Friday, February 24, 2012

BIKE VIDEO: Amgen Tour of CA Returns to Santa Cruz!

Calling all race fans!

It may take place a couple of months from now, but it's never too early to start planning your ride or trip to experience one of America's greatest cycling events, the Amgen Tour of California, an 8-stage, 750-mile professional road race from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles that will thunder over Santa Cruz County's challenging and famous climbs and descents during Stage 2, Tuesday, May 14.

Already the many local group rides are buzzing about sending the boys down crazy-steep and twisty Jamison Creek Road and then making them scale 2,250 feet in about 5 miles over more-vertical-than-Bonny-Doon (which has decided the race in previous visits to Santa Cruz) - Bear Creek Road, before the fastmen careen down Old San Jose Road at highway speeds and sprint for the win at the Cabrillo College finish.

Watch the video and click the course profile beneath it to learn more about what could be one of the key stages in this year's TOC. And if you get a chance, say thanks to Santa Cruz County Cycling Club's Maura Noel, who almost single-handedly, and with her own money (!), brought the race back to Surf City. Yay, Maura!!

Click to zoom!
I'll see you on the course May 14th! For those of you viewing this in your email here's a link to the video.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bike Art: Do You Know This Cycling Sculpture?

Happy February spokesfolks,
My friend Bob Gelman just found this sculpture and he and I know little about it. So I told him I'd post photos here and ask you all to take a look and comment if you can offer any clues. Beneath the three photos of Bob's statue, I put pics and a video of a few more well known works you might enjoy.

About this mystery piece, Bob says,

"I asked the eBay seller and all he knew was that he got it at an estate sale and that it was supposedly orginally purchased at an upscale gift shop in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and was supposedly, titled The Peloton in Full Flight.  He also said he could not find a signature or other ID marking on it (I'll certainly look it over carefully when it arrives... maybe I'll find something.... I've watched Antiques Roadshow on TV!). From the pictures it seems like the faces and entire bodies could be identical molds in different shapes. It seems of much higher quality than most of the usual shoddy cycling "statues" one sees offered. It measures 12 x 12-inches and is comprised of resin and metal. Any and all help is appreciated, and if I find out more I'll let you know."

Please take a look and comment if you know anything more about Bob's find. Thanks!



And, here are a few other notable cycling statutes. The first is of Major Taylor and one I hope to view in person the next time I'm back in New England. Having read two excellent biographies of Taylor, and knowing that he was almost forgotten, it would be wonderful to see it. 
Photo by Chris Kostman. Statue dedicated in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2008 
I have seen the next statue, which stands on the top of a pass above Lake Como near the Italian shrine to cycling, the Madonna del Ghisallo. But the day we were there it was so foggy and cold I could barely make out the details unfortunately.
Statue near the Madonna del Ghisallo cyclists' shrine
This may be among the largest of cycling statues and I bet it's impressive in person. I know some people pile up, or stack or weld together recycled bicycles in the name of art and that makes a large "statue," but I wish they would instead repair the old bicycles used in these creations and give them to needy people.

"Le Tour de France dans les Pyrenees sculpture - 1995

There are lots of whimsical bicycle statues out there and oddities like bicycle trees, but genuine sculptures of bicycles and cycling are pretty rare in my experience and it's always rewarding to see them.

Good rides!