Could bamboo be for you?

 

Bamboo bikes are niche but there is a genuine and rising interest in them – I noticed it in a recent race here in Berlin where a friend riding a bamboo bike was swamped by other racers afterwards. They wanted to know how it rode; they wanted to know how it was made and by whom; they wanted to know how much it cost.

My friend enthused. He’s top 10 on a super competitive and popular Berlin Strava crit segment on his bamboo steed and is part of the Anti-Panda bamboo fixie racing team that has performed well in local criteriums. Make no mistake folks: Bamboo is fast.

It might not be able to match carbon for weight performance when you need to go uphill or col, but on the flat, it possesses serious kudos in the speed stakes. And as Daniel Vogel-Essex told me when I visited his Ozon Cyclery operation in Berlin recently, there are quite a few good reasons to give the ‘boo a bash, not least its affordable customisation potential.

“Say you want a winter or training bike – we can make a frame that is an exact replica of your favourite racing bike,” he says. “Then there is the performance. People have said they have never ridden a bike that has the combination of torsional stiffness and vibration dampening and a good weight – it will never be lighter than carbon but it can be close and it is a lot stronger. And better for the environment of course.”

More here.

The curious case of ketone esters

The ketone esters market has received its annual publicity boost as a performance and recovery aid for pro cyclists competing in the world’s toughest and most famous bike race – the just-completed and COVID-19-rescheduled three-week-long Tour de France.

The strongest team in the race, Netherlands-based Jumbo-Visma, was the only team to go on the record about using ketone esters. 

Its Slovenian leader and second-place finisher Primož Roglič stated somewhat ambiguously in a mid-race press conference: “Yeah, we are still using it. For the real effects, it’s really hard to say. It’s hard to feel it.”

Teams are obviously not going to shout about it if ketone esters are indeed producing significant performance gains.

However, ketone ester suppliers spoken to by NutritionInsight reckon more than half the 22 team Tour de France peloton uses them for training, in-race 'glycogen sparing' gains and post-race recovery, and have been for several years.

Other teams like Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto-Soudal from Belgium have previously said they have used them.

Frank Llosa, the owner of leading US ketone esters manufacturer KetoneAid and supplier to many pro cycling teams, tells NutritionInsight: “Nobody wants to talk about it. I’m surprised Jumbo talked about it. Perhaps they find it safer to admit to it now instead of being accused of it later.”

More here.

Haute Route: The mountain race show must go on



For near on a decade The Haute Route has provided epic high mountain bike racing for amateur cyclists to “feel like a pro” in multi-day events across some of Europe’s glory cols along with Brazil, Mexico and Oman.



As one Haute Route regular, 48-year-old UK-based Kiwi and HR stage winner and GC podium finisher Gretchen Miller tells The Draft“It is tough and competitive, but there are different levels and because a lot of people go back year after year you feel like it’s a family. It’s all about the people. Having full rider support in spectacular mountains is awesome as well. The massages. Getting cheered riding through mountain villages. It’s the highlight of my cycling year.”



More here.



Gretchen Miller



Dr Markus Rienth (orange & black)



Ma pomme...

New kit on the block: ‘The best pair of bib shorts is the pair you can’t feel.’

You may not have heard of cycling kit maker Universal Colours. The upstart European brand only just debuted its range at the end of July after a low-key, lockdown-afflicted launch campaign that has nonetheless left it chuffed to see heavy demand for some of its new products.

....

“We are a performance-led brand with a sustainable approach,” chief designer William Hurd says. “Using recycled materials is part of that but so is choosing fabrics that are durable and that is something we are very big on because at the end of the day the clothing industry as a whole is not sustainable. Straight up. But if you can get four times more riding out of a bib, to me that’s a more sustainable approach."

More here.