Category Archives: Ramblings, colourful characters, music and nonsense

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Grappa Club, opportunities and toasted cake

As with all good cycling holiday stories the conversation was soddened with ‘it was hell, ‘ I wore two pairs of socks over my gloves’, ‘I thought I might die, ‘I took a kamikaze exit down Ventoux because I needed to be warm/eat/dry/hug my mum’.

This particular tale was being relayed by the Grappa Club – called so because they drink grappa. Well if I am going to be pedantic, which I am, they ordered a grappa once; so poignant a moment was the realisation it was 18 euro a shot they aptly named themselves after it. The Grappa Club consists of four blokes who a) ride together when they can b) travel to the continent in a chaotic manner and ride together when they can, c) drank grappa once. One of the fellas lives in Wales, north Wales if I remeber rightly, one is Canadian with a name that confusingly sounds Japanese – I haven’t met these two. The other two I went riding in Hertfordshire with a few sundays ago. Strangely upon entry to the north London county you are greeted with a sign ‘Hertfordshire, county of opportunity’ – I didn’t happen upon a golden ticket, nor did I see anyone who looked like they had, it’s very nice all the same.

Anyway the real purpose of this story is the start and end point; Amici Delicatessen’ in East Finchley, so enjoyable was my experience I felt compelled to write about it. I beg you, don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this family run Italian treasure trove. Me and my Colnago were momentarily transported to the foothills of the Dolomites the other Sunday. Vintage cycling jerseys hang from the ceiling, fresh pastries decorate the counter, the sound of milk being steamed, the smell of fresh espresso, ah heavenly. As I said we started here and we finished here, I won’t bore you with the ride we did in between, but fast forward 50 miles and we are back in the cafe. I ordered toasted pannetone alongside my cappucino, I had never tried toasted cake before, and the cynic inside of me thought perhaps it was going stale, hence it being toasted; well more fool me, it was a taste sensation, I don’t care if that cake was older than me, it was one of the damn finest bits of cake I have eaten. I also had some boquerones (I don’t know what these are called in English or Italian) served with fresh ciabatta, sun dried tomatoes and very tasty, juicy olives. I honestly can’t remember how much this little lot set me back, which is a sure sign it was reasonable.

I conclude that Hertfordshire makes for a pleasant ride, although I don’t think you should get your hopes up regarding opportunities. And that the Amici Delicatessen really is quite special – for one hour of my Sunday, I was lazing on a sunny plaza cooled by a Mediterranean breeze, weary from Alpine plights – and all of this in East Finchley, who’d of thought?

Georgie Wood


Mark Cavendish backs cities fit for cycling

Mark Cavendish did a wee interview with The Times and unlike many ‘celebrities’ he voiced his opinion. OK it’s not going to go down in history as one of the worlds greatest speeches, but he raises some valid points and having a great British cyclist on board can only ever be a good thing; plus he seems like a nice fella (irrelevant, but a bonus).

London Nocturne on TV

It was few weeks ago now, but for those who missed the nocturne you can watch it here . You may note Anna Glowinski won the longest skid competition. Girls don’t usually win these kind of things. She is formidable. She is the brains behind and team member of the Mule Bar Girls. They ride all disciplines and tend to do it pretty well. I was in a race once that they entered. Anna floored me. I am not the jealous type so I won’t hold it her against her, everyone has their strengths- I am sure I can do things that she can’t do. I bet she doesn’t have double jointed elbows.

Race Across America

There is a good chance you have never heard of Race Across America (RAAM), which is kind of strange as it is much tougher than the Tour de France, in fact it’s the world’s toughest cycle endurance race. This race makes the Tour de France look like a sunday morning canal side stroll.

The race starts in Oceanside California, riders pedal 3000 miles, crossing 12 states, and climbing over 170,000 vertical feet; riders have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race. For those who aren’t quick off the mark with maths that means they ride between 250-350 miles a day continuously.Anyway this years race is about to start and my friend Juliet has wrote a very interesting and insightful article all about a film documentary which follows one of the competitors of the race. It’s well worth the read.

I want to read the article please

Bets on for Wiggins winning the Tour

Bradley Wiggins has extended his lead in the Criterium du Dauphine after winning Thursday’s time trial. The mod is on fire. I can’t wait for the Tour and the Olympics. The odds at Ladbrokes are 15/8 for him taking the yellow Tour jersey home. Looks like it could be a pretty fruitful year for the Brit, it pays quite well winning the worlds biggest cycle race. Our fingers are well and truly crossed for you Bradley!

Ally Capellino x Carradice bags for bikes

Last night saw the launch of the Ally Capellino x Carradice bicycle bag range. Ally Capellino is a London based bag designer and Carradice are a Lancashire based bicycle bag manufacturer. This makes for a meaningful and satisfying collaboration.

The bags have been produced in heavyweight oiled canvas, are waterproofed lined and awash with lovely details.

The pannier bag comes in black and sand. I thought I was going to buy black because sand would get dirty, then I found out that it comes with a wee tuck away waterproof cover to protect it from road dirt when its lashing it down, so sand it is then. A timeless, tasteful, useful bit of kit. Tick, tick, tick.

Normally when yo go to a range launch you are given a badge which ends up sitting in the bowl on the kitchen table for a year annoying you. At this launch we got given these delightful leather embossed key ring tags which I am already making use of.

I am super happy with my tag and very happy at the prospect of using a pannier bag that looks the business.   If you would like to view the whole range including product specification you can click right here.

Yes that’s me and my Colnago

Queens Jubilee N16

We are open this Saturday, 10.30-18.30. We are closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We are always closed on these days though so I don’t suppose it matters.

May you all have a wonderful bank holiday.