Friday, 5 October 2012

Are cheap chinese carbon frames worth the gamble?

Just don't tell Darth about the bits Malone did
After four years and more than twenty thousand miles of cycling, I have decided to retire my trusty Trek 1.7. It has served me well, and will continue to trundle me through Warwickshire when the weather is sufficiently crap. But for sunnier and grander occasions, I want a bike that rides like it's just stolen something (lawsuit pending from Lance's soundbite department ... hopefully he's too busy).

Thursday, 27 September 2012

£40 Bicycle Workstand Review

Continuing in this months assault on decadence, I scrape a few pennies together and buy a brand new workstand off EBay. Purchased with a view to future bike builds, there's plenty of product testing to be done cleaning up my Flyxii and reassembling the Trek.

"Pop outside for a long stand me old mukka"

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Steve Malone's take on Cheap Chinese Carbon builds

Insane in the membrane
In this article, Steve Malone explains how he went from a Stig lookalike to a "skinny" road rider. He also describes his experiences with his first ever Cheap Chinese Carbon Frame bike build.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Coming Soon. Is it a good idea to buy carbon directly from China?

Flyxii Frame. Flyxii Bars. Undamaged cardboard box. But will they work?

We've all heard about them, and some of us have been tempted by the promise of cheap carbon with no apparent shortcomings. But are the new crop of Chinese factory outlets selling carbon bike products worth the gamble?

I have almost completed my journey from placing orders with Flyxii to placing my bum on the finished bike. In fact, the only thing i'm waiting for right now is a seatpost ... from the UK!

When I've had time to ride the bike, I shall write a detailed article on just how good or bad the experience was.

Watch this space....

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Fatal1ty Interview 2012

Whilst posing for his Press photo, Fatal1ty continued to frag n00bs with his spare hand

When the E-Sports scene was emerging from the primordial soup of freshly drawn 3D, I was head admin at and found myself covering perhaps the most exciting time in E-Sports.

 During this frenetic period there emerged a handful of players who transformed the FPS genre into an art-form. They gathered fans as their "demos" went viral through the online gaming community. As the fan-base grew, the handful of players found themselves presented with sponsorship deals.

 First there was the unbeaten, Ferrari winning legend that is Thresh. His impact on a largely HPB * scene was seismic. Never before had a gamer been spoken about in playgrounds, offices and pubs with such awe.

 And then, in 1999 came Fatal1ty. Effectively surfing in on the first E-Sports wave, Fatal1ty shafted his way through the Quake3 crowd with brutal efficiency. Totalling over $500,000 in prize money, he has reigned victorious in a staggering 5 different games. Holding titles in Doom 3, Alien vs. Predator 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, Quake III and Painkiller, he is unmatched.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Breaking Evens

Having spent the first Sportive of 2011 dragging myself up the daunting slopes on the Dragon Ride in Wales, I decided to iron out the bumps for my next big event. To this end I searched for route profiles that didn't look like a cardiogram of a twenty stone smoker running for the chippy before it closes. Eventually I found what I was looking for. Flat out in the Fens looks refreshingly uniform on the profile. In fact, short of riding on a frozen lake, this route is about as flat as you can get in the UK.

Friday, 30 March 2012

My First Winter

This morning I rode past a rabbit which was standing in the middle of a frost-laced A- road, staring blankly at the oncoming traffic. I didn't stop, I was far too cold and if I had stopped I would have felt like an idiot. The rabbit was probably suffering the effects of mixomatosis, but to all intents and purposes the little grey bag of fluffy bones looked frozen and suicidal. Standing there with a vacuum chill sucking the air out of its lungs, cars thundering past on both sides, staring fixedly along the white lines, the rabbit looked how part of me felt. This was my first experience of Winter on a bike, and it has left me uncomfortably numb.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Shakespeare 100 mile Sportive 2011

The clouds on the day foretold the approach of strange weather...
Sunday 11th September 2011

Two days before the Shakespeare 100, the weather forecast had settled on torrential rain around the county of Warwickshire. On top of that, meteorologists were predicting Hurricane Katia would start sweeping across the UK on the same day. In a typically chipper text, my friend Mark advised me to bring along "arm warmers and base layer". I was thinking more along the lines of an extra duvet and a good sleep in. However, with my first proper competition on the horizon I had no choice but to endure 100 miles of whatever the Gods could throw at me.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Site Summary - Alive for 3 Months .. and counting!

How to convert a back room into a (very cramped) studio

I'm approaching the 3 month mark at thegamingcyclist and have uploaded a bunch of articles. It's a good time to "signpost" the newly arrived reader.

This blog came about as a way of storing my articles somewhere I wouldn't lose them (including my Freelance submissions). It was started the same week my friend Rupert Hirst started his blog based on the premise "If I can't buy, borrow or find something then I guess I will just have to make it!".  I've found Blogging to be quite good fun, so I've continued updating regularly.

Here is a summary of thegamingcyclist so far ...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 6

This week, more advice from the T-1000 Terminator

It's back to the grindstone this week with a temperatures diving beneath zero throughout the country. It's also been another school day with Steve "T-1000" Malone giving me advice on how to use three white bags of powder efficiently...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 5

This week I've mostly been eating Lard...

Undead Chronicles: Attack of the Noob

Welcome to the World ....... of Warcraft
Several years ago I wrote for Global Gaming League, a website covering the world of Online Gaming. During my time there I wrote a series of articles about World of Warcraft.

I'm sure you've all heard about WoW, but few of you will have actually played it. If you were ever curious, then please read on. The following article charts my first Undead moments in the worlds biggest Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMPORG for short)...

OMG ... It was 6 Years ago!! ...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Three Stone in Three Months

I really need to airbrush a chin into this photo

Three years ago I decided to get fit by riding a bicycle. It was so successful, that whilst on holiday in Cornwall, I typed about it. I sent it to Cycling Active as that was the magazine I had purchased from the Service Station. They liked it and trimmed it down to a bite-sized weight loss article. This is the full, unedited version.

If you like reading on the loo, make sure you need a really big poo before starting this one ....

Monday, 30 January 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 4

More than a stone lost in 4 weeks! 

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,"

It's fair to say that after 4 weeks of hard exercise and sporadic dieting, I have finally discovered how to lose weight! On top of that, I've had wisdom imparted to me from a T-1000 Terminator .....

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 3

If veggies be the food of love, jog on

Having spent the previous week exercising to the point of exhaustion, this week I have been taking it relatively easy. Which gives me a little time to tell you about some gadgets I use whilst training...

Monday, 16 January 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 2

This last week has proven to be my hardest period of prolonged exercise, ever. 

The Wiggle Dragon Ride may be months away, but I have a gut I need to bust. The last two Dragons were hard, this one is going to make them seem like a quick cycle to work. To survive 2012, you need to be fit. To do it fast, you also need to be pretty bloody thin.

Rather than easing myself into the newly discovered world of running, I have been typically male, and pushed myself hard .... even harder than when I first took up cycling. This is partly because Ive actually broken through the pain barrier.
Running has always been an uncomfortable experience and an extreme test of my cardiovascular capabilities. It is now almost, erm, enjoyable. My breathing has settled down into level, easy breaths. My legs feel stronger and generally my body has been giving me a big "thumbs up" to push it a little further. So I've put my running shoes on and started pushing it.

A runner, running.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Wiggle Dragon Ride 2011

"I am so cold... I am so cold... I am so cold..." Amazing really, after cycling for almost 3 years, I could get it so wrong....

Having chosen to wear a short sleeved jersey and bib-shorts for the Dragon Ride 2011, I was ill prepared for the downpour of rain half-way round the 200km route. I rode for several kilometres along downhill roads chanting this miserable mantra, interspersed with the occasional "F" word when the pace quickened and the temperature dropped.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dragon 2012 Preparations. Week 1.

My series of articles titled "How to lose 2 stone in 2 months" failed ... dismally.

In December 2011 I wrote weekly blogs about my attempts to lose weight in preparation for the 2012 Dragon Ride. Instead of losing weight, I ended up gaining 1/2 a stone over Christmas. Clearly I was doing something  very wrong.

I hate you so much it hurts Wii.

I now weigh approximately 16 and 1/2 stone. However, I've got a secret weapon: It's January, and this is the beginning of my last full year in my thirties. If there's a better reason to see what my body can do before it hits the slippery slope into old age, I'm buggered if I can think of it.

My first problem is my weight. I am 2 and a 1/2 stone overweight, which in cycling terms means I've eaten a whole road bike, the saddle pack, and the bottles. On top of that I've eaten my cycle shoes and lycra clothing. This means that when I lose the weight, it will be the equivalent of cycling on a bike weighing nothing, with a team car handing me bottles when I'm thirsty .... butt naked .... with my feet superglued to the pedals. Ok, the last two points aren't particularly attractive, but the others have a lot going for them. Screw Carbon; far too heavy. My Trek 1.7 aluminium road bike will be rendered effectively weightless. I can't wait.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Verenti Dragon Ride 2010

"So, we'll stick together as a trio for ninety miles and after that it's a free-for-all, yeah?" This was the agreement laid down by myself to my brother and my friend Neil prior to the Dragon Ride in Wales.
About ten minutes after finishing the ride, Neil and Rob weren't feeling the love for their betrayer.

We signed up to the 2010 Verenti Dragon Ride on midnight of boxing day 2009. Such is the popularity of this sportive, voted "UK's most popular Sportive" for a second year running, that the tickets were sold out in hours.

And then, between Christmas and June 2011, we started to train for the biggest ride of our lives; 190km of mountain climbs, 117miles of Welsh pain.