Here's an eclectic mix of our best cycling spots from around the internet this month. The Inner Ring Once again the Tour de France coverage over on the INRNG pro cycling blog has been superb. Witty, insightful insider coverage with lively debate amongst the comments - if you're not following this site you should add it to your favourites immediately. To support the site Mr. Inrng recently collaborated with Prendas to produce a limited edition jersey. Grab one while you can. Wheelset Search After our short feature on compatible forks for our steel frames we asked a few recent customers about the wheelsets they selected for their new builds. Whist most opted for Campag, Fulcrum and Mavic, a couple of lesser known brands also cropped up. Hunt produce high quality hand-built wheels from top spec'ed components sourced from well respected Asian manufacturers (an approach we certainly appreciate). They look the business and are well priced too. Swiss Side wheels have a focus on aerodynamics and with a combined 50 years of Formula 1 experience in their design team they should be good at it too. Any brand with line graphs on their product pages get my vote. West Coast Jerseys & Bags While on the look out for a new short sleeve jersey, I came across Ornot Apparel. As they are based in sunny San Francisco they offer nothing in merino - but will make a nice change from the obligatory Rapha Classics Jersey visible on every Saturday morning club run. Portland based Tanner Goods are high-end producers of traditional leather work. Their new outdoor collection includes a range of waxed cotton handlebar and saddlebags. The Excursion Frame Bag is our favourite. A waxed canvas workhorse, designed to carry a working days worth of gear without getting overstuffed. Its dimensions will fit a laptop, a light jacket, a notebook and some lunch safely, without worrying about your legs hitting it while pedalling. North East Caps A little closer to home is D By Design Cycling Caps. With a custom design service for cycling clubs for orders of 15 caps I'm sure this new brand will prove popular. They also offer some bold stock caps from just £12 - a small investment to vastly improve your coffee stop look. Finding & Building Vintage Bicycles Finally, My Ten Speeds, a retro website about vintage bikes. I don't know what I was doing when I found this, but I love it. Posts run from 2008 to 2013 and feature a range of articles about the joys and pitfalls of vintage bike building. The site also features a gallery of the authors own salvaged builds sourced from all over America, Europe and Asia. Here's a few favourites from Legnano, Torpado and Tomassini to skim the surface of the the Italian section.
The towns and villages surrounding the Arenberg Forest are home to the mining communities of Northern France. Here, through the years, men young and old and wiry lads like Jean Stablinski, would descend deep mine shafts each day to earn their bread. At the end of a long days graft Stablinksi and his friends would grab their bikes and ride out into the forests, away from the blackness of the mines to relax in the sunlight. Stablinski escaped the mines to sit in the saddle as a professional racer, much of the time as a lieutenant to Jacques Antiquil. More than a coincidence perhaps that Antiquil, when asked why he seemed to hold no great love for the bicycle - the machine which brought him fame and fortune - used to always reply: "Show me a miner that loves his pick". No coincidence either that the Arenberg, one of the toughest stretches of pavé on any race route, became known to locals and the cyclists competing in Paris-Roubaix as The Trench. The Arenberg cobbles are irregular, angular, sharp. Through the centuries wagons, tractors and even tanks have gnawed the edges of the track, making the camber uneven with high crests and low sides. In the wet, the surface of each stone is turned to glass. The riders approach the forest with more than 150km in their legs and fatigue in their minds. If a racer enters the Arenberg outside the top 30, he has probably already lost. Stablinksi, the only man to have worked the tunnels beneath the trench and raced on its broken surface, made this stark comparison: "When you went down in the cage, five hundred metres, you never knew for sure whether you would be coming up again. Not something to dwell on. Like the Arenberg. Best not even to let the fear in"