[52/23] This Week In Cycling

And so we get to the final instalment of This Week In Cycling for 2023. I started this weekly roundup of my favourite bits of cycling news just two months ago, but it’s already my favourite feature of the site. Let’s hope 2024 is just as interesting.

If you want to see last week’s edition, you can click here.

Riding Through the Retail Rollercoaster

Riding Through the Retail Rollercoaster

In the latest report, surveyed retailers unveil the harsh realities of the past year, marking it as one of the worst sales years this century when adjusted for inflation.

The pandemic’s lingering effects continue to plague the industry, with a drop in sales reported by 68% of shops compared to 2022.

Despite facing challenges such as increased costs and declining margins, a surprising 74% of retailers express a neutral to very positive outlook for the future.

Insights from individual shop owners reveal varied experiences, from slight recoveries to new lows.

While concerns about direct-to-consumer bike sales loom large, retailers exhibit resilience and cautious optimism for the year ahead, anticipating stability in 2024.

This is from industry insider website Bicycle Retailer. Always an interesting read for a peek behind the curtains.

GCN’s 2024 Hot Takes

Si Richardson and Dan Lloyd take us on a ride through the highs and lows of 2023 in this week’s GCN Show.

From thrilling racing moments to the bittersweet farewell to GCN+, they’ve got it all covered.

The spotlight shines on the gravel scene as it gears up for a monumental 2024, with insights into GCN’s plans for the gravel world.

Staple weekly watching, and a good way to kill off any indoor endurance session.

The Top 10 Climbing Performances of 2023

the legendary jonas vingegaard

The 2023 road cycling season witnessed extraordinary climbing performances, dominated by Danish cyclist Jonas Vingegaard.

This post ranks the top 10 performances, considering factors like power, altitude, and duration.

Notable climbs feature Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar on iconic routes like Col de Joux Plane, Puerto de Bejes, and Col de la Croix de Fer.

The highlight is Vingegaard’s spectacular dominance on Côte de Domancy to Combloux, marking a historic season that positions him among the cycling greats.

Just ridiculous stats, courtesy of this great post from Lantern Rouge.

Road.cc’s Best Of Cycling 2023

Road.cc's Best Of Cycling 2023

Gear up for a ride down memory lane as Road.cc revisit the whirlwind that was 2023 in the cycling realm.

From helmet debates to superhuman pro racing performances, bizarre cycle lanes, and even a national hill climb won on disc brakes – it’s been a ride! January kicked off with Mr. Loophole’s resolution for drivers, while February heated up with potholes, helmet debates, and Patrick Lefevere’s outspoken remarks on women’s cycling. March brought classics and chaos, and April had victories, crashes, and groundbreaking tech at Roubaix.

May saw the industry’s struggles, Cav’s retirement announcement, and British Cycling updating its transgender policy. Summer brought more revelations, from cyclists seen as “less human” in helmets to Alberto Contador’s crash in China. Gino Mäder’s tragic death cast a shadow over June, while July’s Tour de France witnessed Cav’s quest cut short and notable absences. August flagged falling bike sales and Mr. Loophole’s return to critique CyclingMikey.

September sped in with speed limits and Shimano’s crank recall, while October unveiled Manchester United fans’ cycling coach meltdown and Wiggle’s downfall. November was tempestuous with Rapha’s loss, Louise Haigh’s cycling comment controversy, and a call for cyclist number plates.

Take a quick fire look back through the highs, lows, and occasional facepalms of the cycling saga that was 2023 over at Road.cc.

Dallas Mavericks Treated to Mercedes E-Bike Extravaganza

Dallas Mavericks Treated to Mercedes E-Bike Extravaganza

In a slam-dunk move, NBA star Luka Dončić surprised his Dallas Mavericks teammates and staff with a Christmas gift that wheeled its way into their hearts—Mercedes N+ Rallye Edition e-bikes, each valued at a whopping $7,500.

The locker room post-game was a spectacle, adorned with black e-bikes topped with red bows.

Dončić’s knack for impressive year-end gifts, from segways to these high-end e-bikes, has the team buzzing with excitement.

Must be real tough being paid millions per year.

This one via Cycling Weekly.

Pro Training Camps Under the Microscope

UAE Team Emirates

As the winter chill settles, pro cyclists heat up the Spanish coast in December training camps.

From UAE Team Emirates’ endurance rides to INEOS Grenadiers’ multi-disciplinary approach, and Alpecin-Deceuninck’s groundbreaking low cadence intervals, Velo dissect the numbers and trends.

Explore Tadej Pogačar’s 10-day stint in Calpe, Michal Kwiatkowski’s 30-hour weeks on Mallorca, and Brandon McNulty’s unconventional slow frequency revolution (SFR) sessions in Arizona. From lactate testing to over-threshold SFR intervals, discover the secrets behind the pros’ winter regimen.

An in-depth insight from Velo.

First Zwifter Hits Level 100

First Zwifter Hits Level 100

This may have made the rounds elsewhere but I saw it over on Reddit.

The first Zwifter has hit level 100. This feat is pretty nuts as it’s only taken two weeks since the new level system was unveiled.

To put that into perspective that’s riding on the turbo for up to 8 hours a day for 2 weeks solid.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first Zwifter to hit level 100 was Keith Roy, who we saw only last week had virtually Everested 138 times this year alone.

Read this one over on Reddit.

Oxford’s Friendliest Cycling Club Wins Cycling Weekly’s Club of the Year 🏆

Oxford's Friendliest Cycling Club Wins Cycling Weekly's Club of the Year

In a remarkable 12-year journey, the Cowley Road Condors have pedalled their way to the top, clinching the Club of the Year Award for 2023 from Cycling Weekly.

What started as a traditional fast-riding club has evolved into a beacon of inclusivity and friendliness, boasting a 300-strong membership and the title of Oxford’s largest club.

The Condors are breaking stereotypes, mixing and matching rides, and actively promoting diversity with a focus on female membership and outreach to underrepresented groups.

A nice story that I hope continues to spread across the UK, welcoming more and more people into every aspect of our unceasingly rewarding hobby.

Unsurprisingly, this one comes via Cycling Weekly.

Hövding’s Deflation Drama

Hövding's Deflation Drama

Award-winning Swedish company Hövding, renowned for its groundbreaking airbag cycle helmet, has declared bankruptcy following a clash with the country’s consumer watchdog.

The regulatory body ordered a product recall and sales ban on the latest helmet version, citing concerns.

Despite Hövding winning an appeal overturning the ban, irreparable damage prompted the company to shut down. The company’s statement expressed disagreement with the watchdog’s decision, highlighting an ongoing appeal.

The airbag helmets, designed as collars, garnered widespread attention, not only for their safety features but also for occasional accidental inflations, adding a touch of unintended drama to the innovative product.

Heck, this one even made the “Bike Video Of The Week” last week!

I actually picked this one up via Bloomberg, but as they run a paywall I am instead linking to Road.cc who also covered the story.

How Many Stage Races Are Left In America For Amateurs?

How Many Stage Races Are Left In America For Amateurs?

I love posts like this. Classic Reddit fodder, really.

Junk Miles over on /r/Velo has compiled a big list of all the stage races and larger events that amateurs are eligible to race in.

I need to track down similar for the UK. It made me think about adding such a page to this site.

A cool post particularly for Americans. See this one over on Reddit.

Lapierre and Raleigh Parent Company Faces ‘Unsustainable’ Ratings 📉

Accell Group, the owning body behind bike brands Lapierre and Raleigh, finds itself navigating a rocky financial terrain with Fitch downgrading its long-term default rating to CCC.

Blaming overstocking and weakened consumer demand, Fitch predicts a challenging road ahead, citing a drop in EBITDA margin and a prolonged discount environment.

While Accell reassures with “sufficient liquidity” from a hefty injection by parent company KKR, the gears are shifting, evidenced by recent cutbacks in Raleigh’s UK operations and Lapierre parting ways with the Groupama-FDJ team.

Well we did start this post with a report on just how tough this year has been for the cycling industry. It seemed fitting to end on one, too.

Another of this week’s stories via Cycling Weekly… were they the only people working over Christmas?

Bike Meme Of The Week

bicycle seatbelt meme

Hard to know whether these things are legit or not anymore.

This one via Reddit, in a post entitled “Look what Santa brought me!”

Bike Of The Week

1991 Billato Team Z signed by Greg Lemond with Campagnolo C-Record

I am generally not one of those people who love older stuff. But this bike is just … well, it’s cool as hell, isn’t it?

This one comes via Reddit.

It’s a 1991 Billato Team Z signed by Greg Lemond with Campagnolo C-Record, and there are four pictures to enjoy. Those bars are nuts!

OK, that’s it from me this week.

See you in 2024!

Leave a Reply