Hill fitness? Don’t make me laugh!

Putting the world behind me one step at a time

A Year On

Nearly a year on from the last post on this blog I’m moved to write again. It’s very much related to the last post.

Today I posted a tweet saying I was tempted to pack the car and head off to a sector of Pave tomorrow and I subsequently received a deluge of “Why don’t you?” DM’s and emails.

So, here’s the answer.

When I left the Royal Mail I had a picture in my head. Scott and I would roam the races of the world, a disruptive force within a complacent cycling press. ;o) The first experience we had of that (Paris-Roubaix) convinced us of one thing. We produced better shows if at least one of us is at home base actually following the race on television. It quickly became apparent that nearly all “cycling journalism” was a simple regurgitation of post race interviews.

Visit your preferred sites and contrast and compare. This isn’t a condemnation, just an observation.

In addition we are fans first and foremost, not journos. We don’t have the luxury of having our overheads covered by mainstream press commissions. We have to ask the question. “We could be on site, would it produce better content?” If the answer is “Yes”? (Scott’s superb content produced after he spent a week embedded with Trek Factory Racing at The Classics being a perfect example) then we’ll happily spend money hand over fist to be there. If the answer is “We could be there but the shows wouldn’t be as good.”?  We’ll stay at home. Truth is that if you’re by the side of the road you get a very brief snapshot of the race.

Stage 5 is a perfect example. I WANT to be there. I REALLY WANT to be there. I started packing the car. The fact is that I’ll produce better content if I watch the entire race unfold though. You folk are paying us for our insight. We don’t see the whole race unfold? We don’t produce the best content we can. So, to get the insight and commentary we want to give you we need to watch the race. We can do that in a press room at the race “on location” as most folk following the race do or we can do it at home base and guarantee we can get shows to you in a timely manner every day with a bomb proof internet connection.

That’s a no brainer.

Are we unique in commenting on races at a distance? Well, at a recent Grand Tour one journo’s tweets were geolocated “Hounslow”. ;o) 

We have one focus. To provide you with value for money content.



The Way Ahead.

So, three quarters of a season through our first year of broadcasting via the wonders of the internet as our primary source of income.

Much has been learned and there’s much still to learn.

So, things that are cast in stone going forward? Errm Nothing.

Likely things?

We’ll be at single day events.  Previewing the course, pre-riding crucial segments of the Parcours and giving you a flavour of the atmosphere and the history of the race. We’ll catch up with teams and riders away from the pressure cooker of the race and provide a rich variety of content for each Classic. We did that this year and learned so much along the way. Next year will be better again.

Grand Tours: Our intention this year was to attend the GTs as we did The Classics. It quickly became apparent that issues with connectivity (it’s the 21st Century FFS!) and the simple matter of watching the race to provide adequate and accurate analysis reliably every single day meant that we decided a home base approach would provide better content. We’re off to Le Tour in the morning but if I’m honest it’s about the atmosphere, it’ll likely delay the show for premium subscribers. We would love to be on the spot for team interviews etc but there are loads of folk doing that. We want to be different. Much of the content seems to be lifted verbatim from the Eurosport/ITV interviews anyway anyway even by “prestigious” established sites.

Accurate as possible, timely, reliably served content comes first, not freebies to races for us.

We’ve had a good few comments that our immediate post race analysis is more accurate than that of folk on the scene because we’re not part of the honey pot on the ground.

The Way Ahead of the title of this post is as yet undecided. At one end of the range of options there’s entirely ad supported content for all. The way you pay is with your attention to the companies that support our content production through advertising. That’s challenging because advertising agencies haven’t yet realised that highly engaged listeners are more valuable than dumb numbers. ( I reckon I’m on first name terms with 10% of the folk who download our shows, it means a lot to me) At the other end is a subscription only model where we charge the same as a monthly mag for folk to get weekly shows 52 weeks of the year along with daily big event shows and the only free to listen content is a monthly teaser show. Have a look at screencastsonline.com for a hint of how that would work.

The truth will, like this year, likely be somewhere in the middle

On top of that we have some ideas that have been percolating in our heads for a couple of years now that we can only realise in partnership with a major broadcast network.

The purpose of this post?

To let you know we’re committed to making this work. This is our life now, I’d love to be able to retire in 15 or 20 years having ended my working life doing something I’m passionate about and proud of.

To say thanks for your support this year and let you know that the lessons we’ve learned with the help of that support will help us produce better content in the future.




1947 – 1950: You Want Drama? We’ve Got Drama

A while ago on a podcast I had the pleasure to have a long chat with @festinairl pleasure The Twitter. Her constant questioning has led folk to brand her a shallow single issue troublemaker re doping. Hell, even I’ve lost my patience with her from time to time. 😉
Off mic what came over was a different person. A three dimensional, passionate, informed fan of the sport I love. That comes across here. Great stuff.

100 Tours 100 Tales


1947 tour de france

It started – and ended – with drama. And an aeroplane – covering the race for Equipe for the first time – fell out of the skies in the Pyrenees…

1947 – the Tour of Liberation – was surely the year of the ‘Roi Rene‘. Vietto pulled off a veritable exploit in winning stage 2, the 182 km from Lille – Brussels, escaping with 180km to race and riding the last 130km alone. He held the Maillot Jaune for virtually the rest of the race after staging an admirable defence in the mountains. He was home free, just the little matter of a 139km TT through Brittany to deal with…

And he cracked. He lost the Jersey to Brambilla who had ridden strongly through the mountains – he took the meilleur grimpeur prize – and it looked like Brambilla would…

View original post 1,730 more words

Getting Old

Today, around one p.m., I took a call from my eldest boy. He’d finished his last exam and was about to hit the pub with his course mates. The wee boy who fitted in my palm when he was born had finished his university course, Seems only yesterday he was playing on the beach with Meagaidh.
With his younger brother currently in China for a year teaching English?
and the youngest child stretching her intellect and boundaries…..
I feel old. Know what though? If you’d told me Ailsa and I could have raised such wonderful kids? I’d have laughed in your face.

Back to reasoned comment soon. For now? Bursting with pride.


I’d planned to start a discussion with Andy of BikePure via this blog today but had to see a doctor re my dodgy hip. I’ll endeavour to do the BikePure post tomorrow.

Funny thing today, the doctor I got was a delightfully blunt Dutch women. Never mind calling a spade a spade, she calls it a “fucking shovel”.

Prognosis is that there is significant wear in the joint and rotation is compromised. Flexion however is relatively unaffected so after appropriate pain relief I should be able to ride.

Pain relief started.

Advice to others? Please don’t enjoy outdoor activities, you’ll regret it when you’re older and the life affirming experiences you’ll have really aren’t worth it. *sarcasm*

Physical stuff aside? I’m nearly fifty and I really get the feeling that next year is going to be one of the most exciting ones to date.

I’ll keep in touch.

Dirty Dopers and Damn Assumptions.

Today Juan Jose Cobo Acebo won the 2011 Vuelta Espana after a total of 3295km of racing. Twitter has been afire with suspicions about his murky past. Hell, he beat our new British hero (was unaware that bits of Africa still counted as British) Chris Froome and relegated our Brad to third!

He must be cheating!

Given the number of folk citing his dodgy history I’m surprised there’s any doubt in folk’s minds.

So. Cobo as doper? Well, during the Ricco “golden years” of Saunier Duval? As Riccardo and Piepoli danced up the mountains fuelled by blood the consistency of molasses? Cobo was there. Doped to the gills in a team dirty as a dirty thing’s dirty bits. Dirty rider IMHO. No proof, just opinion, but the differences were HUGE.

This year, on this Vuelta though? Given the tentatively brave new world of possibly, maybe, might just be credible, clean racing?

Let’s take a look at some of those assumptions and assertions.

“His ride to take the red jersey was “incredible””

Well he won the Angliru stage but, on the most heinous stage on the Modern Grand Tour circuit, he managed to wrestle a whole 48 seconds from a Chris Froome who’d clearly waited on the hill for Wiggins.

48 seconds?

A damning indictment! What are we to make of riders who gain more than that gap on any easier stage? Dopers all?

Let’s look at the finish of the three weeks.

After 3295km of racing he beat Froome ( a denizen of Her Majesty’s Empire so obviously squeaky clean) by a whole 13 seconds. That’s 0.0949924127 seconds per kilometer. Clear justification for hints of dopage. Hell, all those thousands of Euros paid to the likes of Fuentes for less than .1 of a second per kilometer? Money well spent. Is 0.0949924127 seconds per kilometer the difference between doper and paragon?

OK, all this Reductio ad absurdum shit is fun but the bottom line is that we live in changing times and our attitudes need to change with those times.

Rider who doped may be clean now whatever they did in the past.

Intelligent training may have narrowed the gap.

Big races have been more credible.

Constant cynicism is killing the sport we love. Doping is worse but why bother watching a sport in which every exceptional performance is greeted with scepticism?

My position? My bottom line given the current situation?

I don’t think I could express it better than I did in this tweet to my chum Stu Maclean this evening.

“Actually what this all comes down to is due process. I’m sick of the UCI applying rulings as they see fit. I’m sick of folk slandering riders and trying them in the court of public opinion. I want a fair, transparent, process that riders and public alike can trust. I want change.”

If you’re unhappy with an aspect of our sport? Strive to make a difference.

If you’re just moaning or speculating? STFU!

Dopers suck, so do haters.

Living Without a Car.

We’re just on the cusp of what my colonial friends call 9/11.

It’s the old JFK cliche.

Can you remember where you were?


My dad, who died some two years later, called me as I sat playing guitar exactly where I sit writing this post now.

“John, turn on the bloody telly!”

The first plane had hit, the second was about to hit. Terrible memories. My thoughts are with my friends across the Atlantic today.

However, I digress.

10 days ago the Galloway family started their third stab at living without a car. Ailsa and I have done it before but that was before we decided to breed. ;o)

Thoughts so far?

No big deal, the weekly shopping is delivered via the wonders of the internet. Since the truck is carrying a good number of family’s shopping it’s greener than all those individual cars heading to Galashiels or Edinburgh.

The bicycle is perfect for a town the size of Peebles, need to decide on a decent flat/clipless combo pedal so I can get away with civvy footwear as well as Crank Bros cleat equipped shoes that are currently necessary.

Daily shopping at local produce suppliers is fun, if pricey.

Public transport is LUDICROUSLY expensive.

Biggest shock? There are some occasions for a family of five with an attached elderly relative when a car/van is necessary. The local Ford dealer, David Harrison, is totally switched on to the car free family concept and offers good deals/extended hire periods to folk like us. Kudos to them.

Minor panic when one of the dogs had a wasp sting related emergency. Friends saved the day but a taxi would have done the job.

All in all?

Going well, keep you posted.

Goat Got as Press Tries (Allegedly) Geared Up Granny.

While Scott does sterling work tilting at the Windmills of Aigle I’ve been neglecting this blog.  I’ve mentioned struggling to find time for these unpaid endeavours so often that it’s become a mantra. The simple truth though is that, whilst I’m conceited enough to believe I can write passably, I’m not passionate about the the “craft” of writing. It’s merely a means to an end. I only post when I have no other way to talk about things that mean something to me.

So, here’s something that’ll take more than 140 characters and I’m not doing other media (at the moment).

The latest cycling legend to be accused of having feet of clay is the venerable Jeannie Longo. 52 years old and owner of a palmares that makes Eddy look twice. As the decades passed and Longo kept winning the rumours of dopage gathered as quickly as the trophies she was taking from women half her age. As those rumours came to a head this week Longo claimed to be “the most tested athlete on the planet”. Given the length of her career I’d be inclined to take her word on that above the word of The Texan, who also claims that distinction.

Is Longo guilty? Well, I have an opinion but it’s only that, an opinion. All athletes deserve the benefit of the doubt until due process has run it’s course, even if that course takes longer than the time it takes to rear a Catalan cow.

So, as I sit here, Duvel at my side, you may well ask “Why the hell is John wasting my time if he’s not ranting about Jeannie Longo doping?”

Two words. Joe Papp.

Now, on the face of it, Joe should be the poster child for the rehab path that Scott and I have espoused since the early days of The Velocast. Don’t ostracise or demonise genuinely repentant dopers. Welcome them back and use their expertise to cleanse the sport of the corrupt subculture that’s existed for decades. Turn poachers into gamekeepers. I still believe that’s the way forward.

There’s something about Mr Papp though. Laying aside the fact that his cocktail of sampled PED’s reads like a wine list, he also admits to being a supplier.

I once had a weird Twitter exchange with him in which all of my posts were public and all of his replies were DM’s. I’m a firm believer in public debate so I un-followed Joe so he wouldn’t be able to DM me. The conversation stopped.

Derek, my co-host on the Flammecast used to get particularly apoplectic about some of Joe’s posts.

Let’s forget the past though and focus on today, let’s focus on a piece by Shane Stokes over on VeloNation . Which, by the way, you should all visit regularly. Great site.

Let’s focus on this quote:

“At this time I have not been called to testify in the case of Jeannie Longo, though it would not surprise me if based on my activities as an intermediary between various professional and amateur athletes and the Chinese sellers of the Eposino-brand of EPO and Jintropin HGH, I was asked to recount my dealings with a certain client in France who purchased EPO,”

I’ll keep this brief, since my beer is warming. The correct answer to the questions put to to Joe if he genuinely wanted to support due process and make a difference in the fight against doping would have been.

“I have no comment at this time”

Then go away and testify and be part of the solution.

If instead you choose to say (here it comes again)

“At this time I have not been called to testify in the case of Jeannie Longo, though it would not surprise me if based on my activities as an intermediary between various professional and amateur athletes and the Chinese sellers of the Eposino-brand of EPO and Jintropin HGH, I was asked to recount my dealings with a certain client in France who purchased EPO,”

What you are actually saying is

” I know more than you, I’m important, and by the way I sold Jeannie some good shit! Look at me please! I’m cool and in the know. Honest guv!”

In short, self aggrandising, attention seeking, playground level boasting totally at odds with respecting the previously mentioned due process. Lacking in class. Sleazy.

Happy to have a discussion any time if you disagree Joe.

Don’t get me started about Rebellin and Katusha. This retweet by Geraint Thomas says it all.

Update 10/9/11

Today I’ve received feedback from other’s who have been recipients of Mr Papp’s DM Twitter exchanges. I’m not alone.

In the interest of balance I’d also like to point folk at this post by Cyclisme Spandelles. Well worth a read. Mr Papp has been participating in the comment thread so I’ve left him a couple of questions.

Stuff from the hut. Part one ;o)

OK in no particular order I have the following stuff to get rid of. Will post to eBay later today so if you’re interested drop me a mail or DM. Any vaguely reasonable offer accepted.

58 cm Dave Yates 653 frameset with Alpina full carbon fork. 1″ Campy aheadset. Adaptor sleeve for 1 1/8th stems. 56 cm top tube. Metallic purple good condition.

Velocity Aerohead rims on Ultegra hubs 32 hole. 3x rear wheel, radial front wheel with bladed spokes. Not built by me but I’ll check them over before despatch.V Good condition.

Dura Ace Octalink Crankset. No rings. 172.5 mm. V V Good condition.

Italian thread Dura Ace Bottom Bracket to suit the above.

USE Alien titanium seatpost, Cyclops fitting.

Look Keo pedals. Carbon body, Cromoly axle.

The following bits of an Ultegra 9 speed Groupset

Crankset. 172.5 mm

DP brakes

rear mech

27.2 seatpost

A cuddly toy

A set of 9 speed 105 STI units double not triple front shifter.. Winter bike fodder. Scraped up but working fine.

Deda 250 Anatomic bars 44 cm 26.0 clamp

Cinelli Spinacci bars, silver.

Mail me at john.galloway @lineone.net or DM me on Twitter. All shipping at cost. More to follow. ;o)

Help Needed With French Plumb Line

I tweeted yesterday about fancying a jaunt through France in July next year inspired by Owen Philipson’s post here on his excellent blog “The Drum Up”.

To be clear I am entirely serious about this and have started a quick and dirty google map of the proposed route.


I’ve been to many areas of France but would love folk to help me with local knowledge and it would be a great opportunity to meet a few of the folk I’ve made friends with via social media. So if you’re resident in France or fancy a wee holiday……..?

I want to eat and drink well (surprise, surprise) and cover no more than 70 miles a day. Entirely unsupported and camping.

You can leave comments on this post or mail me at


Thanks in advance!