In a world full of people there’s only some want to fly. Isn’t that crazy?

Whenever I see this following video clip, I’m simply amazed at the intricacy of each animation scene. This is one of those things I look at and place into the “I couldn’t do this any better not even in my wildest dreams” category. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the movie yet though. Apparantly they’re remaking Akira into a live action film in 2009. I don’t see how they can do better that this though. I would have been blown away had I seen this at the time it was released when I was 11.

Akira is a 1988 Japanese animated film set in a neon-lit futuristic post-apocalyptic Tokyo in 2019. Akira is regarded by critics as one of the greatest animated films ever made. One of the reasons for the movie’s success was the highly advanced quality of its animation. At the time, most anime was notorious for cutting production corners with limited motion, such as having only the characters’ mouths move while their faces remained static. Akira broke from this trend with meticulously detailed scenes, exactingly lip-synched dialogue €” a first for an anime production (voices were recorded before the animation was completed, rather than the opposite) €” and super-fluid motion as realized in the film’s more than 160,000 animation cels.

Spanish fashion oddities:

Spanish fashion tips. How to be cool in Spain.Supermodelo 2008 got off to a quiet start as Operación Triunfo gathers even more momentum here in Spain. The popular Supermodel contest usually rebounds once the Operación Triunfo wake surges (or at least it did last year). But honestly, I don’t know what to make of Supermodelo 2008 this year; half the instructors are in fact French! Readers will be left wondering if there is anything at all to Spanish fashion. Leave that to me. I’ve recently gathered together many un-hitherto unrelated thoughts during my stay here in Spain, and compiled this list describing just what is popular in the world of Spanish fashion:

  • Any English words printed on T-shirts. It doesn’t matter what words are printed, they’re just cool. Partly because to be in a position to buy a foreign T-shirt, you have to have travelled somewhere.
  • Car tattoos have become fashionable. That’s right. Car tattoos. The average spanish car enthusiast can’t afford to upgrade what’s under the bonnet. Hence, Spanish hoons restrict their engine modifications & instead focus on the outsides of their vehicles. So you’ll see all sorts of customised designs stuck onto cars. It’s just a small part of what’s called “tuning”, but here pronounced more like: “toonin”.
  • The mullet haircut. I’m trying to work out whether mullet haircuts have made a comeback in Spain, or whether in reality they never went out of fashion! Whatever the case, rest assured that at least here in Spain, mullets are alive and well. They just don’t have a name yet.
  • I once heard my friend comment that yellow houses were “vasto” or “cutre” (in my time, the appropriate translation is “corny”). Most houses in Spain are either white or yellow and I’ve always wanted to know why.
  • Womens shirts with sleeves should have enormous neck holes to compensate for the increased skin coverage factor. If the sleeves aren’t falling off the shoulders, it isn’t fashionable enough. Think of it more more like a tube top encompassing the arms as well. (you can thank wikipedia for educating this simpleton about the many definitions of what shirt’s are and aren’t)
  • In Spain, shoes are everything. Spanish men are lucky enough to have a special subset of shoes which are admitedly very difficult to describe. I suppose they land somewhere between the simplicity of those older canvis tennis shoes and the sleekness of modern sneakers. I had to trawl through dozens of pages to come across this picture representing this particular slice of Spanish fashion.

Safety ideas for night-time cycling

Safety ideas for night-time cyclingMost motor vehicle accidents involving cyclists happen at dawn and dusk. The reason for this is that there are more commuters out there on the road at these times. At the same time, the road visibility is far less than during the day, so the chances of being hit are relatively high. I’ve taken the opportunity to gather together some very interesting products aimed at increasing your safety while riding at night.

[Read more →]

The trouble with current science. Time for a new direction?

Science research often proves the blatantly obvious.As a former postgraduate research scientist, science is one subject I’m qualified to reflect upon. I completed my Doctorate in 2005. The way I look at it, current research science is a system of reliable information harnessing, data processing, followed by speculative interpretation based on well-founded principles & intense scrutiny by fellow peers. It is a method of education for an entire community of very eager-to-learn people. [Read more →]

The link between physical & mental health: ADHD.

The link between physical & mental health. Overtimulation & ADHD. Prevention is better than cure.Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of which the primary symptom is the inability to concentrate. While the symptoms are widely accepted, the causes are disputed. Conventional studies of this disease have focused on brain’s ability to produce dopamine, food additives such as colourants, genetic research and environmental factors (including alcohol, in utero tobacco smoke and lead exposure). Meanwhile, the actual treatments are even more controversial, ranging from medication (including stimulants and anti-depressants), to counseling and behavioural therapy.

But recent studies describe a new form of ADHD treatment; how strenous exercise can reduce the symptoms of ADHD, without the need for medication: [Read more →]

Bicycle Training on a budget: How cyclists can save money!

Bicycle Training on a budget. How to Save Money!All cyclists know that cycling can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. Bicycles are the most efficient form of human transport that we know of. But if you’ve started to spend ridiculous amounts of money in this sport, you might want to re-analyse the situation; if you’re flaking out loads of cash on all the latest training gizmos and whatnot, is it such an environmentally friendly sport after all? Where does your money actually end up? What do those recipients do with it? Consumers don’t tend to weigh these things up enough before purchasing something. I think I became a semi-retro-grouch when I turned 30 last year. So without further delay, here are a bunch of easy ways to help you save your hard-earned money: [Read more →]

Surprise the hell out of everyone with the new you!

Successful man doesn’t drive a car or commute, he exercises by walking, jogging or biking.This is a special guest article written by Jonathan Donnelly of Northern Ireland. Late last year, he hired a road bike with us for 6 days here in Tenerife, successfully scaled the 2300m climb to the base of Mt Teide and was then keen to try out a mountainbike for the first time in his life! This is an amazing story because in April of the same year, Jon was a self-confessed computer gaming addict tipping the scales at 103kg. Thanks for the inspirational article Jon!

-Dr. Leslie Brown

Inspiration Part 1.

In my area of the world the authorities that be are mad keen to get you active! A while back there was this campaign called Go walking, it’s the thing to do… to get fit, lose weight, de-stress.

You need to replace that attitude that “walking is all I can do, ’cause I’m old, fat, always tired and have no time” with a new attitude.With facts and figures about how much you can lower your risk of heart disease etc. it all looked very boring and did not appeal to a Gladiator like me killing mad mosters that drop purple gear with my super powers in my virtual world (google ‘world of warcraft’).

Go walking, it even had a theme tune, and a spin off called “highway to health”. The problem with walking is unless you change your scenery often it gets rather boring I know I did loads of it ’til i was SICK of it.

It seems to me like a form of exercise that i term, “just for the sake of it”. Or “I have no sport I’m good at so I’m gonna walk for exercise” and “I’m too fat to jog”. [Read more →]

Important gear selection tips for climbing in the mountains.

The best gears for climbing mountains. Compact triple double chainring wide range cassetteThe most important thing to remember if you haven’t ever cycled in mountainous terrain is APPROPRIATE GEARING. I can’t stress that enough. The best gearing for climbing are the following options:

1) 53/39/30 chainring with 12-25 cassette

2) 50/34 chainring with 12-28 cassette

3) 53/39 with 12-32 cassette

All of these choices provide what I call “the magic 1.2 low gear ratio” which will be perfect for climbs ranging from 5 – 10 or even up to [Read more →]

¡Ni Papas! (Not even potatoes!)

Disaster potato losses in North Tenerife, La Orotava, Canary Islands. Catastrophic potato harvest; potato cultivation in crisis.For those of you who don’t know “ni papas” is a Canarian expression which literally translates as “not even potatoes” but really means “nothing” (I suppose because if you’re not even collecting potatoes, there’s nothing left). Usually it’s tacked on the end of a sentence; I’ve heard it used in the following phrase by my driving instructor: “Cuando hablan Inglés no entiendo nada, ¡ni papas!”. (When they speak I don’t understand anything, nothing!)

Normally I don’t bother translating local Spanish news because Pamela of www.secret-tenerife.com does such a fine job. But since we here at Tenerife-Training actually live on a combined potato/grape/orange farm, this story is right up my alley so I feel compelled to cover it.

In the North zone of Tenerife potatoes have been grown and harvested for at least the las two centuries. On April 24th 2008, there was a heat wave & the combined strong winds then wiped out up to 80% of production in the worst hit region of Benijos. The entire zone known as “Las Medianías” in the North of the Island was affected, especially the La Orotava valley. The losses vary between 70 and 80% of a normal harvest. These damages have been caused by the dehydration and defoliation of the plants. [Read more →]

Bicycle maintenance, part III: everything else.

Have bicycles changed since the dawn of time?Welcome to the third installment of “making a bombproof reliable bike”. Here I’m going to provide further tips on how to maintain your bike so that you can rely on it to get you through not just the best bike rides, but all of them. Don’t forget to read Part II: The Drivetrain and Part I: Wheels & Tyres.

1. Listen to your bike! Remember that a noise-free bike is what to aim for. If a bike clicks, ticks, creaks aqueaks and groans it’s trying to tell you something…. something like… “lube me!” or “I am badly in need of adjustment!”. And it’s surely going to get worse and you increase the chances of component failure (for example breakage or seizure of parts).

2. If a part requires a special tool, pay attention to it! The worst bicycle failures are those which force a rider to stop and call for some kind of backup or a lift back home (either your partner, your parents, or you leg it to the nearest train station). Quality parts -properly maintained- rarely break. If you want a reliable, durable bike, avoid what we call in the bicycle industry: “stupid light parts”. So in most cases, you’re only prevented from continuing your training ride because the mechanical breakdown requires the use of special tools which you aren’t able to carry. Virtually every part on a bike requires a unique tool. For example, cranksets require an 8 or 10mm allen key to fix and are fairly heavy; spokes require a spoke key; pedals require a 15mm spanner, cassette lockrings require a cassette lockring tool; bottom brackets require their own tools. Unless you are planning to do solo-touring, it’s not practical to carry everything with you to cover all of these contigencies. Fortunately, there is one thing you can do to prevent these parts from loosening… and that’s simply to tighten them up sufficiently in the first place! Then remember to check them periodically.

3. Lubricate (almost) everything! Grease should be applied to ALL fastener threads. Lubricate all other and contact points such as saddle rails, seatpost clamps, seatpost shafts, cleats, etc, with an appropriate lubricant (either oil or grease depending on the application). Obviously don’t lubricate anything that could cause you to lose control of the bike (for example: where the stem touches the handlebars and steerer tube)

4. Become an €œinstant fixer€. When you’ve locate the source of a problem,  don€™t procrastinate by delaying bicycle repairs. Fix it as soon as you can and it will never bother you again. Then there’ll be one less thing to go wrong in future.

5. Wrap your bar tape well. Wrap the bar tape tightly around the handlebars. Don’t use less than 3mm overlap on the outside radius of bends otherwise the handlebar underneath will begin to show after some use. The 6″ pieces of sticky tape that come with all cork tape kits are the most useless things to reside on planet Earth -they don’t stretch enough, they don’t stick and they’re not long enough either. Sometimes they’ll unravel as soon as your back is turned. If you decide to use these anyway because they look nice, know that the cork tape is practically guaranteed to unwrap as soon as your handlebars get wet (with sweat or rain). If you’re smart, follow this advice: you’re a hundred times better off throwing the stock tape in the bin & using PVC electrical tape in their place. If you really want to make the bar tape secure, get the 1/2″ wide PVC tape, and wrap it around 3 or 4 times the bars. Two wraps is not really sufficient; 5 or more wraps and the tape will bulge and look funny. If you have a mountain bike, the oldest trick in the book is to spray some hair spray inside the handlebar grips; you’ll find they’re much easier to slide on & they stay put once the ‘glue’ dries. [Read more →]

Human Lemmings?

Lemming committing mass suicide is a common misconception.Before I continue with this story, I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am in no way humouring this subject. On the contrary, I’m attempting to highlight this afflictive social dilemma, thereby drawing attention to it. In fact, the popular notion of that “Lemming commit mass suicide” is a misconception. It’s not helped by lemming cartoons such as the one shown here. I can almost guarantee that I’ll get more exposure by tying this sad story in with Lemmings, if only because “Lemming Suicide” is a much more popular search term than “Innu people of Nitassinan, Davis Inlet  in the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, eastern Canada”. But the real focus of this article is that some human cultures and communities are more prone to suicide than others, especially when entire societies are relocated. I will speculate about this further in future articles. [Read more →]

Goodridge braided stainless steel brake lines

Goodridge braided stainless steel brake lines. Improved braking power and modulationI recently bought a set of braided stainless steel brake lines made by Goodridge. I’m using Hayes Nine HFX HD disc brakes with the more recent G2 calipers. Unfortunately, one part was missing from the new kit that I bought online from chain reaction cycles in the UK, so I had to go down to the local bike shop (Gofis Bici) and get a suitable replacement part (luckily they had the Goodridge spare parts kit handy). [Read more →]

Would you rent a triathlon or time trial bike in Tenerife?

Triathlon cartoon. Swim bike run. Ironman record broken!I must admit that I’ve overlooked the needs of triathletes lately. In many respects, Tenerife would be an ideal location for European triathletes looking for triathlon training zones. Apart from several swimming pools & gymnasiums around the local resorts, there are many ocean swimming spots dotted around the coast. We have great weather all year round, and don’t forget the legendary 2300m climb to the base of Mt Teide!

I have one medium/large triathlon frameset which I could either rent out as a triathlon bike or sell. This has dedicated tri geometry, 650c wheels and could be equipped with a set of time-trial aerobars.

[poll=15]

ITM Lite Luxe wing shape bar and forged stem

ITM forged Lite Luxe stem reviewFor me, the ITM forged Lite Luxe stem is as close to perfection as I could want. It’s forged and therefore has smooth lines. It has reversible graphics, meaning you can flip the stem around to get a higher reach. It uses a face plate with a 4 bolt clamp; the socket head bolts require a 4mm allen key. By using M5 bolts with 4mm heads instead of 5mm sockets, the tendency to over-torque the stem at the handlebar clamp is reduced. The M6 bolts at the steerer clamp use 5mm heads to prevent slippage on carbon fibre fork steerer tubes. These two bolts oppose each other to help distribute the clamping force & they don’t stick out and cut your knees like some other stems. It’s available in the most common sizes: 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130mm lengths with either a 26.0mm clamp or a 31.6mm clamp for oversized handlebars. The finish of the stem is also very durable. It’s available from as little as 25 or ‚¬30.

ITM Lite Luxe wing shape bar reviewIt’s nice to be able to use the same bar/stem/seatpost combination. Cyclists consider consistency a nice bonus, especially when they are Italian bicycle parts. Therefore, I’ve reviewed the bar and stem together as siblings. Unfortunately I can’t say too many good things about the ITM Lite Luxe wing shape bar. It’s a budget-priced semi-ergonomic aluminium alloy bar. Or rather, it’s a standard bar with flat tops. As most of you know, in recent years, the number of handlebars available on the market has exploded. Try a few and you realise that the shape of your handlebars becomes a very personal choice, just like saddles. Unlike saddles however, your hands can’t really adjust to a handlebar like your arse can adjust to a saddle. If a handlebar doesn’t feel right to begin with, it never will.

With that in mind, in comparison to several other bars that I have tried, the flat tops do not extend far enough outward where the bar curves forward towards the brake shift-levers. I really like to use flat tops, I think they’re a natural step in the evolution (or refinement) of a traditional round bar. Flat tops encourage you to place your hands on them. But because the bars are essentially round where I normally place my hands, I found myself wanting to hold the bar quite a bit closer to the centre position than what I am accustomed to. The flats extend almost all the way up to the stem – but I’ve never seen a cyclist hold their bars with their hands adjacent to the stem (you can’t get enough control of the bike). The double grooves underneath are pretty shallow also. If you’re still keen on buying this bar, remember that the width of ITM bars are measured outside to outside. I’d reccomend the FSA wing pro handlebar instead, which is in a similar price point.

Subscribe to the newsletter!

Subscribe to the newsletter!The second newsletter will be sent out on Monday the 18th of May at 9:00 Greenwich meantime. How’s that for precision? I promise you that the second newlsetter will be much more proffessional than the first attempt. You can subscribe to the NEW newsletter below! 

Unfortunately, the old subscription list was lost when the software I was previously using crashed so if you wish to unsubscribe you can do that here as well. There’ll also be an unsubcription link at the bottom of all future newsletters. Please also accept my apologies if I’ve annoyed you in any way.

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How to patch an inner tube the right way.

The definitive guide to repairing a bicycle inner tube with a patch kit.A lot of people don’t patch bicycle inner tubes anymore, which I think is a little bit sad. Generally speaking, it’s better for the environment to repair rather than replace, so that’s reason enough for me to continue patching tubes. I am sure that the sale of a small patch kit along with extra patches more than offsets the environmental cost of yet another replacement innertube.

I have a strong hunch that most people who buy new tubes all the time do so partly because they don’t know the correct procedure to use when patching an innertube. Maybe what happened was that like me they tried to repair a tube when they were a kid & failed miserably. I’ll admit that despite 10 years of biking experience, I never really bothered with patching tubes until fairly recently either. It’s not that I lack time – it’s that they’ve never worked for me in the past, because no one taught me the proper technique. I have had limited success with glueless patches (park ones are the best by the way). But if you follow this detailed guide, you can repair your punctured bicycle tubes the old fashioned way (using glue and patches) so they behave just like new.

Before I get started, why did I suddenly become converted? Well, what happened was, I got one of my hire bikes back, and to my surprise, one of my clients had patched one of my butyl inner tubes that had punctured. It was the most amazing patch-job I’d ever seen! The edges of the patch were *completely* flat. This one paticular cyclist had reached what I’d call “punture repair perfection”. It was even better than those glueless patches I tell you. So ever since then, I reaslied it could work. After a fair amount of trial and error, I eventually found the right way to repair tubes using the traditional glue & patch method – I’m convinced that nothing beats it. [Read more →]

Hayes V9 rotor, the incredible 9″ disc.

Hayes V9 9 inch disc rotor.This 9 inch beast is the biggest and baddest disc brake rotor out there at the moment. Yes of course it’s “grabbier” than smaller 7″ and 8″ rotors, but it does provide stronger braking no matter what brakes you’re using. It’s a simple upgrade although technically not compatible with many of today’s suspension forks. It only offers a marginal brake power improvement over standard 8″ front discs used for downhill mountainbiking.

The main benefit of the Hayes V9 rotor is the increased cooling capacity. [Read more →]

Free Bike Hire in exchange for in-links!

Help me gather valuable in-links!Interested in cycling for free here in Tenerife? Got your own cycling-related website or blog? Great. All you’ve got to do is supply a new permanent link to www.tenerife-training.net, and you can then hire a bike FREE here in Tenerife for a 24 hour period after it’s approved by Les. Not got your own website? Then simply find another relevant site and suggest to the websmaster that they add www.tenerife-training.net to their links page. If you manage to get 5 in-links originating from different websites, get two free days!!

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so what’s the catch? Please read the following terms & conditions:

[Read more →]

The top 100 strangest search terms ever?

A list of the top 100 strangest search-engine phrases & google search terms.Many readers who do not host their own websites will not realise this, but yes, whenever you visit a website, the server records how you got there. What does this mean? Well, whatever you enter into google is usually stored by the host-server, and it is in fact all-too-easy for someone like me to peruse that list. Just for the record, it’s also possible to know in which order you viewed the web pages on my site, and how long you remained on each page.

Anyway, browsing through all the many search terms that people use to find this site has quickly become a regular little past time. Knowing what people search for and what is successful certainly helps with Search Engine Optimisiation (SEO). Most of the search terms generally have keywords such as “cycling”, “bike hire” or “Tenerife”. But here is a list of the 100 all-time most unique search terms I have encountered so far, really standing out above the remaining 13,000+ internet searches used to find www.Tenerife-Training.net. All these people entered my site by typing these exact terms into a search engine:

JUST PLAIN STRANGE SEARCH TERMS:

  1. “fish with big lips”
  2. “sea snake santa”
  3. “benedict alan climbed into a camel”
  4. “submarine for hire”
  5. “eggbeater review candy”
  6. “chocolate coated banana business”
  7. “in life some hoops you have to jump through will be on fire”
  8. “purple kettle” (21 people actually searched for this term in the last year alone)
  9. “crocodile initiation philosophy” 
  10. “crocodile scars”
  11. 2-oxo-l-threo-hexono-1 4- lactone-2 3-enediol
  12. “tired after eating turkey”
  13. “perspective of air resistance”
  14. “what do tongan people look like”
  15. “is soy good for nerves”
  16. ujmwutzckmkdwean

STUPID SEARCH TERMS:

  1. “i don t like turning left when the road marking makes me turn the car to the left”
  2. “what should u use for a 3 year old when driving a car” 
  3. “how much time do i spend in each place when traveling”
  4. “could it be a big world after all”
  5. “can you translate words and how”
  6. “safe to eat a rotten banana”
  7. “can you take shower gel in your suitcase now when travelling?”
  8. “how many chupa chups have they sold in the world”
  9. “the best inventions chup & chups”
  10. “are there cheap paintings by pablo picasso?”
  11. “earn twenty bucks now”
  12. “how much space does 11 million metric tons take up?”
  13. “how do computers remember the time”
  14. “how big is 6 000 000 000”
  15. “science learns you essential things for life?” [Read more →]

Finding a bicycle that fits & the “ideal position”.

Determining your ideal fit on a bicycle.Finding a good position on a bicycle is not an exact science because there is no one standard sized frame, body shape or “ideal position”. Different frames having the same seat tube length will have different top tube lengths. Look around and you will see that some manufacturers are reknowned for this. I still haven’t figured it out. It doesn’t help that some frames are measured differently. Have a look at the recent article I wrote concerning measuring bicycle frame sizes.

I’ve ridden quite a few bikes now, in many sizes. I’ve also been lucky enough to supply rental bikes here in Tenerife for hundreds of experienced cyclists ranging in height from 152cm to 203cm (5’1″ – 6″8″). I’ve listened to their feedback regarding how they felt about the way their bike fit. For me, you can only determine your unique “100% fit” by gaining your own experience about bikes that have fitted well in the past – this is a skill which can only be learned with time.

The best way is simply to ride as many different bikes, saddles, stems, handlebars and pedals as you can. Start with a bike you think will fit best and then alter the saddle and stem positions until you find what works best for you. Also try different bikes in a range of incremental sizes if you can. I have the view that obtaining your ideal bike is basically a process of trial and error. My first bike fit relatively well. I learned a lot of things about my subsequent bikes. Now I know that my “ideal frame size” is 56cm. I can ride a 55 or 57cm bike but they feel slightly too small or too big for me. This “ideal frame measurement” as I like to call it has taken years to determine, and will probably change a little as I got older (and shorter!).

I’m probably in the minority here, but in my humble opinion, fitting services (including stationary fitting machines) aren’t ideal either as they don’t give you a feel of how it feels to actually ride that particular sized bike that they are suggesting for 5 or more hours. For instance, a 140mm stem might be what you require on paper & it might even feel great on a stationary bike. Ride it, and you’ll soon discover the extreme difference it makes to the handling compared with a 120mm stem.

I’m a big believer in finding proportional length cranks, stems, wheels, etc. Unfortunately, people are STRONGLY biased in favour of 700c wheels. For small riders, 650c is a better choice, if only because of the toe-overlapping-the-front-wheel issue. If someone doesn’t agree, they’re most likely taller than 5’6″ (I am 5’11”). [Read more →]