Cyclists crack me up. If they were all in peak shape with a sleek silhouette like Chris Froome and not the middle-aged spread I see on the roads, putting the elastic capabilities of Lycra to extreme test, I’d view them with less disdain. I should, however, be impressed by the fact that in the last decade or so South Africans whose physical activities might traditionally have been limited to a weekly round of golf and lifting a pint at the 13th, are now sharing razor blades and Veet with their wives or girlfriends. Not to mention spending their annual bonuses on bikes, which cost more than an entry level Hyundai.
With the 21st annual 94.7 Cycle Challenge coming up this weekend, I’m pleased to be miles away from the mayhem and inconvenience of suburban road closures as an expected 26000 entrants tackle the 94.7km race, the second-largest timed cycle race in the world after the Cape Argus – weather dependent of course.
Participants will no doubt be taking all measures to reduce their drag coefficient but let’s face facts: shaved legs are about vanity, and vanity only. Time and money is better spent on improving aerodynamics through better riding position and a good set of aero handlebars. Professional cyclist are excused though as their tortured leg muscles require regular massaging and smooth surfaces are better for Band-Aids applied after wipeouts and hairs hath no place. Fully formed hipster facial hairs have, however, been spotted on the Tour de France, so I rest my case.
A recent article at cyclist.co.uk supports my case, quoting former F1 engineer Simon Smart who is now the UK’s leader in aero technology and riding position optimisation, and Mike Burrows the designer of the Lotus Type 108 bicycle who considers the advantages of hair-on to promote a “turbulent boundary”, which could reduce drag.
For most riders though it’s simply about participating and a sense of achievement.
But where there are followers and gatherings there will be strict rules which need to be obeyed. Velominati.com, the ‘keepers of the cog’ have a list of simple [unbendable] truths of cycling etiquette, which includes Rule #4 ‘It's all about the bike’, a cocky reference to the book by the no-longer-so-popular Lance Armstrong. “It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle,” reads this rule. And of course Rule #33 ‘Shave your guns’. “Legs are to be carefully shaved at all times. If, for some reason, your legs are to be left hairy, make sure you can dish out plenty of hurt to shaved riders, or be considered a hippie douche on your way to a Critical Mass.”
Mechanical watches can’t compete for accuracy with their electronic siblings but a COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified timepiece is accepted as an indication of the highest possible accuracy and precision of a luxury timepiece. Even my 51-year-old Tudor Prince Oysterdate self-winding movement keeps accurate enough time for me but the racing elite and budding Froomes concerned about the hair’s distance between them and the competition would be better served by a TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45, the official timekeeper of the 94.7 race this year. Coincidentally, TAG is the only official timekeeper of any cycling race or marathon in SA.
The 45mm Connected Modular 45 is part of the Carrera collection and the watchmaker’s second smartwatch. This time it is officially Swiss Made with the new electronic watch being designed, developed (in partnership with Intel) and assembled at their workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It features TAG’s new ‘connected module’ concept, which is interchangeable with a haute horlogerie mechanical module if you wish to reconnect with ‘the past’ or get tired of yet another battery to charge. Specs include GPS, an NFC sensor for payments, and high definition AMOLED screen with unlimited customisable dials. Google’s Android Wear 2.0 and the new TAG Heuer Companion app improve the software experience.
The Connected Modular 45 retails for approximately R25000. A Deluxe box set, which includes a connected watch (in grade 5 titanium, with titanium lugs and brown natural leather strap), the prestigious COSC-certified chronograph Heuer-02T tourbillon mechanical module, plus an additional black rubber strap is listed around R260,000.
Engage your chronographs and start peddling!