Skinny tyres and speed

Bikes racing, at high speed, lightweight frames, skinny tyres and bodies fully-kitted in lycra. It’s not the type of bike-riding that I do. In fact, it’s quite the opposite to the slow, leisurely rides on my touring bike’s sturdy frame bearing stable tyres and weighty pannier bags, with me donning ‘dress for my destination’ clothing. Yet, as different as racing bikes are, I quite like watching them. And this weekend, I had the opportunity to watch some fantastic racing right on my doorstep.

Yesterday on the Gold Coast, the inaugural Kirra Criterium was held. In bike racing, a criterium is a short course race that involves multiple laps around a defined circuit. For the Kirra Criterium, a 1.2 kilometre circuit was created on the Kirra Beach esplanade along Musgrave Street. And from 8am the racing started.

Each race involved a fixed time of riding plus two laps. For example, cyclists in the Open Women category, raced around the circuit for 30 minutes and then were told there are two laps to race. On the final lap, a bell is rung, the speed kicks up and the excitement builds!

The criterium requires stamina and speed. The riders fly past as a blur. The only place they slow down is at the turnaround at each end of the circuit. With my tiny GoPro camera designed to capture fast movement, I explored a few different vantage points. One of them was a turnaround point where I saw a professional photographer crouching down to catch a front shot of the cyclists as they approached the turnaround.

He beckoned me over and said: line your camera up with the white line (on the road)… even put your camera on the line. So I did. And then eyeballed the cyclists as they hurtled towards us before turning. I learnt a little bit more about photography yesterday thanks Peter Hamilton Mills. People who excel at what they do are always the most generous at sharing their knowledge.

So the three categories raced, the crowds cheered and the skinny tyres went at a speed far faster than I’d ever want to ride. But does it matter what type of bike we ride or clothes we wear or speed we travel? Not to me – just get onya bike 🙂

"Line your camera up with the white line... "

“Line your camera up with the white line… “

23 Comments on “Skinny tyres and speed

    • Thanks Robyn. The races were over in two hours and I felt like I’d ridden a fair chunk of the circuit myself by the end of it! I was glad it was just through the camera lens and I could then return to the leisurely comfort of my touring bike.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My only bike is the skinny tyres racing bike I won a few years ago. I am looking for a comfy upright one I can shop with and take on trains though as the racer is not really comfortable and practical and also it doesn’t do well on the rough edges and potholes here. I get a lot of punctures too. I wouldn’t mind a folding bike so I could take it on the train at peak hour. A Brompton like Dayna’s would be great but a little out of my budget for now. I enjoy watching the bikes races too but I get a little anxious when a pack gets very close around bends! Thanks for the handy photographic tip and the vid. Another enjoyable post, Gail! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jane! 🙂

      I had a flat bar road bike with skinny tyres a few years ago and found the same challenges with road conditions. And because they’re made for riding fast, it seemed I never had the option to sit back and cruise. So the comfort style bikes are a good choice.

      Unfortunately, the trains in Queensland are restrictive for travelling with a bicycle. When we visited Denmark in April, the trains had excellent facilities for travelling with bicycles at any time of day rather than being limited to off-peak times like here in Queensland.

      The races certainly generate a lot of excitement together with tension so I can understand that anxious feeling. There were only a couple of spills on Saturday and only minor. I was glad they didn’t crash on the turn when I had my little camera there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Gina. The Gold Coast was awash with events on the weekend. At Coolangatta, there was the ‘Coolangatta Gold’ endurance race. At Kirra, the Criterium. In the Currumbin Valley, another bike race called Tour de Valley. And the Greek Festival was at the northern end of the coast near the Arts Centre. That’s in addition to the beach, the ocean, the creeks, the mountains… well yes… it’s a good place to be. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I carry a mini, tiny, flexible tripod in my camera case, works a treat. Some good shots. One of the thinks I do with my sportscam is to link it to the iPhone, makes it a lot easier to control.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great idea! The tripod is next on my list of kit 🙂 I tried linking to my iPhone when I first bought the GoPro but couldn’t get it to work. I’ll have to look at it again – I can see how it would help. Thanks for the tips.


  3. I have been having fun this summer dabbling in the “fast” side of cycling with my new road bike and clipless pedals. It is so much fun to tear down roads at full speed. But it has been interesting at times to keep my biking completely functional as an everyday means of transportation. For the winter I will go back to a slower mountain bike and I am wondering how that will feel after my speedy summer 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s definitely a thrill with riding fast Bri. I give my touring bike a free run on the downhill – no brakes and love the feeling – my maximum speed is 52.5 kms/hour… but only once 🙂

      Swapping speedy summer cycling for winter mountain bike wheels and snow! will definitely be a different feeling.


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