I had the pleasure last Friday of riding the Aske Bike for the first time round the Budleigh
Salterton Criterium. (2 long straights a U bend and then a short sharp incline!!)
Simon is considerably taller than I am, making the riding position being far from ideal, so it was mainly coast on the straights and out of the saddle for the climb. Not a record braking time but long enough to know I was riding a bike with some considerable potential plus it also had my name emblazoned along the main tube!!
The steering was sharp and direct, the weight was light, the comfort as previously described was like an armchair (making allowances for my shortness in height), when freewheeling it just kept going, staggering looks and last but by no means least it would speed along in whatever gear you were in. Didn't seem to make any difference what gear I had selected (although there obviously was) it just pulled away with an effortless prod on the pedals and with very little effort would speed up to a comfortable cruising speed.
Another part of the design that looked so neat and reduced weight was the innovative seat clamp. Not seen this on a bike before and it all added to its streamline appearance.
An amazing bike and I will certainly have to consider a purchase, though probably not doing enough miles these days to justify the cost. Will have to stick to my Hotta!!
See the recent photo of Simon in the recent Paris-Roubaix flying over the cobbles. Interesting to see after all the punishment the bike had received on the P-R it still had the same tyres on when I rode it. After the vibration on the cobbles for about 100 miles as expected all the welds where as manufactured even the handlebar tape had not a blemish. In fact the bike looked just like it had just left Colin Lewis Cycles Showroom that morning with not a scratch or imperfection to be seen anywhere!!
"Where tradition meets technology!!" Have I wetted your appetite?? A frame made to your own size, specification and colour will cost to £1000. What you add onto it is your choice. An example which is just going out of the shop shortly has all the bells and whistles on it with carbon handlebars ect. See if I can get a photo of it shortly. Give us a ring on 01803-553095 for further information or else call in the shop and see an Aske Bike in the flesh. You will not be disappointed. I wasn't.
Until next week,
"It was still as comfortable as an armchair!!" was Simon's comments after the Aske
Bike was given its toughest test yet and probably the toughest test it will ever have when it and he successfully completed the Paris-Roubaix Sportif last Saturday.
The bike withstood all the cobbles brilliantly with not a single puncture. The only after-effects Simon had were in a tingling in the hands just like when you do some hammer drilling. The sit upon was in perfect condition and the rest of the body was well extremely exhausted needing much R & R but fine!!
So to sum it up The Aske Bike: "Where tradition meets technology" and "Paris-Roubaix tested" was the sensation it was designed to be being 100% reliable and comfortable in the most challenging and arduous conditions of any road race!!
Call in our shop in Paignton and see the "Success story". Frames are available at £1000 to your own size, paint design and specification!!
As for the race itself on Sunday the "Big Boys" were not able to coerce (Bully??) the other riders into helping them and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team) was able to fox the bunch of 10 riders that had endured the torment until the end and built up a small lead on the peloton. This group included expected winner Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) who finished 3rd and likely candidate Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team).
With seven kilometres to go Niki took advantage of the moment. Omega Pharma-QuickStep also had Stybar and a very tired Boonen in the move and so could afford to play a card. The Dutch track specialist and fine time trialist jumped from near the back of the peloton and was quickly up to speed and quickly opening up a gap.
The other riders hesitated for a vital few seconds in the headwind and Terpstra was away. He quickly opened a 15-second gap and never looked back. He handed the final symbolic sector of pave with ease and then entered the velodrome alone, with a roar from the packed crowd. He completed his lap and a half at a steady speed and then celebrated with a loud roar and with some emotional arm waving. He has learned how to ride the Classics at Omega Pharma-QuickStep in recent years and has stepped up to take the biggest victory of his career.
A very well done to Brits and Sky riders Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins who were there until the end but were not quite strong or maybe brave enough to go after Niki Terpstra and had to be content with 7th and 9th instead. Sure they were both pleased but after all the agony only 1st is the prize that really is the reward for all the tough work.
Until next week,
The Brand new Simon Aske designed "Aske Bike" will have the test of tests this
Saturday as Simon tackles the Paris-Roubaix Sportif with his new stead. Full report next week to see how he gets on and how the bike performed. The photo shows the infamous Trench of Arenberg, one of
the most brutal cobbled sections in the race. (Some photos are more graphic in black and white!!) For your information the "smooth" bit on the left will be fenced off for
"The Hell of the North" is the nickname given to Paris-Roubaix, the third monument of the year and the final northern classic. Such a devilish pedigree has been established over the 111 editions since the race's inception in 1896, with the its treacherous cobblestones, excessive length and occasional adverse weather conditions all making this arguably the most difficult race of the year.
Though it may only arguably be the hardest race, it is indisputably the most unique. Unlike the other spring classics, the cobblestoned sections do not feature on short climbs like, for instance, the Paterberg, Koppenberg and the Kemmelberg, but instead on flat sections. As a result, there are lighter riders who flourish in Flanders that struggle in this race, while many diesel engines enjoy a rare parcours that rewards brute power over climbing and sprinting.
The weather looks set to be good so the surface will be dust not mud. With as last week's Tour of Flanders there were many fallers and it is the hard men at the front who are more likely to survive. Almost as well as last week's Grand National for horses you have to have a good head as well as good legs and what could be called stickability to see the pain through to the end.
So winners!! The favourite is last week's Flanders victor Fabian Cancellara (Trek) who outwitted his opponents to help him to the finish and then pipped them to the post.
Next must be Sep Vanmarke (Belkin) who gamely stayed with Fabian last week.
Don't forget Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) though looked not at his best last week; a record breaking 5th win is still a possibility.
I have to suggest Brits Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Geraint Thomas (Sky). Bradley will go for a top ten but Geraint is no slouch over the cobbles of northern France. The winner of the 2004 junior event was also second on the last Tour de France stage that went over the pavé. Eighth in Flanders after two crashes suggests he has the form to be a contender.
Most of won't be sharing Simon's privileged view on Sunday but as normal Eurosport will be giving their usual full coverage. Not to be missed!!
Until next week,
Simon, owner of CLCycles, has just returned from Belgium where he visited the
Sky Headquarters at short notice after having an invite on Tuesday. His trip was sponsored by the Protein Food manufacturers CNP for who we are suppliers. He was picked up by the Sky Team Bus and
travelled in sheer luxury to what they call the "Service Course".
Whilst there he met with the 2 American riders Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski as well as having a ride on a team bike Pinarrello Dogma. So Simon returned like a little boy who had just had a ride on a steam train in the cab and had just blown the whistle. He deserved it especially as it was his birthday on Monday!!
Again Devon is blessed by having the Tour of Britain return again on Thursday 11 September. The Tour starts at Exmouth then over to the home of Colin Lewis in Bovey Tracey to do the challenging Haytor climb. From there it's via Princetown and Okekampton with the finish in Exeter.
See below for the full Tour of Britain Schedule:-
Stage One Sunday 7th September Liverpool city centre 130km
Stage Two Monday 8th September Knowsley to Llandudno 197km
Stage Three Tuesday 9th September Newtown to The Tumble 150km
Stage Four Wednesday 10th September Worcester to Bristol 182km
Stage Five Thursday 11th September Exmouth to Exeter 171km
Stage Six Friday 12th September Bath to Hemel Hempstead 203km
Stage Seven Saturday 13th September Camberley to Brighton 220km
Stage Eight a Sunday 14th September London individual time trial
Stage Eight b Sunday 14th September London circuit race
Ben Swift has been in the news this new season and has been putting in some brave performances. I first heard about him when in 2009 he won a stage just down the road at Yeovil. Here is a brief preview of his career as I think we will be hearing much more about him the year.
Ben was born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, but now lives in the Isle of Man. He began cycling with B.A.T.S ALL TERRAIN at the age of 3, spending his early years racing BMX before turning to all disciplines of cycling. In 1996 he made his first international racing trip. In 1997 Ben won his first international race, in the following years Ben was regularly racing on the continent.
In 2002, he came second to fellow Olympian Steven Burke in the under 16 national scratch race championship. As a junior rider, he was selected to be part of the Great Britain national team. He also competed at the Junior Commonwealth Games, taking bronze in the points race, he won two national titles, the junior points race championship in 2004 followed by the junior scratch race in 2005. He represented his country at the Junior European tracking championships as well and the World Track and Road World Championships, He also competed in the senior scratch race in 2005, demonstrating his ability by finishing third to take the bronze medal.
In October 2005 he got selected to be part of Great Britain U23 Cycling academy where he spent three years, before turning professional with Team Katusha in 2009. During his period on the academy he represented his country at the 2006 Track European championship, 2007 Track European Championship taking Gold in the Team Pursuit, 2007 European Road Championships taking 5th.
In 2008 he was 4th in the European Road Championship, represented his country at the Beijing Olympics riding the men's road race and was 4th in the World Road Championships, he then proceeded to sign his first Professional Contract.
He made his professional road debut in August 2007 joining Barloworld as a trainee during which time he won the King of the Mountains title in the Tour of Britain.
During 2008 he raced for the British Cycling development team and won his first UCI ranked race. He represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympic Games road race and at the UCI Road World Championships were he finished fourth in the under 23 race. After the championships he signed a two year professional contract with the new Russian Katusha team.
In 2009 he was selected to ride the Giro d'Italia. He finished third in the stage 2 of the Giro d'Italia. He also won a stage of the Tour of Britain. Ben spoke with CyclingNews in 2009, describing himself as "an all rounder, who can do well in the Classics and win stages.
'My weakness is in the time trial. I don't like doing them and I'm not really that good at them.' During his first season with Sky his most significant result came at the Tour de Picardie, at which he won one stage, the general classification, the points classification and best young rider.
2011 has seen Ben win his first stage of a UCI World Tour race, winning stage two of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. Four days later he also won stage six. Since then he has continued his excellent form by wins at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon; stage five, Tour de Romandie; stage five and the Tour of California; stage two.
Until next week,