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Corona days

When I stopped racing cyclocross, I made a pledge to myself – never again on the trainer! No Zwift, no intervals, no nothing. If it was raining outside I was going to just not ride. But events in the last weeks put things into perspective (like, say, the fragility of the global economy, or our social safety nets), including my very deeply-rooted dislike of riding on trainers. A lot of people out there are still thumbing their nose at all these quarantine rules, but surely if they are cancelling the PARIS FUCKING ROUBAIX, you can abstain from social contact. And if you haven’t ridden on those cobbles, well, 55km of those are a lot more painful than staying inside a couple weeks.

I don’t know if where you live cycling is allowed or discouraged – where I am it’s prohibited. The reasoning is: if you crash and go to the ER, you’re taking resources that are already very thin. At first I laughed at this – honestly, how many cyclists crash and go to the hospital any given day? But it’s about doing your part, and making sure you don’t go to the hospital. Suck it up. And as with any laborious task, a wicked soundtrack makes it so much easier. So today was a Black Sabbath day. Volume 4. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. And yes even Ronny James Dio. Heaven and Hell. Don’t you dare talk shit about RJD.

So, in short, repeat: #staythefuckinside – and let’s make sure that come July we’re watching a real Tour de France and not some online simulated trainer version of it. We even threw together a little metal playlist if you decide to hop on the trainer (and like metal).

Lisbon Vincent Launch

I know what you’re saying.  Didn’t you guys launch the Vincent last year in Japan?  Well as a matter of fact we did.  But then it took us a year to get the web page up (don’t ask) and we had so much fun before, we thought we should just do it again.

We have a Stoemper rider and kindred spirit living in Lisbon and had been trying to get over there for a while, so we asked Luis if he was free in May and it all kind of came together.  So, Dave from the UK and I arrived in Lisbon and, like any Stoemper event, the first thing we did was to finish assembling the bikes.

Two brand-new Vincents, one red and one majestic purple, were all built up with SRAM eTap, Zipp bar/stem/post, sexy Selle Italia Turbo saddles, and Hunt 50mm wheels.  If we could get all the wireless stuff to work all right we’d be in good shape for the weekend.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and sits on a series of hills above the Tagus estuary, where the river meets the sea.  For a road cyclist, there are only a handful of routes in and around the city.  But once you’re out, the riding is sublime.  Our first day “warm up” turned out to be a 75km jaunt down to Cascais and back, sprinting for just about every town sign or little hill we could find.  Bikes felt fast.  Legs felt good.

We won’t bore you with a minutiae of details from every ride.  But day 2 took us up to Mafra, home of a huge old monastery and some great cake shops, down to Sintra and on one of the nicest cycling roads I’ve ever done, skirting around the shoulder of the Sintra mountain, and then back along the Tagus to the city.  130km of fun, great scenery, great group of guys, and some quality cake stops. The ride:

Day 3 was something special, driving from Lisbon across the river and to the Arrabida national park.  Stunning scenery with a steep mountain ridge overlooking crystal blue waters.  Asphalt so clean and smooth you could eat off it.  Incredible descending.  And a stop in Setubal for some fried squid – “choco frito”.  And cake, of course.

All good things must come to an end.  We finished up our Lisbon trip with another jaunt out to Cascais, adding a big ol’ climb in the middle which rose up into some drizzle and into the clouds before dropping back down into the massive tailwind back to Lisbon.

Too short, but sweet.  The cake shops.  The roads.  Thanks to Luis for sorting amazing routes, thanks to Manuel Lino for the stellar photography.

Australia Handmade Bike Show was good, and that’s fair dinkum

When Greg Chalberg of Wheelhaus mentioned the first Australia Handmade Show in Melbourne, we knew we had to go!  We’re generally not big on bike shows but hell, any excuse to get down to Australia.  Australia!  Meat pies, Boag’s beer, AC DC, cricket, strange animals – all the good things in life.

This was the first year of the Handmade Show in Australia. Put on by some really nice guys, it was located in the unofficial bike capital of Australia – Melbourne.  Located in the historic meat market, we had a pretty good venue and a good turn out of builders.  From one-man MTB builder TOR Bikes located near Canberra, to super duper fancy high-tech road bike ballers Bastion.  And a bunch more.  For a list of all the builders check it out here.

We went down with our best foot forward, showing off some recent work including a handful of custom paint frames.  First up: Tim Neal’s Taylör was a semi-custom paint – custom Cinelli laser blue, on our standard frame design, with some skulls thrown on for good measure.  Tim had the idea to have a laughing skull at the top rear of the seat tube, so wheel suckers would get laughed at. Decked out with Record 11 disc, this bikes was HOT.


Another Tim (Tim Weeks) had a vision for a custom Taylör with the paint designed by local Sydney artist Frida Las Vegas.  So we made a powder-blue fade into a really light pink with flamingos and more.  The fine people at Wheelworks let us display this bike in their booth with a set of their hand-crafted hoops on it.

The Peacock frame we had hanging in the booth was for Mathieu in Laos – he had ordered the infamous Heat Map frame from us a few years back, which then got totalled in a head to head mortal kombat with a taxi driver, and this was his replacement.  Todd painted the frame to match another Attaquer kit – the Peacock kit.  The blue-green fade was so deep it seemed to draw people in like the sirens of Odysseus.  Hand-painted feathers on top of that – here’s Greg holding that sexy frame.

We also showed the original Vincent, with Wheelhaus-edition paint.  Weighing in at just over 1300 grams, it was built up with Dura Ace, rim (cough) brakes, and fancy Wheelworks wheels from New Zealand.  Quite a looker.

We can’t thank Greg Chalberg of Wheelhaus enough for suggesting and then organizing the whole thing.  And on top of that, the very fine people of Wheelworks in New Zealand hooked us up with wheels for all our show bikes and were generally very fine neighbors.