Rolf Rae-Hansen

Rolf's a freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh

Cycling Savoie Mont Blanc

I’m recently back from a few day’s riding in the Savoie Mont Blanc, the lumpy, Alpine part of Eastern France that borders Switzerland and Italy. The area, hugely popular with winter skiers, is making a big push to promote its many mountainous delights to summer cyclists. Not that cyclists haven’t already discovered the place. I stayed in Morzine, which has already hosted 19 Tour de France stages, including this year’s Tour’s penultimate etape (the soggy stage won by  Ion Izagirre’s demon descent off the Col de Joux-Plane). The locals clearly took the Tour to heart and a month on from the big event the whole area was still decked out in white with red polka dots to match the maillot a pois rouge worn by the race’s best climber. 2016-08-20_17.25.00.jpg

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The Real Reason We Ride

A colleague recently asked why I cycle to work. Edinburgh is serviced by a host of bus routes, cycling in traffic can be dangerous, the weather is usually grim, and I own a car.

My reasons were very noble: it saves me money, on petrol, bus fares, etc. It’s greener (I may be inhaling deadly fumes but at least I’m not contributing to the problem). It’s quicker (my journey by bike takes half what it does by car). Cycling keeps me fit and, according to a recent Kings College study, slows the ageing process (yeah, 41 but I barely look a day over 39. Don’t believe the scientists on the ageing thing? Check out 90 year old Douglas Seale).

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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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Riding Through The Death Rattle

Ridden to death

Ever been through one of those bicycle maintenance episodes that leaves you wishing you hadn’t bothered/had just bought a new bike/had taken up jogging instead of cycling? Continue reading “Riding Through The Death Rattle”

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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The Rider by Tim Krabbé – a Nano Review

The Rider is the English translation of Tim Krabbé’s 1978 Dutch book, DeRenner. It’s long been a cult classic, but I was late to the party, despite having known of the tome for ages.

The 148 pages tell the story of the author’s experience in racing the Tour de Mont Aigoual. His commentary of the 150km event is littered with various cycling-related anecdotes and others detailing his own journey to becoming an amateur racing cyclist. Continue reading “The Rider by Tim Krabbé – a Nano Review”

The Day The Grown Man Cried

I’ve long been particularly susceptible to cold hands. Even a short ride to work on a not particularly cold day can leave me in a decent amount of discomfort. Last weekend’s ride was a new (temperature) low for my poor icy paws, and it sent me in search of a solution.

The last couple of winters I’ve been riding with Sealskin’s Extra Cold Winter Gloves (see my review here). With these and a liner glove I’ve been just about okay on most days.

Andy Hampsten recreating my ride



Continue reading “The Day The Grown Man Cried”

UK MTB – The Golden Age

Stumbled upon this Facebook group yesterday, UK MTB Golden Era 1989-99 appreciation group, and have wasted a great deal of time down memory lane.

It’s dedicated to the golden age of UK mountain biking and is full of pics and reminiscences about really ‘cool’ things like this:

Continue reading “UK MTB – The Golden Age”

I See Bicycles

I see bicycles everywhere I go, even Venice, where there aren’t any. I’m just back from a short break to that most amazing city, during which my better-cultured half dragged me to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Peggy Guggenheim was an American heiress who liked nothing more than to lounge around with her Lhasa Apsos, surrounded by exclusive/expensive modern art. Peg popped her clogs in 1979 and the Guggenheim Foundation opened her palazzo to the public.

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