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This time last year (quite possibly after a glass of wine) I messaged my local club to see if anyone was interested in riding the 256km Sportive route of the 2019 Liege Bastogne Liege, 5 others were keen. It was on.

6 became 5, became 4 but this did mean slightly easier logistics for the journey over. Various options were discussed but we eventually settled on this, we would go in one vehicle, a van, we would take the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge overnight on the Thursday then drive to Liege for lunchtime, we stayed in the very well kept Youth Hostel, complete the ride on the Saturday, watch the race on the Sunday then drive to Calais on Monday morning and pop through the tunnel and drive back north. This kept costs down and maximised our time in Belgium.

The Sportive started early on a damp and cold Saturday morning,  unfortunately one of our group had a di2 failure on the line so had to opt for the shorter course. I won’t go into too many details but 12 cold hours later we finished the 165 mile route. It’s tough, with most of the hills coming thick and fast in the last 60 miles, the feed stations were pretty good but with no hot drinks or food available the first half, wet and windy really took it’s toll. Luckily the sun made the odd appearance in the afternoon to brighten damp spirits.

Back at the hostel we enjoyed a few well deserved beers and pizza before enjoying the pro race on the Sunday (albeit most of it from in a bar drinking trappist ale).

In the latest video from All Terrain Cycles, we highlight the amazing range of Ebike MTB available this year from Giant.

We take a close look at the full range of Fathom E hardtails starting at £1895, full suspension ranges of Stance E from £2895, and the fantastic top of the range Trance E+ coming in at £3495.

The 2019 Giant range of eMTB is equipped with the impressive Yamaha SyncDrive that pushes out 80Nm of torque. This unit is coupled up with Panasonic EnergyPak resulting in a unique combination only found on Giants Ranges.  Powerful, reliable and with excellent range, they represent the cutting edge of eMTB.

All available on 3 years 0% Finance subject to status.

Why not come to our Stores at Wetherby  or Shipley  and take a look at the range.

If you live in the North of England , we can also offer Home Delivery via our Expert Home Delivery Service

One of knowledgeable staff will bring your new bike to your door and demonstrate the bike and features for you as well as assist you with its set up.

A few of the All Terrain Cycles  racing team members took the opportunity of an early season training camp in Mallorca. Considerable better weather than back in the UK seeing late teen / early twenties temperatures and good sun levels.

Warmer than Bradford !

Distance Cycling in the Alps

Thursday, 10 January 2019

All Terrain Cycles Team Rider Harry Carpenter Blog on his latest adventure  :

They say you should play to your strengths, mine is distance. My Achilles heel is climbing, so what could go wrong trying to climb some the biggest routes in the Alps this summer?

 

Col de l’Iseran (9,068ft)

July saw my daughter and I in Val d’Isère, however tempting it was to roll down the valley to start the climb properly at Moûtiers the road looked pretty awful so we rode it from Val, it’s definitely the best bit of the climb and was pretty steady away, a nice warm up, beautiful views……

 

 

 

 

 

Stelvio and Umbrail (9,045ft)

A few days later saw us camped at Prato, Italy, just north of the Stelvio. An early start is strongly recommended to avoid the worst traffic so we were on the road for 0630hrs.

A chilly 10km steady drag leads to the first hairpin, thoughtfully numbered to remind you that you’ve 48 to go……. once through the woods the views are a mixture of distraction, terror and intimidation but keep tapping away and you’ll get to one of the most iconic views of the alpine cycling world, even if it’s 10 minutes after your 16yr old daughter arrived there, cracking ride Em!

With traffic building we headed over and forked right into Switzerland to descend the Umbrail Pass, which had just recently had its infamous gravel section tarmacked, a quiet and amazing descent led us down, back into Italy and to the campsite, one of the best rides I’ve ever done.

 

Sella Ronda

Further into Italy saw us in the Dolomites, well worth the journey. The “classic” circuit of the Sella Massif is incorporated into the Maratona Dles Dolomites, a beast of a ride but the Ronda cherry picks the best bits, with some stunning limestone scenery it’s an awesome ride packing a huge punch for only 33 miles, choose your day though as the weather can be fickle and the traffic can be busy.

 

Großglockner and Edelweißpitze (8,435ft)

Further east saw us in Austria and the mighty Großglockner, the highest pass in the country. As a toll road it was pretty quiet to start but the traffic soon built, I found myself alone as Emily had danced up ahead again and was soon being passed by tourists, motorbikes and souped up German supercars, I could cope with this, what demoralised me more was the rotund tourists on e-bikes gliding by…. but we all got to the top in our own desired manner.

Now, the “top”, there are two tops, the first slightly lower than the second, however an unpleasant descent and ascent through busy tunnels to get to the second looked unappealing (and I was knackered), so we retraced our steps and struck off up the rather steep and cobbled Edelweißpitze, higher than either of the pass’s high points, what a view at the top but the 17% cobbles were a challenge after the 2hrs of grinding to get there. A cracking 17 mile descent saw us back to the car, chapeau to Emily for nailing the 12 mile main descent at an average of 31mph to bag 7th lady of all time on Strava, top skills lass.

 

Col d’Izoard (7,743ft)

A few months later saw me back in France with a change of riding partner, Bob Whitfield, Settle Wheeler’s secret weapon and, just shy of 70yrs old, one of the fittest people I know, an inspiration and thankfully someone who can eat Aldi tinned curry and rice pudding day in day out, catering was sorted then….

Driving through France we stopped off and had a very pleasant stay and ride round the newly upgraded cycle paths around the Lacs d’Orient, then onto Briançon in the French Alps. We followed the Durance valley south then headed up towards the Queyras and north up and over the Izoard, a pretty unique environment of sandstone spires, scree and trees. A cold descent down to Briançon led us to the west side of the valley for the “balcon” back road back to the campsite. A great circuit.Durance Valley

A couple of short rides of note were a trip up to Fort Dauphin and the dead end valley of La Biaysee, both incorporating once again the westerly Durance valley back road which gives amazing quiet riding with stunning views. With the autumn upon us the colours were amazing.

 

Cime de La Bonette (9,193ft)

The big one, the biggest in France, if you believe the signs the biggest in Europe (but it’s not). I was actually quite surprised at how pleasant and enjoyable this ride was, I was anticipating pain and misery but the views were amazing and it was so quiet. The difficulties started past the old fort as we passed into clouds and the temperature dropped, we soon found ourselves at the col, but the loop road above it, the high point was showing as closed. Undeterred we rode on, rock fall from the scree covered summit cone was the issue but we dodged the shattered rock to complete the summit loop and descend to thankfully warmer roads, albeit being used to bring down the goats and sheep to the winter pastures, just like being home in The Dale’s.

 

Grand Gorge du Verdon

A few hours further south saw us in Provence and the spectacular limestone gorge of Verdon, a 76 mile circuit of the gorge with 8500ft of climbing gives some amazing views and some big climbs, the Routes des Cretes giving some quite amazing and unnerving riding, just remember it’s a one way road for half of it and it runs clockwise (although having accidentally ridden it anticlockwise the French drivers were very sympathetic and encouraging).

 

So after all that lot I can climb a little better, surely for longer although the steep kicks of The Dales still bloody hurt.

Getting ready for Winter Cycling …….

Friday, 07 September 2018

After one of the best summers for cycling in living memory, it’s time to start gearing up for some harsher Yorkshire weather.  Many enthusiasts continue to ride throughout the winter months and as long as you and your bike are properly equipped, there’s no reason to hang up your cleats until the Spring.

Safety, of course, is paramount so as soon as the nights start drawing in, make sure your bike has adequate lights so that you can see and be seen. It’s a legal requirement for all cyclists to have white front lights, a red rear light and reflector and amber pedal reflectors. Powerful LED lights are brighter than a conventional bulb and are reasonably priced nowadays as well as offering the convenience of being charged by USB.

Hi-viz cycle wear is also a wise investment, particularly if you’re commuting at dusk or early in the morning.  There are lots of bright neon yellow and green waterproof cycling jackets to choose from, or you could slip over a fluo vest.  Reflective arm or ankle bands are another good option with research showing that the up-and-down motion of pedalling catches the eye of the motorist more than a reflective strip on your back.

The other key consideration is staying warm.  As will most outdoor pursuits, layering is the answer to coping with the vagaries of the British winter.  Start with a high-tech wicking base layer designed to keep in the warmth, merino wool is still the favourite with many seasoned cyclists.  Then add a breathable long sleeved jersey in a light, synthetic fabric so you don’t get too hot on those uphills.  There are literally hundreds of tops to choose from, including specially designed windproof fabrics.

A good quality, waterproof jacket is an absolute must.  It’s worth investing in a specialist cycling jacket from a reputable brand – do make sure that the jacket is being marketed as ‘waterproof’ rather than ‘water resistant’ as you need something which really will shield you from the wind and rain.  While a cycling jacket may look broadly similar to your walking jacket, they are specially designed for the sport.  As well as having taped seams and storm-proof zips, they have a longer tail to protect you from spray and keep your back warm and many also feature under arm vents which can be openedfor extra breathability.  Designed to be light and compact, they can easily be slipped into the pocket of your cycling jersey.  While some cyclists refuse to spoil the lines of their bike with mud guards, it’s certainly better than having a wet back or spraying fellow cyclists!

You’ll also need to pay special attention to your hands and feet – as they are largely stationary while you’re cycling, they can very cold very quickly!  Rather than risk numb fingers which make it difficult to change gear and to brake, get some heavy duty cycling gloves and maybe silk liners too.  There are lots of products to keep your feet warm on chilly days, from wool socks to waterproof or windproof overshoes – lots of hardened cyclists also resort to winter boots for extra insulation.  A neck buff is useful for a bit of extra warmth when you set off, and a thermal skull cap that fits under your helmet also gives a bit more flexibility.