Monday, May 13, 2013

Spartacus - Who's going to beat Fabu?

The Spartan does revenge himself

Three weeks ago was a great day, if you were in the shoes of Fabian Cancellara. That guy is a marvelous athlete, a fierce competitor and a brilliant cyclist. The 111th edition of the Paris-Roubaix was held 3 weeks ago (Sorry, I'm a little late on that one I know!) where we the sun shone throughout the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region in France. This classic race called '' La Reine des Classiques '' which means the Queen of the Classics is always a special and upcoming race for all the professional cyclists especially this year's edition for Fabian Cancellara.

Last year, for those of you who watched it know that the Swiss didn't make it to the end because of a gruesome and ugly fall during the race. This particular race is well known by cyclists that there is a high percentage of falling because of its countless kilometers of old paved roads and in 2012, Fabian was among many that crashed. Not only did he crashed but he also broke is shoulder and in the same time, put himself out of the competition for a while. So this year was all but revenge for him and I think it's a well deserved win even though he started as the favorite cyclist to win 2013 Paris-Roubaix.

But, there was one man who stood up against Fabu (his fans like to call him that way) during the last 20 kilometers. This young belgian with his new team Blanco who knew during all the 257,5 km that he had to keep Cancellara in sight made a name for himself for the years to come. He didn't only kept him in sight but also took his share of relays. This man, Sep Vanmarcke, in tears after the race, so close of a win against Spartacus himself, was really remarkable in this race. The 24 years-old lost in the last sprint in the famous Velodrome of Roubaix, in front of many fans by the legendary Cancellara. The head and the heart was definitly there to win this for the young Vanmarcke but the legs weren't. After almost 260 km, I can understand that!!!
Fabian Cancellara celebrating

So, with this year's Tour des Flandres and Paris-Roubaix wins, who is going to beat this machine on 2 wheels of Fabian Cancellara? This is an exciting subject to talk on. Let's recap a bit about all the races held right now.

Calendar & Rankings

2013 UCI World Tour road cycling Calendar
The source used for this well developped calendar is the official website of the UCI which you can find more about it through this link.

2013 UCI World Tour rankings
The source of this chart is the official website of the UCI which you can find more about it through this link.

As you can see in the unofficial overall ranking, with his yesterday win, Fabian Cancellara took the lead by a good margin to the Slovak Peter Sagan. Those 2 are in a race for World Tour Championship because the others aren't simply close enough except 1 or 2 other cyclists.
Peter Sagan at the finish line of stage 2 of the Tour d'Oman

Will we see a dominating Sagan in the upcoming Tour de France like last year or will Cancellara be making all the experts fall out of their chairs and win 1 or 2 races in the Alps and the ''Contre-la-montre''? Are they going to participate in the Giro D'Italia and the Vuelta Ciclista a España too? There is much more to expect from these two for this year and if there won't be any major problems, it will be really exciting to see RadioShack and Cannonale going big with these two.
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Of course there is a bunch more of other cyclists who can beat Fabian like the veteran Tom Boonen, last year's winner of the Paris-Roubaix or maybe the somewhat  a bit silent Alberto Contador. In any cases, one major crash for Fabian and/or Peter and every prognostics will be false.

I'm really a fan of cycling. With this year's edition, it will be my 7th year in a row that I will watch the Tour de France. Never missed one day during those years. Of course I was pretty sad when I heard and read about 7 times champion Lance Armstrong who was a cheater in his sport. It is a pretty hard sport I might say like many others.

For those of you, sports fans, who are training at their best and need a little boost, try this limited offer that will end soon. Great deals only for you cyclists and go ride! I'll be posting some more about the Giro d'Italia soon and about other subjects too.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The prolonging winter

Well, one of my first days of cycling today and it was kind of disappointing. I woke up with the sun shining, no trace of any kind of snow in the streets and a good day to ride a cheap road bike BUT! Yes, a big but! When I stepped outside, my senses of spring washed all out of my head and I was shocked to feel so cold. Windy, freezing temperature, snow at some places, I guess its the prolonging winter that tricks us.

Also, I noticed some of my friends in Europe complaining about the weather there too. I don't know about them if it's colder and colder year after year but I read some newspaper that is was getting colder in the northern part of Europe. So I think it's a global phenomenon that occurs each year. I don't live in Europe but I've been and it's surprisingly cold when you get in the north. While it's getting colder in there, here in North America, we see some drastic changes where there's more tornados, hurricanes, major earthquakes in the USA. Plus, we can see more and more rivers during spring beginning to flood local towns and nearby cities.

I hope april will be more warmer and sunnier than the disappointing march. During that time, I'll check out my local bike store for some quick fix on my used road bikes. Thus, if you're interested, there is many opportunities of saving some money with things that you might need or might be helpful on your cheap road bike. So you can Shop Discount Bicycle Parts and Components at!

P.S: I'll try to add some french content for those of you who are interested. Since english is not my primary language, I'm able to do so. Voilà! Thank you guys.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Winter cycling do's and do-not's

Sometimes, you'll see some people riding a bike during winter and you just say to yourself :
« This guy is crazy! ». Well, if you really think about it, maybe it isn't that crazy to do. Winter cycling is something that you can do. Here's a quick glimpse at some winter cycling do's and do-not's.

1. The good bike to possess

Having a cheap road bike during snowy conditions won't get you really far. The best type of 2-wheeler you can have is a normal bike with large tires. Without these, you'll have a lot of problems standing straight and keeping your balance. So, about the tires, larger is better. Plus, since your bike will be exposed to snow, icy water, salty water and wind, rust is more likely to appear and it's quite normal with these conditions. So, a steel-framed bike, not too expensive and well maintained will do the job.

2. Your winter apparel

As you may know, clothing is really important and with freezing conditions, it's even more important. Look out the list below for things you might need for your ride.
  • A good winter jacket.
  • Waterproof and warm gloves (ski or snow gloves do the trick)
  • Goggles or glasses
  • A toque/beanie or a warm helmet
  • Some facial protection like a big scarf or a face mask
  • Good boots that can keep your feet warm
  • Pants cover or snow pants

The thing that you have to protect the most is your fingers and your face since both parts are the most exposed parts when you ride. Also, there is a product called pockets hand and feet warmers that can be really helpful by putting them in your gloves and in your boots. It can be really practical going out for a ski trip but does the same thing for a long bike ride.

3. Keeping it fixed

The biggest challenge for your car during winter is to keep it fixed and good to go. Well, having a bike is the same thing but in a smaller scale. WD-40 will be one of your best friend in many situations for your gears and oiling up some other parts like your brakes and your wheels will help you maintain it. Plus, doing a complete anti-rust spray before the season will greatly help your bike to stay in shape all year long.

With that said, search for a cheap road bike or just a normal one, fix it, upgrade it if you need to and be even more careful on the roads.  Ice and snow can be tricky sometimes, well all the time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Accidents in cities

More or less the same thing in every sports, accidents are always part of the process. But with a bicycle, since everyone wants to go fast, the risks of getting a severe trauma or some really bad injuries are more higher. If you're alone, you only can blame yourself. If you're not alone, its more complex and sometimes more dangerous.

Accidents and/or crashes are part of the deal. If you play any sports or do anything that require a certain type of skills, there is always a chance that you might get hurt in an accident. Why? It's simple. It's the human nature. If you drive a car, a boat, a jetski, or you play tennis, rugby, football or you just simply knit, you will harm yourself, period. We learn from our mistakes all our lives and getting hurt is part of the process. So, let me tell you the cycling part and I will let you guys figure about the rest. | Cycling

Crashing into something or just falling of your bike, it hurts. Trust me, I've got my share of that in the past and I will tell you one later. But, there is always a way to minimize or prevent those accidents. You see, having the knowledge that maybe something will go south is preparing yourself for the worst case scenario. You just have to THINK before doing anything!

Let's put some examples to prove my point. Let say that you are riding your cheap bike in the city, any city that you want. Well, maybe just a city that you aren't familiar with in the first place. You have your best hybrid bike or a cheap bike and arrive at the top of hill. You begin to ride down as fast as you can to get to your destination faster, right? At the last seconds you see a parked car moving towards the street and make a right turn to engage it. But the thing is that you were so close that you didn't have enough time to brake. That lead you to crash on it and hurt yourself. If, at the start of the hill, you did manage to think that maybe there will be a car that will turn right and go on its journey, that maybe there is a chance of hurting yourself and to think to go downhill slower, you would manage to escape a dangerous situation.

Same thing apply for an offroad/mountain ride on your bicycle. You are rolling quite fast or at a good pace and quite can't see enough of the road in front of you. At the last second, you see that there's a dangerous step to cross and can't brake enough to avoid it and crash badly. Many will say that its more out of instincts than thinking. I can relate to that but you have to possess the knowledge first to make it as your instincts.

I was in a similar situation once where I didn't think before I act and it caused me to be in a crash. So, I was riding one sunny afternoon, in a not-so-calm street in the suburbs of Montreal and I happened to be I think on my 40th km or something near that. I was riding on the right side of the street (a street which have 4 lanes - 2 in each directions) and for no apparent reason, a car behind me started to really get heavy on the honking system. Being prepared for that, I manage to make myself even closer to the sidewalk at my right and let him pass. What bugged me the most is that the car owner decide to scroll down is passenger window, blurted and screamed some horrible names and continue as if nothing happened in his Beige Ford Focus Sedan (I remember that really clearly).

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Me, a bit pissed off by this total jackass, decided to rejoin the middle of the street (I was doing around 40-45 km/h) and give the punk the middle finger. Here's the bad part. What I did next wasn't bad but wasn't thoughtful either. So, seeing that the cars were slowing down in front of me, I turned myself to the middle part between the 2 lanes and continued with my speed. You all know how it is when there is traffic. Slow, stop and accelerate fast. Anyway, seeing they were going faster, I rejoined the middle of the right lane and I was still behind that crazy Ford Focus. Looking further in front of me, I saw that there was a huge gap between the car in front of the Focus and him. I should have been more careful but this guy jumped hard on his brakes (I was a bit close to him, I know) and me, without being to self conscious about that prick, jammed my bike into his rear bumper and crashed on his trunk. Since I bounced back on the road and manage to fall on my right side, the prick stormed off leaving me laying on the road and hurt.

Anyhow, I want to give a big thanks to the guy with his truck who helped me get on my feet and moved my bike. Without these kind of people, the world would be doomed. Plus, since that episode of pure frustration, I manage to always be more careful about the cars around me. You kind of recognize the type of drivers you can encounter and deal with how you ride your cheap road bike or your super ultra road war machine.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Family vacations

As I remember some of my memories of my childhood, with my road bike, cheap but Oh! so fun to ride and there's a common thing that I shared with my mother, my father and my brother. This thing was to hop on my used road bike and go for little trips with them. What a great feeling that was.

Of course, as a family, you have and you spend more time during the weekends. I don't recall my parents for some free trips during the week but maybe some of you can afford it. I think the important thing is to make the kids participate as much as possible. I remember in my hometown that there was a lot of cycling paths to enjoy. Getting older, I now use the streets as my friends but still. Its always fun and safe to share the road with cyclists.

So, the main key for some great vacations is to keep it simple. You can go for a ride everywhere you want. It doesn't matter if you have a bunch of awesome and expensive bikes or just some cheap road bicycles. The important thing is to have fun.

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In your little town, on a camping trip, to your in-laws in the outback, everywhere is your playground. At the beginning, let the kids get a bit tired and ride along at a speed where they can follow afterwards. I know its hard to keep them focus for a long time so if you seek a park, a small river,  nearby, make a little break there and enjoy the view. I remember going ballistic over my father to go play in a nearby recreation park.

Plus, getting prepared for a trip requires some basic things for the littles problems that can occur. Spare tires, a small pump, a first aid kit, a kit of Allen keys, water bottles are among the things to bring to face problems like a flat tire, a loose brake, some smalls injuries, etc. Used road bikes are sometimes a pain in the butt to maintain but with some love and attention, it works pretty good. Well, it did for me. For a more pratical way to do some long rides, I would definitly recommand you the hybrid bikes. Easy to ride in a city and can go offroad, they can be really useful. You can find some of the best hybrid bikes deals on

Of course there is the question of « where do we go to have that tranquility ». Like I said ealier, the world is waiting for you and your family to come visit. Many annual events occur during the year in North America like the famous New-York city tour or the Montreal tour, the Tour of Long Beach in California, the Ocean to Bay bike tour in Bethany Beach, Delaware and many many more. For those gatherings, sometimes its for a noble cause and sometimes its only for the fun of it. Do some researches, make some plans, decide when you want to go and do it because cycling is the best way, in my opinion, to discover a new place totally unknown to you. Maybe there is some events in your county. Go check and ride.

For my part, the only place in USA that I've been cycling around was near the Champlain lake in Vermont. This place is just breathtaking especially during fall where all the trees change colors. It's pure wilderness and still in the civilization as well. It is just a great feeling to know that you can ride on the roads with your hybrid bikes, your cheap bicycles or your best road bikes without being interrupted by a flow of cars or trucks and just enjoy the scenery around you. I really like it there because  you can travel around the lake, do some stops at some small cities and enjoy the festivities during the summer.

I know that my childhood is long gone and that today's kids generation is more into technologies, social media and videogaming but I can positively say that biking is one of the best way to have fun and to spend a lot of energy. Also, with the easy access to internet and a load of new stuff that you can buy on it, everything is easy and sometimes, surprisingly cheap. I know some of you have a hard times to make hands meat but having a rack for your bikes, a week or two of vacations, fun you will have that,s for sure! | Cycling