The Rides

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The Ride. It is the cathedral of our sport, where we worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer. It is the end to our means. Indeed, The Bike may be the central tool to our sport, but to turn the pedals is to experience the sensation of freedom, of flight. It is all for The Ride.

The world is overflowing with small, twisty roads that capture our collective imagination as cyclists. We spend our lifetimes searching out the best routes and rides; we pore over maps, we share with our fellow disciples, we talk to non-cycling locals all in pursuit of the Perfect Ride.

The Rides is devoted entirely to the best routes and rides around the world. Some are races or cyclosportives, others feature in the Classics and stages of The Great Races, while others still are little-known gems, discovered through careful meditation on The V. Be warned: these rides are not your average Sunday Afternoon spin; these rides are the best and most difficult rides in the word – they represent the rites of passage into La Vie Velominatus. It is to be taken for granted that these rides require loads of Rule #5, many of them Rule #10, and all of them are best enjoyed in Rule #9 conditions. They have been shared by you, the community. The Rides also features articles devoted to the greatest rides and providess a forum for sharing other rides for discussion.

If you’d like to submit a ride or an article about your own favorite ride, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

Haleakala

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 56km / Location: Paia, Maui, Hawaii, USA

haleakala

Haleakala is simultaneously the longest paved continuous climb in the world as well as the shortest ascent from sea level to 10,000 feet in the world. Though not terribly steep, this is a long, grinding climb that will reduce a strong rider to a whimpering lump.

To put the effort in perspective, this climb is 60km long a an average of 6% with two pitches as steep as 17%. That translates to somewhere between 3 or more hours of nonstop climbing, usually in Maui’s direct heat and often into a whipping headwind that spins around into a headwind no matter which direction the switchbacks take you.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 265 / Location: Liege, Belgium

lbl

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only La Doyenne, the oldest of the Classics, but also represents perhaps the most demanding course in cycling. The 280 km, 3000m vertical route starts with an easy ride out from Liege to Bastogne which lulls riders into a false sense of security; the hills are frequent, but none of them terribly demanding. Into Bastogne, and the story changes on the way back to Liege with 9 categorized climbs in the second half, including the fearsome Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/

Paris-Roubaix

Category: Hardman / Distance: 265 / Location: Compiégne, France

paris-roubaix

L’enfur du Nord. The Hell of The North. The Queen of the Classics. This isn’t a ride over the stones from your local brick-paved roads. You think climbs are what make a ride tough? We’ve got news for you: this is the hardest ride on the planet and it boasts a maximum elevation of 55 meters. These are vicious, brutal stones; the kind that will stretch each kilometer to their full length, the kind of stones that you will feel long after the rattling of the bars has stopped. These stones will change you. Forever.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/

Guide: Pavé Cycling Classics

Mortirolo/Gavia Loop

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 115km / Location: Bormio, Italy / Contributor: Joe

The Mortirolo is perhaps the most feared pass in Western Europe, and the Gavia the most storied. Given their proximity to each other, its a wonder why this isn’t the most talked-about ride in Italy. Maybe it is; its impossible to say without being Italian. The loop nature of this ride makes it feasible as a solo escapade, but any ride with the kind of stats this one bears – 3200 meters ascended in 115 kilometers including the viscously steep Mortirolo – is best enjoyed with a riding partner or support car.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/

200 on 100

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 330km / Location: Vernon, VT / Contributor: cdelinks

“Dumptruck of Awesome” has become the catch-phrase associated with this brutally hard, yet strikingly beautiful 330 kilometer (200 mile) ride down Vermont Route 100.  This ride was made popular during the summer of 2011 when Ted King, Tim Johnson, and a local amateur cyclist, Ryan Kelly, documented this ride on film. The ride starts on the Canadian border and finishes on the Massachusetts border.  With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 kilometer ride, you will need to pack a few lunches to get through this one.  Do this ride in the Fall, and the foliage might be beautiful enough to distract you from the horrible pain you will most certainly suffer.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 76km / Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

A ride that officially “never happens” each spring, this 76 km route charts a course through Portland’s West Hills, paying homage to the European Spring Classics. Approximately 1,800 meters of paved and unpaved climbs are spread throughout the course, with several sections reaching grades of over 20%. More information can be found at Ronde PDX.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210

Seattle Master Urban Ride

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 130km / Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

seattleronde

This is perhaps the most challenging urban route in Seattle, hitting three of the big hills that define Seattle’s topography. The route starts and ends on Phinney Ridge, but hits the climbs of Interlaken and Alder Street/Lake Dell Drive on its way to Mercer Island, before coming back to hit Queen Anne and Magnolia, weaving its way up each of these hills as many times as possible via the steepest route available before the finale to the north via Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge Drive, and Carkeek Park. Panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, The Olympic Penninsula and Puget Sound makes this a standout Urban ride.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282

  1. This is a good workout for any London/Surrey locals. Any takers?

    http://littlelumpy.co.uk




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  2. @RobSandy

    In no-man’s land between the break and the bunch, tried to bridge, ran out of legs then got dropped as the bunch came past me.

    “Être en chasse-patate” is what they call that state.




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  3. taking a break from the post-Giro recaps, this is what i did last Saturday. i haven’t climbed hills of any significance in over 20 years, and part of this course was gravel and fire roads, part of the Rouge Roubaix course, which was a first for me. i met the Man With the Hammer at about 78km. another first, as i’ve never met him with another hill to climb. the last 26 km were the hardest of my cycling life. hills will make you hate your refrigerator.




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  4. So I had a bit of project to turn my boring old ‘hybrid’ (road bike with flat bars) into a ‘proper’ road bike.

    Here’s the bike before I started:

    The conversion was pretty fun, removing the handlebars and shifting gear, replacing it with drops and STIs, new wheels, general overhaul. Here’s the bike as is now.

    I noticed once it was all done that there was a lot of clearance over the 23mm tyres I was using for commuting, and thought it’d be possible to fit wider, treaded tyres to basically make it a CX bike, which goes back to a road bike by swapping the tyres. The eagle-eyed will notice this pic has the bumpy tyres fitted.

    So much fun to ride. So here’s me pulling my son in a trailer over a ploughed field.




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  5. Interesting TT in the Criterium Dauphine today for pre TdF competitors…..




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  6. @Teocalli

    That is an interesting line up. As in I’d expect Froome to be at the top of that list.

    Also, strong win for Niewiadoma in the Women’s Tour.




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  7. Porte Appears to have very good form this year. That lost time on Stage 2 last year likely cost him a podium spot. I think he is the favorite for the TdF this year.




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  8. @Rick

    Porte Appears to have very good form this year. That lost time on Stage 2 last year likely cost him a podium spot. I think he is the favorite for the TdF this year.

    Indeed, also looks like Valverde’s amazing run of form continues which could be a challenge for Quintana who seemed decidedly lacklustre (vs expectation that is – if you can call 2nd lacklustre) by comparison in the Giro.




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  9. @Teocalli

    @Rick

    Porte Appears to have very good form this year. That lost time on Stage 2 last year likely cost him a podium spot. I think he is the favorite for the TdF this year.

    Indeed, also looks like Valverde’s amazing run of form continues which could be a challenge for Quintana who seemed decidedly lacklustre (vs expectation that is – if you can call 2nd lacklustre) by comparison in the Giro.

    Valverde, a climber/puncheur only a few seconds slower than Tony Martin in a TT. Hmm.




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  10. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @Rick

    Porte Appears to have very good form this year. That lost time on Stage 2 last year likely cost him a podium spot. I think he is the favorite for the TdF this year.

    Indeed, also looks like Valverde’s amazing run of form continues which could be a challenge for Quintana who seemed decidedly lacklustre (vs expectation that is – if you can call 2nd lacklustre) by comparison in the Giro.

    Valverde, a climber/puncheur only a few seconds slower than Tony Martin in a TT. Hmm.

    Fuckng Malmerde (and how is it possible that “Malmerde” is not in the lexicon??? Not sure who first used that term but it was not me). I cannot wait until he fucking retires or dies from an EPO/HGH overdose.




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  11. @Buck Rogers

    I thought that might pull a few rises!




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  12. Pretty decent climbing today from Aru, Porte and Froome. Contador didn’t seem to have anything when it picked up and Valverde blew after his initial attack.

    Froome’s descending was epic.




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  13. Loved Porte’s panache today riding away from Froome. I am not entirely sure if The Tasmanian Devil mounted a full on attack or just rode Froomey off his wheel. Regardless it was great to see the leader riding aggressively rather than simply marking his closest rival.

    Chapeau Mr. Porte




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  14. I need pre-absolution fellow Velominati.

    I’m in Sweden to do the Vatternrundan ride – 300km around a lake in western Sweden.

    As always other cyclists have been very generous and I’ve been included in a group of friends if a friend who are mostly Swedish policemen. They’ve organised transport, accommodation and been very helpful.

    I carefully chose my kit, as we do, but on arrival was issued with the team kit. See picture.

    So not only will I sin by wearing national colours but I will have mismatched shorts. It’s going to prey on my mind the whole way around isn’t it?




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  15. @ChrisO

    Didn’t take any plain black bibs with you?




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  16. Are there no bike shops there?




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  17. @ChrisO

    It’s going to prey on my mind the whole way around isn’t it?

    Yes, it will. Do a Rule #13 and wear it inside out.




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  18. @ChrisO

    I think you can probably get away with citing Rule #43. Turning down the jersey in the face of your new friends’ hospitality would put you in deeply unfunny jackass territory.

    You could be in for a spot of bother though, they also sound like the sort of group that will insist on making you drink evil things in very small glasses until you die. Possibly during the ride.




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  19. @RobSandy I have nearly plain dark blue shorts so they sort of go. But it’s still a far cry from proper coordination isn’t it – I mean it’s not just the colour, they’re not even the same brand. My problem will be if it’s cold and I have to wear my club arm-warmers.

    @Teocalli Funny you should mention that. I did look. There’s a whole village thing at the start with lots of kit but nothing that would have improved the situation. And really, one can’t just throw these things together.

    @Chris yes I think you’re right, on all counts.




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  20. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy I have nearly plain dark blue shorts so they sort of go. But it’s still a far cry from proper coordination isn’t it – I mean it’s not just the colour, they’re not even the same brand. My problem will be if it’s cold and I have to wear my club arm-warmers. @Teocalli Funny you should mention that. I did look. There’s a whole village thing at the start with lots of kit but nothing that would have improved the situation. And really, one can’t just throw these things together. @Chris yes I think you’re right, on all counts.

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    The small glass thing is definitely a threat you can’t ignore.




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  21. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy I have nearly plain dark blue shorts so they sort of go. But it’s still a far cry from proper coordination isn’t it – I mean it’s not just the colour, they’re not even the same brand. My problem will be if it’s cold and I have to wear my club arm-warmers. @Teocalli Funny you should mention that. I did look. There’s a whole village thing at the start with lots of kit but nothing that would have improved the situation. And really, one can’t just throw these things together. @Chris yes I think you’re right, on all counts.

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    The colorful mishmash of kit with zero coordination ? And any chance it remotely matches up with the Giant ? You just know everyone will be looking at ya and thinking what the… so surely yes it will prey on your mind the whole way around. The only solution will be to ride fast and get it done with promptly. And avoid any pic’s that would immortalize the situation. Still, should be great fun ! Cheers




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  22. Well it’s done and I managed not to be too demented by kit. I think the effect of riding in a group all wearing the jersey was enough to deflect dark thoughts.

    It was all very Swedish. A really disciplined group and we all rode together, waiting for the weaker riders and very good communication to make sure everyone was on – not easy in an event that size. We did it in 9hrs34mins which was the group’s fastest ever time.

    TBH it was basically an ultra-long recovery ride for me – average around 180 watts, but that was fine. I just had to control my urge to jump off and chase the wheels as faster groups came past.

    The hip held out OK. A little sore today (two days after) but my legs hardly felt it at all. My arse is another story.

    Super well-organised event and I recommend it if you’re thinking about it. I’m not usually keen on big mass-participation events but the roads are so open and in good condition so it never felt really crowded or dangerous. There’s very little climbing to speak of – a couple of drags but a total of 1700m climbing in 300km.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1042465838

    Very appreciative of being included in the group. Some of them have done it 20 times and most are close to 10, so letting a completely unknown outsider come in, especially not speaking the language, is always a risk. But I behaved myself and did more than my share of turns on the front so I think I passed the Nordic Consensus test.




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  23. Err, what’s happened to paragraphing?

    Anyway, one more note if anyone is thinking of doing it – apparently this was the best weather in 20 years, according to Hasse, our organiser. Started about 12-13 C at 5am and got up to 19-20, with only a few minutes of light rain.

    I came prepared for showers and relative warmth not constant rain and single-digit temperatures so I was bloody lucky, but would be better prepared next time.




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  24. @ChrisO

    300km at 32.5kph? A recovery ride? Chapeau.




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  25. There’s an annual race round these parts, consisting of 3 stages (TTT and 2 road races) over 2 days.

    To save the usual arguments about who we enter our of the racers as a team of 4, the race sec of my club made the call to enter a bunch of our strong juniors instead.

    The outcome? These four 15/16 year olds destroyed the field in a tough, hilly senior Cat 2/3/4 race. They took 1st and 2nd in all 3 jerseys (GC, Points and Young Rider) and won the team prize too.

    I’m absolutely stunned by these lads, what they have been doing in races this year is astonishing.




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  26. @ChrisO

    Chapeau indeed! I’m sure you represented yourself and the Velominati admirably. Nothing like doing a wee bit more than your fair share on the front to endear you to a group of strangers. (The opposite also holds true!)




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  27. Did anyone ride the Eroica Britannia??? If so, photos!!!

    I’ll be there reiterate next year or in 2019!




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  28. “Either”, not reiterate!




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  29. @Buck Rogers

    Did anyone ride the Eroica Britannia??? If so, photos!!! I’ll be there reiterate next year or in 2019!

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    The heresy with the numbers was at the request of the organisers to assist the marshals. The Rule #29 apparent infringement is that both bikes run tubs and if you put all your gear in a woolen jersey the darned thing ends up around your knees like some old granny! So that’s my buddy on The Butler and me on the Gios. Should have some official photos in a little while.




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  30. Only did the 90 Km as it was blazing hot and my buddy was doing the middle distance so that was a good excuse. These two are from a previous year but on the route this year too (there were no clouds this year) but in the 90 Km I think well over 50% seemed to be on Strade – and some of it pretty rough.




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  31. Might look to do this next year http://www.anjou-velo-vintage.com/en/




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  32. looks like a gorgeous ride on a gorgeous bike.




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  33. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers

    Did anyone ride the Eroica Britannia??? If so, photos!!! I’ll be there reiterate next year or in 2019!

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    The heresy with the numbers was at the request of the organisers to assist the marshals. The Rule #29 apparent infringement is that both bikes run tubs and if you put all your gear in a woolen jersey the darned thing ends up around your knees like some old granny! So that’s my buddy on The Butler and me on the Gios. Should have some official photos in a little while.

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    Bloody Hell! That is just mindblowingly awesome!!! Cannot WAIT to do it in a year or two. Definitely doing Limberg next year and maybe one of the Italian ones!

    Just got the final pieces to my Hinault build and I am sending them off to the guy who is assembling it all for me. Bob Jacksons finished with the 753 frame building with original early ’80’s Campag dropouts, chroming the forks and rear chain stay, and using an original Cinelli early ’80’s BB housing.

    Big Al came through again and built me up some 36 spoke tubulars on NOS Ambrosio Durex Montreal rims with Campag SR hubs. I have sourced all original early ’80’s Campag SR gourpo parts to include the old pedals with Binda toestraps. Cannot wait to get it soon.

    Only things that have me worried are the 21 mm tubulars on those gravel-esque roads and the 53/41 13-24 freewheel that I have on it. The cranks came with 53/42 and I could only find 41 that would fit on the 1985 Campag SR crankset that I have. Could not find a 39 that would fit that year’s Crankset diameters. Still searching for a 25 or 26 for the rear cassette.

    Your ride just looks unbelievable! I am so jealous (but not for long!)!




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  34. @Teocalli

    Might look to do this next year http://www.anjou-velo-vintage.com/en/

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    Oh dear LORD! These Eroica rides are so amazing!!! Cannot wait to get involved!




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  35. @Buck Rogers

    I run 25mm, Veloflex Paris Roubaix on The Butler and Vittoria G+ on the Gios. I compromised on the cranks on both and fit period Stronglight so that I could run 50/36 Chainrings. I have 14-28 Blocks on both. These events seem to delight at throwing in a few steep offroad climbs – as well as steep on road ones and my knees need all the help I can give them through gearing! You will need robust tyres – they do throw in some pretty rough tracks.

    I was feeling a bit dead legged for the second half of the ride and my buddy started setting the pace towards the end. It was only on getting home and cleaning the Gios that I realised I had been dragging the rear brake! No wonder I was feeling something was a bit sluggish.

    Can’t wait to see your finished article.




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  36. @Teocalli

    Ha! The Gods of the V paid you in kind for your compact by sabotaging your brakes!

    Yeah, the guy helping me to source and assemble all the parts is doing it for free (I pay for all the parts but he helps to find them and make sure that they are perfect and spotless) but he is totally insisting on it being an absolutely perfect 1985 Hinault bike, right down to the 21 mm tubs. Once ai blow a few I’ll replace them with FMB 25 mm ones but form the gate, they’ll be the period correct 21’s and I’ll be “cheating” with the 41 on front as opposed to the 42!




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  37. @Buck Rogers

    It is bloody good fun searching out components. If a bit expensive at times!




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  38. H

    Here’s his 1986 La Vie Claire that he is finishing up while doing my ’85. Ever piece is legitimate 1986 or early (except the tubs, I guess!).

    He is just amazing and used to race in the later ’70’s through the ’80’s and was a bike mechanic for decades.




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  39. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers It is bloody good fun searching out components. If a bit expensive at times!

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    So FUCKING expensive!!! I was hoping to come in around $1,000 to $1,500 for my ’85 but I have easily gone twice that now. Really good nick Campag SR costs and arm and leg these days! (not to mention the “false”advertising and having to send stuff back for refunds and getting it again somewhere else).

    Luckily for me, it is all bought and paid for at this point (started last December) and the VMH has not killed me just yet!!!

    Still have to get some period shoes but I have all of the ’85 LVC jersey/bibs/casquette (Rule whatever-the-fuck-it-is-about-wearing-old-kit-be-damned!) and a good Belgian hairnet (not to mention pristine white socks!).

    But it is hell to find size 43 early ’80’s Sidi shoes! If you get a lead on some, let me know!




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  40. @Buck Rogers

    @Teocalli

    Guys, since you are discussing vintage builds… I have an early 80’s Somec with Super Record that would be ideal for these rides. The only thing I wonder about is that some of these Eroica rides have some serious descents along with the climbs, but my old SR brakes are pretty weak and pucker-inducing on the steep stuff. Would it be worth it to source some period correct Modolos (or similar), or just run the Campa and deal with the limitations? I don’t have experience with much else.

    To do these rides I’d also have to look into some good old shoes, too. If I find some Sidis in your size, Buck, I’ll let you know.




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  41. @Buck Rogers

    @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers It is bloody good fun searching out components. If a bit expensive at times!

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    So FUCKING expensive!!! I was hoping to come in around $1,000 to $1,500 for my ’85 but I have easily gone twice that now. Really good nick Campag SR costs and arm and leg these days! (not to mention the “false”advertising and having to send stuff back for refunds and getting it again somewhere else). Luckily for me, it is all bought and paid for at this point (started last December) and the VMH has not killed me just yet!!! Still have to get some period shoes but I have all of the ’85 LVC jersey/bibs/casquette (Rule whatever-the-fuck-it-is-about-wearing-old-kit-be-damned!) and a good Belgian hairnet (not to mention pristine white socks!). But it is hell to find size 43 early ’80’s Sidi shoes! If you get a lead on some, let me know!

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    Fellas, I have some Campag SR stuff – rear derailleur, braze-on front mech, Cobalto brakes.Got an 80s Mavic chainset and rear dereilleur too. (The rear mech is when Mavic were doing the kinda angular stuff) Not doing much of anything in my tool boxes and in pretty good nick. Spread the word. I’ll sell for a reasonable price – whatever that is these days.




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  42. @Teocalli

    Love the blue colour of the Gios. Bad news: looks like I will not be able to join the Limburg Eroica since I need to be back in the land of cheese and chocolate early Sunday morning. So will do penance on Friday and Saturday here instead. Too bad, really.




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  43. @wiscot

    Tempting but I fear the overhead of US/UK shipment would make it impractical.




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  44. @Frank – I seem to be having posting issues when I include an embedded link. Is that a glitch or are they being held somewhere?




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  45. @MangoDave

    You do have to live within the limitations of vintage brakes. Makes me wonder how we survived as kids! One think I have found it you need to use modern rubber in the blocks as vintage may look nice for display but for braking 40 year old blocks are not to be recommended.

    For shoes I have decided to bite the bullet and go for modern vintage style shoes for comfort as both sets of vintage shoes I have are killers on long rides. The might look the d’s b’s but when your feet go numb they are not so good.




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  46. @Teocalli

    Ah, you’re right. Sending anything that weighs more than a feather across the pond gets ridiculously expensive.




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  47. @MangoDave

    @Buck Rogers @Teocalli Guys, since you are discussing vintage builds… I have an early 80’s Somec with Super Record that would be ideal for these rides. The only thing I wonder about is that some of these Eroica rides have some serious descents along with the climbs, but my old SR brakes are pretty weak and pucker-inducing on the steep stuff. Would it be worth it to source some period correct Modolos (or similar), or just run the Campa and deal with the limitations? I don’t have experience with much else. To do these rides I’d also have to look into some good old shoes, too. If I find some Sidis in your size, Buck, I’ll let you know.

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    Ooooh! You’re asking the wrong guy here! The only experience I have with vintage bikes is when I started racing in the late 1980’s I had toeclips and DT shifters!

    Like most things I do, I heard about Eroica, did a tiny amount of “research”, decided it was the greatest fucking thing ever thought of, dumped way too much money into it and now I am hooked and cannot wait to get my final build in about two to three weeks!

    That being said, if all the gear is in good shape (and you have new brake pads) I see no reason that it would not be safe. I am going to be running 1985 Campag SR brakes with new pads and I do not see why I cannot descend like anyone of my ability could with them in 1985.

    And thanks for keeping an eye out for some euro size 42.5 to 43 Sidis from the ’80s for me! Any help that I can get is greatly appreciated. It is the last bit of kit/bike that I need!




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  48. I have a pair of size 43 black leather Duegis doing nothing. They’re in pretty good shape. No insole. Beautifully soft black leather with lots of little perforations. Interested? We could chat off-site if you are.




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  49. @wiscot

    Sent you a PM. I’m actually a 43.5 in my 3 modern pairs of Sidi but I have very narrow feet so if your shoes are leather, there’s a good chance they’ll stretch and fit fine.




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  50. @Buck Rogers

    PM me about the shoes… your two-word handle is causing trouble for the message feature and it can’t ID you.




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