling tips and then, when your legs are done, a four kilometer mountain col-like ascent that has clipped off more than a handful of wanne-be hill climbers.

With conditions like this, riding here for a few weeks and getting your legs means you can step out to anywhere else and cope with what is offered. Newfie cyclist may not be the fastest, but they arfe not bothered by the smattering of hills that has most cyclists crying in their lactic acid.

This return reminded me of how lucky I was for the terrain (not the car drivers). I live in Europe now and, save for visits to mountain passes, have rarely come across a hill that offers a real challenge. In Newfoundland, any and every ride would bring me face to face with gradients I would be easily able to avoid in the European cycling havens.