Pictures of the Galibier

Having been fond of saying ‘you just don’t seem to be able to do the Galibier justice with a photograph’ I’m happy to say I’m (at least to some extent) wrong.

There’s a great set of photos on flickr (thanks to DaveM who’s been searching for pictures even though he’s *never* doing the Marmotte again :-) ).

Elliptical or Rotor Cranks

I have been boldly predicting for some time that elliptical or rotor cranks have no effect on cycling performance.

It would seem that my instinct and logic were good as this study by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine says this

“These results suggest that the Rotor system has no measurable impact on time-trial performance.”

Though of course a study was not required.  Despite some big name (and dare I suggest somewhat cynical) riders using non-circular cranks, notably Sastre and Wiggins, it is clear that they do not work. 

It would be trivial to prove that they work.  Simply get a rider or two to do a couple of sessions with a power meter.  If they record more power with elliptical cranks they work.  If they don’t, then they don’t. 

Is it really possible that this simple test has eluded the pro pelaton?  Given the lengths that riders go to to attain marginal benefits, if they could simply change their chainset and get some ‘free’ power would they not have already done this?  You betcha.

Taxing Cyclists…

In this article in the Scotland on Sunday it suggests that the Scottish Government is considering a ‘road tax’ for cyclists.

I’m not opposed to this idea in principle, although there are a couple of issues that are hard to resolve

  • How much should it cost?  Obviously cyclists don’t use major roads which are the focus of most road building.  In terms of ‘wear and tear’ I’d suggest that cycling causes rather minimal damage, certainly compared to other vehicles on the road.  However, I think that most cyclists would be happy to pay tax if they saw improvements in road safety.
  • How an earth would it be enforced?


But mostly I think I’d agree with it on the grounds that it’s one less argument for the minority of drivers that are also rather unreasonably about cyclists using the road network. 

The ‘you don’t pay tax so you shouldn’t be on the road’ argument is a rather weak one but  I think that paying a tax would help to legitimise cycling on the roads .  At risk of sounding a little snobbish however, acts of aggression on the road tend to come from the lower echelons of society and, on balance, one suspects that the tax burden that falls on the average cyclist is rather more than that of the accuser.

Furthermore I’d contend that most cyclists are (generally reluctant) drivers too and therefore subsidise the cost of roads as they pay a full road tax but choose not to drive every day, reducing congestion but also the ‘wear and tear’ of the roads.