Chris Froome is Tour de France 2013’s odds-on favourite

The countdown for Tour de France 2013 has already started and everybody is excited to find out who will win the coveted yellow jersey.  Started in 1903, the annual bicycle race has gained prominence and popularity all over the globe. It consists of 21-day long stages over a 23-day period and covers around 2,000 miles around France.

Tour de France 2013’s odds-on favourite – Chris Froome

For this year, sports enthusiasts say that British athlete Chris Froome will most likely to win the grand prize after he won Criterium du Dauphine early this month. In an interview with BBC, Froome said that his Dauphine win is a “positive test for the Tour de France”. He also mentioned that he is determined to win this year’s Tour de France, but he knows that he is just one of the several contenders for the coveted prize. “I have won the Dauphine and other races before, but the counter is back to zero when the Tour starts”, he added. Broome also mentioned the people whom he thinks are great contenders for the overall victory. Some of them are Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Cadel Evans, Tejay Van Garderen and Nairo Quintana.

Froome has been having a great year so far for his career. Aside from the Dauphine, he also won the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie. This is why sports critics, enthusiasts and even punters all chose him to be the odds-on favourite to win Tour de France this year.

According to various betting websites, Froome is the punters’ favourite, with impressive betting odds followed by Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Richie Porte and Nairo Quintana. Tour de France will kick off on June 29th and will end on July 21st.
Our Australian readers can check our favourite online betting website, AU Free Bets offers the best value to place a bet on your favourite Tour de France athlete. There is number of free bets from this website for different bookmakers and great promotions leading up to the event.

Do-it-yourself LED work lights

During the past month, I have been busy trekking and going on biking trips with fellow bikers. It was really exciting even though we had to endure dirt, rain and sun. Aside from enjoying the view, the company of my friends and the adventures we’ve shared, I also enjoyed learning a lot of new biking tips from my friends who are experienced trekkers.

They taught me things that I should always keep in mind when I’m biking as well as the list of things that I should always bring during biking trips. One suggestion was to ensure I bought trusty LED work lights from S3 performance. These can be a little pricey though, so if you are on a tight budget, my friends came up with do-it-yourself LED work lights which I tried doing at home.

We attempted to make a Mark 6b LED bicycle headlight. It was actually a lot of fun and took me back to my childhood days and pulling things apart just to put them back together. We attempted to make a main beam that which could be used as a dip beam with a Cyo lamp. However, it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I had to keep in mind the efficiency of the work I was going to do and the accuracy of the figures I was going to work with otherwise my attempt at achieving a good quality, home-made LED work light, would have failed miserably.

Firstly, you have to keep in mind the angles of the nominal beam you are going to assemble as well as the percentage of light that is going to be concentrated within the said beam. It is also vital to make note of the peripheral illumination aspect of the LED work lights you are making.

The whole process was trial and error, especially since it was my firs time. It required a lot of patience, hard work and good estimating skills. However, once all the hard work and focus was completed – it was definitely worth it.

Watch a video on how to make your own LED lights at home.

My Top Cycling Gear

The bicycle is obviously the most critical piece of equipment a cyclist needs.  However, the clothing/gear they choose to wear and use is also a very important factor which can have a big impact on race results.  Even as an ordinary cyclist the clothing you choose determines how comfortable the ride is. There are many brands out there that should be considered when choosing the right wardrobe for your cycling.

Specialized is one of the ranges that feature a lot of choices and is one of the leaders when it comes to cycling clothing and accessories at affordable prices. They have a nice range of jackets and under vests for men and women. They also have shorts which are perfect for the summer, making sure that the ride is as comfortable as possible.

Next on the list is Endura ,which is the next brand that is famous among cyclists;  manufacturing for over 15 years. The brand meets the ideals for professional and amateur cyclists. Endura have an assortment of items all made to ensure that your cycling experience is as comfortable as possible, from sunglasses, boxers, coats and gloves, they can provide anything for any season and any cyclist.

And last on my list is the Assos clothing range – comfort and optimum protection clothing for the  best experience. The Fabrics that are used by Assos are light, and sensitive which allows the cyclist to be free while cycling, giving the rider a lot of comfort.  Just like my first two choices Assos, has a huge range of products for everyone from jerseys, shorts and socks.

When shopping around for cycling gear comfort should always come first; when you are comfortable you can maximize your efficiency.

 

 

 

Cervelo S3 Review

Cervelo S3 Review

Cost $7,200 or higher

In all my years of riding and racing I have heard nothing but good reviews about Cervelo bicycles.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to reviewing the Cervelo S3. Cervelo is famous worldwide for its cutting edge technology and outstanding performance. Eqipped with it’s very competitive SRAM Red groupo,  Arione saddle, Rotor cranks, and  Zipp’s 404 tubular wheel set, the S3 was ready for me, and I for it.

For my test with the S3 I selected a flat stretch of road. The wind was blowing 15-20 mph and was mostly a dead-on cross wind. My target was an hour tempo ride with two minute intervals at the end.  The S3 pushed laterally quite easily when riding into the cross winds, but a battle to keep the S3 upright when I turned into the crosswind. Using a 3″ down tube the S3 catches crosswind; it is also equipped  with some high profile Zipp 404, combined with some crosswinds and it will be a bit of a fight. Even a crosshead wind tended to push the bike a little.

I picked an area with less wind so the pushing which I had experienced would not be a problem for the two minute intervals. I switched my power meter on and floored it on the first interval; my first thought was -his bike is fast!  I looked at my power meter and it agreed.

Once I finished my ride I transferred my data and saw that I was able to generate more power during the tempo than I was able to do with the bike I normally ride.

Things I observed during the ride:

1)The ride was still comfortable even with cracks on the road that would normally be bumpy. The S3 absorbed the rough road and made the ride smooth and comfortable and I was able to produce higher numbers than I normally do.

2)I noticed how firm the rear of the S3 was. The Cervelo S3 pedals really responded quickly when they needed to. Extra power generated could be seen in my power meter CPU right away.

The following test is a course in a criterium like environment, high speed corners at about 20 mph, saddle jumps etc. The S3 cornered effortless with every turn of the handlebars and steer tube. With my confidence growing I decided to do some corners at 30 mph plus.  I experienced no feelings of push or skip which I normally get when cornering at such high speeds.

My next test is a 2 mile climb at an average grade of 7.5% where the S3 was not as responsive but did not matter much cause I was switching from in saddle to out of saddle so it could have been my fault for most of the climb.  The situation changed immediately on my down as I topped 55mph on a 15% grade for about 2 miles as the S3 exceeded my expectations of how it would handle itself at high speeds.  The bike did not shake, no noise, and held its speed nicely and the aerodynamic tubing cut through the air for more speed.

The S3 costs about the price of a entry level car and not everyone will be able to afford it, but this is a review of the bike’s performance and not the price.  Thor Hushovd uses the S3 because it distrubutes power very well is smooth laterally, and pretty darn fast! Him being a world champion should be enough proof that he knows how to pick a bike.  And I am pretty sure he would also vouch for the S3.

For more information about the Cervelo S3 or other Cervélo bikes visit www.cervelo.com

 

 

Why You Need Bicycle Insurance

Here at Cycling Toplinks we discuss and review bicycles and gear all the time.  We also like to give some advise on deciding which policy to choose to protect your beloved bicycles. After all, we have a couple of insurance providers to choose from.  I am gonna go first with my bicycle insurance which is bikesure.

 Bikesure offers

1. Bikesure Pro:

A comprehensive Home and Contents Package that includes bicycle insurance.

 

2. Bikesure Sport:

A Stand Alone bicycle insurance policy.
Both policies include the following benefits:

 

Worldwide cover for damage to bikes (up to 90 days)

Damage to bikes including whilst in use

Cover for theft in open air

Third party cover up to $20,000,000 (including whilst racing)

Cover for damage to your bike whilst racing

I have the Bikesure Sport package and a separate Home Insurance which includes my bike as well.  The  Bikesure Sport provides me the peace of mind that I am fully covered when I am racing in competitions.  Twice I have had to make a claim and twice I was satisfied with their response.

I have not had any problems in making a claim and highly recommend Bikesure.  People don’t really have much to complain about when they are happy and get what is promised them, I am glad I chose Bikesure for my Bicycle Insurance.  I will go into more details with the other insurance providers in my next article post. Until then, I’m more than happy to keep Bikesure as my bicycle insurance provider.

How To Become A Cyclist

I started cycling cause a friend of mine travelled 140kms in 7hrs.  He was just an acquaintance when I first heard of this, and I have to say, it shocked me.  It was my first time actually meeting someone who has ridden a bicycle over such an enormous distance.  Being a competitive person I wanted to learn more about what my friend did and naturally, I wanted to beat him.  A characteristically competitive person; if there is anybody in my office who is partaking in a sport, I have have to be included. I don’t care if it’s a team or individual sport, as long as I get to compete and excel in it.

When you start on your road to cycling (mind the pun!), you will read and hear about speeds and distances done by other cyclists.  Cyclists with a backlog of experience will be able to cover 100kms at 25-30kmh just during their weekends.  Hearing that, was the desire I needed to push myself, especially since I was only able to ride 10kms in 30minutes.

One of the first things about cycling that you must realise is that it is a sport of endurance and not a short-term activity.  Gradually your mind and body will adapt to the long distances and burning muscles. Don’t stress,  you will not be able cover great distances within the first 3 months, unless you are some sort of cycling sensation.

The first few weeks is just about getting to know the bike and what it is capable of.  There is no shame in being able to cycle only 10kms or having other cyclists pass you; your ability to do more and travel longer distances will improve at your own pace.

After a week or two of doing 10km two to four times a week, you can start trying 15kms or even more, it is all up to you to decide how hard you are willing to push yourself.  Beginner speed is about 18-20kmh and only takes a few weeks to achieve. In some cases if you are a natural you can do this the first day and with very little training you’ll soon be speeding along like Lance Armstrong.

Ideally a cyclist should have both speed and endurance.  Try take long rides on weekends for endurance, say for 2-3 hours.  On weekdays go for short, fast-paced rides to pick up speed. Although don’t concentrate too much on what your speed is as this will fluctuate daily;  There will be days when you could beat a world record and others when a golf cart is faster than you.  There are a lot of factors to account for such as your physical condition, weather, type of terrain surface, traffic etc.

If you maintain this routine for six months, it will be safe to say that not only are you dedicated to becoming a cyclist, but your strength and endurance would have improved in leaps and bounds.

As for me, and my journey of becoming a cyclist – it was 22 months before I began beating my friend.

2012 Polygon Cozmic DX4.0 Dirt Jump

Polygon Cozmic DX4.0 Dirt Jump Review

$748+

What makes cycling a versatile sport and pastime? Well, for starters, there are no boundaries restricting you to where you can ride. Gravel, loose dirt, mud, concrete and asphalt are few areas to be conquered by any man on two wheels, strong legs and lungs full of air.

There are people out there who want to push the limits – reforming a casual pastime into an extreme sport: Welcome to the world of dirt biking, where jumps are a common occurrence and natures hills are just jump starts.

Popularly dominating these frontiers are Polygon’s Cozmic DX 4.0 dirt jump bikes. Mixing gratifying features and parts with more than welcome performance and dependability; the DX 4.0 is undoubtedly a crowd pleaser.

The DX 40’s will remind you just how technology has been pushed to cater to man’s whim: the full Marzocchi fork absorbs enough impact on moderate to high jumps, while maintaining stability on smaller bump runs. This keeps the rider confident in setting up big airs without the fear of receiving a face full of dirt.

The resilient aluminium frame is specially designed to provide smooth but resilient runs without the heft of bigger, heavier frames intended to suck up the same amount of abuse. Alloy construction is superb and the rigid but responsive feel of the frame provides comfort for the rider.

Pushing for hill runs and jumps are the cranks and hubs intended for pushing power when you need it. Plus, the chain set up is stiff when it needs to but remains flexible after jumps. Brakes are fairly easy going since the smaller disc brakes don’t usually end up overheating too much – dirt runs and jumps are fairly short when compared with tours and road runs. Topping it all off, the Schwalb rims and Lead Tech handlebars provide the icing on top to an already awesome set. Performance alone trumps the price for this bike. The Polygon Cozmic DX 4.0 is definitely a top-quality, just ask Sam Reynolds and Yannick Granieri; Polygon’s newest recruits and two of the world’s greatest in getting big airs. The Cozmic DX 4.0 mountain bikes are available from Bicycles Online.

Bike Reviews

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