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Rolf Rae-Hansen

Polychrome People

Eight stories, one massive multi-coloured cloud.

Polychrome PeopleTo each their own view of the mysterious cloud’s innumerable, shifting shades. For some it’s a brief distraction – snap, swipe, share – for others an excuse to party, a nuisance, an evil portent or an act of international terrorism. For an exclusive few the fog is an opportunity, a moment of enchantment and a chance to change. Continue reading “Polychrome People”

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The Breakaway – Cycling the Mountains of the Tour de France

Cycling the Mountains of the Tour de France

Click here to buy the book at Amazon.

At some point in their life every amateur cyclist dreams of riding the high roads of the Tour de France, discovering first-hand what it’s like to tackle Alpe D’Huez or the Tourmalet.

Not many cyclists ever get round to turning that notion into reality. Author Rolf Rae-Hansen and his best friend did just that, and to Alpe D and the Tourmalet they added another 33 of cycling’s most feared and revered mountain passes.

Just days into their adventure it became clear that these two distinctly amateur cyclists had bitten off more mountain than they could comfortably chew. As they ticked off the climbs one by one, their friendship was tested to, and then beyond, destruction. Continue reading “The Breakaway – Cycling the Mountains of the Tour de France”

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Review: Full Gas by Peter Cossins

It’s a long time since I last pinned a number to my cycling jersey. Back in my day (when MTB wheels were all 26 inches and fluro lycra wasn’t retro) I entered a lot of cross-country races. The only tactic I observed, with mixed to middling results, was to ride flat-out from start to finish. My only ‘glorious’ road-racing memory involves failing to ride my breakaway companions off my wheel on a climb, then leading out the sprint, ignoring my inner monologue, which was breathlessly shouting, “you shouldn’t be leading out, you shouldn’t be leading out!

I have no immediate intention of returning to competitive ways and so picked up Full Gas – How to Win a Bike Race: Tactics From Inside the Peloton, to give it its full title, unsure if this book was really for me.

It didn’t take long for those doubts to be dispelled.

Continue reading “Review: Full Gas by Peter Cossins”

Book Review – Shut Up Legs by Jens Voigt

Shut up legs! Retired pro-cyclist Jen’s Voigt inner-pain voice, turned catchphrase, turned marketing slogan is now the title of his autobiography.

Voigt had a long, successful career with a palmares that most domestiques (that’s mostly the role he played) would kill (their team leader) for: two Tour de France stages, wore the yellow jersey twice, five-times winner of Criterium International, won the Deutschland Tour, Tour Méditerranéen, plus various other stage wins and podiums, and he broke the Hour Record on the track.

Continue reading “Book Review – Shut Up Legs by Jens Voigt”

Cycling – Gravel-Riding The Isle of Arran

At the start of this year I swapped my old skinny-tyred Scott CR1 for a fat-ish tyred Jamis gravel bike. If my Twitter feed is anything to go by, a lot of folk see the gravel trend as marketing bollocks designed to sell more bikes. In all honesty, mine has proved something of a revelation. Over the last couple of years I’d begun to get a little tired of tackling the same old, routine road rides in my local patch. Owning a bike that can take the rough with the smooth has allowed me to explore tracks, paths, old drove roads and the like to expand my route itinerary without the hassle of moving house.

Continue reading “Cycling – Gravel-Riding The Isle of Arran”

Review: Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel

Anquetil, Alone may not be the most comprehensive history of the first rider to win five Tours de France but if there’s one better written I’ll eat my chapeau.

need for bikeTo Maître Jacques in a minute. First, the author: Paul Fournel is a French writer, poet, publisher, and cultural ambassador. A few years back I stumbled upon his 2001 collection of essays on cycling, Need For The Bike (Besoin de vélo, in its original French). If you’re a cyclist and haven’t read it then do yourself a favour, open a new tab in your browser and order a copy. Now. Fournel may not have been the best cyclist ever (he describes his own two-wheeled talent as banal) but there’s no one who writes better about the sport.

Continue reading “Review: Anquetil, Alone by Paul Fournel”

The Lodge at Edenhall – An Enlightened Log Cabin

We all get the idea of relaxation but how many of us ever properly succeed? A few moments to savour a coffee, ten seconds before the traffic lights change, the five minutes of any day when you’re not being digitally nagged and staring at a screen. For most, the reality of relaxation is little more than a few stolen moments peppered throughout the rush of the daily routine. As for a whole weekend of it? Sure sounds like a magical proposition, but come on, who are you trying to kid?

Continue reading “The Lodge at Edenhall – An Enlightened Log Cabin”

Review: Rainbows in the Mud by Paul Maunder

Rainbows in the Mud – Inside the Intoxicating World of Cyclocross by Paul Maunder

What I knew about cyclocross before reading this book:

  • ‘Cross is what masochistic roadies do in the winter
  • Lots of mud
  • Running and bunny-hopping
  • More mud
  • Belgium
  • Did I mention mud?

Continue reading “Review: Rainbows in the Mud by Paul Maunder”

A Cyclist’s Paean to the Humble Banana

I was watching my guilty-pleasure TV show, Come Dine With Me, the other night when one of the contestants opined their phobia-level hatred of the banana. What had the mellow yellow done to make him so vociferous? I probably didn’t want to know, but I did take an instant dislike to the hater. The banana, you see, is a pal of mine.

Continue reading “A Cyclist’s Paean to the Humble Banana”

Review: Deep-Tissue Thai Massage at Knot Stressed, Edinburgh

The Treatment

A 90-minute Seriously Stretchy Summer Release deep-tissue Thai Massage with rolling acupressure and passive stretches at Knot Stressed Therapies Clinic (40-42 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5DL, 07540 809 944, www.knotstressed.com).

This treatment is based on a foundation of Thai massage, with the practitioner using their hands, elbows, knees and feet to apply yoga-like stretches to the receiver’s body. These Thai techniques are complemented by acupressure, whereby clearing pressure is placed upon the body’s “meridians”, junctions through which life energy is considered to flow. Price: £50.

Continue reading “Review: Deep-Tissue Thai Massage at Knot Stressed, Edinburgh”

Scotland’s Best Cycling Climbs: Cairn o’ Mount

I’ve been making a belated effort to tackle some of Scotland’s toughest/best (depending on your penchant for uphill) cycling climbs. Towards the end of the winter I sampled the Mennock Pass (nice but by no means nasty), a few weeks ago the Bealach na Ba (nice and nasty, thanks to hideous weather) and, just the other day, the Cairn o’ Mount (read on).

Continue reading “Scotland’s Best Cycling Climbs: Cairn o’ Mount”

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