Archive for March, 2010

An evening with ABM 02 – TONIGHT!

Tonight the talks will be by some influential ladies in the cycling world:

Laura Fletcher has been the head producer of the London Bicycle Film Festival for three years.  Residing in the UK since 2006, she has seen the rise of urban cycling over that time, and combines her knowledge of it with previously watching the re-emergence in New York.  An avid cyclist herself, she has dedicated herself to promoting cycling through arts,music, fashion and film, allowing access for a greater audience.  LONDON BICYCLE FILM FESTIVAL:  OCTOBER 13-17, 2010.

Dr Lowenna Smith is a rider and writer from Cycling Plus. In 2006, six months after Lowenna bought her first bike since childhood, she rode from John o’Groats to Lands End with her husband – and that’s when her obsession with road cycling really began. In 2008 she got into racing time trials through the support of her local club VC Walcot. That year she ‘just’ raced 10 miles, but in 2009 she rather upped the ante by completing two twelve hour road time trials. Training for these events remains a great excuse to ride her bike as much as possible. She’s on a bike six days a week and it’s a big part of her life. Currently Dr Smith combines teaching Physics at the University of Bath with product testing for Cycling Plus.

Poppy Smith is fashion editor of Cooler magazine, an action sports magazine for women. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2005 she spent the winter snowboarding in Morzine, followed by a couple of years as a freelance writer and stylist based in Brighton before moving back to London to work full time on Cooler. Poppy currently has three bikes: a custom built fixed gear bike for commuting (which you’ll see at the talk), a road bike for cycling holidays and riding around the Cotswolds where she grew up, and a mountain bike for weekends in Epping Forest, or Wales if she’s lucky.

So – all you cycling ladies out there – come down tonight and listen to what these three luminaries have to say. Cycling isn’t, and shouldn’t ever be a male orientated sport. Just get out and ride!

(all you lads should come too – obviously!)

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 02

If all the tickets have gone just come down anyway – everyone is welcome! Just get there at 7pm latest.

Bicycles, Bunnies, Bonnets & Booze

Come as your favourite Summer drink, don a fine Easter bonnet or fluff up your cottontail for an afternoon’s bicycle adventure around Central Bristol.

Cycle solo or in small teams to checkpoints around the city centre to collect Easter eggs & points & POINTS = PRIZES. In what order you collect them is up to you, some will be hidden & some will require tasks that can earn you points for style. Extra points will be given for best bunnies, top bonnets & booze inspired costumes (your Sunday best is allowed, as dapper & delightful will also earn you points).

What you’ll need:

  • £5 entry with all profits going to the Environmental Justice Foundation
  • your beloved bicycle
  • a street map of Bristol
  • a digital camera or camera phone
  • your lock for the party after



An evening with ABM 01

So…the launch…well, it launched! A petit and bijou affair I have to say but I think it struck the right chord and I hope we can gather momentum over the course of the next two weeks. It seems to be constantly work-in- progress and I like that. We’ve added more speakers to the roster and artwork continues to come in so it can’t be anything but. Friday then, was something of a soft launch and every talk night will be the same, I suppose, building to the climax on the 9th of April. Tim March came and delivered what can only be described as genius. His seated, no-visual monologue was the stuff of legend. Funny, real and passionate…whether he thinks so or not, he set the bar for everyone to come. Thanks mate. Amy and Xanthe from Cyclodelic were there adding a bit of glam to the proceedings delivering an inspirational talk on Cyclodelics beginnings and their take on what NOT to wear for the discerning female rider.

So – it has started. From small things big things grow. The audience is as important as the speakers. There is a message to get across so be part of it. Tuesday evenings talks are an all-female affair with an amazing line-up. You cannot miss it. We obviously want as many ladies there as possible but I think it’ll be interesting for all. Cycling isn’t just for the boys! These girls will show you why!

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 02

Enlightenment – Cycling City Project

The area of Greater Bristol received the UK’s first Cycling City status in June 2008. The status was awarded jointly to the two councils in Greater Bristol – Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Cycling City is not just an award – it is an opportunity for everyone in the region. The total funding of £22.8 million brings the potential for unprecedented levels of innovation, involvement and creativity.

Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils are looking to double the numbers of regular cyclists in Greater Bristol in a number of areas.

They are doing this by:

  • building new and improved infrastructure
  • running events
  • working with businesses
  • working with schools
  • advertising
  • providing training and
  • funding community projects.

For a summary of the project’s first twelve months, you can watch this short video below.

Something racey…

well…not really. Just some legs. Mine!


26.03.10 An evening with A Beautiful Machine 01 (Launch)

Su Lycett – Save The Children

Tim March – howies (ex BMX champion)

Amy Fleuriot (Cyclodelic)

Sponsored by Havana Rum

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 01

30.03.10 An evening with A Beautiful Machine 02 (Ladies night)

Laura Fletcher (Bicycle Film Festival)

Poppy Smith (Cooler Mag)

Dr Lowenna Smith (Cycling Plus)

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 02

02.04.10 An evening with A Beautiful Machine 03

Gav Strange (Aardman)

Ben Hillsdon (Cycling City – Bristol)

Tony Farrally (

The Bristol Bike Project

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 03

28.03.10 Bristol CRITICAL MASS

28.03.10 British Summertime Bicycle Treasure Hunt (organised by Cyclodelic in aid of the Environmental Justice Foundation)

06.04.10 An evening with A Beautiful Machine 04

John Stevenson (Future)

James Fairbank (Carhartt)

Nick Hand (Slowcoast & howies)

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 04

09.04.10 An evening with A Beautiful Machine 05 (closing party)

Rob Lee (Syncros Endurance)

Greame Raeburn (Rapha)

James Bowthorpe (Globecycle – round-the-world record holder)

DJ James Bowthorpe

Sponsored by Bristol Beer & Havana Rum

Buy tickets for An evening with A Beautiful Machine – 05


We have another drinks sponsor for tomorrow night and the closing party in the form of Havana Rum.

Because of the terrible weather semi-guaranteed for the weekend we have postponed the Bicycle Treasure Hunt until Sunday 4th. Amy, who is speaking tomorrow night, will be telling us more about it all. Sounds great fun!

James from The Bristol Bike Project called me today. With Nick Hand they have built a bike that we’ll be auctioning off through ‘A Beautiful Machine’ and it’ll be at the store for all to see from tomorrow. They have agreed to be added to the speakers roster for Friday 2nd.

Marmotte 2009. John’s account.

Dave, Chris and Mike arrived in the Doblo late Tuesday evening…and in went the bikes…then out came the bikes…then in went the bikes. Dave, wizard that he is, managed to get the best part of a bike shop in that car. Bags in, bikes in and boys in…off we went to Newhaven to catch the 9.30pm to Dieppe. Then down to Alp D’Huez and Dave’s flat on hairpin 16 – Joop Zoetelmek


Wonderful place with an equally wonderful bar downstairs. I’m not sure Phillipe, the owner, makes too much of a profit as the delicious food is so damn cheep its ridiculous…and he tends to forget to charge for the drinks as we found out each evening. Lovely guy.


Possibly the most emotional day I’ve ever had on a bicycle. The Marmotte is tough! Tougher than anything else I’ve done. Whether I was below par on the day due to illness is by the by…this is a serious bit of road which is the stuff of dreams. From Bourg we flew down the valley to the start of the Glandon and the climbing began. We all bunched up at the top with the new timing system and then the true reality of the course dawned as we descended in earnest for the first time…one or two riders being treated at the side of the road and at least one other looking in serious trouble laid on a tight hairpin, bike in pieces. This perhaps is what it takes for us to be a little more vigilant on the way down these monsters. Its a different thing descending in the Alps.

The highlight of the entire day was climbing the Galibier. At 8000 ft it is in every way a monster. All these roads are special, for the riders who have ridden them make them so…but I clearly remember certain TDF stages on Galibier and its a beast I had always dreamt of climbing. Its twice the climb of Alp D’Huez…and a real pig on a bad day…but what it takes from you in pain and suffering it gives back at its peak with the most awe inspiring views and utterly life affirming smugness as you crest the top. Magic! As I climbed I had a major thunder storm brewing at my back – as if this scene couldn’t get any more menacing. The last 3 – 4km are pretty much straight up. The word struggle didn’t do my effort justice.

I had given half my food to a friend who was meeting us half way down Galibier at the top of the Lauteret but there was some confusion and the van wasn’t there. It was the same for the whole group but I think I relied too heavily as I’d eaten everything by then and already hadthe knock as I crested Galibier. Not great with a huge descent into the valley and Bourg then back up the 21 hairpins on Alp D’Huez…

…amazingly I latched on to a good (big) group speeding down the valley and we all worked well…passing a very fit looking Mario Cipollini coming the other way. The few lumps before Bourg didn’t seem to bother any of us even though there wasn’t a thing left in my tank. Feeling freshish I (stupidly) decided not to eat at the last feed in Bourg so I continued up to hairpin 21 ready for an emotional and painful reminder of my own fight between paternal responsibilities, time spent training, health and natural athletic ability…the latter being the only thing that got me up that mountain. I don’t know what went on towards the top but the last 3km had me out of the saddle leaving all the group I’d been with and I have to admit, within the last kilometer I shed one or two tears. Whether they were of joy or pain I do not know but I’d never been to that place before and when I crossed the line I needed a good 10 minutes to sort myself out.

What a fantastic day! I WILL be there next year in better shape. Hopefully it’ll take me to that place again…wherever it is…whatever it is.

To get more insight into The Marmotte look here