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Cycle Revolution

This is what Velo Club Motel will be going to see this weekend.

Although the plan is to cycle all through the winter, there are days when you really don't want to start your ride in the pouring rain. Actually we were stupid enough to start a ride in snow a few weeks ago, but that is another story.When do we hit some bad weather, we will definitely be heading to the Cycle Revolution exhibition at the Design Museum.

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Our humble photographic studio is no stranger to cycling talent; in the past Bradley Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton and Mark Cavendish have all travelled to east London to take part in shoots here. In fact, Wiggins brought along his yellow, Tour de France winning, Pinarello for the shoot (sadly I was away that day).

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Image: Emily Maye/Design Museum

The Design Museum's exhibition takes things a little further, with 77 different bikes, ranging from Wiggins' 2015 Hour Record breaking bike, to a 1969 Raleigh Chopper! We are really looking forward to going to see the exhibition but hopefully the weather is too good and it will have to wait! Luckily it is running until June next year, so there is plenty of time to go and see it.


Velo Club Motel is the cycling club of east London photographic rental studio Motel. 



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Kaleidoscope - Red Bull's mind bending cycling film

Should we convert our east London studio to a velodrome?

As a group of photographers and filmmakers who are obsessed with cycling, we were really excited to see the release of Kaleidoscope. There is many a time that I have thought about converting our east London rental studio into a skate park, or even installing a mini velodrome!

east london photographic studio. shoreditch photographic studio. event space shoreditch

Yet again, Red Bull have taken things to another level. Creating an amazing video combining an op art style set build, beautiful cinematography and spectacular riding from Scottish BMX rider Kriss Kyle.

Kaleidoscope is a beautiful film to watch, but if you are like me, you instantly start analysing how they put together the sequences. Luckily there is a behind-the-scenes, giving you a glimpse of the gear and scale of the production involved. Shot in 4K with the likes of the MoVI Gimbal and a Technocrane, it's got me thinking about what our set builders could come up with at Motel. Likewise, if you are inspired, get in touch and see how Motel can help you with your next shoot! We have extensive lighting and digital hire facilities and would love to help you out.

The BTS is called Part 1, so lets hope there is a part 2 on the way!

 

Velo Club Motel is the cycling club of east London photographic rental studio Motel. 

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Pain face

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

Photograph by Nick White

On a very cold Sunday morning we headed out to Epping forest for a hill climb double header. First was East London Velo, followed very closely by the Eagle RC hill climb. The ELV race takes place on Mott Street, a local favourite and the site of David's hill climb win last year. 

There was a good turnout of 30+ riders although the cold, damp conditions meant that the times were not blistering, although I did manage a PB. In the end, the top three were separated  by just 2 seconds with VCM's David Ross taking 3rd. I managed a reasonable 11th place, full results

1st - Will Beresford (London Phoenix)
2nd - Ned Jackson (Islington CC)
3rd - David Ross (Velo Club Motel)

Next up was the Eagle RC hill climb on Lippitts Hill which is shorter, with a more consistent gradient. This is where David came into his own, winning the race by 6 seconds. I managed a 5th place, however the field was smaller.

Thank you to everyone involved in organising both events and well done to everyone who entered. A special thanks to Nick White for the photos above, more can be found here.

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VCM is the cycling club based in East london photographic rental studio Motel. 

 

 

 

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Bec and Catford 2015

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Bec and Catford 2015

A little post featuring David who raced the Catford Hill Climb last Sunday morning and Bec in the afternoon. Since last year, David has fitted a single chainring on his bike and is sporting some pretty lightweight wheels in an effort to go faster.

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The Ascent

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The Ascent

It's great to see the release of Everesting Swain’s 'The Ascent', is a short film from Wodehouse and Gorilla Face documenting Mat Ilic's attempt to Everest the notorious Swain's Lane in North London. 

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VCM X GQ STYLE

Photo by Jason Evans, Styling by Simon Foxton

Photo by Jason Evans, Styling by Simon Foxton

The secret project we mentioned at the start of August has now been published so we can now tell you about it! Velo Club Motel were asked to take part in a story shot by Jason Evans for GQ Style. The story features Brian@Select wearing the Paul Smith 'A Suit To Travel In' in various active scenarios. 

VCM's ltd edition kit, designed by Joe Hearty, was perfect for the colourful opener. The shoot involved cycling very slowly along an access road on a business park. Oh the glamour!

We had a great time and Jason was great to work with. The production team at KO Productions were great as well, keeping us fed and watered after the intense efforts we were making.

 

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Reading CC 2 stage hill climb.

Hill climb season is upon us, which means David is looking skinnier than ever, launching himself up hills around the south of England. This weekend was the Reading CC two stage hill climb, with timed races up two very different courses and results based on the combined total. 

David in full flight.

David in full flight.

Looking a bit pale.

Looking a bit pale.

It was a really strong field  and the race was one by NFTO pro Edmund Bradbury (who came 6th in the 2014 national hill climb championship). David came a commendable 10th place, squeezing into the top 10 by just 0.2 Sec.   There some great pictures of the event on Guy Swarbrick's website

Edmund Bradbury powering to victory.

Edmund Bradbury powering to victory.

The squad are off to Mallorca next week for a late season training camp, before the remaining hill climbs of the season.


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Wiggins. Again

I thought I would take this opportunity to post a couple of photos of Wiggins, shot by photographer (and Velo Club Motel founder) John Wright. They were shot for GQ magazine on location The Mildmay Club in Newington Green. The shoot was done on the back of a Fred Perry press shoot for his new line.

I'm not sure how many people noticed the all star lineup for the darts match. Although I'm pretty sure I wrote the names where the scores are meant to go. 

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Make hay while the sun shines

Photo by Pete Biggs

Photo by Pete Biggs

With the current weather reminding us that we need to get out when we can, I though I would take this opportunity to post some pics from some sunny rides the club have done in the last few weeks. The picture above was from a rare foray into the Chilterns in search of some new roads. It was a ride I sadly missed, but the team was out in force as you can see. 

The images below are from a more classic ride into Essex, including a coffee stop at the Tiptree  Jam Factory  and a dip in the English Channel at Clacton-on-Sea. At times it felt like we were stepping straight into a Martin Parr book.

Let's hope we get a few more sunny days before the winter bikes come out again.

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Victoria Pendleton

Back in 2011, double gold medal winning Victoria Pendleton visited the studio. The shoot was part of an olympic portfolio for British GQ featuring nude athletes. Victoria was a pleasure to work with, although as the bike supplied was not one of her sponsor's there was a lot of retouching to make it all black!

 

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Secret Missions and Sunny Rides

The Velo Club squad were involved in a top secret project on Wednesday, which we will be able to reveal in due course. As a result our weekend ride did not feature many team colours as no one had got round to washing it! 

The weather at the weekend was glorious and we took a hilly trop through Surrey and Kent, taking in some great lanes. I would recommend the route to anyone wanting some rolling roads and testing climbs. The last climb on the route is the brutal White Lane, which although quite short, it averages 13% and has parts that top out at 20%. The hill is used for the Bec Hill climb so we all had to drag ourselves up it so that David could scope out the course for this year's race.

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Ride London 100

This weekend saw the annual Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 bike ride take place. Motel was represented by my brother David and me. Last year David missed out on the event, having broken his collar bone mid season, however this year we have both managed to avoid serious injury, so far.

Due to the sheer numbers involved, the ride begins early. The first 'wave' is off at 6am and a we had to be at the Olympic park by 5.40am, ready for our 6.06am start. We made it on time, complete with hi-tech, disposable capes to keep us warm.

The event is one of only a handful of closed road events in the UK and it's an amazing feeling to be riding through the iconic streets of London without any traffic. I almost started breaking for red lights on a number of occasions, but luckily I realised in time as it could have lead to quite a pile up.

Riding in large groups can be stressful, but it also allows you to share the work and generally means that you go a lot faster than your average Sunday ride. We made good time and despite a couple of comfort breaks, we got round the 100 mile course in 4hrs 38min. Our average speed was just under 36kph and on one decent I think I hit 80kph.

The early start meant we were all done by 11am, so after a sports massage from the kind team at Anthony Nolan we made our way to Look Mum No Hands for a celebratory beer.

David was fundraising for Antony Nolan and I was fundraising for MSF UK if you would like to sponsor us.

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Velo Clubbin'

Race essentials

Race essentials

"You've probably got time for a few laps before people start" Colin said to me as we were walking to the track. However looking around at the standard of bikes, and the tightness of the lycra, I already knew I was out of my cycling depth. 

We were at Lea Valley VeloPark, originally built for the 2012 Olympics but now open to the public.  Not to say that the pros don't use it however, Britain’s favourite mod Bradley Wiggins recently set the hour record there. As we got track side, the first thing that struck me was the amount of young children there. All fully kitted up riding around in circles, looking slightly awkward on these shiny road bikes which almost looked too big for them. Of course amongst them were the parents, some had taken the plunge and donned the lycra, others were happier to sit and cheer from the sidelines. 

Colin surveying the track

Colin surveying the track

Another observation as an outsider, were the amount of teams with their own kits. It seemed strange to me, but maybe that's because I grew up around football where you either wear your favourite team's top, or the cheapest generic football top they can find. But even though people were separated by teams, they all were happy to mingle amongst one another. It was at this point I felt I probably should have worn my Velo Club Motel top to at least try and blend in...

The whole reason people were here, was for the brilliantly named Tuesday Tens Two Up Time Trial - or TTTUTT for short(ish). Which I have been told basically means two people cycle 10 miles together as fast as they can, on a Tuesday. But it was time for brothers Colin and David Ross to make their final preparations. David made short work of a banana for some last minute energy, whilst Colin stripped his bike of any drag inducing elements, those add up you know. Once they were ready, zipped up and clipped in, off they went.

Side by side on the warm up lap

Side by side on the warm up lap

They were due to start at exactly 7:02pm so they had a good few minutes to get some warm up laps in. I followed them at various vantage points around the 1 mile course, and for saying it’s in East London, there are times when the sun highlights certain areas and you could be mistaken for being somewhere slightly more exotic. After a few intense laps, and a few not so intense laps they lined up at the start line, waiting to be released. As I mentioned earlier, I found it interesting that grown men focused on the race at hand are lining up along side young kids, more interested in annoying their friends. When the clock firmly struck 7:02 our boys were off. They were clearing going for it and made sure to switch positions as some points to deal with head winds at various points. When you’re standing at the sidelines it’s kinda of hard to tell exactly how fast they are going, but the puffed out cheeks are a hint that they’re giving it a good go. 

Colin, Greg and David

Colin, Greg and David

When their race came to an end they were greeted by Motel’s official coffee sponsor, and owner of Lanark Coffee, Greg Boyce. After a little cool down, it was time for all of us to retire to a local pub for a well deserved drink. Just one or two mind, it was a work night after all. 

Click through the gallery below to see more of our boys in action.



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Le Grand Depart

Although it's a bit late, considering the Tour is entering it's third and final week, this post brings you some pictures of club member and hill climb specialist Davis Ross' trip to The Netherlands and to see the Grand Depart. 

After The opening TT, he headed to Belgium to take on a few classic climbs, one of which -  Mur de Huy (Wall of Huy) is climbed 3 times in the brutal Flèche Wallonne classic and also featured in this year's tour. As you can see from the pictures, the crowds were out in force, as they are whenever Velo Club Motel are racing.

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The Business of Bikes

Director Magazine are regular guests in our studio and it was great to see them rock up with a load of bikes earlier this year. It was all for an article on the Business of Cycling in the UK.

I have posted a few of the portraits below, and the full article can be found on their website.

Nick Larsen, founder and global GM, Charge Bikes, Photograph by Jay Brooks

Nick Larsen, founder and global GM, Charge Bikes, Photograph by Jay Brooks

Isla Rowntree, founder and director, Islabikes, Photograph Jay Brooks

Isla Rowntree, founder and director, Islabikes, Photograph Jay Brooks

Rob Bodill, founder, Jyrobike, Photograph by Jay Brooks

Rob Bodill, founder, Jyrobike, Photograph by Jay Brooks



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Mark Cavendish

Back in 2012 when Cavendish was still on Team Sky, he came into the studio for a shoot with photographer John Wright. The shoot was based around original vintage cycling clothing, styled meticulously by Jacqui Shannon, co founder of the tweed run. 

He also brought with him his Pinarello Dogma, although he talked a lot about how good Specialised were, so he must be happy now he is back riding Venge again at Etixx Quick Step. It's probably best that we didn't have the framed yellow jersey up when Cav was in, as it is one of the few things missing from his Palmarès. 

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VCM vs LFGSS

It's been a busy week of cycling, with a Cat 4 race on Wed, a 10 Mile open road TT on Sat and an epic ride with the guys from LFGSS CC on Sunday. The race was quite uneventful, I didn't really feel like battling at the front so just rode around in the bunch, bit pointless really. The TT was good. It was my first open road time trial and I came 7th. It's quite a strange setup really - you set off down a slip road onto a dual carriageway, go up it for 5 miles, then turn around and come back! The race was put on by CC London   who are a really friendly club. The organisation was great, with people giving up their Saturday eve to help, so a big thanks to all those who came out.

On Sunday we met up with some of the LFGSS CC riders, led by Henry, and headed off towards the mythical Blue Egg in Essex. The ride out there was a fast 80km with the average speed staying just above 32km/hr. It was good to see newly crowned national TT champion and former Hour Record holder Alex Dowsett, also out for a ride. Just as we setted down for a well earned cake, the heavens opened. 

After putting off the inevitable for a while, we set off into the rain, wearing our (formerly) white summer kits. We managed to keep the average high with the VCM riders taking turns to support Henry's relentless pace setting on the front. In total we did about 180km at an average of about 31km/hr but the rain managed to kill all three of our gps devices so you will just have to trust us! Henry however lives in south London so did a ridiculous 212.9km in total.

 

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LA ROADTRIP

I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the LA last week for a shoot and was determined to go for a bike ride on my day off. On our last visit, we rented bikes from Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica, however it meant getting to Santa Monica and back in a taxi. This year I got in touch with Synaptic Cycles  who were absolutely amazing. Greg at Synaptic was extremely helpful, and they deliver and collect your bike right to your hotel as part of the service. I submitted my bike fit info online and the bike I got was set up pretty much exactly like mine, complete with the correct pedals and the same model saddle as I use.

Latigo Canyon Climb - Photo - http://www.socaltrailriders.org

Latigo Canyon Climb - Photo - http://www.socaltrailriders.org

I planned a similar route to last year, but with different climbs and descents. In total it was 2000m of climbing, which is not too bad, but is pretty hard work when it comes in two main sections of 15km each. The lack of restbite and the 30 degree heat made it hard work to say the least. The final decent did have a 5km one way section which makes things a lot more fun as you can use the whole road, and don't have to worry about coming face to face with a car on every turn.

Although you may not think it, LA is actually a pretty good place to go for a ride, with some amazing scenery and climbing, or long flat rides along the coast.

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Primary colours in the wild

It's been a busy week of time trials, racing and social rides for Velo Club Motel. Next week a couple of us are off to LA and will hopefully find somewhere to rent a bike. Any suggestions for routes around LA will be greatly appreciated.

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