Velodio- Man In Yellow

Cover Art by Michael Valenti

Next up and available to stream or download at ITUNES, AMAZON and all your streaming weapons of choice is ‘Man in Yellow’.  An infectious slice of indie disco with cover art from none other than The Veloist- Michael Valenti

Press play and enjoy

Listen on APPLE MUSIC
Listen on DEEZER

Download. Click  on  ITUNES  AMAZON

VELODIO Playlist on Spotify below.

Man In Yellow- Listening notes

This song is one of those ephemeral joys that visit your muse fleetingly.  It all came together pretty quickly.  The joy of simplicity.  I had the lyric ‘ when all else fails’ bouncing around my mind since the Interview with Michael Valenti, I kept thinking that his throwaway line  ”  When all else fails you follow yellow right?”  was a chorus line in the making.  Then one night somewhere between playing with the kids and dinner I started noodling on the guitar before I knew it I was riffing on a simplistic three-chord wonder with a rhythm along the lines of Ryan Admas – New York- New York and the lyrics started flowing.  Get my phone for me boys’ need to get this down on voice recorder. Before I knew it I’ve got a chorus and two verses on my hands.  That very night, with a wine bottle in hand I retired to the studio to put the bones of the song down that you hear today.

It was only natural that I would name drop Michael as a musical dof of the cap and thank you.  The majority of what is heard on the release is from this original sketch session recorded in Ableton.  The plan was to go back and re-record all the parts but loved the feel, vibe and rawness of the session.  So pretty much demo guitars and vocals have survived in the final cut.

The track demo was laid down very quickly.  I got fellow Rouleur Neil Lawson to add some riffage and then,  I wasn’t going to add any bass as the song was holding up good, but couldn’t resist the temptation to invite our Citisin cohort and bassist Andy Hume into the studio who always hears the music between the notes.  see what it would do to the track. He practically nailed it in a few straight through takes. The dudes are gifted musician’s.

Andy & Neil laying doon the Bass and Lead in the summer house in the winter

TRIVIA

  • The song is a story of a weekend fuelled by morning bike rides and afternoon/night trips into Glagow with the wife. The country club ( a tongue in cheek colloquial reference to our village golf club)  was on the brink of closure at the time of writing.  Thankfully, now and thriving.
  • Once the song was taking shape I contacted Michael Valenti to check and request..

a) He was cool with the name drop?

b) He would be interested in sketching out some cover art?  You’ll agree the cover art is amazing and captures the playfulness of the song perfectly.

Cover Art by Michael Valenti

  • The maillot Jaune refrain is a cheeky poke at the stereotype of our auld alliance gallic French friends.  This was inspired and kind of a pastiche on my favourite scene in the french movie AMELIE.  The scene where Lucien is making fun of his boss on the grocery stall.
  • The crowd noise in the break was recorded live at The Brewdog/Crank it up/Zwift event we attended earlier this year in Edinburgh.
  • A wee gadge in cargo pants and work boots fuelled with a few free brewdogs fancied a go and this was the crowd pushing him on as he bumbled over the line  at least a minute after his opponents.  Chapeau

 

If you like the song spread the word and if you are a cycling musician/artist or both and want to get involved in VELODIO in any way shape or form, give us a shout.

Happy Rolling

Daz

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This is Velodio

Introducing “VELODIO”.  A new music concept that celebrates cycling through a rich and diverse tapestry of electronic music.  Written by cyclists,  performed by cyclists(ish).  To yir lugs will be delivered a techno-coloured kaleidoscope of compositions. Some riders collect bidons, musettes, casquets when they visit races. For the last three years, I have been collecting sounds, rhythms and ideas from the VUELTA, TOUR & GIRO. A kinetic palette to create sonic emulation of the iconic cols, the swashbuckling protagonists, the crazy fans and all those character-defining moments of the riders and rouleurs who choose to ride the road less travelled.

Releases…to date.. include

  • Domestiqué’ – A cinematic immersion in a bike race from the viewpoint of a Domestiqué
  • Domestiqué- Alaphilippe mix-  A stripped-back heavily percussive rework. Tagged to Alaphilippe due to its rambunctious fearless attack.
  •  ‘Flahute’- a rough and ready house track set against the silhouette of the Flahute pounding the Flandria pave

In a world of endless music genres, let’s make our own for the cycling community and let’s call it ‘VELODIO’

However, a breakaway is itching to get up the road. So stay tuned for tunes like…

  • ‘ Man In Yellow’.  A story of exploration and discovery delivered on a carrier wave of Indie disco- The cycling artist ‘ The Veloist’ has created an amazing piece of cover art to compliment the story. BelowCover Art by Michael Valenti
  • Velo-Nova – a narrative of Bike infatuation laying on a bed of deep house
  • Rey de Las Montana’s – A piano-laden house track with vintage commentary of historic races.

Big thanks to fellow rouleur Neil Lawson for riffing on a few of the tracks.  Andy Hume, ma Citisin cohort for laying down THE bass.  Tom Main for some quality social media portraits and last but not least Michael Valenti for not only catalysing the concept but producing the cover art above for upcoming release

THIS IS JUST KILOMETRE ZERO

 

If you are a cycling artist and would like to get involved and have a track or piece of art you would like showcased on here and the Velodio playlists then get in touch.  love a collab opportunity to so don’t be shy.  Alternatively, if you have art you would like considered as cover art for upcoming releases then also get in touch at braescityrouleurs@gmail.com 

 

Head over to your streaming service and tap in ‘Ruff as Flock’ or hit some of the links below.

The tunes will also be available to download at ITUNES and AMAZON.

 

In a world of endless music genres, let’s make our own for the cycling community-VELODIO- Let’s spread the word  

DOWNLOAD LINKS

ITUNES

AMAZON

STREAMING LINKS

DEEZER

AMAZON MUSIC

APPLE MUSIC

 

Happy Rolling

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Velodio- Domestiqué

Introducing ‘Domestiqué’. The first official release from our VELODIO project.

Domestiqué is a musical composition that immerses the listener in the beating heart of the road race from the drops of the team Domestiqué.   Bringing to life the emotional tapestry and kaleidoscope that engulfs the Spartan of the team.

Press play then read accompanying listening notes below.  The Dmoestiqué is getting the column inches they deserve.

Available to stream on all your weapons of choice or to download on ITUNES or AMAZON 

Domestiqué- Listening notes

The composition rolls in with the Domestiqué in the maelstrom of the service vehicles.  Retrieving, provisions and instructions for imminent dissemination. Launched back into the fray by the team car.

Filtered and flanging high hats fluttering, evoking the transient oppression of the overhead helicopter rotors.

The Domestiqué is a seeker.  Rampaging through the peloton on a smooth mission of dissemination on a one-way journey to physical destruction

Forever alert to machiavellian opportunities to attack and dance on the misfortune of others.  Pushing and cajoling through the eager peloton, tearing at any loose thread in the fabric of the race.

Reaching the head of the race, the Domestiqué has a dual mission.  Pull his team to glory and push the competitors to the brink of destruction.   The wailing and lamenting guitar is that moment.  In isolation, the Domestiqué is racing head down towards the cliff edge until the precipice of abandonment approaches.  The dropping penny’s the last bastions of resolve and energy, both quickly decaying.

With a swelling of calf and heaving of thighs, the alchemy of adrenaline, determination and desperation take hold and spark a final surge. The pounding bass pushes the kinetic rhythm the composition and the Domestiqué into the hypnotic cadence of the warriors. The race fueling the heart and the lactic drowning, the screaming legs -The last remaining flurries of the battle unfold.

Pinheads of sweat cascade and bomb the ground below. The matador falls on his own sword as the bulls blur into the horizon. An instrument in the orchestration of glory of others.  One day it will befall the Domestique.  But today it’s relief, gasping relief of salvation and celebration. Tomorrow the battles will begin again.

The Domestiqué rides on one road and one road only.  The void between the gutter and the stars…….

I would like to thank fellow Rouleur Neil Lawson for the wailing lamenting guitar on this track.  I’ll be calling on some fellow rouleurs to perform on some other compositions.

TRIVIA

This song was inspired after Neil and myself went to Paris for the final day of the Tour.  We spent the day cycling around the city before settling into the Columbian thrum of the Champs Elysee for Egan Bernals victory precession.  We got a  front-row seat where we were served a cheese board and bottle of red (or two) by a very moody and typically french waiter.  Goti luv le tour.

With the race in our ears, the song practically started writing itself on our return to the campsite… after a very expensive uber.  Yes, we missed our last train due to a heady concoction of Fench wine, cheese and Columbian music.

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Once DOMESTQUÉ was in the can, I wanted to create a raw percussive remix whilst the lactic was still in the legs.  I called this the Alaphilippe mix in honour of the swashbuckling, maverick French rider.

 

 

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Happy Rolling
Darren
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Cameron Mason – The Racer

The Simpsons, Series 2, Episode 13 – Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment.
Homer and friends sit down to watch a live cable t.v broadcast of Watson v Tatum 2: The bout to knock the other guy out.
Breathy, English-accented voice over – “The challenger learned how to fight in the notorious projects of Capital City, and honed his skills whilst serving time for aggravated assault and manslaughter in Springfield prison”.
Barney Gumble – “Aaaallright! A local boy”

There’s always been a correlation when following professional sport between an athlete’s perceived geographical proximity to one’s self and the level of will to see them succeed. Not a fandom necessarily, or something rooted in parochiality, but an interest in who they are, the results they produce, and what it was that took someone from the same milieu as you to the ranks of professional sport.
We in the BCR are not immune to this ourselves, particularly when the sport in question is cycling; so when we’d heard of someone from our corner of the world, who has trained on the same roads as us and appears on the same Strava segment leaderboards, making a successful foray into professional cycling, we had to find out what his story was.

Cameron Mason is a 19-year-old cyclocross racer from Central Scotland.
After a few years of racing all over the country and making regular cross-channel trips to race in Belgium, he is spending his first full season living and racing on the continent as part of the Trinity Racing team.
Multiple top 10 and 20 finishes, including in World Cup and European Championship races, and a podium finish in the UK Championships means 2019/20 has already been fruitful.
Cameron is also voracious in documenting his cycling life, both racing and otherwise, through various forms of social media.
Without further ado, let us introduce Cameron Mason…

Let’s start right at the beginning. How did you get into cycling?

My cousin Calum was big into cycling when he was a youth and junior, so the cycling side of things came from there. I always rode my bike when I was little, I really enjoyed it and my parents encouraged it. When I was about 8 years old I started some racing in the Under 12s at Scottish XC MTB races. After I started racing properly I spiralled into wanting to race all types of events. I did road, XC, CX, track and running when I was younger. When I was about 12 West Lothian Clarion youth club came about which helped massively with my development.

Your first club was West Lothian Clarion. What did you learn from riding and racing with the club, and was this where you first discovered you had a talent for cycling?

I loved riding in the club, I learned loads while in WLC. It allowed me to push myself as it opened new opportunities, like riding the club 10 mile TT, training session and club races. It was a perfect environment to learn surrounded by my friends and passionate coaches and helpers. I don’t think there was ever a ‘discovery’ of talent. In my head, I knew I was enjoying it and I was always on my bike and mucking around. That seemed to be a good recipe for making a good bike rider.

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Cyclocross is the discipline you specialise in.
What attracted you specifically to CX; what are the attributes, skills and talents you have that mean you excel at cross, and have you ever toyed with the idea of transitioning to road?

Cyclocross is a funny one. It’s hard to describe the discipline to someone who doesn’t know about it. It requires a range of skills as the courses can be so different week to week. Some races we ride are very fast with average speeds close to 30km/hr and some are the opposite with very slow speeds and sometimes 50% running. You need to be adaptable and have the ability to handle different situations quickly and decisively. For example if it starts to rain 10 minutes before the race you need to change you tire set up them re-adjust your race approach to ride better in the mud. In cyclocross things are always changing, track conditions, how muddy your bike is, the riders who are around you and also the way you have to ride sections.

The last few years I have been asked about the road a lot. As I have progressed in CX and with the success of guys like MVDP and Wout van Aert who combine both disciplines, people are curious to see how I would do on the road. Right now I am very happy to focus on my CX progression. At the moment I have lots of opportunities to push my CX forward, but if those were to come about in the road I would be happy to pursue them.

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How much of your practice time is spent on the skills required to be a good Cyclocross rider – dismounting, clipping in and out, shouldering the bike, picking a line through an obstacle etc. – and how much is spent on just developing the power and endurance in the legs and the cardiovascular system to push you through a race?

In a normal week, 80% of our riding time is on the road, we don’t actually do much specific CX training midseason. That is mainly because we are racing two times a week, the race time keeps our skills sharp and the road sessions are the best way to get a quality training ride.

I want to be the best I can be in the world of cyclocross…

In October 2019 you were announced as having signed for Cycling super-agent, Andrew McQuaid’s Trinity Racing.
How did that come about and what attracted you to join the team?

Tom basically DMed me on Instagram in August 2019 and asked if I would like to ride for the team. I said ‘FOR SURE!’ and that was that. It was a very logical fit though. I want to be the best I can be in the world of cyclocross and being in Trinity meant I would get to ride the best gear, the best races and be teammates with one of the best riders, Tom Pidcock.

You now share a team with Men’s Junior and U23 Cyclocross World Champion, and Junior and U23 Paris-Roubaix winner, Tom Pidcock, and participant in numerous Giro Rosa, Women’s Tour, and World, Euro and British Championship Road Races, Abby-Mae Parkinson.
What have you learned from spending time with these guys and seeing how they go about racing their bikes?

First of all, they are VERY quick bike riders (obviously) so that has been fun trying to keep up with them! We have a really good team dynamic and bring our own unique qualities to the table which is really cool. I have learned so much from them already, Tom’s wealth of race experience in all disciplines have taught me lots about this sport. I ask him lots of questions which might annoy him sometimes I think, but he is always happy to help and to see me learn. Abby does not live in Belgium full time with Tom and me but when she is over I really enjoy training with her. She has very cool stories of the road side of the sport that I don’t know a huge amount about.

You predominantly race on the continent these days, with Cyclocross being particularly big in Belgium and the Netherlands.
How do you cope with all the travelling, the time away from home, and the pressures of racing?

I will be away from Scotland for about 5 months in total this season which is the longest I have been abroad at a time. To be honest I haven’t really noticed it or missed home that much. That must mean I have been enjoying myself so that’s good. The training and racing is quite intense so there isn’t time to really miss home and I am doing exactly what I want to do and I love it! I live with Tom in Belgium, he is good company. The Trinity Team is also like a wee family so I kind of feel like I belong here.

I really like the feeling of involving people in my racing and it is amazing when things are awesome because you can share your success with thousands of people.

What have been the other high points in your racing career so far?
Any particular events or results that stand out?

Up until now, I would say my career highlights have all been things like racing my first world cup, racing my first world champs, and racing with MVDP. As I start to do more of these big races and my results climb up I am raising my bar to bigger things. My top 10 at the Tabor World Cup felt very big but this season has really been a whirlwind of new best results and high points, it’s all been awesome!

There are many obvious facets to being a professional sportsperson and a very important one nowadays for fan and sponsorship engagement is social media.  You do this really well with your IG/FB stories, YouTube, Vlogs etc. Is media/social production another passion of yours and how has this evolved as your career has grown?

Yes, I do think social media is more important nowadays as an athlete but it is definitely not essential. I really enjoy sharing what I am up to and showing people as much as I can about the sport but it isn’t really for everyone. If you don’t enjoy sharing and you force it then it will come across and unauthentic which is the opposite of how it should be. I really like the feeling of involving people in my racing and it is amazing when things are awesome because you can share your success with thousands of people. But it can be hard when things don’t go great and you feel like you have to share that with people. That is when it is important to set yourself boundaries and remember that you come first, not social media. Sharing the low points as well as the high points is good as it is important for people to know its not all amazing, but sometimes it’s ok to not share when you are not feeling great.

Having dabbled ourselves with videos, there is a huge amount of time in editing and general production.   How do you pull all this together in addition to the obvious time sacrifices for training and racing?

As a bike rider you spend your time either eating, sleeping, riding or recovering. There isn’t much time for anything else but I have found something productive and enjoyable I can do with my downtime, edit YouTube videos! Other riders have XBOX, Netflix and reading, I have Adobe Premiere Pro (my editing software) I have busier training and racing periods where editing is put to the side so I am less productive there. I also find races where I didn’t perform as well as I’d liked to harder to edit as it’s basically 6-8 hours looking at footage from the race and race day. And if that’s of a bad day it’s not the most inspiring thing in the world. But when I have a REALLY good race it is so fun to edit because I can relive how good I felt on the bike that day, pros and cons!

What benefits has your vegan diet brought you?

Going plant-based has been quite a gradual thing for me over the last 5ish years so I can’t really say any definite benefits that I have felt. I get to eat a lot! Firstly because plant foods are generally less calorie-dense and secondly because no matter how much I eat I never seem to gain weight, I guess that’s a good thing! I have my own reasons for choosing the diet I do and that as long as I know that then I am happy, I don’t want to press my views onto anyone.

I can imagine that in this world of hidden ingredients, you must have to take extra measures to ensure you uphold your vegan diet.  How do you manage this dietary lifestyle with the obvious fuelling required when on the road racing and training?

I think that life is too short to get hung up on the little things so I try to think about the big picture in some instances. For example, if someone is kind enough to bake me something then I am not going to turn it down just because it may have a little dairy in it. Diet is very personal and you can choose exactly what you want to eat for your own reason so don’t feel like you have to uphold to anything. I feel good eating plant-based and I get everything I need so I am happy :). On the road, things can get harder as it’s difficult to find good veggie and vegan options in some places. Planning ahead is the best way of dealing with this though so I make more of my travel meals and snacks myself so I don’t have to worry about finding options for me.

What’s the goal and vision for the future, both in the short and long-term on and off the bike?  Concentrating on improving in Cyclocross, or is there anything else in the works?

Short-term, continue to love racing/riding my bike. Long-term, continue to love racing/riding my bike. That is really what I am in it, I really love it and that’s what motivates me to train and race every week. Being more specific though, in the short term (3-5 years-ish) I would like a medal and a major championship, that would be big. Long term I am not really sure, I am not very good at planning ahead for things like that. For now, I’ll just focus on the now.

Who is your favourite cyclist?

Chris Akrigg. Look him up! He is a UK trials rider and I would say he is the most skilled bike rider in the world. His videos are insane and he seems like a very cool guy. Life goals is to be as smooth and as skilled as him!

One drink, one film, one song?

Apple juice, Hot Fuzz, Dog Days Are Over

A massive thanks to Cameron for taking the time to share his cycling life with us during a hectic festive race period. Since interviewing, Cameron has recently finished 2nd in the Nationals U23 and 3rd in The nationals Elite.  Check out the video on his channel. Absolutely amazing performance and continuing his impressive ascension to the top of the podium. Chapeau.

Be sure to check out and follow him via social media using the links below.  His video content is both brilliant and inspiring.

Camerons next racing on Sunday, at World Cup Nommay, the following week at Hoogerhiede World Cup then the World Champs the week after that.  We wish him ‘aw ra best’ fae The BCR.   Follow his progress at cyclocross24

Cameron’s YouTube Channel
Cameron’s Instagram
Cameron’s Twitter

Trinity Racing YouTube Channel
Trinity Racing Instagram
Trinity Racing Twitter

Happy Rolling in 2020

Darren & Craig

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Michael Valenti – The Veloist

If you are not already acquainted with his work, then let me introduce Michael Valenti.  Hailing from Lindenburg Illinois, via Boston and Chicago. He’s an artist who loves to cycle.  A cyclist who lives for art. He is the Veloist; a cunning portmanteau of Velo & Artist.  If he’s not chasing the Peloton around the globe on his trusty ‘Steel is Real’ Waterford bike creating amazing art as it happens,  then he’ll be in the studio or out on the home roads of Illinois & Wisconsin with his beloved Veloist.CC.  We have been huge fans of his art and also avid followers of his Social media posts, including his hilarious ‘Bonjour from the tour ‘despatches for some time now.  We had to reach out, discover more about the art of cycling and, the cycling in his art. We were hopeful of a short interview,  yet we received so much more and via the mediums of facetime Michael welcomed us in with open bandwidth into his life and creative world.  Without further ado, please charge your bidons with your weapon of choice and enjoy our chat with the amazing artist that is Michael Valenti

Continue reading “Michael Valenti – The Veloist”

Derek Mclay – The Wheelsmith

So I was on the lookout for a set of carbon wheels and going through the motions.  You know the drill, checking out the best wheel reviews in the price bracket desired then transposing that info into a multitude of search engines.  Wiggle, Facebook, eBay, Gumtree you name it.  All in the vain hope you’ll find that shining pebble in the discounted price stream.  I was even narrowed down to two of the leading brands Zipp V Mavic.   Yet every time I hovered my finger over a  ‘Bid Now’,  ‘Buy It Now’ or a ‘Complete Your Order’ button.  I would stall, something wasn’t squaring up.

Then through friendly discourse, I received not one but numerous glowing recommendations to look no more. Why buy generic big brand mass produced, when you can have bespoke, customised wheels made by ‘The Wheelsmith’.  So I did. I visited his workshop in Larbert.  I was fascinated by this menagerie of wheels and the spinning world into which I stepped.  My eyes bounced and floated around like the sound waves of the eclectic tunes wafting out of the sound system. Tracing and darting all over the stunning variations of rims, hubs, spokes and nipples available for customisation.

After blethering, questioning and perusal I decided upon a pair of carbon 40mm rims running Dtswiss 240s.  But not only that I was now fascinated and had to learn a little more about this art and the master craftsmen behind it.  This is a brilliant example of what happens when passion, knowledge and skill collide.    A barometer of this is a client list that spans the spectrum from Russian Oligarchs, Record Breakers, Race champions to Braes City (weekend) Rouleurs.

I asked if he would do a Q&A with us.  Reluctant at first (due to previous bad experience) he gladly warmed to the idea.

Without further ado, Let me introduce you to Derek McLay- The Wheelsmith.  Grab a glass and enjoy. Continue reading “Derek Mclay – The Wheelsmith”

Total Bike Forever- Cycling the World Making Music

When we first set out on this road to discovery, the premise was and still remains to uncover and champion the amazing subculture of creative souls that are drawn to this cycle life ( like a deodorant can to a village bonfire).  

So when we recently discovered and got lost in a story so unique and inspiring, we couldn’t wait to find out more.  Total Bike Forever are two bike packing, friend making, soul-shaking electronic music troubadours on a year-long bike packing and musical adventure.  A story so amazing, so captivating, so beautiful and banging, it will surely grace paper, movie and airwaves to come.  Why? Their plan is to write an incredible album of sonic exposition’s inspired, fused and spliced by the sights, sounds and souls they discover as they bike pack their way across the mountains, deserts and cities of this stage we call the world. 

 If you haven’t already been reading their incredible blog and adventures on Stolen Goat then let us introduce you to Tim and Adam.  They are one half of London Indie band Bear Muda and are now on the final leg of this amazing bike packing adventure.

As muso’s ourselves we couldn’t wait to find out how they are adapting and immersing themselves in the full writing, creative process as they traverse the globe on two wheels.

So without further ado here is our amazing interview with Tim and Adam.  Total Bike Forever. Turn up the tunes, grab some IPA and enjoy.

What was the genesis of the idea to cycle halfway around the world, playing and creating music as you went?

We wanted to cycle to Japan and we couldn’t dream about doing that without making music. It’s too long away from our beloved synthesisers! Then we thought ‘hold on! Let’s just do both! Let’s get other people involved and make something new and amazing.’ And we did and we are at this very moment!

How much planning and preparation went into both the cycling and musical aspects of the journey? Were there nights spent deliberating over the best bikes or panniers to use, and was there any pre-arrangements with venues or artists you’d meet along the way?
Cycling – we did plan, yes. We read the books and the blogs and then realised that as soon as you start it all goes out the window!
Route and gear wise we did prep, yes. There’s the boring crap like insurance but I think accumulating all the other stuff is really fun and gets you super excited to depart.


Musically it was all quite up in the air. It could have gone in any direction, and still is going in any direction! Playing live wasn’t part of the plan before we left for example. We were going to release a track a month instead of playing live which we’re glad didn’t happen. Playing is an amazing way of meeting people!
Gear

What bike and gear set up did you settle on for this gig?
Adam rides a Thorn Sherpa, Tim a Kona Sutra. We use Carradice panniers which are brilliant. Shout out to the ‘Made In The UK crew!’ It was a case of starting from scratch. We had little to no knowledge of what a trip like this would demand from you so it was all patched together on the hoof. A case of ‘stick it all in the bags and see if it goes’ a lot of the time!

What is  your music gear set up for the trip?
There was only one requirement for the gear: MINIATURE. You can’t go lugging around heavy machinery. We needed the smallest equipment for the biggest adventure and size really does matter when you’re pulling it up and down mountains around the world. Hardware wise we have a Teenage Engineering OP1, a Roland SH 1 a and a Make Noise 0 Coast. We then have a laptop that runs Logic + Ableton. And of course a trusty zoom dictaphone.


Packing to not only cycle the world, but also to record an album couldn’t have been easy.  Any tips?
Adam’s tip: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be creative all the time. You’re being influenced and inspired by everything around you. Eventually it’ll flow out of you and the results are usually magnificent. Everything you interact with generally inspires you but in ways you don’t usually expect.

If more people combined forces with other creative minded people with different styles around the world we’d make more interesting music.

Tim’s tip: Don’t feel like you have to have all the kit when you leave. Especially if you’re starting in Europe. It’s super easy to get stuff as you go and piece it all together as you think ‘damn, that would have been useful’. In our case that was camping stools! Man, I couldn’t survive without that now.

Which one thing did you leave out that you wish you had packed?
A decent drum machine. In fact we’re planning on buying one in Japan for our next adventure. And some IPAs for those low moments!! Beavertown, if you’re reading this: You don’t realise how much of the time we talk about drinking Gamma Ray. Well done for making the best beer in the world.

How did the collaboration with cycling clothing company Stolen Goat come about?
We love working with those guys! We basically got in touch a bit out of the blue after seeing the awesome designs on their gear. It all came highly recommended as well, especially the bib shorts. We then partnered around our instagram and blog. They host our blog and the world watches us test their stuff to destruction as we drag it through Eurasia! We had an amazing video of a pair of bib shorts that was deemed too NSFW in which the material had worn so thin that they were 100% revealing.
Music

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Can you tell us about your song writing and recording process on the road?
Well, it’s quite fluid. We usually both start with bits then we kind of bring them together. There’s a constant collection of sounds going on as well and a hunt for collaborators when combined with our electronic sensibilities. That’s the beauty of moving through all these different countries (26 in all): Everything stays fresh.
We’ve also come to thrive in during live performances and sound checks have become vital moments to bring together new tunes and ideas. It’s hard to know how songs are going to sound on club systems when you’ve only listened to them on your bluetooth speaker!


Which one leg of the journey or experience has had the biggest impact on you personally and musically?
The more intense the place (cycling, people, culture) the more it brings out the best in us and our musical endeavours. It’s kind of happened that the music we’ve made in those places (I say those places I mean India specifically) has reflected the conditions and really ‘sounds like the trip’ to us which is a strange thing to say but it does transport you back to those moments and places.

Whats been the favourite gig or DJ set?
We played a couple of times in Busan and they were both brilliant. The first had a big audience and they reacted really well to the set. There’s a difference in taste between our style and the people of Korea we still managed to show them a real good time. The second was very quiet but we played a lot of new material and a lot of ambient stuff that we really loved.

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Have you adopted any influences, styles or sounds into your tunes that you have picked up along the way?
We’ve picked up a lot of sounds for sure. Influences and styles is a harder question to answer. Subconsciously, definitely. Consciously? Maybe sometimes. In fact we actually spend a lot of time trying to twist more traditional styles from around the world, to fit a more electronic style and pattern which makes in sound and feel more like the music we want to make.
What or where has been the most inspiring place you have recorded or jammed so far?
A couple of days after we left Istanbul, heading east, we climbed up this mountain and when we were going down the other side we could hear somebody playing drums from this village. We were flying down this mountain and, lo and behold, this guy was just sitting there with this drum kit playing. We instantly got all our kit out and we were playing with him for ages until everything ran out of battery. He was going back to Istanbul the next day. We would have gone back with him but we’d been sucked into the place for three weeks and really needed to carry on. We carried on chatting on WhatsApp and he was like, ‘I’ve got some friends who want to want to hear our music, just meet us in Trabzon in 10 days’ time.’ We were going that direction anyway and thought it was worth a punt. When we got there it basically transpired that this guy, called Berkay wanted to make a piece to apply to drum college in London and California and his friends ran a production company. They had a full production crew, we went into the mountains and set the instruments up and just played on the fly, making stuff up as we went. It was exactly what we wanted to do for the trip and almost like we’d premeditated it. It was crazy – so, so good. I think we cycled 1,000km in 10 days to make it happen.


From this adventure what have you learned about Cycling, Music and Friendship?

Big question! Cycling: It’s all about what you personally like. Everyone likes different things and has different goals for an adventure like this. For us it’s the music. If more people combined forces with other creative minded  people with different styles around the world we’d make more interesting music. As for friendship, It doesn’t matter what language you speak and where you are you can always make friends and find common ground.

Which three words best define this experience for you?

Total. Bike. Forever.

One drink, one party and one cycle leg from the adventure?

One drink: BeerLao (best lager in the world).   One party: Seoul. Every day was a party with those guys! Our Seoul family.  One leg: To avoid the tried and tested Pamir Highway answer I’m going to say the strange but amazing route we took through Laos. Basically we climbed a mountain a day for 10 days through the remotest part of the country. Awesome.

Do you plan to take this electro-cycling-musical on tour when your return to blighty? (A space disco powered by only bikes perhaps?)

Yes! We’re going to turn the bikes into a mobile stage and cycle them to venues and festivals around the UK and europe. More on that soon.

A huge chapeau to Tim and Adam for sharing their story and creations with us.  If you want to connect and follow their Journey click below.  Listen to their mix’s and tunes head to Souncloud and Spotify

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Total Bike Forever Blog

Soundcloud

Spotify

Happy Rolling

Daz & Craig

Paris-Roubaix! What Would Tom Boonen do?

This time last year I was “bricking it!”  The previous November, in a fit of madness I had signed up for the Paris Roubaix, Hell of the North Sportive.  I had convinced myself id have plenty of time to train and get fit for it and then Christmas had hit with all the usual cheese, port and chocolate.

By March, due to a combination of snow, hail, more port and more cheese I hadn’t managed anything over a few 60km rides and some commuting to and from work and was genuinely considering not going.  Two week’s before we were due to leave things got worse, I injured my lower back lifting a table into our new house and could barley walk, never mind cycle, so it really was touch and go wither I would be heading off for Hell.   I was due to be taking part with my good friends, and friends of The BCR Graeme and Iona.  A message from Iona asking me what Tom Boonen would do and the fact that The Hell of the North is the most iconic race on the entire calendar (not an opinion, a FACT) was enough to make me toughen up, stop whining and get on with it.

So two days before we were due on the start line I jumped in the van for the drive through to Graeme and Iona’s new flat in Glasgow.  When we all met we were all excited but also nervous, you hear so much about how brutal the cobbles are and how many crashes, injury’s occur during this race you’ve got to think it’s a bit mental wanting to take part, but if your into cycling and your in the know, Paris Roubaix and Flanders trump everything else, every time, they really are the pinnacle of the cycling year so the excitement was more prevalent than the nerves.  Also, what would Tom Boonen do?


From here it was a 4 hour drive down to Leeds, my back was getting worse, but what would Tom Boonen do?  A short stopover in a hotel including carrying bikes up 7 flights of stairs, my back was getting worse but what would Tom Boonen do?  Up at 5am and onto the bus.  Then stops every hour or so right down the entire country making something like 10 hours on the bus before reaching the ferry, my back was getting worse, you get the idea.   By the time we reached the ferry my pain killer stocks were getting worryingly low but, what would Tom Boonen do?  Stock up on the ferry, that’s what!

For me it was simply slightly wider tyres, 28c Gatorskins to avoid punctures if possible, double bar tape and my secret weapon, extra padded weight lifting gloves!

The ferry journey was 2 hours and then we had another 4 on the bus in France making a total of 16 hours bus journey.  Although an epic journey in pain, it was made a bit quicker by all the other cyclists heading for hell.  We met guys from Leeds, Manchester, London and various other places, all feeling the same mixture of nerves and excitement before heading over the precipice. All asking themselves, what would Tom Boonen do?  As you can probably imagine, much of the chat was around bikes and specifically wither there had been any adaptations to people’s bikes for this particular event.  Over the years the pro’s have had sponge seats, suspension forks, wider tyres and various other attempts at making the cobbles more barrable so part of the fun of taking part is working out how your going to approach the pain.  For me it was simply slightly wider tyres, 28c Gatorskins to avoid punctures if possible, double bar tape and my secret weapon, extra padded weight lifting gloves!  Other people had gone for specific bikes, wider still tyres, less pressure in tyres etc but everyone on the bus was completely amazed by Graeme’s decision to use his single speed bike.  Bonkers seemed to be the consensus which was a judgement I believe Graeme ending up making himself!

 Bang, my bikes rattling, my jaws ratting, I’m banging about bouncing up and down and clattering on full speed

To the event.  Thankfully it was a crisp but sunny morning as we again got onto the coach, this time it was only a couple of hours to the start line and as with travelling to other rides, this journey was over in a flash.  I was doped up and although my back was still sore, I could feel it through a fog of painkiller and the adrenalin was starting to kick in.  Our coach dropped us off about half a mile from the start and as we cycled towards the line, gradually the streets got busier and busier with cyclists.  There is always something exciting about cycling abroad, all the big races you watch on TV are in Europe, generally Italy, France or Spain and I always think there is something special about cycling with thousands of other cyclists speaking one of these languages.  Also means I don’t need to speak to anyone when im knackered.

confidence and speed help you roll over them a lot easier than you do if your tense and struggling

So we rolled off gently for the first few miles but it wasn’t long before Graeme, who is an light spring hare on the bike sped off into the distance, Iona and I rolled along a bit further before we gradually drifted apart in the crowds and then it was onto the first cobbled section.  Now as you approach, you are genuinely worried, the story’s about broken bones and the legend of these cobbled streets are in your mind and you cant help but think this is going to be hellishly grim but thinking, what would Tom Boonen do? I sped up on the slightly downhill approach and rattled into it as fast as I could.  Bang, my bikes rattling, my jaws ratting, I’m banging about bouncing up and down and clattering on full speed.  It’s a busy section and although im in a bit of shock I seem to be passing people and faring a lot better than everyone around me so I push on and after a few minutes its over and you release onto what feels like silky smooth tarmac.   It was a short section and only 2 star, 5 star being the worse but my confidence has been given a boost and I’m now enjoying myself and looking forward to the next section.

I was enjoying it, I was high, I was hyper but the constant banging, bouncing and brutal jarring gradually wears you down and it does get hard

Over the next hour or so, through however many sections I start to get into the swing of it, I think the fact I do a lot of mountain biking helps and I’m used to picking lines over roots, rocks and whatever else.  Lots of the professional looking roadies were clearly really struggling with the constant jolting and having to pick lines, avoid gaps in-between cobbles and keeping their line in the crowds.  I also think that its true what they say about the cobbles, confidence and speed help you roll over them a lot easier than you do if your tense and struggling.  Most of all through I think that weight helps.  Unlike Graeme the Hare, I’m more like a Hippo on a bike and the combination of my weight and, still being fresh, a bit of power really helped me fly though the morning, so much so that not long before the first feed station I looked into the distance and actually saw Graeme bouncing around over the next section, we caught up over a drink at the station and then normal service resumed with him disappearing into the distance again, however me actually catching him at all was a sign he was struggling over the cobbles on his single speed and it does show that the route is more for the bigger, powerful rider as appose to the fly weight climber.  Its also pan flat!


After that initial 3rd of the route things got a bit more like normal and the excitement begins to wear off.  The sections of cobbles blend into one and the wearing down process kicks in.  For the first few sections I was enjoying it, I was high, I was hyper but the constant banging, bouncing and brutal jarring gradually wears you down and it does get hard.  I cant really differentiate between any of the sections from here on in apart from Le Trouee d’Arenberg, The Trench.  Images of the first world war, fighting in the trenches, barbed wire and mustard gas come to mind and watching the pro race every year, fighting to get in position under the famous bridge and then the carnage as they hit the Trench isn’t dissimilar.  Ok, that’s ridiculous but its sometimes pretty bad!   I personally made it through unscathed but it was definitely the worst section in the whole route.  The trench is through the middle of the d’Arenberg forrest and the surface of the cobbles is therefore wet and almost mouldy, its slippery as ice and this combined with the camber and the gaps, bumps and holes in the cobbles makes for absolute carnage.  I witnessed 3 crashes around me as I went through this section, two separate guys sliding off to the right and through the tape landing on the dirt track and 1 guy coming down right in the middle of the cobbles, at the peak of the camber taking out 3 of his mates in the process.  Having cycled through here I’m looking forward to watching the Pro’s through this section even more than previously!
To be honest, from then on in it was hard, due to lack of fitness I’m really struggling by this point and its just a case of plodding on and finishing.  The cobble sections now that I’m exhausted are much harder as I don’t have the energy or power to rattle through them and I seem to feel every bump and jolt.  The things that help in this event as appose to others through are the crowds along the route.  The pro race is the day after and the route is already filled with camper vans and fans out to watch and they cheer and encourage everyone as if it’s the actual race, it makes it a fantastic atmosphere and a special event.  My one regret regarding this is that I actually passed Didi the Devil cheering me one with his Trident and I never stopped to get a picture with him.


One more incident that happened not long after this was someone trying to cut me up around a corner, I just held my line and he crashed into me and hit the deck.  I just kept on cycling, hope he was ok.

I dug and finished the route and I’m so glad I did, the end in the stadium is amazing, again, like on the route there are fans in a day early cheering you on and all the other participants who have finished hang about to cheer people over the line.  You come into the stadium, just like you have seen on Eurosport and do a lap to the cheers of the spectators.  Some riders are waving, riding round no handed (not me after a previous incident in another event) and some go for a sprint finish but it’s a real festival atmosphere in which to finish.  The weather was great and it felt like a real achievement to have completed the route of one of my favourite races.  I really would recommend this event to anyone.


Just for information, if you ever do the event yourself, it doesn’t finish there.  The next day at the pro race, if you have completed the sportive and have your medal they have a special section in the centre of the velodrome for you with beer on tap and a perfect view of the end of the race.  Seeing the world champion ride into the stadium and hearing the roar of the crowd for him and the only rider able to hang onto him till the end just topped off a fantastic trip and I also picked up my souvenir cobble, just like Tom Boonens.


The miracle of all this was that from crossing the start line until the next day my back was cured, like Jesus curing a leper, Tom Boonen had cured my back!   A 17-hour bus journey put paid to this however and it was almost a month incorporating massive amounts of drugs and two trips to casualty before I could even sit on my bike again!   Worth every bit of pain, anyone up for Flanders next year?

 

Happy Rolling

Graham

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Want to get into the spirit of Paris Roubaix.  Come along and join us at the Canalside Pub And Grill and see the race hit the velodrome. What would Tom Boonen do?

 

 

Paris ROubaix

Latha Duncan – The Attorney

10 minute read

 Ten blocks of ice are attempting to make perfect circles in a jerky dissociation from my limbs as my motor functions rapidly slow with the wind chill.  A wind chill so fierce it will strip any remaining layers of dermis exposed.  Head down I advance, meter by meter, shielding myself from the whiplash and turbulence of passing vehicles.  Like an Olympic swimmer, I’m rhythmically twisting my head in search of pockets of life-supporting clean air to sook in.  Through the road spray, every breath is dual purpose- Filtration and oxygenation.  Car headlights are creating a dazzling, yet blinding ‘Aurora Crash-e-alas’  of flashes in my field of vision.  This is no longer about the journey.  This is purely about the destination.  A destination I eventually reach in a cold-suffering hypnotic daze.  A daze that I’m broken from by a single life-affirming question. That question ” What Ice Cream Cone would you like?” asked the Igloo Ice Cream Van Driver ‘two cones, One scoop each, both with Nutella drizzle please my man” I mutter without my lips or face moving.  I have twenty minutes before I undertake another Zwift training session and I have just made the perilous 50m expeditious winter journey from my front door to the parked ‘Igloo Ice cream Van’ down the street.  Yes, regardless of the weather this Ice cream van does the rounds in rain, hail, snow and on the odd occasion, in the sunshine. I might be racing the volcano circuit soon but the ice cream is for the kids..honest!  I trudge back to excited children, handing over their windswept and diluted ice cream, before disrobing the winter garb and heading to the man cave.

I would like to be outside riding my bike but yet another bad weather protocol has forced it indoors.  We are blessed with many things in Scotland but Winter riding is not one of them.  It generally veers from one extreme: Wrapped up like Scott of the Antarctic, to taps aff 1 stripped down to your bib shorts and heart rate monitor for another totally tropical turbo session.

I clip in and start my warm up. With the fan blasting my face and my better looking virtual avatar on a pootle around Central Park,  my mind inevitably wanders.  I look to the cocoon of four walls and dream about winter riding in the glorious sunshine.  As the clock counts down but my speed and heart rate picks up, I scroll my Strava feed to fire a few obligatory Kudos into the community.  Keep the motivational spirit strong before I start.   A logged ride piques my interest. The profile carries a  St Andrews flag.  The sun-kissed pictures capturing shore line’s and panoramas that are most definitely not Ayr beach but a portal into a beautiful parallel universe 5,126 miles away from here.  I need to know what this cycling winter wonderland is like.  Curiosity and the seed of an idea for a guest feature Q&A on the BCR takes hold. I decide to reach out to the Strava Athlete.  He may be on the other side of the world but nothing ventured nothing gained eh.  I receive some very’ good vibrations’ in return(couldn’t help myself with the beach boys nod and wink) and this is where our story takes flight across the Atlantic pond

Enter stage left Mr Latha Duncan.
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Latha hails from Beverly Hills where he lives with his Girlfriend and is of Scottish descent (gone yirself). He Studied Law and Political Science. When he is not cycling he is an Acquisitions Lawyer for Lionsgate, one of Hollywood’s major entertainment players.
He is a true force of nature in the Strava community with over 10K followers.  A benchmark many a world pro rider has yet to amass.   Latha is going to give us a little snapshot into his cycling life in and around The City of Angels.  Along the way, we dive into wine, music, his own cycling website and a surprise ride with Geraint Thomas current Tour De France Champion.

Grab a glass of the good stuff and get prepared for a healthy dose of Vitamin D with our Q&A With Latha Duncan. Continue reading “Latha Duncan – The Attorney”

Richard Moore – The Writer

It’s difficult to say when I first started listening to The Cycling Podcast.
I believe it was sometime around the 2014 Tour De France, which kicked off on the crowd-laden roads of Yorkshire, saw Chris Froome abandon on the cobbles of Northern France, and Vincenzo Nibali seal an easy win (he would be in yellow on all but two race days, and the gap to second place would be over 7 minutes) with victories on La Planche des Belles Filles, Chamrousse, and Hautacam.

If memory serves, it was part of a drive to immerse myself in the milieu of the race – to be surrounded by the noise, the stories, the chatter, and the behind-the-scenes info of the race itself – which caused me to look beyond what television could provide in its very action-centric coverage.
Podcasting, as a medium, although having been on the go for a number of years, was still somewhat niche, and far from the Joe Rogan-shaped, true-crime-drama filled behemoth it has now become.
The iTunes store was not exactly packed with options, so after a search for “cycling”, I just picked the first one that caught my eye.
It was a good thing I did because I’ve been hooked ever since.

Continue reading “Richard Moore – The Writer”

Aviemore 100 – The Morning After The Day Before

Sunday- The day after the day before

As I rouse, the legs are achy, the sunburned skin is as crisp as an overcooked Christmas Turkey and the liver…well, the liver should be pickled in a jar on a mad scientist’s laboratory shelf.

It’s the morning after the day before.  Where Derek, Mark, Sherpy and myself took part in the Aviemore 100. A day of mixed emotions and success. Continue reading “Aviemore 100 – The Morning After The Day Before”

Brian Smith. TV pundit and British Road Race Champion

Brian Smith – The Coach

He’s a former Olympic Athlete. He rode a Grand Tour(94 Giro). He’s been crowned British Road Race champion not once, but twice!  He has won races from as far afield as Tucson, Denmark, all the way to(wait for it) Girvan. As Director Sportive and General Manager, he nurtured a fledgeling World Pro tour team from contenders to multiple Grand Tour Stage wins.  You’ll see and hear him on Eurosport as ‘The Coach’. His commentary and analysis dissecting the strategies and moves often before they occur, thrusting us the viewers, straight into the pulsing heart and thrum of the peloton.

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The Coach

Ladies and Gentleman, Brian Smith. Grab a big bottle, pour a wee dram (or weapon of choice) and enjoy Brian’s life in cycling. Continue reading “Brian Smith – The Coach”

Time Trial

A long, pensive look from big, bloodshot eyes…
A deep, massaging stroke of a long, stubbly chin…
A tired, resigned loll of the head…
“Aahh, probably started in fucking 1994″…
A sardonic, chastening laugh, followed by a correction…
“…1992!”
A figure’s illuminated head and neck stands out starkly against a solid, black backdrop. A scene which looks interrogatory in nature, but has the tone of the therapists couch.
The figure is David Millar, professional cyclist since 1997. The topic of conversation is his entry in to the sport and his love for its biggest event.

Continue reading “Time Trial”

Finlay Pretsell – The Filmmaker

He’s a Producer.  He’s a Director. He’s a BAFTA award-winning Filmmaker.  He rode Mountain Bike for Scotland. He stood on the podium in National Cyclocross.  His award-winning short films span a myriad of diverse and fascinating subjects; Track Cyclist’s, Bench Press Champions, Prison hairdressers and Ballet slipper makers to name a few.   Ladies and Gentleman, without further ado, the incredibly talented – Finlay Pretsell.
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Grab your Popcorn, Nachos with plastic cheese, Plant pot Cola cup or alternatively, treat yourself to something a little stronger and enjoy our chat with Finlay.
We discuss his passion for cycling, movies and filmmaking process. Including his latest critically acclaimed feature cinema release  ‘Time Trial’. Featuring former Tour De France stage winner, Maillot Jaune holder and Scottish Cycling Legend David Millar

Continue reading “Finlay Pretsell – The Filmmaker”

The Cycling Chef – Sean Kelly

In cycling terms food means fuel, and most cyclists know that a good ride starts with good eating in the days before, and good recovery is aided with good eating immediately after. Carbohydrates, Carb-loading, Protein, Glycogen etc. are all terms in the lexicon of even the most recreational of modern-day cyclists.
For some, though, food is also a passion and a vocation…

Sean Kelly is Head Chef at The Lovat, a stunning hotel in the beautiful village of Fort Augustus, on the banks of Loch Ness, keen MTB’er and road cyclist, and good friend of the BCR boys.

Part of this website’s purpose is to highlight the creative types drawn in to the world of cycling, and Sean is the very epitome of that, equally at home creating visually stunning, flavourful dishes in the kitchen, as he is hammering down the trails.

Grab a glass of something red and French, and let us introduce you to Sean Kelly, the cycling chef

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BCR: What bikes do you currently own and ride?

I have 2 bikes. My most used is a Giant Reign 2016 Enduro MTB, and I also own a Carrera Vanquish for the road.

BCR: How often do you ride and where are your regular haunts?

I’d like to go out every day but my job unfortunately doesn’t allow me to, so I get out as much as I can.
For some off road fun we go to Laggan Wolftrax and Ben Nevis. But more often in the summer I get into the local hills as much as I can, and in the winter most of my riding is done on a turbo trainer.

BCR: Any favourite routes?

I enjoy the Great Glen Way as there is a bit of everything, uphill, downhill some jumps and amazing scenery.
On the turbo (bkool) I really enjoy Central Park NYC as its only 6 miles but still a real workout, and I can fit it in before work.

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BCR: As someone who has travelled extensively, where would you most like to cycle in the world?

That’s a tough one as I love travelling. Anywhere with mountains and sunshine!
I’d also like to have a go at doing a stage of the tour before I get too old. I’d also like to do the JOGLE some day. Up here you also have the coast to coast challenge and the Strathpuffer I’d like to have a go at. Too many challenges and not enough time!

BCR: If your cooking skills/style were a bike race what bike race would it be?

Probably the Tour De France. I sometimes feel as though I’m going up hill or doing a time trial in the kitchen. They say the tour is the toughest ride but come and do a few 15 hour shifts in the kitchen with me and you’ll probably wish you were doing the tour!

BCR: Why do you cycle?

I was more into long distance running to keep fit, but due to an injury I had to stop and needed something else to do, so took up mountain biking which I really enjoy. This year I also bought a road bike to give that a go as well. It’s a great way to keep fit and I just love the outdoors.

We still use some of the old techniques, but technology and the fact that people are more knowledgeable about food has allowed us to be a lot more creative

BCR:  You’re also no stranger to feats of endurance, with the completion of a double marathon under you’re belt.

In 2008, I did the London marathon with a friend, whose idea it was to run from the finish line, at 3 am, to the start line, and then complete the main marathon. So about 55 miles altogether, as we had to take some slight detours due to some of the tunnels still being open at that time in the morning. It was for the Bobby Moore fund for bowel cancer. Originally I was just going to support my friend either on the first or second marathon, and he was looking for a second person to do the other one, but he couldn’t find anyone so talked me into it. We had another friend who directed us around on a bike, who also carried water, gels and snacks for us, for the first 26 miles. For me the first 32 miles was quite easy but after that I hit a wall and was counting down every mile after that. I started to get cramp and was constantly asking myself what the hell I was doing? The last mile took me about 20 minutes but once I crossed that line I had a big grin on my face as we were the first people to do that!

BCR: During events I quickly get tired of sickly sweet gels and bars, and crave something more natural, which doesn’t play havoc with your digestive system.  Do you have a recipe for a tasty snack that you could share with your fellow cyclists, to keep the legs turning?

How about these Oatmeal And Raisin Cookies?
Raisins are a great, cost-effective source of simple carbs, potassium, fibre, iron and other nutrients. Porridge Oats are every runner/cyclists best friend.

150g Unsalted Butter
300g Plain Flour
1/4tsp Bicarbonate Of Soda (mixed in with flour)
250g Porridge Oats
150g Raisins
200g Demerara Sugar
2        Large Beaten Eggs

Beat butter and sugar together until soft and pale, slowly add the eggs then mix in every thing else, roll into cylinder approximately 6cm wide then freeze, when firm cut into 1cm thick slices and bake in the oven at 175° for 7/8 minutes until nicely golden. They’ll be soft when they first come out of the oven but will firm up when they are cold.

Flavour comes first.
If it looks bad but tastes amazing, I’d rather have that than something that looks amazing and tastes bad.

BCR: Can you describe how you trained as a Chef, who trained you, and where?

I did 2 years at local college after school, and in those days everything was done in French, and all the dishes we learned were French. I eventually moved to Paris and worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants.

I started at a place called La Table Du Baltimore in the 16th arrondissement, where we gained a Michelin star. My last job was a place called Le Drouant which already had a star, and which is in the 2nd arrondissement. I was second chef in both of these restaurants, the first one was quite a small team of 5 chefs, I was responsible for the running of the kitchen and training of the junior staff. Le Drouant was much more interesting; we were a team of around 23 chefs but we worked a 4 day week so there was never 23 working at the same time. My job changed daily, one day I would be on meat, the next day on fish, the day after I would be working on the starters, and my 4th day I would work on the pass plating the food. It sounds quite easy with so many chefs and only working 4 days but it was pretty intense. Being the second chef I had other responsibilities like ordering the food, and after a few years in France under my belt I had a really good command of the language, but for some bizarre reason one day I ordered 50 kilos of turbot instead of 15. Needless to say I learnt quite a lot of swear words from the chef the following day!

BCR: How does the techniques, methods and styles in which you were trained relate to the type of food you create now?

Things are so different today, and for the better!
We still use some of the old techniques, but technology and the fact that people are more knowledgeable about food has allowed us to be a lot more creative, as opposed to the restraints that come with classic French cuisine.

BCR: How would you describe the type of food you create now?

I like to think of it as creative with a touch of humour, but what really interests me is trying to achieve zero waste – a philosophy which permeates every aspect of the hotel.
By that I mean being able to use every part of an ingredient. As an example, most potato peelings end up in the bin but I want to use them in our cooking, and that’s where you need to get creative to be able to turn them into something interesting and enjoyable.

BCR: I understand you do a lot of foraging for ingredients. How did you get in to this, where did you get the knowledge of what to look for, and what do you use in the restaurant?

I’ve always had an interest in fresh fruit and vegetables; my grandfather was a keen gardener. Just picking and cooking something you have grown yourself is an amazing feeling knowing that it doesn’t get any fresher than that, so collecting something that grows wild for me is even better! When I worked down south a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go on a foraging course so I jumped at the chance, we have all collected brambles with our parents so to find out all the other things you can collect was a great opportunity, so it kinda stayed with me. I worked in Tuscany for a while, where we collected wild herbs and asparagus, but in Paris I never had much opportunity. Here in the Highlands there is an abundance of stuff just a walk away from the hotel so we collect different types of sorrel which grow on the lawn, and we get wild garlic at the bottom of the hotel. From early summer until November there is an abundance of mushrooms; we get ceps, chanterelles, hedgehog mushrooms, winter chanterelles, amethyst deceivers which have a beautiful purple colour, and the list goes on! We get raspberries, blackcurrants, brambles, strawberries, flowers and herbs. 99.9% of what we pick gets used in the restaurant in sorbets, soups and everything in between, the .1% thats left we have for our dinner!

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Mushrooms, growing wild near the hotel, and ripe for foraging

BCR: How do you strike a balance between delivering visually striking, flavourful, and sustenant food?

Flavour comes first.
If it looks bad but tastes amazing, I’d rather have that than something that looks amazing and tastes bad. Of course, if it looks and tastes amazing, then even better.

BCR: Have you ever thought of going for some type of Michelin guide accreditation – a star, bib gourmand etc. – both in terms of the recognition and achievement that would bring you and your staff, and also the advertisement and customer attraction an industry award like that would also bring?

Not sure how you ‘go’ for a Michelin star. We had 3 rosettes in the AA guide but decided to come out of it this year.
I’m not a big fan of the guides; I’ve been to starred restaurants that were truly horrendous and I’ve also been to restaurants without stars that have been amazing. Having said that I have also had some amazing meals in starred restaurants as well.
I think it’s the inconsistency in the guides that puts me off, but if the Michelin guide awarded us a bib gourmand or star I certainly wouldn’t refuse it!

BCR: What, where or whom is your biggest inspiration for your dishes?

Inspiration comes from everywhere; books, people, other chefs, social media.

BCR: What has been the best mistake you have made?

Probably turning down a good job in France to come to the Lovat where I met Caroline who became my wife and business partner.

BCR: Who has been the biggest influence in your life, professionally or personally?

I couldn’t name one person. I think everyone I have ever met has had some kind of influence, from my grandparents, parents, employers, and everyone in between, but Caroline, although she probably doesn’t know it, drives me to keep striving to be a better chef and person.

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BCR: What dish or meal has given you the greatest satisfaction in creating it?

This really splits opinion with customers, but I love cooking and serving pigs trotters.
It sums up how I feel about food, and using all the parts of an animal.
My grandparents used to eat trotters and other ‘second class’ cuts because that’s what they could afford, but cooked with care they can be amazing!

BCR: What has been the best restaurant you have visited, and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to eat in incredible restaurants around the world so it’s difficult to choose just one. I could probably write a book about all the great restaurants I have been to.
In the last few years my favourites have been L’enclume in Cumbria and Pure C in the Netherlands, close to the Belgian border, which has one star but should definitely have 2 in my humble opinion. My favourite Scottish restaurant is a toss-up between Castle Terrace, Timberyard and 21212 closely followed by The Gannet and Cail Bruich

BCR:  ..and finally.  One book, one drink and one fridge raid midnight snack.

Book:  Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, who sadly recently commited suicide. For telling it how it really is in a kitchen.  Drink:  Champagne.  Midnight snack:  Proper cheese.

You can follow Sean on Instagram – @stationroadlochness or @thelovatlochness
or on Twitter – @stationroadfood or @thelovat
Booking a stay at The Lovat hotel, or a fantastic meal at The Brasserie restaurant where Sean practices his craft, can be done through their website or on +44 (0)1456 490000

Happy Rolling

Daz & Craig

BCR Cafe shoot-14

The Ultimate Cyclist – Graeme Cook

He has logged over 32,000 miles on Strava.  He rode Paris-Roubaix Sportive on a single speed.  He has ridden over  27-century rides in a calendar year including the toughest Sportives this fair land has to offer.  He has more badges in his Strava Trophy case than a 75-Year lifelong Scout has on his sleeve (not too mention a Santa list of bagged KOM’s). This rouleur is a true cycling advocate and rarely does a day pass without him either riding his bike, advocating or promoting cycling.   So without further ado, It gives us great pleasure to introduce to you our friend Graeme Cook- The Ultimate Cyclist Continue reading “The Ultimate Cyclist – Graeme Cook”

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As you know the premise of our website is to celebrate the local heroes, the salt’s of the earth’s, the creatives and the batshit crazy types that migrate to this amazing cycling life.  Today we are talking to a cyclista that could have a foot in every one of those camps…if she had four feet that is?!  However, rest assured, two feet she has.  Two feet that she uses with great affect, not only to propel herself across and around Glasgow on her beloved Flanders Fixie,  but also to stand up as an active agent and influencer in affecting and championing positive change for cyclists near and far. Continue reading “Iona Shepherd – The Cyclist’s Cyclist”

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I began to love cyling as a teenager when I borrowed my Cousin’s bike and cycle all around the Village where I lived. But the real change for me was when I went into ‘The Bike Shop’ in Falkirk in 1986 and looked up at all the bright colours and chrome that glinted in the sun. In those days there was no aluminium and carbon fibre, it was steel and soldered lugs that defined the quality of a bike.

Continue reading “Fallen Hero’s- Why I Rode Ventoux”